Friday, December 24, 2010

"The Stepford Wives" or "Jerry Springer"

As you can see from my archives, blogging is still new to me. I didn't really go into this with many expectations of what it would become. I am not limiting it to one thing, like house remodeling or photography, likes some blogs. I thought I would share some of the things I do and some of my thoughts. But that is my problem. I'm not sure how much I want to share. Well, I do know how much I want to share, but I'm not sure how much I should share. I feel very strongly about being honest. I am not going to present a carefully constructed version of my life and my thoughts, but this blog is not anonymous so I can't be as honest as some of the Jerry Springer guests. I would love to share stories from the people and happenings at work, good and bad. I would also love to tell you all about our big, sometimes crazy, families. However, I don't want to invade the privacy of my friends, family, and co-workers. Part of me wants to be super careful when I talk about others, but part of me thinks that if a person would be embarrassed for someone to talk about something he/she did, it shouldn't be done. I feel like public behavior is fair game. I would never be mean about someone or some situation, just honest. Sometimes the happenings in my life strike me as so funny or as something that really bothers me, and probably any reader who happened by this site would be entertained or would find some comfort that others experience the same work or family problems. I really want a happy medium, something along the lines of I Love Lucy. I'm just not sure I know where that is yet. Feel free to comment and tell me what you think.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What Ifs

Do you have any big what ifs in your life? I do. We all do, right? I wonder things like what if I hadn't changed my mind about what kind of grad school to do or what if it had worked out with that guy in college? I also wonder random things like what if I had been born in a different country? How would I feel about America if I was not from America? What if I could sing? Perform magic? Ok, I'm getting off topic. I have a very active imagination. I also believe something that some would probably not agree with. I don't believe that there is only one person in the world that every other person could be happy with. I'm sort of stuck in a theoretical circle. You see, I completely believe that Ben and I are meant to be together. On the other hand, I also believe that if I had never met Ben, I could still be as happy as I am with someone else. I don't know if I would be as happy as I am with Ben. I'm just saying I believe it is possible. I know, so unromantic for someone as hopelessly romantic as me. My point is that I think our lives start out with infinite paths ahead of us which are more or less equal in terms of our happiness. There are also paths which lead to unhappiness. Of the happy paths, our lives are a process of narrowing those paths. We decide who to be friends with, what schools to go to, who to marry, where to live, and so on. If we had chosen differently, we would still have what if thoughts. In the words of Tim McGraw, "Well you do what you do and you pay for your sins and there's no such thing as what might have been, that's a waste of time, drive you out of your mind." I don't regret the way my life is now. I love it. But I'm a curious person, I'll still wonder sometimes. Do you?

I love you Banana!

If you are one of my facebook friends, or you've left me a voicemail or email recently, you can tell that today I am catching up on a lot of things. One of those things is reading some of my favorite blogs. The wife of a guy I went to college with had a post recently on funny text messages because smart phones sometimes help too much. It reminded me of an email I got from Ben about a month ago. We have some nicknames for each other and sometimes sign our emails to each other with them, but this email was signed with something I hadn't seen before - Banana. One of my nicknames for Ben is Benoni. His ancestors are french and some were named Benjamin but used Benoni, sort of a version of Benjamin, as a nickname. Sometimes Ben signs his emails Benoni, but this time his phone changed it to Banana. He didn't realize it before he sent the email, so I received an email signed Banana. I love you Banana!

I'm Still Here

I did get a job. I received the offer in July, went on vacation in August, and started work the day after coming home from vacation. I haven't had a moment of free time since! As you can see, I still have the blog. My hope is that I will have more time to post in the future. I have pictures to post as soon as I can find the time to download them from my camera.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Napa Valley

We recently spent a few days in Napa Valley. I want to move there! The weather is wonderful, the food is great, the wine is outstanding, and the scenery beautiful.

I saw two Teslas in Yountville. This is Ben's dream car (only not in Orange).

Some of the things we did and my reviews:

The town of Yountville was our favorite town in Napa Valley.

Hope and Grace Tasting Room, Yountville
We loved their wine, the people were nice, and the tasing room had a good atmosphere.

Silenus Vintners Tasting Room
Beautiful setting. I loved that they represent several small wineries so you get to taste a wide variety.

