Thursday, December 27, 2007

A different Christmas

Altho I didn't have to put up with the ridiculously long drives that Katy and Corey did, I know what Katy means - this was the first year I didn't wake up in my old bed at my parents' house (we slept in our apartment), and even tho our morning at the Askeys' was lovely, I just didn't feel Christmasy because I didn't have my comforting tradition of waking up at home, stockings followed by breakfast followed by presents, then Gommy visiting, and a lazy afternoon of Trivial Pursuit with Hannah.

I think next year I'm going to start a tradition of Paul and I spending some time just the two of us at our place on Christmas morning, and also eliminate one stop on the Christmas schedule: Going to Askeys, Killians, and Snyders all in one day was just too much moving around for Christmas, even tho they are all close by. Now that the Askeys are obviously a necessary stop, I think it's time to eliminate the Snyders for dinner on Christmas day. I need more quality time with my immediate family. Next year, I want to wake up at my apartment, do a little bit of private Christmas time with just Paul and me, and then split the rest of the day in half between Askey and Killian time. We do the Lechner Christmas on a separate day, so I think it's time to move the Snyder Christmas to another day as well. Let me know what you think, Killians.

Another idea would be to spend the afternoon of Christmas Eve with the Askeys since we go down there for dinner anyway, and then spend Christmas Day with the Killians, but I'm not sure if that's fair to everyone...altho it does eliminate an extra trip to York two days in a row, so Mother Nature would probably thank us.

On the up side, Kelly and Reed's wedding on Saturday was amazing and perfect, and I loved seeing the PREP girls so much; I played bells with my mom (the bell choir was SO in the zone, "Masters in this Hall" was amazing!) and sang in the 11:00 PM candlelight service at Trinity, with Hannah and Paul in attendance (had lots of fun singing all the carols, except for Silent Night being ruined by a rogue choir member); I got to see Crystal, Jo, and Henry yesterday; spent some time with Hannah last night; and I got some really nice things: a beautiful, long, black, wool pea-coat and a really nice electric wet/dry epilator/razor from Paul (he picked the coat out all by himself!); a coffee maker, cute bracelet, jewelry box, and some other cool stuff from the Askeys; a chia pet from my mom (laugh if you want, but I'm excited, I've never had one!); a pair of espresso cups with saucers from Lebanon; and enough Victoria's Secret gift cards to cover the cost of a really nice gel push-up bra that I've always wanted to have but never wanted to spring for (they're expensive!!).

So that was my first Christmas as an Askey...it had its ups and downs, but we'll do better next year. I'll be able to have people over to our place more, because we'll be finished with painting and updating the kitchen and furnishing and unpacking and organizing, and I want to get a real tree and decorate the whole place and the porch too!

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. Congrats to Kelly and Reed, I hope they're enjoying Christmas in Barbados!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas morning!

For the first time in my life, I just woke up Christmas morning not at my parents' house. It's not the same warm fuzzy feeling...but I'm OK with it. It had to happen sometime.

We're actually headed to York first, so I won't see my family until early afternoon. But it's Christmas, and I have a tree with wrapped presents under it (as of 9:00 PM last night), and I have thoughtful gifts picked out for all of my immediate family members (including the new set). I'm excited to watch everyone open their presents!

Merry Christmas, everyone!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas wedding

Kelly D gets married tomorrow! I'm going to do lots of happy crying. Managed to avoid anything more than a few well-ups today at the rehearsal etc. I'm so so so so so happy for her! And Reed! Aahhh...I love my PREP girls. Tomorrow we'll be half married, then 3/4ths married by the end of May 2008. I love my girls so much...*sigh*

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

December 11

I can't believe it's almost Christmas.

I got up at 7:00 AM this morning because I was thinking about all the cleaning and organizing that needs to be done at our place...I wish I could stay home today and work on the house, but I have an FPPFS due today, I need to finish re-vamping PMO allocations and confirm my initial evaluation of our new method plus make a working spreadsheet so my trainee can do the allocations on her own, and if I don't start working on IPR slides and the associated updated and new EACs today I'll never get it all done by Thursday.

So why would I rather spend my day pre-Christmas cleaning than going to work? A lot fewer acronyms for one thing...also, I crave some physical activity. I was all psyched out to clean yesterday evening, but then I didn't get home until 7:30 and it legitimately took me two hours to catch up with e-mail and updating my Google calendar. Once I'm done with this post in a few minutes, I'll get an early start to work, and stop at Giant on my way to get some lunches for the week, so hopefully today I'll get home at a much better time.

Actually, I'd better get home in time to clean today, because tomorrow is bell choir rehearsal (but hopefully that'll be short), and Thursday is choir rehearsal (which better be shorter now that we don't have all the concert stuff to practice). So maybe I can get some cleaning done those days too, or at least some physical activity. But of course, my other main priority is finishing the wedding thank-you cards and Christmas cards to go with some of them - the anti physical activity if there ever was one. I also crave some craftiness, preferably crocheting or knitting (there's a knitty pattern (or ten, but one in particular) I want to try, and Paul needs a better hat), but I feel I can't let myself start anything in that vein until I have those cards all mailed and off my chest.

Good things this week: My new wireless mouse to go with my new laptop at work (both very cool), and the poinsettia Paul's mom send us via Pearler's. It's one with variegated red-and-white petals, and it's sitting happily on the dining room table. Also, I have cookies, hopefully a Christmas tree, Hannah coming home, and Johanna (and Henry!) coming home this weekend to look forward to...altho I'm thinking I won't see J & H until the next week, since they're flying in on Sunday and I suppose J's mother might want to hog her for a day or two (I can't imagine why, it's not like it's been over a year since they've seen each other or anything).

Alrighty, time to head to work and keep chipping at all that acronym-laden, sit-my-ever-fatter-ass-in-an-office-chair-all-day, paying job kind of work. Have a good one, everybody.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Kelly D's Bridal Shower photos

Kelly D's Bridal Shower photos here:

Kelly D's Bridal Shower


I took a couple of videos, so when I get the chance to upload those I'll be able to post those here as well.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

More photos

Photos of snow and Laura's wedding in NJ here

Last night Paul and I cooked our first meal made in some meaningful part in our own kitchen. Because it was easiest to find, we even got to use some wedding gifts: a little cuttingboard and a no-stick coated orange paring knife (very cool) to chop onions, and a green spatula to stir the onions and flip over the pierogies. This morning I even used the paring knife and cutting board again to add some fresh onions to our crock-pot-roast, which otherwise consists of a big hunk of red meat, two bags of frozen stew veggies, and some "boquet garni" I got in France last year.

*sigh* I was in France at this time last year...but this year I'm extremely happy to be looking forward to Thanksgiving with my family at my parents' house, the first Thanksgiving with my husband.

Oh yeah, and I also made a small pecan pie...mmmmmm...

Time for work...yay 3 day week followed by 4 day weekend!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Gifts

So I'm down in the basement today, between loads of laundry, re-arranging and organizing all the still-packed boxes down there. I get back into the corner where most of the as-yet-unused wedding presents are, and I pulled a few things out of the bag that I had completely forgotten about but that are really super cool. I don't even remember who they're from - possibly one of my wonderful aunts - but I think to myself "Wow, I have so many wedding presents, and they're so cool; I have such a great family!" And then I started to cry. It was pretty ridiculous. I don't know what happened to me at some point around when I turned 24, but I have been annoyingly emotional for about 6 months now. Seriously, the slightest sentimental thought sets off the waterworks. What is wrong with me? Isn't this supposed to happen when you turn, like, 60?? Or when you go through menopause or something? That's at least another lifetime from now! What's the deal with emotions?

Anyway, in conclusion, I'm pretty happy right now, and I'm really looking forward to Thanksgiving on Thursday. The only thing that could make me happier would be getting my apartment finished and unpacked...perhaps we can buy floor cabinets and counters on Sunday and at least finish the kitchen.

Time to watch a Netflix movie with my wonderful husband!! Aaahhhh (sigh of contentment).

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Juniata Choir to sing at Trinity in Camp Hill!!

It's a wee bit early to be making that announcement, but I have the beginning details in place from both sides - Juniata Choir's Director and Trinity's Director of Music.

They will (probably) be singing at Trinity in Camp Hill on April 4, 2008 at 8:00pm. I also need to find homestays for all of them, so please let me know if you live in the area and can sleep 2 or more college students at your house that night, feed them breakfast, and get them back to the church the next morning.

