Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tag! You're It!

I was tagged, and I'm at a LATE lunch (aka supper) with my laptop. So, I'll complete this while waiting for my food.

1. Where is your cell phone? On the table next to me
2. Your significant other? N/A
3. Your hair? brown
4. Your mother? is working in the healthcare unit of a prison right now
5. Your father? is teaching a piano lesson right now
6. Your favorite thing? a note in the mail
7. Your dream last night? Very complicated... it involved a house inspector and people moving into my house while I still live there
8. Your favorite drink? Lemon shake-ups
9. Your dream/goal? "in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content"
10. The room you're in? A dining room
11. Your hobby? Anything crafty or adventurous
12. Your fear? Being alone
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? At my home much more often than now
14. what you are not? Breathing easily. My asthma is bad today
15. muffins? Not a big fan of them
16. one of your wish list items? New windows and more insulation for my house...and a handyman to install them
17. Where you grew up? Canton IL
18. The last thing you did? ordered my food
19. What are you wearing? black skirt and a tan sweater
20. Favorite gadget? my digital camera
21. Your pets? Simon & Penny
22. your computer? Black laptop
23.Your mood? Nostalgic
24. Missing someone? My grandma, grandpa and grandad... especially at this time of year
25. your car? Buick Regal
26. something you are not wearing? eye shadow
27. Favorite store? Any book or music store
28. Like someone? Yes. Hmmm....
29. Your favorite color? purple
30. When is the last time you laughed? Just a minute ago
31. Last time you cried? This morning

I tag Danielle, Lydia and Sister Karen.

Safe Within the Potter's Hands

Well, this week is turning out differently than I had imagined as I try to cram in about two weeks of work into 2.5 days. So, I have not been able to post the articles I had hoped to post. But, I was once again reminded of this poet that I like, and this poem was sent to me. Just thought I'd share it with all of you. I will see how tomorrow turns out. However, if it is a rush and I'm not able to write before heading north to visit my family, I would like to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. Hope each of you is able to take time away from the hustle and bustle to remember all of the blessings in your life for which to be thankful.

Safe Within The Potter's Hands

I'm aware of all the changes, taking place upon the wheel;

I know the potter's molding by all the chipping that I FEEL.

But even in the midst of shaping, He is there to bring me through;

His hands are ever sculpting, to change MY point of view.

I am humbled in the process as He molds this piece of clay;

He's drawing out the nuggets and bringing beauty out of pain.

He pulls me from the fire when I put my trust in Him;

He exalts me in due season and lets me breathe again!

Never once am I alone, upon the potters wheel;

I am safe within His hands ~ I'm being shaped to do His Will!

- Terese Holloway

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More Signs of the Times

I haven't been able create some longer articles because of time restrictions. But, thankfully, this week's submission by Piano Man reminded me of some pictures that he sent me earlier this year that I failed to post. So, here they are. Thanks, Dad!

For fans of the song "King of the Road", here's a sign that is posted at a business between Edwardsville and Bunker Hill, IL.
Here's a funny duo also located just north of Edwardsville. I chuckle each time I see them.
I don't know where Dad spotted these, but I think they are located in central Illinois. They are very light, but the extremely subtle apostrophes are there. I don't know what was happening with the bottom sign. My brother thinks maybe the artist was trying to invent a new punctuation mark... something like the upside down semi-colon with a half twist.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Trip To the Moon on Gossamer Wings

Roving reporter for Stremmed Out, Piano Man, has written in to recommend a web site for an NPR radio show, A Way With Words. When he did so, I immediately recognized one of the hosts' name... which led me back to the article that I posted yesterday.

David Cook and I are word nerds, and we're not ashamed to proclaim it. So if you're a word nerd, you too will want to check out the site for A Way With Words. It features many podcasts and minicasts from the show... hours and hours full of word origins and trivia. Dad especially enjoyed this episode about the word gossamer. Take a few moments to read or listen.

