Sunday, July 31, 2011

Blogging: My Proverbial Wilson

It feels a little strange to not have another adult in the house to talk to, but I wouldn't say it's been terrible.  The kids and I have actually had a really pleasant weekend.  I did find myself constantly fighting the urge to text Clint, just to say this or that, or to see how he's doing.  My solution to this was pretty simple.  Every time I felt an urge to say something to him, I would just jot it down real quick.  In a weird way, I feel like I've been talking to him all weekend even though we've been completely out of touch.  I've decided if I were ever stranded on a deserted island, I would be one of those crazy people who'd befriend a coconut or a volleyball named Wilson or whatever just to maintain my sanity.  But luckily in the world of technology, I have a computer to fulfill that role.

Here are the little blurbs I wrote to Clint all weekend:
  • When we dropped you off at the dojo, we had just walked out the door when Elijah cried out, “I miss daddy!” I said, “Dude, it’s been like, 18 seconds.”
  • It doesn’t really feel like you’re in the woods. It just feels like you’re at work.
  • Me and Niecy were at La Casita today for four hours. But what’s even crazier is that when Niecy posted a status on our work homepage saying that she and I enjoyed a four hour lunch, the update received 4,866 comments! I took a picture of it just because I knew you wouldn’t believe me. I’m pretty sure it’s because I’m insanely popular. ;-) Okay, there MIGHT have been a glitch or something…
  • I wonder what you are doing this very second.
  • Meow ate Zed’s nose off. Trin actually cried. She said Zed was her favorite pelt. I think Meow has officially lost Trin’s loyalties.
  • I caught Elijah playing Duo. Don’t worry, I chewed him out, but I think he got a good hour in before I caught him.
  • We had a thunderstorm with some lightening, but it didn’t amount to anything. Damn it smells good though.
  • I played my word with only ten minutes to spare! “Zax”. Glad you can’t see my gloating face right now.
  • This lady in McDonalds is something else. She’s sitting here telling her friends how much she LOVES funerals, because “there’s always really good food.” Gee lady, I’m glad that people die so that you can have a satisfying meal.  
  • I wonder how you’re holding up… 
  • My poor mom! She just called me, drunk. They had to put Buster down (he had cancer) and she’s a wreck. I had to console her for an hour. Even my dad cried. Okay, you can quit rolling your eyes now. ;-) There was also a hailstorm in Silver Lakes, and they lost their power for hours. Remember those days?  
  • Lily got into the house twice today. But I discovered that once she settles down, she actually stops peeing all over the place.
  • Saw this and thought of you:
  • Found out that I have T.K's daughter, Sarah, in my honor’s class. Her mom e-mailed me today and said that she was so glad that I was Sarah’s teacher, and “don’t forget to beat her every morning in case I forget.” I told her, “My schedule is pretty tight, but I’ll try to squeeze in daily beatings somewhere between the morning announcements and pledge of allegiance.”
  • Kids and I just had movie night. We watched 2012. The whole thing was just funny to me, but it was pretty intense for the kids. Probably should have picked something lighter and slightly less apocalyptic. 
  • I just put my pajama shirt on and noticed that it was inside-out. So I took the whole thing off (which was tricky since I had a wet towel on my head), played around with the shirt until I had it flipped the correct way, wiggled it back over the toga-towel and put it back on. So then I go to brush my teeth, and what do I see?  The shirt is STILL inside-out. What the hell?  Bastard shirt.  
  • Day three and Karfci has reluctantly decided to cuddle with me for the first time. I’m not even sitting in his usual spot. Poor guy doesn’t know what to make of your absence. 
  • Yeah, the cuddling only lasted for about four minutes. 
  • I actually really like the scat mat right now. It makes me feel safe. If an intruder DID break into the house, I don’t think he would be expecting volts of electricity to shoot up his feet while creeping down the hallway.
  • You’re coming home tomorrow!
  • Oh damn. It just occurred to me that intruders wear shoes.
  • Sun, 6:32 a.m.--Got jerked awake by thunder. It is raining like crazy!  I wonder if you guys got rained on last night. Wouldn’t that be something…
  • 8:11 a.m.—Still pouring. I’m going to get ready for church. It smells awesome outside. 
  • Time to cook brownies for the potluck. Crossing my fingers that I can get through this without setting off the fire alarm. Luckily I don’t think even I can burn the house down in this weather.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Just Stick with the Weather

I have a feeling I'm going to be up late tonight, especially since it's a quarter 'til one and I'm still really wired.  I wish I could go dancing.  Yeah, that's a random little whimsical notion.  

