Sunday, March 30, 2008

Welcome to the Blogosphere!

Welcome to the Blogosphere VRCC Kitchen Class-ers! :-) For my regular readers who aren't in this class, bear with me. I just wanted to take a moment to re-explain what I want ya'll to do this week with the blogs and such. It's not hard! It promises to be quite entertaining in fact!

First off, blogs are posted online. They're meant to be read. They're meant to communicate thoughts & ideas. They're here and they're numerous, and they're a great way to connect with people.

The first part of your "assignment" is connections. I want ya'll to connect with one of our VRCC (or post-VRCC) bloggers. That means using one of the links on the right side of my blog to navigate to other blogs. Please don't read just the most recent entry! I use my blog as a pensieve (Harry Potter reference alert) to siphon off random thoughts, so sometimes my entries are deep; sometimes they're totally superficial and about my day. Most bloggers are like that. Read the first page of entries, or at least scan them. Find an entry that you enjoy, that speaks to you, that makes you laugh, and click on the comment button on the bottom of the entry and comment. You might need to sign in. Be bold. Get a sign in. It's free! :-) Come back ready to tell us which blogger you enjoyed and what you commented on. Just to help (so you know the best links to click on):

30...Really??? is Kelly S.
A Bored TX Mommy Shares Her HSO's is LaRae.
Perpetual Timothy is a preacher I went to HU with.
The A-Team is Jody and Janell.
The Book of Phylemon is Paul... The Mort Game is his too.
The PEAK Brothers is a blog that Paul, Alan, Eric, and Kent share (but don't update... lol).
The Swan Speaks is Eric.
The Swayne Diaries is Larissa.
Wade's Ranting is Wade S.
What Does That Mean is Mario.

I'm going to go ahead and ask forgiveness for any of you who I'm linked to who are shocked that you're part of the class, but know it's to build connections and not to embarrass you or anything weird.

The second part is secrets. The connection is a small part of what I want us to discuss in class. The main focus of what we'll be discussing will come from the link on the right to PostSecret. PostSecret was started by a man named Frank Warren. He left postcards around the country asking people to send him their secrets on postcards. He requested that they be creative and said they could be fun, serious, scary, anything. He posts a new batch of secrets every week on Sunday. In fact, he has best selling books of these secrets that you can find at most any bookstore, and people tend to leave their secrets tucked in the pages of these books! I'd like you to look at this week's secrets. As of this moment, I haven't even read the secrets this week, so I have no idea what is in store for you! As a quick disclaimer, some of these secrets can be a little PG 13 or higher, and I have no control on whether or not some are a little more risque than others, so bear with me here!

1. Pick your favorite secret from the site to discuss next week. It could be one that really speaks to you, makes you think, reminds you of someone, etc.

2. Think of what role secrets play in our lives. Have you had a secret that has gotten in the way of your relationship, your connection, with someone else? with God? Is there room for secrets in our relationship with God? What is a secret you have or had in the past that you can share? I'm not asking for anything deep and dark, but if you want to share one, you're welcome to do so. Just come ready to talk about secrets.

I know it's asking a lot for ya'll to do "homework!" Just think of it as directed web surfing. :-) Can't wait to hear what ya'll have to say!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"It's ok, we're both a little skittish!"

As a matter of fact: IT'S NOT OK! ARGH! Whew... ok... let me take a step back now that I've screamed and tell you, my lovely readers, what has happened.

Precursor: Most of you know I don't take Sprinkles to the dog park anymore because when he was a puppy he was attacked by a large dog there who thought he was a chew toy. No blood was drawn, but we were both really shaken. Even with the numerous dog classes we took with large dogs, we're both a bit skittish when large dogs approach us on walks. There's really no point to take him to the dog park because he sits in my lap, sits by me on the bench, sits at my feet, and/or growls at other dogs who approach him. Sweetest dog ever with anyone who comes in his presence, but with other dogs, he's not a huge fan. He will get along with Julie's dog, Fletch... so I guess all hope isn't gone; it just takes some time one on one.

Present Situation: Some of my neighbors (2 or 3) have really large dogs. I'm sure they're the sweetest dogs ever, but that doesn't change the fact that there is something in place called a LEASH LAW! I don't know if people out there know this, but you can be fined for not having your dog on a leash.

1. The neighbors near my garage have two huge boxers that they let out the door to go potty. One ran into my garage when I had Sprinkles with me. I screamed, and they came running, but the woman's excuse was, "oh I didn't know there was another dog out here!" Really? Does that make it ok???

2. My ex-neighbor's boyfriend had a huge dog he would just let out to go to the bathroom. It came running around the corner into the breezeway one afternoon as Sprinkles and I were heading out. I screamed and was practically climbing the wall to get away from it because I had just locked my door. My neighbor and her bf's response? They laughed.

