Friday, November 12, 2010

From Apartment Therapy: How to Hang Artwork

This is something I've never heard before in all my time researching home decorating! Great stuff. 57" is now my new standard.And for the record, I read Apartment Therapy almost daily. It is full of wonderful inspiration!


http://vimeo.com/16721085

Monday, November 08, 2010

How to Throw an Open House Party for Dirt Cheap!

I know I haven't blogged a lot. Heck, I've hardly blogged at all. There is good reason (there always is, right?), and that reason is I have been, sometimes literally, neck deep in sorting through the last bits of our boxes from the move in time to throw a bash.

It was our first official party in our home. Friends and family made the trek out to Bellevue to meet the new digs and say hi to the attention hog of a pup. On top of everything else, Daniel's birthday was the next day. I got him a lab coat and goggles that he wore the remainder of the evening (gift success!) and surprised him even more by topping that by taking him out with a bunch of friends to play laser tag in downtown Nashville.

Sure, the picture frames weren't, well, filled with pictures. And the stack of papers (the last bastion of unsorted-ness) was shoved into a plastic tote and stashed out of sight in a closet. And we were left with half a birthday cake and a ton of brownies to consume ... but I loved having everyone over and planning it out. I didn't like the 2am night-before bake-a-thon so much. But that's another story.

Bottom line: my husband enjoyed his sort-of-surprise party, and I enjoyed planning it. I enjoyed making do with breakfast foods and leftovers while he was on a business trip the week before so I could spend our grocery budget on yummy edibles. I enjoyed coming up with the look and theme and scoring some 50% flowers at the grocery store the morning of and making $6.99 of carnations, daisies, roses, etc. spread across a multitude of mason jars. Which, I should proudly point out, were re-used for the THIRD time since I got them for our romantic dinner last year that ended up with us being engaged only an hour or two later. (The second time was at our wedding.)

I love a good deal.

Even better yet was some of the art I did manage to set up pre-party. Namely, a pencil imitation of a Master that my grandfather made in the 80's, alongside a trio of art mannequins we already owned. Unity through repetition. See? I did learn something in college! Or the $1 clearance kitty dish mat (i.e. Modern Art) that I measured out and cut to fit an un-fittable frame! Or the dirt-cheap ready-to-be-thrown-out map of Nashville that just happened to have my bathroom colors on it and was trimmed and framed in one of my Craigslist-find frames!

I'll have to post some pictures. It's all very exciting.

And so is the direction I'm going with what I hope will be a new blog. Yes, you read that right. A new blog. After five years of Ruby Red ... I'm thinking of moving on, and this post is a hint what direction I will be heading. I'm so excited!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Life: A Random Blog About My Weekend

 HEALTH & EXERCISE
I ran for 25 minutes straight on Sunday and it felt glorious. I was pouring sweat (thank goodness for my new sweat-wicking top and the hand towel I brought with me to the gym!), but it was a huge achievement to do something I have NEVER done in my ENTIRE life. At 30, I'm now capable of doing something I didn't do when I was 12. Pretty stinkin' amazing if you ask me. Apparently, 4.2 on the treadmill is my stride/tempo. Usually, either my lungs or my legs give out around 10 minutes, but this time both worked just fine and I ignored the little voice in my head that wanted to stop for a while and walk instead. I ignored the fatigue in my legs and worked on improving my upper form. Something about pumping my arms and standing straighter helps ... maybe a physical therapist or personal trainer could tell me why, but for now I'm glad to just know I CAN DO IT. I have two weeks left in the Couch-to-5k program, and just over two weeks until my first 5k in the Germantown neighborhood of Nashville. I hope my husband will be able to finish strong, too. A nasty cold or allergies or both has had him pretty run down this past weekend. Hope I don't come down with it!

In addition to running, I've started adding weight training and some cross-training type aerobic exercises on my "off" running days. Looking forward to feeling strong enough to try a Zumba or step class to shake things up, and also some yoga and Pilates to keep me lean and flexible. I'm so looking forward to reclaiming my real size me ... hopefully by this time next year I will be strong, and lean, and healthy, and full of life! (And fitting into clothing that I love, instead of trying to find something that fits? I hope!)

FRIENDS & HEALTHY LIVING

I have several friends who are right there alongside me in the journey to better health. It's wonderful to hear their good news and work through the challenges together. I look forward to being next to them at the upcoming 5k!

FRIENDS & WEDDINGS
One of my best friends came home with a sparkly addition to her left hand. Yay! Another pretty wedding to look forward to next year! October brings the close to this year's wedding season for my group of friends. Very excited about attending the upcoming outdoor fall wedding in a couple of weeks (same day as the 5k, actually) to watch a wonderful couple unite in marriage in the same area of the park in which my own husband and I got engaged last year.

FAMILY & FRIENDS & BABIES
Before you jump to conclusions ... No, not us. Trust me. When it's our news, you'll hear about it!  I just have many people I know and love (or people they know and love) who will be welcoming little ones into their lives within the next year. It is so wonderful to hear their great news! I can't wait to meet these precious new persons who are coming to a home near you in Fall 2010 and Winter/Spring 2011.

HOME
My home is my palace. I love, love, love our little condo. It's a townhouse and I am enjoying every minute of fixing it up and making it ours. Our landlord is great and the location is great, and even the neighbors are great (and quiet!). All in all, a pretty sweet deal. We're 15-20 minutes from almost every amazing Nashville neighborhood, including downtown, Hillsboro Village, West End, Green Hills, The Gulch, 12 South, and Belle Meade, and only 30 minutes from Brentwood/Franklin. The only location downside is we are a sad 50 minutes from my friends in Murfreesboro, and at least 1 1/2 hours from any family. *pout* :-( I miss them.

I've chosen paint, and scoured Craiglist to claim some amazing finds. My latest? 65 pictures frames of many different sizes, some with mats, and some brand new, for only ... drum roll please ... $30. That's .50 cents a piece. .50 cents. You can't even get a decent frame at Goodwill for that much. SCORE.

Slowly, the house is shaping into our home. I worked on unpacking and sorting in the craft room yesterday, and I'm looking forward to getting rid of the last 10-12 boxes that reside against the far wall of our dining room. I also look forward to hanging art and photos in my "new" picture frames ... and then inviting our friends to an open house near the end of October.

I enjoy setting up house. I love nesting. Which reminds me ... I also love marriage.

LOVE & MARRIAGE
I don't brag on my husband nearly enough on this little blog. Daniel, if you're reading this ... you're my world. I love you. Thanks for putting up with my quirks and anxieties and strong opinions on decorating and whether or not to iron a shirt (or choice in movies!), and for being my biggest fan and encourager during my weight-loss and health-gain journey. You're the best.

GOD
Through the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the here and there of life, one thing has been constant: God's presence and control. It is so amazing to know that He is over all that is this life of mine. Even when I feel like things are spiraling out my control, they are never out of His. I stand amazed. And humbled.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Baking

Maybe it's the fall, but I got the urge to start baking again, and experimenting with foods and goodies. One of these days I may even take on the ultimate dream--make gorgeous cupcakes, candies, and oh-my-word-so-tasty caramels.

We'll see.

For now, I tried this recipe (my modifcation: slightly less salt, add 1/2 tsp. baking powder) from the lovely lady of Spork or Foon, who in turn modified it from Maple N Cornbread's recipe.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Smuckers Peanut Butter Packets are Evil!


256 calories per pop. Yes, EACH.

That's just disgusting. There went my calorie budget for today. And here I was hoping to have a nice dinner out without more than a little portion control. So much for that.

