Monday, June 29, 2009

Sunday: Race to the finish!

"Enough with this Sunday stroll...let's hurt a little bit."
-American Flyers

I think Rob's ready to start racing now. I hope he can find a team near our house. In the meantime, we'll just have to cheer for our good friend Blain.By the way, he came in 7th! Woohoo!

Saturday: The most relaxing of them all

“Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think.”
-Robert Henri

Saturday was a great day----simply for the fact that we didn't have to wear real clothes----all day long!! We started the day in our athletic gear and a 22-mile bike ride. That's the longest and fastest I've ever gone! And my first time on a real road bike!! No pics from that--I was much too focused on shifting gears and holding on to worry about capturing photographs of my achievement.
We got back to the house, showered, changed into bathing suits, and headed to the beach. We spent the afternoon at Hilton Head, enjoying the heat, relaxing on the beach, and trying to avoid stepping on sand dollars in the ocean. Dinner at Wild Wings completed the evening before we drove back to Georgia to change back into our pajamas and head to bed. Had to get enough rest for the race on Sunday. More to come later...

Friday: Our favorite people

"There aren't enough days in the weekend."
-Rod Schmidt

On Friday we got to eat lunch with one of my favorite little guys--my nephew Chase. He was on his his best behavior as we ate lunch at McDonald's and walked around a car dealership. I think he will be a very good big brother, come December.Then we headed to Blain and Katie's house to spend the rest of the weekend with some of our favorite friends. A night of test riding bikes, Mexican food, wedding invitation consultation (they picked my favorite design!!!), and an episode of "Top Gear." What a wonderful start to a wonderful weekend! More to come...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A last little bit of iPhone love

"Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern; it will come out a rose by and by. Life is like that - one stitch at a time taken patiently, and the pattern will come out all right, like the embroidery."
-Oliver Wendell Holmes

I'm sorry that my life is so boring that I have to write three blog posts about the same topic; I'm hoping this is the last news about my iPhone for awhile. But I just had to share my craftiness.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon outside on my patio listening to Pandora (wonderful website and iPhone app!) while I embroidered a little telephone on a scrap of turquoise fabric. I've kind of taught myself how to embroider, so I'm probably not doing it 100% correctly, but I'm tickled that it came out so well. I finished up just as the mosquitoes started biting, and I was forced to move my "sweatshop" inside.Then inspired by these gadget covers I found on etsy: here and here and motivated by my first go at it (and failure!) the day before, I set out to make an additional cover for my phone--a little more protection for when it's bumping around in my purse. It was a little bit of guess and check as I estimated seam allowances and top stitching, but what a relief when the phone slid in snugly after I finished my last seam.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ultimate productivity: reality or fantasy?

"Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is specifically your own."
-Bruce Lee

[poster from our senior design project]

As an industrial design student, it seemed that every assignment could be solved with the design of an electronic device that made the consumer's life more productive. At each class review, you would see projects designed to organize your kitchen, track your fitness level, monitor you caloric intake, or keep track of your to do list. Even I was not immune; for our senior thesis project, a friend and I designed a handy gadget to manage your finances from your pocket (or more specifically, your purse!). All of these ideas were merely fantasy--that is, until the iPhone came to play.

As Rob and I contemplated (and saved) for our iPhones over the last couple of months, we rationalized the purchase of $200 phones because they can do so much. Our GPS quit working--an iPhone can give us directions. Our mp3 players are losing their edge--an iPhone can be our music player. We can't keep up with small scraps of paper--an iPhone can save our notes electronically.

As I downloaded apps this weekend, I saw my iPhone as the ultimate productivity tool. Technology was going to whip me into shape. And then Sunday evening, as I downloaded an app to manage my grocery lists, I realized...I'm still going to have to make time to input all of that data. Same with all of those devices we designed in school--an iPhone is really only as productive as I am. If I didn't make pantry lists, exercise logs and budget graphs before, I'm probably not going to with an iPhone either.

I'd say I'm still in the honeymoon phase with my new gadget--but a bit of reality is starting to set in, too. Good thing I'm still in love with the idea of carrying the Internet around with me in my purse! That makes it all worth it!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Birthday, my biking boy

"It takes a long time to grow young."
-Pablo Picasso

FYI... did you know that both Rob's and my birthdays can both fall on Father's Day?!?! I was born on Father's Day, and his birthday is today.

25 may be too old for themed birthday parties. But that doesn't really stop us! (We're young at heart!!) This year to honor Rob's fairly new hobby, almost every gift he received was related to cycling. A pair of gloves, a wallet made of recycled tires, a new jersey, money to buy a hydration backpack...

