kickboxing, laura, my class

Chad and I starting kickboxing last week. I'm excited that we've found something we enjoy doing together in the form of exercise. In the past we've run together. I have a love/hate relationship with running. I hate doing it but I love the way it makes me feel when I'm done. I am pleasantly sore from our kickboxing ventures. The class is small and nonthreatening. The teacher is competent and fun. The price is feasible. I am looking forward to working on my flexibility and strength.

Laura is visiting from Ecuador. When she is here things are upsidedown. We stay up late and put everything on the back burner. She is one of our closest friends in this world. We went to college together and share an extensive amount of memories. She does mission work in Quito, Ecuador. Seeing her is encouraging, fun, relaxing, and a comfort. She loves Jesus more than most people I know. Her close relationship with Him is contagious. It reminds me of days past when I was more excited about my relationship with God. We had coffee and muffins at my favorite coffee shop this morning. We sat on a leather couch, sipped our hot drinks, laughed, and talked deep. I am blessed by our friendship.

Two more classes and I am finished with the semester. Teaching has been harder than I thought it would be. It has been a huge stressor. It has reminded of how to enjoy my free time. I will not teach again next semester, but I will begin volunteering in the nursery at church. Maybe helping with the babies will help me with my baby craziness. Or maybe not.


broken car

I am at my husband's office this morning. We left my car in the parking lot last night, for logistical reasons. This morning it would not start. Thankfully two of Chad's coworkers are mechanics on the side. They diagnosed the problem in 10 minutes. They laughed in disbelief as they looked at my poor car's rusty spark plugs. Chad felt dumb. He isn't extremely mechanically inclined but he knows about spark plugs. We should have had them changed multiple times! This explains why my car has had NO power lately. It is an '87 Honda Accord, previously owned by my grandma. Poor little car.

We leave for Thanksgiving this afternoon. We'll spend the long weekend I Illinois with Chad's family. It will be an interesting holiday. His parents are in the midst of a divorce after being married for 27 years. We are hoping the time at home will be one of bonding through the diffucult circumstances. Chad has three younger siblings ranging in age from 17 to 21. We are looking forward to being with them and with his mom.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!



I've been down lately. I've gone on two great business trips in the past 4 weeks. One to Vancouver and one to Dallas. They throw me into a tail spin. When I'm at home I focus on working toward being debt free. I enjoy home, cooking, and being domestic. These trips make a different part of me come alive. I love the world of design -- researching, shopping, talking. I love the cities. They wake up dorment dreams of living in a skyrise, walking everywhere, eating sushi, working at a prestigous design firm. Then I come back to Arkansas. Being married to Chad has changed my life path. I love being his wife, but the past dreams haunt me sometimes. I miss them.

Also, Chad and I are in a low spell right now. It happens from time to time. We don't have much to talk about. I wonder if he is sad on the inside and doesn't realize it. (His parents are in the midst of a divorce.) Life flies by and we keep surviving. We don't fight, but we don't really love either. It makes me sad. But I know it will pass. It always does. Sometimes I worry, "What if this dry spell lasts for a YEAR?"

The other thing is my constant struggle with wanting a baby. I see other women with their pregnant bellies and my heart flips over. I do not understand this longing. It is as strong as a tidal wave. It makes me ask questions like, "If I don't have a baby soon, will it be too late?" It is the only issue that Chad and I are not like-minded about. I've come to terms with it multiple times, surrendering it over and over, and finding peace again and again. I am sad because Chad isn't able to listen to my feelings on the issue without getting stressed out. He thinks he needs to fix the problem, but I only want him to listen.

There are many reasons to be thankful but I am still sad.


nearly perfect weekend

Don't you just love it when you have a great weekend? Chad and I got along really well all three days. It was so nice. We were on the same page, the same wave length, and the same mindset.

We camped with friends, Casey & Traci, Saturday night. I smoked my Cohiba birthday present from July. I'd been saving it for an occasion like camping or the drive-in because it was a long smoke. It was great. We made hobos in the fire. The boys shot their guns. The rain waited until we were safe and asleep in the tent. We stayed dry.

We rushed home Sunday morning in order to be able to go to church. Usually I'm totally okay with skipping church. Not many people have heard me say, "Oh, I can't do that because I don't want to miss church." Lately it has been different. I've been LOVING church. It is filling a hunger in me that I gave up on being filled a long time ago. We sang loud and strong and eagerly listened to our favorite speaker give the message. We left feeling high and in harmony with each other. We ate lunch at our local mexican standby. As we munched on chips and salsa we talked excitedly about what heaven will be like someday. This earth is not our home. It was good to be reminded of that.

Dinner was McDonalds, a rented movie, and homemade white russians. The cat was in an affectionate mood. She kept me warm. Chad and I laughed at the silly movie. Even though it was a dudd, we had fun together. I feel lucky that we found each other. Not just lucky... thankful, happy, and blessed too.


matrix revolutions

I went to my first opening night movie last night. Matrix Revolutions. I bought tickets from a coworker. Chad and I have a terrible track record with movie theater experiences. We rarely go because it feels so expensive. (We're renters.) When we do go we end up arriving to the theater with seconds to spare. Last night was no exception. We were doing okay until we got about a mile from the theater. Traffic was backed up onto the highway. We sat waiting and tried not to freak out.

