Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Quick Bit of Advice for Your Professional Life

If you're trying to get a job, don't set your phone to make your number simply say "blocked" when you call people about said job.

When you call said people and they don't answer (because their phone just says "Blocked"), leave them a voicemail.  10 bucks says they'll call back if you leave a voicemail, and 20 says they won't call back if you don't leave one.

Above all, if you don't leave a voicemail, calling them 8 times a day, beginning at 5:34 in the morning and ending at 10:01 at night is not going to make them call you back, much less answer.

That is all.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Home Tour: Kitchen

Remember when I said this a wile back and then never gave you more about my new house?
Well, friends, here is your more in the form of the first installment of my "Home Tour."  Sounds so imposing and fancy, doesn't it?  Well, don't worry.  There won't be many installments since there are only three rooms in my house...

So, without further ado, I present my kitchen, which I love possibly more than a human being should love a room:

When you walk in the front door of my house, you see this.


Yeah, that counter starts to collect junk really easily, so I have to be super careful about what I put there.  Mostly I restrict it to things that I need to return to people.  I'm a champion borrower lately.

Once you come around the side of that counter into my actual kitchen, there's the counter on the left, then my stove and oven against the wall.


One of the most long-standing items on my kitchen "wishlist" has been one of these little straw-holder things.


I looked high and low for one, but couldn't find it anywhere.  Slowly, I crossed everything off the list of things I needed for my kitchen, but still hadn't found a straw-holder.  You'd think it would be fairly easy to find, right?
But no; it is not at all easy.  I looked everywhere I went to get other kitchen stuff and couldn't find one.  Then, one afternoon, I was running into the Walmart in my tiny town - you know, the only non-super, non-24-hour Walmart left standing - to grab some toothpicks, and there it was, just sitting on the shelf waiting for me to waltz away with it.  Okay, so maybe I didn't waltz, but I was happy enough that I could have.

Another one of my favorite things about my kitchen is my fruit bowl.


It sort of came about by accident.  I've always stored my fruit in the crisper drawers of my fridge and have been entirely satisfied with the results.  The only thing I don't store in the fridge is bananas.  I only like them room-temperature.  I would set them on my counter, but that just looked rather unorganized - bananas sitting on the counter, so I decided to get myself a banana tree.  Then, when I went to the store, I had the choice of a banana tree or a fruit-bowl-banana-tree combo.
And the fruit-bowl-banana-tree combo was considerably cheaper.  I don't know, maybe I fell for some sort of gimmick or something, but so far, I have been completely satisfied with it - it just brightens up my kitchen.
Room-temp fruit on the other hand?  Still getting used to that.

Directly across from my stove is my sink.  I have no dishwasher, but, as I love washing dishes, this is not a problem at all.  If there were more than one person in the house, though, problems might arise...


Next to the sink, on top of my microwave, I have all of my cooking utensils and my cookbooks.


One of the best things about working and living at camp is that I can borrow or re-purpose things the camp isn't using anymore.  That little holder for my utensils is a display that the giftshop was throwing away because one of the hooks on the back is missing.  You better believe I snatched that right up, along with two others - one for shoes and one for scarves, which you will (maybe) see soon!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Life Lately

I don't know about you guys, but, while I love words and have really enjoyed having more of them on my blog recently, I've been missing pictures.  It's not that I haven't been taking them.  It's just that I haven't been posting them, so here's life lately, through my camera lens (and some words, because, who are we kidding?  I can't not use words).



I wish I could paint, but I can't, and pictures don't nearly capture them.  I'm still struggling to learn savoring instead of saving.

Perfect Saturdays
Last Saturday and today, I had every intention of sleeping in until ungodly hours, but, both days, I woke up fully rested at 8ish.  I know myself well enough not to jinx that well-rested feeling by making myself go back to sleep, so I've gotten up and stayed up. Side-note: Why in the world can't I wake up fully rested and ready to get out of bed like this on the mornings when I need to go to work?
Last Saturday, part of the reason I got up was because my dear friend Kae stayed at my house the night before and I wanted to get up and have coffee with her before she had to leave to go home.


Kae and I made coffee and went out onto my front porch to sit on the swing and enjoy the cool morning.  We talked just like we always do about life, thoughts, plans, the future.  As is pretty usual for us lately, we started talking about our some-day kids.
Then, I glanced out into my yard, just looking at the way the morning sunlight played on the still wet grass, and I saw our kids there.  For just a moment, as plain as day, I saw my girl with long blonde hair and Kae's little dark, curly haired boy about 4 and 5 years old I'd say, holding hands and running around a tree, their backs to us.
I've never even wanted a girl, but I knew she was mine and he was Kae's.  I'm not saying it was a vision or anything, but it was a calm, beautiful, reassuring little moment.