So while he was at work this afternoon (it sucks to work on your birthday!), I attempted to make him a bicycle cookie cake. Using a Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix (guess I don't love him enough to bake cookies from scratch!) and a page from the Cannondale catalog as a guide, I set about to form the dough into the shape of a bicycle.I set it in a 375 degree oven as the package suggested and left it for 15 minutes.
Of course, I had forgotten that the dough would expand in the oven, so when I pulled it out I was surprised by a bloated bike. Nervous but determined, I prodded forward, icing the large cookie with white icing. After that cooled and set, I traced the shape of the bike with green icing.
I'm pretty tickled with the way it came out (despite my cookie decorating inadequacies!) and hope that Rob is too, when he gets home.

There's an app for that!

"If it keeps up, man will atrophy all of his limbs but his push-button finger."
-Frank Lloyd Wright

After saving our money and selling our wares, Rob and I ventured out Friday evening to purchase our new iPhones. We stopped by the ATT store, but their inventory was already accounted for. So, we went across the street to the Apple store in the mall. An hour and a half, a Chick-fil-a dinner standing up, and about fifty customers later, we giddily walked out of the store, two 16G iPhones (one white, one black) in hand.

We're always in the know about new technology, but we're rarely first adopters. So, we're thrilled to finally join the iPhone community. We came home straight away to start downloading new apps and customizing it to our preferences. We were entertained by them as we waited in line at the final REI scratch and dent sale of the season. And, we used them to find a place to eat last night, as well as the hours of operation at the local park. If only I could learn to recognize my ringtone!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

25 and still alive

“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

And now.... for the big list. The to-do list of things I hope to accomplish this year. [Elise has a great idea to document her own list in a mini-scrapbook. That's my goal, too!] Here's my list:

  1. Bike a 50+ mile ride.
  2. Make our bed more often than not.
  3. Plan and take an awesome vacation.
  4. Get a teaching job.
  5. Plan and host a party at our house.
  6. Learn to like Diet Coke.
  7. Organize a scrapbook of our engagement and wedding preparations.
  8. Switch to reusable feminine hygiene products--maybe TMI, but it's on the list nevertheless.
  9. Take a craft class or workshop.
  10. Learn to effectively use our digital SLR camera.
  11. Start the teacher certification process.
  12. Collect stories from family and friends about my dad.
  13. Organize photos from this year into an album.
  14. Fix up the extra bedroom so that it's cozy for guests.
  15. Write letters and cards to faraway friends and family.
  16. Work on my grandparents' biographies.
  17. Improve my tennis game.
  18. Make the most of the gift of Callie and Jordan living less than 45 minutes away.
  19. Explore Gwinnett County and all it has to offer.
  20. Make 2 new friends.
  21. Join the Georgia State Park Canyon Climbers Club.
  22. Incorporate one new fruit into my weekly menu.
  23. Make something special for my new niece or nephew.
  24. Come up with and stick to some kind of housecleaning routine.
  25. Document this list.

Who I am at 25

"All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why."
-James Thurber

A snapshot of me, on this day, twenty-five years after I entered this world. [Thanks Mama, for pushing me out and for pushing me forward!] Here goes:

  1. I am a woman, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a niece, a teacher, a designer, a Southerner, an optimist, a friend, a listener, a reader, and the list goes on...
  2. I visit the following websites daily: Gmail, Facebook, the GCPS job listing site, and the myriad of blogs that I've bookmarked in Google Reader.
  3. I want to travel to Yosemite, Philadelphia, Niagara Falls, and Australia.
  4. I love to eat mashed potatoes, chips and salsa, and chocolate toffee.
  5. I think that my best physical features are my blue eyes.
  6. I've never been one to have lots of close friends. My best friends are my husband, my sister, and my mom.
  7. I can't wait until I get a teaching job.
  8. I didn't think that I had a favorite color, until I looked around my house and saw that everything was green.
  9. I wish I was athletic enough to keep up with my husband.
  10. I think that my passion is recording memories and stories--now what do I do with that?
  11. I admire Jordan Ferney, Elise Blaha, and my aunt Sally, and I'm embarrassed to admit that I've actually made lists about the things that I most admire about them.
  12. I would plan events (parties, conferences, meetings, retreats, workshops) if I thought I could make a living doing it.
  13. I like to cook, but sometimes it's hard to convince myself to walk downstairs to the kitchen to start. It's also not as enjoyable as it could be because I'm such a picky eater.
  14. I am a Democrat because I believe that we're supposed to help each other out in this world.
  15. I get physically ill in stressful shopping situations, like buying a car or attacking a sale.
  16. I dream often of taking my future family on vacation.
  17. I think that the perfect Friday evening is dinner out with my husband at a sit-down restaurant (preferably one we haven't eaten at in a while), a trip to Bruster's for ice cream, curling up with a Netflix movie, and in bed by midnight.
  18. I regret very little in my life--there just isn't time for that. And, although there are people that I miss very much, looking back, I really had little power to keep them from leaving.
  19. I shower every morning because my hair gets nasty so quickly. However, I have enjoyed a few no-commitment days lately, where I can just throw the hair up in a ponytail.
  20. I really dislike being surrounded by lots of people. I think this is because I'm so short, and can't see over anybody.
  21. I'm proud of my high school diploma and my college degree, but sometimes wonder if I squandered away my smarts.
  22. I hope that I inspire my husband and my family to view life's ups and downs as an adventure.
  23. I don't mind washing and folding the laundry, but I can wait weeks before I put it away--I'm trying to work on this.
  24. I must project an image of a trustworthy, wise confidante because several times recently I've been approached by an acquaintance who just needed someone to listen.
  25. I have twenty five years behind me, and the future ahead of me. Anything is possible...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