We finally arrived to the theater at 6:55 for our 7 o'clock showing. We rushed into the theater wondering if we'd be able to find two seats together. As we walked up and down the stairs straining to see the seats, we saw several people we knew. They waved excitedly to us. There were no extra seats near them. Finally we gave up and retreated to the dreaded front row. I struggled against my instinct to pout, complain, and sigh. Chad wasn't happy either. (He handles these types of situations better than me though.) As we settled into our seats directly under the huge screen we heard someone yelling our last name. We turned around to see our friends waving at us. They had scooted over, and made room for us. We jumped up like little kids and happily plopped down next to them. The seats were in the middle of the room! :)

The movie was okay. I definitely liked the first two better. Why is it that sequels have such a hard time measuring up to the original movie? It was fun to be in an opening night crowd. Everyone was quick to laugh and and react. I expecting clapping at the end, but it didn't happen. Maybe everyone else was slightly disappointed as well.


little fire, shared cigar

Last night Chad built a fire on our back porch. He used his portable charcoal grill to contain the fire. My husband loves to build fires. He piddles, adds, rearranges, and pokes the entire time. I stare, relax, and think. We shared a cigar as we did our own fire thing. It was a Cohiba from Ecuador, thanks to my college friend, L, who lives in Quito. We passed it back and forth until there was half an inch left. Then we threw the butt into the fire so the dog wouldn't eat it.

It felt good to spend the eveing at home. One great thing about being busy and overwhelmed is that you treasure down time. Too much relaxation results in boredom. It was great to soak up an evening at home.


fast week

It is already Wednesday. The week is flying.
My positive attitude and motivation are waning. I came back from my trip so high. It didn't take long for the combination of lack of sleep and the pressures of work & teaching to push my emotions over the edge. Last night Chad and I sat in a corner booth at our favorite local mexcian restaurant. He drank horchata (a sweet rice drink) and I nibbled on chips. He listened to me tell about my day. As I neared the end of the day's events tears starting falling. I dabbed my face, careful to avoid the new nose ring. He listened and held my hand across the table as I went on. When I finished talking and crying he prayed. Usually his prayers are super short -- one or two lines at the most. But his words lasted longer last night. He asked God to give me strength, confidence, and hope.

Today has been a little better. I recognize and appreciate the good things in my life.
The trick is balancing the good stuff with the things that drive me crazy. I am learning. Tonight is going to be all about home, the couch, the fire place, leftovers, and just BEING.


a new week & a new look

I am refreshed. The trip to Vancouver did wonders for my attitude at work. I am happy to be home. I have outtles of work today. My desk is a mountain of job folders. Lots of things came up in the three days I was gone. Normally the changes would have sent me through the roof -- huffing, puffing, ranting, raving, griping -- you get the picture. Instead I am okay. I'm happy. I remember the reasons I like working at this company. I remember the awe and relief I experienced in my first weeks here, almost three years ago. Day in & day out of being here had made me forget. Being away at the conference reminded me of the reasons I like my job. I have real purpose here. I will make the changes to my almost-finished Fathers Day cards without complaining. There is a good reason for the changes and I believe in the end they will be better cards.

In other news, I got my nose pierced while in Vancouver. It is something I've wanted to do for over 2 years. I like my nose. I found a clean, sterile, professional place to have the piercing done. They had the jewel I've always wanted... a tiny silver stud with a saphire (light blue) jewel in the center. My college friend/fellow designer, Brian, went with me. He let me squeeze his hand as the lady put the needle through my nostril. It hurt like the dickens. As we walked away from the shop -- I was actually skipping I think -- I told him, "Thank you so much for being my moral support! I feel like giving you $100 dollars."


Chad likes the change. I knew he would. We had discussed it many times. He likes a little bit of punk here and there. It is exciting to have a change. Something new.


the end of the conference

Here I am. At the AIGA Conference, in Vancouver, my new favorite city. I am sitting in convention center Hall 1. The mainstage speaker has on HUGE glasses like the ones I wore in 6th grade, 15 years ago. I don't understand.

The conference has been a disappointment to me. The word "sustainability" has been the center of each speech and event. I have no problem with the environmental agenda, but I do not understand what it has to do with graphic design. I was hoping to see examples of design inspiration -- logos, book covers, magazine spreads, posters. Instead I've listened to bio-chemist talk about the population levels of foreign countries and philisophy professors talk of the ethical implications of the latest scientific experiments. I am not inspired. I am depressed.

The trip has been a success though. I am here with two design-friends. We have explored Vancouver together. Our discoveries have resulted in much inspiration. Specialty paper/card shops, funky shoe stores, a metal furniture store, Granville Island's former industrial district, temperate rain forests, the Pacific bay, harbors full of boats, wonderful coffee, the Rockies, and multiple restuarants have brought brightness and wonder back into my job. I am grateful for the opportunity for such inspiration.

