Friday, August 22, 2008

Hasta la vista, baby!

“A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you've been taking.”
-Earl Wilson

Just think, it seems like yesterday, I was just dreaming of a trip to Arizona. Now just two hours separate me from my vacation, and I’ll arrive in Phoenix in just a mere 22 hours.

The itineraries have been printed. The hotel reservations have been confirmed. The last minute items have been bought. The weather forecast has been checked. The bills have been paid. The cash has been withdrawn. The suitcases are packed. The camera batteries have been charged. And the fish has been dropped off with the fish-sitter.

See you next week!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hi Honey, I'm Home

“A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise. Because that is how life is-full of surprises.”
-Isaac Bashevis Singer

Yesterday I called my mom on the way phone from work. I was going home to an empty house, where I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to all night long. So I wanted to squeeze in as much human contact as possible. I also ran to Target to pick up last minute supplies for our trip—one and a half days!! I was taking my time browsing, knowing that I had the whole night ahead of me.

When I got home, I grumbled that there was no mail—that I had walked to the mailbox for nothing. As I walked through the living room, I realized that Rob’s khakis were laid out in the middle of the floor—I don’t think I left them there.

Then there was his suitcase. He was home! He surprised me and came home early!! [He had even hidden his car so I wouldn’t see it when I pulled into the parking lot.] Apparently he had already attended this particular training session, and it took him until Wednesday morning to realize it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Can't get any worse

“Today is going to be a...less bad day. I can feel it. Sometimes I wake up and know everything is going to be...less bad”
-Ally McBeal

I’ve noticed lately that it’s often easier to write posts to complain and vent than it is to write about happy things. I never want you to get the impression that I’m pessimistic, ungrateful, and just plain mean (because I’m not), so I’ve set a new goal for myself to limit those nasty posts and increase the cheerful posts.

However, I’ve got to make an exception to tell you about my day yesterday.

My fuel gauge was sitting on empty, and I didn’t have enough gas to make it to Bible Study and back home, so I made a mad dash to the gas station after work. Rob and I are trying to use a consistent brand of gasoline to monitor our fuel consumption, so I raced halfway home to a station that was considerably cheaper than the stations in town. Of course I can’t ever remember what side my gas tank is on, so it took my a few tries before I found a working pump on the correct side of my vehicle. And then, the darn pump didn’t print my receipt, and I had to walk inside to get it from the attendant.

I try not to eat a full dinner on Monday nights, but yesterday I was starving and had burritos on the brain. So I raced over to Qdoba to grab a bite to eat. When I got there it dawned on me that I had left my Bible Study book back at the office. Bummer, I was going to have to drive back across town to get it.

Then I realized I had locked my keys in the car. Sitting right there on the passenger seat. Luckily I have Roadside Assistance, so I called them right away. I ran inside to grab dinner, got it “to go,” and headed back outside to wait. It was hot, and an ant bit me while I was waiting.

Eventually the pop-a-lock guy showed up and let me in to my car with his remarkably simple method of opening locked car doors. Then I ran back to the office to pick up the book I had discarded on my desk. And then I hurried to the church for our meeting.

All of this happened between 5:30 and 7:00 pm. I’m still amazed.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Wonderful sounds

“The greatest reward is to know that one can speak and emit articulate sounds and utter words that describe things, events and emotions.”
-Camilo Jose Cela

Wonderful sounds that I heard this weekend:

  • The many sounds of the Olympics, including...
      • “…by one-one hundredth of a second!”
      • “GO WORLD”
  • “He has made me glad, He has made me glad, I will rejoice for He has made me gla-a-ad.”
  • “I’m not going to be able to sleep without you this next week.”
  • The Braves’ “Tomahawk Chop” chant

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Following in my footsteps

“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” -A. A. Milne

My cousin Camille moves into her dorm at Georgia Tech today. She is beginning as a freshman in just a few days, and Rob and I are just thrilled that she is attending our alma mater. My aunt has said several times (and even Camille admits) that I was one of her biggest reasons for choosing Tech. Camille was a bridesmaid in our wedding, and she reminds me a lot of myself when I was her age.I was so worried about moving away and finding friends, 546 miles from home. I remember debating about whether to rush or not (a decision that Camille is grappling with as well)—was that the only way to make friends at a big school? But that’s not really my style. My mom (oh wise mom!) gave me advice that I have never forgotten. She said that ultimately I should go with my gut, but that if a sorority was not for me, perhaps I should nurture another devotion, big or small. One example she gave was to become really close friends with Camille and her younger brother. She said a commitment like that was just as admirable.

This week, six years after I move into a dorm at Georgia Tech, I’m proud to say that I think I accomplished that goal. And even better than this realization... knowing that our friendship and love continues to grow.

