Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Singin' and Dancin'

I love plays. I love music. I confess, I loved watching a cast of 20 or so individuals dance around singing cheesy teenage melodies last night. It was especially fun to be there for a dress rehearsal because we got a little glimpse at the personalities of the actors...and a big glimpse at all the hard work that goes into a production.

About half way through I asked Keyara if she thought she could handle being in a play like that...she thought she could with a little practice. About half way through I asked myself if I could handle being in a play like that...my conclusion was just the opposite.

Here's what amazes me about musicals...I can barely talk without getting breathless when I am jogging or even moving around a lot. Those kids were dancing all over that stage...and singing their hearts out at the very same time. Impressive. 'Twas a fun night for us all!

Monday, June 29, 2009

HSM

Tonight Keyara and I are going to a dress rehearsal for Derby Dinner Theatre's rendition of High School Musical. I know you are all jealous. Truth be told, I am actually quite excited...and Keyara's had it on her calendar for weeks!

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Hodgepodge


I can't decide what to blog about today. So I'll just give you a random pic and little list:

1. It's Friday. I still haven't recovered from last weekend. Last night I slept 9 hours...and woke up tired. Bring the weekend on please.

2. Yesterday I started reading Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery around 4pm. I am already finished and am thinking about picking up another of her lesser known books for the weekend. I'm obsessed with stories.

3. There is a squirrel that hangs out on the stairs going up to our door. We often startle one another. Last week, in desperation he jumped several feet onto a trash can to escape me. Sometimes I'm afraid he'll hide and in vengeance, bite my leg as I walk past.

4. David is a studying machine. I've never seen him like this. 11 hours worth of seminary in 1.5 months is cramping my style.

5. We are going to see Wicked in Memphis in a few weeks. I'm going to wear my St. Patrick's Day skirt to the show.

6. I'm craving the Jello/Sherbet dessert again.

7. We'll be at home this weekend. I think we're out of town an average of 1 in 2 weekends these days. To be honest, I like it both ways. Keeps it interesting.

8. I streamed the SBC convention way more than I would have anticipated this week...even watching some of the business. I miss all the activity in Louisville already.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Dear Mother


Today is my Mom's birthday. I hate that we can't be in Memphis. We celebrated last weekend though with a gift for each decade of her life. (I can't tell you how many decades because my mom's been telling us that she's turning 29 since 1985:) This was my attempt at creativity anyhow. For example, she spent several years in her first decade in Cincinnati, OH so we packed our cooler full of ice and brought her Graeter's French Pot Ice Cream...which originated in Cinci. The movie South Pacific was popular during her second decade...so Amazon delivered that one...and so on. She was a good sport! Afterward, David put together the treadmill she ordered. I made an instructional video of him explaining how to use the treadmill that is hilarious. He banned it from the blog though. Ah well.



With each passing year I seem to appreciate more of who my mom is as a person. She was a phenomenal mother to us when we were young children. We ate dinner together almost every night, she read to us from the classics, took us to the symphony, always had something fun planned for the summer like passes to Adventure River or the Memphis Zoo. When we were teenagers, she helped us wade through all the dramas of friendship, shuttled us back and forth from choir, and spent her vacation money to send us off to church camps. I have for many years now appreciate those things on some level though not as deeply as she deserves. In this season though, as I move more fully into adulthood and am less often asked what grade I am in or what college I attend, I feel like I am getting to know her afresh.

She's no longer cooking mac and cheese and carting us around town. She is working hard in her job and displaying an incredible business mind. She is on the cutting edge of every new gadget and hip TV show that comes out. She knows all the good art spots in Memphis and has her ear to the ground about a variety of events on any given weekend. She's ever amazing me with her impeccable taste in jewelry, her uncanny ability to create, and her adventurous spirit.

The truth is, I am glad she is not 29 anymore. I like watching her in this season of life...I like getting to know her better on these grounds. I admire so much in her. I am glad she is and always will be my beloved mother. I am glad that she is more and more becoming my dear friend.