Thanks to Brian (one of the design friends) for working out my html bugs. I am excited to continue posting on a regular basis. Apologies for the laspe between posts.


at home today

I am posting from home today. The house is dark. It is a rainy day. I have choice windows open in order to hear the rain sounds. My plan for today was to tackle the house. It's been weeks since the washer and dryer have been used and since the bathrooms have been cleaned. I decided a personal day was in order. Work can wait. (I'm so thankful for a job that makes it easy to take a day off. My previous job wasn't that way. I'd approach the big man with fear and trembling just to ask for a few hours off. The card company I work for now is all about family, priorities, and balance. I just say, "I'll see you guys on Monday. I'm taking tomorrow off." It is amazing.)

So the plan was -- I'd get up super early and tackle the house. Clean like a maniac. Hmp. 7:00 rolled around. Chad got up. I told myself, "I'll get up when he gets out of the shower." Nope. "I'll make him breakfast. No, he'll want donuts..." Chad said goodbye and headed to work. I stayed in bed. Finally at 8:30 I got up. I made half a pot of coffee and grabbed my laptop. I am happy to sit here in the dark, still waking up, listening to the rain. Who cares if the house doesn't sparkle. I am enjoying this time alone. The quietness is sweet. Life gets so loud and fast. People, people, people. I guess this is one of the rare days when I enjoy solitude. The need to be alone rarely hits me, although the older I get, the more I crave it.

at home today

I am posting from home today. The house is dark. It is a rainy day. I have choice windows open in order to hear the rain sounds. My plan for today was to tackle the house. It's been weeks since the washer and dryer have been used and since the bathrooms have been cleaned. I decided a personal day was in order. Work can wait. (I'm so thankful for a job that makes it easy to take a day off. My previous job wasn't that way. I'd approach the big man with fear and trembling just to ask for a few hours off. The card company I work for now is all about family, priorities, and balance. I just say, "I'll see you guys on Monday. I'm taking tomorrow off." It is amazing.)

So the plan was -- I'd get up super early and tackle the house. Clean like a maniac. Hmp. 7:00 rolled around. Chad got up. I told myself, "I'll get up when he gets out of the shower." Nope. "I'll make him breakfast. No, he'll want donuts..." Chad said goodbye and headed to work. I stayed in bed. Finally at 8:30 I got up. I made half a pot of coffee and grabbed my laptop. I am happy to sit here in the dark, still waking up, listening to the rain. Who cares if the house doesn't sparkle. I am enjoying this time alone. The quietness is sweet. Life gets so loud and fast. People, people, people. I guess this is one of the rare days when I enjoy solitude. The need to be alone rarely hits me, although the older I get, the more I crave it.

My second cup of coffee is gone. It is time to clean. Thanks for reading!


snack city

I am thoroughly caffeinated this morning. I awoke at 5:00 in order to prepare for class tonight. I drank coffee and listened to Nora Jones as I worked. It was dark outside. The quiet state of the house was nice. It is time to begin teaching the second software program. This 5 week section will be the most challenging. I feel more prepared for this class than I have for the others. We will see.

Bible study was last night. I was in charge of snacks. Sunday I stayed up late making them. (See: blue bowl incident in the previous post.) Monday afternoon we squeezed in a Walmart trip for last minute items. We arrived at bible study 15 minutes late, stressed because we had the food. My arms were full, my cotton shirt wrinkled, my hair in my face. I walked into the amazing home with the highest ceilings I've ever seen. The kitchen counters were full of cupcakes, chips, cheese dip, homemade cookies, sodas and hot dogs. Elaborate autumn ceramic bowls and plates held the food. I had difficulty finding a place for my plain-clear-glass-casserole-dished items. My blue Walmart sack looked odd in the immaculate kitchen. I would not have signed up for snacks if I had known the hostess was going to serve enough food to feed 30 people.

The bright side:
We have lots of leftover bean dip and peach crisp to eat.


beloved blue bowl

The blue bowl is broken.

My husband's great grandmother's house is still full of her stuff. She has been gone for years. The house is on a farm in the country; no one lives there. When Chad and I were engaged we visited. His grandpa said we could have anything. We got six wooden chairs that might have been made by the great grandpa. We also got multiple kitchen items. A few fireking jadite plates, several colorful mugs, and a simple wooden rocking chair. My favorite items we got were a set of four mixing bowls. The largest is yellow, then green, red, and finally blue. The little blue bowl was my favorite one. I used it all the time.

Last night Chad and I got home from a weekend trip. It was 10:00. We were tired. I had to make snacks for a bible study we have tonight. I hurridly threw together a peach crisp as well as a yummy bean dip. ("Bean dip" sounds nasty, but this dish is awesome. It has sour cream, salsa, and tons of cheese in it. Someday I'll post my fav recipes.) I attempted to clean the kitchen as the dishes were baking. I moved fast, back and forth, back and forth, loading the dishwasher, wiping counter tops, throwing food back into the fridge. I rinsed the blue bowl and attempted to set it into the dishwasher. It flew from my soapy hands in slow motion. I let out a gasp as it smashed against the tile floor. I said, "ohhhhh no!" Chad was nearby at the kitchen table balancing the checkbook. He came over and hugged me as my covered my face with my hands.