From my 25th year

"A large volume of adventures may be grasped within this little span of life, by him who interests his heart in everything."
-Laurence Sterne

In eight and a half hours, I will officially be a quarter of a century old. Gee golly, that's old.

While I plan to explore who I am today and look toward the future, today I wish to commemorate the top 25 adventures from my twenty-fifth year.

  1. Made my first key lime pie for Rob's 24th birthday!
  2. Took the plunge and got my bangs cut--lesson learned!
  3. Stood by my darling sister as her matron of honor and threw her one hell of a bachelorette party, if I do say so myself!
  4. Climbed Stone Mountain... finally!
  5. Incorporated conditioner into my shower routine after years of thinking it would make my hair too oily!
  6. Watched every bit of the 2008 Olympics that I could squeeze into my schedule!
  7. Walked up Sabino Canyon in Tucson, climbed Bell Rock & Cathedral Rock in Sedona, and hiked into the Grand Canyon!
  8. Savored the top layer of our wedding cake on the eve of our 1st wedding anniversary!
  9. Qualified for a mortgage, bought a house, and everything that goes along with that!
  10. Took the GACE exams--one step closer to teacher certification!
  11. Repainted three rooms to better fit our decorating style!
  12. Voted for Barack Obama, hoping that he indeed could bring "change" to this grand country!
  13. Wrote and preached the sermon at church on Laity Sunday!
  14. Collected wishes and donations to honor my mom's fiftieth birthday and her dedication to the children of Juarez, Mexico!
  15. Helped my mom redecorate her bedroom: new paint, new floorplan, new curtains--what a transformation!
  16. Quit my job to pursue a career in teaching!
  17. Taught as a substitute teacher--first in a middle school computer science class, and then day-to-day at middle schools around the county!
  18. Bought a bike and started riding!
  19. Gathered with my family to celebrate my grandfather's life!
  20. Baked homemade bread in the bread machine!
  21. Organized the craft room!
  22. Sewed first set of curtains for above craft room!
  23. Made $38.25 at our first yard sale!
  24. Learned how to grill!
  25. Started tutoring at Sylvan!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Shutter School: Lesson #1

"A good snapshot stops a moment from running away."
-Eudora Welty

From ♥ Susan ♥.

The first lesson is up at the Shutter School blog. The topic: the Rule of Thirds. A low-pressure way to ease into it. [Not that there ever will be a lot of pressure!]

Join us over there, and be sure to join our Flickr group as well. We'll be wrapping up the lesson on June 21st--so you have 11 days to get to snapping.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The votes have been tallied...

"Design should never say, 'Look at me.' It should always say, 'Look at this.'"
-David Craib

So I'm never making a design decision again in my life. You guys totally let me down, and Rob is basking in his glory. With an overwhelming victory of 8-2, Option A won our decorating poll. Our IKEA shelves are now evenly spaced along the wall.

And, although I'm disappointed that my own preference did not reign victorious, the addition of the shelves makes such a vast improvement in the room that I have little to complain about.

Tallulah Gorge adventure

“Life is uncharted territory. It reveals its story one moment at a time.” -Leo F. Buscaglia

Yesterday I found my favorite place in Georgia. Previously my favorite place would probably have been Georgia Tech or maybe my aunt and uncle's house. But now... my favorite place is most definitely Tallulah Gorge State Park.
After several less-than-satisfying hiking attempts close to home, at 10:00 on Saturday night, we spontaneously decided we would make the hike the next morning. I'm not so good at spontaneous, inducing much anxiety as we made a last minute Wal-Mart stop for supplies, packed the backpacks, and got to bed as early as possible (12:15 by the time we got everything ready).
But at 6:15 in the morning, we were out of bed, throwing our hiking clothes on, and loading up the car. See, the thing is... only 100 people are allowed permits to hike into the gorge... and you've got to get there early to get a permit. We were at the visitor's center when the doors opened at 8:00 sharp! [and they were sold out of permits a mere two hours later!]
The hike itself... 350 metal stairs and one suspension bridge down to the river, a mad scramble over rocks to cross the river (we recrossed our path several times until we found the best path to jump across--with the help of some met-on-the-trail friends), then a 1.5 mile of rock climbing and cliff scaling to find a final waterfall at the end that you could slide down into a pool. Then reverse your steps and finish up with a 3 mile cooldown around the rim of the gorge. In other words....awesome!
As we hiked along and took in the gorgeous scenery, Rob and I couldn't help but think of different friends and family members that we would love to share this experience with. We promised each other that we will be back again this summer [and we will bring our swimsuits next time!]--do you want to join us?