Happy Birthday, Mom.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Flip

video

Let me tell you about my Flip. I was intimidated by it. It took me a month to take it out of the box. Once I did, I had it all set up in 5 minutes. It is handy. It is compact. It is easy to use. It takes good videos in most surroundings. It uploads on a usb for those who aren't so computer savvy. I love it. Most of the time, my mom tells me about the latest technology...and gives it to me for some holiday or another. This was no exception. And now...I carry it around quite often.

After my dramatic spoon game I was back in for another round when Rebekah and Amanda left me this little message...ignore the spoon poke line (which is a reference to a most embarrassing moment of mine that I refuse to post on the blog)and take in their heartfelt love for me. Touching, isn't it? I miss Memphis too. They didn't quite realize that you can zoom in and out with Flip.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Moments of Anne-ness

Marriage is a revealer of many unknowns. I never knew that David folded his socks together instead of balling them up in a pair as I do. Who would have guessed that I would develop an obsession with vacuuming the little rug in front of the sink?

One of David's first discoveries about me in marriage was that I am a little bit dramatic. He has taken to calling me "Anne" in moments of intense emotion over little matters. This reference is to my favorite fiction character of all time - Anne of Green Gables. I suppose she is a little dramatic. Is it possible that I've read the books and watched the movies enough to have taken on some of her traits?

video

This weekend we got together with some old friends for a game of spoons late one night. I had my handy little Flip out to capture some moments.(thanks to my tech-queen mom!) Amanda picked it up as I lost at the game...and I saw myself though someone else's eyes.

I guess I was a little overboard about a simple game of spoons. In all fairness, it wasn't against the rules despite my cries of foul play....but she did rip it from my hand:)

Monday, June 22, 2009

a picture is worth a thousand words...












Wedding Bells


For those who are terribly eager to get a glimpse, allow me to present to you:

Brad and Lisa Godwin!!!


I'll post more pics later today but wanted to give you a sneak peek at the beautiful bride and her handsome hubby, so I snagged a pic off of Facebook!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Faithfulness


Today David's sister, Lisa is marrying Brad. We could not be happier.

God is wonderfully faithful. Today we are deeply reminded.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thrifting, Part II

1) The workers should know your name.

If you want to build a wardrobe from thrifting, you need to be a frequent face. You might just find one $2 item each time you go, but if you check the new goods weekly or biweekly, your chances of finding good quality, well fitting items is much better! Thus, search out a thrift that is near you or a few blocks from your office so you can run in on your lunch hour.

2) It's all in the fabric.

Most thrift store frustration comes from that overwhelming feeling you get when you walk into a slightly smelly, wildly disorganized room that is spilling over with more items than you can possibly search through. The best way for me to keep from spending hours and hours on each trip is to simply scan the racks for good fabric. If you really think about it, most of us can easily tell an Ann Taylor shirt from a Dollar Store tee simply by the look of the sleeve. Walk the aisles looking for the Ann Taylor fabric. Narrow your search by looking at the fabric not the tag. The point is not to get name brand, but to find high quality quickly.

3) Limit your time.

If you know that you're going to waste 2 hours and come out with one shirt, you're not likely to keep up the habit nor is it good stewardship of your time! I rarely spend more than 15-20 minutes browsing. If I walk out with one great find, it's a success. It's frequency of visits not length of time that most often builds the best wardrobe from a thrift store.

4) Set your standards high.

It can be a temptation to buy a lot just becuase it's cheap. Blowing your budget is still blowing your budget even if it's on $2 items. Don't buy an ill fitting skirt just because it's cheap. Don't tell yourself you'll altar it if you really won't. Just wait til next time and spend your hard earned dollar on something that meets your standards.

5) Hold your nose and get over it.

Ok, I admit it. Thrift stores are not always the most pleasant of environments. They smell musty, sometimes the stuff is dirty, there are a lot of pleated khakis and floral shirts, and I can hardly stand near the shoe rack. I don't have much to offer you here. Suck it up and deal with it is the best I can say. Set your own limits. I usually stick to clothes and washable household items. Shoes push the limit for me. Bathing suits are unimaginable. I can't even glance at the pillows. Find your boundary, walk it, and remember that bleach and lysol can really do a lot.