In the midst of this "crisis" I knew it was just a bowl. I was still upset. It was special to me. It was over 100 years old. It survived generations of use. I dropped it because I was in a hurry. After sweeping up the pieces and throwing them away, I recuperated. I felt lucky for Chad's kindness. He understood my breakdown and comforted me in the midst of it. I will shop around at local flea markets for a replica of the broken bowl in order to keep the set whole.


This day is better. I am finally out of my funk. Probably because it is Friday. I didn't want to turn into one of those people who lives for the weekends. But here I am, singing the weekend song....

I am also happy because one of my work friends is going to have a baby. I eat lunch with two girls everyday, E and S. We go to E's house to get away from the office. For months E and I have been talking about babies babies babies nonstop. S, on the other hand isn't so keen on babies. She is on the pill. E and I are not. Guess who ended up pregnant? S of course! She is shocked, overwhelmed, giddy, and excited. E and I are estatic, overjoyed, and amazed. I am not jealous or envious in any way. This lack of darkness is a pleasant surprise. This is the right time for S. (Even though she's only been married for three months!) Of course I still worry. Questions pop into my head almost everyday.

"......If S got pregnant on the pill, and I haven't gotten pregnant OFF the pill, what does that mean about my body? Is it working? Will we end up adopting? Will I be an old parent.......?"

Despite the never-ending questions, I am happy. I am happy to be part of S's life right now. I'm happy to fill her water container with purified H2O. I'm happy to go maternity shopping with her. I'm happy to hear about how she's feeling and to hear about her name ideas. (She's sharing her ideas with us! None of that secret stuff.)

I am also happy because Chad and I are spending this weekend in Dallas. We're helping our friends move. The friends who I love. The ones from college who I feel 100% comfortable with. I am excited to work hard helping them move, clean, arrange, organize, and be in a new home.


Here I am... after over a week of no blogging. This lapse of time seems to be a trend in the circle of bloggers I know. Life is full. Blogging is not a necessity. I have been juggling too many other plates to include blogging in the mix. Now I have a few minutes of spare time so here I am...

Let's see what has happened:

Chad and I helped some friends move to a camp last weekend. It was awesome to get out of town. We enjoyed nature and being together. We had things to talk about. We dreamed about the future. We came back home depressed because of our jobs. We try to be content, but we're not satisfied. We want to be somewhere else. Ecaudor? The Buffalo River? Montana? My fear is that I'll be discombobulated at any of these other places, too. Where do we belong? What is our purpose? At least we have each other. This fact is a comfort.

I haven't written in over a week and I still don't have anything to say. The number one things on my mind lately are:

1. I hate traffic.
2. Flylady.net is helping me with me house.
3. My friend is having a baby and I'm jealous.
4. I'm dreading teaching my class tonight... it's getting worse.
5. I am in the mood to watch television.
6. I want to shop.
7. I think I need to exercise.
8. The weather is perfect. (This pisses me off cause I'm in a office ALL DAY LONG.)

This list is totally boring, so I'm stopping now.
I write again when there is something to say.


Last night while at a restaurant I watched a family at a nearby table. There was a toddler, a little baby, parents, and grandparents. The mommy was talking to her inlaws about her pregnancies. All the while, she was softly holding onto her baby boy's foot while he slept in his carseat next to her. My heart lurched. I swallowed, slowly pushing away tears. I turned to Chad; he could tell I was on the verge of crying. Confusion filled his eyes. Thirty seconds before I had been laughing at his humorous mood.

He hadn't noticed the family. I motioned toward them and said,
"Sometimes I want a baby so much I can't take it."


I had a wonderful Labor Day weekend. My husband and I stretched the three day weekend into a four day trip to Panama City, Florida. We went to visit my husband's childhood best friend, E. He is a fighter pilot in the Air Force. He's a bachelor and lives in a house on the water with two other pilots. They're conversations are full of military acronyms and fighter pilot lingo. It was captivating to listen to them talk.

At one point E said, "I have so much job satifaction flying the F-15 that if someone offered me 5 million dollars to do something else, I'd turn them down." Chad and I feel slightly different about our own jobs.

The four days were relaxing. It was perfect timing for us to get away. We've been incredibly busy for the past 6 weeks. Funerals, side jobs, home stuff, everyday duties, work, and on and on and on. I know everyone understands. When did life get so busy? we don't even live in a big city! How did this pace get ahold of us?

Back to the trip:
We slept in.
We spent time at the beach.
I read an easy girl novel.
I got a mild sunburn.
We ate out.
We went to the movies.
(We saw Open Range. The scenery was spectacular. I want to live in Montana.)
We watched tv.
We witnessed an amazing thunder storm.
We had Krispy Kreme donuts. (With coffee.)
We hot tubbed under the stars.
We held hands and kissed.

