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I don’t really even know how to start this. 

Ska music is, and always will be, a part of who I am as a person.  Growing up my parents didn’t like any “new” music, but ska music forced its way into my soul.  It was cheerful and bouncy and never fails to make me happy when listening to it.  Ska music was the catalyst that introduced me to my best friend Amy.  I am forever indebted to ska music for the friendship I have with her.  I’ll never forget the apprehension and excitedness and how hard it was for me to reach out to the pretty girl that sat behind me in class (or was it in front of me? I can’t remember now…) and tell her that I liked her backpack, I liked the FIF patch, and OHMYGOODNESSSOMEONEELSEKNOWSWHATSKAMUSICIS!!  And she liked my hair clip and the rest is history.

I guess some people already know this, but I did not: OC Supertones is making a new album! If they can get funded, that is.  They are one of the classic Christian ska bands from the 90s/2000s, and my personal favorite.  I’m going to be donating to their Kickstarter project, and I ask you very nicely to please do the same?  We have 18 days to come up with another $10,061 and if I had that much money I could give it to them in a heartbeat.  For just a glimpse of what this band means to me, read one of my blog posts where I wrote them a letter.  This was the first ska band I heard, and I can’t even describe how excited I am to know I’m going to get new music from them.



So, go to the Kickstarter page, listen to their new song (here’s a link to some lyrics), and give them 100 bucks. Or $50. Or $25. Or $5. Or a dollar. Just help them, please, a tiny bit, for me, and for the world.

This weekend was the madness of scraping popcorn, sanding, caulking, sanding, priming, painting a ceiling and priming walls. So. Much. Work. We decided to hold off on scraping the popcorn off the ceilings of the bathrooms and extra bedrooms due to time constraints, our bedroom is the only one that got scraped – and it was during the process of that one that we decided we just didn’t have time to do three more rooms, even if they were small. So those will be projects for later dates.

Friday I went to the paint store and spent a ridiculous amount of money. Between that visit and the one last week I have bought: 20 gallons (total) of primer, 10 gallons of flat ceiling paint and 10 gallons (so far) of eggshell wall paint. I also have a gallon of semi-gloss paint in the ceiling color for the bathroom ceilings, a gallon of oil primer for the cabinets, and a gallon of super-durable-fancy semi-gloss white for the kitchen cabinets. We are getting our paint from Kelly Moore, slightly more expensive (only slightly since I get a discount) but hopefully a better quality product. So far it’s been a good choice and the folks at Kelly Moore have been more than helpful.

The color we selected for our walls is Kelly Moore’s Dubai Sand (you can visit their website and search to see the color, but it’s not totally accurate on the screen). We wanted something that looked like White Sands, New Mexico and Dubai Sand fits the bill nicely. It’s a little grey, a little brown, and not very in-your-face. It is the main color for the house so we wanted something that would fit in all over the place. Since the color is so light already we just mixed it at 50% strength for the ceilings. This leads to our ceiling color being a very beautiful shade of super light light brown (and not anything like the ugly brown that was on the walls!). So far we LOVE it. We were a bit concerned when we were done painting (at 9:30 at night) because the paint looked a little yellowish, but we were happy to see the next day that it’s much more tan than yellow. While the guys were doing the painting and spraying I was in the garage working on the kitchen cabinets. Two coats of oil primer have been applied to all the doors and MAN that was exhausting work. They’ve had two full days to dry so now we need to sand them down and start on the actual cabinets. We are doing a classic white for the doors with copper hardware and I can’t WAIT to show you the finished product. They’re gonna look pretty!

Tomorrow we will start painting the walls and priming the actual cabinets. I can’t WAIT. We are still on a time crunch, but I think we’ll be able to do it.

Now that you’re somewhat updated on the house (with the glaring exception of pictures) I want to share with you the COOLEST THING EVER.

See, It’s not often that I see something so amazing that I have to literally hold my hand back from hitting “add to cart.” If I hadn’t just bought the house, I would probably have already bought this. And it’s not the cost that is holding me back: 50 dollars for a print this unique and amazing is nothing. No, I haven’t bought it yet because I don’t know where I would put it. Right now I’m debating between the hallway, the entryway, or the half bath. I was looking for something cool to put in the front entry when you walk in, but I think it will be a little close to my bright sunrise game room. It could work in the living room, but Justin and I would probably rather have a huge map on the wall. I might smuggle it into my family picture wall (location to be determined still). Of course, with Benjamin’s room being “Science theme” I could put it in there. Maybe that’s what I’ll do.