Labor of Love

“The difference between the forgettable and the enduring is the artistry.”
-Bill Bernbach

I voraciously devour all of the crafty and artistic inspiration on my favorite blogs and the links that they’ve posted each day. Taking stock of my own blog, I realized that right now it doesn’t nearly reflect the creativity and craftiness that makes me who I am. At first I just dismissed it because I’m just too darn busy to craft right now. But then I remembered… Jana, what about that gigantic project that you have recently undertaken? Remember, that project that you’ve vowed to finish before the Arizona trip (9 days away!!!).

So here it is in all of it’s glory. The digital scrapbook of our honeymoon. Below are some of my favorites of the 40 spreads that have been created so far. I have less than 10 spreads left, and Rob’s out of town next week, so hopefully [keep your fingers crossed], this project will indeed meet the deadline.
I got started paper scrapbooking in my early teenage years, when my mom began. I have several albums that chronicle my life through those years. 35mm cameras, fancy scissors, cutesy stickers galore! However, through college as I mastered digital editing tools, I began scrapbooking on the computer [before the digital scrapbooking movement even really began!]. That’s how I spent my summers: work 8 hours at my internship and return to my apartment to scrap. It’s a lot of work, and I had just decided that I was not a scrapbooker, when I learned of Blurb books and had the bright idea to print and publish my pages. So for Christmas “Santa Claus” gave Rob and I our first Blurb book, recounting our Spring Break trip to San Francisco in 2004.

With this project that I’m currently working on, I attempted to keep a similar style and theme running through the pages. So that it feels like a complete work of art. I use a white background on each page to give it a more graphic design feel and a similar treatment of photos to keep that consistency. The trip logo that I designed appears on each page, as well as a squiggly flourish from ArtiStrokes’ Angelhair series.

It is truly a labor of love that few people will appreciate as much as I will. But I do, and I will always enjoy taking the book down from the shelf to turn each page, reliving our adventure in North Carolina.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My heels have healed

“We have not wings we cannot soar; but, we have feet to scale and climb, by slow degrees, by more and more, the cloudy summits of our time.”
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

After a week with bandages on my heels to protect that tender and damaged skin, I’ve put my hiking sandals back on.
I wore them a few times around the house this weekend, but never for a decent length of time. However, today I pulled on my jeans and slipped on the sandals. With bandages stored away in my purse, in case of disaster. The day is wrapping up and I’ve been up and down the stairs a few times, but I still haven’t needed reinforcements.

I’ve got merely nine and a half days to whip my feet into shape.

No, not today, thank you

“Such power there is in clear-eyed self-restraint”
-James Russell Lowell

Every morning I get into work, start my computer, open my email, and begin checking my blogroll. It’s a relaxing morning routine that I appreciate and look forward to each day.

Every morning my colleagues invite me to go to the coffee shop across the street to get their morning cup o’ joe.

Every morning I decline. I don’t drink coffee and really have no desire to start.

Everyday I bring my lunch in my stylish green BYO lunch bag. It’s often no more than a healthy granola bar and some sort of chips. [I used to have a Coke everyday, too, but I’m trying to cut back. By not bringing one with me, I’m not even tempted.]

Everyday my colleagues invite me out to lunch with them as they bound out the doors at noon.

Everyday I decline. The lunch in my desk drawer is a much healthier, cheaper option. And, I’m trying to stay in shape and save for a mortgage. Those are just more important to me than a delicious but greasy burger and fries.

Monday, August 11, 2008

In His Time

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
-Ecclesiastes 3:11

I had a “God moment” today. I met with Pastor Lisa today for lunch to plan the worship services for the next few months. We chatted over sandwiches, brainstorming and organizing. Then the conversation moved to other areas of the church: dreams, plans, and what’s missing in our current offerings.

I mentioned that one area that I saw lacking was the area of missions. And for the simple fact, that I think if Rob is ever going to find a home in a church it’s going to be through mission work. My goal is not to “convert” Rob or “save his soul.” Even as his wife, I don’t believe that I get any say on his spiritual understanding of God. That’s the most personal thing on Earth (and beyond, I guess). However, I wonder what it would be like to share that aspect of our lives with each other more often. And yet, because I’m his wife, he’s not going to get there through me. When I ask him to come to church with me, he just hears nagging (although he’s willing to oblige every now and then).

As I articulated this, Lisa’s mouth dropped. She said, “That’s so amazing that you said that.” Apparently her husband had mentioned this morning, “I wish there was some way to reach out to Rob.” And, she had suggested that he invite Rob to help with some construction project around the church.

I’m not an extroverted Christian, by all means. So sharing this story, even in this relatively “private” domain is a little weird for me. But it was just a reminder of a favorite hymn that my grandmother taught me when I was younger, “In His Time.”

