Monday, April 23, 2012

Something for Everyone

"Look for the good."
--My hubby

Happy Monday! I've noticed a lack of concentration in myself lately. Therefore, I couldn't decide what to blog about. Lucky for you, I'm trying to put off starting my editing work for the day, so I'm going to write about everything on my mind recently.

  • I have a sweet friend in the hospital on a ventilator fighting cancer. She has a son Jack's age, and my heart is hurting for her family. Plus, my great-aunt died unexpectedly this weekend. She was very close to my Granny (my dad's mom), and Granny will certainly feel her loss every day. While both of these things suck, they only reaffirm my belief that God works in mysterious ways, and while I don't always understand what He's doing, I'm thankful for the blessings that accompany each tragedy. "Sing for joy, O heavens, and be joyful, O earth, and break forth into singing, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people and will have compassion upon His afflicted." (Isaiah 49: 13)
  • I got these cute shoes a while back. They're red patent leather ballet flats. And I realized that you can wear red ballet flats with almost anything. I also realized that these particular shoes are the work of the devil and make me want to take them off and slap whoever made them across the face with them. It's like they hone in on the softest, most vulnerable skin on your foot (that little spot right under the ankle bone), and they rub against them mercilessly until you cry out in pain. But oh!, they are cute.
  • The children spotted some green anoles making sweet lizard love on Mo's windowsill. I'm not sure which amused me more: the fact that the event prompted lots of questions from 6-year-old Mo, or the fact that 10-year-old Jack thought he had all the answers.
  • I changed the heavy window panels in my master bedroom out for some crisp white sheers, and the result may have changed my life. It's so bright and airy in there now. I really like the look for spring and summer. Turns out, I really like sunlight.
  • I got crafty last week and made a wreath. I bought a wreath form and some pretty yarn from the craft store, pinned one end of the yarn to the form and started wrapping. It took about three nights of really good television viewing to wrap the whole thing. Then I added this cute little peacock feather embellishment. I may add more flowers or something to fill it out a bit. It's not my favorite artsy-craftsy project, but it's cute and has given me ideas for future projects. So there.
  • Dried cranberries may be the world's most underutilized food. I've become kind of addicted to them. I eat them straight from the bag, add them to oatmeal (to make it less like school paste), and give them to the kids to make them think they're eating candy while I slip them a few vitamins. I also discovered this surprisingly tasty salad. Combine steamed edamame (not in the shell, silly), dried cranberries and feta cheese in a bowl. Chill in the fridge, and enjoy. Yum-o! And it would be really pretty around Christmas with the red, green and white.

The end.

Have a great week.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Into the Lion's Den (or the bird's cage)

"Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain."
--Mark Twain

Well, I did it. I faced my biggest fear.

If you'll remember, earlier in the week, I posted about meeting my neighbor's bird. While I was still feeling pretty good about not freaking out about Elvis, I decided to ride the wave of courage to Riverbanks Zoo. They have this Lorikeet exhibit, which I'm sure is pretty cool if you're not terrified of birds.

You buy a little cup of nectar for $2 and then go into this area with dozens (if not millions) of colorful Lorikeets, which were much, MUCH bigger than I ever remembered them being. You hold out the nectar, and birds fly to you to eat.

I went with my mother, sister, niece, nephew and two children, because it's harder to cower when there's an audience. And my sister was kind enough to videotape the whole thing for your amusement. My mother enjoyed the scene from safely outside the exhibit. 

At one point early on,  you'll hear my Mo scream, "I don't want to do this now!!!" So I may or may not have passed some bird anxiety on to my youngest.

Notice how the birds would not come to me, while my niece was like the Lorikeet Whisperer in there. Maybe Lorikeets can sense fear. Or maybe they had heard that I tend to flail when birds fly around my head. Regardless, they mostly avoided me. And I was okay with that. But I did manage to have one on my hand long enough to consider the venture a success.

I can't say I've completely conquered my fear. Turns out the bird on my hand wasn't nearly as disconcerting as the ones swooping overhead, and my legs felt like Jello-O for a good hour after we left the exhibit. 

The true challenge will be on vacation this year. Seagulls are big and gross and they like to eat my snacks, so if I can manage a day on the beach without freaking out, I'll check #21 off the bucket list.

Enjoy. The video ends abrubtly. Don't adjust your computer. It's not you; it's me. Or my phone's camera, to be exact.

I expect lots of praise and congratulations from my friends in this, my finest hour.

Tell me about a time when you faced your fear. 
I'd love to know I'm not alone in all of this.

Monday, April 16, 2012

It's a BIRD!!