What, I ask, adds the extra 50-100 calories in the Smuckers name, when my calorie counter (which I used too late, alas) tells me any other peanut butter is about 100 calories per tablespoon--quite a few, to be sure, but still much better than 256 calories!

You have some explaining to do, J.M. Smucker Company. ESPECIALLY since your Jiffy brand is a lot less caloric!

*facepalm*

Monday, August 30, 2010

Modern-day Idolatry

Ever bowed down and worshiped an idol? Ever exalted a piece of wood or stone to god status? Ever sacrificed a belonging of personal value, or given of your time, or chanted prayers to it?

Neither have I.

But this morning, I looked directly in the face of an idol and it stared back with gray-blue eyes that looked an awful lot like mine. I groomed my idol carefully and offered it food and coffee. I took my idol to work and paid more attention to it than my job at times. I took my idol home and took care of its needs before my household chores, my husband, or my Bible. I placed it in an elevated position in my priority list, right next to my other idols of Entertainment and Laziness.

God, please forgive my Self-Centeredness.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Death and Birth of Dreams

Sometimes, I just want to pinch myself to make sure this is real.

There are only two or three dreams of mine that have not come true in one way or another in the past few years. I still am in awe that so many others have. I don't know why. I'm certainly not the prime example of godly living at every moment of my life. Complete honesty? Most weeks, I read my Bible so rarely I have to search for it on Sunday morning.

So why has He decided to bless me? I suppose it is because God doesn't operate on our "fairness" scale, and I'm glad he doesn't. I'm glad He loves me, a sinner saved by grace, despite all my weaknesses and failures. He knows I don't deserve it, but He gives His grace anyway. Thanks, Lord!

Still, I look back at the past five years and recall when I began this blog I was desperate for a job, in debt, with no love life, no prospects, and only my family and a dream of a business to get me through some of the hardest moments of my professional life. I clung to God and held onto hope that He would provide. I questioned so many things during that period of my life. There were times when I just didn't even know what I believed anymore. Anxious, guilt-ridden, angry thoughts swirled around in my mind at night. Thoughts I wanted to pretend didn't exist. Thoughts that drove me to read my Bible and pray even more earnestly for God to help me through it and to help me through and forgive my moments of unbelief.

My confusion and fear was driven by the things that I wanted desperately as long as I could remember: love, acceptance, freedom to make my own choices, opportunities for running a successful business, and the real hope for a genuine relationship that would lead to marriage, family, and security.

You know what had to change first? My attitude. God used my situation living with my parents to gradually bring me to the realization that I was using my helpless position to live on my own to humble me and then to convict me of my pride and rebelliousness. Sure, the rebellion didn't come out in dramatic ways, but I knew it was there, and that was all that I needed to know. I had to repent, and I had to accept that God had me there for a reason, and I had to accept that my way wasn't the best way. Once I understood that, I began to grow.

At first, the gradual opening of my heart continued with friends. A move back to the Nashville area introduce and re-introduced me to the people who would shape my life for the better. Friends who encouraged me and challenged me to grow as a Christian. Friends who accepted me for who I was. Friends who reached out and gave me a hug when a hug was most needed. Friends who gave me the ability to grow. And then, friends who inspired me to take the risk of looking for love.

I honestly wasn't sure if I could believe that I would truly one day fall in love. I started opening up to the possibility of talking to guys and accepting an offer of a date, should one present itself, but it didn't. The closest I came to a date that year was talking on the phone to a young man who was a friend of a friend and was traveling around the United States raising support to be a missionary. He truly had a heart for the Lord, and it made me glad to see his passion for ministry. We became friends, but we both knew it would go no further than that. There were other guys I came in contact with, of course, but none of them stepped forward to get to know this shy yet outgoing introverted girl with a bag full of dreams and hopes. Twenty-five and twenty-six went by and the likelihood of finding someone to share the best years of my life with seemed very slim, indeed. It wasn't until a dear friend suggested I stop avoiding "getting out there" and try online dating that I had my first date ever. At twenty-seven. Yes, you read that correctly. I had an interesting experience with online dating, complete with a crazy first date story, then having to crush the hopes of an over-eager would-be-suitor, experiencing ifrustration, holding on to the "perfect" guy for me only to realize he wasn't and surviving the breakup of a long-distance quasi-relationship, to unexpectedly meeting the real perfect man and slowly falling in love.

Meanwhile, I had had to come to know the shock and horror of true loss when my mother died from cancer, and shortly thereafter pick myself up from the pieces of a broken career and move forward in hope that there was something better out there for me.

And then it was like God turned on the green light. Love. Marriage. Getting out of debt. Financial security. A work environment that isn't toxic. Business plans falling in place. Professional encouragement. Things I had longed for for years, happening in rapid succession.

It's almost too much to absorb. Why now? Why me?

All I know is that I need to continually rely on God and to respond to these blessings with a grateful heart. I fail every day; I know that, but God is faithful.

What of the dreams that I still have? There's only a few left ... seeing my writing in print at a major publisher, starting and maintaining a successful business so that I may one day quit working full-time, and having and raising children who will trust Christ as their Savior and live for Him and make a difference in their world.

And you know what? Because I have looked back and seen the path He led me down to fulfill other dreams, I am confident He will bring this path on to see those fulfilled, as well, and if He chooses to allow those dreams to die, He will raise up others in their place ... dreams that will become the desire of my heart ... dreams He has placed there and will bring to fruition until the day he calls me home, the day my final dream will come true: to live in complete freedom from sin, forever, because of the sacrifice and forgiveness of my Savior.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Assumptions About Life

I attended a training class event based on a book called Shake That Brain! at my place of employment yesterday, and walked in to find toys on tables, name tents that we wrote our favorite movie character on instead of our own names, and a trainer that donned a smile-on-a-stick at the end.

Obviously, this was not your average class.

We questioned assumptions. We turned negatives into positives. We dreamed big. And we had fun doing it. (I even got my very own smile-on-a-stick and creeped out a coworker with it later on.)



It also got me thinking about life and the assumptions we make about ourselves, our surroundings, our people, and even our careers or plans. It's so easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day and not rise above it by persistence or even sheer audacity. We lose sight of the creative solution in favor of the tried-and-true. We shy away from the difficult and new and cling to the easy and familiar. Isn't sad that sometimes the older we get, the less fun we think we can have and the more resistant to change we become?


Thanks, Joel Saltzman, for shaking things up.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mockingjay and Me

NOTE: This Post Contains Potential Mild Spoilers

I bought a book Tuesday, picked up some dinner to-go from Cracker Barrel (even got the plasticware so I didn't have to do any dishes), and sat down on our couch with Mockingjay, the third book in a trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I only took one break from 6:30 pm until 11:00 pm, and that was to drive to Starbucks and pick up a (decaf) Toffee Nut latte and chat with Daniel on the phone for about 30 minutes before sitting back down on our couch once again. It was that good. I highly recommend you read it!

There's been some debate on review of this novel if it was a worthy ending. People on the Facebook fan page have either loved or hated it. There doesn't appear to be very much middle ground. If you're wondering, I fell into the "loved it" category, but I do see the merit of the arguments from the "hated it" side. They maintain that the book did not develop the main character, Katniss, that despite being a triumphant game player (read: being tossed to the lions in an arena kind of game), she is still a helpless pawn of warring factions, even at the end. I disagree. Could her final realization and claim of independence have come sooner and still moved the story on? Yes, I believe so, but the author's plotline is achingly consistent with how I would believe a 16 year-old would react and grow under the circumstance with which she was presented. Perhaps I identified strongly with Katniss. Perhaps I saw in her a bit of me, and a bit of others I know. Perhaps I felt her inner and outer battle keenly, knowing there could be situations I face in which there is no good answer and at every turn you are chased by an enemy and your only instinct is to just survive--no matter what.

