Saturday, April 30, 2011

Zebra Finches

And so we come to the very last post of the A-Z April Challenge.

Some weeks ago, I had already set out Z for our Zebra Finches.  Victoria and Albert are the initial pair, and now we have 4 chicks!  They are about 6 weeks old now, and I'm beginning to look for new homes for them.  Their coloring hasn't quite come through, so it's rather difficult to sex them, but I *think* there are 3 males and a female.

They are so pleasant to wake up to with their chirping and fluttering.  They LOVE to take baths and if I don't keep the saucer fresh daily (I try to, but it's sometimes every other day) then they jump into the water dish to get wet.  Supposed to drink that water, not bathe in it!  Silly birds. :)

Here are a few pictures of my birdie babies.  Love them all, but looking forward to giving Victoria and Albert their own space back soon. :)


Everybody.  Victoria is to the far left and Albert is on the right in front of the nest (orange cheeks).


4 chicks

Friday, April 29, 2011

Yaaaaaaayyyy!!!

Today's 'Y' post is a big cheer for Prince William and his lovely new bride Kate!  She was so beautiful and graceful and he was everything a Prince Charming should be.  Long live the royal newlyweds!

The Prince and Princess!!! (Photo credits here)



Today is also 'Yay!' for myself, since I am writing the last two posts for the A-Z challenge!  I will be back Monday for the summary and then will take a serious look at how my blog changed during the course of the challenge, etc. and determine how I want to structure it post-challenge.  But I'm headed off right now to the sewing machine because I have things to finish before we can leave tonight to head to the reenactment at Selma!  I promise I will post photos and such of the weekend by the end of next week.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

X Band

This is supposed to be Thursday's post, and I've scheduled it to post at midnight Thursday a.m.  Keep in mind, though, as you read it that I'm writing at 11 p.m. Wednesday night.


The X band is a segment of the microwave radio region of the electromagnetic spectrum. In some cases, such as in communication engineering, the frequency range of X band is rather indefinitely set at approximately 7.0 to 11.2 gigahertz (GHz). In radar engineering, the frequency range is specified by the IEEE at 8.0 to 12.0 GHz.


X band is used in radar applications including continuous-wave, pulsed, single-polarization, dual-polarization, synthetic aperture radar, and phased arrays. X band radar frequency sub-bands are used in civil, military, and government institutions for weather monitoring, air traffic control, maritime vessel traffic control, defense tracking, and vehicle speed detection for law enforcement.


I'm watching the weather on Fox 5 news.  The biggest system of storm cells in several years has just plowed through Alabama and is barreling through north-west Georgia.  I'm in Douglas county, about 25 miles from Atlanta.  So far it has just been windy and about 15 minutes ago, the rain started, so there is no panicking and running to the basement quite yet.  But if it comes anywhere near Atlanta, it will hit us first.


THIS IS NOT OK!!!
50 people dead in Alabama.
One of the news reports showed video footage of a tornado in Tuscaloosa that leveled the town.  The base of the thing was over a mile wide! !?!?!?  Yikes!  The news anchor said one of the government buildings is missing.


I just found a video of it:




The cell down by LaGrange is coming up towards Newnan, which is about an hour-ish south of us.

I'm grateful for X band, that makes those radar maps possible.  I'm going to bed, but keeping an ear out for the tornado sirens.  I have friends in all of the areas that are being pummeled and I'm not at all wanting it to come anywhere near my house.

Gonna be a long night.

UPDATE:
We're all fine here in West GA this morning (7 a.m. EST).  If there were any bad thunderstorms, I didn't hear them.  Alabama and part of GA have been declared disaster areas.  Please keep all of the south east in your prayers as we recover from the severe weather.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Whistle While You Work...


Or crank up the iTunes and belt out songs at the top of your lungs.
That's what I'm doing. :)

Working hard today on a ridiculously long to-do list:

Got a Jazzercise class in an hour- yes, another 'W' word: Workout!

After that it's a trip to the fabric store next door for a very special project that I will post more about next week.  God is blessing my life in huge ways right now and I can't wait to share more with you soon!

As soon as I get back from town, I have a photo shoot to edit.

When I need a break from that, I have sewing to do.

I also have to pack up for the reenactment this weekend.