It’s very convenient to be able to look at something I love and go “Nope, this won’t fit with our decor” but it’s heartbreaking when you see something so awesome and can’t find a place for it. I’m just gonna have to get creative!!

I’m going to try to start a new tradition: Miscellaneous Monday. On any given Miscellaneous Monday I will share something (or two) I’ve found on the Internet that might pique your interest. Today we’ve got two things!

The first: The Simple Wife ( )

Let me tell you, don’t click this link without grabbing some tissues first. The Simple Wife is the blog of Joanne Heim, a woman living in Denver who recently suffered from a massive stroke. I don’t really have appropriate words to convey what has happened in this blog since her stroke on January 11th… you’ll have to read it for yourself. Suffice it to say that the love that is expressed on the pages of her blog have literally made me weep. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a big crybaby anyways, and anyone who knows me very well knows that nothing makes me cry more than the triumph of the human spirit. Seeing people be strong in the face of adversity – in real life, not in the imaginary world of books and movies – has warmed my heart. Go, follow her husband as he provides updates and speaks lovingly about his 19 year companion. Cry. Pray for her and their family. Take a minute to thank God for your own family.

Also, they have a separate blog that isn’t updated as often that deals with their marriage, specifically dealing with a marriage in which the husband is bipolar (it’s linked on the main page). Can I just tell you how much I am loving reading these archives? Man. What an amazing couple.

Ok, that one’s done, now for the fun one.

Rosewell, Texas ( )

A graphic story by L. Neil Smith and Rex F. May detailing a alternate universe where Davy Crockett survives the Alamo and Santa Anna dies, resulting in Texas being its own country. The story surrounds the UFO landings in Roswell and while it took a bit for me to get into it, I absolutely fell in love with it about a third of the way through it. It paints a picture of Texas that any libertarian would love to see, as unrealistic as it might be. And if you’re a fan of history you’ll love the characters the pop up randomly throughout the story – my favorite was Gene Roddenberry, but then, I don’t want to spoil it for you. Go, read, enjoy.

Ok, I’m posting these nursery pictures because I love what we did but the nursery is NOT DONE! We still need a crib.  We will get a crib, but not until a few days after Benjamin is born because it’s traveling from my sister-in-law in Magnolia and it won’t probably make it before he gets here.  It’s not worth an extra trip for someone since I have the pack-n-play in my bedroom for the first few weeks (at least) anyways.  Also, the nursery is missing the rocker we have, but that’s because it’s currently in regular use in the living room.  That will probably end up in my room initially anyways.  So, keep in mind that it’s still in progress.  We haven’t added maternity pictures to the walls yet either, but we’ll probably add some of them in the room when we develop pictures next.  So, all that disclaimer, now, pictures!

First, lets look at how it was before:

The curio cabinet has a TON of knickknacks that are now boxed up in my garage. I will eventually be strong enough to part with some of my mom’s treasures, but that day is not today or tomorrow or probably anytime soon.  There’s a huge couple of boxes of CDs that still need to be gone through, and the chair is at my friends David and Judy’s house, David is repairing some damage to the wood for me.  The jumparoo is a bit big, but that was a gift from my friend Alyssa and has already been utilized by visiting relatives and I fully anticipate getting a lot of use out of it.

Bookcase.  The only thing different with this is the stuff on top has been relocated and the stacks of books have somewhat been re-organized.  The two shelves on the left are all my fiction and the shelf on the right is all my non-fiction.  And no, that’s not all the books I own, but it is most of them. Thankfully.  I refuse to relocate these bookshelves, do you have any idea how long it took me to get these suckers together and all those books alphabetized? Yeah, I don’t know either but it was a LONG TIME.

Yeah. Stuff was broken.  There were sweaters.  Backpacks. Crazy stuff.  Maracas.  Amazing framed art by Frank Wu (I moved that piece off my wall because the glass broke but I have several of his pieces on my walls; he’s incredible!)

So now lets take a tour of the room….