Her story is like a re-occuring nightmare I have every now and then when the pressures and stresses of life creep up on me. I am young, helpless, sometimes even shoe-less. I am running, running, running. There is an evil presence behind me. Someone I must, at all costs, avoid. Someone I try at every turn to desperately outwit and hide from in a spot he will not look, because I've been running so long I can barely move, and I know that shortly I will collapse. I need to survive. I need to survive ...

... and then I wake up, shaking.

Mockingjay is that dream, except one thousand times worse. In my nightmare, only my own life is at stake. In the Hunger Games Trilogy, the lives of everyone Katniss loves and comes to know are at stake. In Mockingjay, the lives of everyone in her small world are at stake, and she is the pawn in a war game that threatens the very existence of humanity. Try those pressures on for size.

What would you do? Would you rise to the challenge? Or would you sometimes run scared, sometimes break, sometimes lash out in anger, sometimes fail miserably? Katniss does, and I would too.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Things I Can't Stand

I may not be a designer by profession, but I started out as one, studied to be one, and spent the better part of my childhood years doing things that only a designer with an eye for things to "look right" would do ... like organize the play blocks by shape and size, or know the difference between pink and peach (at age 3.)

In short, design is one of very few things in which I feel completely comfortable making snap judgments. For instance: that sweater is hideous. Or: move that picture over a couple of inches. Or: that table is completely wrong for this room.

I may not sing the praises of this team vs. that team, but I sure will argue this font vs. that font. I won't tell you I'm not comfortable with your attitude if I'm feeling nervous or intimidated, but I will tell you if your butt looks fat in those jeans. I'll try to see things from your perspective, but not if your perspective is that Precious Moments characters should be featured on your walls, or that a collection of deer heads is the most attractive mantle ornament out there. Just fair warning.

With this in mind, let me share a list of Things I Can't Stand. Some of them aren't even design related. You may be familiar with a few of them (as I've certainly mentioned them before,) and you might relate to them, but perhaps not ALL of them. So I hope you enjoy this bitter list, or better yet, cringe with me. If you disagree, I'm sorry to hear that and will graciously step off your toes. But I'm still right. ;-)



THINGS I CAN'T STAND

1. Knotty Pine ANYTHING. If it isn't a hunting lodge or part of a wooden shrine to the 70s, it's got to go.
2. Geese with clothing and bonnets. You know what I'm talking about.
3. Hangers facing different directions in the closet. Daniel and I had a recent conversation about this. It's a pet peeve of his, too. Thank goodness we are hanger-direction-compatible.
4. Cords. Just ask my husband. I am a real cord-Natzi. They clutter things up and look ugly and you can trip over them!
5. Pictures that aren't aligned well on the wall. I don't care that you wanted to hang it on a stud. It's driving me crazy!
6. Camouflage in the living room. Not even a jacket. I take that back, camouflage anywhere other than the forest when you're hiding.
7. Ruffles with lace from the 80s. *shudder*
8. Comic Sans. Period.
9. Floral stationery or prints that aren't sleek and modern. I don't know why, but this makes me think of dusty fake floral arrangements. You know, the kind that sit in tired hotel foyers.
10. Movies where cussing is used like punctuation marks in every sentence. Ruin a perfectly good plot, why dontcha?
11. Knock-offs that don't even bother to change anything other than the quality of a piece. Way original. Way to go.
12. Knick. Knacks. Everywhere. *cringe*
13. Monochromatic belongings. Unless, of course, it's a personal preference. But if you can't throw in an extra color here or there ... it just seems so bleak.
14. Weeding. I'll never be a horticulturalist. I'm doomed to a life of pebbles and porches and brick pathways. I'd love to have a garden or a landscaped plot, but I just don't have the patience.
15. Speaking of patience ... TV commercials. If it doesn't make me laugh or salivate, what's the point? Let's get back to that show in progress, please. I'm a busy woman.
16. Peas, lima beans, and sweet potatoes. I've tried. I really, truly have.

What's your list?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Nashville Sunday Adventure!

Daniel and I went exploring on Sunday. We realized we hadn't gone past a certain point on the road we travel to get to our YMCA and so we traveled down it a little further. I was expecting perhaps a gas station or mini-mart, but what we discovered instead was a pleasant surprise. Not even 15 minutes from our house are two famous tourist attractions! Can you guess what they are from the pictures?






First, we saw Chaffin's Barn Dinner Theatre (note to self: must go to a show sometime soon, so we know what we'll be subjecting visitors to in the future), and then a short ways down the road was none other than the famous Loveless Cafe! I couldn't resist the pull of the old motel sign, or the promise of little quaint shops that surround the cafe. Daniel humored me and pulled into the only parking spot we could find and then--holding hands and feeling a bit like tourists--we browsed the Trace Bikes shop, Ruthie Cherrie Fine Art gallery, and, much to my delight, a second branch of one of my all-time favorite gift and oddities shops, the Curious Heart Emporium, where you can pick up Robot Monkey tissues (or was it Monkey Robot?) that are guaranteed to wipe snot from your face. After all, it promises to do so on the packaging, and packaging is always true.

We finished our exploring with a quick look around the Loveless store. We didn't purchase any of the country ham, honey, or spiced tea mixes. We did, however, walk out the door with a delicious root beer and the first Dr. Enuf drink that I had seen since living in East Tennessee. I think it has a new fan--Daniel, who had never heard of it before!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Chandler & Price? *Swoon*



If only I had a workshop, $800, a moving crane, and a truck. Oh, and the knowledge to restore and operate this treasure I just spotted on Craigslist. I've been a long-time lover of letterpress stationery and it's always been a dream of mine to take a class or two on how to use these lovely printing machines. Women (and men) like me all over the country have snatched these machines up over the past ten years or so, as letterpress has experienced a regeneration of sorts.

So, yes, *swoon.*

If only!

Nashville, TN + Raleigh, NC Indie Jeans Companies = Southeastern Denim Love

Okay, as you all are well aware, I'm a huge, huge sucker for any DIY, craft scene, or small manufacturing success story. It makes my entrepreneurial heart go pitter-pat. Well, today, folks, I have to share not one, but TWO success stories of an epic nature that makes me even prouder to be a transplanted Yankee turned Southern gal.

Within the past two days I ran into two tales about high-end, detail-oriented, back-to-roots jeans that have taken the fashion world by a storm. Each of these tales is based right here in the Mid Southeast.

The first tale comes from none other than my very own adoptive home town--Nashville, Tennessee. Out of a non-descript converted gas station, the company Imogene + Willie has risen out of obscurity in the past year to being sought after by celebrities (according to this story, Gwyneth Paltrow wears their denim.) Their story has been featured in Southern Living, Garden & Gun, and even the New York Times Magazine. The owners have a family background in denim, and their passion shows in their work. Currently, their jeans sell in their Nashville location and an Austin, Texas store called Stag, but two years ago when their idea for a company was in its infancy, they sold 250 limited-edition pairs of jeans to their e-mail contact list to finance the start-up. Hmmmm. Sounds like good to me! Might have to borrow that one. If you get an email from me in the next year, you'll know where I got the idea.

I wish I had an image to show for the Imogene + Willie brand, but you'll have to go to The Nashville Scene's current issue or click on the link above for it, as I don't have permission to just indiscriminately post shots and they don't have a web presence. They're worth a look, though! 


