Wednesday, August 12, 2009

i said yes

robert came home from work early on monday. he said he had some ideas, and i am always interested in his ideas, so i was listening closely. he started with, "well, first we would get married." and i honestly didn't pause because we have been talking about getting married. he paused, then he said, "i am officially asking, will you marry me?" big smile! ring on finger! and of course, i said, "yes!"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

where to begin?

in reality, there is no beginning. we're somewhere in the middle by now. but since it's been a while since i've written, i thought i'd share some randomness of life with ya'll...

you may or may not know that my robert lives just over an hour northwest of me. it's a lovely drive, with some highway, but mostly meandering roads. one of them follows a stream and there's a spot with a big boulder that just calls to me every time i drive by, saying something like, "stop. sit. listen to the sounds. soak up some sun. come and be. the view here is delicious...". i've not made time to stop, but i will purpose to do so in the near future. another of the roads winds past wineries (and even a brewery), through the valley, past lush, green fields, and quaint communities. and yet another road has inviting shops, where, if you were on holiday, you would certainly stop and browse all of the gifts and novelties. this road climbs up, up, up the side of the mountain, peaking where the blue ridge parkway meets the skyline drive. you can see down into the valley below and the view is magnificent! of course, being near the top of the mountain, very often you will find small wisps of clouds nestled in the folds of the hillside, and the sight gives off an ethereal feel and i find myself realizing that i live in a beautiful part of this world.

a couple of weekends ago, robert and i meandered through some of the local roads, and stopped at a couple of wineries and tasted the fare. one of the wineries makes something called "meads" which are honey wines, and berry wines. wikipedia describes meads' origins as "being lost in prehistory", they've been around so long. but they were new to me, and there were some delightful aromas and flavors. stop by hilltop berry farm and winery in nellysford, va if you get the chance, and sample some for yourself!

my nieces have been to visit recently. this is always a crazy-fun time with the house being full, and often lots of commotion. they are a delight to be around, and they have taken to robert, dubbing him "sir dude" as he is uber-cool. he calls them his shining stars, and indeed, they do shine into our lives.

last night (or rather, the wee hours of this morning) were spent in a new-for-me adventure that i do not recommend. on the trip back from charlotte, norman and i hit a deer. poor deer. at least it died quickly. neither of us were injured, though the car is quite injured, and probably will be announced "dead on arrival" once the insurance adjustor gets a peek at it. time to start looking into those whistling, silent-to-humans, deer-avoider-thingies since the driving is a daily occurrance, and the deer seem to be increasing in number. don't want the same thing to happen to the next car!

the big "holland family reunion" is fast approaching, and robert, his sons, norman, his daughters, and i are planning to drive southbound until we reach southern mississippi for the festivities. there will be nine of us traveling in two vehicles. i'm really looking forward to seeing cousins and aunts and uncles and catching up with everyone, and showing off my dear robert!

so, here we are, right smack dab in the middle...
thanks for stopping by...

Saturday, May 30, 2009


(now you've been warned)

now that i am driving for a living, approximately 470 miles per day, i've become quite opinionated about driving and other drivers, especially the stupid ones. and yes, i know i'm not supposed to call them stupid, but they are stupid idiots. and i had my fill of them tonight.

maybe it has something to do with friday nights, i'm really not sure. last friday night as i was traveling northbound in one of my 3 northbound lanes, with a very large median separating me from the southbound lanes, i encountered two vehicles coming right at me in the far left lane. of course i moved over to the right, but there they were, cruising down the wrong side of the highway. how do you even get on a highway backwards? you'd actually have to get on at an exit ramp. like i said, stupid. but even worse, dangerous.

so tonight i encountered some very cautious drivers as i started my return trip from charlotte, n.c. back to lynchburg. the cautious drivers had their hazard lights flashing. i saw seven vehicles with hazards on in a period of about 30 minutes. to me, that seemed like a lot. but at least they were being cautious.

onward north we approached greensboro and there were bright orange lighted highway signs that are used to communcate vital information to drivers. the first two signs said:
140BU NB

and as i was approaching my exit quickly, trying to make out what the letters stood for, i realized that my exit, from a major interstate highway to another major interstate highway, was completely closed. blocked off. orange cones and blue flashing lights abounded. nope, there was no accident. just major highways closed on a friday night. i never was able to figure out exactly what that sign meant other than "major roads closed ahead" which would have been much easier to understand.

so with a bit of frustration i exited where i was forced to with detour signs posted all the way up the exit only to disappear as soon as we were on the next road. okay, now i've been detoured and i have NO IDEA how to get where i want to go. i stopped at the first gas station, with, no lie, 8 other cars, to get directions. the guy with the mop was very patient helping us one by one.