6) Enjoy the satisfaction of a good deal.


A lot of stores have special half price days or other incentives. Ask for a run down of your stores promotions. Even without these, I think your pocket book will be quite satisfied. Even better, if you are able to find a worth organization to benefit with your purchases...your heart will be too!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thrifting, Part 1



Thrift store shopping is a hobby of sorts for me. Each year I try to focus on one way I can be a better steward environmentally. After seeing the pollution created by fabric dyes in Lesotho, where many clothing items are manufactured, I began to think differently about always purchasing new items. We recycle cardboard and cans, but don't often think about what we can do to reuse what's already been produced. Environmentalist usually overwhelm me. Making a few simple changes though, that's manageable...and the corporate effect makes more of a difference than we realize! Clothes shopping has been a fun area for me to learn to change.





Now I have never claimed to be a fashionista, so perhaps this is easier for me than some of you. Nonetheless, I wanted to create a little Thrifting inspiration here on the blog. In high school, it was totally cool to find a pair of polyester pants to wear on a Friday night or a t-shirt so worn that it felt like a baby blanket. As I've graduated into a world requiring a bit more professionalism in my appearance, I am finding that it's still possible to hit the thrift and make it work.



Another reason why I thrift is the financial factor. It's certainly cheaper than buying new clothes which is good on our student budget but, it also oftentimes gives an opportunity to support a worthy organization. My favorite thrift spot in Louisville benefits St. Joseph's Children's Home. In Jackson, I spent my clothes budget giving to Gateway Rescue Mission. I am going to buy clothes...I might not otherwise give to those organizations though. Making them my first stop serves both of our pocket books!



These are a few of my favorite items from St. Joe's!

Part 2: Tips from a weathered thrift store shopper for those who are new to the game:)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dear Sir or Madam



Sometimes I write letters to companies. When someone took a vacation using my credit card and I couldn't get Customer Service to resolve it, I typed up a nice letter detailing my experience. I sent it straight to the top. The matter I'd been calling about for 6 months was resolved by the next billing cycle. Last summer when we made a purchase and then found that the advertising didn't quite match up to our expectation, I wrote a letter. We received a reply with vouchers to satiate my dissatisfaction.

You all already know my love for Aldi. I am a loyal customer. I would buy all my groceries there if I could find everything to my liking in that one little store. I have two complaints against them: 1) Their flour tortillas tear. Nothing worse that a broken burrito. 2) Unless David's home, I have to spend at least 5-10 minutes trying to get the lid off their salsa.

I decided a few months ago that despite my loyalties, it's just not worth it. I still shop there,but I pick those items up elsewhere. I felt confident that if they knew, they would fix those two little problems. I wrote them a letter.

Within a week, I received a call from the salsa company, a letter in the mail with a voucher for another brand option. Yesterday when I arrived home, two packages of the newest and improved tortillas from the other company were waiting on my doorstep.

Aldi. I'm a bigger fan than ever. That's customer service.

So here's my latest thought...Since I am so convinced that much change can be effected with the pen,I should really write letters about things that matter. My goal for the summer - to write at least one letter about an issue about which I am passionate. While I do love a good burrito, I don't think the Aldi letter counts.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

That Sister of Mine




Lindsey has been in Thailand for the past 2 weeks...hanging on the beach, eating good food, drinking in the beauty of another culture. Jealousy is a sin.

I haven't heard her sweet voice yet, but I know she's home by the most up-to-date and reliable communication we have - Facebook. I saw her face in the Memphis airport posted this morning.

Welcome back, sis.

Maybe she will guest blog and favor those who are inland bound with a few pics of blue seas and exotic foliage.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Learn to Sail


On Saturday, Keyara and I went to a Big Brother Big Sister Match event with a local organization - Learn To Sail. They set up a big tent at the park down by the Ohio and taught us nautical terms, how to tie knots, the basics of how a sail works. Then they handed us lifejackets and let us go out on boats! This was Keyara's first time to ever be on a boat! We had a lot of fun...and enjoyed the summer weather.