The second tale is just a long day's drive away in Raleigh, North Carolina, where the denim is just as meticulously crafted into men's jeans that have been flying off the shelves of none other than Barney's in New York City and Los Angeles. This couple, much like the first, are passionate about what they do, but what really stood out to me is the Cinderella story of their success. In their video interview, they say that they started literally from nothing, selling off some personal items to buy their first three machines--which they knew nothing about--and installed said machines in their near-empty apartment. Now they have hired at least a dozen people to help them assemble their jeans, but they still personally sign each pair with a black Sharpie to indicate just how seriously they take the quality of their work. If they can't sign off on it, they won't sell it.


Raleigh Denim: Handcrafted in North Carolina from David Huppert on Vimeo.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friends

I admit I've been feeling a little lost without my friends lately. We're still settling in here in Nashville, so the majority of our good friends live either out of town or out of state. Getting an opportunity to spend time with them is precious. So this week has been a blessing, indeed!

Last night we had friends over for dinner. This sounds pretty normal, except this was a milestone for Daniel and me! This was the first time we had had dinner guests over for the sole purpose of hanging out, eating, and enjoying each other's company. I believe we've housed and fed my dad and brother on a couple of occasions, but this was an actual dinner party. I sent out a text invitation, it was accepted, and we scurried about to clean up the house enough that our guests would feel at home despite the row of packing boxes and miscellaneous furniture lining the back wall of the very dining room in which we ate our food.

It was even more special since we not only got to see one of my best friends (and a former bridesmaid in our wedding), but also her new boyfriend, whom we hope to see again soon. The four of us enjoyed a laid-back meal and hilarious conversation, and I relished the opportunity to use our kitchen to be all domesticated and cook stuff for four people. (Daniel helped clean, washed dishes, took the trash out, and changed out the toilet paper roll in the bathroom for me. And he made some awesome coffee.) It was a wonderful, relaxing evening, one I hope to repeat soon.

Tomorrow, we'll get to hang out with another friend who is a fellow theater fan. We're heading out to Centennial Park for Love's Labor Lost, this year's Shakespeare in the Park production. I can't wait! Daniel and I have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to attend this free production, so when our friend suggested it, we didn't require too much convincing!

And then there are the friends I haven't gotten to see this month, but I have had the sincere pleasure of holding conversations via email. I adore a good email conversation for those moments at work when you just have to get your mind off of things for a minute or two. It makes my day!

So glad for our friends. They make life sweeter!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Surf City, Here We Come!

We have an exciting event ahead of us. My cousin and her fiance are getting married at last, after a long engagement that spanned the length of our marriage, engagement, and some of our dating, as well! I'm so happy for her and him. They're a wonderful couple, committed Christians, and just all-around great people. Her smile and outgoing nature wins anyone over, and his witty sarcasm makes me laugh every time. I've only met him once, but I could tell he had won over our entire family instantaneously.

En route to their wedding in Southern California, I'll get a chance to spend time with my own hubby on a mini-vacation, and to enjoy the company of my father and youngest brother who will be enjoying the vacation with us. We're going to hit up IKEA (yay!), the beach, quaint shops, a pier, and hopefully some tourist-y places, as well. In the midst of the fun, we'll stop to celebrate their love in a cool 73 degree evening. Hooray! Relief from the Southern heat, at last!

Have I mentioned I'm excited? 'Cause I am. A lot.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monday, August 09, 2010

Nashville Craigslist Used Furniture Finds

I haunt Craigslist on a regular basis and make it a hobby to find great pieces with strong lines and good bones. They may or may not be the most expensive versions of more famous pieces, but these are at the least reminiscent of designs that have withstood the test of time and are now waiting for new homes. I'd buy the credenza in a heartbeat if I could.


1 - The history of the "Jenny Lind" spool bed is fascinating and many collectors and decorators seek this item!

2 - A mantle with character is very shabby chic. It would add instant character to any wall.

3 - A mid-century modern credenza that could make a great comeback as an entertainment center!

1. Queen-sized Jenny Lind style spool headboard $75
2. Antique mantel $70
3. Mid-Centruy Credenza - $325

Paring Down to Minimalism. Or, at the Very Least, Functionalism.

The theme around our house lately has been “if you don’t need it, throw it out!”

It’s amazing how much stuff one accumulates in a lifetime, or even a year. As Daniel pointed out recently, he and I share a minimalist aesthetic, but we just have too much stuff to live that way. We keep trying to go truly minimalist, though. Perhaps the small space of our townhome will help us conquer that. (Let me qualify that statement: we have a minimalist aesthetic but a functional necessity for “stuff” because of the sheer number of reference books and/or craft supplies we require for our respective livelihoods or moonlighting entrepreneurial activities, not to mention the cooking utensils necessary for the cooking sessions we enjoy!)

He threw out stuff when he moved out of his parents’ house. I threw out stuff when I moved out of the house I shared with my former roommates. We both threw out dozens of trash bags of papers and things we no longer had room for or wanted when we moved out of the apartment. We gave away several carloads of usable items to Goodwill. Yet we are still throwing things away and adding them to yet another “Goodwill” pile. Seriously. I feel like someone who should be on that show “Hoarders.”

We worked on our craft room over this past weekend, and at last the sorting and throwing away is paying off. Even as we continue to pare down to the true necessities, we are putting up shelving and unpacking the supplies we use or will use on a regular basis, along with the artwork and doo-dads that mark moments of our individual (and joint) histories. It’s a great feeling to know that in the very near future, we will be living in our home, and not just unpacking it.

Other than the joy we will experience upon unpacking the last box at last, I am really looking forward to filing my bits of paper and story ideas and scribbled outlines for writing that I intend to get to one day. For the past 15-20 years of my life, my writing has been filed away in moving boxes, sometimes staying in those very same boxes for years until the next move. This move is IT. Those papers will finally have a home in a filing cabinet, and the manuscripts in progress will have their very own document boxes that match our decor. I’m so thrilled!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Acceptable Gifts - Looking forward to Christmas. In July.

Daniel and I have a shopping game. It's what we call "acceptable gifts," and though is a bit of a joke ("acceptable" usually being a gross understatement, when we're salivating over something), we both have a running commentary on them. For instance, I know that anything from ThinkGeek.com will be sure to make him smile (he's told me so), and he knows that he may purchase anything within reason or my size from Anthropologie and I will glow with uncontainable joy (I've told him so). Those stores are on our list of acceptable gifts. We have wish lists on Amazon, too. And Etsy.com. And the occasional odd humorous idea in random boutiques or chain stores. We simply say, with a laugh or a grin or a really earnest puppy-dog eyes kind of face ... THIS is an acceptable gift. And then we share a secret smile. We're not assuming to read each others' minds. We're letting each other in on the secret desire. We're setting each other up for success, by letting the other person know that we love something, and if they want to one day buy a random present, it would be great if that something was considered. We don't ASK for that gift. We don't DEMAND it. We don't even EXPECT it. But just FYI ... if it comes up ... honey, I really like this. This would be an "acceptable" gift. Just like a trip to an exclusive resort in the Bahamas would be an "ok" trip. Or a million dollars would be "a little" money. Or a Sequoia tree 12-ft across is "kinda old."

So that's a human relationship, but what can we give the Heavenly Father? What's acceptable to Him? After all, we celebrate the birth of Christ and His love in providing a way to salvation for us. How do we express our love to Him for this? Does God have a list of "acceptable" gifts we can offer to him? Yes, but they are all for his glory. None of them are like our peer-to-peer gifts. The gifts we can give him are only as a result of what He has already given us. (I John 4: 9-19). According to John Piper, "[t]he only gifts that we can bring Jesus are gifts of praise, thanks, longing, and neediness."(From an online excerpt from the audio of "Can we give anything to Christ?" on December 26, 2007.)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Everything seems possible on a Friday evening

Friday evenings are my favorite times to spend with my husband. We can go out and have an adventure or stay home and have a quiet evening of cuddling on the couch while catching up on older seasons of our favorite TV shows. We've gone to Subway, and we've gone to Sperry's on Friday nights. We've gone to movies and we've gone to theater. We've gone shopping, and we've gone running at the YMCA, but no matter what we do, typically we do it together.

