Thursday, July 31, 2008

Real Life

I recently told a real-life friend about my blog.

Let me clarify, she knew I had the blog. I only now gave her the address.

This makes two friends in real-life who know about the blog. Telling the first one was hard enough - this one was even harder because she sees me regularly!

I still don't write anything assuming that I'm anonymous - I stumbled across a blog some time ago and figured out that I knew of the blogger - not her specifically, but we have some mutual acquaintances and I could have gotten her name in about 1 email. Since she blogged believing that she was completely anonymous and would probably have been horrified to know that wasn't exactly the case, I try to keep that in mind - maybe some lurker has already identified me and I need to never post anything that would be devastating if I was identified.

So why did I tell my friends about the blog if I'm sort-of trying to be anonymous? Well, because I wanted some accountability for what I write and both friends are Christians who will tell me if they see some problems or issues with my blogging.

And you know what? It feels good knowing that they're reading, even if it's infrequent. I'm so bad at emailing or calling so I like to think my friend who no longer lives around here is somewhat up-to-date on what's going on in my life this way. Since she sure won't stay that way if she's counting on me to write or call her to let her know.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fun with Google

I've seen other bloggers post about searches that led to their blogs, but I've only recently discovered how to see that on my own blog. I never really looked before because I never really expected people to find my blog through Google. How wrong I was.

One search was for: "dealing with paper piles".

I am so sorry that you clicked through to my site. I don't suppose my post lamenting my paper issues was much help, unless you were merely looking for solace that you're not alone in having piles of papers. In which case, my post should have at the very least made you feel somewhat better about your own paper piles.

Another searcher was looking for "thought provoking questions about self for relationships"

Again, I'm not really that sure that my post was really on target. I've got the thought-provoking questions all right, but they don't really touch on relationships.

That post also tricked someone who was looking for "good thought provoking questions for a girl". That probably wasn't what you were hoping for, now was it?

At least that post should have fit the bill for the individual searching for "thought provoking questions spirituality", as well as the one looking for "christian thought provoking questions". I think that's pretty much on target.

Another search was for the "joy of discipline" which led to my new scheme. Wonder if it was what they were wanting? Since they immediately left the site after arriving, I'm guessing no.

Someone (a parent, I'm guessing) searched for "teaching memory verse on thankfulness", which led to this. It's a verse at least. And it talks about teaching. Two out of three?

And finally, another memory verse searcher looked for "memory verse joy" and found me. I guess it's too bad the search didn't lead to this page, which might have been more appreciated, although I still don't have any verses listed specifically on joy. Just the reference to one in my blog title.

I'm kind of disappointed that I don't have any of the crazy searches that I've read on other blogs. Maybe someday.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thankful Tuesday

  • She'll laugh if/when she reads this, but I'm really thankful that my best friend from work isn't going anywhere anytime soon.  I was nervous the last few weeks that she was about to pack her bags and head south.  I know that she still might eventually, but at least it's not only days away.  

  • She'll laugh at this one too, but only because she understands and agrees with me.  I am so glad that football is almost back.  I am a football junkie and start going into withdrawals by this time of year.  But training camps have begun so we're getting close!  I love baseball too, but it still doesn't take the place of NFL Sundays.  September 4 starts the season, but the first Sunday of games is the 7th.
And for any other NFL freaks out there, here's a countdown widget for every team. How cool is that??

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

I need help this week. I'm in a summer-time rut and am struggling with what to fix.

Monday - black bean quesadillas I think. I've got everything to make them, and they're so tasty.

Tuesday - maybe steaks on the grill? I don't have any potatoes though so I'd have to figure out another side.  And it can't be pasta because we had mac & cheese Sunday, and will have the leftovers from it for lunches.  And L doesn't really like rice, so I'd have to think about this.  I have plenty of veggies, so that would be taken care of, it's the starchy side that we'd need since L wouldn't think it much of a meal without one. :)  Although I might have some burgers in the freezer that we could grill instead of steaks.  

Wednesday - pita pizzas.   I can't seem to get enough of them lately.  Maybe because they take 5 minutes to fix and 15 to cook. 

Thursday - spaghetti if we're not sick of pasta after having all that mac & cheese.  

Friday -  Yeah, no idea.  Hopefully inspiration will strike between now & then.  

I'm ready for fall. I do a lot better with menu-planning and meals in general when it's not so hot out.

For more menus, go to Organizing Junkie. I will be there, hoping to get some inspiration.

Memory Verse

Hebrews 2:9, New International Version

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Jury Duty, Part Two

Last week I mentioned that I recently had jury duty, but left off describing what happened at it.