It was a wonderful weekend. I'm thankful today. I'm preparing for another class tonight. Last night was sleepless, dreamful, and restless. The cat bothered me until 1:00am when I finally got up to read and pray. I read a chapter in the new testament. It was my first time to read my bible in weeks. The words were familiar and boring, but they helped me get sleepy. I put the cat in the garage, turned the AC down 2 notches from the normal 77 degrees to 75. I finally slept. Although I woke again at 3:30 and slept anxiously until the alarm beeped at 5:45. Here I am at work, with the remains of an iced mocha from my fav coffee place. I treated myself this morning cause I 'deserved' it.

Catcha later!


I just had a crying spell in the bathroom at work. I miss my grandma. I recall her beautiful skin. It was like porcelain, smooth and soft. The last time I visited her she was in the hospital, confined to a bed. I applied lotion to her legs and feet. I was as gentle as I could be. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the lightness of my touch. I rubbed the lotion in thoroughly, taking extra care. I am pleased to have this memory. I miss her. I wish I had taken care of her more in her last days. Instead my aunt (theyoungesttree.blogspot.com) was her sole caretaker. The weight of this task was too much for my aunt and toward the end, she and my grandma had a fight. Now my aunt is tormented by the words that were exchanged. I feel partly responsible... I wish I could have relieved my aunt's burden as well as spent more time with my grandma.


I am a teacher!
I taught my first class last night. I loved it. The students were awesome. I have a full class of 20 with three on the waiting list. The computer lab was hot and stuffy from all the humming machines and close bodies. I sat on a high stool and tapped around with the laser mouse as the students watched the projected screen behind me. The class goes from 6:30 to 9:00 on Tuesdays. I was not able to eat beforehand because of nervous butterflies in my stomach. Once I began talking to them, I was fine. I didn't feel hungry until I was driving away from campus.

I am teaching at the university I attended several years ago. Being back on campus is strange and wonderful. I miss the late nights, backpacks, coed circles of friends, cafeteria conversations, and singing A Mighty Fortress Is Our God in chapel. Each day of my four years at this place was full of awe for me. I am grateful beyond words for the experiences. As I walked around campus last night after my class I took in the trees, the grass, the buildings, the sidewalks, the benches, and the paths. Each thing I saw held multiple memories. Students called out to one another, "Hey! There you are! Come join us!" Is it the first week of classes. They are all still meeting each other. I felt like Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society when he shows the boys the pictures in the foyer and tells them about "Carpe Diem." I wanted to tell the students the same thing. "Soak this up! Life will never be sweeter than this."


Back to normal life.
The past week was full of highs and lows. My closest friend from college visited from Ecuador. She's a missionary down there. She came for a surprise visit. It was a short one... only 2 days. We had a blast reconnecting. The lows of the week revolved around my grandma's passing away. I went to Texas for the funeral. My hubby joined me, but only for one day. I stayed for 4 days and enjoyed spending time with my six year old cousin, T. We've had a special connection since she was a baby. Every time we're together I wish she was mine. This visit we made a trip to a hair salon and got her hair cut. Her mother had whacked it off because of lice... beautiful blond hair butchered into stairsteps down the back of her head. And just when school starts, no less. The Penny's hair dresser was able to smooth it out. We bought girlie clips and fingernail polish on the way home.

The funeral was hard for me. I don't understand open caskets. Can someone explian to me why the older generations like it that way? If I could have been alone in the room with my grandma's body, I would have liked to talk to her and to cry my eyes out. But as it was, I made small talk with relatives as well as did my best to act light-hearted for T's sake. (Her dad brought her to the funeral despite advice not to. T's 4 year old brother was also there... running around like it was a fast food playground. Don't get me started.)

Now I'm home and back to work. I have an ear infection. I haven't had one since I was a baby. The doctor says the combination of allergy fluid and flying caused an infection. It's as if someone is jamming a pencil in my ear every few seconds. I cannot sleep well and I'm unable to hear. My own voice booms in my head when I talk.

And the other thing on my mind is the class I am teaching. My first class is tomorrow. I'm fuzzy-brained and not sure what I'll cover. I have a list of students... how will I ever remember twenty names? Three of them are named Rachel. That's what happens at Christian schools.

Sorry to moan and groan so much. I'm feeling overwhelmed and sad.
I miss my Ecuador friend and my grandma.


This has been the most emotional afternoon I've had in months. Ususally emotional Sunday afternoons hit me for no particular reason. Today there is a reason. There is more than one reason, in fact. The first, my grandma died last night. She has been fighting cancer for 8 months. She was on the phone with my aunt when she passed away. Chad and I will fly to Houston for the funeral and family gathering this coming week.

She is with my grandpa now. He died about 10 years ago. The fact that they're both gone is weird to me. I never lived in the same town as them, but I spent many holidays in their cute red brick two story home. Now it will be sold. I hope a happy young family buys it.

I will try to post thoughts and happenings with my new laptop on the trip.
Love you all....


Saturday morning. I love weekends. The day ahead is planned with multiple favorites. A trip to the best coffee shop around for a perfect bittersweet mocha with nutmeg on top, a stroll around the farmers market on, a visit to a new thirft store that is rumored to have namebrand stuff for pennies, and perhaps a trip to the annual Grape Festival in none other than Tontitown, Arkansas.

