July 31, 2011

Orchids & Flowers

Sometimes I'm on the ball and sometimes I'm not.

This summer...mostly non-on-the-ball time. So, I'll show you pictures from the time I went to the Gaylord Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. Part of the group went to the Grand Ole Opry, but I went to the hotel because it was f-to-the-ree. That's my favorite price. FREE.


July 24, 2011

Making Your Blog Pretty, part 2

Did you see Part 1 where I told you I have no expertise on anything? OK, good.

Header or Banner:
I create this in Photoshop Elements.
The first time or two I followed these directions on Pioneer Woman’s blog. I think it took me around 3 hours the first time. Then I got more comfortable and it now takes me about 20-30 minutes depending on where my creative juices are taking me. (-:

Since my settings are at maximum width, my banner can be 920px wide and I usually make it between 200-300px tall.

Here's an early one made in Picnik:
Here's my first one in Elements:
Yes that took me 3 hours. Ridiculous. Learning curve, people. It used to take me hours and hours to put up a post. You catch on after a while if you want to add pictures and things and figure out how to streamline the process. I know I'm still learning. That's part of the fun!

This month's took about 20 minutes. Improvement! Prioritizing! (-:

Putting your banner on to your blog? Here are the deets. [First you should know where your header/banner is...on a website? on your desktop? in this or that folder?]

Step 1:
Go to your Dashboard and to Design
Picture 1
Click on the "Edit" button in the box where it says Title of Your Blog (Header).

Step 2:
A pop-up will pop-up.
Picture 3
You put in either the web address where your header is located or you upload it from your computer. I always upload, that's my thing.

Make sure that you click the "Instead of Title and Description" button, unless you want the Title and Description to show up over your picture. That could work too. I also check the "Shrink to Fit" box. I don't know why...just 'cause.

Step 3:
Your header should preview in the pop-up window.
Picture 2

OK, what's next? What do you want to know? I have links to tutorials that I found helpful on other blogs...and that's about it for now, so if you want to know more let me know!

If you don't...you don't need to let me know. Thanks.
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nonsensebyamy/5919475861/" title="signature2.jpg by nonsensebyamy, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6141/5919475861_257645b0d4.jpg" width="500" height="75" alt="signature2.jpg"></a>

July 23, 2011

Well, that was...different

The past two weeks we've had more groups in...both from Pennsylvania. The CoB [Church of the Brethren] in PA is plentiful. The CoB in KS...not so much. Basically that means everyone is new to me!

Previous weeks I have felt somewhat...clueless. (-:

The last two weeks? I was a painting, caulking, puttying, cleaning, touching-up rockstar. It's all in the details for the finish. I like details.

This week, one homeowner moved into her house and next week one of the other families should have a similar experience! It's such an honor to be present in the time when a person has been displaced for over a year and they get to move back into their HOME.


So, what's been happening for the past two weeks? Well, the first week I fell in love with the group. It was one of those experiences where you just become a part of the group instantaneously and feel at home. It was church.

Their pastor, Jeff*, came with them and I have several stories about him. Let's start with Sunday evening...he came up to me and introduced himself.
"Hi, I'm Jeff.*"
"No, you're not."
"That's not really your name. You're trying to pull my leg." He just looked ornery, I swear.
"No, really it's my name."
Then he asked me a question, but I wasn't really listening because I was beginning to turn a flaming red color.
"So, I'm really embarrassed right now."
And he chuckled at me.

Monday morning, conversation #2 with Jeff*.
"You have a great smile."
"Thanks!" [I do have a pretty great smile; apparently people in PA smile less than I do because I've heard this about every week.]
"You know what you'd be good at? Managing a coffee shop." Random.
"HUH? I mean, I like coffee." RANDOM.
"Yeah, you'd be great at managing a coffee shop." Random.
"As a matter of fact our church is just starting a coffee shop in our community and we're looking for someone to manage it. You would be great."
"You should pray about it." Then he walks away.

Tuesday evening, we went to the Gaylord Hotel in Nashville and walked the gardens. Lots of good conversation and laughter during our van ride.
I'm sitting by Sally and she's asking me about what I do, where I live, etc.
"Well, I'm a massage therapist. I'm moving to Indiana when I'm done with my time here."
"Oh, so what's taking you to Indiana?"
"Family, friends."
"I'm trying to convince her to move to PA and work in the coffee shop." Jeff* pipes in from the front seat.
And now the crew is on the move-to-PA bandwagon.