I did (obliquely) promise photos from my own wedding in a previous post a while ago; the day I exchanged my maiden name, Wallace.  (No, I don't know my relation to Scottish hero Sir William Wallace.  1770s and we're in the Rev war, that's as far back as I got.)

Here are a few of the wedding:

Best Friends


I'm very critical of photos of me, but I love this one very much!


Backstage hilarity.  I love my friends... :)

'I do' are the most famous last words.


Rosie being Rosie while she waits for her turn in group pictures.

I can dress my friends up, but I can't take them anywhere. ;)


Mr. & Mrs.

We have wedding anniversary plans (7th of August, 7 years) to visit Colonial Williamsburg, which is another W.

I'm off to work.  Only a few more letters left of the challenge!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vegging Out

If you like to talk to tomatoes,
If a squash can make you smile,
If you like to waltz with potatoes,
Up and down the produce aisle....

You should seek professional help, OR you are like me and watch THESE GUYS!



I first met Bob Tomato and Larry Cucumber as a senior in high school.  One of my band friends was wearing a Larry shirt.  This one, as a matter of fact:
When I asked him about it, he sang me the cheeseburger song:


And I was an addict from then on.  Here are 3 more of my favorites. :)




And just for good measure, here is the theme song of the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, as previously mentioned in my 'P' post last week:

The band Relient K did a cover of this, and the kids and I rock out to it fairly often. Here are the lyrics as well. :)

You can find even more Veggie fun at the Veggie Tales Website.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ultimate U word!


I was browsing through a list of good 'U' words for today's post this morning, for inspiration.  I'd already given an 'update' on all the things I have going on here, and how I'm 'under pressure' to meet a deadline and how it's going to be 'under the wire' but I'm 'undaunted' and 'undeterred' and some other 'U' words about it. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Plus, a ton of A-Z challengers have already posted on 'Unique', 'Unedited', 'Undefined', and 'Understanding'.  Not to complain, but I hate to post a title that more than 3 or 4 other people have used as theirs.

Then this caught my eye:

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty.

What an utterly and unbelievably long 'U' word!  My spell check is going crazy, but it's a real word!

An uvulopalatopharyngoplasty is a medical procedure.  It is the surgical resection of unnecessary palatal and oropharyngeal tissue to open the airway.  Basically, it's a reconstructive surgery to cure extreme cases of snoring, either with or without sleep apnea.



My husband has mild sleep apnea, and he snores pretty bad some nights.  If I don't go to sleep around the same time he does, it takes me FOREVER to block out the snoring.  (A pillow usually helps, sometimes- I either whack him with it to wake him up and make him stop snoring, or I lay it over his head to muffle the sound. ;D )

So not only have I found the Ultimate U word for today's challenge post, but if he keeps up the snoring I can tell him, "Go have an ulvulopalatopharyngoplasty, so I can get some sleep!"

Saturday, April 23, 2011

This, That and The Other

I was going to use 'U' on Monday for 'Update' to fill in all of the things I'm doing and dealing with recently, but today's title appealed to me and seems to be a good thing to post, so here it is.

I'm still working on costumes for Selma, but (as usual) it looks as though it will be down to the wire.  We'll see what happens.  Either I finish all of the many sewing things I am doing and I look awesome, or I don't and awesomeness evades me for a while longer and I'm just an overzealous seamstress who took on too much for too short a deadline.  It's as simple as that.  I'm aiming for the awesomeness though!!! :)

Tomorrow, as well as being Easter, is my Dad's Mom's birthday.  Today we went over to my aunt's house and celebrated with them.  My aunt is amazing.  She had two kinds of cakes (from scratch- no box mixes in her house, EVER), lemon and strawberry, and she had treats for the kids and had us hide eggs for them to hunt in her garden.  She rocks!  Jeremy and Grandmama played parcheesi, which Grandmama enjoyed very much.  I'm looking forward to being able to see her more often since she lives closer now.

Grandmama passed a treasured item along to me today, too- in the move from Blue Ridge to here, she found an old book called "Poems of Childhood" by Eugene Field that she used to read to me, when I was a very little girl.  My favorites are "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod" and one called "The Duel", which is about a fight between the gingham dog and the calico cat.