In other news, I found my pair of kid's alice crocs a nice new home with my cousin Greer, and I'm enjoying both my new Berkenstocks (Thanks Ninny!!) and my new adult alice crocs (thanks Amazon gift card!).

I tried to start writing thank-you notes tonight, and while I have all of the cards from the wedding and the gift they came with written on the back of each, I cannot find the ten packs of thank-you cards I bought at Target while we were still in Virginia. I need to do some more searching for them before I give up and buy more thank-you cards...these were just so cute and perfect (purple-blue hydrandea petals on the front!!) and I don't know if Target will still have them. Hannah had bought me a few packs to write shower thank-you's, and I went back to Target before we even had the wedding just to make sure they'd still have them so I could get enough for the rest of my thank-you's. Maybe they still have them, but still, I can't bear to spend another $40 on cards that I already bought and will definitely find once we actually get to unpack everything and start living like normal people again.

I sure hope that happens before Christmas...I'd like to be able to maybe DECORATE my HOUSE (apartment) for CHRISTMAS so that when I wake up on Christmas morning for the first time beside my husband in our own bed, I can feel Christmas-y before we get to my parents' house.

I guess I'd be more likely to realize that goal if I'd stop sitting on my ass typing blog entries and start organizing things in the basement...

...nah.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Picasa

Picasa is awesome, and I have posted photos there. http://picasaweb.google.com/peacelovemath

I will add to the Home Improvement album once I've photographed our finished bedroom and the two other cabinets Paul has expertly installed in our kitchen. I also need to add some photos of the basement rooms!

Ninny, let me know about those shoes. My new ones are coming probably this week, so I really need to give these to you!!

More Cabinets!

Paul hung two more cabintes in the kitchen yesterday evening! They look great. This week we might head over to Just Cabinets and get under-the-counter cabinets to finish the job...so exciting!! Pictures soon, I swear. But this week I have vowed to start Thank-You cards, so cut me some slack.

Aunt Ninny - you wear a size 6 shoe, right? Do you want the red Kid's Alice Crocs I got a couple weeks ago? I really needed them to go with an outfit for a bachelorette party, and they're super adorable except that I could only find the kid's version, and I wanted the adult version. They fit me perfectly tho, so I think they'll fit you, I've only worn them twice, and this way I won't make Paul angry for buying two pairs of similar shoes...hehe...confession: I already ordered the adult version because they had them on Amazon, and I had $100 worth of Amazon gift certificates to blow, so I couldn't resist. Paul doesn't care about me spending the money, just the fact that I have way too many shoes...which I think is impossible...but still, I see where he could not appreciate me having two pairs of red mary-jane-style shoes at once...but if I give one pair to you, we'll all be happy!!

Other news: we also have a new carpet in the bedroom, and slept on our real bed all set up in the actual bedroom, so no more sleeping on the mattress on the dining room floor. It's also nice to be able to walk thru the dining room again.

Also, my Norfolk Island Pine died. Those stupid cats knocked it over twice, and then I haven't bought more dirt to fill the bigger pot Paul got for it, and now it's all brownish-green and sick looking. It wasn't expensive, so I think I'm going to chuck it and buy a new one at Highland Gardens in time for Christmas. The ones they sell at Lowes look nice, but they're covered in sparkle dust, and I don't want a plant covered in sparkle dust. Lowes also has mini-tree-shaped Rosmary that looks pretty cool, but I want my Norfolk Island Pine and some little tiny Christmas balls to hang on it.

OK gotta go...I'm trying to ride my bike to work this morning, for the first time in PA, yay!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

espressoPhone

Two small but exciting things happened in the last 24 hours:

First, we went to Neato Burrito with Vince last night, and he let me play with his brand-new iPhone. I am quite satisfied now that I've gotten to play around with an iPhone, and am completely cured of any desire to own one. Plus we see Vince a lot, so I'll definitely get to try it out again soon. Hannah was right, the internet is excruciatingly slow on it without a WiFi hotspot in range, but it's still freakin' sweet.

Second, I have finally used the kitchen. Paul used the microwave to heat up some restaurant leftovers earlier this week, but this morning I used my new stove-top espresso maker, which I think came from Nicole as a wedding gift. I bought 1/4 lb of espresso at One Good Woman on Saturday, and finally found the espresso pot last night. It was damn good, and super easy and fast to make. I'm quite excited about having delicious espresso at my fingertips any time I want it. I can't wait to bake something chocolatey from the Ina Garten cookbook that calls for espresso.

And now it's bed time so that I can get to work by 9:00 tomorrow and hopefully finish everything in time to leave by 2:00 so that I can come home and finish painting the trim in the bedroom. If I could get the entire second coat on tomorrow, I could just do some quick touch-ups on Saturday, and then we'd FINALLY be finished with an entire room so that we can actually MOVE IN to the bedroom at least. Seriously, it's about time. I can't believe I thought we'd have the entire apartment done; painted, re-finished, and installed; in 2 weeks. What was I thinking??

At least I have Family Guy on Netflix.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Paul Triumphant

We have a cabinet in our kitchen! And even better, under the cabinet there is a microwave!! And it's all installed beautifully above our range/oven!!! Paul is awesome. He even got a "hole saw" that made these nice, neat holes in the cabinet and hutch so that the microwave is even plugged in and functional! I'm ridiculously excited to have a brand-new over-the-range microwave in my soon-to-be-functional kitchen.

The bedroom is all masked off and ready for the trim to be painted, which I will be doing tomorrow afternoon after I get home from singing with the choir at both church services. And for lunch, I will re-heat the rest of my dinner from Dukes tonight in my new microwave!!!

Time for bed...gotta be at church at 7:45 tomorrow morning, yeesh.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I’m sitting here at work eating a big plate of yummy food, including a hot dog, potato salad, mac & cheese (home made!!), and a slice of pecan pie (also home made). The big meeting I was stressing about that was supposed to be Monday has been postponed until 10/31, so there goes my stress for the day…I’ve worked so much already this week that I can leave work by 3:30 today to go shopping for a few things to wear on Saturday, when I will be in NJ for a college friend’s bridal shower followed by a bachelorette party in Atlantic City. Then on my way home from Atlantic City on Sunday, I’m stopping for lunch with another Juniata friend because the way home goes right thru Philly where she lives. How perfect is that! The only thing that could make this weekend better is if Rachel calls me back and is able to get together for dinner tonight.

***update***
Rachel called, and I will get to see her at Duke's later tonight! I've also had a successful shopping trip - I got the little dark red ballet-flat-style crocs and footless brown tights to match my dress (the one I wore at my rehearsal dinner), so I'll be cute and comfy all day for the shower and the bachelorette party. I'm excited!!

Perfect weekend is underway!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Still living out of boxes

Friday we got a new BIG toaster oven at Kohls (on sale!), Sunday we went to Ikea and got three cabinets for the kitchen and two for the dining room and a tall floor cabinet for beside the fridge in the dining room, and today we went to Home Depot and bought paint (three gallons of white with a hint of yellow for living room and bedroom, two gallons of a rich dark gold for dining room, and white for trim), painting supplies, and a microwave with a fan that will go over the stove.

It will be another week or two until we're done paining, and then we will FINALLY be able to unpack and start living in our apartment. We still need to get some low cabinets with countertop for the kitchen, and set up some clothing storage options for the bedroom. I can't wait until the painting is done so that we can actually make our apartment feel like home, and cook in our kitchen, and use our laundry baskets for sorting laundry instead of storing clothing, and invite people to eat dinner with us in our diningroom, and watch netflix in our living room. We're already doing that last one, but still.

I also want to be able to set up the basement as a craft room - the big computer desk is going to go down there because we got a smaller computer desk for free from Paul's work in VA, and that's what will go in the living room. The old computer desk is now going to be my Craft Central in the basement. The finished half of the basement will also be some storage, and a great room for a party. We were hoping to have a halloween party, but I don't think we're going to be ready in time...it's alright tho, we don't need a nearby holiday to have a party, we can just throw one anyway whenever we are ready.

I'm headed to bed a while...lots to do at work this week, and hopefully the dining room will be partly painted when I get home tomorrow, so I'll have to help with that!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The American Dream

Paul and I are the proud owners of a brand-new washer and dryer. They will be delivered by Mumma's Appliance on Monday afternoon. When I get home from a long and stressful day of work on Monday (it's Week 1 of our billing cycle, hell week for finance-related people), I plan to enjoy doing laundry for the first time in my life. It's like food - I never liked asparagus, green beans, broccoli, brussle sprouts, etc. and various meals until I helped prepare them, and then I realized that they were absolutely delish. I don't anticipate quite the same thing happening with laundry - I think I'll be excited to do a few loads on Monday night, but after that I think I'll just not mind doing laundry, which is still a step up from absolutely hating it. I think anyone would hate it when it involves hauling everything down 3 flights of stairs, walking outside to another building, and paying $3 per load.

