Tuesday, May 30, 2006

roughin' it

We went to West Virginia for Memorial weekend. 3 day weekends are a good time to head down there to hang with the family. My parents (and other family members) own a lot of land. My dad has a hunting "cabin" that we refer to as "the cabin". It's not really anything like a cabin. It's a mini-house that was expanded from 12' x 12' with a loft to 12' x 36' with bunk beds for all and a giant back porch. (This means my husband and sister-in-law can listen to my entire family snore at once!)

We ride 4-wheelers, snap pictures, play cornhole, take little hikes, and most importantly: build a bonfire and drink! We have s'mores, pizzas, cherry pies, and South Dakota pheasant cooked in the embers at the bonfire. Theresa has discovered that wine in a box travels well on the 4-wheeler with some tie-downs. We use the 4-wheeler as a buffet . . . very ingenious of us. Bill caught some fish at our little pond, but none big enough to cook. (Dad claims these are disease and chemical-free fish.)

So after a weekend like that, I'm shocked that I am not scorched. It's no secret: I'm pale. When I buy make-up, it's called "Dead White Pale." So I spent the whole memorial weekend out in the sun playing cornhole and riding the 4-wheeler in a tank top. I used a generic brand (aka $4) sunscreen that contains Parsol, which blocks UVA rays (in addition to the UVB rays that most sunscreens contain). I'd heard this on some news program, but I'm happy to report that it is true! I may have re-applied only once. (I wasn't swimming, so I can't speak to that.) WebMD has more information on sun protection, including a better description on Parsol.

There is much more to tell, I'm sure. But it will have to wait for another time. I must finish uploading the pics and then off to bed.

Monday, May 22, 2006

random day off

I'm recovering from the weekend in Windsor with the girlies. We took tons of pics... see them on flickr.

So today was just wrapping up the normal household chores. I did some laundry and went for a walk this morning. Then picked up Panera for Jenny and the crew in her lab. Amy and I delivered that for a little treat... something different! It was fun to see Jenny in the middle of the day and see where she works. (It looks so high-tech!!)

I had an acupuncture appointment this afternoon. That felt good and will hopefully keep my chi flowing freely for another four weeks or so! Then home to work on my home's chi... pulled some weeds and worked in the yard a bit. More laundry. Made dinner for the hubby. Then he mowed and we did more yard work.

After that, he suggested that we go together to drop off the recycling and maybe grab a milkshake on the way home. WELL... the kia wouldn't start after we dumped the recyclables... I mean, it had just started and now it was done. DONE. So we called Becka and Jari to come pick us up. Grr... darn car.

New books came today from Amazon... I'm pretty excited! These should elevate my expertise in my hobbies. (haha) If I ever have time again to get back to these hobbies again. It always feels this way in the summer... I abandon my indoor hobbies in favor of spending time outside.

For scrapbooking I got Ali Edward's A Designer's Eye for Scrapbooking. And for photography and digital scrapbooking I got The Photoshop Elements 4 Book for Digital Photographers.

It has been a glorious day off. Beautiful weather, got a lot of chores done, and spend time with friends and hubby. Blech... I don't even wanna know right now what my email inbox at work looks like!


Saturday, May 20, 2006


19. Unbelievable
Originally uploaded by brungrrl.
We did a photographic scavenger hunt around Windsor today. This was our list:

1. House of Worship
2. Good Things
3. Small Packages
4. Change
5. Fragrance
6. Media
7. On The Road
8. Unusual
9. Paper
10. Group
11. In The Sky
12. Indulgence
13. Trend
14. In The News
15. Animal
16. Broken
17. Structure
18. Fresh Food
19. Unbelievable
20. Rock
21. Cameraphone
22. Street Lights
23. Celebrate
24. Fun
25. Black and White
26. Noise

Can I say... this was a TON of fun! It was the perfect list for this trip.

We started the day with coffee (of course). And then we happened by the Windsor Visitor's Bureau where we totally got the hook-up on what to see and do. We had lunch at Patrick O'Ryan's, a cool Irish pub. Then we walked along the riverfront where we actually took most of the pictures today. We buzzed into the Casino just long enough to lose a little bit of money each. We knew that our "indulgence" photos were going to be a little dessert outing, so we did that on the way back to our hotel at a little place called Plunkett's.