3. Tonight my upstairs neighbors are having a party outside of their first floor garage. Not too loud yet; however, large brown lab is out there without a leash. It approached Sprinkles and I when we went out earlier. They KNOW neighbors are coming and going with other dogs. I leave tonight to take Sprinkles out... as we come back towards the apartment to go in the breezeway the lab jumps up out of the ivy at us. With it being dark, he was camouflaged. Of course I screamed (we're not talking bloody murder scream; just startled), and they said sorry that he surprised us. I responded, "it's ok, we're both a little skittish!"
a. Wow wasn't that a great response? (sarcasm detected)
b. Didn't that rack up some cool points with them??
c. Why can't I ever come up with what I really want to say at the right time!?

The point of all of this is that I'm sick of these obnoxious people who don't follow the leash law. It's dangerous for the dog (people drive like maniacs around here!). It's dangerous for neighbors and their pets (you never know when your dog might snap!). It's freakin' against the law to not have your dog on the leash! I don't get it. I don't want to be that witchy neighbor that calls animal control or the front office to continually complain about these people, but it's getting ridiculous that I can't go out the door without being braced and ready to grab Sprinkles and run.

Any ideas out there for a solution for this? I swear I'll come beat you down if you dare comment that "this is just apartment life!" :-P OK, I'm done venting. Thanks for listening. :-)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

My Newest Addiction

I have a new addiction. His name is Gordon Ramsey. I started watching him on Hell's Kitchen a few seasons ago, and I loved him! Have any of you seen that show? It's a great one from FOX that hasn't been cancelled. Also did you know this amazing British chef is on BBC America ALL THE TIME?? I catch him on The F Word and Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares. Love those shows and with a DVR now, why should I miss them? :-) If you aren't catching these shows, I totally recommend them. Not only is he an amazing chef, but he's really knowledgeable about food and restaurants.

Speaking of BBC America, there's a lot of great shows on there! If I'm not careful I'm going to take on a British accent. I randomly found the Graham Norton Show and the Graham Norton Effect. Graham Norton is this flamboyant British man who is absolutely hilarious. The celebrities he brings on his shows are typically people I really enjoy like Paul Rudd and Alan Cumming.

Having a DVR has changed my life... some might argue in a bad way. I no longer watch commercials. I can watch all my favorite shows whenever I want. I can record movies and save them for later. No more losing shows when the power goes out because the VCR reset, and no more having to choose what to record because the VCR is so limited! Why I didn't do this sooner I have no idea! It's making my Spring Break quite entertaining. :-)

Speaking of Spring Break -- I'm going to Shreveport for a mini-vacation on Wednesday afternoon and coming back on Thursday afternoon. Other than that I don't really have firm plans. I'm sure I'll spend time with my niece and nephew during daylight hours when they're awake and not worn out from the day. Mostly I'm going to take a much needed break from all things school. I don't want to even think about school and the kids this week. I need some time to breathe again. The Math TAKS is May 1st this year, and then I can really breathe... we're really in that "push" time right now that's a little stressful, but honestly my year hasn't been nearly as stressful as the past two years, and so I'm not complaining. :-) I've been blessed this year.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Seven Things I Never Expected to be at 25

Twenty-five used to seem really old to me especially in college when my best friend, Steve, was 23 and I was 18! 25 seemed a long way off. I turned 25 on the 22nd, and I've been reflecting about it a lot. Mostly I've been thinking about the difference between what/where I thought I would be and where I actually am. Here's the list I've come up with thus far. I think that some will surprise you. I've tried to keep the top few the ones that have surprised me the most.

Seven Things I Never Expected to be at 25:

1. Living in Texas -- I knew I wouldn't be living in Woodstock, GA, but I didn't know where I'd go until my senior year of college. In all honesty, I'd probably be where ever my sister was, but I'm glad she chose Texas. It was weird to know I could graduate and go anywhere since I was totally unattached. Most of you know that I chose Texas because I wanted to be a good aunt. Also, in college (and high school) LaRae and I grew out of our childhood hatred (that's too strong a word...) of each other and became friends. I knew I wanted to live around her. I think I asked her at one point before I moved if she'd "still be my friend" when I moved. lol. The move to Texas is one of the best choices I've ever made.

2. A Dog Lover -- Cats are one of my favorite animals. Even though I didn't know where I'd end up living, I did know I'd have a cat (or two) once I got my first "real" place. I did not expect to live so close to my sister who has HORRID cat allergies. If I wanted her and her family to visit me, I couldn't have a cat. I went for the next best thing: a small dog who thinks he's a cat, Sprinkles. He's sleeping on my feet right now, and he is the best companion ever. Could not ask for a better one.

3. A Comic Book Nerd -- I have a large collection of comic books (Marvel). I started reading comic books in college to de-stress. Friday night comic reading Hastings visits rocked! I started collecting pretty soon after I moved here, but it was mostly only a couple of X-men titles. Those were honestly like drugs for me. I started small, but then I needed some more to get me through the week, so I started picking up all the X-titles. Then a Civil War broke out in the Marvel Universe, and it lead the way for "harder" comics like Captain America, Ms. Marvel, Spiderman... Now it's a $20 a week addiction I can't and never want to stop. I totally look forward to my weekly Wednesday comic book shop trips with Paul. It's still time to de-stress, but it's nice to not have to be alone to do it. (You know, I think people typically like to get high together...)

