Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ain't no party like a drug free party.

Our story begins with a phone call. Two weeks ago, my Dad called me in the middle of the day. This is unusual. He was calling regarding my Mom's upcoming birthday. It seems they would be in town for the big day, and he wanted to have a party.

This shocked me a little bit. My family isn't exactly known for their elaborate birthday celebrations. We don't hate birthdays. We just accept the fact that sometimes, you have to make your own birthday cake if you'd like one. You want something done right, you know?

But, this year my mom turned 50. And that's a big deal. So my Dad wanted to have a surprise party. And when the man who spent a lot of time trying to convince you that you didn't really NEED a wedding reception, requests a PARTY...you plan it. 

And plan it we did.

We told my mom that we'd like to make her a special birthday dinner, while she went on a special birthday date with my Dad. (The date they choose? Going to Wal-Mart to purchase new tires. Thirty years of marriage, and they still keep it spicy.) 

They left the house at 4:30 PM on Saturday, while we nonchalantly went crazy on the inside waiting for her to finally leave. Cory, Jesse, Tanya and I worked like crazy to get everything set up and cooked in an hour and half.

We tried to keep the decorations pretty simple with fresh flowers and pretty banner.

While everyone waited for the birthday girl to arrive (by far the most awkward time in surprise party planning), we had a little game set up (Thanks for coming early, and setting this up Lara!) to pass the time. 

We called it "Can you Gauge her Age?" and whoever guessed the most right ages from the pictures won. It was the perfect way for early guests to pass the time while we frantically set up and then waited. And waited.

But, in the end it all worked out. We were afraid she would see the cars parked out back and give away the real surprise, so...we had to take special measures.

I just love the giggles in the second picture--a whole room stifling giggles at once is pretty amazing.
While the initial laughter couldn't be held in, once the door was opened you could hear a pin drop. Then we yelled surprise, and we knew we got her.

I apologize for the blurriness. It appears my settings were a bit off. But, I just love these pictures of her. She was really, truly shocked. Also, dizzy from the paper bag over her head.She might have been a little bit traumatized from that ordeal. Can't win them all.

We ate some yummy food and chatted.

Then it was time for the cake. And yes, we went there. There were 50 individual candles on that bad boy. Lit the room up like a torch.

She almost got them all in one breath.

Her party was so much fun! Also, she couldn't believe that I was able to keep it a secret. Seems she has little faith in my secret keeping abilities. Now she doesn't know what to believe. I must say, sometimes its more fun to tell secrets.But SOMETIMES it's not. And then, I keep it. Usually. So there.

Cory got a little bit creative with the camera Sunday afternoon. 

Also, Tanya let me borrow book one and two of The Hunger Games series. So, I spent the holiday reading. Whoa. It was nothing like I expected. I was expecting a high school romance a la Twilight. I got an intense life and death struggle with a dash of political uprising. And I really hope she ends up with Peeta. I do believe today's lunch break will include a trip to the bookstore. I just gotta know how it ends. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Keep your words soft and sweet...

I've been eating my words lately. 

A few months ago I told a friend that I don't like green toe nail polish because it "looks like a fungus."

This will be the only picture I EVER post of my toes.
Well...at least for now.
Yesterday, I couldn't resist this green pedicure. 

I love my green toes. I officially take my former statement back.

Friday night, our Netflix movie came in the mail. The A-Team had arrived, and I was looking forward to a night of mindless action adventure. 

When I told Cory what we would be watching that evening, he said, "Umm...We saw that. We weren't impressed."

I insisted that I had never seen the movie as I put it into the player. He politely disagreed.

I held firm throughout the previews. So did he.

Finally the main menu came up. I watched the opening sequence. 

Then I remembered. 

It's an awful movie.

We laughed, and I quickly took it out of the player and back out to the mailbox. I'm not giving that movie one more second of my life.

You're looking at a steel trap.
So, I take that back too.

Wanna know what I don't take back? My Saturday morning Salvation Army steals.

They wouldn't refund me, even if I wanted to return something. Store policy.

On Saturdays, almost everything is 50% off. Which is awesome.

I've got plans for this stuff in our new apartment. The clay pots are going on the porch, and the wire basket is going to corral our silverware someday soon.

The books were a true STEAL. All hardbacks: $1.00. It was really tough not to just buy ALL of them. But I limited it to these four. 'Cause dollars add up. You know?

The Julia Child gem is going in the kitchen with the other cookbooks in my collection. I don't really "use" cookbooks per say, but... someday I might. And on that day, I will be ready.