LOVED the atmosphere. The wine was good. It has an awesome outdoor tasting area with a fire pit. We met the owners around the fire pit the night we were tasting. They were very nice. Ma(i)sonry is also an art gallery. This is a must see even if you don't taste the wine.

Girard Tasting Room
Good wine. This place and Hope and Grace had the nicest people, and one of the girls working there is an Auburn Alum!

Cakebread Winery
If you do the reserve tasting, the room you are in has a breathtaking view of the winery. Loved the wine.

I hate to say it but this was our least favorite tour/tasting. It is a good tour to see the process but it was way too commercial. It also didn't help that we had some really annoying people on the tour with us. However, we did meet a really nice Norwegian couple.

Cornerstone Cellars Tasting Room, Yountville
We like the tasting room, but these were our least favorite wines. This was taste specific for us. They had several wines from vineyards on Howell Mountain that we didn't like. When we were at Cakebread we had a wine from vineyards on Howell Mountain that we didn't like. We realized that it was the taste from Howell Mountain that we don't like.

We unknowingly visited when they were not doing tours so we didn't see the barrel/bottling area of the Chateau. The Chateau is beautiful. This is something we had on our list to do because of Bottle Shock. The movie is great! The wines were good and we had a great conversation with the people we met tasting.

Great sandwiches!

I loved this bakery! We ate lunch here a couple of days and I would go back while I was waiting on Ben to finish working. They have a great courtyard with a big shade tree. It was so peaceful for sitting and reading.

This was was Ben's favorite restaurant of the trip. The outside seating is great! One thing we really loved was the weather. We broke out the wrap and long sleeve shirt and the waiter brought a patio heater over by us. The food here is great and they have no corkage fee.

I really liked this restaurant. It is owned by Michael Chiarello. We met Michael Chiarello. Our dinner was great and we had one of his wines that we really liked. The calamari was to die for! The patio has great fireplaces.

We loved Mustards! They have a garden beside the restaurant. We walked through the garden before we ate, then ate some of the foods we saw growing. This was the best "California cuisine" we had.

Every time we asked a local about good restaurants, we were always told Bistro Jeanty. It lived up to its reputation!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Momma Needs a New Pair of Shoes

Hey, you can still need shoes even if you have a closet full of them.
In addition to all the working on the house, traveling, family things, and everything else, I am submitting applications and going to interviews for a job. Maybe when things get more settled, I'll post more often. I'm not sure if I'll get a job or where it will be, but hopefully I will. At an interview I went to yesterday, the interviewer told me that he thinks my law school's graduating class this year only has a 50% employment rate so far. Wow! He also said that many experienced attorneys are looking for jobs, like people in all industries right now. I'm looking for something specific, so there aren't as many possibilities out there for me, but we'll see how it goes. . .

Friday, June 25, 2010


I haven't written a new post in over a month. We've been busy. We had the outside of our house painted and a door replaced. Also added a security system. If you don't have one, think about it. You can save on home insurance (ours monitors for break-ins and fire). I'm also still working on painting the inside of the house. Oh, and Ben went on a work trip to France a couple of weeks ago. I was very jealous! Here are a few if his pics:

Friday, May 21, 2010


Do you use Groupon? I signed up a month or two ago for deals in my area. When I signed up, the Bham area was still in the works. They just started offering deals this week, and I love it! Check it out.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Habitat for Humanity

Last week, we volunteered a day for Habitat for Humanity. We worked on a site here in town which is an entire neighborhood of Habitat homes. If you have never volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, you should. You're helping someone, you're helping a community, and you will have so much fun!

We have volunteered by ourselves and through organizations. This year, Ben's company sponsored a work day (employees could volunteer one day, still get paid, and not have to take vacation). Check with your employer. You might have the same program. If not, ask your employer to start one. Also, you can volunteer on Saturday. Having a home that is safe and that you can be proud of is one of the most important things in life. It makes me so happy to help, even just a little, make that dream come true for someone.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pay It Forward

Today is Pay It Forward Day. Do something today for someone else with no intention of getting something in return. Do it anonymously if you can. What can you do? Whatever you can. You could compliment someone, mow your neighbor's grass, pick up the tab for the table next to you at lunch or dinner and leave before they know you did it, pay someone's hospital bill. Obviously, not everyone can afford to pay someone's bills, but amount is not what it is about. It is about doing something nice for another person with only the hope that the person will pay it forward. What will you do?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Great Movie