I love Fridays because even if we stay up late, we can stay in bed late the next day without missing too much of our precious weekend. I love Fridays because it is such a great feeling to get through another day at work and then leave and know the next 48 hours are exclusively yours before you have to prepare to go back to work again. I love Fridays because Daniel usually telecommutes, and he's home at the same time as I am. We don't have to wait that extra hour to see each other. I love Fridays because the rest of the weekend is still ahead of us and everything seems possible.

Have I mentioned I love Fridays?

'Cause I do.

What do you love about Fridays?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fear and Risk

I realized recently that when I am afraid to fail, or look foolish, or simply embarrass myself, I don't risk anything at all. The result is I get stagnant in whatever aspect of life that is concerned. It could be my faith, my marriage, or my career. The bottom line is: if I don't risk anything, I might not fail, but I certainly won't grow.

This has become all too apparent in my personal relationship with God and my commitment to a life of discipline. I am ashamed to admit that I don't read my Bible, memorize scripture, meditate on scripture, or even pray as often or as fervently as I should. I'm afraid of trying so hard and falling that much more on my face. Perhaps that is where I should be, though ... on my face before the Holy and Living God, Creator of the Universe, Lord of Lords, and King of Kings. Even if it takes tripping to get there.

In other parts of my life, I would rather give in to feelings of discouragement or an attitude of lackadaisical defeat. Yet it is in those very parts that I most long to grow and gain respect. It's just the fear that holds me back. Fear of being "found out", and of "not being good enough." Who am I kidding? Nobody is ever "good enough," and I don't mean just spiritually. I've found myself constantly falling back on these old, familiar fears as an excuse to not pursue things. I'll never eat healthy all the time. I'll never lose the weight I gained in college. I'll never excel at this or be recognized for that or overcome this other thing. So ... I don't try.

Well, I'm finally moving past that, little by little. A conversation with my husband last night about the correlation between the fear of failure and the limitations of personal growth lit a spark in my mind and it must have caught fire, because I did something risky today. Something scary. Something I didn't know I would even try to do until the opportunity presented itself. Something that could potentially lead to a lot of growth in one area of my life in which I have always had an aptitude. Something that could blow up in my face, melt into nothingness, or even ... God willing ... open a door I thought had closed long ago.

I admit it: I'm a bit afraid. I took a risk; I made some mistakes, but I also reached out of my comfort zone toward a goal. It was a pretty big risk, for me, and as a result the growth pangs have already begun to burn into my subconscious.

Here's to risk. And fear. And to growing pains.

And here's to God's will. And searching and praying and waiting for it to be made clear.

Here's ... to life.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

In Praise of KitchenAid Mixers - And Mother-in-Laws


A couple of nights ago, the sleek white practically brand-new KitchenAid my mother-in-law gave me produced the most beautiful fluffy, perfectly mixed mashed potatoes. Not since I first was introduced to this method of amazing fluffiness in my grandmother's kitchen (also the result of a KitchenAid, although I believe hers was a dingy green), have I had this kind of potato, milk, garlic, and butter tasty goodness from a kitchen I stood in while it whipped. I was a proud, proud cook, especially when my dear husband agreed with me that they were, in fact, amazing.

Thanks, Momma B!

And thanks, also for sharing the handed-down tip from your own mother-in-law, Nanny B, for the secret magic ingredient for the BEST mashed potatoes: about a tablespoon of sugar. It perfectly brought out the natural sweetness of those Idaho spuds.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Redirection

A lot has been happening in my life as of late. A lot has been on my mind. I feel like I'm in the middle of so many changes that I can barely keep up with them, let alone how I feel about them. They're mostly happy, sometimes stressful. (Hello ... not knowing if we're going to be charged anything for the old rental unit or not.)

RubyRed has gone through so many life stages since I began writing. Part of me wants to write it all out and learn from it. The other part of me just wants to move on and start something new. I don't know which part will win out. I've not exactly updated this blog regularly in the past few months.

Something that has been really on my mind a lot of late is fixing up our new home and making truly OUR home. We are blessed to have a landlord who is okay with us painting rooms and landscaping our little patio, so we have a lot of leeway to make our mark. I've been hunting down decorations, and furniture, and DIY solutions to our small-space organizational needs. It's invigorating, and something that I heard in a sermon at the church we've been attending lately woke me up even more to the fact that our home ... our little sanctuary from the world ... can be something we use to glorify God and to allow Him to work his grace in our lives. I don't feel guilty for focusing on my husband, our marriage, and our home. In fact, I think that's exactly where God wants me to be. That is amazing to me--the very things I most love doing, namely, finding pretty things, decorating, planning home improvement projects, learning new cooking techniques, and focusing on reaching out to friends and family, are the very things God wants me to do, provided I put Him above them all.

I still want to write; I still want to have a business. I still even want to blog. My direction and importance on these things has simply shifted, and I find myself at yet another crossroads. I'm not sure where it leads, but I know I want to take the road that God guides me toward. I want to grow. I want to fall deeper in love with Him. I want to strip my mind bare of the distractions and press toward the goal. Like Eustace in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, by C.S. Lewis, I have come face to face lately with just how ugly my sins and self-reliance are, and how they can trap me in their scaly green points. I want to tear away at them, but only Aslan can truly tear the flesh off and make me new. And that hurts. Deeply. Becoming new is painful, terrible, and terrifying. But it is worth it.

I am already His. And now, I am His all the more.

I don't even know what this will mean for the blog or my life, and I know this may not all make sense to anyone other than me, but I am stepping out into the future. I am willing to be used. I am so excited to be who I am and have my talents be used for something big.

Bring on the claws.

I'm ready to be molded, Lord.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Enjoying the New Blogger Capabilities

How long did it take to give us new options for backgrounds? Years? Yes, that's correct. Years.

I'm lovin' this.

Friday, May 07, 2010

We Are STILL Nashville



The waters are going back down below flood level, but the aftermath lingers on.

It's the kind of thing you watch on tv but never think about happening to you. It's business as usual in my community of Bellevue, but you take a wrong turn and see a lake where a soccer field used to be. You drive past a business with a hand-painted "flood cleanup help wanted, 10-15 an hour" sign. You see mountains of bottled water at the front of grocery stores, and moms with kids in tow grabbing the last of the paper plates and plastic cups and baby wipes (conserve water! conserve water!)

Traffic out toward my exit on west I-40 is ridiculous during rush hour, when it is typically easy breezy from Charlotte Pike and beyond. Every day, we see new vehicles from new states carrying heavy-duty hoses, vacuums, ladders, and strange metal pumping devices. I saw fire and water damage business vans from Illinois and Oklahoma driving around the west end of town yesterday. Seriously! Oklahoma. Either we've taken up every free repair company for a 10-hour radius, or people from other states have heard of our plight and are driving our way to do what they can to help.

Thank you!

And, as the British would say, Keep Calm and Carry On, Nashville.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Thursday Tattle / Put Down That Can!

Today's tattle is again brought to you by my incredulous husband's observant eye and insane drivers everywhere.

This one goes out to you, Mr. Chinese Fire Drill Beer Drinker. You crazy rule-bending road champion. You master of the truckbed cooler.