I left the house with lots of time to spare, because I needed to fill up my car and I wasn't 100% certain where I'd park. Since I'd planned ahead to give myself plenty of time, I had plenty of time and ended up sitting in the parking lot for a bit then strolling in to the courthouse. The hardest part was the dash across a surprisingly busy street. I probably should have walked all the way down to the corner and used the crosswalk, but instead I just followed the example of all the courthouse employees who were jaywalking.

After arriving and going through security (metal detector and x-ray machine for bags), I found the jury assembly room and got checked in with the bailiff. She pointed me in the direction of the room itself, and then mentioned the coffee and donuts available. And that's when I started kicking myself for forgetting my bottle of water.

There were already about a dozen people scattered around the large room, but I found a comfy chair and settled in to wait for the bailiff to start the video she promised we'd be watching "soon."

20 minutes after we were supposed to have arrived, she came into the room, introduced herself again, and told us (again) what the procedure would be - we'd watch the video, have a bathroom break, walk down to the courtroom, and start the selection process. Hopefully we'd be in the courtroom at 9, and selection should be done by 11:30 at the latest. And then came the emphasis: if you need to get up for any reason once you're in the courtroom, RAISE YOUR HAND and you'll be excused.

I really hoped I wouldn't have to pee during the selection, because I didn't want to have to raise my hand and go through that.

The video was cheesy, but at least it was up-to-date cheesy. They had lots of clips of other people talking about how they felt when they received their summons, and how the selection process was for them, and what it was like to serve. The clips were interspersed with the host discussing what would happen and what our duties would be for each portion. It just made me wish all the more that I would not be selected. I was really hoping I'd be released in time for lunch and then I'd be free the rest of the day! The video also emphasized a recent state law change that included a provision for jurors - work can't require people summoned or serving to take a vacation day or other leave, so my day in court at least doesn't reduce my vacation day balance! Sweet!

After the video ended, there was a dash for the bathrooms, and since there ended up being about 12 women and 6 men, there was quite a line. After I visited the facilities I snagged a donut and scarfed it down.

Once everyone reappeared, the bailiff started calling people by name - apparently they already had a seating chart in the courtroom and we were being lined up in order. I was prospective juror #12. She also told us that the court case in question was related to meth - beyond that I couldn't hear what exactly she'd said.

In our row, we marched downstairs and to the courtroom door, where the bailiff checked that we were in order again (in case we'd somehow slipped out of order during that long march). Then she led us into the courtroom...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Before and After Update #5


Not that much to report this week, really, since last week was the big one.

But the curtain is hung - big thanks to L for doing that for me!

I've got my bookcase mostly reloaded - I'm still debating what to do with the bottom shelf - it may get my photo albums again, but it may not.

The big things left to do is rehang my diploma, and possibly my clock, although I'm really thinking about getting a different clock. The one I have had up is an award from my undergraduate graduation, and I'm not sure that I really want to continue seeing it.

Oh, and I really need to get a printer back and working someday. L's brother (another brother from the ones who visited earlier this year) is coming out to visit next month and I'm sure he'll want to print his return boarding pass, so that's a bit of a deadline.

No pictures to share this week, but it's not that much different.

Previous before-and-afters:
Update 1
Update 2
Update 3
Update 4

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Trying Something New

So my "Books I'm Reading" widget wasn't working out so well for me - I usually finish a book pretty quickly after starting it that it was rare I'd get around to listing it before I was done with it. I don't know why it took me so long to figure out that I could have the widget list books that I'd recently finished instead of books I am currently reading.

Just look to the column on the right and there's a list of all the books I've finished for the month. My attempts at a weekly post summarizing books I finished for the week didn't last long, but just author and title I can handle. If you're curious about any of them, just let me know and I'll write something up about it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Thankful Tuesday

Just one today, but it's a biggie: I'm doing really well with having no conception success this month. Of course, I'm disappointed, but I'm not the weepy mess I was last month. I'm grateful for that because crying like I did last month is exhausting, emotionally and physically.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - Steaks on the grill.

Tuesday - Black beans & rice. I found a new recipe and it's got to be good - it's got a huge amount of cilantro in it. :) (The recipe is on the last page of the long pdf.)

Wednesday - Big salads with leftover steak from Monday.

Thursday - Out!

Friday - Macaroni and cheese.

See more menus at Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Memory Verse

Proverbs 1:23, New International Version

If you had responded to my rebuke,
I would have poured out my heart to you
and made my thoughts known to you.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Jury Duty

So I had jury duty today. I can't remember if I've mentioned that I was summoned to it or not, and I'm too lazy to look through my old posts.