4. A Computer/Technology Geek -- I've always loved technology and computers. I've been able to play for a few minutes and figure most anything out. I "heart" this side of me. A lot of people at church don't realize what a huge geek I am in this respect, but a lot of people at school come to me to be their tech support. I get observed when other schools come to see my school mostly because of the technology in my room. My classroom has thousands of dollars of tech that helped it become a "Model Technology Classroom". It's fun! It makes my job exciting. Go ahead, talk geek to me, I'm totally game. :-)

5. An Independent Woman -- Sounds cliche, but I really have become quite independent. Living alone with my pup suits me alright. I bought my car alone, I negotiated my lease alone, I bought my furniture alone, I've handle my life mostly alone. With the addition of OnStar in my life, now I'm even more self-sufficient since it can give me turn by turn directions. My bro in law is still having a hard time getting used to not having to give me directions or help me when I get lost! I actually think I've been getting better at paying attention and figuring out streets lately. That's all beside the point though. Mostly it's about the fact that I'm ok handling life alone -- and when I say alone I really mean with God at my side. Without Him, I wouldn't have made it anywhere "alone."

6. Un-married/Single -- You've been waiting for that one, eh? I always expected to be a good, Christian wife by now (or at least engaged or seriously dating the man I would eventually marry). If I didn't have children, we'd be thinking about them by now. BUT when I left Harding without a husband (which was ok... I worked hard to get my BA), it became evident that I wouldn't be getting married anytime soon either. I've come to terms with it lately. I don't want to talk about marriage. Right now I don't see it happening in my future. I'm not in a physical place (church or work) where I'm around a lot of single people who haven't seen me enough already that they know I'm not the one. There aren't any new people. I'm just growing in other aspects of my life, and if marriage comes, it comes, but I'm not going to be studying to be a "good wife" anytime soon. I'm trying to live well in the life I have. (Oh yeah, for those of you who are curious but not brave enough to ask: the ring just fits better there. I would have been happy to tell you that. :-) ) I remember in college that I had a really close guy friend (I had a few really), and we knew we weren't right for each other, but he told me, "Joanna, you're an awesome girl. The guys here (at Harding) are too immature to see it now, but one day you are going to make some man an amazing wife. You are the whole package." I hold on to those kind words and pray some man will one day give me a chance and see that. We'll see. It's in God's Hands.

7. Having a Kid Friendly Birthday -- 7 is a good number, so I'll stop after this one. :-) I had a self-proclaimed "kid friendly birthday." That's right, no drinking to my health... just calm fun that my neice, nephew, and friends' kids could come to. We went ice skating at the Galleria. I hadn't been ice skating in forever! It was truly perfect. Some of my closest friends were there, and we just all enjoyed each other. I think that's what I like most about my birthdays: the fellowship I get to have with my friends. They know me so well that one couple got me the Celtic Woman CD that The Cap ate a while back "just in case mine doesn't come back from the CD player!" Thanks ya'll!

There are some minor things that surprise me:
- I have bangs (you can see them in the above pictures) for the first time since the Elvis poodle bangs I had in 6th grade when Mom left me at the hair dresser for a quick cut, and the hair dresser and I decided they were a good idea. WRONG! These are a much better idea thanks to my hair straightener.
- I am the owner of a new car. Never really thought I'd end up with a NEW car anytime soon. Always thought I'd go used or stick it out with Frodo.
- I have good decorating sense. My apartment is really pretty -- glad that worked out. :-)
- I have a place at my church even though I'm single. VRCC is awesome in that they allow single CHICKS to have a place to serve beyond just children's ministry (which is where we're usually shoved off to). I see my responsibilities as a way to serve God. I direct VBS, I buy the supplies for the building, I teach classes, I help run the sound booth... all stuff I love. Glad to help. :-)
- My sister will go all "mama bear" on people who say something rude about me or are mean. Not that she's my mom, but I'm the same way with her. We can have our spats with each other, but heaven help you if you talk bad about the one in front of the other or you hurt one of us. We'll take you out! Just kidding on the taking out, but yeah...
- I've already had surgery on both hands/wrists for carpel tunnel syndrome thanks to my love of cake decorating and typing. I've been told I've very young for that to happen.

Things I'm not surpried about:
- I'm a good aunt. I love Katelyn and Joshua. Who could resist them? They love me back which makes me smile to even think about. To see their faces light up when I walk in a room is the most amazing and fulfilling thing ever!
- No one knows me like my sister, LaRae. We've grown closer and closer over the years and generally she can complete my sentences and know what I'm thinking by the tone of my voice or a small nuance of a look on my face. Everyone needs someone like that in their life.
- I'm still a Harry Potter fanatic. I've started re-reading the 7th book as of today. It's a high stress time being TAKS season, so I hide in HP.
- I'm a math nerd. We all saw that coming -- hopefully my major clued us all in. I get and love math jokes, higher math, and the beauty of a fully worked math problem.

I think that's enough for now. This is a huge, photo-filled post, but it's stuff that's been on my mind. Really everything on this list is a blessing in my life in its own special way. Thanks for being my friends; God bless you all.