Thursday, November 30, 2006


"Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect."
-Oren Arnold

And, to a fellow crafter, a lovingly handmade Christmas ornament to hang on her Christmas tree.

On one of the blogs that I check daily, I was introduced to the Holiday Ornament Swap 2006. It sounded fun, so I signed up and forwarded the link to my mom, who I must thank for the crafty blood that runs through my veins. We both got in on the fun. And, today I sent my packages for their journey all over the world!!

This is the note that I sent along with each ornament:
"Hi friends,
Thank you in advance for sending me your beautiful Christmas ornament. These ornaments will adorn my first Christmas tree in my first apartment. I have had so much fun decorating my home for the holidays.
I have always been a crafty person [it's in my genes], but with the free time I now have [sorely missed through my four years of college] I haven't been able to motivate myself to get a project started, much less finished. My apartment was filling with craft supplies, and my time was filling with reading craft blogs, but I just couldn't start. Then this swap came along! Although I can sew and have just learned to knit, I chose to make these ornaments with my favorite craft supplies: patterned paper and a little bit of Mod Podge. Hopefully this project will give me the momentum I need to complete all of the Christmas crafts on my to-do list.
Along with this shabby chic ornament, I'm sending along my blessings for you and your family this Christmas and throughout the New Year!
Merry Christmas! Jana"

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Feast

"Thanksgiving, man. Not a good day to be my pants."
-Kevin James

The holidays have begun!! To start the season: Thanksgiving. I cooked my first feast. Rob and I celebrated Thanksgiving here in town by ourselves this year. Although I missed being home and visiting with all of my family, I was looking forward to celebrating low-key this year. It's funny how quickly low-key becomes not so much. I spent several days poring over my cookbooks and surfing recipe websites, trying to find the best dishes to prepare and serve on the big day. I tried hard to blend both of our traditions, making sure that nothing super important was left out. One last clarification of turkey cooking time, two grocery trips, three hours of cooking, and at least 7 dirty pots and pans later, dinner was ready. And only 25 minutes later than my expected serving time of 3:30!

I was doing so well at the beginning, cleaning the dishes as I went. But then the timer dinged, the water boiled, the gravy needed stirring--all at the same time. I needed like four extra hands and lots more counter space. Rob showed up just as I was transferring it to the table [he had gone to find a newspaper with Black Friday ads!] Just in time to carve the turkey.

The Menu:
Sage Roasted Turkey Breast [a 4.5 pounder takes 75 minutes!]
Mashed Potatoes [with my new Cuisinart stand mixer]
Gravy [gravy takes skill, which I do not have]
Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing [so-so taste, but super easy]
Sauteed Green Beans [my new favorite recipe]
Candied Yams [talk about sugar overload]
Pillsbury crescents [can't beat 'em]
Kroger Bakery pumpkin and pecan pies [a half pie of each, so we could both have our favorite]

Let's just say after we stuffed ourselves, we spent the afternoon scouring the ads, watching a little football, and then going back to bed.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bodies and babies

"I always have to remind myself that I'm human and that the potential of the human being is that there's a magic that can happen within that... That's where it can bring you beyond what your body might be able to do. I'm so excited just to go there and just let it unfold."
-Clara Hughes

Today a group of us from work went to the Bodies exhibition downtown. The exhibit has been in town for the last few months, but of course I didn't around to seeing it until it extended its stay. I wasn't sure what to expect; however, I'm still reflecting on it. It made a stronger impression on me than I thought it would. At least a hundred people have been dissected and then preserved by acetone and polymers, showing the different body parts.

There were probably ten rooms, each highlight a different system of the body: respiratory, circulatory, etc. At one point all of the nerves had been extracted and were pulled out to show how they extended from head to toe. In another exhibit the body had been dissolved, leaving the millions of blood vessels. It looked like kind of like moss. As I walked through each room, I found myself twisting my wrist when they described joints and squeezing my biceps when they explained muscles.

As a kid I was always amazed by the many functions that the body performs--at every second of everyday. An organ like the stomach performs its job in the size of a large fist, where it would take a large factory for men to do what stomach does. Illustrations in biology textbooks have no sense of scale, but real bodies do. And believe me, now I'm even more amazed than before.

However, the exhibit that touched me the most was the fetal development room. Before entering, a sign informed guests that they could bypass the room if they so chose. I have a tough heart and a rather liberal perspective, and thought that I would be fine. But those little babies sure did tug on my heartstrings. Some had a head full of hair.
I just wanted to hold them.

About a month ago I ran across an intriguing blog written by a mother about her pregnant teenage daughter. She speaks of all of the emotions that go along with a situation like that, from anger and sadness to excitement and anticipation. When I got back to the office after the Bodies, I checked in and found out that Jayme had had her baby last night! A full-term, healthy baby boy! God bless Gabriel and all the other little babies in the world!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Go Jackets!!

"Up with the White and Gold!"

I am the official FP for the first floor of Fitten. Yay! That means that I get to use all of my extensive post-college knowledge and experience to mentor and inspire girls from the GT class of 2010! I attended Freshman Convocation once again; however this time filled with the Yellow Jacket spirit. Ashley, Erin and I sat on the back row, dancing to the Marching Band and singing the fight songs. Since most everyone there was a freshman, it was if we were singing solo in the middle of the coliseum.

It makes me so excited for football to begin. Even after four years as a student, I don't think I've anticipated football season quite this much. I've been racking my brain trying to think of a current student who isn't quite as spirited as me who would be willing to give me his student coupons. As an alumni, I am no longer eligible for "free" student tickets. :( So, Ryan is my lifesaver! I think I'll bake him cookies in exchange for his coupon booklet.