I received the notice a month ago, but have been holding out hope that when I would call the night before the message would say that I didn't need to appear. No such luck. What makes it more complicated is that until today I had no idea how long it would last too - I spent yesterday wrapping things up at work as if I'd be out a week, while at the same time I might have been right back in the next morning.

I can't really complain however; the courthouse is only about 6 miles from my house, so it's closer than work is; they provide a parking voucher, and work doesn't make me use up vacation days while I serve, so I realize just how much worse it could be.

Still though, it made for a more stressful morning; I had to figure out where to park, and where to enter the building, and where to go in the building, etc, etc. Anything outside of my routine makes for a more stressful morning for me so there was that. Now I've got it down, so I'm all set for the future. County courts at least. ;)

What's funny to me is that I *know* my name was pulled from voter rolls (I suppose it's possible that it came from the drivers license registration, but I'm convinced it came from voter registration), and I only registered for the first time ever last year. So I've been summoned for jury duty before I've even cast my first vote.

Yes, I just admitted that I have never voted before. Not even in the contentious primary season this year, because in all honestly, it wasn't exactly competitive here. Neither were any of the local races, so I just didn't bother. I promise I will in the fall though!

So how was the jury duty itself? Well you'll just have to wait for another post.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Before and After Update #4


The room, it is painted. No joke.

We were out of town for the weekend, Thursday - Saturday, but that left Sunday and I used it to cut-in and roll the 3 walls that were prepped.

Here's one wall completely painted:

And another view of that wall:

Then I shifted furniture, emptied my desk, shifted the desk (with help), and removed the border from the final wall. I even got it spackled and taped off that night and only had to stay up to midnight to finish it.

The final wall 4 with no border. Removing the border from around the TV mount was a pain.

The desk, shifted, along with the incredibly dusty TV:

Monday I had taken the day off from work, in order to finish painting (I didn't want the roller to dry out so that's why I needed to roll the whole room within two days). First coat was on before 9, and the second coat was applied right after lunch. Cutting in happened both before the first coat (all but the top) and after the second coat (the top, once L was up and moving). Yes, he was kind to me and did all cutting in along the ceiling.

The rest of Monday was spent dusting furniture and putting it back in place, vacuuming very very thoroughly (bits of wallpaper border were lodging in the carpet. That and I hadn't vacuumed in an embarrassing amount of time). 

Finally, the real priority: computers back & reconnected to the internet! In all honesty, I need to admit that my desk will never again be this clean.

All that's left is to hang the curtain. I've got the rod and the curtain, just need to either figure out how to install the rod or convince L to do it for me. He loathes doing things like that though so I may just try and do it myself.

At this point, I'd like to post a final glimpse of what the paint used to look like on my wall:

And finally, some recognition.  This paint job was powered by m&m's.

Previous before-and-afters:
Update 1
Update 2
Update 3

*And yes, I realize that the button is now out-of-date after BooMoma moved back the date for completion. But this is still the only button there is, so it's getting used.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

We Love Baseball

After our brief baseball trip last week it got us talking about other games we've been to and ballparks we've visited, as we continue our quest to get to as many of them as possible.

Visited together:
  • Progressive Field (Indians)
  • PNC Park (Pirates)
  • Wrigley Field (Cubs)
  • Cellular Field (White Sox)
  • Great American Ball Park (Reds)
  • Chase Field (Diamondbacks)
  • Busch Stadium (Cardinals)
  • Miller Park (Brewers)
  • Camden Yards (Orioles)
  • Angel Stadium (Angels)

L has visited:
  • Dodger Stadium (Dodgers)
  • Tiger Stadium (Tigers)
  • Kingdome (Mariners)
  • Riverfront Stadium (Reds)

I've visited:
  • Ballpark in Arlington (Rangers)
  • Turner Field (Braves)
  • Coors Field (Rockies)
  • Tropicana Field (Rays)
And, I came really really close to going to the Kingdome (Mariners). A car accident outside the stadium kept me from making it inside for the game, but I was right there. By the time the police came and gave the o.k. to leave, the game was all but over. Now I wish I'd gone ahead & bought a ticket & gone inside, even if it would only have been for a half inning.

I've also driven by the Phillies stadium (when it was Veterans) a couple of times but have never timed visits for when the Phillies are actually in town. Poor planning on my part. ;)

I'm not even going to try and list the Spring Training sites we've been to; it's a LOT. Maybe I'll try and compile it for a later post.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thankful Tuesday

  • We're home safely from our road trip.

  • I've almost finished my before-and-after.