Back at the room, just enough time to upload the pics, blog a little, and get ready for an evening out!

On the Road

7. On the Road
Originally uploaded by brungrrl.
We arrived in Windsor last night. Pretty short trip for going to another country with different currency and a whole new language. Di Giorno pizza isn't delivery in Canada, it's Delicio. Mazda is "Maaazda". Our television remote at the hotel was bloody buggered.

We went to a bar called Treehouse. It was mildly entertaining. Kids today... geesh! We had some yummy shawarma rolls at a little restaurant across from the hotel - yummers!

Then off to bed... and we're spending the morning gettin' ready. I hope there is coffee in my immediate future.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Autism Awareness Month

John's fam
Originally uploaded by brungrrl.
John's nephew Caden has been diagnosed as autistic and started going to a special school where they are working very closely with him. Since it's autism awareness month, I thought I would dedicate a blog to him.

It's uncanny how many folks our age have kids with autistic spectrum disorders. A friend I grew up with has a little boy who may be autistic. It certainly makes you wonder what-if for your own unhatched children when it happens to family and friends.

We asked Caden's mom, Sherrie, a crapload of questions over the weekend. It's hard to get used to living in Caden's world. He doesn't comprehend HOT. So we have to be extra careful with the stove. And he loves, LOVES lining things up. But his teachers are trying to break him of that obsessive behavior, so you have to shout "Mess it up!" to get him to stop. (Which means he tosses everything... so careful when you yell this!)

While learning may be a challenge, he's certainly very bright. He must have a photographic memory. He can memorize a puzzle at first sight. And he memorized his magnetic alphabet board on his own and can put the letters back on lickety-split.

In this photo, he had collected all the numbers and was arranging them on the stairs IN ORDER. It is fascinating to watch. He hasn't been taught numbers and letters yet. He just sees them in order and memorizes where they go. If only I could remember stuff like that!

Caden is a sweet kid. He tolerates his aunts and uncles smothering him with hugs and kisses and I've never seen him throw a tantrum. He has come so far in 4 short years. It HAS to be exhausting to try so hard every day to learn even a little bit.

It's hard to imagine the thoughts that are going through his mind and the frustration it must cause him when he can't communicate with others. It is going to be very exciting to watch him develop over the next few years. Love you, little guy!!!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

moving in

moving in
Originally uploaded by brungrrl.
This is my favorite photo of late. I think it's a little busy... but then I like the stories it has to tell, too. And I like the contrast of the bright blue against the blah background. There is a stick crossilng the foreground, an ant crawling around, a green leaf just to the left, and a fallen honeysuckle flower in the bottom right.

I have been wanting a photo or some art work for the guest room. The room is painted "Almond Nut". It's basically light brown or beige. The accents in there are blue and lavender. I purchased some wall words that proclaim "Carpe Diem" for that room. I think that's fitting to use with this photo, no? Bust out of your shell... leave it for the ants... and get going! Life is too short to stay too long in one place.

finding that Zen place

The hubby and I are back to playing tennis. We took some lessons this spring. Which was fun, because we didn't get to do stuff like that together when we were dating... being as we had an LDR (long distance relationship) and all. HOWEVER... now that he knows how to really serve, he's way better than me. I have no chance against him. We love playing together, but I need to get better by leaps and bounds to keep us having good volleys at least. But I'm looking forward to a summer full of tennis anyway.

Tonight on the way home from yoga, Jenny and I were discussing our special group of girlfriends. We've been a group for several years. We've always known that we have a special friendship amongst our little circle. Last year challenged the very fabric of our friendship and we held fast and most likely even strengthened the bonds that hold us together. More recently, folks have been noticing how special this group is. Jenny and I both heard "you have such a great group of friends" from different people from a weekend event. Well, that's the heart and soul of our group shining through in every situation. They're my zen place. :-)

I'm getting psyched to finish the honeymoon scrapbook I've been working on lately. I'm gearing up for summer activities outdoors. Looking forward to getting more exercise and TAKING PHOTOS! I've been working so hard to become a better photographer... and it finally feels like I'm getting somewhere. And next week... my Photoshop Elements class will hopefully make me a better digital scrapbooker, too!