Before we went to see Grandmama, though, I did a photo shoot of senior portraits (session one of two!). I got 800 shots in 3 hours and we had loads of fun.  I think they will be very pleased with the results.
I have picked out a few already that will be going in my portfolio!  So happy! :)  They will be back over tomorrow afternoon after Easter services and family time.  Looking forward to even more great pictures!!

That's pretty much been my weekend, other than yesterday our new mattress was delivered!  I slept very soundly last night and I'm looking forward to repeating that over and over again from here on out!!!

The only bad thing of today is that I managed to offend a good friend while trying to help.  It's in my nature to correct written things.  Seeing Facebook feeds with the wrong your/you're and their/there/they're drives me NUTS.  That wasn't what I corrected, and yes, I probably should have just let the mistake ride.  But if I use a wrong word, I like to be told the right usage so I don't look uneducated and I forget that not everyone is sensitive about it like I am.  So.  There's that.  I don't think I deserved to have my head bitten off.  But maybe I did.  Maybe I seriously deserved what I got.  I'm not sure which one it is, but I'm not going to let the incident ruin the rest of my evening.

What about you?  Has there been a time when you offered a correction out of habit when you should have kept your mouth shut?

Well, that's it for my 'T' post.  I'm off to get kids in bed and edit the first batch of photos and then it's off to bed for me too- Sunrise Easter Church service in the morning!!!!  So excited!

Everyone have a Happy Easter Sunday tomorrow!  I may post a special entry, but I may not- it depends on time.  If you live in West Georgia, come on out to Union Grove Baptist in Lithia Springs and join us! 7 a.m. on the steps outside.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Savior Divine



I've never killed anyone.  But I've thought murderous thoughts, and that's enough.

I've never committed grand theft auto or robbed a bank.  But I took a pen that wasn't mine to take, and I've wanted what other people have, and that's enough.

In my lifetime I've looked lustfully at men, and that's enough.

Even if I were perfect- which I'm not - I am a human being, a descendant of two human beings who disobeyed God and fell from grace.  I'm a daughter of Eve, and that's enough.

It's enough to condemn me.  It's enough to separate me from God in His glory forever.  He cannot bear to see sin, and I, being sinful, couldn't stand before Him.  Being a "good person" isn't good enough.

But He loves me!  He made a way to forgive my sin so that I could be in His presence!

My Jesus gave up his home in heaven and took on flesh to become human like me.  He was born to a Jewish virgin who, while not knowing how God would make these things happen, trusted Him and obeyed.  "I am the Lord's servant," she told the messenger angel. "May it be with me as you say." (Luke 1:38)

He was human like me.  The Son of God came to save me from myself and my sin.

They beat Him.  Mercilessly.  They didn't just nail Him to the cross like you see in paintings.  They flogged Him and kicked Him and punched Him until He was an unrecognizable mess of bloody, torn flesh.  (Matthew 27:30, Mark 15:19)
And then they pounded those spikes into His hands and feet, to pin Him to that crossbeam.

But that wasn't the worst part.


When His human body breathed it's last, He had taken the sin of all mankind on His shoulders.  I believe the grief and loss was the worst pain.  His Father turned away from Him in that hour as He defeated sin. I've had my heart broken before, and the pain was devastating.  I felt like I couldn't breathe, it hurt so badly.  So small my hurts have been, compared to His suffering!

Today I remember His sacrifice to be my Savior.  He loves me!  He loves you!  No words in the world could ever convey how much!

But the story doesn't stop there!  He didn't stay dead!
It's Friday now, but Sunday is coming...





Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reenacting


For the last dozen years or so, I've been dressing up in clothes that have been out of style for 150 years, to go out to a field and watch as my friends shoot at each other.

Before you get the idea that I'm some sort of masochist freak, let me explain.

In 1997, my boyfriend (who is now my husband) invited my family to come and see a reenactment of a Civil War battle in North GA.  My mom knew a woman who sewed Southern Belle style dresses for the Atlanta 4th of July parades and pageants and such.  So we rented a couple and went out to Tunnel Hill, GA for the day on a Saturday in September.

It didn't take long.  The smell of the campfires, the hay, the sulfur from the cannons, the leather of the horse saddles.  I was hooked.

