the sound & taste of australia…

As my YouTube account plays the sounds of the Voice Australia artists, it occurs to me that I didn’t share a recent surprise with you! A week or so ago, my dad suddenly came up and handed me a box, informing me that it was a late birthday present. Since it’s now June, and my birthday was at the beginning of May, I had no idea what could possibly be in it.

Once the box was open, I found myself staring at a jar of Vegemite. Hooray! I had finally run out of the last container, and was considering whether to get some in Greenville, or to order it online. Turns out, my dad had noticed that I had run out, and went ahead and ordered it for me. Talk about being observant! Now, the next item on my to-do list ought to be trying a “vegemecado” sandwich, with Vegemite and avocado. That’s because we seem to have avocados in the house, all the time. But I haven’t tried that concoction yet, even it was advertised on the Vegemite container.DSC_0359

My YouTube playlist is full of Karise Eden (last year’s Voice Australia winner), Kiyomi Vella, Celia Pavey, and all the rest of this year’s artists. If you have some spare time, go search Season 2’s artists, as they’re just fabulous. And no, I don’t watch the American version, as I’m not a big fan of the judges. The judges on the Aussie version are what makes it worthwhile. They’re so likeable, and good at coaching!

I’ll admit it, I really wanted Kiyomi in the final, but Danny Ross’s voice is pretty awesome, as well. From there, my choices for the positions of the top 4 were a bit off. When it came down to Luke Kennedy and Harrison Craig, I thought for sure that Luke would win. But I was wrong, and that 18 year old young man has a long career ahead of him. With his “chocolate/velvet/butter” voice (as my friend describes it), he’ll sell a million records, and being self-deprecating and kind, everyone will continue to love him. There’s an innocence about him that reminds me of Rachael Leahcar from Season 1.

While I’m on the subject of Australia (which all Americans are probably confused over, since I haven’t provided links to the singers), I missed the first State of Origin game. And since I know who won, I haven’t watched it yet. But now that I know where I can watch it online, I’ll be watching next time around. Go Maroon! Yes, I know that New South Wales hasn’t won in forever, but my adopted state of Queensland will always have my heart. Sorry.

My mention of Vegemite reminds me of a promise I made to friends, that I would send them a box of American goodies, after they sent me some Aussie tidbits. I haven’t forgotten! Being busy or paying bills at the wrong time have kept me forgetting. But I promise you, I’ll mail those boxes, eventually! I plan to have s’mores ingredients, so you can know what a real American s’more tastes like. Also, I have America’s favorite Easter candy hidden away in the freezer, which I hope will survive the trip. Sure, they’ll be a bit melted, but if you throw them in the freezer when they arrive, they’ll still be awesome!

And now, I look on FB and realize that some of my Aussie friends have had babies since I left there. One of them was expecting her FIRST child when I arrived in Australia. How about that for time passing? Craziness! The bubs just keep growing, you know!

Anyway, this post is definitely for the Aussies. I love you all, and keep things around that remind me of you. You’ll never be out of my heart.

echoes from my childhood…

Unintentionally, my timing was excellent. Once I had moved all of my things downstairs, into my new bedroom, I went up and took some photos of the empty room. There’s a strange sound and feel to an almost empty room, especially when it has a wooden floor. It echoes your footsteps, even when they aren’t loud. I think it has something to do with there being no furniture to weigh it down further.DSC_0252

The ivy wallpaper had been there since I was in my early teens, when I got to pick it out for myself. Green has been one of my favorite colors, ever since I made the change from my early favorites (pink & purple, of course). I still remember choosing it out of the wallpaper book, and even then, I was unable to picture what the end result would be. Thankfully, the book had pictures of a room with window borders, which is how my parents eventually papered it to look. They knew how it would look, but I just feasted my eyes on the catalog, certain that my parents could make it look just that wonderful… and better, probably.DSC_0253

DSC_0255Of course, my childhood bedroom had a tan carpet, and white furniture, unlike in these pictures. But my white bed is still in storage, my old white dresser was retired for a new set from Pier 1, and the white lace curtains are… I don’t know where they are. The full-length mirror on the closet door is still there, though. I don’t know how many times the screws, which hold it to the door, worked themselves loose, and I would set them in a different spot. Hence, the silver star stickers that cover several sets of holes.DSC_0256