We also did lots of sanding today. Our dining room floor is really starting to look good, and I think after a bit more work with the 36 grit tomorrow, followed by a few passes each with 60 and then 100 grits, it will look really great and you'll barely be able to tell it was painted around the border and covered with a crappy carpet and no pad in the middle. Then we will do LOTS of vacuuming and dusting (also Sunday afternoon/evening hopefully). Then Paul will stain it and polyurethane it (Monday possibly into Tuesday), and then we will spend a few more days not walking on it, and then we will have a beautiful wood dining room floor that we can be really proud of!! Paul will be the most proud, but I get some proudness because I helped run the sander a little bit today, and I ran the vacuum while Paul sanded so that he wouldn't have to stop as often.

Then the painting will start...that will take a while, but hopefully next weekend the floor in the dining room will be done so that we can at least go to Ikea and buy cabinets and hang them in the kitchen. MAYBE we could even start USING our kitchen after that...is that too much to hope for? An at least partially-functional kitchen? With counter and storage space? I'll try not to get my hopes up too much. It will happen eventually, if not next weekend. I think I'll aim to at least purchase a carpet for the bedroom and install clothing storage so that once I've washed my clothing in the new washer and dryer, I don't have to keep it crumpled up in baskets and go to work every day looking like I just rolled out of bed in what I wore yesterday.

OK time for a much-deserved night at the bar with Vince. We're watching his cat until Wednesday while he's in Detroit, so maybe he'll even buy us a few drinks!

Here's to a kick-ass apartment, and being home in one place for a few years. Cheers.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Apartment update

Quality of life update: We have a new DVD player, so we can now actually watch the 3 Netflix DVDs that showed up Tuesday, two days after we first signed up. Thanks for getting Paul that Sears gift cert for his birthday, Megan! It will be nice to have a DVD player that doesn't crap out halfway thru the movie every time.

Home improvement update: Paul has installed a few 3-prong outlets so that we can plug in most of our appliances that have the third prong, and he's also installed new light switches in most locations that had the scary old push-button ones. Better yet, he is planning to sand the dining room floor tomorrow so that we will be one step closer to having a lovely natual wood dining room floor. The plan for the weekend is for me (and Paul if he's done sanding) to go price-comparison shopping for a washer, dryer, and microwave at Home Depot, Lowes, Whirlpool, and Mumma Appliance. We might also run by Walmart and Target. Since the West Shore Best Buy isn't opened yet, I'm doing pricing from them online right now.

My bed time update: It is. I'm going. Work by 8:00 tomorrow, so awake by 7:00. Good night.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Connected

Paul and I have internet as of this afternoon! Yaaayy!!

Verizon FiOS internet-only and Netflix equals $25/month less than we were paying for cable and internet in VA. The first three Netflix also arrived today, but the DVD player is still packed so we're not quite up and running on that front yet.

I don't have a table to sit my computer on, and I don't know where the cord to connect my camera to the computer is, so no pictures yet. Be patient. Or come visit and see for yourself - Ninny did!

In other news, Paul got permission today from the landlord to do all the painting, sanding, re-finishing, and cabinet-hanging we want to, so we're good to go on that front...now we just have to DO it all, and spend all the money for pretty IKEA stuff. We are going to have a big weekend with IKEA purchases; maybe some Big Lots, Value City, Ollie's, and Target thrown into the mix; washer/dryer price-comparison; and hopefully purchasing paint. I think we are going to do a VERY LIGHT yellow...not like my bedroom in my parent's house that I THOUGHT was a very light yellow but turned out to be sunshiney bright yellow instead...this would actually be barely yellow, but just enough to give the place a clean, bright feeling. I'm excited. Tomorrow Paul is going to install three-pronged outlets in most of the rooms, which now contain almost exclusively 2-pronged outlets.

I finally finished my big EAC at work, and I'm 6 hours ahead right now, so I should be able to get off nice and early on Friday. Being ahead is mostly due to the very long hours I worked last week, but also because I've been getting up nice and early like a good girl and making it into work by 8:00, which I plan to continue indefinitely. I almost need to, because the culture in this office is to get to work early and leave early - the place was all but deserted by 5:00 this afternoon, and it's only Tuesday. At 5:30 two Thursdays ago, I was literally the last person there.

Alright, it's time for a late dinner. Pictures hopefully by this weekend.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Soon!

It's Friday and I'm about to go to work, and when I get home we'll do lots of packing and cleaning, and tomorrow we'll finish packing and cleaning, and then Paul's friends will come load the u-haul, and then we will drive to PA FOR GOOD!! We will LIVE in PA in less than 48 hours!! I am so excited.

I worked so much already this week that I only need to work 2 more hours today to get to my 40 hours, but I have a bunch of corrections to make to my tier 2 EAC, and then at 1:30 I will be spending the rest of the afternoon on the phone with my replacement in Ohio training her. I don't know how long that will take, but my plan is to finish the EAC before 1:30 and then come home as soon as Cindy and I are done training on the phone. I'll have more than a few hours of overtime, but that's a good thing because it's only the first week of the pay period, so this way I can have some flexibility next week and spend a little more time at home helping Paul unpack and clean and paint. And that's a good thing.

Pictures of our apartment in various stages of un-packing coming soon...maybe on Sunday evening.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Permed

My perm on its day of birth. The curls should look a bit softer once I'm allowed to wash it and style it myself - I'll use something softer than gel to separate the curls. Besides that, I like it! I can finally wear a head scarf and it doesn't fall off!!

That's my hairdresser Dawn in the mirror taking the picture.






As you can see, I also figured out how to rotate images so they're saved that way on my computer and thus show up correctly when I upload them to my blog. Yay!

Oh, and in other very important news, Paul and I officially have an apartment in New Cumberland, PA. I signed the lease tonight. The owner is a nice little old man who lives next door in a cottage. Our apartment is the first floor and basement (half finished) of a house, and a nice little old lady lives on the second floor and has been there for almost 40 years. The house is in a cozy neighborhood setting just off of Bridge Street, which has lots of cute shops and restaurants and such.

We have a big front porch, a little back porch perfect for a grill, and washer/dryer hook-ups in the basement (in the un-finished but still tidy and well-kept half). The best part: rent is $300 less than we're paying now, and we only have to pay electric, and the heat (gas) is paid by the owner. That means the summer electric bill will be about the same or higher than we're paying now (to run at least one window air conditioner), but the winter bill will be quite a bit less than we're currently paying. With the $300/month we're saving, we will buy a washer/dryer and some more furniture to fill the place, which is plenty bigger than our one-bedroom! I'm quite excited. You're all invited to dinner once we're settled in. Just tell me when you can come, and I'll cook dinner for you (and give you the actual address, of course). The kitchen is quite small, but it has a gas range (yay!), and we have a plan for more counter and storage space in the dining room (Ikea, here we come!).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Avast, ye scalawags!

Aarrr, it be National Talk Like A Pirate Day!

A pirate walks into a bar with a ship's wheel hanging between his legs.
"Isn't it annoying to walk around with a ship's wheel hanging there?" asks the bar tender.
The pirate replies, "Aarrr, it's driving me nuts!"

So avast, me scurvy mates, and make sure to exercize your inner pirate today!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Married

I've been trying to settle on a title I like for this blog for a while. "I'm Finally" was just supposed to be temporary until I thought of something better, but it kind of grew on me, so I decided to bring it back for good...but updated to reflect my new marital status! My Mom told me that she liked taking "I'm Finally" and trying to complete the thought using the title of each post, which I hadn't thought of, but now that she mentioned it I'll probably subconsciously make my post titles fit now.

So I'm married. WE'RE married. Paul and I officially started dating on January 26, 2001 after hanging out quite a bit starting at the end of summer 2000. It was all long-distance until he moved down to Virginia with me in January 2006 (except when we both worked at Nawakwa, but there's precious little time to be alone and comfortable together while working at a summer camp), and especially while I was at school there were some rough patches involving teary late-night phonecalls, but now we've really made it and we couldn't be happier!!