as i followed his recommended route i found myself behind two tractor-trailers and thought this was likely a very good sign, as they were likely trying to get back on the highway as well. i was happy to follow them. until they slowed down. way down. and in the middle of a two-lane road. and then i saw it. an overpass. a Low overpass. and as the first truck inched under the overpass, the sign which posted the maximum height requirements scraped against the top of his trailer. at this point, all i could think was "stop the insanity!"

luckily, there was enough room for my car and a few behind me to squeeze by the stuck truck and get on our merry ways. if i was the truck driver, i would have been cussing way more than i already was. i wonder if they are still stuck?

back on 29 north, i knew i was going to be later than usual arriving home, but at least i was once again, homeward bound.

but is my driving adventure over? Nooooooo.

crossing the state line into Virginia requires a relatively sharp turn in the road requiring a safe driver to slow down from 60mph to 45mph. i slowed down and as i rounded the corner i noticed a stopped vehicle in the left lane. i slowed down even more. then i noticed a spun-out vehicle in the ditch of the shoulder facing the wrong direction. and then, i glanced to make sure i didn't hit any one of the 6-8 men standing out in the left lane. we don't need another accident, right? so what does the pickup in front of me do? he Slams on His Brakes so he can get a better look at the situation! there is no one in front of him and he is already past the "incident" but had to crane his neck back to get a better look. i bet his neck stopped craning at stopped traffic when he heard my tires squeal behind him as i had to hit my brakes and swerve into the opposite median to avoid hitting him. i laid on my horn. he s-l-o-w-l-y starts creeping forward again. at this point, i'd just had it altogether with stupid idiots who are allowed out to drive on major interstate highways on friday nights.


and an hour and a half later, i pulled into my peaceful driveway and opened my car door. i was greeted by the most pungently sweet smell of honeysuckles that i have ever experienced. all i could do was breathe in the night air, intoxicatingly sweet. after all, this IS mirembe hollow, and at the end of a long day, i have returned to my peaceful home.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

low 56, high 93

last night i decided that the forecast temperature was conducive to sleeping outside. so when i was ready for bed, instead of going to my bedroom, i went out to my back porch and crawled in bed. my back porch is screened, with lights strung around the perimeter, and wispy curtains that blow in the wind, and stars and windchimes hung from the ceiling. it's the perfect extra room. the daybed has a down comforter and a very warm quilt and lots and lots of pillows.

so i crawled into bed and realized that i didn't need quite so many covers. i laid the quilt off to the side and snuggled in. it didn't get nearly as cold as i anticipated. i don't think it even got down to the 50s to be honest. it was divine! i woke up to birds chirping and the sun in my face. i rolled over and went back to sleep. i slept so good!

the forecast high today is 93 degrees. it's already 84, so i think it will make it. the sun is shiny and warm and the sound of lawnmowers can be heard all up and down the street. gardeners are gardening. which gives me an idea...maybe i will put my little seedlings outside today, on this warm spring day, and give them the joy of sunshine directly on their stems and leaves, not filtered through the window pane.

norm is getting stronger every day and feeling almost back to normal. he's rested this week. he's been a good patient. thanks for all of your prayers on his behalf!

i'm fighting an inner ear infection. i went to the dr. on thursday, after a very painful night on wednesday. he put me on antibiotics and i had expected to be feeling significantly better by now, but the ear is still clogged and the constant ringing is beginning to wear on me. nevermind the congestion in my chest. at least the pain has decreased significantly! i was encouraged to call the dr. to let him know that i'm still feeling pretty bad after 2 days on antibiotics, as he may need to change the medicine. so i've got a call in...we will see what they decide...

it's the first beautiful weekend day of the spring and i think that being outdoors today is a good idea, so i think i'll got poke around my yard and i might even take a drive up to the parkway. why not, right?

so if you find yourself in my neck of the woods, let me know and i'll make up the back porch bed just for you!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


it seems that i've gotten into a bit of a routine with my days and weeks. i assumed that this one would be similar to the last one, or ones. that i would wake up and go about my day or week the same way that i have been.

thursday morning i woke up and had coffee and sat down to check my email. there was a note from my brother norman saying that he had gone out for a walk (he's staying with me for a bit). it was the first sunny day in about a week, and warm and spring-y and a perfect day to be outdoors. he was gone longer than usual but i didn't think twice about it.

then i got a phone call, and the day was not routine or ordinary or similar to the previous ones. my brother was in the hospital and he had had a heart attack. my stomach came up to my throat and i kicked into "crisis" mode. i'm very efficient in crisis mode. very non-emotional in crisis mode. so i made necessary calls and headed over to the hospital. he's pulled through amazingly! the ambulance got him to the hospital quickly, and he bypassed the emergency room to go straight to the cath lab where they put a stint in an artery and opened up the blood flow to the blocked chamber of his heart.