Getting Ready
Sometimes, a girl just wants to fix her hair and wear a little make-up.  These (somewhat) early Saturday mornings are wonderful for spreading girly implements all over the counter and taking my time to look pretty.


Girl Times
Kae wasn't the only one that visited last weekend.  Our friend Christy was here too.  Christy, Kae, and I have been friends only in our adulthood (translation: not for a particularly long time), but they are two of the six girls that I love and trust implicitly.  We met at Camp (Christy and I in '08, and then Kae in '09) and have pretty much been inseparable since day one.  I was Christy's Maid of Honor and a bridesmaid in Kae's wedding, and, in our world, that means a lot - it means I'm sticking by them and they're sticking by me for the long haul, even through the tough stuff.
The wonderful thing about us is that we can always enjoy time together without any hint of the "three's-a-crowd" syndrome, but we have wonderful individual friendships too.  Christy actually got here on Thursday, so she and I had Thursday night all to ourselves, then I had to go to work for a half-day Friday and Kae got here at about ten, so she and Christy had time to themselves since I ended up working til more like two, then we all went to town to buy things for my Operation Christmas Child box, then made dinner and watched Persuasion together.  Christy left, and Kae stayed the night, so she and I got our time to ourselves too.  It was a wonderful weekend and I can't wait til we all get to see each other again.


The cherry on top of our wonderful weekend?  Christy got a wonderful job.  Christy, you deserve it, dearest, and I could not be happier for you!

Jesus Times
I have been getting back into reading my Bible even when it's hard (blame Leviticus for the difficulty) and it's been so good!


A New-to-me Mug
As long as I can remember, my mom has had this one perfect mug.  It's the perfect blue, and holds the perfect amount of tea (it's a tad too small for the amount of coffee I like - we all have to have our vices, you know), it has the perfect handle, and is even the perfect weight when you hold it. I'm telling you.  It's perfect.
It may sound silly, but that mug is one of the things I miss most about my parents' house (ahem, other than my family, of course).
Well, Saturday  before last, I went to Goodwill with a friend in the afternoon and found the perfect mug!


Okay, so maybe it's not the perfect blue, but it's the perfect salmon pink and I am still so thrilled about it.

I never thought I would be a candle burner, but


I'm obsessed.  That's all.

I went home last week.  Home is an interesting concept for me.  I spent the first twelve years of my life in the same house in a small neighborhood (well, my very first year was spent in a different house, but I have no memories of that house).
It was cozy, comforting, and secure, and to this day, I say I want to raise my family in a house just like that one, if not that exact one.  Probably not that exact one, honestly, because the neighborhood has sadly gone downhill.
When I was twelve, we moved to the country, and then moved back into town a year later.  Since then, my family has moved four times, but always in the country around the same small town.  I've loved all of our houses, but I've gotten to the point where they're just houses.  For years, I really struggled with the fact that we are such nomads.  It was hard for me to imagine having kids and not being able to take them to Grandma and Grandpa's in the same house every year.
My Nana has lived in the same house since my mom was six, and that house has brought such a stability to our family.  I can't think of our family without thinking of that house and I can't think of that house without thinking of our family.
Nana's house and our family are completely intertwined in my head.
But, when it comes down to it, house and home are not synonymous.
Home is my small town.



Home is a dirt driveway in the woods.


And mist rising from the pond in a cool morning.


Okay, eventually my family might live somewhere without a pond or away from the woods or even outside of Nacogdoches, but if/when they do, it'll be okay because home isn't even any of those things.
When you boil it down to it's very essence, home is simply where they are.

Sister Pictures
When I went home, I got the privilege of shooting Sarah's senior pictures (and some with friends, and some with her boyfriend).



She's graduating!
I'm still somewhat in shock over this fact.  I have even gotten a little teary-eyed about it.  My little sister is graduating from college.  She's so grown up!
Sarah, I love you and cannot wait to have less distance between us.

Also?  I got to take Baby to her chemistry class and to Starbucks


I feel like now when we walk into a coffee shop together, it's very possible that the barista thinks we're just friends rather than sisters a decade apart. (Maybe that's just me thinking I look younger than I do...)
That makes me incredibly happy and sad at the same time.

I can definitely wait several more years for you to graduate.