The photographer hasn't posted our pics on his website yet, but I'll post a link right away when he does. It's great, he just puts a dump of all the photos on his website without even a watermark over them or anything. He doesn't give the full-size photo, but it's big enough to print a 4x6! I haven't seen any pics from the actual ceremony yet. I just saved all of Kelly D's from facebook, so now I at least have a few from the reception. Here are some that give a nice summary of what I do have, from bachelorette to honeymooner (I can't figure out how to rotate mine, so some are sideways):



Me and Kelly R



Me and Kelly D



Dancing with my purple feather boa



Me with weird cheekbones and Susan



My escorts: Susan, Kelly, Kelly, and Hannah (Megan had to go home after dinner)



Paul & me just after the rehearsal



The bridal party showing off the purses I made for them



Me in my dress! In the library getting ready before the wedding



From the back



The bridal party, all dressed up and ready to go with our bouquets!



Newly married!



With our "chauffeur"



In the car & ready to go!



Dancing at the reception



PREPs & their Moms at the reception!



Opening presents at the Killian house on Sunday morning



All packed up and ready to head to Ocean City, MD (actually we went to the Askey house first to see his family, have a bit of lunch, and see Paul's best man once more before he flew back to CA)



The view from our hotel room balcony



Me & my ice cream cone on the OC boardwalk



Out on the pier at the end of the boardwalk



I climbed a rock on a mini golf course



Taking a walk on Assateague



Paul flying our kite



Me with some Assateague horses



After dinner at Fager's Island our last evening in Ocean City

I can't wait for our photographer to post our pictures so that I can finally see stuff from the actual ceremony, like my musicians, flower girl, etc.

In October while I'm working on thank-you notes, I'm also going to mail blank CDs and addressed, stamped envelopes to anyone who has digital pictures so that I can have their original full-size files for myself, so keep an eye out for that. If you feel like taking the initiative and making me a CD yourself, mail it to my parent's address for now until I have our new address (hopefully by the end of next week). Also, let me know if you think you have more than 80 MB worth of pictures, and I'll send you two or three CDs!

For the time being, I'm happy to be calling Paul "husband" all the time, and hearing him call me "wife," and never taking my wedding band off, and making plans for our move back to PA. With one wedding before Thanksgiving, another before Christmas, and us living back in Central PA, it's going to be a really fun end to 2007!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Shower pictures

By the way, I posted photos from both my bridal showers on facebook:

Askey bridal shower in York

Killian bridal shower in Camp Hill

I don't know of anyone who reads this blog and doesn't have facebook (other than the Moms), but the links should work even if you don't have a facebook account!

Bachelorette party tomorrow evening...I'll post pics of that next week before the wedding!

For all you facebook users out there, I found a neat count-down app, so now there's a countdown to the wedding in my profile - fun fun! 8 days, 4 hours, 56 minues, and 17 seconds...16...15...tee hee.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

About my belly

After the whirlwind that has been the past few weeks, I feel like everything is finally in place for the wedding.

Today was particularly overwhelming, and I'm still feeling funny in my belly. I think the funny belly feeling is amplified by the brooding, cloudy, stormy, unusually cool weather, but a lot did happen today.

First I had an e-mail exchange with Jo, where I learned the poem she picked out to be read at the wedding (yay!), but also learned that she won't be able to make it (boo). I am so sad that she won't be there - she's my oldest friend, and since I was in her wedding last October, it's hard to know that she won't be there for mine. I know that with her new job she has neither the time off or the money to fly over here from Wales, so I understand, but I will really miss her. I'll get to see her around Christmas tho, but still, feeling sad.

After that I talked to my soon-to-be new boss once I move to PA, and I set my official first day of full-time working in PA as October 1, so add to my already weird-feeling belly the feeling of excitement at moving...and I realized that it's only 3 WEEKS between when we get back from our honeymoon and when we'd like to be living in PA, so add even more nervousness!! I'll be spending the first week of September on our honeymoon, the second week in VA making apartment-viewing appointments, the third week in PA finding an apartment, and the fourth week back in VA packing so that we can move on the last weekend of September and be in our as-yet-non-existant apartment by the first of October! That sounds more stressful than wedding planning to me.

Then I got a call from Tim (the organist at Trinity and for the wedding) and went over the final service details with him, and soon after that my Mom called to say that she had finalized all the bulletin details with the church, so next Wednesday I'll get to proofread a copy of the bulletin! Holy cow, it really is almost the day of the wedding.

So right now I'm basically just feeling overwhelmed with excitement, nervousness, anticipation, sadness that Jo won't be there, thankfulness for everyone else and all the great things they're doing for the wedding, and happiness about all the wonderful things about to happen...

All I have left to do is (1) pay the reception musicians, (2) plan out what will happen when at the reception and give jobs and times to do those jobs at the reception to the bridesmaids, and (3) make the collage of photos of Paul and me to have at the reception. # 1 I'll do this week, and #s 2 & 3 I will probably do next week. If you have any pictures of Paul & me, e-mail them to me right away!!

Thanks for listening...I can't wait to see you all at the wedding!

...and now I must go start getting dinner ready.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I'm a Simpsons character!



Haha.

Also, I finally got music for my wedding musicians: Crys, Katy, Addy, Franny, Laura, and Caroline, check your mail late this week and early next week!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Speed

If time keeps speeding up at the rate it's been going, I'm going to be ninety-five, retired, and playing with my great-grandchildren by the end of the year.

I've been wanting to change the title of my blog for a while, and the perfect thing came to me last week - I just haven't had time to implement until now. Good advice to live by. Kind of along the same lines as what my dad always says: "Remain calm." Only better, because it's from HHGTTG by Douglas Adams, may he rest in peace.

I am starting my complete media blackout tomorrow morning - no NPR, no radio, no TV, no newspaper, no surfing the internet, nothing. I'm taking my CDs into work and in the car etc. so that my chances of hearing anything at all about Harry Potter are as minimal as possible.

I get a sad feeling in my tummy when I think about HP being all over...but it's been so fun to live through something like this, and epic fantasy being written in my life time - now I know what it was like to live through the original releases of LOTR and Star Wars. The anticipation and discussion and mania, and sharing it with all the other fans! It's so fun and exciting.

Tomorrow night I'm headed up to Hanover, PA to the Dunlop's for pre-Harry Potter snacks, and then to a Harry Potter bookstore party with all the PREPs, Connie, my mom, Hannah, and all the other HP fans! It will be so exciting.

Then the PREPs are sleeping at the Dunlop house and all going to David's Bridal Saturday morning to try on dresses for the Kelly's weddings. I'm so excited to spend so much time with them! Hopefully by the time I get to Camp Hill in the afternoon, my copy of HP7 will have arrived at my parents' house so that I can start reading that night. omg omg omg, I'm so nervous about finding out what happens! I swear, if Harry, Ron, Hermione, or Ginny die, I will be so so so so SO so so so SOOOOO angry. Anyone else, just not those four.

My predictions:
Snape and Wormtail will both play major roles in helping Harry defeate Voldemort, and at least one (probably both) will die to save Harry.
Hermione will be the next Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts, a post she will keep for her entire career.
Kreacher will end up being helpful in some way, altho against his will.
R.A.B. is Sirius's brother Regulus Black, but I think pretty much everyone agrees with that.
Harry is NOT a Horcrux.
Snape is GOOD, although still a complete jerk.
Harry & Ron will pass their apparition tests after Harry's birthday, and then all three of them will be able to apparate places, which will be cool.

Things we know from the covers of the various editions:
Today I discovered a new US Deluxe edition cover that shows Harry, Ron, and Hermione flying on the back of a dragon, and their robes and the dragon's wings are all in tatters.
I think the regular US edition cover tells us very little, except that Harry and Voldemort confront each other (possibly without wands?) in front of a crowd of people (possible the death eaters, including Snape and Wormtail?).
The UK children's edition shows Harry, Ron, and Hermione falling into a bunch of treasure (possibly in Gringott's?), and peeking over Harry's shoulders riding on his back is a pair of House Elf ears, and the elf's hand holding a sword. I think Dobby has played his role, so I think this must be Kreacher.

I wanted to get those writting down so that once we all know what really happens, I can see how close I was, and prove it to everyone if I hit any nails on the head! My only specific prediction is Hermione becoming DADA teacher, and I know it's not too original, but whatever. Hannah asked an interesting question about what happens to Dumbledore's memories in the Penseive now that he's dead, and I think we agree that they would just stay there. I wonder if we'll even find out, but it was an interesting question to ask. We'll know if Harry re-visits any of the memories to help him on his search.

And now I'm done. Packing for the long weekend - Monday I pick out flowers at the florist's, and Tuesday morning Paul and I are getting our marriage license! OMG! 43 days...!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Busy, busy, busy!