i'm glad my brother is going to be okay. that he is healing well. that i could be here for him to help him through this. he's my family, and i'm fortunate to have grown up in such a family as ours.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

three p's

the annoying one,
the one that makes me giggle
and the one i'm most thankful for

#1 - pinkeye. this is very annoying. two weeks ago i woke up with my eyes crusted shut and when i got them uncrusted, they were as pink as could be. i began immediately putting antibiotic salve in them. of course you probably all know the extreme vigilance required to NOT spread this annoyance to other members of your household, and i washed my hands more times than i could count, used hand sanitizer in the car any time i even touched my face, and started lysol-ing just about every surface i may or may not have touched. i washed all my bedding in hot hot water. and my vigilance paid off - three days, and my eyes were both white again, with no drips and no crust. yea!

and then...

i woke up sunday morning with my left eye crusted shut. what in the world? where did this come from? now understand, my four nieces are visiting for spring break, and norman is staying with me too, and none of them have gotten the slightest hint of this mess. so my hand-washing, hand-sanitizing, lysoling craziness is paying off for them, but for me, my hands are as dry as the desert floor and this morning, the goo had spread to the right eye, so here i am, both eyes pink and all that mess. i think i have to go to the doctor because my ointment does Not seem to be working. hmph.

#2 - pig poop. i have this adorable little porch pig on my front porch. he's concrete and very heavy, but he's my guard-pig of sorts and i adore him. well, a couple of weekends ago robert said something about chicken manure and i informed him that chickens don't make manure, they make poop. its not manure unless, well, You Know. and chickens don't make manure. this of course led to a discussion of other animals and whether they make manure or poop. nevermind that this conversation happened in the car, with robert's 12-year old son in the back seat who could not contain his laughter at the absurdity of the conversation. so we agreed that pigs make poop, and that it is more fun to say because of the alliteration. so when robert was making my beautiful new flower bed out front, he fashioned a small, oval shaped piece of mud and placed in at the pig's posterior. now, i have a weather pig. if you can see the "poop", there is light outside. if you cannot see the "poop" it is nighttime. if the "poop" is wet, it is or has been raining. if the "poop" is dry, it is not raining. if the "poop" moves, it is very, very windy. now you know.

#3 - peace. i've named my home "miremebe hollow". miremebe is my ugandan name and it means peace. so my home, my place, is "peaceful hollow". this week my nieces are all visiting (it's their spring break), and even with a house full of six, there is such an amazing sense of peace here. this weekend, keith's family came to visit as well and robert was here on sunday and it was such a great time of having my family all together here. when i moved here, i had always intended to put a day bed out on my back, screened porch, and that happened this weekend! it's so amazing sitting out there and listening to the sounds of outdoors. it's a great place for napping, and i even spent half of one night sleeping out there!!! it's my new favorite place.

come for a visit and experience it yourself. i'll make sure the pinkeye is gone when you come!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

sunday morning

and a recap of the texas trip

my house is quiet, my coffee is hot, and the sun is shining! what a great way to start the day!

i'm still wanting to capture moments from my trip last month with robert here on my blog. it would have been easier if i had done it along the way, as i intended, but i was just enjoying other people too much to sit down with my computer and compute. so...still wanting to capture those moments, here goes!

we left sunday night, feb. 22 and drove south to charlotte, nc where we stayed overnight with my dear friend linda. this is the same linda that i visited in august, intending to stay one overnight and staying a week instead! her reaction, when she saw robert, was how much he resembled keith. of course i think they look nothing alike, but they have similar personalities and qualities, so no wonder i adore him! it was difficult to leave to continue our trip south, but we did, with the comfort that charlotte is close enough that we can make weekend visits any time we want!

monday took us through several states, and we ended up in southern mississippi at grandma's house. grandma has been gone for just over a year now, but it will always be her house...the one place from my childhood that i visit again and again. i have so many memories there of playing with cousins on the property, running back to see the pond, riding bikes, climbing trees, eating watermelon and sitting on the front porch, the cousins all in a row, seeing who could spit their seeds the farthest! there used to be a horse in one of the pastures and we fed her sugar cubes (we never rode her, not sure why). grandma always hung the clothes out on the line to dry. and being a city girl, it was my first exposure to burning the trash in a big barrel out back. i remember making homemade ice cream on the porch, with little ones taking a turn sitting on the top as the ice cream got thicker so it would be easier to crank. and older cousins setting off bottle rockets at the end of the sidewalk around the 4th of july. i remember when hurricane frederick came through in the late 70s/early 80s and the Big Tree in the front yard went down - across the street instead of across the house - thankfully! i don't remember when they paved the road (it was a dirt road in most of my memories). i was told that grandpa used to make cane syrup, and for a while i think there were brick remnants of where they used to do that, but i didn't see them this time. i remember grandpa's old truck that my daddy drove for a while when we lived in florida, and he let us ride in the back. it's still there, not good for riding in, but good for taking pictures of! i remember the living room filled, almost wall to wall, with cousins sleeping on the floor in sleeping bags, while the grown ups got the beds in the bedrooms. i remember grits and biscuits - grandma always had yellow grits, and i think they were from the neighbors gristmill at the end of the road. and her biscuits...nothing in the world like them! maybe it was just because of the love she put into them when she made them for us! i could remember for hours, and i'm looking forward to doing just that when i go to the Big family reunion this summer! i was glad that i got to share this special place with robert, and i'm even more glad that his is planning to come with me to the reunion!