DSC_0257Once upon a time, I think a friend gave me those glow-in-the-dark stars for a birthday present. They’ve been on the closet door, ever since, though I’ve had to re-tape some of them, at least once. I had never needed a night light, and that wasn’t my purpose for putting them there, but even now that I’m in my 30’s, my room was never pitch dark with those stars there.DSC_0258

The reason I had excellent timing is that the day after I took those pictures, more furniture was moved into that room. And then, within two days, the work on removing the wallpaper began. I know I have other pictures of my room, somewhere, in all of it’s glorious green-and-white-and-carpeted state, but still have to transfer them to the computer.DSC_0259

I would have participated in the wallpaper stripping, but as you know, I’ve been working day in and day out (when not at work) on a baby blanket, with the intention of helping as soon as I completed it. Well, I can now say that the walls have been completely stripped, because the other workers had plenty of spare time. The shelf was removed in order to do this, and the holes in the walls have been spackled.DSC_0260

It looks very white in there, and altogether different than when I was younger.In a way, that makes it less my room than when I first moved out of it, to move to Pennsylvania. I spent almost six years away, but even when I came home to find my older brother living in “my room”, it was still MY room. Even all that computer equipment couldn’t make it a guy’s room, with that wallpaper.DSC_0262

I have no idea what the plan is for painting and such, for that room, but maybe I’ll let you know, when they’ve finished it. I’m just glad to be able to remember what it used to look like, back when I was still bringing friends and cousins over for sleepovers, and keeping my parents awake, as we talked until midnight.  : )DSC_0263

happy father’s day!

To the best Dad that a daughter (and 4 sons) could have…

I love you!012_27

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shades of agnes…

Usually, my workplace is for grownups, or those that think they’re grownups. Being a college campus, regular customers will be anywhere from 18 to… whatever age the professors are. Of course, when prospective college students are visiting, the age average drops, but for the most part, children don’t come through.

But every once in a while, my life becomes even more fun and interesting, when a professor will bring their kid in with them. One funny memory involves a little girl walking in, during the winter, wearing shorts and a t-shirt… and no coat. We looked outside, and we looked at her. No accompanying grownup, and was she crazy to be out in that weather, dressed like that? Turns out, she was a “regular”, as her mom taught in a neighboring building, and had let her feel grownup by going to get a snack for herself. When the heat’s turned up in the office, and you can run in and out, between buildings, who needs a coat?

One time, a prof brought his beautiful daughter in with her, but she was unimpressed by the cafe. Frowning heavily, and tugging on his arm, she informed him, “Daddy, it’s BORING here!”. You’ll be shocked to know that I laughed.

Past performances have been knocked all hollow, though. Today, a couple brought in their little girl, and wasn’t she just full of attitude! From across the room, I could see her hand on her hip, holding that pose that says she knows what’s what. Her long black pigtails flipped back and forth, as she looked around the room, while she hung on to a can of soda she had brought in with her. I figure she was steadily shaking it up, even though she probably didn’t mean to.

But when their family arrived at the register, she was getting some of our Hickory Hills milk, which you have to shake up, because it’s pasteurized but not homogenized. It’s really good whole milk, and some of the college students swear by the chocolate milk, but we were out of that. The reminder to shake it up is handy, though, because occasionally, someone will bring it back, thinking that the milk has gone back. No, sir, that’s just the thick cream in the top, until you homogenize it yourself.

The little girl had passed her soda to someone else, and grabbed the milk. In a voice rough with emotion, and just a few shades south of Agnes’ voice when she said “IT’S SO FLUFFY!!” (please tell me you know your Despicable Me!?), this child informed me that she LOVED this milk! She LOVED the BUTTER in it and it was SO GOOD! She continued to shake it, the whole time, while she was speaking. And I kept from laughing until after they left. Of course, it isn’t really “butter” in the milk, just cream, but who cares?  She LOVES that milk!

Every time a child comes through my cafe, I remember how much fun they are. Sure, they’re hard work, but they never run short on hilarious things to say and do. And after the endless stream of monotonous undergrads, kids are definitely more interesting than they are.