Tontitown is a neighboring Italian community. How Italians ended up in Arkansas is a mystery to me. There are several long established Italian restaurants on the main drag of T-town. I've never understood how it can be popular to sell fried chicken and spaghetti on the same plate, but it is an everyday occurance in this place. These are not the type of Italian resturants for litte black dresses or anniversary celebrations or candlelit dinners. On the contrary. This is the kind of place where oversized men wear overalls without a shirt underneath and feel free to belch loudly mid-meal. (I hate that word, but "burp" just doesn't do justice.)

But back to the Grape Festival. I love fair food. Corndogs, funnel cake, real lemonade, snow cones. Mmm, mmm. This festival also features grape ice cream. It tastes and smells like grape Bubble Yum gum. I have not decided if I like it. I do not ride the rides at fairs like the Grape Festival. Something about the fact that the rides were assembled the day before out of a semi trailor is unsettling to me. Plus, if the people running the rides are the ones who assembled them...yikes and no thank you. I don't usually play the games either. None of the stuffed animals are cute, although I think it would be fun if my man won something for me. (It is an unmet dream from high school.) Occasionally I will play the quarter game. It's the one where you drop quarters or tokens onto a platform while a bar pushes the pile of treasure incredibly close to the edge. If anything falls over the edge, it's yours. I've played this game multiple times, and nothing has ever fallen over the edge. Blasted rigged contraption.

If one looks for it, she will always find an older couple with a little kitchen/trailer combo at these fairs. They sell gyros, fried twinkies, turkey legs, cotton candy... I wonder if those couples are living our their dreams in that little trailer. Part of me thinks it would be fun to travel from town to town, selling junk to people happy to pay $4 for a corndog. Sometimes I husband and I dream about traveling the country in a motor home. A little one that I could drive. Maybe we'd have a motorcycle on a trailer behind it... a Honda Goldwing perhaps.

Well, I'm off to start this day.


Well, here I am using my new Powerbook. My good friend M sold it to me. He's a digital media guru, not a measly designer like me, so he's ready to upgrade... it's nice having friends on the cutting edge of technology. The keyboard and little mouse square are hard to get use to...

Now it's time to start preparing for the class. NO MORE PROCRASTINATING.
Today our couple friends are arriving for a weekend visit. These are two people that both my husband and myself get along with well. We went to college with them and we've gone on multiple vacations together. We feel the same way on most issues and we're able to rant & rave about the things we disagree on. We trust them. We are comfortable with them. I feel cool with them. I feel liked. Not judged. Included and valued. I am thankful for them and I'm looking forward to spending two days in their presence. Bring on the fun!!

Thank goodness for Fridays.
Have a good weekend everyone. :)


New York City. Chicago. San Fransisco.
I wish I were in a big city today. I'd wear blue lipstick. I'd get my nose pierced with a tiny blue saphire. No one would notice. No one would care. Autonomy. To be invisible. Unnoticed. Surrounded by people, but left alone. These are appealing to me today.

Last night I wanted to get away. I went to Barnes and Noble. My goal was to forget I was in northwest Arkansas. I wrote in my coffee stained, ragged journal. The cloth cover was beautiful and crisp when the pages were blank. I like how worn it has become. I didn't want my time to end at B&N. I wanted to stay indefinitely, but as 10:00 rolled around I headed to my car. The parking lot was humid and still. The moon was golden with hazy clouds passing over it.

Here I am at work again...
I can look out the window and see a meadow, a winding fence, two large pine trees, green grass, and a distant horizon of trees. The scene usually soothes me, but today I feel trapped. I'd rather be in New York. Anyone wanna run away with me?


What makes a good wife?

Being skinny?
Being a good cook?
Not nagging?
Fixing my hair?
Listening well?
Giving backrubs?
Mowing the yard?

Over the weekend we were at the InLaws house. I discovered a row of picture albums. I poured over the faded square pictures with rounded corners. Shag carpet and mini skirts to big hair and acidwash jeans. A youthful skinny couple in love to frazzled parents of four little kids. I drank in the pictures of my husband as a newborn baby. His perfect little baby body made me long for a baby of our own. Will our babies look like he did?

The pictures have stuck with me. We are in the very beginning of our life together. We've been married less than three years. I have confidence that we'll remain together, but will we stay happy? I want to be a good wife to him. The best. I want to make him the happiest man in the world. Like on our honeymoon when he whistled everything to the Bob Marley song, "I WANNA LOVE YOU AND TREAT YOU RIGHT."

The routine of life scares me. The 8 to 5 job scene creates a scripted conversation.
"How was your day?"
"Pretty good. How was yours?"
"Oh, the same."
"What should we do for dinner?"
"I wanna eat out."
"Me too. We should have leftovers."

How do we keep the mundane interesting?


I expereienced my first panic attack this week. It began at 9:00pm as was laying in bed wide awake next to my sleeping husband. I am slated to teach a college software class this fall semester.

I begin to picture myself in front of the classroom. Fifteen students staring at me. Eighteen year old boys muttering to each other, "She has no idea what she's doing. I know these programs better than she does. What a waste."