But my favorite find (and, at $4.50, my big ticket item), was this paper sorter:

Maybe it doesn't look like much to you, but I've been looking for this exact thing for the past five months.

It was made for my free craigslist desk:

Seriously. I have been looking for that EXACT thing. I love when things work out.

I'm finding more and more that things usually work out. Which reminds of this quote I saw a few days ago, that I just can't get out of my mind:

Can't say it any better myself. Really. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Let's Make a Deal

Cory had 10 blissful days of summer vacation. Now he's back in classes. 

He works so, so hard on his school work. (And gets the grades to prove it. Who makes 125 on a final exam on Circuits? Who??) 

I guess it's hard for him to find a comfortable position after a few hours at the ol' desk.

Apparently the hours spent at his desk are taking a toll on his neck and upper back, because lately he has been constantly requesting massages.

Turns out, I'm not really a "massagey" person. My fingers are tired after the first 15 seconds of a back rub. Also, it bores me.

But, I have discovered that Cory will do almost anything for a back rub. This discovery has led to a sort of bartering system in our relationship.

We're still working on developing a baseline for what things are worth in the economy of our marriage.

I offered Cory 20 minutes of massage in exchange for coming with me to the grocery store. (That is basically an eternity in massage years.)

He declined.

But he counter offered me one clean kitchen, while I did the grocery trip by myself.

After much inner turmoil, I accepted.

I love to haggle, so I'm pretty excited about this new development.

A few people from our stake went to Georgia this weekend to help with tornado clean up. Cory went with his Dad and brother to help.

It was so weird to have him gone for the weekend. I missed him, and I couldn't sleep without him. The extra seven hours this inability added to my day really upped my productivity. I don't think I've EVER done more in one day than I did yesterday. I hit up a short-lived tennis match, bridal shower festivities, crepetastic girls night out, cleaned/vacuumed the house top to bottom (including laundry!) and finally got around to painting my trashy dresser.

Read the full makeover post on Pile o' Craft, if you want.
 To keep things balanced, today I haven't been productive in the slightest. Nothing but church and bloggin'. And lemon squeezin'.

I got a sweet hookup from my friend Elizabeth this week and got a ton of lemons. Fortune smiles upon me as just last week, I found an awesome jadite juicer at a thrift store.

I felt so, so cool using my strainer.

 I also felt like a huge nerd. The entire time I had quotes of Alice Walker's short story, "Everyday Use" running through my head. I bought the strainer to look pretty on a shelf, "as if that was the only thing you could do with quilts" strainers, but realized I'm definitely "backward enough to put them to everyday use."

Oh Alice.

If you've never read it, you should. Then we can talk about what a wretched punk Dee, excuse me "Wangaro", is, and how the phrase "mossy teeth" makes you wanna throw up.  Click here to read the full text online.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ode to My Mother

Dear Mom,

You are awesome. You are the perfect mom for me. 

People say that I look just like you. Can I just say, I really really hope they're right?

Photo via Kim Brock
See? You're gorgeous.

Also, you're great with kids. Not only did you raise five amazing (if I do say so myself...) kids, you teach  other people's kids how to be awesome all day, every day too.

Your grandbabies are so lucky. Jefferson can't resist you, even in the most trying
of times.

Thanks for teaching me things. And helping me out when I get in way over my head. I love that you're the first person I call when I find awesome trash on the side of the road...

And then you're always there to help me turn aforementioned trash into something great (along with your trusty husband...but his post will come, okay? Also, you did a really good job of picking him out. Just so you know. Thanks for that. Really, really.)

In fact, looking back, a lot of our relationship revolves around "projects" like that one. You gave me the confidence to try things, and the knowledge to know how to make my crazy ideas come to life.

I always think of you when I go into a thrift store.

I thought of you the whole time I painstakingly filled my metal scoop with vintage buttons in one such a store on Friday.

Yea...I sifted through a giant vat of vintage buttons and hand picked only the very "best" into 1/4 cup scoop the shop allotted. 

Hey, at $2.00 a scoop, I'm only getting the good ones! Just like you taught me.

My definition of best also includes things like Jadite strainer measuring cups and old wooden spools of thread. You taught me that too.

I'm grateful I have a mom like you. Cory is grateful too. He says, "Thanks for making my Lindy!"

Also, he designed a card in your honor. We both camped out at my craft station this afternoon, and made some mother's day cards. Cory picked out the colors, and design. And had a little bit of a meltdown with a glue stick. But redeemed himself by teaching me how to properly fold paper in half. Like, exactly in half.