 

4 states of cousins…

I know, I know, I’m behind on this post. Meant to put it up earlier this week, but didn’t have the time. Then, I planned to work on it over the weekend… and came down with a cold. But I think that power nap and some more turkey soup helped, so let’s get to it.DSC_0448

DSC_0440We were so excited to have family coming to visit. They arrived on a Sunday evening, when we were able to enjoy their company, along with turkey soup, homemade bread, and cookies. The little Cutie-pie and I had fun playing under the table, as well. DSC_0443

DSC_0449One time, I pointed at the leg of the table, and asked if that was a table. She shook her head, pointed straight up, and said “Up there!”. But my favorite was when I threatened to steal her nose, she she crawled around under the table, with her nose covered. She even said “Cheese!” from behind her hand, because who knows? Aunt Rachel might still try and steal it.DSC_0464

DSC_0472What evening could be complete without a pillow fight with your obliging uncle? He also makes a comfy chair, when you’re ready to snuggle up and drink your bottle before bed.DSC_0477

DSC_0480The next day was odd for me. I didn’t want to take the entire day off, so I switched shifts with another cashier, and opened at the cafe. Then, I left at lunchtime, in the brilliant sunshine. After arriving home to a houseful of family and my mom serving up a splendid lunch of homemade turkey divan, rice, and fruit, I had a hard time remembering that I had even been AT work before that. The next day, I would be tempted to ask customers how their weekend was, because I kept forgetting it was Tuesday.DSC_0483

DSC_0486By this time, four states were represented in our house (KY, MD, GA, SC). We do manage to spread out, don’t we?DSC_0500

After more playing under the table, getting a new dress, and dancing to the music of a birthday card, we went out into the sunshine.DSC_0502

DSC_0507We swung on the “wheee!”, played peekaboo in Aunt Shannon’s hammock (and practiced “flailing”), and soaked up the sun. On one walk up to to see Grandma, we stopped to attempt a selfie, but the little Cutie-pie wasn’t too cooperative. Too many exciting things were happening out back.DSC_0516

DSC_0542DSC_0549I was holding her when a  caterpillar was discovered for her to look at, so I handed the kiddo off as quickly as possible. I’m sorry, but I’m not a fan of caterpillars, and didn’t want it crawling over to me, so I took pictures instead. That caterpillar (which she was very gentle with) provided at least 15 minutes of entertainment. DSC_0593

DSC_0599DSC_0610We finished out the afternoon by getting some group photos out front. I don’t think all the ones of me were too good, but I forget to even look at myself when I see the faces that little Munchkin was making. And whenever she attempted to take a self-portrait of herself, she would practically put the lens up her nose, so she didn’t get any good ones.  : )DSC_0658

DSC_0673And if you really want a great photo shoot, then there’s a motorcycle or two to try out. DSC_0686

DSC_0695It was a very short visit, but since we don’t get to see everybody often enough, we enjoyed every minute of it. DSC_0717

can storage tell a story?

I brought a random array of boxes home with my from Pensylvania, back in March. After going through them, I realized that what I was pulling out of the boxes wasn’t just stuff, but stories. Stories about myself, those that I love, the interests that I developed on my own, the quirks that I’ve inherited, the places I’ve traveled to, and many other things. And what made me keep some of these item for so long?DSC_0277

Ever wondered what makes another person tick? Don’t just look at the stuff on the shelves and pictures on the walls… look for the tales behind the treasures that they keep. Maybe you’ll be surprised at what you discover.

I’ve told you before that I’m a word person. I don’t actually read the dictionary for fun, but I love to know the sound, the spelling, and the correct pronunciation for so many words. You’ve heard me talk about my love of names. There’s something magical, to me, about a written word. Yes, there’s magic in the written word, too, but you’ll notice I was referring to one written word. Any one word.DSC_0278

Several years ago, my cousin had a birthday, and for once, I thought I had come up with something brilliantly creative for her. She’s the quirky type, you know. I went out and bought a large green clothes pin, from Pottery Barn, one that’s as wide as my fist, and large enough to use as a paperweight, or just to hold letters. Instead of giving it to her, as is (as was?), I took a black Sharpie, and wrote words all over it. Fun words, eccentric words, odd words. I found out later that she already had a clothes pin like it (different color), but she loved mine, not just because it was from me, but from its fun wordiness.DSC_0279