Last night while we were waiting out the storms (a live feed of the weather on my laptop, sitting in my lap the entire time), we watched Phoebe in Wonderland. It's not new. It has been out a couple of years, but we just watched it off our instant play on Netflix. It was great! Not great in a feel-good way (although it does have some of that), but great in an everyone-should-have-to-see-it way. You know those classes that universities make you take before you can graduate. This movie should be played in one. Even better would be showing it to students entering middle school. It's about a girl who is different. She happens to be different because of a condition she has, but the message would work even for someone who is just quirky. I have always believed that there is no "normal" where people are concerned. Normal is relative to each individual person. Normal is the way your close group (family, friends, etc.) functions. Additionally, everyone has something "crazy" about them. Whether it is a quirk, a bad habit, a mental condition, or issues caused by suffering (such as physical or emotional abuse), EVERYONE is different (or "crazy" or "weird" or whatever words you use). Never discount anyone. Some of the craziest people have also been the most brilliant. I remember once when I was in elementary school and stayed overnight with a friend. The next morning her mother made breakfast which included scrambled eggs. Everyone at the table put ketchup on their eggs and then passed the ketchup to me. I politely said "no thank you," but what I was thinking was, It is so weird that they put ketchup on their eggs. It was normal to them. She would have thought my family was weird if we had scrambled eggs and had no ketchup on the table. There are so many important lessons in this movie. One is accepting people who are different or have difficulty. Another is that you should never assume that you know what is going on with another person. People are very good at hiding things that are embarrassing or different. If someone seems weird, that person might just be quirky, but it could also be the result of something that he/she is going through. Don't add to that burden. Help if you can. Also, it was incredibly moving to watch the mother deny what was going on for so long. It made me cry that the little sister had the clapping, hopping, and twirling memorized and the mother didn't even know how bad it was. It know a mother like this. Nothing is ever wrong in her family. Nothing runs in the family (unless it is something good), not cancer, not hair loss, not depression, nothing. Nothing bad ever happens to anyone, nor does anyone do anything wrong. If something bad does happen, she tries never to tell anyone else in the family. What is worse? Knowing about something bad or sticking your foot in your mouth when you see that person the next time, or, even worse, not knowing your own medical history? This behavior makes me so sad. This mother never has accepted anything (unlike the mother in the movie) and her family has suffered for it. The family gatherings are like several acquaintances, who don't really like each other, being forced to spend a few hours together. Everyone is polite and pretends to have a good time, but no one is close, no one really talks to each other. None of them know each other.
I also have to say that Elle Fanning's performance in this movie is amazing! She is so young, yet she delivers a haunting portrayal of a troubled soul. Needless to say, this is a thought provoking movie that everyone should see and learn from!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

War Eagle!

Late Friday, we were offered tickets to the A Day game by one of Ben's coworkers. We hadn't planned to go, but changed our minds. We had so much fun! We've been too busy to have season tickets the past few years, but A Day reminded us of how much we do want to have season tickets soon.

We were extra excited to go this year because we could watch my cousin play. He is on the offensive line, number 63.

We also got to preview the new Auburn Arena. It is great! Our old basketball arena had entrances to the seats from the corridor, but wall in between all of the entrances. In other words, if you were out in the area with the concession stands and the restrooms, you could only see the game if you were standing at one of the entrances. The new arena is open with only columns. That is my favorite feature because you can see the game even if you go to the concession stand.

Before we left Auburn, we ate at Niffer's. Niffer's is an Auburn institution, but it is extra special to us because we had our first date there. Ben and I knew each other for several years before we started dating so we had been plenty of places together, even Niffer's, but when we went on the first date, we went to a movie and Niffer's.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

That's, Like, So Yesterday

Do you consider yourself trendy? I guess I'm not really trendy. I just do what I like and don't do the things I find uninteresting. Here are some current (some might be considered continuing) trends I am just not interested in:

  • Twitter
  • American Idol
  • Lost
  • Tanning
  • Sarcasm
  • Celebrity Gossip
  • Dancing with the Stars
  • Facebook Games
  • Geocaching
  • Dying My Hair

And here are some trends I am interested in:

  • Blogs!
  • Facebook
  • Wii
  • I want to paint my kitchen cabinets white.
  • Being Green (It is sad that this is what is considered "in" right now. I have tried to be green since before it was the hot new thing, and I hope it grows out of the trend stage and becomes a permanent fixture in people's lives.)
  • Botox (I don't think I need it yet, but I'm not ruling it out. Also, kind of gross to think about, but I would love Botox for my underarms. It would be so great to not have to think about deodorant - not having to buy it, not having to put it on everyday, not having to think about whether I forgot it, not having to think about whether it is working. . . you get the point.)
  • Mothers Staying Home - I don't know if this is a trend or not. It does seem that more mothers are staying home than have in the past few decades. I don't find any fault with women who don't stay home, but I think it is great to do it if it is right for you.