My work recently gave me a new laptop, and this evening I was transferring some of my folders from my old laptop to my new one, when I suddenly came across the thread pasted below (last names eliminated, of course).  This appeared on facebook over a year ago, and for some reason I saved the entire thing in my "Personal Writing" folder.  I really don't know why.  Maybe I just thought it was an interesting debate.  But reading this conversation again did make me laugh a little.  Our poor unsuspecting friend asks one simple little question on her status, and somehow she gets caught in the crossfire of my and Shan's insanity.  I'm sure it's one big headache to try to talk to both of us at once...I don't know how anyone does it.    


Julie So... today is my supposed father's birthday. Should I call?
7 hours ago · Comment · Like

Jodi at 7:05pm July 10
Yes, you should. Life's too short and unpredictable to not talk to your dad, even a "supposed" dad who's probably an ass.

Shannon at 9:02pm July 10
No you shouldn't. You should not feel obligated to fulfill some kind of "good daughter" role just because he happened to be a sperm donor three decades ago.

Jodi at 10:21pm July 10
Do you sense the little angel and devil on each shoulder right now? I won't say which one is which. =)

Josh at 11:13pm July 10
If it were me I would call. Be an example.

Shannon at 12:39am July 11
A man earns his title "dad" by his unwavering commitment to his children. Otherwise, he is just the man who knocked up your mom. So why should the child have to pretend there is a father/daughter relationship that doesn't exist? Why should a child always feel uncertain about her role, instead of just accepting what is? Focus your energy on those who really have been there for you, instead of depleting your energy trying to fit into this preconceived father/daughter dyad that just isn't reality based. Well, unless he suddenly shows genuine remorse and suddenly becomes father of the year--then you can reassess the situation...(Sorry--I just feel adamant about this! And I feel that Jodi and Josh are hopelessly wrong!) =)

Jodi at 1:13am July 11
It's not about trying to fit into some stereotypical father/daughter relationship, it's about gifting yourself with a sense of closure. Right now your dad is still here, but someday he won't be, and when that happens, all of the things you wanted to say to him are just left hanging in the air. I didn't want to have to do this, but Shannon's argument is forcing me to pull out the big guns (oh, and by "big guns" I mean "corny song lyrics"):

"I wasn't there that morning when my father passed away...I didn’t get to tell him all the things I had to say...I think I caught his spirit later that same year...
I'm sure I heard his echo in my baby's new born tears...I just wish I could have told him in the living years….”

Jodi at 1:14am July 11
P.S. Isn't your dad's birthday over now? LOL

Shannon at 1:22am July 11
I am almost certain the term "closure" was invented by psychologists themselves to ensure that prospective clients would be in therapy for years to seek this so-called "closure." There is no such thing as closure, because life is not a movie with an ending, or a book with that amazing last chapter that ties up all the loose ends. There is only acceptance. Society tends to romanticize relationships that should exist, but don't. Just because a man (I am going to be blunt here) injects a woman with his sperm does not mean he automatically feels those paternal instincts, or even CARES. It is what it is, and the sooner the child/victim acknowledges that the non-relationship will never meet her expectations, and resigns herself to this, eliminating ALL expectations, the sooner that child/victim develops inner peace and reduces her anxiety surrounding the situation.

Shannon at 1:23am July 11
Jodi, are we even talking to Julie anymore, or are we just arguing with each other? LOL I am going to bed now, so don't write some brilliant reply back, 'cause I won't be responding, and it will appear as if you won this silly debate. Good night!

Jodi at 1:29am July 11
Well since Julie hasn't chimed in once to this conversation other than the initial prompt (and I'm pretty sure we scared Josh off as well), I think it's safe to say that we are just arguing with each other. And I will accept your going to bed as your resignation to my victory. =)

 Jodi at 1:32am July 11
Julie, next time you might want to simply ask about the weather...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Black Belt Test

Tonight Clint starts his black belt test!  I say "starts" because the entire test takes four days.  At 6:00 this evening, all of the black belt candidates will leave for the mountains.  At this point it's hard to say what will happen once they are up there, because all of the black belts who took this test in the past were sworn to secrecy.  But this is what we do know:
  • There is very little--to no--food (I think they get one energy bar a day).
  • The black-belt candidates wear ONE karate uniform for the entire four days, and are not allowed to bring a change of clothes (not even an extra pair of underwear).  The only article of clothing they are allowed to bring is one extra pair of socks.
  • At least one part of the test involves swimming.
  • At least one part of the test involves crawling around in the dark (they were required to pack a head-lamp).
  • If they bring anything that isn't on the approved list, it gets thrown in the trash.
  • They will be sleeping on the ground.  A "pillow" is NOT on the list.
  • Last year's black belts came back from the test blindfolded, filthy, and exhausted.
The irony is Clint just opened up a fortune cookie yesterday that said, "Get away from home awhile to restore your energies."  I'm not sure, but I'm thinking this getaway sounds like the exact opposite of "restorative." 