Somehow, when Nashville authorities asked you to conserve water, you complied by drinking beer? After getting out of your car at a stop light? And walking around behind to the passenger's side of your truckbed? And pulling out a beer from a cooler? And opening it? And drinking it?

And walking back around just before the light turned green, getting back into the driver's seat, and continuing to sip your tasty beverage of choice as you drove away?

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

In the words of that wise sage, Bill Engvall, HERE'S YOUR SIGN.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A New Song


Nashville Flood 2010 from Ben De Rienzo on Vimeo.

Nashville Needs an Ark!



We didn't float away, but our Internet connection may have.

Nobody expected the disaster from this weekend that ended up with whole streets and sub-divisions under water. For 2 1/2 days, the rains came down and the floods came up. My husband and I, thank God, are safe and sound, with only soggy shoes drying out on our doorstep, a leak in our bathroom ceiling, Facebook status addiction withdrawal from our Internet provider's lack of service (getting right on that, AT&T?), and an army of displaced refugee ants in our kitchen to show that anything happened.

We are sorry to inform the world wide web community that the ants will soon die as they have been feasting for the past 12 hours on delicious and deadly poison drops. I'm sorry. I know that is insect cruelty, but they must go.

The irony is that the floods began at the exact time we started looking around at other apartments and homes for rent in our community. The two places we visited ended up under water not even 24 hours later. I feel deeply saddened for the losses the people in those areas suffered. It's horrible. Devastating. Shocking. Numbing. And yet I can't help but feel a twinge of gladness that we did not apply at either place to rent in the future. Is that horrible? I know this is a flood of epic proportions--we met people who had lived in the Bellevue area of Nashville for nearly 50 years and had not seen anything of this magnitude. But what if it happens again? Suddenly I am shying away from any viewing any property that mentions the descriptors "Cumberland" or "Harpeth" or "River."

The day after the storms, we were able to find one road to get to work for me (and Panera to work remotely for him) on Monday when the interstates and most major secondary roads were still closed. This, after realizing that with only a quarter tank of gas in his car, we should probably get more in case we were stuck or stranded at any point on the way. So we tried. But our stations only accepted cash (and we only had $8). We went to the ATM. It was down. We went to the grocery store and tried to do cash back. Denied. We waited for the bank to open. It didn't. The vault would not open and all lines were down. A very kind teller offered to give us $5 of her own money to get gas (thank you so much, whoever you are!) We thanked her but declined. We had stocked the car with food and water in case we got stuck anywhere, but we needed gas. Fortunately we did find a bank that was open and also a gas station that accepted debit cards a little further down the one road we could take into Nashville. From that point on, the debris and caution tape that had been cut down marked where water had been across the road we took, but it was safe to travel. I made it in to work only two hours late. It was a surreal experience. Since then, our phone service has returned, but the Internet is still down and my access is limited to work hours.

Please pray for the flood victims. Daniel and I are hoping to contribute in some way. I almost feel guilty that we were spared anything more than inconveniences, when neighbors a mere 5-10 minutes down the road from us lost everything and were rescued by boat from the second stories of their homes.

Photo by: president raygun

Thursday, April 29, 2010

National Poetry Month / Coffee Love

Oh Coffee! I won't 
ever quit you again. You 
are my one true love

-Kaila in Maine

(I concur.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

National Poetry Month / The right side speaks for itself.

I have a confession to make:

I bought a book of                    poetry
to share with you.
Hundreds of poems,
all unique,
all voices of the past and
present and full of what             is
cherished by English
professors                               everywhere.
But
I did not share it in time.
The month is almost over.
The only thing I have to
show for it is a new-found
appreciation for the poets
of the world.
And this post, which is a
nod to a form I saw in a
book last night. At Borders.
Called Crank.
It's about a drug user, but
I saw the two-poem in one
and fell in love.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday Tattle / The Goat & The SUV

So Daniel was driving home from work last week, and he ended up behind a terrified goat, in a cage, on the back of an SUV. The poor thing huddled as close to the side of the SUV as it could in its wire cage.

I'd be afraid, too, if someone grabbed me, shoved me in a cage, and strapped the cage to the back of their vehicle and started down I-24. Sheesh. I mean, seriously, I-24 during rush hour is in itself scary enough!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday Tattle

So, we have these new neighbors. Okay, they're not much newer than us, but for the life of me I can't figure out how many of them there are. At last count ... 2 very verbal dogs, 1 aloof cat, 3 redheads, 1 shirtless (and wordless) wanderer, 2 older men, and 1 baby. In a three bedroom apartment. We call it the clown house.

The shirtless wanderer sings meditative songs and boxes his shadow in the window at night after walking around sans shirt (and almost sans pants) with one of the dogs. He doesn't talk much.

Two of the redheads must be 60-something sisters. They have thick accents from somewhere cityish like Boston, or Milwaukee, or Brooklyn. One of them sits and feed the baby. The other one yells, "oh, shaddup!" to the vicious white ball of fur that threatens to tear our throats out every time we walk by. Yes, she says "shaddup," and that's how it's spelled. I'd say "shut up," but then, who am I to tell her how to talk?

The youngest redhead is haggard and worn out (from dealing with her clan and her baby, no doubt.) She wears loose, comfortable clothing, and I always have the impression she needs to go somewhere and is just in between places.

The two older gentlemen are chauffeurs, I think, and baby tote-ers. The baby is happily unaware.

As for the black cat? It comes and goes. Where to, nobody knows, and it's green eyes won't tell.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Mood

I've been pondering, of late. I feel a bit blah; a Premium-cracker blandish, flat 7-Uppish kind of stale bread blah. It's like a million colors of inspiration have swirled around in my head, poured out through my thoughts, and bled into the empty air.

Then I realized: the wedding is over. I don't have a project anymore.

The fluster and fuss and dreaming and scheming and budget-keeping is no more. I miss it.

I've read of this, before, in one of those bazillion emails The Knot or The Nest have sent me. They call it the post-wedding blues. Women actually MISS wedding planning. I would never have believed it three months ago when I was afraid I'd lose all my hair before I had a chance to walk down the aisle. All I longed for (other than finally being the Mrs. to my beloved Mr. B) was to have a NORMAL existence again. One in which the words "escort card" or "tulle" did not exist. Especially since I had worked so hard to AVOID using tulle in the first place.

I don't miss the stress. Heavens, no; I could never miss that. I was not what you'd call the most pulled-together bride. Planning, apparently ... NOT my forte, especially when other people are involved (or at least not for this Lone Ranger kind of schoolgirl to whom the words "group project" brought fear and trembling and much gnashing of teeth.)

Now, being creative for a purpose? That, my friends, I miss with all my heart. I miss creating an environment, a dream world, a tangible emotion. I even miss being "the bride," almost as much as I'm relieved I'm not one anymore! Not so much because I want the attention, but more because I had an identity that was recognized by many. For once in my life, I had been "somebody."

It's like having been the birthday girl for seven months straight and then realizing the birthday is over and you're just another year older. You're not particularly special. You're just another young (albeit married) woman again. Well, la-dee-dah.

I feel like I need to slip into another identity. To drive another dream-project into reality.

Or do I?

Could it be this longing is just ... my soul ... waiting to seek God with the same passion I sought after reception ideas and flowers in my budget?

Hmmm.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

National Poetry Month / Love That Dog


I can't get enough of this little book by Sharon Creech. You can read it in an hour, but it sticks with you.

Written in free verse, as a "diary" of an elementary school student, the story follows Jack and his experiences with poetry in class. He doesn't like poetry. Poetry is for girls. He said so in his required diary:
JACK

Room 105 — MISS STRETCHBERRY


SEPTEMBER 13


I don’t want to
because boys
don’t write poetr
y.