When I had my own house in PA, I needed a trash can for my office, and went hunting from something new and different. I bought a large flower pot from Hobby Lobby, brought it home, and pulled out my dictionary. Flipping through page after page, I looked up almost every letter in the alphabet, writing a list of words that SOUNDED cool, as well as LOOKED fun. Or beautiful or special or weird. If you’re a word-meister, these letters attract the eye and the syllables attract the ear.DSC_0281

Words like “stalactite”, “quintessence”, “vagabond”, and “bellwether”. Some of them, like “samarium” and “troglodyte”, I would probably still have to look up, in order to remember what they mean. “Glint”, “drizzle”, and “blandishment” are just fun to say, and practically make you see their meaning, hanging in the air. And I don’t know if I included a picture of it, but I found it funny that “sequester” was in the mix. But still, it has a great sound and look, too.DSC_0282

There was a huge list of words, and I carefully wrote them onto the flower pot, keeping the colors from being right next to another same-color word. And then, I ran out of words, and didn’t have time to look for more. That pot stayed on my desk for the next few months, and eventually went into a box, when I moved. I always intended to finish it, but didn’t. I still love my words on that pot. I think I’ll have to finish it, soon-ish.

I did not inherit the engineering genes, despite its prominence in my family. And therefore, I didn’t get the specifically ceramic engineering genes, either. If you must know, my mom’s dad was a ceramic engineer, my dad is a ceramic engineer, and so is his brother, and two of my mom’s brothers. It’s in the blood, as they say. What I did inherit, like my mother before me, is a love of ceramics, especially when it comes to dishes. If you ever see me in a fancy restaurant, and I pick up a plate to look at the bottom, like all my ceramist family, I want to know what company made it.DSC_0287

But it isn’t just dishes (don’t get me wrong, I don’t ALL of them)… if you really want to make me drool, let me loose in a pottery store. Preferably one that sells pottery by numerous artists, so I have plenty to choose from. I adore pottery, have always wished that I could make it myself, and to make it worse, I can be completely enraptured by a vase or plate that has a particularly beautiful glaze. Preferably one that looks like blue flames licking its way up the sides of the work of art.

When I returned from PA, I had punched in the end of a box, in order to get my car’s back window to shut. Peering into the crunched end, I could tell there was a sleeping bag inside, so I figured it would be alright. After unpacking that box, I am even more thankful that my bashing that box didn’t harm anything. Because as well as they were packed, there were breakables inside. Wrapped in towels, and inside of a metal pot, I found one of my large decorative vases. I probably bought it at Hobby Lobby, and it wasn’t very expensive, but I still loved the feel of it, the colors of the glaze (who cares if it’s cheap, if it thrills your eye?), and the sheer weight of it.DSC_0286

Further into the box, I found another large vase, but this one was something special. I still remember when I found it at Pier 1, and couldn’t take my eyes off of it. The beautiful blue color, the flowers painted under the blue glaze… I just adored it. And I don’t remember if I had a coupon or if there was a great sale, but I got a deal on it, and had to take it home with me. Being the practical person I am, I had actually started using it as a trash can, in my library, but nothing heavier than kleenex went into it.  : )DSC_0288

Another container had a delightfully “painted” box inside of it, and I knew immediately what I was about to see. If I have this story correct, my dad brought it home from Korea, though I don’t know if it was when the Army had him over there, or when he went on a business trip. This box, containing a beautiful pottery tea set has never been used, but I always wanted it. I fully intend to use it someday, too. But still haven’t done so. It’s older than I am, so even if it never sees use, in my lifetime, it’ll probably be handed down as an heirloom for one of my kids. Someday.DSC_0290

And then, I made the frightening discovery. Of all the fragile things in the crushed box, I would have recovered, if anything else had broken. If a certain green “candy jar” had shattered, I would have regretted it for always. Because that one little jar holds memories that I will treasure forever.DSC_0291