Wednesday dinner.
"So, Amy, I want to come back to what we were talking about earlier."
"Oooookay." [Earlier synopsis: I'm cleaning up/organizing tools and he tells me that "I'm a good woman" and he has a son who is looking for that.]
Jeff* proceeds to tell me all about his son and really gives a pretty realistic picture--meaning he doesn't make him out to be a saint--and then asks if I'm interested.
"Um. Well. Um."
"So, I can really arrange a marriage here. I can tell that you'd fit into our family. I'd even make you the offer that we made our other daughter-in-laws: we'll choose you over him. [This was said in a joking manner.] You would just love our family."
"Just think about it."
"You've only known me for a couple of days. What would your son say about this?"
"Oh, he would be mortified."
Then he shows me pictures of his family on facebook. It was really sweet. I was definitely feeling the love. Please remember that this is the fourth day after meeting this man.

Later that evening a woman threw her son into the mix. "We have a son and he's single." The next morning a man offered his son "He's single and he plays with dolls." [His son is a ventriloquist/puppeteer.] Tempting.

During breakfast Jeff* asked if I had thought more about his offer. I told him that two more hats had been thrown into the ring.
It was time for a throwdown.

It was hilarious.
It was awkward.
I loved it.

Did you know that I love awkward? I do.

Week 2 was uneventful.

*Jeff isn't his real name.

July 19, 2011


A public computer is a blessing.

It's also annoying if you're a spoiled 20-something who is used to her own computer.
[I'm the spoiled 20-something.]

My computer died this week. It's not down and out, the charger just stopped working so the battery is in need of a charging. I ordered a new one, so hopefully that will work and I'll be back in action. I know you'll miss me if I'm going too long. (-:

I have lots to tell you about last week. It was fun. It was interesting. It was full of laughter. It was awkward. It will provide a few stories...and questions.

For now, I'm just going to take you on a walk with me. I'm living at the Tennessee Children's Home in their retreat house. It's swank accomadations for a BDM worksite. Eleven showers?!?! Large kitchen?!?! Plenty of space to circle around the tables?!?! Areas to sit and relax and chat!??! Pool tables?! Ping-pong?!? SWANK.

Plus I have my own super special bedroom. I like it because it's been hot and I don't like to wear pants.

Back to the land, so the children's home is really a series of homes where children lived family-style. Parents+their children+foster children=home. Except with budget cuts a lot of those homes are sitting empty. They own quite a bit of land, so at the end of the driveway there is a large campground.

It's my usual evening and weekend walk.

I went into the woods first.

[Apparently, I'm a little sullen. I could have sworn I smiled for this picture.]
Guess what I found?! Low ropes course! It makes me think of team building!

Over the river [creek? stream?] and to the swinging bridge.

In conclusion, I bring you this tidbit of information that I learned this week:
Three and shiny, burns your hiney.
[Did I properly identify posion ivy?]

Be back soon...I hope!

July 14, 2011

Dear Self-Control,

Stay strong!

I don't need to go shopping. I don't need clothes. OK, I need clothes, but until I have a job and know what I should wear, I shouldn't purchase any. I'm sure the yoga pants, grey v-necks, sun dresses and cardigans [since those are basically the only articles of clothing I've purchased in the past 3 years] will not be work ready for wherever I work. I don't need to participate in the Old Navy $20 for a bag of clothes sale. I don't need another $40 off sundress from Ann Taylor Loft. I have flip-flops and ballet flats [minus a pair of classic black ones that I've been searching for since last October] to last me.

Self-control, I need to remember to live simply. Or to embrace simplicity. Or that I do not have mucho dinero.

I'm not working right now, so no income means minimal outcome. Or spending. Whatever. You know what I mean. Unless there's something building up my saving's account [there isn't] you can't just go crazy with your purchases.

Thank you self-control for your existence.

Stay strong!

July 13, 2011

Heterosexual Life Partners

Let's break that down. 
Heterosexual: as a woman I like men, it’s true. (-:

Life partners: we can live well together.

Thus, heterosexual life partners, it’s better than saying “roommate.” Pffft, who needs this old school terminology when you can call your extra-special roomie your heterosexual life partner? I use this because I think it describes our relationship perfectly. But, mostly because I think it’s hilarious. Just say “my friend, _________, who could be my heterosexual life partner” and gage the reaction of who you’re talking to.

Especially if I’m talking to a man. I’m not sure if it’s the “heterosexual” part or the “life partners” part, but it’s apparently weird. Com’on, people, what are you scared of?!?

Now that I think about it, with my unluckiness and men, I probably shouldn't be sharing this. 

I have two of these people in my life. Just two. I have loads of friends [whom I love lots and lots and lots] but just two heterosexual life partners.
1. Sarah
2. Megan

They’re also the two people I’ve lived with for the longest not counting family. Not my oldest friends. Not necessarily my closest friends at times. But, my HLPs none-the-less. 