On my end, having Clint gone for four days is nothing out of the ordinary, but the fact that we can't communicate the entire time is something new.  He's not allowed to bring his cell-phone, so I will be left in complete mystery as to how he is holding up.

On Sunday, at 6:00 p.m., Clint and the other guys will arrive back to the dojo for the Black Belt Promotion Ceremony (and no, they do not get to shower first).  At this time, all of the candidates who passed the test officially receive their black belt, and then they are required to take a punch in the stomach from every sensei in the dojo, which can range anywhere from a dozen to twenty.  The ceremony concludes with family and friends enjoying a potluck.

I told Clint this morning that "Today is your day.  Anything you want to do, we'll do it."  He's laughing because he says I'm treating him like he's about to die.  At any rate, "Clinton's Special Day" includes World of Warcraft, Chinese food, and ice-cream, so I better get my butt moving.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Barrage of Photos

Wouldn't it be great if Blogger allowed you to embed slide shows within a post? Then I could avoid mile-long entries such as this one.  Shoot, I would just settle for Blogger letting me put photos side-by-side; that would be a huge space-saver.  I was going to imbed these photos within my last post in a way that followed the so-called "storyline" of our vacation, but I decided I'm not that ambitious.  That being said, here is a very LONG stream of vacation pics.  I suppose I could edit out some more, but I'm at Starbucks staring at tiny versions of these pics, so I'm just going to throw these on and be done with it.

Somehow the butts seem like the perfect way to symbolize the end of this photo stream (they were watching a squirrel, by the way).

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Back to the Desert

We got home from our vacation two days ago.  I love Idyllwild!  It was my first time camping there, and that place is a hidden treasure.  Well, not hidden from the thousands of tourists who I'm sure visit the area each year, but hidden from me up until last Saturday.  In July the temperatures are from the low- to mid-80s.  It's gorgeous.  I'll try to give the "short" version of our camping trip (HA), or else this entry will end up being a mile long.  I have lots of pictures too, but they're on my other computer, so I'll try to add them to this post later.

On Saturday we arrived to the campground.  Our campsite backed right up into the forest and had these huge rock structures.  The kids spent that first day climbing the rocks and using them as their castle/fortress.  We also went swimming, explored the campground, and played Boggle and Yahtzee.  Unfortunately, Clint has officially added Boggle to the list of games he will no longer play with me.

Sunday we decided to have a picnic at Lake Fulmor.  Again, it was so beautiful.  After our picnic, we went to the town of Idyllwild where they were having their annual Lemon Lily Festival.  We cruised all of the little mom and pop shops, treating ourselves to some frozen yogurt and a few souvenirs.  At one point we passed this tiny realstate office, and right in the front there were two baby raccoons hanging out on top of a cage.  The owner said I could pet them.  They were so sweet and soft.  One of the babies took my hand between his paws and cuddled with it, refusing to let go.  Apparently the owner rescues various animals and releases them into the wild once they are old enough.  Anyway, despite the hours we spent at the festival, I never did figure out what a lemon lily is.

Monday we spent the day at Soak City in Palm Springs.  It was incredibly fun, although the 108 degree weather forced us to stay in the water pretty much every minute.  We spent most of the day in the wave pool, which is my absolute favorite.  I love hopping on the inner tubes and letting the waves crash me all over the place.  When we weren't in the wave pool, we were in the lazy river.  Or the water playground, where the water was freezing.  But in light of the scorching heat, it felt really good.