I was disappointed to discover that our local St. Louis NPR station does not air A Way With Words, but I am going to get busy and write them an email to ask them to consider doing so!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Adult Romantic Partners

This is a lead-in to tomorrow's post... and a funny article that I found some time ago. This hit on the same question we talk about in my office. When I speak to one of my co-workers, I always ask about her "manfriend" because I feel that boyfriend is just a very weird way of referring to the man with whom she spends most of her time. Manfriend just sounds creepy and awkward and no better than boyfriend... but it also sounds funny....so I keep using it. And, it has caught on around the office.

I was wondering if any of you have a term that you use - whether it be funny or serious. I don't need an answer now, mind you... but I just want to make sure I'm prepared in case the occasion arises when I might need a term. (That's a joke!) ;)

Excerpts from a USA TODAY article by Sharon Jayson from 6/22/08

If you're single and dating and aren't 25 anymore, here's a quandary you've no doubt encountered: how to describe the object of your affection.
Does "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" seem silly? "Significant other" too stilted? "Partner" not quite right?

"People feel a real need for a term that refers to one's romantic partner that does not sound childish," says Jesse Sheidlower of Manhattan, editor at large of the Oxford English Dictionary. " 'Partner' sounds too official. 'Companion' sounds too unromantic. 'Lover' is too explicit. 'Boyfriend' and 'girlfriend' seem inappropriate unless you're a teenager..."

The need for just the right descriptor is a signal of the societal changes surrounding social identities, says linguistics professor Arnold Zwicky, a visiting professor at Stanford University.

According to the most recent Census data, 42% of U.S. residents — about 92 million Americans ages 18 and older — are unmarried. More than 30 million live alone, making up 27% of all households; that's up from 17% of all households in 1970.

Lynn Bartholome knows this question firsthand. The associate professor of English and philosophy at Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y., is president of the Popular Culture Association and the American Culture Association, international academic groups that study everyday culture worldwide.

She's also 57 and dating.

"I've talked about this with some of my female friends," Bartholome says. "I don't know what to say. I say 'the guy I'm dating.' I really honestly feel weird calling him my 'boyfriend.' Is a man you date ... a 'beau,' 'a significant other,' a 'partner'? I don't know."

The aging of baby boomers may be one reason society has been seeking a mature version of boyfriend and girlfriend, suggests Dennis Baron, an English and linguistics professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Grant Barrett of Brooklyn, N.Y., a lexicographer and dictionary editor who co-hosts the public radio show A Way With Words, says such questions are asked fairly regularly on the show.

"If you're in your 50s and living with somebody in a romantic relationship, what to call each other? You can say 'boyfriend' and 'girlfriend,' but you're not 13 and it doesn't really fit. You can say 'significant other,' but there's no love in that. One caller suggested 'paramour,' but that's old-fashioned," he says. "There are a ton of different options and none of them seems to work."

Barrett recalls his grandmother facing the same questions. Her romantic relationship lasted into her 80s.

"She did call him 'boyfriend,' knowing full well how ridiculous it sounded."

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Just Realized...

...most of the time when I laugh I sound like a porpoise.

I wish I could insert a sound clip to prove it, but I don't yet know how to do that here on my blog. Besides, most of you have heard my laugh first hand to know this fact all too well.

But, now that I think about this issue, I realize sounding like a porpoise is probably better than sounding like a donkey or a pig. So, maybe it's not so bad.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Recipe for Disaster

I don't subscribe to a newspaper at home. So, I really enjoy receiving one in the morning whenever I stay at a hotel. And, since ABC was not coming in on the local Lincoln cable on Wednesday night when the Country Music Awards were on, I was able to read about the awards on Thursday morning.

I also read this funny article in the USA Today Life Section. This might not mean anything to you, but it made me laugh out loud.