I try to breath slowly, but my heart keeps racing. Faster and faster. I can feel it pounding in my chest. I flip over. I flip over again. Back and forth. Back and forth. I silently tell myself, "You HAVE to think about something else."

I think about babies. I think about my friend's crazy yellow lab. I think about my job. I remember how clueless I was as a freshman in my software classes. I tell myself, "The students will be a clueless as I was. They won't know anything." I see myself in front of the classroom again. The students are staring at me. Brainy boys laugh as I fumble to answer simple questions, "She has no idea. I cannot believe I'm paying for this."

What happened to the good thoughts?!

I retreat to the living room and escape into the world of fiction until my heart stops racing and my eyes grow heavy. I return to bed near midnight and finally fall asleep. Now I know what a panic attack is.


Let's take a test.
Cold pizza for breakfast is:

1. Breakfast of champions
2. Disgusting
3. So-so

This morning on my way out the door I grabbed a piece of leftover Pizza Hut pizza. (Veggie Delight with stuffed crust.) As soon as my husband saw the pizza in my hand he freaked out.

"You're going to eat that for breakfast??!! Gross!"

My instant reaction was,
"Don't think I'm gross! I'm not gross."

As the his pizza bashing banter continued my reaction changed.
"You're the one who is weird! Tons of people eat pizza for breakfast. COLD pizza. It's really good. Have you even tried it?"

As I drove away from the house I temporarily lost my appetite. Our little discussion got me thinking, "Am I gross?" Then I realized how silly that is. I simply LIKE pizza. That's all. I eyed the pizza, sitting on a napkin on the passenger seat. I smiled, picked it up, and took a bite. Mmm. It was perfect. Even better than last night at the restuarant, piping hot. By the time I was half-way through the piece I began craving a coke. I stopped at the gas station on the corner and bought myself a 20 ounce Coca-Cola Classic.

45 minutes later, here I sit at work. I am happy. This happiness is due to a few factors:

1. I enjoyed the drive to work with my car-pooling/coworker/friend.
2. The caffiene from my coke is kicking in.
3. It is almost the weekend (I've always like Thursdays for this reason).
4. Lunch will be free today.


Red fingernails.
Revlon Red to be precise.

I rarely paint my fingernails. Recently I found out my husband likes crazy bright fingernails. I am a comfort/convenience freak. I sleep in the same worn t-shirt every night because of it's softness. My nails are usually short and chipped. (Although they grow like weeds.) When Chad made the comment about bright funky fingernails I thought, "It it time for me to pay more attention to how I look." I got manicure for my birthday. My nails are shaped and pretty for the first time in ages. I had them use a bright lavender polish. Two days later it was chipped and peeling due to my cooking blitz on Sunday. While shopping for groceries I steered the cart the cosmetic department. I found the brightest red available. Revlon Red, baby! I'm surprised at the outcome... I like it! Chad loves it too. Now he wants me to get a mini-skirt. This could get interesting.


Sometimes I get scared because time goes by so quickly.
I think, "Stop! Wait! I want to savor life. I need more years. More time for everything."

Other times I am exhausted by life.

Tired out by constantly caring about how I look. My hair. My stomach. My skin. And Tired of battling with Chad. "Why can't you understand me? Why can't you get me flowers for no reason? Why can't you be serious when I'm serious?"

I see elderly couples still in love. Sitting on a bench together with paper cups of coffee. Holding hands despite arthritis and wrinkles. Old men carrying the purse for their lady. Stripped down of pride, pretense, hypocrisy, busyness. When I see this kind of love I long for it. I want to be beautiful and lovely on the inside like these old people.

How do we get there now? How do we possess that peace, patience, brokeness, acceptance these old people have? Do we have to wait 40 years?


I like to cook. Sundays have become my cooking day.

Yesterday I made two things. Creamy Chicken Casserole and Chinese Chicken Salad. The salad was a HUGE success. I could eat it all day long. It consist of a variety of toasted nuts, crunchy ramen noodles, lots of cabbage, olive oil, vinegar, sugar, ramen spice packet, etc. The combinations are just perfect.

The chicken casserole on the other hand didn't end up being a favorite. It was my first time to make it. It got the recipe from my Taste of Home Ouick Cooking magazine. (Compliments of my mother-in-law.) The problem with most of their recipes is that they are TOO simple. The finished product usually reminds me of Hamburger Helper. (No offense to any H.H. lovers out there.) I just prefer less processed options. Unless we're talking about fast food. I LOVE McDonalds. Just ask Ellen.

Someday soon I hope to add a recipe link to my blog and share my favorites with you. The Chinese Chicken Salad will be at the TOP of the list! :)


My husband and I went for a motorcycle ride last night. It was our first time to ride all summer. His motorcycle is an 1983 Honda Askot, otherwise known as Crusty. He bought in college for $300. We went exploring.

THE GOAL -- to find the lake.

There is a lake near our house that we keep hearing about. We ventured east. I held on tight. I could tell Chad wasn't as confident with his driving since it had been so long. This made me a little nervous. Usually I don't have to worry... I'm married to the MOST cautious man in the world. We ended up on a well-paved windy country road. Woods, custom homes, deer, sunset clouds, new scenery. The cool air filled my lungs as we dipped into the valleys of the road.