DSC_0295When I was little, probably around the age of 5, I remember going with my grandma to visit her mother. My great-grandma always had a green glass “jar” on her coffee table, full of hard candy. Being a child, of course I wanted the candy. But when you took the lid off, it would play a song, and I loved listening to the music. And pushing the little metal wire switch that would stop the music… and then let it start again. When I was  much older, I discovered that it played “Where Do I Begin?”, the theme song from Love Story (which I have still never seen). When I eventually learned the words, I loved to sing along.DSC_0296

My family and I remember those visits differently, because according to audio tapes, I was a bit of a loudmouthed little girl, difficult to stop talking, so why would I be shy? But I remember those visits as fun times, but I was always bashful about being asked to sing for whoever was there. I’m sorry, maybe it wasn’t obvious on the outside, but I remember that! Eventually, my grandma inherited the musical candy jar, and she always kept the same hard candy in it, at her house. And I continued to love to play with the lid, and listen to the music, though I wasn’t as fond of that type of candy, by then.DSC_0297

When the time came, I wanted to have the green jar, because of the memories it evoked, and so I could share the charm of the musical lid with my own children. Memories are wonderful things, don’t you think?

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No, the Bahamian flowered bag wasn’t in the boxes.

After that, what could possibly be as wonderful as those memories? Not much, but there are other things that are quite interesting. I uncovered quite a number of scented candles, in my boxes, and you’ll notice that they all smell like food of some sort. Both perfume and candles, for me, have to smell like something edible… I don’t do very well with completely floral scents. I don’t find that floral smells translate very well into… well, non-flowers. They’re much too strong for me, and going into a perfume or candle store will likely make me sneeze, because of the overpowering scents.

Even one of my favorite sprays is blue freesia (obviously, a flower) and PEACH, so they still have to mix it up with something else. And candles… they’re the best way to make your house smell like baked goods, when you don’t feel like baking. If it’s advertised to smell like a plant, tree, or fresh laundry, I will probably gag and leave the room. Unless I’m at someone else’s house, which is when I behave myself.  : )

For those that are more travel-minded, I came across a piece of my trip to Indonesia. Remember how I mentioned all the ceramic engineers in my family? Well, with an uncle living there and my dad consulting there, one year, we all went over. I was on one of the first trips, with the plan to stay with my cousins for the month, because they were already there. I had carefully saved up my pocket money, in advance, and had it changed to Indonesian rupiah, so I could bring home all sorts of souvenirs.DSC_0304

This wooden horse was my selection amongst all the wooden carvings that I saw over there. If you’ve ever been to a market that advertises Balinese woodworking, it’s similar. Lots of weird-looking gods and creatures, mixed in with beautifully carved animals. I have a wooden cat that my older brother brought me, when he came back, and it looks over the edge of whatever shelf it’s propped on. In turn, I brought him the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” monkeys, and a fun version of them, at that. But my horse, I wrapped carefully in my laundry, praying that he’d make it back to the U.S. in one piece. You never know, with how the suitcases get thrown around.DSC_0306

Amazingly, he only lost one tip of an ear, on that trip, and I think he lost the tip of the other ear, on this trip back from PA. So, I think that’s a pretty good deal. I need to glue his ear tip back on, since he’s come this far, for this long, he should be as close to being in one piece as possible.

Finally, I found my stash of disc golf frisbees, as well as a glow-in-the-dark one that I’ve never tried. Thus far, I do not throw golf discs very well. No matter how far they’re advertised to go, I can throw them all about the same distance as a regular frisbee (if you’re playing a game of Ultimate, I can throw almost from one end zone to the other). So, I need to work on throwing my dish “driver” as far as it’ll go. There’s a trick to it that I haven’t learned yet.DSC_0382

Did you enjoy the boxes? I think the next best thing to actually getting to open them is hearing the stories that come with each item. My family will attest to my NOT being a pack rat or a hoarder, but I do love to hang onto things that have fun and precious memories attached to them. What would life be like, without memories? I hope I never know.

two whole years…

Yes, you heard that right. It’s been two entire years.

In the two years since I started this blog, I’ve been to Australia and back again. I went there all by myself, the first time I’ve ever flown halfway around the world on my own (I’ve flown halfway around the world with my dad and cousins, before). I’ve driven to Minnesota and back, and some of you know how that went. And now I’m back in my hometown of Clemson, for the time being.