uncle danny introduced robert to chorizo for breakfast, with eggs and hot tortillas, which is his specialty. after some target practice out back (i'm a better shot than robert!), we had a short drive to new orleans, where we decided to spend the night since it was mardi gras, fat tuesday, and if you're there, you might as well experience it, right!? we found a reasonable room at a quaint little hotel right in the heart of the french quarter and called it home for the night. the parades and festivities blocked many of the roads most of the day, so it certainly was an exercise in patience and determination to actually Get to our hotel! but once there, we headed over to bourbon street. what a crazy place! we started collecting beads (and a feather boa) and walked through the crowd, watching the costumes and people. we drank, we danced, we laughed, we kissed. robert won a couple free t-shirts and a silly jagermeister hat in a contest! i got my face painted and glittered. and we headed back early and called it a night.

of course we started our morning with a short walk down to cafe du monde for coffee and beignets, which were fabulous! we popped into a couple of shops, took a few pictures, and walked over to the mighty mississip, where a saxophonist played, and sang a song, just for us. it was everything a trip to new orleans should be!

while we were driving we saw some funny? ironic? interesting? signs along the way. in mississippi, there is a realty company named cumbest realty. we thought maybe someone wasn't thinking about the spelling there, or if it was someone's name, maybe they should have gone a different direction when naming their company. but it's memorable, right? and then there was the tanker truck we passed that sported a diamond-shaped sign on the side that said "fresh acid". as opposed to what? stale acid? of course i learned that i needed to have the camera easily accessible so next time we saw such nonsense, we could record it for posterity!

this day's drive took us to our final destination - houston, texas. there were Many people for us to visit there, so it seemed like a good place for our vacation. we arrived on wednesday night, just in time to attend joel osteen's church for wednesday night service. a man named marcus wilt was preaching and it was really a wonderful time. the music was amazing, and the sermon was spot on. it really spoke to me. then we headed up to magnolia (a little town not too far north of houston) for a surprise! well, it was not a surprise to us, but it was a surprise to kelley, my best friend since college. she and her husband and their Five kids had no idea that we would be knocking on her door at 9:30 wednesday night for a week-long-ish visit! i have a bad habit of not telling kelley when i am coming to see her, and i get such delight out of seeing her reaction when i show up, that i just don't even like to let her know in advance any more. of course, i must tell you that when i spoke to her on the phone the previous sunday, i did mention coming over for dinner on wednesday night and she blew me off. no idea why. not like we live a couple thousand miles apart or anything! anyway, that was fun, fun, and funny! so her family got to meet my robert, and of course they approved. who wouldn't! he's great!

we hung out, talked, acted like we were actually interested in the things their kids showed us, and laughed at the many "marco-isms". marco was about to turn seven when we were there and he kept us in stiches. while peering through a glass marble one morning, he informed us, "i see chunks of germs!" we thought this was hilarious!!! we keep finding reasons to say it. i won this week when i said it, because i have pinkeye! if that's not chunks of germs, i don't know what is!!! our other favorite was at the dinner table one night, with a fabulous dinner including the Best homemade salsa by andy, when marco looked at the refried beans in the pot in front of him and said, "these beans are precious to me!" =) gigi made us a beautiful wooden plaque in the shape of a heart that got "marco-ed" (as in he decided to repaint it after she gave it to us), so she assured me that she would fix it and it is something i will treasure! and should we be worried that we found this dolly underneath the crib? too funny!

robert was a bit overwhelmed by all five kids and the constancy of it all, as in it never stops. i don't blame him. at least i knew what i was in for!!! so we headed south of houston where his brother jeff, and his partner john live, and enjoyed a quiet, relaxing visit at their place for a few days! it was a stark contrast to kelleys, where a family of seven never quite sees All of the dishes done, and where small children leave a trail, to a kitchen where a dish never stays dirty for more than a couple of seconds, and Nothing is out of place, ever. it was so delightful to meet robert's brother and i had a great time hanging out and getting to know them. one of the days, robert and i headed out to visit his step-mom and i got to enjoy her company too. it was a treat for me to be able to meet his family! we tried to drive from there out to galveston, but the road is in stages of rebuilding, and after almost getting stuck in the sand by trying to drive across the beach to the next section of driveable road, we made a u-turn and decided that seeing galveston wasn't that important, after all.

