Saturday, January 31, 2009

Houston Auto Show 2009

As per tradition, I rounded up a group of co-workers and we headed to the Houston Auto Show. No, I'm not looking for a new car right now...I just like to drool over the pretty cars. I was convinced of several cars that I thought I liked that I now know I will never purchase (like the 2009 Honda Accord- not a fan of the body style) or a Saab- I've decided it has a duckbill platypus-dinosaur beak type of front end. Not very pretty. Here are some pics:

1968 GT 500
Beautiful car. I am a HUGE classic car fan (my parents even got me the 2009 Classic Mustang calendar this year :) yeah, there's a '65 'Stang in the background :grin: )

2009 Dodge Challenger. I didn't like the Charger. I saw the Challenger as a concept car and I think they did a very good job of maintaining the lines from the classic style. Plus, it's orange :)

I was not impressed with the field of view however...sweet, just saved myself $45k!

Why won't they let you sit in the really cool cars? This is the 2009 Nissan GTR- it won Motor Trend Car of the Year. Awesome car.

Lisa, me, and Lynn checking out the Volkswagon sound system

Totally can't remember who designed this concept car, but the windows were boggling our minds

Lynn, Josh, and Mike, marveling over the price tag of Lisa's wish-car- BMW 500 series

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


This is an excerpt from my friend Shari's blog (you can see the whole post by clicking on the "The Schiels" in the list of blogs on the right hand side ->). The Schiel family is in Marlyland while Darrel (Shari's husband) attends Pastor's College and will come back to our church in May. Their 6 year old daughter Hope has been very sick and they are having a hard time figuring out what is going on. If you have a moment when you read this, please say a little prayer for Hope and her family- for continued strength and encouragement and wise doctors (and of course, HEALING). Thanks!

"I’ll try making this short. We took Hope to the pediatric endocrinologist today and after spending about 1/2 an hour examining Hope, discussing past history, blood test results, MRI, etc., she is leaning toward the feeling that there is some type of malignancy in Hope that has not been found. We went directly to the lab to have more blood drawn for more tests which include checking for all forms of Heptatitis along with re-checking some things we’ve already had tested, esp. the things that point to her thinking malignancy. We are also doing a 24 hour urinalysis over the next 2 days. I am going to have to bring Hope back to have more blood drawn in the morning because I got a call after we got home that they didn’t draw enough for a particular test. The lady said to tell Hope she’s very sorry but to a 6 year old I’m afraid that won’t go over well. I am continually trying to encourage Hope in the Lord, speaking of what He has done for her, praying for and with her, asking her questions about what she believes about God. It is surely a time of and for growth but at this very moment my heart is discouraged. I tend to get this way when I am tired, of which I am. Last night Hope was running a 103.4 temp and slept very poorly. I slept next to her in Danielle’s bed in order to make it easier to give her drinks through the night and more med’s when necssary. Her legs hurt so badly today she didn’t want to walk. We discovered another lump on her left leg today during the exam. A surprise to everyone in the room.

Ok, I said short and it isn’t. More information when it comes in…we will be scheduling an appointment asap with an oncologist, not a bone (orthopedic) one this time. She will also have an abdominal ultrasound next Monday due to stomach pain the last few months (she’s often saying her pants are too tight and pulling them away from her lower abdomen). Even through tired mind, eyes, body and heart I know God is in control and we are fully trusting in His goodness and love."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hospitality Event #1

So one of our goals as a "household" is to have one hospitality event per month. Invite people over for a meal and get to know them better. Today was our first event. grilled for the FIRST TIME EVER! (Shish kebab (or shash-lik for you folks who speak Russian)). Besides a few over-grilled shrimp, I think it was a success!