Cooking With Martha Contest

Soon there will be one more cook in Martha Stewart's kitchen. USA TODAY reader Kelly McDade of Springfield PA will cook with the queen of quiche November 20. McDade was one of more that 1,000 readers who submitted essays outlining why they should cook with Stewart. Here's the winning entry:

Recipe For Disaster
1 cup burnt pudding
4 hamburger hockey pucks
2 cakes with Grand Canyon-sized craters
1 rolling pin covered in dough
2 lbs. meatloaf "surprise"
1/2 cup brownies stuck to pan
3 tablespoons congealed cheese sauce

Take one average female and remove all trace of inherited cooking ability, making sure to dispose of the Pennsylvania Dutch delicacies and rich Italian indulgences her grandmothers are famous for. Add a dash of not-a-clue and mix well. Let rise for 32 years then add one fiancé and one house perfect for entertaining, mixing well after each. Once the panic has clearly risen to the surface, skim with a melted spatula and discard. Place mixture in slow cooker and add ineptitude, high standards, and perfectionism. Cook at high temperature until ego is tender. Serve immediately in heaping bowls of frustration. To garnish, take to Martha Stewart for a cooking lesson.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Long Day In Lincoln

I've been awake since 3:30 a.m. this morning, and it is now 9:30 p.m. I just became settled back in at the hotel, and I am tired. That's T - I - R - E - D! And, I will be getting up early again tomorrow to head back to the company site before the 3rd shift employees get off work. It's been quite an interesting trip, and I've learned a lot. But, I am looking forward to going home tomorrow night.

Tonight, I was able to go to a late dinner with one of the staff members from the company I am visiting. And, I was able to see a little more of beautiful downtown Lincoln, NE. Now, I know that most of us, when thinking of vacation spots, don't think to ourselves, "Why don't we head to Lincoln?" But, after seeing some of the area, I think more people should consider that exact question.

It's beautiful at night. Very romantic with brick streets and old-fashioned lights. The buildings are full of rustic brick and decor to resemble times past. There are restaurants of every kind and coffee cafes, boutiques and pubs, offices and historic sites, candy shops and art houses, live music everywhere... Nothing I can say will do it justice. But, if you want to take a little trip to an interesting place and you have a special someone to help you explore, you should visit Lincoln and the Historic Haymarket District. I hope I can return when I have a lot more time.

While the pictures will not do justice for the area, you can read more about this area here and here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In Nebraska

I'm in Nebraska because I am visiting our newest "sister company" to make presentations about benefits, vacation and other HR-related info. I've been talking non-stop for 5 hours for the crew, and my voice is almost gone. (I know. I know. Hearing that would be a blessing to most of you.)

I had hoped to post some pictures from my trip thus far, but I am getting ready to head back to the hotel, have to complete some work to be ready for my presentations tomorrow, and must become rested (in mind and body - specifically throat) to be ready to go at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow morning. I think I have around 10 one-hour presentations to conduct tomorrow. It's going to be a long day, but it has been a pleasure to meet all of the employees at our new company.

Then, I settle in tomorrow afternoon/evening to help the employees with on-line registration, do the same for more employees on Friday, and then fly back home late Friday night. If it is anything like my flight out here, I will sleep the entire way and not even know that the flight attendant has come by to offer me a beverage. I sure was tired before heading here... and I think I'll be even more tired heading back. I'm looking forward to Saturday... a day planned for nothing except rest and more rest. And, maybe I will post some pictures then.

Nothing too exciting going on here in this post. Just wanted to keep up my streak since I am attempting to get back on track with the blog.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


My reason for posting the verses yesterday is that my recent studies have focused on shelter, and a favorite hymn which was often sung in the church which I attended as a child has been in my mind for over a week now.

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life with the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.