The kids got to help our "Captain" man the ship:)


Friday, June 12, 2009

Lateral Epicondylitis

For about 5 years I've been telling people that I have carpal tunnel. My arm hurts when I type. Sometimes at night I feel ache in my elbows and imagine somehow it is radiating up my arms... overtaking me with carpal tunnel. Ok. It's not that bad. I'm just dramatic. I type with a wrist brace - not uber cool but seems to keep the pain to a pretty low level.

A little while ago we began the application process with our denominational mission board. (Don't worry...we're not jetting off anytime soon..it's a looooong process and we're just at the start.) They require you to fill out an intense medical questionnaire.

One of the questions: Do you have carpal tunnel? Laura checks YES. Have you ever seen a doctor about this? Laura checks NO. They asked me to go to a doctor to see how severe it is. It wouldn't be cool to be out in the middle of nowhere and need surgery. It would be even worse to not get to live in the middle of nowhere in a hut. I went. I told him my aches. He twisted my arm, pushed here and there, and then pointed to a biology classroom chart of human innards.

"You have lateral epicondylitis, not carpal tunnel."
"Is that good?"
"Ice and ibuprofen is the treatment. It's like tennis elbow."
"Oh. That's good. No surgery."
"No surgery."
"Could you write that in a letter?"

He did.

First time I've been happy to find out I have something with a name like Lateral Epicondylitis.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Grammatical Rebellion Re-visited

A few days ago I posted "Grammatical Rebellion" but it was soon after deleted because...well...because I thought I was wrong and would rather not expose my ignorance on the world wide web. But alas, my faithful grammarian, Lee, read it on Google Reader (proof once more that what I put on the web is in some form indelible:) and actually brought a final conclusion to my dilemma. I am so relieved to have this settled, and to know that they question has arisen for others, that I am re-visiting this topic...with no plans to delete the post!

The original post discussed my one quarrel with my married name...that nasty s at the end that makes it so difficult for me to decide what the correct way to show plural possessive form is without being grammatically showy. The options:

1. Dawkins' Home (My preference, the most used, etc...but, yes, incorrect in reference to a home belonging to both David and me.)
2. Dawkins's Home (Yikes. I used this option a few days ago and felt completely insecure about it...rightly so. Also incorrect)
3. Dawkinses' Home (According to my most recent sources, this is the correct option. Now that I know, how can I do less?)
4. Dawkinses's Home (I feared that this was my only option...and it is just too long. It was enough to throw me into grammatical rebellion)

Those whose opinions I've drawn on for this post already know something about me - I am a lazy grammarian. This is a blog not a book and while I understand all those arguments about the preservation of the English language, most of the time, I'm just not willing to take the time. I take comfort in the knowledge that though Jane Austen was an atrocious speller, she was a fine writer. Perhaps on an infinitely smaller scale, you can excuse my lazy and at times ignorant grammar choices in exchange for the pleasure of reading my rambling thoughts? What a great comparison, right?

With that said, why all the fuss about the correct way to write my name? Part of is that I'm just plain quirky about a few grammar rules and try my best to stick to them. Another part is that deep in my heart, I know the grammarians are right. It is important. All the fuss exposes what I never want to admit when Beth is writing her letters to inform companies or Lee is posting about rules or my husband corrects himself mid-sentence while I roll my eyes. Confession for the week. I admire the grammarians. Thanks for the help.



For those who are interested:
"Grammar Girl" Explanation (posted on Lee's blog)

The holidays are upon us, so it's time to answer questions about how to write greeting cards and party invitations. Here's Elaina:

Hi. I have a question about the plural form of last names. For example, if the last name is Alvarez, how do you say “the Alvarezes”? Do you use an apostrophe? Do you not use the s?