Over the years, I've been to events in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Florida.  We do at least one event a month, when we can.  There is so much to tell about them, so many stories about fun things that have happened, that I really can't do it justice in a blog post.  I love sewing costumes for, and going to, the events.  We take canvas A frame tents and camp out all weekend.  The kids have fun and it is really good for us as a family to be disconnected from the constant electronic buzz of cell phones, computers, cars and technology.  We connect with each other, and with our friends and always end up making new friends as well.

Though it hasn't been updated in a while (we're working on it), you can take a look at our unit website.  It answers a lot of general questions about reenacting, such as how we fire guns at each other without getting killed, what we eat, what we wear and other FAQs.

We portray units that were in the south-eastern theatre during the war: the 28th Georgia Heavy Field Artillery, Co. C; the 1st Ohio Light Artillery; and the 76th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

We do both North and South impressions*, depending on what's needed at an event.  (Usually it's Union, though.  A good 98% of the time.)  It's a close-knit community of people from every walk of life.

If you are interested in coming to an event, or just want to know more, please feel free to send me an email or comment and I will do my best to point you in the right direction.

Our next event is coming up next weekend in Selma, Alabama.  There is a grand ball there, in a historic home, and I will try my best to finish my new ballgown in time.  I'll be sure to post pictures from Selma after the A-Z challenge is through.  In the meantime, here is a 4 part video of our group at past events.  It's the best way to show you what reenacting is like.  A number of the photos in it were taken by me. :)

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:


Here are more photos on my Facebook albums:
Resaca, GA 2010
Aiken, SC 2009

*Even 150 years later, there are still high political tensions regarding "Yankees" and "Rebels", particularly here in the south.  Know in advance that our unit are proud Americans who reenact to educate the public on the way life was back in the middle 19th Century, for both sides, and I won't publish any comments that put down one side or the other. (No "Boo, hiss, Damn Yankees" comments, especially.  That's a typical reaction I get when I tell people we portray a Union unit.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Quirks and Quotes

I know I won't be the only A-Z challenger to do these, but 'Q' is rather limited and I have a busy day ahead, so here is my 'Q' post:

10 QUIRKS: Things that make me...well, me.

1. When I was 5, I got the chicken-pox.  I did well at not scratching any of the bumps, except for one- the one on my face, to the left of my nose.  It developed into a mole that I've had ever since.  People ask sometimes if I'm self-conscious about it or if I've thought about having it removed.  Truthfully, I have thought about it, but was told that the removal would leave a small flat scar.  So if there will still be a mark, why go through all of that?  It makes me distinguishable in a crowd and all of my photos have it in them.  So I've accepted it and will likely have it forever.

2.  I am a notorious procrastinator.  Seriously.  I will wait until the last possible second to do anything that I needed to have already have done.  Sometimes it's not all bad.  When I have an impressive project that gets done just under the wire, it makes me look pretty cool and like I have it together.  But that's a rare occasion.  So generally, I don't like this quirk.  I'd like to change.  But for now, it remains one of my quirks.  I'm surprised that my A-Z posts have all made it to 'published' status before midnight on that letter's day.  So far.

3.  I am extraordinarily patient.  To the point where it becomes laughable.  I put up with more drama, more crap, more complaining, more hemming and hawing around (mostly by my younger children) and more mental and emotional stress than anyone should have to endure.  Exerting more patience and compassion when faced with things that would make other people lose their tempers has become a quirk.  I've kept more friendships, become a trusted confidante to my children, especially the older ones, and become a strong woman with innumerable blessings as a result of holding my tongue, taking the extra time and going the extra mile to be patient with others.  This is not to say I am a doormat.  By no means. I have a temper and I show it on occasion.  But it's a rarity.

4.  95% of my musical talent comes from a genetic disposition to be able to hear pitch and tone and then imitate it.  I play by ear.  I made top marks in band and was even 1st chair clarinet for a time, but I actually came dangerously close to failing the sight reading portion of my band exams because my brain was quick to learn how the notes sound and slow to comprehend and retain how to play back what I see written on the page.

5.  I love to write (everyone reading my blog utters a unanimous "No, really?! Duh!"), but I've never really had any drive or desire to be a writer, as in published author.  If it were to happen someday, that's great.  But it's not my life's ambition or my heart's desire.  Just something I enjoy and do and hope others can relate to, if they ever even see it.  I feel better about writing something to someone, rather than talking to them.  My hand is better at translating my heart than my mouth is.