The Crews, Axelsons, and Bennetts- thanks for coming!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Christina's Tree Huggers- Round Two

Christina's Tree Huggers Team

For the second time, Christina convinced us to get up early on a Saturday morning and attempt to make Houston more green by planting trees for Arbor Day. The last time we went (two years ago) it was raining and muddy (really muddy- I had to be pulled out of the mud at one point because I was stuck). Today the weather was much better- a bit chilly, but dry. We figure we planted around 250 trees...not bad for 10 people and 2.5hrs...

Our fearless leader thinking "Melissa put the camera away and dig"

Once again, "Melissa put the camera away and dig" :) ( I won't point out that neither Paul nor Brandon is digging at this point...maybe Paul is thinking "you really want a picture of me blowing my nose?")

Moose ready for work

I really like my gloves...they were super grippy.

Yup, Brandon broke his shovel

Greg diggin' in

Sandy delivering water

Laura grinning, despite the fact she was having major sinus issues...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Random bits

1. I like having roommates. It means I actually get to have stuff for dinner. We decided that each of us would make a meal each week. And let me tell you, they can cook :). This week was homemade mac and cheese with ham (I think it is better than Tarik's!), this fabulous chicken curry soup that Pam just made up out of her head, and I made my quinoa and black bean enchiladas. Ahh, full belly=good times.

2. My roommates are neat freaks. This is bad. I am not. I am being guilted into cleaning by their tidy and efficient actions. Bummer. (;-) ).

3. I am a dork. I just bought something for a friend and put it on the dresser for safe keeping. Five minutes later, I knocked it off the dresser and broke it. Note to self: leave it in the box.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Finally, orange wall pictures!

Sorry it took so long to post these, but my room is finally looking presentable and I finished the dresser today. What do you think?

The room and dresser pre-paint

Dresser post paint and paper

See, orange and purple DO go together :) colorful. It makes me smile.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My Pretend Half-Marathon Experience

So obviously with me just about to get off the injured list, I wasn't able to run the Houston Half-Marathon this morning as I had planned. My running buddy Lisa, who was supposed to run it too, was struck with the flu at the end of this week and wasn't able to run either :(. So we went downtown (at 5am!) to cheer on her husband and several of our friends who were running the 5K, Half-Marathon, and marathon distances. It was fun watching the race from the spectator perspective, although, admittedly, I much prefer being a participant. :D

This is as close as we got...sporting our bibs...

Melissa, Josh, and Kevin- getting ready to run the 5K!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Last post from the apartment...

Okay, I'm going to be a bit sentimental here...while simultaneously making fun of myself for being sentimental over an apartment :)...I'm sitting in my empty living room, eating leftover Chinese food, praying for this migraine to go away before packing up the cats and some odds and ends and heading to my new place. Most of my stuff is now over at Pam's, thanks to the McFerrens and the Van Wrights help today- I've got a couple of weeks left of the lease to clean and get those last items transferred- but I'm done living here.

This is the only place I've lived since moving to Texas- moving in as a wet-behind the ears college grad. It's amazing to think how much I've learned and grown over the past 4.75 years. I've been both blessed and challenged during my time here, laughed and cried, been content and been angry. Amazing how much can happen in such a short amount of time, and through it all He has been faithful to remind me of my need of Him and His faithfulness in my life.

I'm excited to move in with Pam and Claire- it's clearly God moving in all three of our lives to bring us together as roommates and I can't wait to see what He has planned for us.

So here's to another chapter...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Possessed Dresser Saga

I wrote this blog in my head while it was happening..does anyone else ever do that?

So, as part of moving in with Pam and Claire, I am using an old dresser of Pam's, which was painted with psychedelically brightly colored daisies (Pam and Claire, I will forgive for saying it looked like "me"...I am not eight years old, thank you ;-) ). So I decided to repaint it.

Two of my walls are orange. What goes well with orange? Red of course! So I started painting over the trippy daisies...briefly thinking "should I sand this first? Maybe primer it? Nah...". So the first coat of red goes on. It's more magenta than red...too close to pink. I'm not liking it. Coats 2 and 3 go on and the daisies are still making their presence know. Okay, forget this. I will sand it. So the next day I borrow a sander from some friends and start sanding...first sandpaper- too fine. I find a paper that will probably gouge the wood, but hey, these daisies are quite determined to stay put.