I found my dream home... a bungalow with a porch, a red tin roof, and lots of windows showing yellow glowy light. I squealed with delight and yelled through my helmet, "Look at that house!!! I love that house!" Chad didn't answer because he was concentrating on driving.

We never found the lake, but it was a successful trip.


I am one inch taller than my husband. In high school and college I often said, "I would never marry someone shorter than me." Then I fell in love with Chad. We would have started dating a year earlier if the height thing hadn't existed. We didn't verbalize this fact at the time, but after we hooked up, it came out. We were both attracted to each other for the longest time, but were scared the height thing might make stuff uncomfortable.

The first time we held hands was awkward. I thought to myself, "We don't fit. His hand is too low." I swallowed these thoughts down and focused on his green eyes. It worked. After two years of marriage there are things I love about our heights. We don't get neck aches when we kiss. When we wrestle I have a chance. But sometimes it hits me again and I'm disappointed. When I see the 'ideal' couple in public... a guy with his arm slung across a girl's shoulders. Or when I stand next to a tall man and I feel petite in his shadow. I like that feeling. I get tired of feeling large, big, lumbering, German, etc. The fact that I've always been on the clumsy side doesn't help matters. There are the tall graceful types and then there are the tall cumbersome types. I'm the latter. My feet find things to trip over. My hands contantly attempt to 'save' objects tumbling to the ground. I find random bruises frequently.

My worst fear is that our unborn children will grow up to be shorter than me...
and that I'll end up being the tallest one in the entire family.


This blog is now commentable! ("Thanks Boogie's Mom!")

Now I just need to figure out how to make Links.
Help anyone?


I love candy. When I was little my mom was a health nut. Daily doses of homemade yogurt, granola, beans/rice, barley green, wheat germ, and whole wheat were common. I didn't taste coca-cola until I was five years old. (My mom has suffered with chronic fatique since she was 11 years old. Her health nut phase was an attempt to improve her health. It didn't work.) As I got older she relaxed about the heath food stuff. We'd grab McDonalds after school on her tired days. (She also has hypoglacimea?, so she has to eat often.) Other times while shopping she'd have a coke for extra energy. Our shopping experiences usually consisted of her sitting on a bench in the walkway of the mall while I held items up in the doorway of the store to get her opinions. I would always carry her purse to conserve her energy. 95% of the time we had to head home long before I was ready to go.

Back to my love for candy... now that I'm an adult, there are no rules. I can eat as much candy as I want. This is a bad thing. I overdo it often. I love starburst, skittles, shocktarts, sweettarts, sour patch, chewy sprees. Wow! I never realized they all begin with the letter 'S'. Sometimes I eat so much of this stuff that the sour stuff makes my tongue raw. (I forgot to mention sour skittles. If you haven't tried them, go buy a pack.)

I wonder if being deprived of candy as a kid has made me go overboard with candy as an adult. The weird thing is, because of the way I was raised, I feel like I have a lot of knowledge about health, vitamins, organic food, etc. Do I pay attention to this knowledge though? NOOOOO. I just keep eating candy.

(Thanks to my gift-giving coworker who gave me a POUND of skittles for my b-day! Red is my favorite flavor.)


My birthday was a couple days ago. (I'm 27)
The night before my big day I tossed and turned all night long. I was full of nervous excited energy. At about 4:30am I thought to myself, "This is silly. I'm an adult. I'm not suppose to loose sleep over birthdays anymore." These thoughts didn't keep my from waking every thirty minutes until the alarm went off at 6:30. I think the sleeplessness was a combination of things. One, excitement for my birthday. Two, dread and panic and fear that it would turn be a lame one.

I arrived at work to find my cubicle decorated with streamers and balloons. There were several cards scattered around my keyboard. I smiled, feeling happy. The day turned out to be a good one. My coworkers took me to lunch, I received a steady stream of cards throughout the day, and after work my husband, Chad, and I went to dinner and a movie. We rarely do dinner and a movie at the same time. We ate spicy Cajun food and saw Pirates of the Caribbean. Both were a success. After the movie he gave me a card. It turns out he got the same card he gave me for Valentines Day! The only difference was the caption. I laughed at the irony. You see, I work as a designer at a greeting card company. I think about images, copy, art elements, and captions all day long. I was not mad. I chose to laugh at the coincidence. (One can hardly be mad about a card that has two adorable cats on the cover.)

To end the birthday date, Chad gave me a cigar. And not just any cigar.... a Cohiba. I love these. They are mild and smooth and yummy. We have been smoking cigars for about 2 years now. It is a fun hobby we enjoy together. I usually smoke the miniature ones while Chad goes for the Churchills. We smoke them on our porch, at the drive in, at our favorite coffeehouse/bar, or while camping. This birthday Cohiba that Chad got for me is a big one. It's a MAN cigar. I'm super excited about it. I told Chad as we went to sleep, "The only gift that would have been better than the cigar is if you had said, 'Let's have a baby!' " He smiled and sleepily mummbled something about getting me another cigar.

It was a good day.