"Hear the birds? Sometimes I like to pretend that I'm deaf and I try to imagine what it's like not to be able to hear them. It's not that bad."
--Larry David

Okay, folks. Forget Motivation Monday. I have big news on the bucket list. BIG NEWS, I say.

Anyone who has spent any time with me outdoors knows I have a problem with birds. A phobia even.

See, I had this sweet pet lovebird when I was young. His name was Bo, and I loved him lots. Bo liked to fly around the house and perch on the highest point in the room. Usually that was the ceiling fan.

Well, one ill-fated day, Bo flew up to the ceiling fan when it was on. He was knocked down the hall and was never the same. After that, he attacked any hand that came close. He wouldn't just peck; he would clamp down and twist, causing serious pain.

From that day on, I have been completely terrified of birds. I think they're pretty, and I have lots of pictures of them in my house. But I think they're gross and out to get me, what with all that chirping and swooping.

Well, a neighbor-friend asked me to do some work for his company (yes, I actually do work. Shocker, I know!). As a neighbor, we cut up, but now that he's paying me for editing services, I felt as if I needed to dress/act professionally for a meeting at his office. I even applied makeup for our meeting.

So I go in prepared to talk shop. The kind professional at the front desk escorted me to his office and I sat down across from him at his desk. Then I looked up and saw this:

Are you kidding me?! Are you kidding me?!
I met Elvis the bird. He was perched not 5 feet from me face, so I was torn: Do I freak out and tell my neighbor-friend that we must abort the mission because I am having a panic attack, or do I push through the phobia so we can conduct our business and I can get the heck out of there?

Here comes the BIG NEWS part: 

I managed to maintain my composure for a whole hour so we could discuss business. The bird stared at me, ruffled his feathers a few times and plotted to kill me at a later date, but he pretty much kept to himself.

As soon as I closed my notes on the meeting, I shared with my neighbor-friend my problem with his bird . . . which he found amusing.

I don't think I can check #21 off the bucket list just yet. But I am definitely one step closer.

My next step is to head to the zoo to feed the Lorikeets. Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia has a Lorikeets exhibit where you walk in with a cup of nectar, and the birds are free to attack you (I mean, fly to you) to get the nectar.

I'm hoping to post on that soon!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Motivation Monday: A Little Springtime Color

"There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice."

--John Calvin

Easter may be over, and our colorful dyed eggs have mercifully found their way to the garbage. But I found a simple way to inject some springtime color indoors to brighten up the mirror over our fireplace mantle.
I found a book of scrapbook paper on clearance and bought some plain construction paper in coordinating colors along with a sheet of alphabet stencils.
I put Mo in charge of picking a word to go on the banner. She picked "faith," which was a relief, because her favorite word right now is "awkward." Although that may have been appropriate as well.

Jack cut out six triangles (big enough to accommodate the letters we were using) of scrapbook paper, each a different pattern, and Mo traced the letters onto solid construction paper. I cut the letters out because I was pretty confident that if the kids did it, there would be tears. Probably mine.

I glued the letters to the triangles, punched holes in the top two corners of each, threaded twine through the holes, and tied it across my mirror. And voila! A nifty shot of color.
Any word or phrase would work--a last name would be nice . . . Or happy birthday or congratulations for a special occasion. The sky's the limit.

I've also done these as teacher gifts using the teacher's last name.

I think it's super cute, and since the paper I bought is double-sided with a different pattern on each, the mirror reflects even more color. Bonus!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Motivation Monday: Happy Holy Week

"He is not here, for He is risen"
--Matthew 8:6

Jack and his friends at church have been working on this song for Easter. Now, I am usually a traditional, hymns-only type of girl, but this one gives me chills every time.


Arise, My Love
by NewSong

Not a word was heard at the tomb that day.
Just shuffling of soldiers feet as they guarded the grave.
One day, two days, three days had past.
Could it be that Jesus breathed his last?

Could it be that his Father had forsaken him?
Turned his back on his son, despising our sin.
Oh hell seemed to whisper, "Just forget it, He's dead."
Then the Father looked down to his son and he said..

Arise, My love.
Arise, My love.
The grave no longer has a hold on you
No more death sting
No more suffering love.

The Earth trembled and the tomb began to shake, and like lightening from Heaven
The stone was rolled away. 
And this dead man the guards they all stood there in fright
As the power of love displayed its might
And suddenly a melody filled the air
Riding wings of wind, it was everywhere
The words of creation had been longing to hear.
The sweet sound of victory, so loud and clear.

Arise, my love. 
Arise, my love.
The grave no longer has a hold on you.
No more death sting no more suffering

Sin, where are your shackles?
Death, where is your sting?
Hell has been defeated. The grave will not hold the king.

Arise, my love.
Arise, my love.