Well, it's be a while. Things keep happening that I want to blog about, but then I never find time to sit down at the computer. The only times I've been online at home in the past weeks have been to pay bills or work on wedding invitations.

All the invitations are now sent! I got my first official response card in the mail yesterday, from my co-worker Jeneane. Yay!! I have started an official pile, which currently only has one thing in it, so I can't wait to get more!!

I want to start thinking about how the reception is going to go. Since we're having hoers d'oeuvres and not sit-down meals, there won't be assigned seats or tables, so everyone will hopefully be mingling; and since there will be three live musicians but no DJ, I need to figure out how to initiate certain events such as the speeches by the Best Man etc., the first dance, the father-daughter dance, and throwing my bouquet. Comment with other ideas for traditions we should include at the reception - anything but the garter, I hate that one.

Hannah's 21st birthday was the last weekend in June, and I had a bunch of fun as DD for her and her friends. Then last weekend, after Paul and I went to my college friend Nate's wedding earlier in the day, we ended up at the same bar as Hannah and her college friends, who had come down for a birthday visit a week after her birthday. Paul got to buy her a drink since he missed her actual birthday. I doubt the food at Duke's is anything special, but it's really nice to be able to sit on their huge deck overlooking the Susquehanna river. I plan to make that a regular hang-out once we're back living in PA.

This week is also super busy, with VBS on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and tonight I'm going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows with co-worker Jeneane! I'm very excited. I'm also excited that I will go get my free pair of Victoria Secret pink flip-flops before the movie - I love those free coupons they send out in the mail! This on is free with purchase, but that's OK because I need some new undies anyway! With free pink flip-flops on my feet and a big bag of popcorn in my lap at the new Harry Potter movie, I'll be about as happy as can be.

No, wait, not quite as happy as I am when I daydream about my wedding and subsequent honeymoon...and I sure have been doing a lot of daydreaming lately. Concentrating at work is becoming more and more difficult, especially now that I booked a honeymoon location...I found a GREAT deal on a suite hotel room in Ocean City, Maryland!

The room has a balcony overlooking the bay, a kitchenette, a little living room, and a separate bedroom with a king-sized bed. I think the only time I've ever slept in a king-sized bed before, I was sharing it with two other people. There's also a pool with a really nice looking hot tub. The hotel is the Coconut Malorie, and it's right beside Fager's Island, which is a really nice restaurant & bar - there are actually a few different bars with different atmospheres, and quite possibly some good live music, so that will be a nice place to hang out in the evening.

I know that Ocean City, MD isn't very exotic, but I think we'll have a more relaxing honeymoon being somewhere we're familiar with. There are so many things I love to do in Ocean City that I can't stop fantasizing about: swimming, sitting on the beach, catching sand crabs, building sand castles, strolling on the boardwalk, eating yummy food, playing mini golf, flying a kite, playing catch, walking on the beach, finding seashells, watching the sun set over the bay...*sigh*...I wish we were there right now!!

Alrighty, I guess I need to put my nose to the grindstone here at work...I've been writing this all morning in between e-mails and pages refreshing and phone calls...but now it's time to focus. At least I get to leave at 4:30 today!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Soliciting Ideas

My cousin has agreed to play the violin with my friend Crystal on the cello for my wedding!! I am so excited!

I need to find a violin & cello piece that's not too difficult but pretty and wedding-y...and NOT PACHABELL'S CANON IN D...oh, and if it also had a piano part, that would be OK too, because the organist would be able to sight-read it no problem.

I also need an SSA piece for my college friends & two other cousins to sing...again, with or without piano accompaniment, altho I think with the limited practice time, with piano would be preferable. I wonder if they'll let me into the music library at Trinity next time I'm up in PA...

I'm taking suggestions. I should also head to Foxes Music down the road here in VA and get them to help me...that would be good...they're very helpful in there.

I also need to compile my guest list and buy address lables and see if my printer will print them...I REALLY need to do that...

And now I really need to go to work, because it's late in the morning and I am a lazy bum.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wedding Registry

I just barely started adding stuff, but here is a link to our theknot.com webpage, which has links at the bottom to our registries:

Scroll to the bottom for Registry links

More to come!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Most productive day off ever!

Yesterday Paul and I went up to PA to taste wedding cake...and we did so much other useful things!!

After my doctor's appointment, we got on the road early before 10:00am.


After a light lunch with my Mom at my parents' house, I got to open my birthday present and Paul opened our wedding present from Aunt Judy - we got a Le Cruset ceramic loaf pan that matches my Le Cruset mini cassarole, and for the wedding present we got a Le Cruset cast iron 2 3/4 quart deep oval baking dish! It's so beautiful, and it's red-fade-to-orange, so it matches the two other Le Crusets we have, and with the orange it will also match the Kitchen Aid that Paul's mom got for us (we don't actually have that yet)! So exciting.

After that my Dad happened to stop in, and he agreed to drive out to the Verizon store with us to get Paul's phone put on our family plan! Paul even got a new phone (nicer than mine!), and now we don't have to worry about his phone bill every month! We're just going to pay my Dad for a year at once, and we save over 50%!

After that was the cake-tasting appointment...we picked strawberry ("heavenly strawberry"), and the cake is going to be so beautiful...but you will have to wait for the wedding to see it!!

After that we went back to my parents' house, where Paul made us Garlic Chicken for dinner, which was delish. After dinner came the last awesome surprise of the day - my dad finished our coffee table! It is so beautiful, solid oak, and exactly what I wanted with a shelf on the bottom. He built it from a picture of a table that I liked! It is the most wonderful coffee table ever. My co-worker Sarah said it best when I showed her the coffee table: "Your Dad is the BEST!" I know! He really is.


In other news, I haven't really been keeping up with the picture-a-day yet, but I am turning over a new leaf as of today. To cover the last few days, here are some pics:

On Saturday 6/1: My bike after I filled the tires with free air behind the Falls Church fire station on the W&OD Canal trail on the way back from my 15-mile round-trip ride to Barcroft Field, where we didn't have the softball game I was expecting to play when I got there:


On Sunday afternoon 6/2: My arm stained with blue after helping a fellow Nawakwa-ite tie-dye some sheets (10 of them!) for decoration at the under-sea-themed VBS this year:
After we were done (it took all afternoon!!), Karen treated me to Chipotle, which despite being owned by McDonalds is really super delicious!! I also got to play with Karen's cats and hear lots of fun stories from and about Karen's three adorable and very cool kids, the youngest of which I had never met before because she's only 1 year old - all three of them are so cute! Sorry no pics of them, but my hands were covered in latex gloves and tie-dye the entire time they were around.

And finally, out of chronological order but saving the best for last, on Monday 5/28 (Memorial Day): Playing Trivial Pursuit with Paul, future Mom-in-Law Linda, future Sister-in-Law Megan, and future Next-Door-Neighbor-in-Law Hope. I didn't lose miserably, which was a nice change, but boy are those Askeys good at Trivial Pursuit!!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Katy & Corey Wedding Pics

I posted pictures of Katy & Corey's wedding:

The Rehearsal

The Wedding

The Reception

So much fun! Enjoy!!



Also, Paul & I are up in PA next Tuesday June 5 to visit our wedding cake place and taste cakes...exciting! I've already picked four cake flavors to taste, but just for fun leave me a comment saying which four flavors you'd pick, and pair a filling with each if you want to. I'll let you know if anyone picks the same four I did.

DC Improv with two girlfriends from work tonight...they planned it for my birthday! I'm excited. Paul drove me to work this morning, and Jeneane has offered to drive me home, so that means I'm going to have plenty of yummy drinks!

Since I got a new camera for my birthday (thanks, Paul!), I am hoping to start copying my friend Steph with her "Project 360" photo-a-day. I think it will be a fun addition to my blog! At least I know Aunt Ninny will enjoy it :o)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Super Fun Weekend

So after my pre-birthday birthday post, my birthday only got better! I got the new Khaled Husseini book, A Thousand Splendid Suns (the guy who wrote The Kite Runner) from my mom - she has it now, because she really wanted to read it and I said I wasn't going to read it until I was done with all the Harry Potter's.

Speaking of the HP's, Paul's mom reads my blog, so she got me Mugglenet.com's "What Will Happen in Book 7," which I'm excited for. I've read the first few chapters, but I'm going to wait to read the rest until I've re-read all the HP books so that I know what they're talking about. Right now there's a lot I don't remember from 5 and 6 because I've only read them once (book 6) or twice (book 5).