Tuesday we had a "day at camp."  We relaxed, read books, and swam at the pool all day.  A family had moved into the campsite right next to ours on Monday night, and they had two kids close to Trin's and Elijah's age.  So the four kids played together all day while Clint and I sat around like lazy slugs.  It was awesome.  That night, we roasted marshmallows with a bunch of people who were camping with their church.  Being out in the middle of the woods at night, talking and laughing with people you barely was really something.  Around midnight that night, once we were asleep in our camper, Clint was awakened by loud noises outside.  It turned out to be a huge raccoon ransacking our ice chest.  He actually lifted the lid to dig through the contents.  Luckily we had moved our food back into the camper's fridge, so there was nothing in it but trash.  He did find a Caprison though.  He laid it on the picnic table and squeezed it with his paw, lapping up all the juice that squirted out.  Smart little critter.  Those suckers don't even need opposable thumbs.  Even though I'm sure it's not recommended, Clint and I left scraps out for the raccoon the next night, hoping he'd come back.  He never did, but the squirrels enjoyed the scraps.

Wednesday we went into town one last time to visit a local coffee shop and go to this little hole-in-the wall cafe for lunch.  When we came back, we decided to go hiking on some of the nature trails.  While we were hiking, Clint and Elijah saw a big red snake right before it slithered quickly under a rock.  I wanted to lift the rock so I could see the snake too (yes, I realize I have zero sense), but logic kicked in at the last second and I decided I better not.  After our nature hike, we went swimming.  That night we got together with the same folks from the night before and made s'mores around a campfire.  We all hung out until around 10:00, and then we headed back to our camp to put the kids to bed.

Thursday we ate breakfast, broke down camp, and headed home.  I can't describe how dis-spiriting it felt to leave that beautiful forest behind, only to enter the brown, dry furnace that is our desert.

The funniest moment of the trip was when Clint got attacked by a big ferocious beast.  He left the RV one night to take the trash to the dumpster, and I suddenly heard him shouting and making a commotion outside.  I peeked outside of the RV, and he was swatting around his face like a madman.  The trash bag in his hand had busted as a result of all his flailing, with trash strewn haphazardly all over the ground.  He also broke his key chain.  It turns out the source of this spectacle was a June bug.  Clint freaked out when the little fella (okay, he was sort of big) flew right up into his face.  It was just so funny, this big guy, almost a black-belt, being taken down by a June bug.  Oh, be right back....

Okay, I'm back.  I had to take a quick break from typing because Clint left to pick up Trin from her friend's house, but he left Metheusal, one of his WoW characters, logged in.  So of course I had to sneak in there and strip him of all his armor.  Clint just got back home to discover Metheusal sitting around in boxers.  Heehee.  That's what he gets for not logging out.

Okay, back to camping.  This is so unoriginal and cliche, but the one thing I love about camping is how you can take a step back from the pressures of life; from technology, from computers and blogging and facebook, and just enjoy the simple little things.  I loved waking up every morning to the cool air, sipping my hot tea amongst the pine trees while watching the squirrels play.  And it was those little moments that stood out.  Walking to the showers at night, or laughing around a campfire, or freaking out when Clint growled outside the camper, pretending to be a bear.  Maybe I'm only saying this because I'll never be able to afford a trip to say, Paris, but I would never trade the experiences of camping for any glamorous destination.  I guess I'm just not a fancy, hotel-dwellin' girl.  Luxury does very little for me.  Experiences do.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Off to Idyllwild

Tomorrow we were supposed to leave for Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon for a couple days, and then camp in Cottonwood for another three or four days.  That was until we discovered that the temperature in the Grand Canyon is supposed to be right under 100 degrees, and 103 in Cottonwood.  I have a high tolerance for hot weather, but leaving our triple digit paradise to vacation somewhere else that's equally hot seems to defeat the purpose.  So this morning we cancelled our reservations in Arizona and decided to go to Idyllwild instead.  I'm excited!  We planned out several fun activities, including a tram-ride up into the mountains and a day at the water park.  Plus the temp is supposed to be in the mid-80s, which is perfect for swimming, etc., but not overly hot.  I'll be sure to post some pics when we get back home.  Until then, whether you're in California, Kansas, Colorado, Texas--okay, this could go on for awhile--let's just skip the other ones and say have a great week!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Opalista's Crummy Spider-Killing Skills

Elijah loves World of Warcraft, but he never really gets higher than a level 14.  At that point, once the quests start getting too hard for him, he just creates a new character and starts all over again.  I'm not into WOW, but he begged me the other day to create a new character so I could play with him.  I said "No, no, NO!" until he finally bribed me by offering to do some chores.  At last, I relented, and created Opalista, as seen here on the left, and her pet, Snookums (I like to give my WOW pets tough, ferocious names).  Now Elijah's current character, Bluebanshee, was already a level 10, so Opalista needed to catch up to him pretty fast.  I'm unmotivated, and again, not much into online gaming, so I talked Clint into leveling her up for me.