Monday, April 5, 2010


We go to Ben's grandmother's church every year for Easter. They have a tradition of "blossoming the cross." Everyone walks up and adds a flower to the cross. It's really pretty when we are finished and it sits at the front of the church for the service. You can see it in the first picture below. It and our cute nephews.

We also got to take some pictures with Ben's uncle's 1929 truck.

I think even the cows had a great Easter!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Right Now . . .


folding laundry.

listening to rain and music (my entire Music library on shuffle, current song is Lookin' Out My Back Door by CCR which is strange because I hadn't heard it in a while but it was stuck in my head yesterday).

checking an email that just popped in.

wishing I had some fresh peaches.

By the way, because of the email checking the song is now Candle in the Wind by Elton John.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Could Audition for The V, Without any Makeup

What I'm trying to say is, I have very dry skin. Not only is my skin dry, it is really sensitive. This winter has been colder than normal where we live which has been really rough on my skin. It being really sensitive also means that it will become red sometimes for almost any reason, even a reaction to the adhesive on a band-aid. I'm not writing this to try to freak anyone out, because The V could do that. I have to say, I haven't seen the new version, but I do remember them peeling their human skin off in the old version. And sometimes, I feel like my skin is going to come off. I try to be aware of everything I put in or on my body. There are some nasty chemicals in a lot of the things people use every day. So, what to do? I use California Baby products and they work really well. I use the Super Sensitive Shampoo and Body Wash for body wash and any time I wash my hands. I also love the Calendula Cream and Calendula Lotion. Oh, and I am not being compensated in any way for this post. I'm just sharing what I love. Although, Ben probably wishes I was being compensated. The only problem with California Baby products is that they do cost more that the regular products you can get at Target or Wal-Mart. I use them a lot, so I save some by buying the huge sizes online. One great thing is that when we have a baby, I'll use the same things for the baby so I won't be buying/carrying around double the products.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Sister Loves Animals and They Love Her . . . or at Least The Way She Tastes

My sister is an animal lover. From insects to whales, she loves 'em. I love them too, but I'm not opposed to killing a spider if it is in my house. My sister is frequently the subject of the animals' attention too.

Once when we were really small, we were walking around in a park with my aunt. As we strolled along the lakeside, my mother and aunt were chatting a few steps ahead of us. My sister started to veer closer to the lake because something caught her eye. You're thinking, small girl, in a park, by the lake, the thing that caught her eye must have been the sparkly water, or a beautiful goldfish, perhaps a cute dog. No, it was a bat, but not just any bat, an unconscious bat. What happened to the bat, we still don't know, but as my sister picked it up (yes, she did), one of it's fangs just happened to sink into her flesh. At this point most people would be terrified that they just contracted rabies. Not her. She decided not to tell my mother because, "she would just freak out."

Then there was the time that she was scratched by a very wild, very vicious cat at my grandmother's house. My mother did find out and did worry that she would get an infection.

Then there was the time when we were teenagers and on a family trip to the beach. My sister walked out of the water and up to me with this beautiful sea creature in her hand. That wasn't unusual. She was always catching animals. Once she caught a duck and begged to bring it home. Another time, when my mother was working outside, my sister went to the pond, caught several fish, and snuck them into the house. When my mother came in from working outside she went into her room to clean up. She found the fish. . . in her bathtub! In water, of course. Oh, and I can't leave out the time that my sister brought home a snake. She put it in an ice cream bucket with small slits in the top for air. The next morning, my mother saw the top off the bucket and asked my sister about it. My sister explained that she didn't think the snake was getting enough air. We never found the snake.

So I didn't think anything of her walking up with another animal in her hand. It was really pretty. It was dark fuschia on top and electric blue on the bottom. It was a jellyfish. She said, "Marcia, can you get this off. It's stuck." It had wedged it's microscopic, stinger tentacles from each one of it's many legs right into her hand. As I was removing it, she said "my hand is really tingling and it's getting worse." Thank goodness we weren't in Australia.