I also got my new camera from Paul, and it is wonderful. I crocheted a nice little case for it, but then my cousin who has the same camera wanted it, so I gave it to her and crocheted myself another one.

Speaking of cousins, my cousin's wedding was so much fun! The flute playing went smoothly, the rain held off until during the reception which was under a tent, there was an open bar with lots of liquor and some very worthy bartenders (yummy cosmos and various other girly drinks), and I got to hang out and be giggle with my mom and aunts and other relatives, and see my little cousin Ananda who is now two years old and so so cute! It was most fun. My mom got tipsy, and she danced! It was great. And Katy and Corey, the bride and groom, smashed glasses and we got to do the whole "Hava Nagila" circle dance where you lift the bride and groom into the air on chairs! It was great, and I got lots of nice pics with my new camera.

Pics to come...now I must get ready to ride my bike to work, finally. I didn't have my bike for the last two weeks, and it's finally back. Yay. I need to start losing more weight...time to lay the smack down on plans for my wedding, which is only 3 MONTHS AWAY. OMG. yeah.

Dinner out with the RELC young adults tonight...DC Improv with Sarah & Jeneane on Friday night...tie-dye with a Nawakwa family member on Sunday afternoon...Juniata College alumni weekend & choir reunion next weekend...so much to do!!

94 days until my wedding!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

Sorry for the slightly pompous title, but I am just having such a great birthday already, I had to gush:

Got two cards, one from Steph and one from Kelly D, on Wednesday; Thursday, my co-workers surprised me with cupcakes and tickets to DC Improv, and later they sang Happy Birthday to me! The tickets are from two of my co-workers who are now good friends of mine, and the three of us are going to DC Improv next Friday, including dinner in the "showroom," where we'll get to sit for the show! I'm so excited, I've never been to live comedy before, let alone with dinner and drinks! I can't believe how awesome my friends at work are. Today will be filled with shopping and wedding planning, and then dinner this evening with my parents, grandfather, and Paul. So exciting! Then tomorrow it's off to Schwenksville for Katy's wedding rehearsal, dinner, and then her wedding on Sunday! What a super-fun four-day weekend. I am so lucky! Oh, and Paul said Happy Birthday to me first today, followed closely by a text message from Steph. I feel so loved!!

In other news, I finished HP3 last night, and I have one more interesting fact to relate: Harry insists that Sirius and Lupin not kill Wormtail so that the Dementors can have him instead. After Wormtail gets away, Harry tells Dumbledore that it will now be his fault if Voldemort comes back to power, since it was Harry that saved Wormtail's life, and Dumbledore says:
"This is magic at its deepest, its most impenetrable, Harry. But trust me...the time may come when you will be very glad you saved Pettigrew's life."
Dumbledore then explains that when one wizard saves another's life, it creates a bond between them, and one is in the other's debt.

I don't think this debt has come up again yet, so I bet in book 7 something will happen where Wormtail is forced to save Harry's life somehow.

I know all this stuff has been discovered by many others, and it's probably all mentioned in that mugglenet book, but I haven't read any of that, which is why I'm re-reading the books so that I can hopefully find some juicy stuff on my own. If anyone has the mugglenet book, tho...I wouldn't mind borrowing it...

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Re-reading HP

OMG, Harry is SO definitely a horcrux. I am just about to finish book 2 of Harry Potter (on my way to re-reading all 6 before the 7th comes out), and talking with Dumbledore after defeating Tom Riddle, this exchange takes place:

Dumbledore: "Unless I'm much mistaken, [Voldemort] transferred some ofhis own powers to you the night he gave you that scar. Not something he intended to do, I'm sure..."
Harry: "Voldemort put a bit of himself in me?
Dumbledore: "It certainly seems so."

So that's when Voldemort made Harry a horcrux. I wonder if the diary of Tom Riddle was actually a horcrux as well, and Harry destroyed it in book 2? Anyway, just needed to share that with you all. Dumbledore does say that he's sure Voldemort didn't mean to do it, but I think it's just because he hasn't figured it all out yet.

Oh, and also, at the beginning of book 1 when Snape is introducing Potions during their first lesson, he says he can show them how to "brew fame, bottle glory, and even put a stopper in death," so that might be a possibility for Dumbledore not being really dead...but I still think he IS really dead, because don't we see him in a picture frame in the headmaster's office right at the end of the book? I don't remember for sure, which is why I'm re-reading, but I'm pretty sure we do, so I'm fairly convinced that he's dead.

And one final thing: I've always been a bit skeptical that JKR had everything worked out ahead of time, but in re-reading after finally knowing everything thru book 6, I think I'm convinced - I'm noticing lots of things that she's setting up for future books, leaving little clues and allusions, and it's pretty cool...so I do think she must have had a pretty complete vision of the story right from the beginning. Amazing. I can't believe it will all be over this summer. I think I'm going to cry...

What do you think??

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Much Activity and Fun-ness

Hello, friends.

I just got home from a very fun weekend filled with Pennsylvania family goodness.

Friday evening was dinner at my parent's house with them, Hannah, and Poppy; picnic food on the lovely, cool, breezy deck.
Saturday morning productive garage sale, where we got a TV stand & computer table for Hannah's new apartment, and I got to see the mom of an old childhood friend and walk around in the beautiful sunny weather looking at other people's junk.
Saturday just before noon I left for Pittsburg, where I spent the rest of the weekend.

At 3:30 Saturday I arrived at my cousin Katy's rugby game in Monroeville, after which we picked up her sister from the bus stop and joined the rugby team for beer and free food at the Rugger's Pub, a delighful establishment from which I now own a cool t-shirt, an early birthday present from Katy.
After that we headed back to Katy's apartment to change and beautify ourselves for the rest of the evening, Katy's birthday/bachelorette party! It was very much fun, involving lots of wonderful rubgy women, alcohol, bars, dancing, and cheering of Katy as she danced with another bachelorette at the same bar as our party. Katy and the rugby team all insist that Katy won, and I must admit, she danced much more enthusiastically. I think the other bachelorette was a bit frightened. Earlier in the evening, Katy amused us with many things, such as pressing a teammate's face into her boobs, tackling another teammate, rubbing another teammate's boobs, and failing to remove the shirt of her coach after a short struggle. Other highlights of the night were a yummy hot dog from a street vendor (Katy & I shared it, eating from opposite ends), and live jazz music and free popcorn at the last bar we went to.

This morning, Sunday, we woke up gradually during the 9:00 hour, pulled ourselves together, hydrated a bit, and headed to a very tasty vegetarian brunch place, at which $10 gets you an entree and all-you-can-eat buffett. It was delicious and satisfying, and much healthier than a typical greasy breakfast. After driving back to Katy's apartment one more time, I left P-burgh at 1:00 and got home here at 5:45.

Paul said he would be outside working on his bike when I got home, but he is not outside and neither is his bike, so I think he must be on the bike riding somewhere. When I am done with this post, I am going to peek in the fridge, think about dinner, and then go down to check if he's back on my way to walk over to Safeway for some veggies.

I was thinking a lot on my way home about all the many things I need to do in the next few months leading up to our wedding, and I think I want to do a blog about that soon. I also think I need to write a draft of a grad school admission essay, which I could work on and revise over the next year-ish in the hopes of talking my way into a part-time master's program once we are moved back to PA. First I need to get a timetable of events worked out.

Lot of excitement, stress, work, and wonderfulness start NOW and continue throughout the summer...I hope I can make it!!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Things

I have a questions for everyone:

What color hair do I have?

I always thought I had brown hair, but everyone at work seems to agree that I am a red head. I admit that there are red tones in some lights, but it looks to me like the overall effect is still brown. What do you think??

In other news, I am one blood donation away from donating a full gallon! Actually, the different red cross regions don't communicate with each other, so that's not even counting the blood I donated in college, that's just since moving down to VA. That's a lot of my blood!

Paul cooked me a delish dinner tonight. Chili, and now he is attempting jalapeno poppers! I'm excited. I would take a picture...if my camera wasn't broken. Tomorrow I'm going to take it to the camera place across the street from where I work and see if they can fix it, and if so would it cost less than Canon wants to charge me ($107).

Finally, I am now excited for tomorrow night, when I will be hanging out with my friends Jeneane and Sarah from work at Jeneane's house, and making dinner. Hopefully by then Sarah will have a new condo we can be excited about. And I get to cook in Jeneane's nice kitchen with an island gas range, woot.