6.  As per quirk #3, I don't get angry- like steam coming out of my ears and red faced, high blood pressure angry- except every great once in a while.  But when I do, I get so emotionally flooded that I shut down.  I can't think of anything to say to defend myself and am often handicapped in an argument, not because the other person is 100% right and I am 100% wrong, but because I can't function.  I go completely blank.  And if a verbal response is required of me, I stutter.  Badly.  I physically can't make any words come out.

7.  There are several things that creep me out, but my biggest "creeped out" quirk, by far, is that I have an irrational panic that upon seeing someone in a casket, real or on TV or in a movie, they won't really be dead and will open their eyes or sit up or talk or something.  It's the stuff my nightmares are made of.  It's not as bad in real life.  When my father died 12 years ago, I wasn't afraid to stand by his casket.  I knew he wasn't going to do any of those things.  It's not a fear, really.  Just more like makes me very, very, VERY uncomfortable.  But I've seen it in movies and previews and stuff.  There are plenty of horror movies out there that feature those things happening as an integral part of the plot, I'm sure.  I don't know because I don't watch those kinds of movies.  But the concept makes me break out in a cold sweat and sends the hairs on the back of my neck reaching for the sky.

8.  My body has an aversion to pineapple.  I can have it in small quantities, but if I have too much I have to go to the ER.

9.  Seeing real life blood and guts causes me no problems.  However, seeing blood and guts in a movie, coupled with screaming of the character, makes me throw up.  Instantaneously.  I don't understand it either.

10.  I've written about this before, but it is one of my coolest quirks.  I have a talent for remembering not only entire movie scripts, line for line, by every character, but I can do that with the score too.  I can hear a score and tell you what action is happening at that point in the movie.  It's a pretty useless quirk, but it makes me unique. :)

So there you go, 10 of my quirks for your enjoyment and potential future blackmail use.

Now here are 10 of my favorite quotes, in no particular order.  (I've opted to not use quotes from movies because there are so many.  See quirk #10 above.)

10 QUOTES: Stuff other people have said that I wish I had thought of first.

1. "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent"
     - Eleanor Roosevelt

2. "We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be."
     - Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

3. "The course of true love never did run smooth."
     - William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream

4. "Never explain--your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway."
     - Elbert Hubbard

5."And the tree was happy."
     -Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree


6."I see you're still using that old thing." [referring to Elpheba's broom]
   "Well.  We can't all travel by bubble." [spoken acidly]
     -Glinda the Good and Elpheba The Wicked Witch of the West, Broadway Musical Wicked


7."You know what I like about you?"
     - My husband, Jake

8."Unless I'm wrong...which, you know I'm not."
     -Adrian Monk, USA series Monk

9."I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."
     -J.R.R. Tolkien, Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings

10."Tomorrow is fresh, with no mistakes in it."
     -Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Peacock's Passion for Pirates and Photography

I may have mentioned a time or two (or twenty) in past posts how much I love photography and how I'm giving it a go as my career choice.  It's not always glamorous or easy.  In fact, sometimes it is downright frustrating and blasted hard work!  But I love it so.

P could be for "Pretty", so here are two images I took last year that I believe are included in the shortlist of being the prettiest in my entire (another P word, wait for it!) portfolio:

                             

You can find more of my favorite shots on my photography website.

One of these days I'm going to get some costumer friends together to dress up as pirates, so I can photograph them.

I love pirates.  I don't condone the looting and pillaging and general thievery and dishonesty that is notoriously linked with them, but with gas prices being on the rise towards $4 and $5 per gallon, it's not hard to imagine that our society may well revert to piracy customs of 200 years ago and swing into gas stations with cutlasses between their teeth...  just sayin'.

My wedding rehearsal was done in a pirate theme.  No lie.  Here are some pics to prove it:

What's a bunch of pirates without the parrot??


Yep... that's us!!!

Some other pirates I love:
The Disney Pirates of the Caribbean Movies.  (#4 comes out in only a few weeks!!!)
Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy/franchise.  
Cap'n Jack Sparrow is just too fabulous for anyone's own good. ;)
This series has produced some of the most memorable one-liners that my family uses in our banter with each other.
The music is also amazing.  For more, and audio clips, see my H post on Hans Zimmer here.
Stage Musical Goodness that is The Pirates of Penzance
My dad was involved in a production of this at Shorter  College back in the day. :)

Before Kevin Kline was Bottom the Weaver and Angela Lansbury was a Teapot, they were singing this:





And these guys from VeggieTales: The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything!