But, the biting incident that tops all other biting incidents has to be this:
One summer we were preparing for my grandparents' 50th anniversary party. That means that all of my gigantic, crazy family would be in town. And that town I'm talking about is my very small hometown (population less than 1,000). The week before, my sister had been at a basketball camp. As we pulled into the driveway after picking her up, my mother popped the trunk and told my sister to get her suitcase. The next morning, I went to the lake with friends and my mother mowed the yard. Around lunch time, one of my friends dropped me off at my house. As I walked up the steps to the front porch, I noticed something strange. There was what looked like blood spatters on the railing. I had a terrible thought that my mother somehow injured herself while mowing. Or perhaps my grandfather had come over to do something with his farm machinery or chainsaw and was injured. No one had called me though, so I wasn't really sure it was even blood. So I opened the front door and said, "it looks like there is blood all over the railing." My mother walked around the corner from the kitchen and said, "dang, I didn't get it all." At this point I'm looking at my mother standing there and my sister sitting across the room on the couch watching TV. Everything looked pretty normal and no one was sobbing about a maimed relative so I really wondered what had happened. Did they murder someone and are now trying to cover up the evidence? Did someone in the family decide to slaughter an entire pig to roast for the party? If so, why didn't anyone tell them that the front porch is not the best place to do it?

Earlier in the day, when my mother walked outside, she noticed the trunk was still open because my sister never got her bag out. She closed it and stuck her head back inside to tell my sister, again, to get her bag. As midday rolled around, my sister finally took a notion to get that suitcase. She walked out to the car, opened the trunk, leaned in to pick up the suitcase, and . . . a squirrel jumped on her head. We grew up in the country, so she didn't freak out. She thought, there's a squirrel on my head, it will be afraid of me and jump off. Her head must be comfortable because it didn't budge. After a minute, it moved a little and it's claw scratched the side of her head. That is when she got a little worried. They have really sharp claws and she didn't want to be blinded so she jerked her hands up to cover her face. That is when the squirrel went crazy. It was scratching and biting like a wild, rabid squirrel. Still, it never jumped from her head. She screamed for my mother to come out and help her, but my mother was in the back of the house and didn't hear. So my sister had to go all the way to the front door, open it, and scream inside, all with the squirrel still trying to make mince meat of her head. My mother rushed outside and had to grab the squirrel and throw it down on the porch. By this point, the squirrel had scratched my sister many times on the head, arms, and face, and had bitten her in several places, including through the upper part of her ear and to the bone on one finger. That finger wound shot blood out every time her heart would beat (think CSI where they determine that the splatters of blood ALL OVER THE PLACE are arterial spatter). They got inside and my sister got cleaned up. My mother cleaned up the murder-scene-looking front porch. While she was cleaning, the squirrel was in the yard watching her and chattering. Right after this was when I got home.

I have to pause here to say that when they finished the story, I laughed so hard I thought I would pee in my pants. My mother thought I was so mean for laughing like that. Come on, it's FUNNY! Only, the funny was just getting started.

My mother called the doctor's office to get her and my sister rabies shots (she had been scratched when she extricated the squirrel from her daughter's head). The doctor said he didn't think it was necessary. The next doctor she called said the same thing. Are you kidding me? The squirrel has to be suffering from something, it's crazy! We decided we needed to trap it and have it tested for rabies. My mother called the police station to see if they would come try to shoot the squirrel. When they showed up, it was nowhere in sight. Sneaky little bugger. In a few minutes, someone called to ask if everything was ok. My mother wondered why he was asking. He said he heard on the scanner that the police needed to go to her house. My mother was so embarrassed. The dispatcher didn't say anything about why, she just said they needed to go. Oh, and yes people in small towns in the South have scanners. Many stereotypes about the South are not true but that one is. I'm glad it is because without them, life would be a little less entertaining!