  • Our new(ish) vacuum is *awesome*. I've always purchased cheap ones and then they don't work well. This one was pricy but it works so well. Thank you Consumer Reports for giving such a winner of a suggestion!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - Pita Pizzas

Tuesday - Spaghetti

Wednesday - Burgers on the grill (assuming the weather cooperates)

Thursday - Out!

Friday - Chicken of some sort, once I get inspired to figure out which sort.

This may be my most uninteresting menu plan ever.

See more menus at Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Memory Verse

Luke 16:10, New International Version

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Before and After Update #3


Huge progress made this week!

I thought we were going out of town Thursday afternoon, so I took a half day off of work. Instead we left Friday morning and, as much as I wanted to spend my half day lounging on the couch reading a book, instead I went to work on the wallpaper border.

Here's what I used:

Wall number one:

Wall number two:

Wall number three:

This is going to be no fun at all, I can tell:

Wall number four:

Ok, wall number four isn't done. I'm going to finish the other stuff and then move that furniture back so I can shift the desk into the middle of the room. It's not the most convenient way to do it, but it's simpler than trying to move everything out of the room.

Then Monday evening I spackled the three walls.

And on Tuesday evening I taped and painted. At least I did the cut-in painting, no rolling yet.

L wants to paint the baseboards because they're in really bad shape. I'll let him if he wants to but I'm not waiting on that to finish the walls.

I would also like to point out the big hole in the closet door. It's usually hidden behind a calendar. This is also courtesy of the previous owners. When we looked at the house they also had it hidden behind a calendar, so that was a surprise for us when we moved in. We do have a door from our remodel that we may be able to swap out with this damaged one, so that's a project for L someday.

I think I may make the deadline! Although there won't be much to report next time most likely since we'll be gone for 4 or 5 days in between there. I *hope* to get the walls fully painted and the bookcase moved back against the wall. Maybe I'll even get the desk area cleared and ready to move away from the wall.

To see the evolution of the project, read the first post, then update 1 and update 2.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Why I Blog

I've recently read some posts on why people blog and it's helping me to think through my thoughts and reasons for blogging, which were very fuzzy when I began this blog last year (after stopping and starting another one a couple of times).

I thought this was a great post and agreed with Zach quite a bit on some of the reasons why he blogs.

Practice writing. Writing is a skill just like anything else. The more you do the better you get. The ability to formulate ideas and thoughts in a concise and understandable way is a foundational facet of our civilization that I seek to improve in.

I can't say that I ever really think of writing being a foundational facet of our civilization, but I absolutely agree that I'm using it to improve my writing. I was completely out of the habit of writing and having the discipline to write at least *something* most days surely is helping me to improve. I hope anyway.

A place to document my thoughts. Oftentimes I don't know how I feel about an issue until I actually articulate it in a way that someone else could read and understand

I sort-of try to do this sometimes, although I find I'm still somewhat hesitant about putting some things out there. I think I should be doing this more, and need to stop being so chicken about stating an opinion on things.

A place to document other people's thoughts that I can easily access to in the future.

I haven't so far, but am thinking about doing this more as I can see it being really convenient. (And hence, this post build around Zach's post).

A context for community.

This is a big "maybe" for me - some of my efforts at "meeting" people via blog comments hasn't worked so well, but there's at least one blogger I met through comments who I do consider a blog friend (Hi Di!) I'd like to do better with this, and I know a lot of it (if not all of it) is on me - even knowing how much I enjoy getting comments, I'm still slow to comment oftentimes on other blogs.

Often I feel like any comments I have are silly or superficial or don't really add to a discussion, and it makes me hold back. And yes, I do know how ridiculous that sounds, especially when I just said how it makes my day when I get a comment, (any comment). Why do I imagine that other people will be criticizing my comments so much?


Yup, it is definitely fun for me; I would have given up long ago if it weren't, but this is definitely not one of the biggest reasons. Reading a book is more fun for me, but doesn't give the other benefits that blogging does.

I would add to his list a bit:

Motivation. BooMama's Before and After is a perfect example - I've had a house project that I've had on my list to do for years (yes, years). Signing up for her event has definitely been a kick-in-the-pants for me to get moving on it. It's a self-imposed deadline, yes, but with the possibility for some embarrassment attached to it if I don't have something to report. It worked for decorating my house for Christmas too.