Making Words That End in S or Z Plural

To make names that end in z plural, you add -es to the end of the name. So you would say you are going to visit the Alvarezes — a-l-v-a-r-e-z-E-S. The same rule applies when names end in s, so the Joneses invite you to dinner — j-o-n-e-s-E-S. You don't use an apostrophe to make the names plural.

You use an apostrophe to make the names possessive. For example, let's say you went to visit the Alvarezes and then you wanted to write a letter telling your mom about their wonderful house. To make Alvarezes possessive, you add an apostrophe to the end, so you would write “Mom, you should have seen the Alvarezes' house!” That's a-l-v-a-r-e-z-e-s-apostrophe — Alvarezes' [apostrophe] house.

So now you've got that: If a name ends in s or z, add -es to make it plural and an apostrophe to make it possessive.

Craving


Last night David and I decided to put a little twist on our running. We headed to downtown Louisville and started with a peek into the Galt House. Then we hit the streets, taking in the nightlife of the city, as we worked off those cookie bars we've been eating. For all you in-town runners, I highly recommend taking the time to drive into the city center for a run on occasion. We went about 8pm so the traffic lights didn't slow us down too much and we didn't have to dodge cars...only horse carriages. I have a growing appreciation for the details of downtown Louisville. Has anyone ever noticed the bike racks/art projects? There is one bike rack that's a mosaic dragon. How cool is that? I'll have to take my camera next time.

On our way home, I was seriously craving a dessert I made last week. So we stopped at Walgreens to pick up the ingredient needed to make another batch: Cherry Jell-o. The only problem? It was 9:30pm and the dessert has to set for 2 hours. I licked the bowl...and this morning before my 8am departure I confess, I took a few bites. I know you'll want to try this super easy, low fat, summer dessert so let me just go ahead and post it:

Cosmopolitan Jell-O Cups

1 (3oz) package Jello (Choose your own flavor...I used Cherry)
1 c Sherbet (Choose your own flavor...I used Raspberry)
1 c boiling water

1.Add 1 c boiling water to gelatin mix. Stir 2 min until dissolved.
2.Stir in sherbet until melted. Pour into 4 martini or wine classes.
3.Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. Top with a bit of whipped topping. (in the magazine they decorated it with a lime twist...i think you can only call it cosmopolitan if you do that and use a martini glass) 4.Enjoy. Enjoy. Enjoy.


I will confess that David thinks I'm a little biased on this dessert...I REALLY like sherbet and Jell-o in the summertime...so take my ravings with a grain of salt:)

At Your Request...

You were too curious about how much butter...I knew the recipe would be requested:)



CHOCOLATE CANDY-OAT BARs
by Southern Living

2 c uncooked quick-cooking oats
1.5 c all purpose flour
1 c packed brown sugar
1 c chopped pecans (optional)
1 teasp baking soda
1/4 teas salt
1 c butter or margarine, melted
1.5 c M&Ms (I use choc chips in the middle bc they're cheaper:)
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

Combine first 6 ingredients, stir well.

Add melted butter, stir until crumbly. Reserve 1.5 cups mixture for top; press remaining into lightly greased 15x10 in pan.

Bake at 375 for 10 min. Cool on wire rack. Reduce oven to 350.

Place 1 cup chocolate pieces or chips in microwave for 1-1.5 min, stirring after 30 seconds. Press with back of spoon to crush. Stir in condensed milk. Spread evenly over crust in pan.

Combine reserved 1.5 cups crumbs and .5 cup unmelted M & Ms. Sprinkle over chocolate mixture.

Bake at 350 for 18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely. Cut into bars. Yield: 4 dozen (or in our household...enough for 2 people)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Let all the earth....


God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.

Martin Luther


It is very beautifully written in Louisville this week:)

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Weekend At Home...



It was wonDerful to be at home this weekend. I spent a lot of time running errands, hanging out at the Crescent Hill library, reading, thinking about how I should go for a run, etc. David spent a lot of time with his eyes on the computer. He's in a J-term class this week...and will probably spend most of the nights as he did the weekend! After a few weeks of being here and there, the simplicity of a weekend at home was good.