C'est la vie for now...

Saturday, May 06, 2006

it's a RAGE SALE!

WHY am I up at oh my god o'clock on a Saturday?! My nephew and my mother woke me up for the GARAGE SALE... that's why. The garage sale is an annual thing now. My brother and sister-in-law show up with their jeep loaded to the gills and mom and I throw in our stuff and it's a party. Mom was playing techno music in the garage yesterday. We found the first year that sales improved dramatically when we added music. That year we were selling a record player and it was actually a ploy to inspire the sale of that one item. It worked... we only had music for about 30 minutes until it was sold and driven away.

Our garage sale is pretty popular with the locals, too. We're known for our dirt cheap prices. And we're so wal-mart, we don't even care if we sell grandma's antiques for 50 cents. Theresa brought all her 1980s toys this year. Those are sure to be a hit! And this year we lucked out and planned our sale for the same day as the community yard sale in my mom's town. Dad is surely sad to be missing this event... he's in Oklahoma.

Mom and I played portrait photographers yesterday. That's my goal this weekend... to practice taking portaits. I'm normally into nature and inanimate objects. They are so much easier... they don't whine and they don't move. I can take a thousand shots at a time and nature/objects just let me do it. So the problem with people photography is that you have to train the subjects to be good models. Or otherwise trick or surprise them into being such. Not to say that I'm a very good model myself... hehehe....
Ok... brother is out putting up the sign. Gotta go sell some junk...

Friday, May 05, 2006

it's time to be a for-real blogger

I think everyone should blog. It'd be a good way to keep up with what everyone's doing. I wish my friends with kids would do it so I can keep tabs on what all the little munchkins are doing. Now that we're 30-somethings, it seems like everyone is so busy and it's hard to stay in touch like we used to. The girls started blogging with me on Yahoo 360. That was a fun way for all of us to keep in touch. I guess I got bored with it right around the time I finished the roman shades. It just wasn't what I was looking for in a blog site. And I think the girls are losing interest, too. So that's the why. Now about WHAT I want to write here. Um, well, everything. I have far too many hobbies and I have no desire to abandon any of them. So I become obsessed with one of them at a time. Right now, it's scrapbooking. Other times, it's sewing, photography, fitness, yoga, home improvement projects, etc. All these things make me feel complete... provide an outlet for me in one way or another. And I hope, enrich my life. But I can't do all of it at once... so I have at least gotten better on FOCUSING on one or the other of them. Speaking of taking on a number things... there was another site lately that thrilled the heck out of me. 43 Things. It actually encourages filling your life with a multitude of goals. Heck yeah!! And you can write about it. So when I just have a little bit to say about something and I don't think any of my email buddies really care to hear about it in great detail... I just go blab about it on 43 things.

The top 3 items on my list of 43 things:
  1. Learn photography
  2. Get in shape, and stay there
  3. Blog more often.
So here I am working on #3. Of course, blogging is a good outlet for photography, too. But #2... oi. #3 is definitely counter-productive to #2. hehe.

One of the things I'm really into in my "spare" time is digital scrapbooking. It's just a brilliant way to go. I can't believe I am so late in picking this up. There are some GORGEOUS digital designs out there by the most creative people. Here is a digital page I did last night with an oddball photo and some random (FREE) elements:

  • the "paper" is from a 2 peas May freebie.
  • the edge brushes are from tribe radio.
  • paisley embellishments were a purchase, but cheap. They're from A Cherry On Top.
  • I have surely forgotten to give credit for something . . . If I realize I have, I will update.
So that was last night's fun... more to come. Hey, I've been doing a lot of paper scrapping lately, so I haven't been on the computer much (besides work). I'm hoping to finish our honeymoon pages before the summer draws me outdoors for good.

Ok... I have the day off today, so I'm going to go for a walk with my mom.

As my friend ej would say... ciao!!