Oh, and one more thing, I registered for Alumni Weekend and the choir reunion at Juniata...only Steph can't come now, so I'm crossing my fingers that Laura will. I really want Laura to come because then she'd be at the choir stuff too, so I'd really have someone to hang out with the whole time. See, I get nervous if I don't have someone pre-planned to hang out with at stuff like this. Laura, if you're listening, please come to alumni weekend!!

That's about it. Hope everyone reading is doing well. Peace.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Love is, apparently, in the air

I have 8 weddings to attend, including my own, in just over a year. Add on Jo's wedding last October and we're up to 9. Here is my calendar of major events through 2008:

May 27 - Katy & Corey's wedding (my cousin)
July 7 - Nate's wedding (from Juniata)
(July 21 - Harry Potter release)
September 1 - My wedding with Paul!
September 29 - Lisa & Josh's wedding (but I hear a rumor this might be a JP, and not necessarily on this date? Juniatians, let me know if you have details)
November 10 - Laura K's wedding (from Juniata choir)
December 15 - Kelly & Reed's wedding (from Camp Hill/TLC/Nawakwa)
April 26 2008 - Kelly & Luke's wedding (from Nawakwa/TLC)
June 14 2008 - Jamie & Adam's wedding (from Juniata)

If Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley get married, that makes 10 weddings, including mine and retroactively including Jo's. Not that I think Ginny & Harry will get married in book 7, but they might. If Harry lives, that is. So that's potentially 10 weddings in less than 2 years, one fictional, one already past, and one MINE. Crazy!!



In other news, I got half-dressed to ride my bike to work today, but then I looked at the weather online and saw that it was only 38 degrees, feels like 30 degrees with wind chill. That's too cold for me. Looks like it will be next Monday until I might be able to ride again.

Looking forward to Easter Sunday up in PA - TLC will have great music, then lunch with my family followed by dinner with Paul's family makes for a warm, fuzzy, fun day. I like Easter. I just hope it warms up a bit...

Camera still broken - I need to go on Canon's website and figure out how much it costs to get it fixed.

Reading "Middlesex" by Jeffrey Eugenides, and really enjoying it...I wish I was reading it right now!

Went to Border's last night and discovered there exists a "Stitch n' Bitch CROCHET: The Happy Hooker"!! I flipped through it, and I WANT it very much. I also happened to glance over the instructions for the Afghan stitch, which I have a hook for but mine always came out slanty, and I learned what I have been doing wrong, so I went home and made a square in afghan stitch and it came out correctly! Yay.

OK ok, I suppose I must get back to work.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

No more snapshots

First of all...

I RODE MY BIKE TO WORK TODAY!!

I feel so good. Things kept coming up to thwart me: timing, weather, temperature, laziness...I was getting mad at myself for not making it happen yet. But today I did it, and it was great, and I feel great, and I am going to keep doing it. But not again this week because tomorrow's the Lent activity at church followed by Young Adults dinner; Thursday is donating blood (I could ride by bike TO blood donation, but then I couldn't ride it home, and Paul can't pick me up that day); and Friday I'm going to PA after work to see Addy & Franny's musical. Next week I will be able to ride my bike any day, and will therefore do so at least twice. I'm not yet, but just riding my bike to work today made me *feel* thinner.

Hannah has been working out a bunch since she got back from France (where she lost a lot of weight from walking everywhere), and she was telling me last weekend about setting short-term goals for herself, so she inspired me to set one for myself. My eventual goal is, of course, to look great in my mom's wedding dress, which is currently way too small for me. My intermediate goal is to fit into my favorite pink flirty H&M dress by the end of May so that I can wear it to Katy & Corey's wedding. Thanks, Han!!

Paul and I went on a big hike on Sunday afternoon that made me super-sore on Monday, so I figure that counts as my second bike-ride for the week.

Unfortunately, while at the top of the hike at the beautiful overlook, my camera broke. I don't know what's wrong, but now the lense is halfway extended, and even with the battery fully charged it refuses to turn on or to retract its lense. I am bummed and do not know what to do. I really liked doing the previous post, and was hoping to continue with the random snapshots, but I can't even share with you the fun pictures from our hike! Also, it broke right before I got to take a picture of Paul & me together, so I have no picture of us from the hike. bummer. I am going to take it in to radio shack or something before I resort to sending it off to Canon, which I am sure will cost me an arm and a leg, and I would rather put my arms and legs towards my WEDDING.

Speaking of the rest of the week, tomorrow is yummy Lost Dog Cafe with the RELC Young Adults group, and Thursday I am hopefully going to get to see my friend Nicole from Juniata! I really really hope that works out, because I haven't seen her since we graduated, coming up on 2 years.

Then on Friday it's the cousins' musical in Lebanon, PA, and I can't wait to finally see Addy in person in a leading role. Yay Addy! And Franny too! I am very excited for that.

Saturday morning my mom and I will go pick out (and hopefully purchase) wedding invitations, and then I will head back down to VA. Paul's parents are supposed to visit, altho I guess that's up in the air due to car trouble, but if they come we will be getting together with them for dinner after Paul gets off work at 3:00, and they are also supposed to come to church with us on Sunday morning, which I think will be nice.

So that's my life thru Sunday. I will leave you with one final anecdote, which I have been excited to blog about all day:

My boss Kelly came upstairs to give all of us these cool pens today. I don't know where she got them, but she has a bunch to get rid of, and they say "SAIC," and came in a plastic case with a pen refil and an extra set of batteries in addition to the batteries already in it because it lights up all different colors. It's very cool. That's fun enough, but it also came with a slip of paper containing instructions and a lifetime guarantee. The pen is called the "Illuma-Pen," and on the lifetime guarantee section it reads thusly:
"The Illuma-Penis guaranteed against any mechanical defects."
What a place to leave out a space!! Oh my god, my co-workers and I were laughing our @$$es off, it was so hilarious.

Today was a good day, and Paul is making chicken and forty cloves to go with leftover rice for dinner, plus "House" is new at 9:00, so it promises to be a good evening too!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Measure out my life in...snapshots.

No one read my previous blog rant because it was soooooo long and heavy, so let this be a hopefully pleasant counterpoint to that - light reading.


Paul and I just finished watching Stranger than Fiction, which was totally adorable and wonderful and satisfying, and which I highly recommend to everyone I know unless you only like action flicks.

After that, I looked up the weather for tomorrow morning, and decided that 31 degrees is still too cold to ride my bike to work. Same excuse for Thursday morning. Hopefully soon, tho.

To help me ride my bike to work, in the mail today came the other half of my most recent Amazon.com order. The first half was two CDs, John Mayer's "Continuum" and Jack Johnson's "In Between Dreams"; two good, solid, laid-back, guitar-driven, relaxing albums, just what I was aiming for. I seriously don't think Jack Johnson can write a bad song. But I digress. The second package contained the book I was ranting about previously (see below), and also a small, sporty AM/FM radio that will allow me to switch off bike rides between my iPod and NPR. I envision a kind of psychological experiment: which makes the ride seem quicker and/or easier, NPR or a 23-hour-long playlist containing all of my favorite mp3s?

That's today...but I've been meaning for a while to post a brief summary-in-pictures of my recent goings-on, so that's what the rest of this blog entry will be...


This is the garlic bulb that sprouted in my closet, on the right soon after sprouting and on the left this evening - it's grown so much! I might get a long window box, separate the bulbs, and plant them for real!


This is my new computer set-up at work - both monitors act as one, and I can move my mouse between them and see way more at once - it makes work so much cooler!


Also from work, my Norfolk Island Pine that I bought soon after moving down here to VA in August 2005. It wasn't happy in my apartment window - not enough sunlight - but now that it's in my office with two plant-friendly lightbulbs pointed at it for 14 hours a day (I have the lights on a timer), it's so happy that it's getting a new tier of branches!


This is a photo of some hydrangea at the flower shop that's doing my wedding flowers. I had been fabric shopping with Paul's sister Megan and my mom, and thought I had setteled on a dark, warm, crimson color for my bridesmaids, but then my mom didn't like it and Hannah didn't like it, and they were trying to talk me into brown, which I definitely don't want. While I was at the flower shop with my mom two weeks ago, I had a small epiphany, and my new chosen color is about what you see here (altho the camera didn't quite reproduce the color 100% faithfully): deep periwinkle with a definite hint of purple, just enough that it's definitely not blue, just a good, vibrant, beautiful color for my wedding. I love color, so I knew my bridesmaids needed to be wearing something other than brown. The flowers they hold might be pale green hydrangea (the color they are before they turn the color of the dresses), small sunflowers (nice deep vibrant yellow), and who knows what else.