Girls do.

Yet, somehow, poetry begins to grow on Jack. At last, he stumbles on the poem "Love That Boy" by Walter Dean Meyers (see first stanza excerpt, below), and it strikes a chord deep inside him. It makes him think of his dog, who died. From that point forward, Jack learns to cope with his grief and express himself through free verse. He begins to write about how he "Loves that dog," just like Walter Dean Meyers loved "that boy."

Walter Dean Meyers


Love That Boy


Love that boy,
like a rabbit loves to run
I said I love that boy
like a rabbit loves to run
love to call him in the morning
Love to call him
"Hey there, son!"

What do YOU love?

Monday, April 05, 2010

Work in Progress

Over the next few months, my new project is to change directions with this blog and turn it into something ... more. I'm still working on the details.

If things change or don't work, don't worry; it's all part of the process. I might change my mind a million times, but eventually I will have a working model.

The goal, just so you know, is to host the blog on our server and to park it under its own name. Which will probably change from Ruby Red Said to something more descriptive of my creative life and also something which will connect with more readers. I'd like to expand the blog into a site that has the capacity to showcase any products I'm working on, display tidbits of writing, and also explore the beautiful things that God has put all around us but we don't notice as much on a daily basis.

Stay tuned.

Stay tuned.

A Month In Celebration of Poetry!

This is Emily Dickinson. She's my favorite.

There is something pure about an Emily poem. Something unadulterated and poignant. Something that tugs at the thing with feathers that perches in my soul.

I stole this picture from a link at Poets.org. They, in turn,got it from Amherst College Library. I hope the good folks at Amherst won't mind me using it to promote a dear poet.


So why am I writing about Emily Dickinson? Simply, because it is April ... or National Poetry Month. My dear friend Joy and I decided to collaborate and each blog through the month by sharing our favorite poems, poets, and some of our own poetic works. We hope you will enjoy the endeavor, and perhaps discover a new favorite!


So hello, Joy's readers, and welcome! For my own faithful few ... you will love Living Life in the Shades of Gray, her blog, and her Wordless Wednesdays. (I want to see her somehow tie in photography and poetry!)

In parting, for now, I will leave you with the words that I have shared before, but will repost again, because of their timeliness and closeness to my dreamer's heart ... words Emily spoke nearly 170 years ago:

 
 
I ’M nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there ’s a pair of us—don’t tell!
They ’d banish us, you know.
  
How dreary to be somebody!        5
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!
























Friday, April 02, 2010

Sleeptalking Husband Barks and Chases Vampires!

I stretched, rolled over, repositioned myself, pummeled the pillow a few times for good measure, and was about to fall back asleep when Daniel began to bark.

Yes, I said BARK.

"Aaaarr rraaa raaa rraaa grrrrrr mmmb ah aaa baaaarrrrr."

Ummmm, what? I asked for clarification, which he gladly, mumbling, gave, "stop following me." What do you say to that? I just smiled to myself and let it be. I went back to sleep.

Only to be woken from a very deep sleep by this alarming sentence: "put Zoe down!"

What? What was wrong with my dog? I asked for more details. He mumbled something about pieces of her being carried away by vampires. He was apparently chasing them. Awwww. Good husband. Taking care of my poor, dismembered, doggy. How brave.

Have I mentioned I love this man? Endless entertainment. If ... a bit ... macabre this time around.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

New Crave

Candy colored accents, or gray and yellow graphical elements.

Lately, I can't get enough of these!

(Bird print from my wish list at Etsy, sold by seller mysunshinevintage and cool re-purposed vintage plates from Ninainvorm:)


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Frenetic Caffeinated Irish Typing

Filling orders at the job, listening to Riverdance (as played by the Boston Pops) and fueled by a Grande Caramel Latte from Starbucks. I keep typing faster and faster ... my fingers are doing a little step dance of their own.

I blame coffee and my Irish heritage. Haha!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nashville, 7:43 a.m.

Misty city morning.
Sleepy buses lumber
up drowsy streets.
Blushing light spills
over a hillside zenith
and steam rises above
lavender glass,
silver metal,
and shadowed brick and concrete
stained by passing hands;
a lone guitar is tuned.
Twang.
Coffee brews.
Footsteps hasten.
Batman gleams, and
Nashville wakens.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Amish Vampires?

Two things I don't understand:

1) The popularity of vampire characters in teenage fiction. Perhaps it is the lure of danger and the forbidden?
2) The popularity of Amish characters in Christian fiction. Perhaps it is the lure of safety and the forgotten?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dust off your Polaroid camera!

I was blog hopping this evening and kept running into people mentioning the Impossible Project. I finally had to know what they were talking about and almost literally caught my breath in delight: they have created a new film for Polaroid cameras! Now I have an excuse to beg, borrow, or steal the camera that I wanted for years and years but never bought because right when I was about to do so ... Polaroid went out of business, and their film expired just in the past few months. Polaroid photography is back, friends! Yay!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ditch Digging at The House, Circa 1997

Red clay.
HOURS of digging.
Rotten *stinky* vegetation

(gag-worthy)

from \where\ the trees

and overgrowth
were plowed                under.

Wet.
SQUOOSHY.
                                STICKY.
                                                HEAVY.
Resistant. Hard.

        You can imagine ...

NEVER
( )
AGAIN.

(Formatting provided by MelindaJ.)

Pink / Purple / Blue. Sun / Wind / Rain. Trucks / Highway / Me. Storm / Rainbow / Books.

I drove to book club last night after it had just stormed and journeyed through an array of brilliantly lit canvases of city life from stark, modern imagery soaked in light and shadows, to soft, pastel impressionistic strokes subdued by mist from the passing trucks. God painted. I drove and stared in awe.

Pebble sized hail had ricocheted off my sliding glass doors and then plummeted to the ground. Wind had wrapped around my townhome building. Driving rain had drenched the ground and turned my walkway into a lake.

After the worst, I scurried to my car, carefully cradling a glass casserole dish that contained my grandmother's famous chocolate cake. Then I drove south, to Brentwood. A rainbow spanned the city of Nashville.

I savored my place in this momentary and idyllic urban pastoral scene.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Must. Focus.

Clean the house. Exercise. Eat right. Make some fun iTunes mixes to motivate me.

Sleep.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Latte, Please

I am sipping a McDonald's latte. I want to be sipping a Starbuck's or Fido's latte. Unfortunately, there is no good coffee shop on the way to work by the path I take.

Therefore, I would like to petition that someone set up shop just off the Church St. exit from I-40, between there and, hmm, 10th Ave.

Please and thank you.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Monsters Are Gone

Anybody seen my monsters? Pink, all stitched up, little red hearts gathered carefully in a plastic bag, purplish spots. I have searched my house, my closet, my car ... they simply are not to be found.

I'm afraid I may have unleashed Mayhem (times three) upon Middle Tennessee.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dissappearing Act

My husband said in his sleep last night, "I have to warn you. I'm going to disappear."

Yikes. Thanks for telling me, sweetie.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

101 Things (More or Less) In 1,001 Days

I ran across this idea when a friend of mine posted her list. She, in turn, had borrowed the idea from a friend of hers. Digging a little deeper, I discovered that the concept had been dreamed up by New Zealander Michael Green in his web project Day Zero.