…this is the view of the door to his room…

This is what you see as soon as you open the door:

To the left you’ll see the crib mattress leaning against the wall. As you guys know we went for a science theme.  So there’s a chemistry poster, a cloud poster, and against the back wall some random stuff about science experiments.  The solar system mobile is AWESOME and put together by Justin and I.

Over here is the changing table and the toybox.  Also, beautiful diagrams of the cell and the periodic table of elements.  Note the border: it reminds me of the borders from my science classroom as a child.

And yes, Benjamin has a toybox, but it mostly has stuffed animals and spoons and outlet protectors in it for now.  Oh! And in the corner is my AWESOME handmade diaper bag from Babyness Custom Designs.  It’s halfway packed with stuff to go to the birthing center with me, so it’s out and about.  I can’t wait to really start using all this crazy stuff.

This is the closet.  Got the boys to fix the doors.  Top shelves are clothes from Alyssa that won’t fit yet, second shelf is thick blankets and my iron (since the ironing board is against the back of the door and won’t be leaving there anytime soon) along with sheets and thin blankets.  The clothes are self-explanatory, that’s just the 0-3 months for the most part.  In the black crate thing I have more clothes, books, and random other baby stuff.  And my chicken dance Elmo.  Because doesn’t every baby need a chicken dance Elmo?

Here’s a close up of the mobile.  It will hang slightly over the crib.  We did this today and I am SO FREAKING PROUD of it!  We hand painted everything, which was fun and slightly messy and probably good practice for elementary school.

I made Justin do the earth. He is WAY more artistic than I am.  He wasn’t super happy with it, but I think he did an AMAZING job considering we had standard cheap paint and brushes.  You’re looking at Africa.  I love the clouds.

So, there ya go.  Our nerdy, nerdy nursery.  When we get the crib we’ll also get some awesome bedding that is science/astronomy themed and will match the diaper bag.  It will fit nicely with the mobile.

I hope you guys enjoyed the tour of his room.  We’re really, really, really happy with how it turned out. And you can see the flickr set here if you’re so inclined.

Now I just need a super-cute baby to put in the room!

In 2003 I did a journal project where I wrote a poem a day. I made it 6 months. Most of them are completely terrible. I need to take a break from cleaning so these are a few that I don’t hate. Sometimes I wish I could write again, but honestly I’m not that person anymore.  Much happier now, at any rate.  Enjoy!

The staircase stood
(towering above the fearful boy)
Rounded hand rails
Oak finished, sanded, stained
(his young hands already calloused)

And the early morning air
Crept in through the mailman’s slot
(he felt the chill against his lips)

The boy stood
creation finished
(he feared the staircase)
his feet did not move

and the staircase fell
with his first step
(he didn’t fear anymore)
-January 6, 2003

And the little girl
Ran away from all she knew
And then found herself
-January 26, 2003

The blank page
tells a story
of love lost
of hope abandoned
of treasures mistaken.

The blank page
tells a story
of men and women
dying before their time
of children lost
before they learn to write.

The plank page
tells a story
do you hear the cries?
-February 11, 2003

A man’s weight in gold
is but an ounce of his worth
to our Master’s heart
-February 20, 2003

The tears
wipe away
any trace
of your joy

i see you here
amongst the brambles
pain and blood aside
i have become you
-March 13, 2003

Open door
A breath of fresh air
Sweet escape
-April 6, 2003

The air in the morning
Is somehow more crisp
Though my schedule be long
and my feet sore already
I breathe in the sunrise
as the dawn is still dark
For I know it inches forward
to light my day
-June 9, 2003

Hey everyone! I just wanted to let all the locals know about the Legacy Business and Craft Expo my church is putting on.  Lots of great local businesses (including my Aunt’s!) come check it out!

Saturday, Octobert 17th
Legacy Fellowship
2423 S Bell Blvd
Cedar Park, TX
(Next to Jungle Juice)

She saw the old man and his old dog every week day somewhere along 9th street downtown. Sometimes twice a day, when she walked from 7th and MLK to 9th and Vale to get some coffee. It was .67 miles each way, or one thousand three hundred and forty-one steps.