I will also be participating in this year's ITLAPD festivities on September 19th.  That's International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

P is also for Painting.  Which is what I will be doing soon, after another P word going on in my room makeover: Purging!  The next 4 weeks I will be pulling everything out of my storage unit in the attic, deciding what to keep and put back in storage, and then what to purge! Getting rid of so much stuff makes me feel so much better.  Less to have to deal with, in general.  :)  The room re-do is coming along, and I'll have more updates in a later post.

But right now, I have another P word to work on: Pleating.  A skirt.  Due very soon.
Enjoy the clips and I'll be back tomorrow with something cute and imaginative for Q. Maybe. :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Owly Odyssey

Because the rest of his post contains a lot of profanity, I've chosen to post an excerpt here, for backstory, rather than a link.  Otherwise, my post won't make a bit of sense.  Well, it might make sense, but it wouldn't be nearly as funny.


My friend Adam Jones, whom I've known for 15 years, loves owls.  While out shopping one day, he found a resin owl that was the epitome of cuteness.  But a problem came up when Adam found this sticker on the bottom of it: "For Decorative Purposes Only"


Here is what Adam said in his post about it:
"The problem was that I don't like getting bossed around by a statue. I rebuked against his "For Decorative Use Only" label. I found other uses for him.And then I photographed them.
Culinary Purposes


Gambling Purposes


Sporting Purposes



Musical Purposes


Murderous Purposes

I think I'll call him Professor Featherbottom."


This post amused me very much.  So imagine my delight when I was out shopping and happened across this guy:




Naturally, I just couldn't help myself.  I took Adam's idea and ran with it.


For Communication Purposes

For Crafting Purposes

For Educational Purposes

Broker Owl is on NYSE website to help you with Financial Purposes

For Historical Reenacting Purposes

Historical Reenacting Purposes Close-up

For Medicinal Purposes*

For Rock Climbing Purposes

For Teatime Purposes

For Transportation Purposes
Thanks to Taylor Perry for posing with the Non-Decorative Purposes Owl yesterday.  
Adam: See all the trouble you've started?! ;)
If you've read all of my fair warnings about it's inappropriateness and still want to see Adam's blog, you can find it here.  


*I DO NOT advise or advocate the mixture of drugs with other drugs or alcohol.  The one for medicinal purposes was simply meant for humor.  That's not even wine in that bottle, because our family is a temperance family.  That's a bottle that Gran keeps extra olive oil in, for cooking.  Don't take cold medicine with olive oil either, though.  I'm sure that's probably a nasty combination too.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nutella! NOM NOM NOM NOM!


If you like chocolate and have no allergies, yet have not tasted the goodness that is Nutella, you are a seriously deprived individual who has been living in the dark ages.

A texture that's not as thick as peanut butter and not as liquid as ketchup, this creamy, hazelnutty, sinfully decadent, yummy goodness was introduced to the US from Italy in 1983.  I've been addicted to it since 1996.  If I can't find a bread, roll, fruit, chip or cookie to put it on, I eat it from the jar with a spoon.  If my tongue were long enough, I'm sure I would skip using the spoon and just eat it out of the jar.  It wrecks havoc on my waistline, but I don't particularly care.

It's manufactured by the same marvelous individuals who make this other chocolate goodness:

That's filled with... Nutella.

I can't really even write an adequate blog post about it, because you just have to try it to know what I'm talking about.

It's in the peanut butter/jelly aisle of the grocery store.  Go and get some.

Now.

I have found one error in my local grocery store, however.  I found this photo in a Google search of a random grocery aisle.  How come mine doesn't look like this???  I want that GALLON JAR!!!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

My Mattress Needs a Makeover

Well, not a makeover.  I'm just getting a new one.  The mattress I'm sleeping on is at least 25 years old.  It killed my back when we started using it, so we put a 4 inch foam piece on it until we could afford a different new mattress.  2 years later and my back is screaming at me that we have the money- go and get one before we spend it in chiropractor's bills!!!