Since the shooting thing didn't work, my grandfather and my uncle set some traps in the yard. Later that afternoon, I needed to take some things to my grandparents house. As I opened the door, my hands full, the squirrel, who was sitting at the bottom of the steps, charged the door while chattering loudly. I slammed the door just in time to keep it out of the house, but I could still hear it chattering and scratching at the door. This time, I wasn't laughing. We were being held hostage by something that weighed less than 2 pounds. I formulated a plan. We needed weapons. We gathered up all the brooms, baseball bats, and tennis racquets we had. We propped them by the front door. No one could leave without one of them in hand. I grabbed a tennis racket and went out swinging. I made it to my grandparents house. When I got back, I was almost to the door when I heard the chattering. Crap, I left the tennis racquet in the car. Gripped with fear, I bolted to the front door and made it just in time. I walked in and announced that I was moving to my grandparents house until the little devil was captured and moved.

The next day we still hadn't captured the squirrel. He was probably sitting in a tree and laughing at our futile efforts. We also still had not found someone to give my sister and my mother rabies shots. Rabies shots are time sensitive. If you don't get them within a certain time, it's too late so my mother was starting to get a little frantic. My sister came to my temporary home to visit with all the family that afternoon. While we were gone, a couple of our friends from school were at their church which is very near our house. Since they were so close, they decided to drop by and say hello. As they were getting out of the car, they noticed my mother hunched over, stalking around the yard, holding a broom by the handle with the brush end raised above her head. They called her name and told her they just came by to say hello to my sister and me. She said, "I'm hunting a squirrel." That, and that we were up at our grandparents' house, was all she said to them. I'm not sure they ever came back.

By late that afternoon, we had called several more doctors who would not give rabies shots or didn't have them to give. My mother was now imagining her baby foaming at the mouth and dying a horrible death while tethered to a hospital bed in isolation. At my grandparents' house, with everyone there, she called yet another doctor. We didn't really listen to her telephone conversation until it was clear that this one said no also. That's when, in a slightly raised voice that caught our attention, my mother said, "all right, I'm making a list of people to bite when we get rabies and you're at the top." Then she slammed the phone down. Once again, I laughed really hard. My mother was not amused.

Finally, we found a doctor 45 minutes away with the same philosophy we had - "better safe than sorry." One day after starting the rabies shots, we caught the squirrel. We still weren't sure if it had rabies or not but since they had started the shots, we didn't have to rush it off to be tested. We kept it and observed it for a few days. Because we live in a small town, by this time everyone knew what was going on. A friend of ours, upon hearing the story, said, "that's Buster." Turns out this squirrel was abandoned as a baby, raised by this family, and successfully released into the wild. She said he had always been a little testy. After the observation period, all was clear - no rabies. We had one problem though, he could not stay. A woman in the next town over asked to move him to her yard.

Things I learned:
1. Squirrels can be very vicious, especially if they think you are withholding food. This is what we suspect happened to my sister. Since this squirrel had been hand fed before, we think he assumed she had food, and when she just stood there, he thought that she was keeping it from him. Or maybe he is just a crazy squirrel, who knows.
2. Mothers get kind of crazy when they think their youngest child has rabies.
3. You no longer have to get a bajillion shots in the stomach for rabies. It's still quite a few shots, but you can get them in the arm or hip.
4. Don't offer to adopt an attack squirrel. It will attack you too.

Monday, March 8, 2010

How Can I Not Do This?

Let me start by saying, I'm the chef in this family. I plan menus, I do the grocery shopping, I chop and roast and simmer and deglaze. Hubby's contribution is sometimes stirring but mostly dishes. The exception is breakfast. Ben is a workaholic most of the time (he's really good at his job). This means he gets up early. My morning personality is plagued by a strange dichotomy - I am a morning person, meaning I function way better in the morning than I do in the afternoon or at night, but I hate to wake up early. Now, I was raised in the country. During the school year I got up to go to school, and in the summer, I got up to help with the garden or cows or whatever else. So when I say I hate getting up early, don't start picturing me in silk pjs rolling out of bed to a caviar brunch at 11 am. I almost never sleep past 7, even on the weekends. Still, getting up earlier than that (which we do during the week), especially before the sun comes up, is terrible to me. So, as a necessity, breakfast duties fall to my early-rising mate. He gets up, gets coffee going, makes eggs, prepares us coffee, then wakes me up. It's essential that the last thing comes LAST! This morning, we got up at a time when I can imagine only evil, supernatural creatures like vampires and trolls are awake. I drove Ben to the airport for a business trip and then came home (all before the sun finished coming up). I was doing fine even though I woke up when brains aren't meant to function, but here is where things went wrong. I decided to make coffee. I dumped out yesterday's grounds, poured water in, and hit start. I settled on the couch reading blogs feeling good about hearing the beans grind and the coffee drip (and it smells great!). Then I remembered, if the grounds from yesterday were still in there, there was probably an inch or two of old coffee still in the pot. Take two - dumped it all out and made more coffee. Now what? We like Starbucks mistos which is half steamed milk and half coffee. To make it at home, Ben puts milk in the cup (so much that you have to heat it first) and warms it in the microwave. I have no idea how much milk to put in the cup. I never see this process. I go for half the cup, but I have no idea how long to heat it (when milk boils, it boils over fast). I had to add time and heat again 3 times. I poured the coffee in and instantly knew I had too much milk. I decided to drink some and add more coffee later. We also add a small amount of agave nectar to our coffee. Once again, I have no idea how much to use. I got lucky on that. Now I sort of know the behind the scenes story on how my coffee gets to me each morning.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Macbook Surgery and Photography