we spent sunday afternoon hanging out with my cousin, melanie and that was so fun! we had a few drinks and headed over to the potatoe patch, my favorite houston restaurant which has become a tradition for me over the years, going back to when mom used to travel to houston for training with continental airlines. mom and melanie introduced me to it, then i introduced papa to it when he and i were driving back east from california. so we had to introduce robert to it! i'm not going to say the food is the best i've ever had, but it is just the tradition of it all - and i just don't know too many other restaurants where you can get fried green tomatoes and fried okra! true southern food...

another day or so was spent at kelleys, packing up our stuff, and all that jazz. of course we had to stop and pick up some chorizo before we left the south. we put dry ice in the ice chest and started back home. we saw a couple of interesting street signs along the way...i mean what exactly is a baptist pumpkin center? i'll never know. and there was an overturned tractor trailer that shut down the interstate for about an hour. we got out and walked around. some people were playing frisbee in the median. lots of people had their dogs out for walks.

we were together for two whole weeks and we had a wonderful time! i think a true test of compatibility is if you can road-trip together. that's important for me, at least, since i love to take road trips. and i've found another soul who loves the adventure of the open road. but there's no place like home, after all, and we're still in love... what more could a girl ask for?! =)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


yes, as in texas.

robert and i set off on a long-distance road trip on sunday evening, february 22. i have SO MANY things to write about, but they will wait until i arrive back home. so for now, be content with a simple update that says, i didn't get the writing job.

but i did get to surprise kelley in houston by showing up at her front door with no advance warning, which was great fun! (kelley is my best friend, and former college roommate.)

so that's it for now. stay warm.

Friday, February 20, 2009

a writing job?

yesterday i found an ad on craigslist looking for a full-time writer. three two things about the ad are significant. #1 - it was a legitimate job posting! many (if not most) of the job ads in lynchburg are bogus postings. #2 - it said "full-time". that's right. someone here actually has more than just one piddly article that they would like to have written. they are looking for a full-time employee! #3 - it's a writing job. okay, that would be my dream job. i love to write, and if i can get paid to do it all the time, i just don't know what i'll do with myself!!! and i'm surprised that my dream job exists in my town, in this economy!

okay, so i applied for the job. sent them my "very best cover letter" and my resume. now i've applied for a LOT of jobs over the past several months, and Very few have responded at all. that's a little discouraging. but still, i need to work, so i keep sending out resumes. i was more than a bit concerned that it was Not a legitimate job. but i had to take the chance, and apply anyway.

well, i opened my email this morning, and lo and behold, i had a response! the man apologized for taking so long to get back to me (which was less than 12 hours, most of which were overnight). my email had gone into his spam folder and he had "accidentally" discovered it there. (thank you GOD!) he asked me for a writing sample and gave me four topics to choose from. he also asked that i turn it around in two hours or less.

so the article has been written. it falls in the 500-600 word prescribed length. i did it in less than two hours. and now, i'm waiting for a response from him. Please, oh please, PICK ME!

so, while we're waiting, here it is. i'm afraid to ask you what you think. but feel free to tell me anyway!


Why go Dairy Free

I must admit, when I first heard the words “dairy free” my thought was “why would anyone want to eliminate dairy from their diet?” The commercials on TV tell me that five servings of dairy a day will help me lose weight. So, are there really valid reasons that would cause a person to eliminate an entire food group?

After doing a bit of research, I discovered that the answer to my questions is a resounding, “yes!” And the primary reasons are health-related.

When you spend a moment thinking about milk and its purpose, it doesn’t take long to realize that milk was created to be consumed by babies. Its purpose is to give babies the nutrition they need to grow. It is created by mammals to feed their young, and no other mammals drink milk beyond infancy.

Cow’s milk is made to turn a baby calf into a 300-pound cow in six months! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to pack on that kind of weight quite so fast! Our stomachs don’t have the digestive enzymes that are necessary for processing dairy through our systems.

But what about all of the “benefits” of dairy in our diets? What about getting enough calcium to prevent osteoporosis and help our bones grow strong? Again, cow’s milk was designed for cows. Our bodies have a difficult time absorbing the calcium in dairy products, not just because it’s cow’s milk, but also because our dairy products are so processed that the amount of calcium is significantly reduced. More efficient sources of calcium include (surprise!) beans, spinach, and leafy-green vegetables!

You probably don’t think about milk containing sugar. It’s certainly not what I want when I’m craving sugar! But a 1992 report in the New England Journal of Medicine verified that proteins in cows' milk can damage the production of insulin. That means that some forms of diabetes can be linked directly to the consumption of dairy products.

While I’m telling you about medical studies related to eating or drinking dairy, I must mention that the Harvard School of Public Health in 2000 reported that men who consumed two and a half servings of dairy products a day had a third greater risk of getting prostate cancer. Yes, that says cancer. There have also been studies that show that the animal fats found in dairy products are linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. I’m quite certain that men don’t want any extra risks for prostate cancer, and I’d certainly like to keep my breasts!