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April ’11, before I left for AUS

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April ’11, before I left for AUS

My first few blog posts were about the joys and trials of packing for moving to the other side of the planet. I had just bought a new laptop computer, in order to keep in contact with my family more easily, to update my blog, and to Skype anyone who wanted to talk with me. It is still my go-to “vehicle” for all my blogging and communication needs. Even the headphones, which used to be for Skype, are used to block out the background noise of the household, and allow me to write.

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One of my first pics in Australia

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Yeppoon, QLD, Australia

I had just bought a new camera, a Nikon D3100, which allowed me to take beautiful photos of Australia, as well as the occasional video. With it, I was able to visually show everyone what I was seeing, while I did my best to describe it in words. In those two years, using my camera has become much more natural than it ever had before, and I’ve been using cameras since I became a teenager. I have always said that I like to take pictures, but only now do I consider myself a photographer. My DSLR taught me how to do more than just point-and-shoot… though I still love my Canon PowerShot for certain things.

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June ’11, one month after arriving in AUS

Also new to me was my Kindle, one of the older black-and-white versions, which allowed me to take a large number of books with me. It was an excellent supplement to my local library visits, and as much as I love real books, I like having the e-books handy, as well. I was NOT thrilled that it go broken, on the return trip to the U.S., but at least that allowed me to upgrade to a Kindle Fire.

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My bub, 11 mths old, June ’11

When I returned from Australia, I left behind all the friends and loved ones that I had made in the previous year. How had the year gone by so quickly? How had these friendships become so strong? The Lord truly blessed me with the friendships I made, and now, when I eventually return to visit all of them, I’ll be putting in some serious travel. Because instead of staying in Emerald, many of them have moved away! My friends are scattered from Queensland to Tasmania, and I have to see them all again, someday. I look forward to that trip.

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April ’12, right before leaving AUS

During my time back in the United States, I had to learn how to blog again. I didn’t really need to reinvent my blog, so much as reinvent how I looked at the everyday things, in my home country and my hometown. You can become blind to the things that surround you, the things that you take for granted. Now, I wanted to share the adventure of home with my friends in Australia, as well as remembering that life is interesting, you just have to know where to look.

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April ’12, right before leaving AUS. My bub’s almost 2 years old.

I have become fascinated by taking photos of everything from buildings to flowers. I have explored the town of Clemson and the Clemson University campus, and I’m still not finished yet. I look closely at the budding flowers and look straight up at the tops of the trees, looking for the interesting shapes of the branches. I want to see what will look good in black and white, and what only needs a touch of color to come to life in a photo.

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Botanical Gardens, Clemson, SC May ’12

Just thinking about my writing, photography, and life experiences, I’ve come a long way in two years. But if you’d told me back in the summer of 2012 that I would end up working on Clemson’s campus and actually enjoy being around the students, I would have thought you were on something. College students have always intimidated me, but I’ve come to enjoy them (ok, some of them), and actually like the campus. And when you take the time to get to know a place, looking through a camera lens, you’ll find you like it even better.

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Riggs Hall, Clemson University March ’13

Some of you have stood by as I tried to straighten out how to write about my work on campus and my life here in Clemson. Thanks for putting up with me, because I think I’m back on track. Again, the search for the interesting, the fascinating, and the adventures will continue. And when you’re looking for something, you often find it.

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GWH, March ’13

Yes, this blog and I have come a long way. Here’s to many more years of writing and photography, with a few road (and plane and cruise) trips scattered in between!