I love it! Daniel and I decided to make lists of both short and long-term goals. This is a work-in-progress. I will probably need to edit the list to be more precise. Some of my goals, I guess, are hard to quantify. So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here are my own 101 Things:

1. Take a trip to Austin, TX to check out the live music and thriving indie-craft scene
2. Participate in a major craft show
3. Finish my novel, "Searching for an Indian Gentleman: Or, the Princess of Unit 22)
4. Go to Washington, D.C. ... and see the zoo
5. Go to New York, NY ... and see a Broadway show
6. Fly a kite in a park
7. Learn more origami
8. Make chocolates!
9. Speaking of chocolate ... perfect my grandmother's chocolate cake recipe (the best I've ever had)
10. Refinish a piece of furniture
11. Be in Connecticut for a family celebration ... and give my brother and sister-in-law some much-needed free babysitting time while I'm there
12. Go to my cousin Christine's wedding in California in August of 2010
13. Join a Bible Study ... or start one?
14. Craft with friends
15. Make bubbles on a summer day! Bubble wands ... YEAH!
16. Build a snowman
17. Pray for my friends to meet their future spouses. And for their future spouses to hurry up, already.
18. Host a regular game night at our house
19. Volunteer at the library, an art museum, or a community event
20. Share the gospel with someone who is open to listening. Not be scared.
21. Whiten my teeth
22. Make art for our house
23. Gussy up my blog
24. Grover readership and scope of said blog!
25. Average 50 orders a day at least 5 days out of a busy quarter at work
26. Go to the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, TN for a live show
27. Write a travel log/tour of my favorite spots of Nashville
28. Find a way, every day, to tell and show my husband I love him!
29. Make soap
30. Leave my coworkers each a random, encouraging note or anonymous gift
31. Make fudge from scratch
32. Make the "must see/must listen to" lists of movies and music for Daniel that he and I have been saying for months we need to make for each other every time we look at the other in shock and say, incredulously, "wait. You really haven't seen THAT movie?!!!"
33. See all of Shakespeare's major plays live
34. Decorate our apartment in vintage/modern/eclectic style that combines our interests and aesthetics in a visually pleasing way that is also, well, practical!
35. Buy a Kate Spade purse
36. Make Valentine's Day cards the way I used to like I was a kid. Red and pink construction paper, white paper doilies, crayons, markers, glitter and all ... and give them away to friends and family
37. Perfect at least one healthy, "grown-up" recipe each for pork, chicken, beef, and some kind of fish! By memory! (Daniel can cook circles around me when it comes to main dishes. This must end.)
38. Take a letterpress class. Dreamy.
39. Visit my grandmother in Pennsylvania.
40. Take pictures of fall foliage
41. Take pictures of interiors that I find intriguing
42. Practice writing articles and enjoy the writing process by sharing the lives of people I know and admire
43. Leave a 100% tip
44. Write a list of all my Facebook friends and how I know them--and share it
45. Write a poem
46. Go on an impromptu weekend roadtrip
47. Even better yet, walk into an airport and buy a ticket to somewhere unlikely or intriguing. No luggage. No plans. Just ... adventure!
48. Attend a seminar, class, or conference that enhances my professional life
49. Learn to play "Rhapsody in Blue" on the piano
50. Celebrate my 30th Birthday in a BIG way
51. Go to an opera
52. Eat cotton candy at a carnival or fair
53. Design and purchase a t-shirt
54. Make a return visit to Hopewell Furnace
55. While I'm at it, revisit Valley Forge National Park. Maybe ride a bike on the bike trails.
56. Go on a picnic
57. Take a picture of a bare-limbed tree silhouetted against the colors of a sunset on a clear day
58. Find an active workout I like and become good at it
59. Invent an ice cream flavor
60. Do three pull-ups. Really.
61. Make a "wish" on a floating Dandelion fluff
62. Make art to the music of a soundtrack--whatever I think it looks like, and that comes to mind
63. Set aside time at least twice a month to write at length
64. Start a prayer list and keep it updated--and prayed over
65. Learn to track purchases and adjust to our new joint budget so that we can save money!
66. Make a soundtrack for 2010 and burn a mix CD of "the soundtrack of my life" :)
67. Stay in touch with good friends at least once a month, despite living in Nashville now
68. Call my dad once a week
69. Keep in touch with my brothers on a monthly basis
70. Lose 30 pounds to improve my health
71. Exercise at least two times per week for three months straight.
72. Go stargazing in a field on a warm summer night
73. While I'm at it, catch fireflies! (And release them, of course.)
74. Take a cooking class
75. Read all of the Newberry Award Winning children's books
76. Make mood mixes for my iTunes
77. Organize and/or participate in a Robadue family reunion
78. Be debt free!
79. Make Baked Alaska
80. Start the T.A.G. program (or whatever I end up calling it)
81. Get a MacBook
82. Participate in NaNoWriMo ... and complete the challenge by writing all 50,000 words in 30 days!
83. Organize my papers
84. Get a massage
85. Publish at least one issue of a Zine
86. Get an entire outfit from Anthropologie
87. Make house plans for our new home
88. Learn a foreign language well enough to get by on a trip to another country
89. Learn to do tatting
90. Sell something on Etsy
91. Make a video and post it to the web
92. Get ears pierced
93. Buy really cute earrings for my newly pierced ears
94. Write an article for publication. Be published. And PAID.
95. Play a game of Monopoly all the way through in one sitting
96. Watch all of the Agatha Christie movies
97. Buy a piece of original art
98. Go on a tour of the Crayola Factory with Daniel
99. Visit Hershey Park
100. Actually log one of those "Where's George" bills
101. Memorize a chapter of the Bible

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Beautiful, and True

I found this lovely picture in a house tour at Apartment Therapy. It reads "A successful marriage is the union of two great Forgivers."

From the same apartment tour, I also saw this lovely little idea in Emily & Meeko's apartment:

Thursday, March 04, 2010

It's 2am ... Do You Know What Your Husband's Talking About?

I am blessed; my husband does not snore.

He does, however, sleep talk. And turn on lamps and spin them on the nightstand while looking at them oddly, hoping to find the switch again, which has apparently disappeared.

With his permission ... nay ... encouragement ... I gleefully report these anomalies of his nocturnal habits to family and friends. The other day he said to me, "you should start a blog about this; we could make money off of it." Well, I don't know about that, but at the very least, I will blog here.

He has talked about getting tickets ... no, just one. To which I replied to my dear sleeping husband, "oh really, and where are you planning on going without me?"

He has talked about figuring out where to get rings. To which I replied to my dear sleeping husband, "honey, you already bought those."

He has talked about how he was broadcasting on the wrong channel. To which I replied to my dear sleeping husband, laughing so hard I woke him up, "yes, yes you are."

And last night, he began to remark something unintelligible. At first I thought he was mumbling about having seven mirrors. So I asked him for clarification. He responded back (still asleep, mind you!) that he had discovered seven errors in Windows 7.

Ah, yes. That's my husband for you. Always the geek. Always working out problems in his subconscious. Although when he's had time between work and setting up house to trouble shoot an entire operating system is beyond me.

Bottom line: he might wake me up in the middle of the night, but at least he keeps me entertained when he does!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In Awe of the Jello-y Goodness

I found this blog via design*sponge (LOVE design*sponge, by the way!) and I have decided, husband and guests of any upcoming party willing, I must try this out ASAP.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Ruby Red ... Gets Wed!

Hello, friends. You know who you are. All loyal four of you.

Saturday, I am marrying my best friend, the man of my dreams, my confidante, my rock, my encourager, my love.

Not that I've been writing much as I've been living out this dream, but I will be off the radar for a week or so while we enjoy vacationing on an island paradise.

And when I return ... I will blog once more!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Andre Rieu = Mel Gibson with long hair and a violin?

Is it just me ... or does ....

Andre Rieu

... look like ...


... but with a violin?