So if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering why the media keeps telling us that dairy is good for us. Well, it’s simple really. It’s because the US Department of Agriculture is the government entity responsible for both promoting agricultural products and providing us with dietary advice. If that’s not a conflict of interests, I don’t know what it!

So after I studied the facts about dairy food, I came to the conclusion that they were never meant to be part of my diet. That is probably why, once I cut them out, all sorts of wonderful things started happening to me. I found that I had so much more energy. My skin became clearer. Those pounds I couldn’t quite get rid of disappeared (no reason for them to stick around if there’s no more ice cream, right?!). And I know that I’m doing my body a favor by treating it to a dairy-free lifestyle!

Friday, February 13, 2009


so i was in walmart on wednesday night, waiting for the pharmacy to (slowly) fill a prescription that doesn't even have to be counted (it's a bubble pack that they just have to slap a label on). they said the wait was 45 minutes to an hour. apparently they had a "guest" pharmacist filling in and that was causing the delays.

anyway, that's not the story here. the story is that while i was waiting, there was a very Large display of valentine's day cards right across from the pharmacy. well, since i actually Have a valentine this year, i decided it would be fun to find a card with just the right sentiment in it. it was as crowded at the card rack as the pharmacy was slow. probably we were ALL waiting on prescriptions. so i had to exercise a bit more patience to get to the cards i actually wanted to view (not the kid cards, though those can be quite fun in a very simple, nostalgic way. and not the for my husband or for my wife cards. you know why). i finally got my turn at the "love" cards and started picking up the ones that were well designed first. (it's a graphic designer's curse. we can't help ourselves.) the cards with good design had less-than-adequate sentiments inside, however, so i was not impressed. of course, i was not at hallmark, who claims to have the perfect card for every occasion, so i guess it was my own fault. anyway, (you can guess where this is going) i started looking at the cards that, in my opinion, were not quite so visually pleasing (who comes up with these ideas?) and while they contained more appropriate sentiments, i just Cannot bring myself to purchase a less-than-perfect card. (especially since they cost ~$4.99 these days.)

and then, i got a brilliant idea, which i executed last night. (executed...definitely the right word if you're going with definition #1.) i got out a whole pile of colored paper and blank cards and colored envelopes. i found pink and white tissue paper. i found silver ribbon and red raffia. i found my box of gel pens and fun-shaped scissors for making all sorts of interesting edges. i had tape and glue. the only thing i think i may have missed was the paper doilies. it was like being back in elementary school again, decorating my "valentine mailbox" for my classmates to put valentines in. there was always a decorating contest. i usually won first place.

it was fabulous! the cutting and snipping and placing and rearranging. the taping and gluing and tying. the playing with paper of all colors and weights and textures. i am so happy with the final result! i may not win first place for decorating this time, but i know i've won my robert's heart, and That is the best thing of all!

happy valentine's day! :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

six weeks with robert

full moons seem to bring out the (dead) skunks, just in case you wondered. i think i counted eight of them...

i dyed my hair last friday. someone asked me why. the best answer i could come up with was, "it's february." simple.

so saturday was a most amazing day. robert and i drove up to chambersburg, pa. and met up with tim, heidi, seth, lindsay, jay and celeste. then all eight of us drove up to carlisle. i'm sure you are wondering what kind of event could happen to bring all of us friends together. well, wonder no more, it was over the rhine. robert and i did not pre-purchase our tickets, so while we were not able to sit with the rest of the gang, we weren't too disappointed because we got to sit in the front row. =D

robert was the only one of us who had yet to experience otr. there just aren't words to describe the music and the experience. i cannot even begin to try. all i can say was it was a wonderful night. there is nothing better than music you love with people you love. a wonderful group of friends whom i've loved for a long time, and robert, whom i've just recently come to love.

road trips are a wonderful way to get to know someone. its fun passing the miles talking and laughing and listening to your special someone's music, even when it is not your favorite music. that's part of getting to know someone. of course, there are some miles passed in comfortable silence, with a gentle touch or holding hands. it's nice to be with someone who wants to know you. it's nice to have someone you want to know.

i filed my taxes and washed and vacuumed my car today. i feel like i got a lot done. and that's about it, for now.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


norman has come to visit me for a few days and it's been nice having him around. he got to meet my robert last night, and that was really special for me! my nieces also got to meet him on skype. they couldn't see just how handsome he was over the computer!

so norman is looking for a job (just like me) down here in my neck of the woods. i'll be happy if that works out for him and his family. i'll enjoy having them close by.

my back is feeling better...i am really relieved about that. i've taken it easy today, just making sure i don't overdo it and end up worse off than i started. it's been so helpful having people around to bring me ice packs and make sure stubborn cali doesn't try to do something she shouldn't!