She and the old man didn’t communicate. She saw him more often than she saw her father, who lived 9.3 miles or eighteen thousand six hundred and thirty-five steps away. She didn’t communicate with him either, so she figured it was fair. Communication was always difficult. There was too much she wanted to say, to ask, her curiosity always got the best of her and then she embarrassed herself, or them, or both, and honestly it was just too… she sighed. Always her mind would whirl and twirl, a thousand miles a minute and too much for her body or mouth to keep up. It was why she stuttered and why she sometimes stared at objects with no way to think of what they were. She knew exactly what it was and what it could do, and could describe it with a thousand descriptions, each one as poetic as the next. But what was it called? The words were not there.

But no matter. She passed the man, keeping her head down to make sure she wasn’t stepping on any cracks. She’d stepped on a crack once, when she was 8. Her mother was in the hospital for a week with a pinched disk. She truly believed that if she stepped on a crack she would break her mother’s back. She had experienced the child’s rhyme and so she avoided anything but the smoothest of sidewalks. She walked and she counted. Counting her steps was the easiest way to avoid cracks, it kept her focused on cracks and where she’s going and kept her focus away from the people touching her shoulders and walking past her laughing and talking and smiling in the happy way they did.

The old man always seemed to be laughing or smiling, especiallly at his dog. But then, she really only saw his face when he was sitting, leaning against a graffiti stained wall with his dog strewn about his lap. The pup was too big to be a lap dog, but he’d rest his head along the old man’s calf and throw a paw or two across his thigh. She never saw the old man’s face when he was standing, but she always recognized his dog on the faded purple leash and his tattered pants that had been worn thin by the elements. Her eyes never got past the ground a few feet in front of her, and she hardly saw higher than anyone’s waist. How often she wished someone had asked her to stand up straight, to look the world in its face. But she hadn’t ever been told to do that, and so she never did. Her eyes were focused on a world without faces and smiles, a world where she could watch where she was going.

She had never seen the sky.

I’m a big wannabe. I wannabe a writer. I wannabe a knitter, a crotcheter, a stitcher, a sewer, a baker, a candlestick maker, a photographer, a potter, a painter, a cake-maker, an artist, a mechanic, a jewelry maker, a chef, a poet… I could keep going, but you get the point.

I have, at some point in my life, invested money in almost every one of these “hobbies” with the full intention of becoming wonderful at it so I can make things I love myself instead of buying them from others. Sometimes this works out: I know simple basics of jewelry making, I can cross stitch… I’m acceptable in the kitchen. But more often than not my dreams of crocheting end up knotted on the ground and my jewelry making tools stay in their hobby box for years, forgotten.

This is a problem, you see, because I’ve been sitting here the last 2 hours trying to decide if I wanted to learn to crochet (tried once: failed) or learn to knit. Forget the fact that I’m following a budget this year, forget the fact that I don’t have time to play my favorite video games much less get a new hobby… I was seriously trying to think of which one I wanted to do. And what book I would try this time. And how I’d pay for it. And what great stuff I could make! Oh! Lets look up PATTERNS!~

It’s a sickness. “Hobby wannabe” addicts anonymous, here I come!

Whenever I go training classes for work we all have to state our name, agency, years of service, and some hobby we have. Do you know what I usually say? Sleeping or playing video games, and then I feel horrible about it for the next 20 minutes. If I had a hobby, I’d think, I could impress people with that.

I think a lot of this stems from youthful jealousy at my sisters Jean, who excelled at every artistic thing she touched, and Jennifer, who could beautify even the ugliest people with makeup and curlers. That’s not really fair to them though, because I’m sure they were jealous that I graduated early and was always referred to as the “smart one.”

But there is a little bit more to it, too. I love helping people out, and it’d be much easier to give someone a blanket if all I had to buy was the yarn for it. I much prefer giving and receiving handmade items over store-bought. Soon I’ll have children of my own, and since my husband and I have decided that happiness is more important that money we’ll always be watching our budget. So penny-pinching is important and I’ve always thought you could save money by sewing things at home instead of buying them.

My main problem is that I want to learn everything. Even as I’m learning to bake bread I think hey, I should get back into cross stitching. And as I’m cross stitching hey, I should really learn how to sew for real.

Does anyone else have this problem?

The older I get the more I think I really do need to learn a few skills. If nothing else, basic sewing skills would be good. I might never make my own shirt but if I can learn how to hem pants or fix a hole in a sweater… that might be good stuff to know.

Maybe I’ll look into that. Right after I get done learning more about how to make a good homemade BBQ sauce.