Last April, I met my second true love - my Macbook! However, a few months later, the relationship was a little rocky. It had a crack in the perfect veneer. Only, I thought it was me. I was willing to live with it because I thought it was my fault. Then I discovered that this flaw ran in the family and it was not my fault. Forgive me, I'm still new to blogging and sometimes forget the before pictures. You can go here to see pictures. So, I scheduled cosmetic surgery. It was fast and painless and now we are blissfully surfing the internet together.

Also, I finished the photography class. I'll leave you with a couple of pictures that I submitted for the last assignment.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I'm back in black . . .

Actually, I'm wearing blue, but I am back to blogging. I made the mistake I think many new bloggers make. I thought I wanted to start a blog so I did, but then I started thinking "I don't have anything to blog about." And sometimes I won't, but there is more to blog about than you think, you just have to do it.

Here's what we've been up to lately: First, we have been trying to do lots to our house. We have a huge list of things we want to do over the next few years (paint everything inside and out, redo the bathrooms and kitchen, add crown to master bedroom, change some lighting, new floors, and several more things). This week we got part of a new bed. We actually got a California King. It is harder to find bedding, but I hope we made the right decision. The reason was because of where we want to put our bed. There are two great walls for a bed in the master. One would easily fit a full King size bed and still have room left over. But I like the bed on the other wall better. The problem is that wall is shorter. Enter the Cal King, which is not as wide as a King. Also, the Cal King is longer than a King which Ben likes because he is tall and on a full bed he feels like the sheets are tight on his feet because his feet are so close to where they are tucked in. The reason I said we got part of the bed is because all we have is the platform. We ordered the platform and set it up to make sure we liked the size. Yesterday I ordered some bedding, and Saturday we are shopping for a mattress. I am going to make the headboard.

Also, I have been devoting a lot of time the past few weeks to one of my many goals in life - becoming a good photographer. By good I don't mean good enough to take ok snapshots. I mean that I want to be able to take photos on vacation or of family that I want to frame and hang in my home or blow up to 11X14 and have printed on canvas. It's not easy, folks. Step one, for me, is taking photography classes. I have the camera. I bought a Canon 40D about a year and a half ago, but I've only been using it on auto. If auto is as far as I ever ventured, then I would have wasted my money. Every week we have an assignment and have to submit 5 photos. Here are the ones I liked best of the ones I submitted each week.

The first week of class was sort of an introduction and some basics about cameras and lenses so the assignment was just 5 photos we already had and thought were good. This is one I took a couple of years ago.

The next week we had to submit photos we took using the rule of thirds and the other rules we learned in that class. (By the way, the site that this link takes you to is pretty good for photography tips).

The next set of photos we submitted had to show that we could manipulate the depth of field in our photos.

The photos submitted for this past class had to be a still life. I don't know about you, but I always thought still life sounded easy. I mean, your subject doesn't move, you control the background and the lighting. Turns out, they are not so easy. It is hard to think of something that will look good as a still life.

My photos have gotten better. I have a long way to go, but I'm having fun! Next week I have to submit 5 photos that show color. That doesn't just mean what I shoot has to have some color. We learned in class about actual colors in your photo (like wearing a red shirt or a brown dog) and also about the color of light. Right at the end the instructor also put a twist in the assignment. We have to submit 5 photos dealing with color, but 2 of the photos have to have no more than 2 colors anywhere in the photo.