okay, that's it for now. no deep thoughts tonight...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

duke and back again

reva and i, with my brother norman as our driver, went down to duke again today. she had one last test, and another appointment with the neurologist. the news was a confirmation of the a.l.s. diagnosis, with some advice about things to make her more comfortable through the course of this disease. it was a lot for her to swallow. she is still in quite a bit of denial. when she asked the doctor how long she likely had left to live, he hesitantly told her, "probably about six months". he says that she has had the disease for years, and it is already in advanced stages.

i feel like a schmuck talking about my aches and pains when she is facing the final months of her life here on earth, but as i told another friend earlier this week, someone else's difficulties do not diminish the importance of our own difficulties. it can help us put hardship into perspective, but it is still hardship. so my difficulty is my back, again, and still. it has been hurting more and more over the past six weeks. and the pain medicine is working less and less effectively. i've taken a lot more of it, and have had to switch to something stronger. most of the time i do okay. i know when to stop and rest. i have lots of people helping me and taking care of me and looking out for my well-being (thanks to all of know who you are!). they bring me ice packs, and medicine, and something to drink. i need to find a job with health insurance, so i can go back and see my doctor and decide if surgery needs to happen sooner rather than later. but i've done back surgery before, and i can definitely do it again, when the time comes. that doesn't scare me.

my brother norman is here at my home, visiting for a week or so. it's nice having him here. he was so helpful volunteering to drive to duke today! it is a 3 hour drive one way and there is no way that my back could have made that drive. he is looking for a job in this area, and if he gets one, then his family will be even closer by! that would be wonderful!

robert is fitting into my life and my circle of friends so comfortably! i am so enjoying getting to know him. we have wonderful times together, and very open, honest communication. i think we are setting a strong foundation, based on Christ, for our relationship. i'm so thankful that God sent him to me to be part of my life!

so there are many things going on. good things to be thankful for, and difficult things to petition God for mercy. his mercies are new every morning. great is his faithfulness!

Friday, January 30, 2009

25 random things about me

so someone "tagged" me in facebook and asked me to make a list of 25 random things about myself. i decided to post that list here you can find out some of my quirks!

1. i strongly dislike pickles of any sort.
2. that goes for olives too.
3. i really think i was born to use my hands to create things to make a living. like building stuff. or making things out of wood. or painting.
4. my favorite flowers are daisies and (blue) hydrangeas.
5. the one book that has changed my life spiritually is "the ragamuffin gospel" by brennan manning. it is a Hard read, but so, so worth it!
6. my favorite color is blue. any shade.
7. i really like kid food! mac and cheese, tater tots, applesauce, grilled cheese sandwiches...
8. i hate flossing. it is overrated.
9. i want a sleep number bed. if i spend 1/3+ of my life sleeping or in bed, then it is worth spending money on!
10. my dream job would allow me to be a writer and photographer for a travel magazine.
11. i think i am a good writer.
12. i think road tripping with someone is a Very Good way to get to know them well, and find out things you otherwise would not likely come to know.
13. i have two tattoos and plans for at least two more.
14. i understand why they call it "the terrible twos." i am convinced that it applies to the threes as well. of course, this comes only from observations of "other people's kids" as i don't have any of my own.
15. i have no plans to birth babies. never have. never plan to.
16. i can see myself adopting an "older" child that's lost in the young as maybe 6 and as old as maybe 12...cuz i think i'll make a great mom.
17. i drink my margaritas "rocks, no salt"
18. i love watching fires.
19. i'm not sure how i started out as such a messy, unorganized kid, and became a neat, highly organized adult.
20. i am a bedding snob. when i see great bedding, i HAVE to buy it. even though i have more bedding that one person could ever use in a lifetime.
21. i've always wanted to shave my head bald.
22. i cannot comprehend how to go about "lov[ing] the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength" but i Can "love my neighbor as myself" and somehow i think by doing this, it is helping me to come to love God more.
23. my parent's deaths were the most difficult things i've ever had to live through.
24. i'm truly greatful for the people who pray for me.
25. i have more close friends than any one person should be allowed. i am truly blessed!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


that's how i describe today's weather. it's a combination of rainy and icy. but not freezing rain...that happened last night. no, this is "one-degree-above-freezing rain". which makes it Very cold outside. and Very wet. but the ice is starting to melt.

the question is, will all of the new wet rain and the newly melted ice dry out before the temperature plunges below zero again? i'm guessing the answer is no. either way, this means i am staying Inside today/tonight!

stay warm and dry! :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


they're funny, kindof like laryngitis... funny sounding, funny to have, funny to say...

saturday started with hiccups. not the usual kind, but the "my friend lives far away and i can't seem to reach them by phone or email and i thought we were going to do something together today" kind. some people say hold your breath to get rid of the hiccups. some people say eat a spoonful of sugar to get rid of the hiccups. then there is drink ten sips of water quick without taking a breath. and drink water upside down (i never did figure out how to do this). and get scared by someone. it's kindof hard to get scared by someone when you have the hiccups because you know they are trying to scare you, which makes it Not Scary. but now i am rambling. welcome to my brain.