One for each of our wonderful mothers.

Yours should be arriving via post any day now.

Thank you for being my mom! I wouldn't be the same (or alive) with out you!


P.S. I currently have poison ivy poisoning. It sucks. And looks like leprosy.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Stick a Fork in Me.

Alright guys.  I am the proud recipient of a Bachelor's degree in English Literature, with a minor in Psychology! 

It feels so good to be done. Not that its been particularly difficult to get done.

Sometimes, when I look back on the past four years I've spent earning my higher education, I feel lazy. I see Cory slaving away at his desk every single day, working out problems that take hours of his time, and then making perfect scores on extremely challenging tests and wonder, "Should my education have been more like that?"  

And then I think, "Nah."

My degree wasn't that hard for ME to earn, but I know it would be the ultimate challenge for others. Writing papers, reading short stories, and interpreting hidden meanings in texts would be a nightmare for someone else.(And by "someone else", I mean "Cory"). For example, I just finished a class which required me to watch chick flicks and bromances and make coherent conclusions about our modern day society and its attitudes towards gender. This is not for everyone.  But the fact that it came so easily to me, lets me know that I choose the right degree for me.

There is something to be said for choosing the path of least resistance. I've really enjoyed my college education. I've learned a little about a lot of things. I can tell you about Pompeii, popular music trends, meteorology,  dinosaurs, poetry, Frankenstein and a lot of literary theory. I've written countless papers, and researched until the wee hours of the morning many a time. Earning this degree took work, but it was fun!

 But you know what else takes the path of least resistance? Water. 

And just look what water can accomplish.

Boom. The Grand Canyon, baby. 
That makes me feel better about my choices.

Four years ago I choose to attend Florida State University. This wasn't what I thought I would choose at the time. But, they liked me. They kept sending me informational packets with pretty pictures of a dreamy campus.

I'm such a sucker for southern charm. The scholarship they offered didn't hurt either. 

When I first applied to FSU, I told them I was planning on majoring in Elementary Education. It seemed like a nice, practical choice for me. Three things convinced me to change it:

1. I really, really love reading and stories. Ever since I learned to read, its been my favorite thing to do. Once I learned to read, I quickly changed my career goal from the vague "Artist", to the still vague but more prestigious "Author and Illustrator".  As in, "What would you like to be when you grow up little girl?" would be answered,  "An author and illustrator." ( For the full effect, you should also know, I pronounced my "R" sound like a "W" until I was about eight.)

2. I took ENC 1102 at the local junior college my senior year of high school. I loved that class. My professor was hilarious, and his excitement for the literature we were studying was contagious. I worked really hard on my final paper for that class, but felt sure that it would never measure up to his standard of greatness. We exchanged papers for peer review, and after reading a classmates argument, I was even more sure that my paper was not up to par. After class, I over heard another student talking about the paper she had reviewed. She said that the person who wrote it knew exactly how to say what they wanted to, and then said it hilariously. I got a little bit jealous of whoever had written that paper, and I was sure my paper was going to fail. When we got our papers back I found out that she had been talking about MY paper! And the teacher had added his own note to say that he agreed, and that I was hilarious. He also wrote that I needed to be more careful with grammar and spelling, but let's not dwell on that.

3. I was already wavering, but the final push to change my major to English came when I read Dave Barry's guide to choosing your college major. This is what he has to say: "If you can regularly come up with lunatic interpretations of simple stories, you should major in English."

And so, I changed my major to English. I then spent the next four years of my life in the Williams building at FSU. This is where I learned to come up with lunatic interpretations like a champ.

Good bye Williams building. You have served me well.
So, now that I've completed the major that I choose, what on earth will I do with a degree in English 

In my dream world I would get to be the editor of the funny stories people send in to Reader's Digest. I don't think that is going to pan out for me so...yea.

I've been working at the Graduation section in the Registrar's office at FSU for almost three years. I like helping students, and I've learned a lot about the university, and myself. For instance, did you know that when I feel stressed for long periods of time I get nauseous and throw up for days on end? I learned that little gem last week.

All of last week. 

If all goes according to plan, I'll be working there full time soon! I'm excited to continue to help students and learn things, and to have a steady income while Cory finishes his degree in Electrical Engineering.

 Someone has got to support this lavish lifestyle we lead. Am I right?

So, FSU, you've given me a lot. And, it looks like you'll continue to give. I'm liking this little arrangement we've set up.