Friday night we grilled out on the porch, and David had a little battle with his grill afterward. In the end, he won. The burgers were delicious and I added my newfound topping...guacamole.



Yesterday I made some of our favorite 'bars' from the Southern Living Cookie Cookbook: A delicious oat and sugar base filled with melted M & Ms mixed with sweetened condensed milk and more sticks of butter than I care to confess....



Delicious.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Mozzarella and Tomatoes

There is a little redemption to the Dawkins garden this year - my husband's section is flourishing. After last year's success with cherry tomatoes and a summer full of that delicious mozzerella and tomato salad, he tried his hand again. We are hopeful.



I must not fail to mention that the leftover petunias (from the Easter hospital goodies) that I planted haphazardly beside his tomatoes - are gorgeous. By the time I got around to planting them, they were half gone, but without any effort on my part seem to have revived themselves. They are in our front yard and are a delight to my eyes and a wonder to my brown thumb. If only petunias tasted good!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I Warned You

The raspberry bushes that my sister gave me are not flourishing. I knew this might happen, but hoped for once to find my thumb a bit greener. I even put mulch around them so that they would survive a lawn mowing.

This morning I got my camera out to take a picture, but it's raining outside. It probably best because that would have depressed you anyways. Maybe there's still some hope of revival? We do have Miracle Grow.

When I wrote that first post about them Lindsey left a comment "Water them like you are watering our sisterhood." I've never done well under pressure. Failure hurts. Perhaps I should be forbidden from eating raspberries this summer as punishment?

Lindsey is in Thailand this week on a crazy adventure vacation. I'm hoping she won't notice this post.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Bookcase

Generally, I read one or two books at a time. For some reason, with summer in sight and a little more leisure for reading seemingly around the bend, I just can't stop starting books these days.

Right now I am over halfway through the weighty Anna Karenina by Russian novelist, Leo Tolstoy. My faithful favorite, Elisabeth Elliot has once more drawn me into Keep a Quiet Heart - a book I could re-read each year and profit from every time. This weekend I wanted something light hearted and so cracked into Emma by Jane Austen. It's been keeping me up past my bedtime all week.

On a whim last weekend I picked up The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis. Somehow, I survived ECS without being required to read it. It is a great book and a quicker read than I expected. A great deal of truth is wrapped up in those "letters from Screwtape, an elderly devil, advising his nephew Wormwood, an apprentice devil, how to corrupt his earthly patient." I would certainly recommend it to those who also have had it on their bookcase for years without picking it up....let me give you a taste.



"To be sure, the Enemy wants men to think of the Future too - just to much as is necessary for now planning the acts of justice or charity which will probably be their duty tomorrow. The duty of planning the morrow's work is today's duty; though its material is borrowed from the future, the duty, like all duties, is in the Present. This is not straw splitting. He does not want men to give the Future their hearts, to place their treasure in it. We do....We want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow's end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heap the altar of the future every real gift which is offered them in the Present."

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pink Boas



My junior year of college a few girls that I had been friends with since freshman year and I started an annual tradition in hopes that as the years passed and our lives moved forward we would all stay in touch. Our first "Girls' Weekend" was to The Grand Hotel on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. With a few exceptions, we've kept it up pretty faithfully through the years. It always includes an explosion of pink, phenomenal food, and a few games of a Lebanese card game - Bastra - we had to forgo that this weekend due to all the flurry:(, innumerable hours talking, and never too many hours sleeping.



In lieu of our usual trip to a B & B in a cute little town, we all headed to Neecie's house outside of Jackson, MS for a bridal shower for Stacey. We are fast approaching our 10th year of Girls' Weekend....and even in our old age still managed to stay up til the wee hours chatting and laughing. It was very good to be with old friends.



Stacey will be the most beautiful of brides...her taste is impeccable and perfectly girly which makes a wedding all the more lovely. The boa won't accompany her wedding dress..but she was a great sport this weekend and SO much fun to celebrate.