Friday, June 05, 2009

Day of Preparations

“The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it. The present is here, live it.”
-Thomas S. Monson

Today I spent the day preparing games and activities [yes, I drew all of those tangram puzzles above!] for a class that doesn't exist. For a lesson that doesn't exist. For a job that doesn't exist.

But I'll be prepared when it finally does decide to materialize.

Coming soon.... June 10th!!

  • If you drool over professional photographer blogs, but are too embarrassed to post your own photos...
  • If you dream of capturing bright blue skies and vivid green grass, but have never switched out of automatic mode...
  • If your scrapbooks are cleverly designed, but the quality of the photos distracts from the pages...
  • If you wish you had captured that spontaneous moment earlier, but forgot to bring your camera along...
Then welcome to Shutter School!
Shutter School is an online photo challenge which hopes to inspire you to pull out your digital camera and learn to love your lens.

How it works:
  1. Every 10 days (or so!) a new lesson will be posted on the Shutter School blog, as well as our personal blogs, Dancing Commas and Mommy's Treasures. The lesson will focus on a single photography skill (either a camera mode, a style of photography, or a hint about composition). Along with a list of tips about that skill, a directory of other photography resources will be listed for you to gain an even better understanding of the concept.
  2. We'll ask you to comment on the post to take attendance. (We want to know who is playing along with us!) Also, please feel free to share your own hints or other resources that you find. Let's learn from each other!
  3. Your homework is to spend the next 10 days practicing that skill. Carry your camera with you. Pull out your manual to figure out how the skill applies to your particular camera. . . and snap away!
  4. At the end of the two weeks (or as you go along), you will want to post your best images to our Flickr group: "Shutter School" and if you have one, to your own personal blog.
  5. To complete the lesson, we'll post some of the photos that best employ the lesson's technique.
Gather your supplies and join our Flickr group, so that you'll be all ready when the first lesson is posted on June 10!

Be sure to leave us a comment so that we'll know you want to learn with us-I think it will be fun!

Monday, June 01, 2009

RIP, Silvia

"You might be a redneck if... the blue book value of your truck goes up and down depending on how much gas it has in it."
-Jeff Foxworthy

This weekend we said goodbye to a legend. Silvia, Rob's truck, is no more. At least not as far as we're concerned. With absolutely no pressure from me (I was not going to be blamed for this later!!), Rob decided to sell his pickup. He hadn't driven her but for a couple of times since we moved, and he has his eyes set on a two-wheeler next time!Although for sentimental reasons, he hasn't yet been able to pull his car into the garage! :)


"To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides."
-David Viscott

Matty O!

“Sunburn is very becoming, but only when it is even - one must be careful not to look like a mixed grill.”
-Noel Coward

One of the most awesome things about the AVP tour is that the players walk around the event, watch other matchups, get their hair cut at the Paul Mitchell booth, and are happy to interact with the spectators.

Other than my photo-op with Phil Dalhausser, I also had a run in with my FAVORITE player, Matty Olson.

Let me set the stage. Saturday afternoon, Rob and I had staked out a spot on the top row of bleachers where we could watch both the game in front of us or turn around and watch the one behind us. We had just finished cheering Matty and his partner, Kevin Wong to victory and had turned around to sit down and watch the girls' game. When....
Unidentified guy from below and behind the bleachers: Hey, do you have any sunscreen?
[Rob and I turn around to see who is talking to who.]
Unidentified guy to ME: Have you applied sunscreen?
[Takes me a second or two to realize this "unidentified guy" is Matty Olson!]
Me: Uhhh... yeah.
Matty: Well, I was watching you while we were playing over there, and I was thinking, she's getting pretty red. I hope she's got sunscreen.
Me: Yeah, that was from yesterday. Today I'm more than covered!
Matty: Good, 'cause I've got skin like that, and I know it burns easily.
[Matty walks away to shower and prepare for the next matchup. Rob and I sit there in a crazy stupor--I mean, Matty Olson just noticed me in the crowd during his game, and then came over, got our attention, and told me he was worried about me!]

I've definitely got a volleyball crush now!

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