The sanding commences...the paint melting into globs under the friction from the sander follows. Okay, forget all of this! Bring on the paint stripper. So the next day (oh yeah, there is a reason the title of this blog has the word "saga" in it), I bring over my paint stripping items (yeah I have those handy :))...EXCEPT... the stripper is about two years old and is quite glutinous in consistency and about doubly potent fume-wise. Oh well, I'll try it anyways. An hour later, I am on the road to Home Depot to buy more NEW paint stripper :).

Application of the strongest paint stripper know to man commences. Massive scraping action and falling globs of paint follows. At this point, I really do think the fumes were affecting me (I did have the garage door open, thank you very much)...I couldn't stop giggling...I kept stepping in the gooey paint globs and sticking to the garage floor and the paper I had laid down to keep the globs from getting on the garage floor, my gloves were sticking to the dresser, various spots on my arms were burning from the spattered stripper... seriously, if someone could see me now...

I doused the possessed dresser (I'd decided that it liked its paint and was laughing at my attempts to depaint it...either that or someone anodized the stupid thing) with the turpentine based after wash...more fumes...more giggliness. Enter roommate Claire who listened wide-eyed as I proceed to berate this "free" dresser at about a million words per second (it was the fumes talking, really, even I can't normally talk that fast!). The dresser won last night's battle.

So today, I proceed back over to the house to once and for all conquer the dresser. Using a paint scraper, I decently rid the dresser of its rad-hard coating...meanwhile breathing in some dust...I notice just how many layers of paint I am taking off...I start wondering how old this dresser is...lead paint...what are symptoms of lead poisoning again? All I can remember is that if you strike a knife against a bone that belonged to a human with lead poisoning, it will spark (thank you MacGyver for cluttering up those 3 brain cells with that knowledge). I'm not volunteering any of my bones...

Ha, told you this was a long one! So anyways, paint is mostly removed and any paint bumps remaining will give the dresser character. I put coat one of paint on. Oh, I decided to go with bright purple instead of red. It's looking awesome and will go well with the orange. Promise. And it will look like a grown-up's room too :D. Pictures will follow this weekend.

Oh and I think I only killed about 4 million brain cells in the process...

Know-it-all Status

So, I'm in chapter M of the Know-it-all book. I was a tad annoyed with the guy for awhile, him being all bumptious and stuff, and he saddened me with what he gleaned from the Britannica description of Ecclesiastes, but I've moved on and have a few great tidbits to share...

First off, it seems that I am retaining some of his knowledge from Britannica. For instance, the other day, I friend likened me to Professor Frink from the Simpsons (hush- no comments please)- and as I am completely unfamiliar with the Simpsons, he sent me a list of quotes from Frink. One of quotes mentioned monkeys going berserk...and my brain gave a little "ding" there: I learned from the Know-it-All in the B chapter that Berserkers were Nordic soldiers who went into battle naked, so to really be "beserk", you have to be naked. I just find it funny that it was a quote from the Simpsons that made my brain ding. (Tangent: never EVER thought a blog of mine would mention the Simpsons).

Secondly, the Know-it-All tells a cockroach story. He squashed one with the K volume of the Britannica. I for one can appreciate a good cockroach story.

Thirdly, I learned a new dorky word fact. I like words a lot, and how they are used. I even earmarked the page because when I read it I thought "I'm going to blog about this". So here it is: A captionym is a word who's meaning changes when it is capitalized. Such as Herb and herb or Polish and polish. Isn't that cool?

And fourthly, although somewhat inappropriate, I find the following tremendously funny and give props to this guy's wife for still loving him.