Sweet shower

"Celebrate we will, because life is short but sweet for certain."
-Dave Matthews Band

This weekend the ladies of my church honored bride-to-be, Ashlee, with a bridal shower. Somehow I got roped into planning, and thus decorating for the affair. Inspired by several citrus centerpieces that I’ve seen lately, we planned a citrus theme that coincidentally matched Ashlee’s kitchen colors: yellow, green, and turquoise.
Last week after Jordan posted a beautiful lime centerpiece on her blog, Oh Happy Day, I promised to post pics from my event if it was successful. I wholeheartedly agree with her speculation that the quality of the fruit makes a difference. My efforts weren’t too shabby, considering that my lemons and limes were from Sam’s and unfortunately had to sit in the hot car all day while I was at work. I also stole the idea for the party favors from my sister's wedding. We bought some Mexican sodas in lemon and lime flavors, tied on a cute tag, set them up on the sideboard, and voila!And of course an obligatory photo of some of the guests. These are the "younger" ladies of the church. I'm on the far left, and the bride-to-be is on the far right.

Olympic victory

“It is in the compelling zest of high adventure and of victory, and in creative action, that man finds his supreme joys.”
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Did you stay up to watch last night? If not, I bet you wish you did.

Rob and I sat in front of the television all weekend, carefully planning our dinner and lunch outings around breaks in the Olympic coverage. We were a bit disappointed with ourselves that we had sat on the couch all weekend, but after staying up late last night to watch the men’s 4x100 relay. It was all worth it.

Before the race began, I reminded Rob that the U.S. wasn’t supposed to win.
Image from AP found via Welt Online

As Michael raced, we were concerned that he was leading off, instead of rounding off the four. Then we coaxed Weber-Gale across the pool. “Come on! Come on!” We were on our feet by the time Cullen touched the first wall. And, as Lezak completed the fourth and final leg of the relay, we were screaming and jumping up and down.
Image from AP found via

We’re just two people in a tiny little apartment, 7190 miles away from the action, with no real ties to the sport. But we were absolutely ecstatic. We were proud to be Americans. What an amazing victory! And we can say we saw it live.

We have no regrets about watching TV all weekend.

Image from Getty Images by Mike Hewitt found via

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Day after day

“A successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt every day.”
-Andre Maurois

Here’s the timeline of what goes through my head every afternoon and evening:

3:00 pm—“There can’t possibly be two more hours of work until I can go home. I just want to go home and hang up out with my husband.”
3:30 pm—“My husband is absolutely amazing. How lucky I am to have found (and kept) him!
4:00 pm—“We’re actually married. Are we actually old enough to be married? Do we actually know each other well enough to be married? I guess we’ve been together for almost six years, so yeah, I guess so. This is all just so surreal!”
4:30 pm—“What can I do tonight to show my husband how much I love him? What will I make for dinner? What chores can I squeeze in before he gets home?”
5:00 pm—“Better pick up those last minute ingredients on the way home. He’s worked hard all day, and I want to make sure that he doesn’t leave the dinner table still hungry.”
5:30 pm—“Maybe Rob came home early today to surprise me. And, maybe, just maybe he already has dinner made.”
5:35 pm—“ Well, he’s not home yet. Let’s just hope he’s not staying super late tonight.”
6:05 pm—“Come on, honey, call me and tell me that you’re headed home. I’m ready to see you. I’m ready to tell you about my day and hear about yours.”
6:15 pm—“Oh there’s the phone. Yay! Rob’s coming home!! I get to see him soon.”
7:15 pm—“There’s two minutes until dinner is ready. Where is he? He better not be late, or our supper will be cold.”
7:18 pm—“I think I just heard the key in the lock. Perfect timing. Looking forward to the kiss that he’ll give me when he walks in the door.”
7:22 pm—“Why couldn’t he have waited until after dinner to take a shower? Now the food is going to be really cold. I guess I can be setting the table and getting the drinks ready, so all we have to do is sit down and eat.”
7:30 pm—“I guess it’s nice that he wants to eat dinner without the TV on, but I was watching that. Couldn’t he have asked before he shut it off?”
7:35 pm—“He’s just pushing his food around his plate. Maybe he doesn’t like it. I’m not the greatest cook, but I tried. He could at least try to eat it.”
7:38 pm—“He’s staring right through me as we chat. Wait, a sec, he just grabbed the calculator. His mind hasn’t left work!! No wonder I can’t hold a conversation with him.”
7:45 pm—“He’s nitpicking about how much money I spent today. It was his prescription from Target, and the food that he’s eating right now from Kroger. So, yes, those expenses were necessary. And, no, I’m not going to defend every cent I spend. Just not going to do it.”
8:15 pm—“I hope he finds something else to do tonight because I don’t want to have to entertain him. I hope he just leaves me alone to do my own thing. Why in the world did I look forward to him coming home so much? He’s always in such a foul mood when he gets home.”
8:45 pm—“Who in the world is he calling now? Oh, work stuff. Seems like a Post-It note might work just as well as bothering the night shift with a phone call.”
10:25 pm—“I can't believe that he's still storming around here. Is he mad at me? You think he’ll have the nerve to sleep in the guest room tonight?”
10:35 pm—“He’s brushing his teeth, maybe I’ll start getting ready for bed, too.”
10:37 pm—“Oh, wait, he’s joking with me now. Maybe he’s not mad after all.”
10:48 pm—“Hope he hurries up and gets in bed. After a night like this, I’m more than ready to cuddle with him.”
10:55 pm—“I’m so lucky I get to put my head on his chest as he tells me all about his day. About why he was so grumpy earlier and about all of the headaches he’s had to overcome today. And yet, despite all of the negativity, I can hear it in his voice: he really loves this job and is working really hard to perform as best as he can.”
11:06pm—“It can’t get much more perfect than this. Curling up together, sharing about our frustrations and our dreams, joking around together. And finally, falling asleep together.”