Each time I reflect on this topic, my mind travels back to a particular day from this past spring. It was a day away from the office, so I - like many of my neighbors - had an early start to the morning to work on projects out in the yard. I was abruptly jerked out of my daydreaming when I found one of my friendly neighbors standing directly behind me. He held a finger to his mouth to let me know that I should remain quiet before he stretched his arm out to point to the wooded area on the front of the adjacent yard. There, so close and so quiet, were a mother deer and her young baby... right there on our block. We are very close to the nearby wooded college campus and situated at the edge of town, so I see deer extremely often when driving to and from work. But, I had never seen a deer in our neighborhood. And, I had never seen a deer this small and young... and never seen a deer this close. I was in awe of their beauty. The mother watched the neighborhood carefully. The young one investigated the territory on four wobbly legs. Soon, the two scampered away, and I slowly returned to my yard work while thanking God for the gift of seeing them.

After taking a mid-morning break, I went back out to my yard in the afternoon to complete more tasks. However, a sound kept interrupting my daydreaming. First, I thought it was one of my cats mewing through an open window. Then, I thought it was one of the neighbor's cats. But, after checking out the situation, I found neither were true. The sound was persistent, and as the rain started to fall, the call of the mystery animal became louder. The trickles became steady rain, and the steady rain became a downpour. Yet over the sound of the water hitting rooftops and gravel, the cry of the animal became louder still. My curiosity wouldn't allow me to go inside, so I carefully listened for the cries... and they led me to the small wooded area at the back of my property. It was at that time that I found this young, fragile, beautiful creature hidden away in the brush and leaves of the tree line that separates my block's property from the properties on the next street.

I can't begin to explain the urgency of this tiny fawn's cry. After the rain stopped, it even increased in intensity and volume. Such desperation and such fear seemed to be pouring out in every call to its mother. I used my zoom lens to capture this close picture of the baby, but I was careful not to disturb it or the surrounding area. I tried to go back to my work, but the shrill shrieks would not allow me to keep focus. Faster and faster it cried. Louder and louder it called. I was very concerned about the little one, so I phoned the local animal rescue contacts. It was a holiday, so no one was available at the rescue offices to offer advice. But, after a couple of hours (with the cries continuing to grow), I received a call from a very kind conservationist who was willing to discuss the situation.

After hearing my story about the morning, he assured me that the deer would be fine and was in the best possible location for it to be. He explained that the mother clearly had been looking for a hiding place for her young one so that she could forage for food for the family while confidently knowing the baby would be safe from predators who would harm it. The conservationist assured me, that while the little one seemed terrified, it was in the safest place it could be.... and that the mother was probably closer than I or the little one knew. The little one so desperately did not want to be left in the wooded area. Yet, the mother was making sure that the dangers that come within the brightness of day would not harm her child, and she would come back in the shelter of night to move her little one to an even safer place. It was such a wonderful shelter the mother prepared that, if it were not for the cries, no one would be able to sense the baby deer was present. The conservationist reminded me to not come too close to the tiny deer and to call again if the baby was still there in a couple of days. But, he was confident that the mother would gently guide the baby to another safe location that evening. I went out into the yard to listen and check in about every hour throughout the day. And, then right after dusk, I went out into my yard to find silence. The baby deer was gone, and I realized the conservationist knew exactly what he was talking about.

When thinking on this, I can't help but reflect on how our Heavenly Father provides the same shelter for us. So often, I can call out... wanting something different than I have. So often, I can yell in anger about how things aren't going my way. So often, I can be discouraged by the picture of reality I see. But, even more often, I forget that our all-knowing Father sees a picture much greater than me and my limited scope. He takes care of my basic needs. And, when I get lost in the despair of my perspective, He knows what harm He is keeping at bay. He knows what hurt He is preventing from entering my life. He knows that the places He is preparing for me will keep away pain that is far greater than the pain I can imagine. In the times He seems so far away, I must remember He is the closest... acting as a loving, watchful father. And, in the cleft of the rock, I can be assured that His ways are higher than mine... His thoughts higher than mine. In His hands, I am cradled in His love and protection. In His shelter, I can rest, sweetly rest.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Psalm 61

1 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.

2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.

4 I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.

5 For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.

6 Thou wilt prolong the king's life: and his years as many generations.

7 He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.

8 So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.