We're even planning a road trip up to Chapel Hill to cheer on the Jackets from the UNC stadium [btw, we'll also visit my sister]. Everyone says you should travel to at least one game during your college career. Who cares if it happens the semester after I graduated?

If you're looking for me on a Saturday afternoon, I'll bet you 20 to 1 that you'll find me in the student section of Bobby Dodd Stadium, decked out in white and gold, cheering on my team. I've already got the games marked on my calendar.

Go Jackets!! A ramblin' wreck forever!!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Making a Difference

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."
-William James

Most days when I sketch high-end blenders or design different versions of control panels for electronic devices, my excitement and passion for design is at an all-time high. It's my job, and for the most part I like it. If I wasn't designing products, I would be designing something--logos, or posters, or even clothes.

As a designer, I've struggled with my place in the world. How will I make a difference? I've lived with a mother who teaches special education preschoolers in poverty-stricken areas of the city, and been brought up in a mission-oriented church where I was taught to reach out to those less fortunate than yourself. My political stance leans towards the left, hoping (maybe too optimistically) that with a little bit of help from the government and from other Americans, people can raise their standard of living themselves, and ultimately their happiness.

So what am I doing to make a difference? Some days I'm not so sure. It seems so trivial to worry about the layout of the buttons on a $400 toaster. However, this week I have a new pep in my step. We are currently working on a surgical procedure. Yeah, we're product designers and know nothing about medicine--but as an ideation-based company we brainstormed on how to reorganize this procedure. (I can't say much more because of that darn non-disclosure thing I signed!) We will hopefully make it easier for doctors as well as less painful for the patients. When its finally put into action, someone somewhere will be more than grateful for the new procedure. Even if they don't know that this is an improvement, I'm sure that they wouldn't want to see (and feel) the alternative!

I know that this will be a struggle for me in my career path. Maybe I answer the calling within my design job, or maybe I find a volunteer position in my community. However, someday the desire to "do good" may intensify so much that I feel led to find a new direction. Until then, you can find me at my desk, sketching toothbrushes and toolboxes, searching for a way to change the world, one pen stroke at a time.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


"Make levees, not war."
-Bumper sticker on North Ave.

Of course, it was strategically placed above a Louisiana license plate. However, as a fellow Louisiana driver, this hit close to home. My mom and sister just got back from a church mission trip down to New Orleans; they brought back many stories of the devastation of the area. They say that the most heartwrenching part is that it will be years, if ever, that the area will live again. Right now, you drive through neighborhoods where life once spilled out on the street, and you do not see a soul. Strange.

I've gotten hooked on the Anderson Cooper blog as of late. He has been such an important voice for the people of Louisiana. I hope that he continues to keep this story alive. Currently Anderson and his crew are reporting from Lebanon as this Israeli-Lebanon conflict continues. They have compared the evacuation of Americans in Lebanon to the evacuation of South Louisianans before Katrina. I'm not really sure what I make of that. Sure there are some similarities, but there are plenty of differences. There have also been questions raised about who should pay for the evacuations from Lebanon.

I don't pretend to know all of the issues. But, i
f we question who pays for the evacuations in Lebanon, should we question who pays for the evacuations from the Gulf Coast? My hometown is 5 hours and 17 minutes away from New Orleans, and most of the time we claim that we are more Texan than Louisianan. But yet, we are paying for this disaster when our neighbors across the state line are paying very little. Yes, there may be more crime, more unemployment, housing shortages, but they will not have to deal with budget cuts across the board. Everyone all over Louisiana is sacrificing because of the hurricane, regardless of their race, class, or even location.

God bless the Gulf.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


"Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly."
-Rose Franken

Last night Rob and I had the time of our lives. We have fun most of the times we're together, but last night we were just silly. Instead of going to sleep, we just giggled. It was so refreshing and just plain fun! Let's be silly more often. And, let's get something straight, I can hold my left leg up for five straight minutes. :) It's all those exercises I've been doing. Thanks Cathe Friedrich!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

A New Friend

"A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are."

And, what a blessing it is to know in an instant that a person is your friend. Lisa is the preacher at Epworth UMC where I've been visiting. From the moment I walked into the sanctuary on my first Sunday, we had a connection. A connection that I don't remember feeling anywhere else before. She took a genuine interest in my story. Last week she stopped by my house after work. We chatted for over an hour. It was absolutely amazing. We talked about ourselves, our families, the church, mission work--everything.

I am who I am because of all of the laughter and the tears in my life. But, I don't make it a point to share all of these moments with someone the minute I meet them. I'm proud of these obstacles--they're embedded within every bone in my body. But, these are things that I usually share as a relationship develops--as the trust grows. And even then, I feel a bit vulnerable afterwards. However, it just felt right to share these intimate stories with Lisa right off the bat. And, instead of vulnerability, I felt a sort of peace.

I may have met an angel, and if not an angel, then most definitely a friend.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


"Mighty things from small beginnings grow."
-John Dryden

This is the first post of my first ever blog. People start blogs because they think they have something important to say. I don't promise that I do.

But nevertheless, this is the beginning. In fact, I'm living a life of beginnings right now. I am living by myself for the first time, decorating my first apartment. I'm learning to cook and manage my money. I've begun to attend the church down the street, and I'm trying to start an exercise routine. I just started my first full time job, paid my first bills, and signed the papers for my first life insurance. That sounds so mundane to most people I'm sure, but right now they seem like important milestones. Well, we'll hope that mighty things are on their way!

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