Baby, I love you, you beautiful goofball!
It was so wonderful to talk with you and share my favorite playlist with you.    Please forgive me for ever looking down on your taste in music, because you know what?  I'm listening to James Morrison now.  As I type these words. And I'm actually enjoying it.
I can't believe I just said that.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

To Whom It May Concern:

Inspired by Christine.  If you don't get what I'm doing, see my post and hers.

One day, you'll know all of this - Dad teases me all the time about the list of things he'll warn you about, so I figured I'd get the drop on him (Is that the right way to say that? It doesn't sound right.) and tell you first...

I thrive on sunshine - heaven help you if you have to live with me when I haven't had enough
I like apple peels and bread crusts better than actual apples or bread
I am compelled to leave things the way I found them (When I say things, I mean everything.  This can be a real problem sometimes.)
It takes me forever to hang anything - pictures, curtains, shelves - it has to be absolutely perfectly planned out before I'm ready to poke holes in the wall
I love washing dishes - doing the dishes can cheer me up from the worst mood
I can't finish a story to save my life - I interrupt myself too much
Sometimes (but rarely - I could count the times so far on one hand) I go into hysterics, as in, don't know whether I'm laughing or crying, or why I'm doing it in the first place
I make chocolate chip cookies when I'm stressed
I'm a classically trained ballerina - 4 years of happy-go-lucky lessons and then 6 years of the intense kind - but still such a klutz
Storms paralyze me and make me restless at the same time
I'm not very good at making jokes.  Rephrase that.  I can't make jokes.  But it's pretty easy for me to make people laugh when I'm not trying to be funny
I can't sleep without a heavy blanket on my bed, no matter how warm I am
I love all of my senses, and, as I'm a photographer, you'd think sight would be the one I couldn't live without, but no.  It's hearing.  I literally have nightmares about losing my hearing.
I love Reese's and used to say I'd love anyone who gave me one, but then I decided I say love too much
If you can carry on an intelligent conversation about words or language with me, we are going to be friends
Boredom doesn't exist.  If you tell me you're bored, I will question our friendship
When I grow up, I want to dress like June Cleaver
I don't have a favorite color, or food, or animal, but you can be sure that I will call whatever I love most at the moment my favorite
I want to be a cook like my Dad - the kind who never use recipes and make delicious things from their own imagination - instead, I'm hopelessly bound to instructions
I love to sleep, but cannot get myself into bed  before 11 pm no matter how hard I try
I am always late.  Always.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Featured Friend: Christine

Remember this girl?


Yeah.  That one.  The one that I surprised once on her birthday at the Houston Zoo.

A few nights ago, I ran across her blog on accident.  I didn't even know it existed, and then, suddenly, there it was and I was like "What!?"
So, of course, I went back and read everything she had written over the last 10 months or so.
That's what everyone does at moments like that, right? Just tell me yes, even if it's not...

Anyway, In the process of reading through her archives, I found this.
Now, Christine, although she is a very dear friend, is a fairly new friend.  As in, we didn't meet until about three years ago, so I didn't know about the background of this post.

So, imagine my shock as I'm sitting here reading my story on her blog.

I'm dead serious.  Change two tiny details (a. I was a little older than she was and b. I knew he was cheating when I broke it off, which I guess is not a particularly tiny detail) and everything on that post besides the list could be something I wrote about myself - every detail is true of me and my journey since then.  That, my friends, is the background of "this phase" in my life that I referred to in my last post.
And she probably put it all much better than I could have.

Just in case you're not catching this, I'm going to repeat myself - Christine and I have almost the exact same events that, although they may not define us, have influenced much of who we are today.

Can I just say, I think it's an incredible testament to how much we've both overcome that we've never really talked about this.  We both sort of knew about the relationship of each others' past that held certain regrets and scars, but details didn't matter to us, because our past doesn't define who we are today.  Neither of us dwelt on the past.

You know what else Christine doesn't do?  Shilly-shally.
She jumps in and does whatever she's doing whole-heartedly, and when she makes a decision, she sticks to it.  She is who she is and anyone may know it.
Also? Girlfriend is L-O-Y-A-L.  If she decides she's your friend, she's all in.  She keeps track of your life (in a non-stalker way) and always knows the right questions to ask at the right time to spark a deeper-than-you-might-like, but oh-so-good-and-necessary conversation.  She keeps you accountable whether you like it or not.
I'd have to say, ours is a friendship where she made the decision that we were going to be friends and decided to work on that, then I caught on to the fact that she was a keeper and, boy am I thankful I did.

We've both overcome so much, and Christine, if you're reading this, I love you and am so much more grateful for your friendship now that I know this about you.

Up next?  A "To Whom It May Concern" list of my own.