Memory. Not just documenting my thoughts as Zach mentioned, but more of a basic "we did this and then that and took a vacation where we did this." I have a terrible memory for events. No joke, it's really really bad. If I read it in a book, I'll remember it, but if I did it or talked about it or visited it, not so much. Both the time spent writing it (and reading the words as they appear on the screen) and then having it to read again later help.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Thankful Tuesday

  • This week, I'm especially thankful for antibiotics and that I live when and where medical treatment is available. Turns out that I had (have?) a kidney infection and fortunately caught it early enough that the antibiotics should take care of it easily and it won't lead to some potentially nasty complications.

  • And I'm thankful that there are painkillers that work.

  • And I'm thankful that I have insurance and the budget is flexible enough that I could go ahead and go to the urgent care center last Friday when nothing else was open and get treatment.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Monday - Skillet meatloaf with mashed potatoes and peas. This is a Desperation Dinners recipe and the only way I like meatloaf.

Tuesday - Chicken with mushrooms. Side dishes TBD.

Wednesday - Spaghetti.

Thursday - Nachos at Progressive Field (a.k.a. Jacobs Field). I assume they serve nachos anyway. I'll be disappointed if they don't. L will probably have a dog or brat and steal some of my nachos.

Friday - Nachos at PNC Park. Again, I'm just hoping they have nachos. I love stadium nachos with that mutant orange cheese sauce. L will again probably go for a dog or brat and snitch nachos from my plate.

Is it completely obvious that I'm trying to clean out the fridge before we leave town?

See more menus at Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Memory Verse

2 Corinthians 5:17, New International Version

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

We're off to hang out with extended family and eat burgers and hot dogs and watch some fireworks. It'll be great.

Photo by the National Park Service. I bet Mount Rushmore is a great place to watch fireworks.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Before and After Update #2


I'm already starting to wonder how I'm going to get this project finished by the 25th when I start to think about how many days I won't be home between now and then.

There is some progress however - the enormous mess in front of the bookcase is gone, the bookcase is (mostly) emptied and pulled away from the wall. I'm hoping that L will soon find the wallpaper remover tool which he says is probably buried in the garage from when his brothers were here. I probably should have asked him to find it before I was actually ready to use it so I wouldn't be waiting like I am now.

We're gone for part of this next weekend, visiting family for the 4th. Then we'll be gone for 4 or 5 days of the next weekend as we do a little traveling. So the weekend of the 19th needs to be productive for me, or else I'll be trying to finagle a day off from work to get it done in time.

Visual evidence:

And see, it really is away from the wall:

Previous before-and-afters:
Update 1

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Self-Discipline Improvement Scheme

In my never-ending quest to increase my self-discipline, I've been concentrating on my daily routine. Because I'm a bit (ok, more than just a bit) of an Excel geek, I made a daily worksheet with areas for my top priorities, schedule, dinner plans, etc. So far I've done a good job of filling it out each night with my plans and schedule for the next day, and also of looking at it during the day and seeing what I can accomplish towards my goals.

What I've found really helpful with it is the conscious planning the night before to make sure that I have a task each day that goes toward one of my top goals; it keeps me from filling the list with trivial things that may be important in some ways (clean dishes are nice), but aren't so important in the long-term. So prayer is always first on my list, followed by reading my Bible.

The other part of the form I've found really helpful is the space I left for the scripture I'm trying to memorize. It's right at the top, and between rewriting it each night, and reading over it carefully every time it catches my eye when I look at the list, it's been an easy way to make some scripture memory progress. Because I am still working on that, even if I have stopped posting my week's scripture. I need to start doing that again.

I'm mentioning this whole scheme in the hope that it will help keep me from letting it drop to the wayside in a few weeks when the novelty is gone.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


  • I found my battery charger for my phone. I thought I'd left it in DC on our trip because I couldn't find it anywhere, and I looked and looked. Finally I gave up and ordered a new, non-Canon charger since I needed some way to recharge the battery, and the Canon charger is really really pricy. But then I hated the other charger because it is really really obnoxious to get the battery out of it. Very non-user friendly. So a couple of weeks ago, I found the charger where it had fallen down into the couch cushions. I have no idea how it got there. If I had a dog I'd blame it. No real matter, I am just so incredibly happy I have the nice, easy-to-use charger, and I still have a backup for vacation if it's every really needed.

  • The gas price increases haven't hit us as much as they would have last year since L's office moved locations. It used to be a round-trip of 15 miles or so for his commute, and now it's maybe 5 max. Since his truck is less fuel efficient than my car, it really helps that he's driving so much less.

  • Speaking of gas, I am so so thankful that so far we've had enough cushion in our budget so that the increases haven't hurt us too much, it just involves some rearranging and less going to savings. Knowing that there are people struggling to buy groceries and other essentials, I realize just how blessed and lucky we are.