Jake's finally home from the out of town job he had been doing for the last two months.  So this afternoon we went into town to start mattress shopping.  I felt like I should have curled my hair before we went, because I was just like Goldilocks trying them all and figuring which ones were too hard, too soft, or just right.

We were cut short when a huge storm system hit the area and we are now at home with it thundering and lightening and tornadoing.  I love storms.  In a different time of my life, I might have chosen to be a photographer for a storm chaser team.  But my common sense and wish to prolong my life won out.

We think we know which one we want, so we will go sometime tomorrow and pick it up.  I'll have to write my 'N' post early in the day tomorrow, though.  Because come 9 p.m., I'll be skipping ahead in the alphabet, to lots of Zzzzzzzzzz's.  :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lucy Jane

Wow!  I can't believe we're at the halfway point (more or less) in the A-Z challenge!

Lucy Jane Pennybright is someone I know better than anyone else.  She's me.  She's an alter ego I created for one of my artistic ventures. (No, I'm not crazy- keep reading! lol)

I'm an extremely creative person.  From the time I was old enough to hold a crayon (and make a rainbow on the wall behind my crib between the slats!), I have been involved in one art form or another.

When I was in college (an Art/Graphic Design major, naturally), my Grandmother taught me how to sew.  She was losing her eyesight to macular degeneration and wanted to pass the skill down to me before she was completely blind.  The first thing I ever sewed "by myself with help" was a WWII era skirt and jacket to wear to a history walk event in Columbus, GA.  I had just recently learned to swing dance and if we were going to be set up and talking to people with tanks and jeeps and big band music and Lindy Hopping, then by George, I was going to look the part as much as possible!

After I made that outfit, I went on to make a blue sun dress for my best friend's wedding reception/vow renewal (only stipulation: the dress had to be blue and summery.  Other than that, we were on our own.)
Holy cow!  Lookit how skinny I was before the babies!!!!
It was about this time that I got more heavily involved in Civil War Reenacting (more about that in the 'R' post).  But being just through with my college days and about to get married, funds were rather non-existant.  At least not for the stuff I wanted.  The sutlers who sell period pieces for the reenacting public deserve every penny they charge for the work they do.  But just a ballgown ran (and has only gone up with inflation) around $300!  I didn't spend that much on my wedding dress!!!

But I'm digressing.

I sat down with my friend Marilyn and learned how to sew.  With gusto and great ambition.  My first reenacting outfit fully sewn by me was a pale pink satin ballgown with rosette trim.  Boo-yah!  After that there was no stopping me.  I sewed dresses, haversacks, kids clothes (historic and modern), stuffed toys, dolls, sachets to be filled with herbs to make the dresser smell nice, curtains, you name it and I've made it!

Recently I sewed some stuffed elephants as gifts and my Facebook connections went NUTS.
"I want one!!!!!"
Well, alright then!


I already have two active careers going with my name on them: I'm a full time Avon Representative, and I run Jenny Ray Photography as well.  Being the massively creative person that I am, I thought nothing of adding a third to the mix! :D

But I didn't want it under my own name.  I wanted a persona, a character, if you will, that I could use when I'm out at craft fairs with a booth of my wares, or on a website.  So I chose names based on some of my favorite people and got to work.

Lucy is for Lucy Pevensie from the Chronicles of Narnia.  She's brave and loyal, smart and honest.
Jane is for Jane Austen, of course.  Jane is witty, a brilliant storyteller, and based on letters from her life, a good friend and sister. Not to mention, my distant relation.
That left a last name.  Something pretty and cheerful.  I found a new penny in my change as I was buying groceries, so I chose Pennybright.

It's still a work in progress.  I've got a few things up on the website, but not everything.  I still have photo shoots to do and right now, Lucy Jane Pennybright's main job is a commission for a 19th century wardrobe.  You can see the work as it progresses on her blog.  Lucy Jane also has a Facebook page.

That's it for today.  I'm off to do laundry and other regular work and then to the library - hey, another 'L'!  Tonight after supper we're going to shop for a new mattress and then tomorrow my plan is to sew the day dress and hopefully get photos up by tomorrow night. :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kitchen Tried To Kill Me Yesterday...

I swear, the kitchen has it in for me.