Sarah and I were randomly assigned roommates in college. She’s the one I visited in Hawaii. I remember walking into my room as an 18-year-old college freshman thinking, “She’s a cross country runner. She’s been here for a week and will have so many more friends than me. This is bound to be terrible. What if she’s crazy? What if she doesn’t like me? What if she has ugly bed linens [true thought]? Wha--wait a minute, is that a sign that says she’s a vegetarian? What the heck kind of weirdo is this?!?!?” [Sarah was the first vegetarian I had ever met. I led a sheltered Kansas life, it’s true.] In approximately 12 hours we were friends for life. I love her.
Sarahb & me
Is this flattering or what?

Megan, you may remember from her stalking tendencies. Weirdo. She’s been my roommate for the past three years and was my most difficult goodbye in May. I think I cried on and off to Greensboro. That’s about 45 minutes down the road. After 45 minutes of my crying and Hank’s yowling, I decided I was only allowed to listen to happy music. I love her. I miss her. If she couldn’t have babies and wanted one I would have her babies.
Megb & me 

Sarah started the heterosexual life partners theory. When you have a friend who you live a balanced, pleasant life with, basically living in a partnership without sexual feelings/marriage and more than just sharing a house. My HLP knows knows when something’s up. They know how to relax with me. They know how to vacation with me. They know what I’m faithful to. They know when I’m annoyed. They laugh with me. They know how to be present. They speak the truth even when I don’t want to hear it. They know my important people. We have separate lives that either can cross over into. We want to spend time together. We want to spend time apart. We share life.

Many of my friends fulfill some of these roles in my life. And I love each of you for it. I also have a theory on friends living together. It’s bad. Often it doesn’t work. There is another level of partnership required in living together that’s beyond friendship and it can get messy in a hurry. [Dear Future Husband, Please ignore this next part.] I actually think I’m difficult to live with sometimes. So, most relationships are better when you can pop by for a visit rather than the 24/7 thing.

The other characteristics about these two is that they innately know me and they always did and I think they always will. I can explain and explore and describe and they patiently await my conclusions, no matter how different they are from what I was thinking 15 minutes prior. I can be fickle, indecisive, grouchy, curious, confused, excited, strange, kooky and normal. Megan and Sarah don’t bat an eye.

I also love that they have never met, yet they know exactly who Sarah is and exactly who Megan is.

Why isn’t heterosexual life partner more normal? I don’t understand. 


July 11, 2011

In other non-news

This is my 400th post! Wow! I can't believe I've actually pushed the "Publish" button 400 times! [If we're being honest, I've probably clicked it waaaay more than that because I'll publish then find a mistake, edit, publish again, find a typo, edit, publish again, remember something that I forgot, edit, publish again, find a typo, edit, publish again, on and on and on and on....]

Thanks for reading.
Thanks for being awesome.
Thanks for laughing at me.
And with me.

I love Sonic in the summer.
My drink of choice is a strawberry limeade slush.

I had a conversation with my dad this week, it went something like this:

Me: I want some tools.
Dad: Oh, really?
Me: Yup, so you can start shopping for my birthday now. I think I want a nice cordless drill.
Dad: Well, a nice cordless drill will cost you about $400 [I have no idea the actual amount he said, but it was  definitely a lot more than I was expecting.]
Me: Maybe I just want an average cordless drill.
Dad: Do you really think you want tools? For what?
Me: Home improvement! I'm learning all kinds of skills.
Dad: What home are you improving? You're not going to settle down for at least 5-6 more years. You'll have to haul all that around with you when you move.

Touche, Dad, touche.

Although, you never know what the future holds.

I'm pretty sure I used "touche" correctly up there, but I know it needs an accent and I don't know how to do that. Assistance por favor?

I miss Hank.
He's in Chicago for the summer being a pain in Michelle's buttocks.

I wish I could figure out how to record the voicemail she sent me the other night of him yowling. He doesn't really meow, he yowls. It makes me giggle. He's a high-maintenance cat. How did that happen?

Speaking of Hank and Michelle, facebook conversation:
Hopefully, if you click that it will get big enough to read. If not, you should be my facebook friend and then you could just read it. (-:

I miss being crafty.

You may or may not have noticed, but on July 15th at 12:00 am the final Harry Potter movie will be showing at theaters all over. 

I didn't do a countdown. 

You can click on the HP Countdown link if you want to reminisce though.

I get a Story People email everyday. Sometimes it's weird. Sometimes it's funny. Sometimes it resonates so loudly I think about it all day.

Here are recent favorites:


I heard this song today on Pandora.
Anna Vandas, What Is [There's not a direct link I can find, so you have to go down and click on What Is. DO IT.]
I like it.

My butt is sleeping because I have been sitting at Starbucks for way too long. Having internet one day a week [not including phone time] is different.