After awhile, Clint finally gets her up to a 9 or a 10.  I go into the office to see how he's doing, and find him happily killing spiders in a cave with the help of some centaur chick.  I sit down with him for a few minutes, when suddenly he realizes that it's time to leave for his fight class.  He passes the keyboard over to me and says "Here, finish this quest really quick."  I panic and tell him, "Oh no, no way.  I'll die."  He reassures me by saying, "No you won't.  It's really easy.  You just have to kill three more spiders and then the centaur will transport you out of the cave."

Okay, I can do this.  I do, after all, dabble in WOW once in awhile over summers when Clint twists my arm to play with him, and this is just a little tiny level 10 quest.  So Clint leaves, and I take over.  Three minutes later, I call his cellphone.

"What's up?" He asked.

"I died."

"What?!  How is that even possible?"

"I was shooting a spider, and it kept swaying back and forth, saying 'evade, evade,' so I moved in closer and fell down a pit."

See?  This is why I don't do online gaming.  In real life, if I want to kill a spider, I wouldn't end up falling into a pit and turning into some spooky little glowing orb searching for my own corpse.  Online gaming stresses me out.

That being said, I think I'll log in for a few minutes and take Shimmer, my level 21 night elf, out for a spin.  It's time for her to visit her poor, neglected, giant pet spider and killer moth anyway.  Fluffy and Flutterbye are probably hungry.

P.S.  If you are ever playing WOW and run into Opalista in the Shadowsong realm, there's a 50% chance that she's actually a dude.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Amnesia Foam

Isn't it funny how we are creatures of habit?  Like most married couples, Clint and I have slept on the same side of the bed for probably the entire duration of our marriage.  Even after those times when we moved into a new house, we still ended up claiming our usual hemisperes of the bed.  So, naturally, it was a little bit of a surprise to me the other night when Clint suddenly announced that we needed to switch sides for a few weeks; maybe longer.  The rest of the conversation went as follows (me pink, Clint blue):
"Because the memory foam on my side of the bed won't pop back up anymore, and it's creating a dent on my side of the bed."
"So you want me to sleep in your dent?"
"Well, yeah.  If we switch for awhile, then it won't be so weighted down and it'll be able to return back to its normal shape."
"Unless you broke its memory and it's permanently squished.  Who's to say that it'll ever recover?  And now you want to take my perfectly good side of the bed and squish it flat too?"
"Nahh, it'll be fine woman.  Come on, switch with me."
"Uh uh.  You made your little pit of despair, now you've gotta lie in it."
I feel a little mean now about the whole thing, but I can't help it...I love my side of the bed.  It sinks in just the right amount, and then pops right back up every morning, fluffy and inviting.  It still remembers me.  I don't want to sleep on Clint's side of the bed, trapped in his big ole' amnesia-ridden hole.  I know, I'm a selfish brat.  But I guess it's habitual for me to be that way.  Maybe I'll go to Target tomorrow and buy him a really comfy pillow...or something.     

Friday, July 1, 2011

From Old to New

I was going to add these pics to the end of my last post, but that entry was already pretty enormous.  So here is my new Bible, although as characteristic of most photos, it looks better in person. It's made from a two-toned Italian leather, and feels very sturdy, yet soft. That leather ribbon in the front is actually green; not yellow (I'm not sure why it looks yellow here). The edges of the pages are silver, like the print on the front. It's a bummer that I have to cover half of my name for the picture, but it's sort of a necessary evil for me since I don't share my full name on this blog.

I've already cracked the spine. :)

Nice, large print!

Even though I love this new Bible, my old childhood Bible will always be the one closest to my heart.

I can't believe I'm finally retiring it.  It feels sort of bitter-sweet.  I wonder if my Great-Grandmother had any idea how much her gift would come to mean to me over the years.

Random Updates

I'm blogging from Starbucks right now!  I guess that's not altogether exciting, but I've never posted a blog entry from anywhere other than home.  I did do work from a computer here before, about four years ago when I had to clear my credential.  I remember I had to come up with eleven more items for my teaching portfolio, and my exit interview was that evening around 5:00 or 6:00.  I had to take the whole day off, and I finished all of my work at Starbucks.  But back then they charged for their WiFi; now it's free!  Awesome.  I might come here once or twice a week while the kids are in their karate class.