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Mom and I
Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013

P.S. I just realized that this is my 444th blog post! So, I’ve averaged 222 posts a year, though I know I blogged more when I was in Australia.

breaking bulletins…

When I went into my storage unit, I had a purpose in mind. I was going to fit as many boxes into my car as possible, but I specifically wanted my bulletin boards. I have two, one’s a normal size that’ll fit behind your bedroom door, and the other one’s big enough to cover most of a wall. Well, almost. I had a pretty good idea that I could reach them, as most of my large poster frames and pictures were carefully placed at the front of the unit. When I pried them out, I felt like I’d won a really big prize!DSC_0058

DSC_0059By the time I’d packed most of the boxes, I realized I’d made a mistake. My bulletin boards WILL fit into the car, but the back door narrows at the top, so I couldn’t just shove them in on top of everything. I needed to put them in at an angle, about halfway down the back door… which was now loaded with boxes. So, out came the boxes, and in went the bulletin boards. DSC_0060

Then, I had to perform a balancing act (I was packing my car by myself), holding the cork boards up to the ceiling with one hand, while attempting to push the last box in with the other. It kept getting hooked on every other box, or the drawers of my jewelry chest, so I really needed two hands, but couldn’t release the boards in order to do it. That’s why I ended up beating the end of that box in, because I couldn’t move it any further. Such is life.DSC_0061

DSC_0062Now that I have the boards at home with me, I have no place to hang them, for the moment, but hopefully I will soon. But every time I shut my bedroom door (which I do, often, so people don’t cringe at the wreck my boxes create), the smaller board would stare at me, and beg me to cover it with something. Anything. DSC_0063

DSC_0067So, last night, I pulled the board out, propped it against some boxes, and dug into my photo collection that I started before Australia (pictures of family and friends), and then built upon in Minnesota (pictures of my Aussie friends). Of course, any picture session with my Aussie pictures causes some heartache, looking at my beautiful girls and missing all my friends. DSC_0065

Since I left, some of my friends have moved to Brisbane and Sydney (cities), and Victoria and Tasmania (states). I will have so many places to visit, when I get back there! And also, since I left, my newlywed friends are expecting their first child, and my friends-with-an-almost-toddler are expecting his younger sibling. How did that happen? Don’t you dare answer that. I’m missing out on the new babies!DSC_0068

DSC_0069But as much as I miss those that are far from me, I wouldn’t give up those memories for anything. They’re a part of me now. We’ll get to catch up again, in person, someday. And that will be beyond splendid. DSC_0070

DSC_0071Until then, I hope you enjoy my latest photo collage. When I get the big one up, I’ll probably move some of these over, and incorporate cards and other items into this. It’s always been an amalgam of pictures and memories that is so much better than wallpaper. DSC_0072

DSC_0073In fact, while I was putting this one together, I was fantasizing about collaging any entire room, someday. Right onto the walls, with some kind of clear primer or something to go over it, to preserve it. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Or maybe I’ll just have bulletin board walls. That might be even better. Life is full of such possibilities!DSC_0074

darlings of the north…

It is a well-known fact that I can’t resist taking pictures of kids. So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I can go to singles Bible conferences and come back with pictures of my friends’ children. Not only do I have to document how much they’ve grown since I saw them last time, they’re just so darn cute! DSC_0002-001

DSC_1087The same can’t be said of all of us grownups. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Besides, I really have to be in the mood for taking pictures of adults, because with some of them, you have to actually negotiate a deal before they let you. Or you have to completely awake. I was pretty tired, last weekend.DSC_1078

DSC_1081-001My little pals have grown so much since I saw them last! The baby has decided that standing up is an interesting thing to try out, and my little BlueJay has turned three. THREE! How did that happen? I held her on the day she was born, and now she’s a big girl that needed some memory-jogging, in order to remember me. (see below for comparison between the day she was born and now)IMG_2136

DSC_1084So, I visited them in the dining room, before every meal, to the point that I could see her sit up straight and her eyes pop with excitement, whenever I walked into the room. The baby wasn’t as excited, but then, he had real cereal to eat, which is much more exciting than any grownup.DSC_0013

DSC_0014-001On Sunday, I came in to find her hair done up in baby socks (instead of the old-school rags), in order to give her lots of curls for going to church. And as adorable as she is in PJs and baby socks, seeing her running around the building, after her curls were out… that was pretty funny. I think when the curls began to bounce, so did she. She ran into the room I was in, and just about jumped on a friend of hers (age two) who’s a little less excitable. He looked slightly alarmed, but then again, maybe he’s used to it.DSC_0012

DSC_0011I can only hope that I’ll be able to get up to PA sometime during the summer, before these kids get much bigger! Before long, they’ll be taller than I am!DSC_0016-001