Flash forward one week to Hannah and Addy taking a nap on Addy's bed after Katy's wedding shower so they will feel refreshed for Ninny's 50th birthday party, which took place the same evening. This all took place this past Saturday, after I spent 4 hours in my car Friday evening driving thru rain, sleet, freezing rain, wet snow, and heavy snow to get home for the busy weekend. Oh, and while I was sitting in barely-moving traffic on 270 North somewhere in Maryland, I was passed by George W. Bush's motorcade, comprised of over 20 big, black Chevy Suburbans (so that no one could tell which one contained the prez). That's right, I was within 15 feet of our not-so-esteemed leader, altho I didn't know it at the time.

So that's it for my life recently. Oh, one more thing: Paul and I have pretty much FINISHED the GUEST LIST for our WEDDING, and so I will soon be able to send save-the-date e-mails, and also start on the really fun wedding things like REGISTERING for COOL STUFF such as various kitchen accessories that we covet. I'm taking suggestions!

Time for bed!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Beating a Dead Horse?

The book for the next book group meeting at my church down here in VA is The Right Questions: Truth, Meaning & Public Debate by Phillip E. Johnson. This is the same man who wrote Darwin On Trial and is, according to the Wikipedia article linked above, "considered the father of the Intelligent Design movement."

Our past books have been so intellectual and not at all at odds with scientific views of reality, so mainly I'm curious as to whether the guy who picked this book actually buys into Johnson's beliefs, or just wanted to present something controversial to the group. My experience so far is that people pick books they feel strongly about, and by strongly I mean "strongly agree with," and they pick them because (A) they think the book is so good that it will change other's minds if they don't feel the same way, and/or (B) they want to scope out how the other members feel about the issue without actually coming out and declaring "I believe X and I want to know if you believe the same." At least, that's how and why I picked my book (For the Time Being by Annie Dillard) , and thus far all the other books have reached conclusions that the people who picked them have agreed with...so if this guy doesn't agree with the beliefs of Johnson, it will be the first time since I've been a member that someone has picked a book of which they didn't agree with the conclusions.

When I was a sophomore in college, I took a class called "God, Evolution, and Culture," and since it was the first time the class was offered, it generated a lot of public (and private) discussion of the Creationism-versus-Evolution debate throughout the rest of my college years. It has also been in the news over the years (Dover, PA school board for example), and so I feel like I've read and thought about this topic about as much as any layperson can. I don't think that anyone other than the guy who picked this book might actually agree with the beliefs of its author, but I am nonetheless worried that I will not be able to keep a civil tongue in my head during the discussion because I feel so strongly that Intelligent Design is a crock of shit, and I don't want to either embarrass myself nor hurt this guy's feelings, because that wouldn't be nice, and it wouldn't be a very good thing to do at church. In my worry and frustration, I wrote the following thoughts, loosely written as though I am speaking to the book group:

I have to say, right at the beginning of this discussion, that I talked about this a LOT in college – first in a class I took my Sophomore year called “God, Evolution, and Culture” and over the next two years partly as a result of the discussion generated by the class I mentioned, as it was the first time this class was offered – and it seems to me that all debate about this topic is missing one vital point. That is, what are the hallmarks of a scientific theory, and why Evolution has it and “Intelligent Design” (ID), of which Phillip Johnson is a founder and proponent, does not.

The theory of Evolution makes no claims at being complete, or completely explaining everything, or being perfect; in fact, like all good scientific theories, it openly asks to be added to, challenged, and revised continuously. But the theory as it stands at any given moment has a major ability that ID does not have: the ability to make predictions and test those predictions
With a scientific theory such as Evolution, a scientist can say: “Based on such-and-such theory, I should find (blank) to be true of the natural world.” Using the scientific method, the scientist can then test his or her prediction. If the prediction is true, it strengthens the theory used to make the prediction and advances the body of scientific knowledge, as well as possibly leading to other helpful predictions/conclusions and adding applicability to abstract scientific theory. If the prediction is untrue, it leads the scientific community to revise the initial theory, or perhaps even to discard that theory altogether.
Example: The Big Bang theory led scientists to believe that the universe is expanding. That prediction was tested and proven. It further led to the prediction that the rate of expansion would be slowing; that prediction was tested and disproved. The fact that the expansion was indeed speeding up led to much speculation and reconsideration of the Big Bang theory, and in this case the theory wasn’t scrapped, but expanded to include the possible existence of “dark matter” exerting extra gravitational force, or an as-yet-unknown force, causing the universe to speed up in its expansion. This speculation in turn leads to ever deeper and more nuanced scientific inquiry.

ID or any other form of Creationism that tries to be an “alternative” to Evolution lacks the key abilities of a scientific theory mentioned above. It cannot lead to testable predictions about the universe. Anything that claims to be a prediction based on ID is actually a prediction based on the belief in that person’s (possibly misguided) understanding of a Christian God. Such predictions are not testable because they are by definition based on an un-provable belief. Thus ID offers no opportunity for advancing human understanding of the universe, but is only itself an attempt at “proving” a belief that is, again by definition, held without want or need of proof. [In other words, people who believe in a Christian God profess to need no proof, and further to defy any attempt at proof as sacrilegious or futile (at least, that is how I feel); and yet, the disbelief in Evolution in favor of ID can only be as a result of feeling their belief to be threatened and the feeling of needing to validate their belief.]

Phillip E Johnson is the founder of the pseudo-science known as “Intelligent Design” (ID). Since Johnson, in this book, is telling us to “ask the right questions” and to be open-minded, I think it is disingenuous of him to not clearly state his assumptions. The reasons debates such as this one are often so deeply frustrating and unfruitful is because the two parties are starting from vastly different (and possibly irreconcilable) foundational assumptions, but these assumptions are never addressed; thus the parties are always talking past each other, never actually answering or even addressing the issues that the other side is actually referring to.
I believe this is the case with Johnson’s books: he is not detailing his foundational assumptions, and neither does he have any understanding of his intended targets’ assumptions. He writes as though I know and understand his assumptions, and as though he understands (but disagrees with) mine; but in reality, I disagree with his assumptions, and he constantly and consistently misrepresents, misstates, and deeply misunderstands my assumptions. Thus his arguments are of no effect against my current stance, and all he has achieved is to add yet another huge black mark on the face of misguided “Christian Science,” again widening the ever-deepening gap in the ever-more-important dialogue between Science and Religion.

I would also mention that Johnson is a lawyer, whose job it is to tell half-truths in order to lead a jury to the conclusions most favorable for his client. In this case, his “client” is his own beliefs. A lawyer often knows very well that he is leaving out vital facts, but because of his training and because of the way our judicial system works, it seems to me that the general feeling of law practice is “the ends justify the means”; in other words, he is aiming for a conclusion, which he believes to be the correct one; he doesn’t care how you get to this conclusion as long as you DO get there, so he will use any means necessary to lead you there, even if it is by a path he doesn’t particularly care for himself.
I am quite possibly doing what I before accused Johnson of doing, namely misrepresenting his foundation assumptions. That’s why I leave this as a footnote, as another possible explanation for the vehemence with which I disagree with him. I find my earlier explanations much more probable and complete.
That said, the positive side of this argument is that it gives him the benefit of the doubt: he sincerely holds a belief in the conclusions of his book, and he is not intentionally lying, but only acting as he has been taught to act to achieve the results he dearly longs to achieve. I am here indicting his method, but not his honesty.
This is not to say that Scientists in general and Evolutionists in particular are not sometimes guilty of the same misleading tactics as I am here accusing Johnson of, and the practice is certainly equally reprehensible on both sides. The debate will never move forward until it is taken up by moderate and reasonable parties on both sides, those willing to truly discuss the issues
clearly and with open minds. This, as far as I can tell, has not yet happened.

As much as I dread reading this book, I am going to read it, keeping in mind the goal of having much more credence when I argue against having absorbed all of its misguided material.

I feel like I'm beating a dead horse, and yet this is still a major issue in America today. This, quite frankly, scares me more than just about anything else with regard to the future of the human race, because it's the same kind of thing that leads to terrorism.

What do you think? Do you have anything to add, or anything to disagree with? I would really love to hear other opinions and thoughts in this forum, where I feel like I can speak more clearly and freely than I can at, say, church book group...but if no one responds, then I'm just talking to a wall, and I'm therefore just as one-sided and useless as the people who write dumb books like Phillip E. Johnson's.
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