The rest of this entry is going to be really boring.  I'm just going to give updates on various things.  Here goes:

Bible Challenge: I'm currently on 2 Kings and have officially read 590 pages, although my page-count just jumped up due to switching Bibles.  Yesterday, I went shopping with Teri, and ended up buying myself a brand-new Bible.  I figured it would make a good congrats-gift to myself for sticking with this challenge (one month down, two more to go!).  Thus far I have been using a Bible that my great -grandmother gave me for Christmas in 1988, and for the most part I have been content with it.  But it is a child's Bible, complete with colored illustrations, not to mention the book is absolutely thrashed.  All of John and a chunk of 2 Corinthians completely fell out, and my grandpa had to use his book-binding machine to glue them back in for me about six months ago.  But yesterday, while browsing through all of these beautiful new Bibles, I finally broke down and decided a "grown-up" Bible sounded really appealing.  I found the one I wanted and purchased it for $55.  I know.  Ouch.  But it is so beautiful, and has a larger print that I can actually read without squinting.  Plus it has my name engraved on it in a pretty, silver script.  I might take a picture of it before posting this entry.  I am so crazy about it.  But, like I mentioned earlier, it did change my page count.  My last Bible contained 1,048 pages; this one contains 1,969 pages.  It was thrilling to see my page-count jump up by 150 pages or whatever it was, but then a little bit of a let-down when I realized how many pages I still had left to go.  Anyway, my favorite book of the Bible so far is 1 Samuel. Certain parts of that book actually made me burst out with laughter, like when King Saul is trying to kill David, but everyone he sends to kill him ends up stuck in the city as unwitting prophets (it would be like cursing a really sarcastic, rude person to only being able to say sweet, sugar-coated things).  Finally, he decides to go to the city and kill David himself, but ends up prophesying too.  The whole thing was like the Bermuda Triangle, except for instead of a triangle, it's a city.  And instead of people mysteriously disappearing, they turn into prophets.  So I guess there is really no resemblance between this story and the Bermuda Triangle whatsoever.

Bookworm Challenge: I'm pretty much ditching it. Which is sort of ironic considering that I've finished reading ten books. But I know I'll never get around to writing the reviews. Plus I discovered an awesome site for book lovers: Shelfari, and I'd rather use this as my venue for keeping track of books and reviews. If you love to read, I would encourage you to check it out.  It is SO user-friendly.  I might even have Trinity create a Shelfari account since she loves to read so much.

Manuscript: I'm still at two chapters, plus part of the prologue. Both Shan and Clint have been helping me come up with more ideas, and I'm getting more excited, but still not accomplishing as much as I should.  I'm going to post an excerpt from one of the chapters soon.

Changes on this Blog: You *might* have noticed that I figured out how to swap out backgrounds on this blog. It's just a quick little manipulation of HTML, and now that I know how to do it, a monster has officially been created. Now I'm going to want to change my background every few weeks. The only problem is, I still haven't figured out how to stretch the background from end to end, which leaves an annoying line where the graphic begins to repeat. I have tried every thing I can think of to fix this, so if you are handy with HTML and want to e-mail me with some suggestions, I'd really appreciate it.

Blog Award: The Powerful Woman Writer Award was given to me via e-mail by a YA author who I stumbled upon through Shelfari. The blogging community is obviously a small world, because I came across her again on Kristyn's book blog (offering her a Best in Books award, or something to that effect). I know this fellow blogger gives out a ton of these things, so it's not anything special, but it still made me smile and I decided to display it for awhile. Plus her blog offers a lot of insight for anyone aspiring to publish for the young adult market. I added her button, "A Story Book Blog," to the bottom of my screen.

Art: I worked on my Japanese Maple yesterday, although now it's more of a Japanese Cherry Maple hybrid (those exist, right?).  Since it's been three months since I've painted, I pretty much think what I added yesterday sucked, but Clint assured me it looked good.  And since husbands always tell the truth....

Holidays/Vacations: We’re spending Independence Day at the lake with Shannon’s family (of course), but fireworks and such are actually on July 2nd.   In mid-July we’re going on a week-trip to Arizona. Two of those days we’ll spend at the Grand Canyon. Then, not so exciting, but in August we’re going to Vegas for three days. The only thing that makes this Vegas trip worth mentioning is:  1. By some miracle my entire family can make it (Mom/Dad, Grandma/Grandpa, Shan/Jeremy), and 2. The hotel we’re staying at (Flamingo Hilton) has an amazing pool.

Okay, I think that's it for boring updates and my cafe vanilla frappucino is now empty, so I'll post this now.  I'll try to add the picture of my new Bible later, once I'm at home.