As I was getting the kids out the door for school, I realized I didn't have my keys in my hand, so I turned around to grab them off the counter. In one graceful, fluid motion, I banged my thigh into the corner of a rolling butchers block that we keep extra equipment (like a bread machine, toaster, etc) and such on.  That's going to leave a lovely bruise.

Later on in the morning as I was fixing lunch for Emily, it tried again.  Grandmother was talking to me as I was getting the chicken salad out of the fridge, so I was a bit distracted, and the drawer where we keep the meats suddenly stuck and then unstuck, the result being that it tried to bite my hand off as I wrestled it closed!

At 6:30 I came downstairs to make dinner.  Clam Chowder.  I had just finished cleaning performing a disaster area relief op scuba diving in a sea of dirty socks and random stuffed animals cleaning in the girls room and had forgotten that the kitchen had some sort of score to settle with me.  I don't understand.  I gave it a thorough cleaning before I left for Florida.  Did it not appreciate having it's counter tops cleared of papers and junk and given a good bathing in 409?  Did it not like the way it's microwave and stovetop shined?

As I was reaching for a 1/4 cupful of flour to make my roux, it finally inflicted some damage.  Gran had made biscuits in her small convection oven that sits in the corner beside the stovetop and under the cabinet with the spices in it.  Jeremy was reaching in the next cabinet to the left, above my head to get some bowls for his task of table setting.

Not wanting to be in his way, I moved over a bit.  But a bit seems to have been too much.  My arm made contact with the very HOT metal outside of the convection oven.

At first my pain sensors didn't understand.  My brain was telling my arm.  "Hey, arm, move; this is hot." Arm: "Wait, what?" Brain: "HEY. Move! This is HOT! MOVE YOUR ARM BEFORE IT GETS A HOLE BURNED IN IT!" Arm: "Holy crap! This is HOT! OWWW!!"

All of this was happening while the butter had melted to the point of sticking to the pan, the flour was needing to be stirred in and the whole mess was getting all lumpy and hard to work with.  But I wasn't going down without a fight!  I asked Gran to stir the roux to keep it from burning and I ran to the sink (the only part of the kitchen that likes me, apparently...) to run cold water over my now burning and tingling arm.

Because I'm a SuperMom, I managed to still finish the dinner preparations and get us to the table.  (The clam chowder was fantastic, by the way, and there were no left-overs.) I tried to get some ice for my still-stinging arm and the freezer door, due to being warped, resisted any one handed pulling as long as it could until finally giving way and nearly smacking me in the forehead.  The ice wouldn't stay in the little baggie and some slipped out of my fingers to the floor (no doubt a plot by the kitchen to make me slip and fall.....).  I finally called Jeremy to please come pick up the ice and clean up the dinner mess so I could go find some aloe.

I'm leaving the kitchen alone until I'm sure it's not mad at me anymore!!! ;)

It doesn't look that bad now.  The swelling and redness has gone down a lot.  But it still stings like all get out.

Don't be fooled by the cozy, welcoming milk and cookies on the table.  Those were my hard earned spoils after being jabbed, chomped and seared by this kitchen!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jumping Right In



This 'J' post will be a quick one!

My day is Jam-packed and I'm jotting this down as I hork down a bite to eat and then I'm back to it again.

Got 5 loads of laundry to fold and put away. - Jumping from the washer to the dryer to the sofa to the dressers!  Hope my jeans get dry the first go round.

Got to finish cleaning up the kids rooms with them and get them more organized. -Jumping around their rooms, putting things away and secretly jettisoning some things they don't use anymore in a box to be gotten rid of!

400 Avon books have to go out by tomorrow. - Just a few weeks til Mother's Day!  (Jewelry makes a great gift, btw.)

A 19th C day dress has to be finished by Friday. - Joining some seams will turn that jumble of fabric into a pretty dress in a jiffy!

Have to return books to the library. -  Just a quick jaunt from there to some of my Avon customers, so I can justify jetting around town.  With gas prices being jacked up like they are, combining trips is just the ticket to keep more of my change jingling in the coin jar!

The jury is still out on whether I can juggle all of this successfully or not, but as long as I do it with joy, I will be just fine.
 :)

[PS- I do want to really learn how to juggle someday.  Like for real, circus, multiple objects kind of juggling.  Jeremy got a kit one time for a birthday gift but never opened it.  Maybe I should find that... :)]