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Happy Sister's Day!

“A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.”
-Marion C. Garretty
Let me take you back to a day about 17 or 18 years ago. My younger sister and I were huddled over a small calendar—you know those 6-inch square calendars that come “free” with a larger version. This one probably had photos of adorable kittens or playful puppies. But more important than the monthly images were the words scribbled on the grid of days.

That day we had decided to take it upon ourselves to create new holidays. If there could be a Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, what else could be celebrated? What about Children’s Day, Baby Day, and I’m sure, given my sister’s obsessions of the time, a Celebration of the Moon, Duck Day, and maybe even Radio Tower Observance? We filled each month with celebrations, honoring those things that were important, interesting, and amazing to us in our youth.

Later we found out that there already is a Children’s Day (it’s often celebrated on the second Sunday in June), and that there were no more babies in our immediate future. The only one of these new holidays that stuck around was Sister’s Day. Sister’s Day was strategically placed in August, a month that traditionally lacks a lot of celebration. August 6th to be exact. And, wow, that’s today. Callie-girl, we’ve come a long way!
To the bestest sister a girl could ever have (besides me, of course!)—I’m constantly amazed by your spirit, your wisdom, and the way you view the world. I treasure our conversations online, over the phone, and in person. You’re the only person I can talk to who truly listens, who I know will listen from my point of view. You inspire me to be the best me I can be, you encourage me to take risks, to question tradition, and yet to honor and respect where we’ve been. Dearest sister, your gift is in the mail. Love you lots. –J

Monday, August 04, 2008

Ain't no mountain high enough

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way.”
-Dr. Seuss

We have a hike planned for the morning of the day that we spend at the Grand Canyon. We’ll take an early, early morning shuttle ride to the other side of the park and begin our trek back towards civilization. Although this is one of the more moderate hikes, neither too easy nor too difficult, we wanted to make sure we were prepared. We want to enjoy the hike, not painfully plod through it.

So yesterday we headed out to Stone Mountain for a trial run (or trail hike to be exact). A trial run for our bodies, our new hiking shoes, and our new digital SLR camera. We packed a cooler, laced up our new shoes, and sprayed ourselves with sunscreen.
After being on our to-do list for five summers, we finally made it out to the park. Rob had the camera around his neck, ready to capture it all. I brought my sketchbook along, so I could scribble every time he stopped to snap photos.
We made it one mile up to the top, and I was huffing and puffing. After resting up for a few minutes, we head back for the mile down the mountain. We got to the bottom and decided to go back up again. Crazy, I know. But the second time was much easier—we knew how far we had to go, where to stop along the way, and that we could refill our water bottles at the top.
All in all, we had a blast. It was great to be outdoors, exercising, and enjoying each other’s company. Twenty days until Arizona!!!

7.5% Cheaper than Normal

“Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping.”
-Bo Derek

So we got our money’s worth over Tax-Free weekend. We were really good until Sunday afternoon, and then we just went on a spree.

We each bought a pair of shoes at REI, including this stylish pair for me.
Rob also got five shirts from REI and Target, a pair of flip-flops from Sam’s, and four pairs of shorts from Target. He said he needed them for our Arizona trip. Including this rather trendy pair that I’ll bet stays hanging in the closet.
I bought two shirts for myself, and I’m arguing that they’re for Arizona, too.

[BTW... it's time to celebrate!! This is my 100th post!!]

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