He sent her flowers (after the mentioned she was becoming an encyclopedia widow (due to his exorbitant amount of time spent with his nose in the books) with a card that read "These flowers are bisexual, but I am straight and I love you". (humor explanation: most flowers are male and female (i.e angiosperms). Chuckle...chuckle.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I've come a long way baby...

It was a moment that made me stop and think "wow, I have grown up so much". It happened last night.

It happened when I picked up some clothes off the bathroom floor and discovered a two-inch long wriggling cockroach on its back.

I didn't scream, I didn't jump (I started- starting and jumping ARE different). I reached OVER the cockroach to open the bathroom cabinet to get the Raid. It wasn't there. I calmly walked to the kitchen (meanwhile yelling at the cats to leave it alone- I was afraid they would flip it over- and yeah, like the cats could understand me...) and got the Raid, walked back and killed the nasty. Using two dustpans (without a broom attached to the end of them and without plastic bags wrapped over my hands) I calmly scooped it up and flushed it.

I've come a long way. A long way from trapping a cockroach under a cup and then calling Christina and Paul and Paul coming over and disposing of it.


Thursday, January 8, 2009


So, I just started reading this book that I was very excited to start reading. It's outside of what I normally read. It has the phrase "National Bestseller" on the cover. Gasp! No, pigs aren't flying...yes, I don't normally read bestsellers because, well, for the most part, they are very disappointing.

This particular book may be the exception. The title? "The Know-it-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World" by AJ Jacobs. It's an autobiographical tale of the author's quest to read the entire Britannica encyclopedia. He breaks down the chapters into letters. I just finished C. It's an awesome mixture of facts and extremely dry (my favorite!) humor and the goings on of his every day life.

My favorite excerpt so far that had me snorting with laughter for a full three minutes? (not including right now as I am remembering it)

" Brain:
The Britannica's brain-related highlights so far: the Greeks believed that it produced mucus, which gives new meaning to blowing your brains out"


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Belated New Year's Post

Yeah, yeah I realize that it's now January 3rd, but I unexpectedly had to work console the past couple of days and now I am sick yet again. Grrr...doesn't sickness realize that I have a TON of stuff to do (like packing and moving and quilting?)

Anyways, down to business. So, something that has become a New Years Day tradition for me is to read back over the prayer journal I keep throughout the year. I tend to fall asleep while praying (oops!), so I found that writing my prayers out helps me to focus. I also use it for my Bible studies and as your standard-run-of-the-mill journal as well. I highly recommend keeping one. It's always so awesome, despite whatever bad/challenging stuff has been going on, to read through and see the amazing work that God has been doing in my life and in lives of the people around me. It's easy to forget the good things when in the midst of struggles, and by reflecting on His work, I am reminded of how much I depend on Him, or need to depend on Him. It's also a good reminder to see that His timing is perfect. I may have prayed about something at the beginning of the year, and didn't see results (and the results are not always what I prayed for...they are always BETTER) until months later...some things even take years...( ha! so that's where 'patience is a virtue' came from...hehe).

It's also interesting to see how I have changed over the year( and no, not just the red hair!)- things that I was anxious about a year ago, I'm not anymore. Things I was afraid of, God has given me peace. My perspective has changed in a lot of ways. Now, of course, there's a whole slew of new paranoias/flaws that He and I will need to deal with this coming year :), but that's what growing is all about right?

I also make new year's goals. I made 13 last year and met 12 of them! They range from all sorts of topics: financial, personal, spiritual. For instance, I wanted to keep track of how many books I read...27!

For this year? a half-marathon, read 30 books ;-), save X amount of dollars...well, that's all I am willing to share in a public forum at least...

So, I challenge you to sit down, if you haven't already, and reflect over your last year. If you don't keep a journal, ask your friends to remind you of things you were concerned about or struggled with over the year, goals you might have mentioned, and take a moment to praise Him- because whether you believe in Him or not, He is moving in your life. Try to see it. Happy New Year!