so the cure for "do i get to do something fun with my friend who i can't seem to reach" hiccups is wait. i Should be an expert at "wait". i've done it most of my life. i don't like waiting. but They say, good things come to those who wait. so i waited. and wondered. and then my phone rang!

see, while i was having emotional hiccups, my friend was having emotional suffocation, and i got all unfocused and was more concerned about my hiccups than his suffocation. and when i sat down and thought about it, and stopped being selfish, i realized that hiccups might be annoying, but they're still funny, and there is nothing funny about suffocating. it might even be life-threatening. so i started praying for my friend while i was waiting. and that is when he called.

as it turned out, i Did get to see my friend and do something fun!

i've been hesitant to write on my blog about this friend, because he has become my *boyfriend* now. and he's been in my life longer than the other couple of boys i've mentioned here, who both happened to go Out of my life as soon as i talked about them here. so robert, please don't go. i want you to stay. even though i'm writing about you on my blog.

so i got a whole, wonderful weekend with robert, visiting debbie and dave and em and catie in virginia beach. i so enjoy road tripping, and i was tickled that he wanted to go with me and meet my friends!

can i tell you some of the things i like about this man? for starters, he brought me daisies when he first met me. bright yellow ones. and they have lasted a Very Long Time! he also taught me how to make biscuits (to go with my apple butter). he is thoughtful and courteous, not just in "trying to impress you" kinds of things like opening doors and such, but also in taking out the trash because he sees that the trash can is full. or washing my dishes. or washing my friend's dishes even! he loves Jesus. and coffee. he admits his faults and doesn't blame other people. he relys on God and seeks after Him. he's not too proud to be vulnerable. AND he cooks!

i hope we are not simply hiccups - little annoying funny blips - in each other's lives. i'm pretty sure this is already deeper than that.

with God in both of our lives, and as the foundation of our relationship, i'm certain that we can handle the hiccups along the way. here's to you robert... and here's to *us*!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


so there is this house, about a mile from mine, that has been on and off the market for the past two years. it is back on again and they've dropped the price considerably. i briefly considered that house, when i was looking to buy, but found mine which i just love and suits me to a tee. the other house has remained in the back of my mind, primarily because it is an Old House, with lots of character and charm and stories to tell. from the outside, you can tell that it is going to need some work. from the inside, you can tell that it is going to need even More work. but i still love those houses, and the potential i can see in in them to become a lovely home, even when they have been empty and neglected and are tired and old.

it's all about seeing the potential. then there is work to be done, for them to live up to their potential. it doesn't just happen. someone has to make an effort. i've got a rough analogy tumbling around in my head about me being empty and tired and old and God seeing enough potential in me to buy me anyway...

so after seeing the inside of this house (with danelis and nabin), all five of us (with kids in tow) went to walmart. that was an exercise in patience for me. i'm not used to shopping with other people. the few times i do it, i am usually with other grown-ups. we had one of those Big carts with an additional space for kids to ride and i was pushing. the kids, however, did not Want auntie cali to push. and they wanted a balloon. and a spiderman cake. and chicken nuggets (which they got, because it Was lunchtime). and then they wanted Out of the cart. and there was poking. and crying. and (very slow) i'm sorrys. and auntie cali was tired of listening.

and i wonder how often God gets tired of me with my "i wants" and my discontentedness with exactly where i am and wanting to "get out". and he is immensely patient with me. and i offer to him an "i'm sorry" and i know that i am forgiven.

we are all works in progress. and abba God loves us all enough to redeem us, and then Wants to be with us even when we are acting like little children.

his mercies are new every morning. great is his faithfulness...

Saturday, January 10, 2009


i have things i want to say.
but i'm having trouble getting them out.
they seem important
(to me, at least).

Sunday, January 04, 2009


"can you not go far away?" my friend's daughter asks her often at bedtime. i was thinking about that, in light of having just finished reading the shack by wm. paul young.

in the book, without giving away the plot, a guy gets to just hang out for a weekend in the presence of God. i'm not even going to try to explain anything else but the book left my head and heart turned inside out and upside down in so many amazingly good ways that i will be processing it for months to come...

i have a renewed sense that even when i can't feel him, he is always right here with me, and he will never go far away. also, that he likes me. that he is fond of me. that more than anything in the world, the only thing he asks from me is to be...just be...with him.

none of us wants to be alone. sometimes being alone is overwhelming. it is painful. i know in my head that God never leaves me alone, but there are times i cannot feel his presence. i am so glad that from time to time, he chooses to put other people in my life, possibly simply to remind me, that he does not want me to ever have to feel alone. because He loves me. more than i will ever be able to comprehend...


"it is good to remember that we need each other greatly, you and i, more than much of the time we dare to imagine, more than most of the time we dare to admit." - fredrick buechner

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