Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An encouraging word

My helper just paid me the highest compliment I've had in awhile. She asked me what I studied in university. My degree is hard to explain in English, let alone Chinese, so I explained that I studied "office communication" which I suppose could convey a wide variety of things to her, most of them not what I studied (organizational communication for the inquiring mind - basically anything that makes an organization run well in terms of its people).

She told me she thought I must have studied interior decorating, or what I assume means interior decorating. She said that the things I buy and the way I arrange them in my house is beautiful so I must have studied how to do it.

Why, thank you!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 22 - Hands

Day 21 - Faceless Self-Portrait

So this is what people see when I'm taking their pictures!

Day 20 - Bokeh

 Confession: I had to look this one up. If I'm understanding correctly, it's when you have light in the picture somewhere that is blurred. So here's my best effort:

Sometimes I take too many pictures for their liking

Saturday, November 26, 2011

We Gave Her an Inch . . .

We don't yet trust Scout to be out on her own and today she proved why.

I had to take Megan to soccer which meant we'd be gone for over 2 1/2 hours. That's tough for someone only 3 months old. Normally we put her in her crate, but today I thought I'd give her a little more freedom by leaving her crate open inside a large dog pen. We have friends whose dog happily stays in this kind of situation even when they are present in the house (we have co-op classes there).

For extra insurance, I put it all the "man cave" (our inside, tiled, not particularly warm patio) and shut the door - thank God. I threw in a few of her toys and a pee pad and thought she'd be ok.

On the way home, I stopped to get some noodles and Megan continued home to let Scout out. She found her not only outside of her pen (along with a couple of her toys) but with a noticeably larger belly. I guess I forgot about the bag of dog treats on a high shelf. They were gone, save 2.

This means that she not only managed to get out of the pen (under? over?) but she also climbed up a chair and onto the shelf where the treats were. How she got her toys out, I do not know.

I guess the only question now is - when will we see these treats again, and from which end of our dog?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Don't Believe Everything on Pinterest

 What is this man doing? It may look like he is taking a blood sample from a lemon, but that is not the case. We were trying to debunk something that has been pinned and repinned on Pinterest in the past few weeks. It's a picture of lemons cut in half, each lemon a different, perfect color other than yellow. It says you can achieve this by injecting food coloring into lemons.

When I first saw this pin I thought, "Cool!" for about three seconds, and then my logic kicked in. How could the skins be uniformly another color? And how does each individual piece of pulp get colored, but nothing happens to the white parts?

We had to try it.

So we got out some dark red food coloring and injected as much as we could. As you can see below, most of the ink settled to the bottom of the lemon, making it look sadly bruised. We tried at least three different places to make sure we got as much as possible in, but it also kept leaking out the other holes.

We let the lemon sit for awhile to make sure we gave it a change to spread and soak in. Then we cut it open, and below is the result. As I suspected, you shouldn't believe everything you see on Pinterest.


I stood at this corner just south of our complex tonight for a good five minutes and these cars stayed in this exact position the whole time. Traffic was backed up for at least a block in each direction, all because people didn't think past "I want to cross the intersection" to consider what might happen if they tried to cut across at the same time that others were attempting the same thing.

It was amusing to watch, but being in this kind of thing is a crazy maker. I was a little tempted to direct traffic, but instead I just stood and watched because that seemed a more pleasant choice. Eventually it cleared when the van sticking its nose in on the right side, the silver sedan, and white van all realized they had to back up.

It reminds me of a great link a friend of ours sent us the other day detailing what it looks like to make a left turn in China. Trust me, this is no exaggeration. We can only hope this intersection gets a stoplight soon or this will continue to be a daily occurrence. Note to self: never drive this way in the evening.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sun Puppy

 Scout has taken to asking to go outside just so she can go sit in the sun. We'd like to say we're on to her schemes, but we're just so happy whenever she indicates that she would like to go outside that we always take her.

 She realized this time that sun doesn't not equal comfort if there are massive winds blowing your ears back.

 So she found a cozy spot on the stairs where she could enjoy the warmth of the sun. She knows that there are sun spots in the off limits unless someone's in there bedrooms too and she will sometimes try to race in there to enjoy them before we catch her. Today I gave her a bone and let her sit in the sunny office while I exercised. She couldn't have been happier.

Day 19 - Something Orange

 So there's the really obvious oranges for sale . . .

And then I noticed this woman was wearing an orange jacket (I was trying to get a silhouette of her but she moved out of the sun!).

Day 18 - My Shoes

Not all that exciting, but here are my shoes. I LOVE these shoes!

Day 17 - Technology

I'm going to post day 16 later because I have a plan for it tonight. Here's some of the technology I saw today:

 I couldn't decide so I'm posting them both. This first one is the "cash register" and scale used by the man with a truck full of cabbage.

And while I was taking the first picture, these people walked by as if to say, "Here you go, Gina, here's technology for you."

Day 15 - Silhouette

 I finally had a decent day to go out and try to get some of my photo challenge pictures. Erik insists that this is NOT a silhouette picture, but I like it anyway. I went out too late in the day to get many shots before the sun was gone. And, since I'm on a roll I thought I'd throw in a picture I took at Chinese New Year last January that does fit the bill. Pretty much.

You know it's been a long week when . . .

Last night I had a new friend and her ADORABLE children over for dinner because our husbands were wrapping up a long week of training. When the guys came back we talked and laughed with them for awhile before we decided that yeah, the kids really should be in bed. After they left (and completely unrelated to the enjoyable hours spent with our friends) Erik walked into the kitchen and said, "Let's see, Kahlua . . . "

Yeah, it's been one of those weeks.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 14 - Eyes

Day 13 - 13 Things

I skipped day 12 because it was "Sunset" and it was one of those "I think that's the sun, or maybe it's a street lamp" days. And Day 13 was supposed to be Me with 13 Things but it's just 13 Things. I tried getting my reflection in the computer screen, but it just looked creepy. So here are the 13 things that are most commonly found on my coffee table these days - coaching materials for LEAF, along with my trusty highlighter and pen, Sacred Rhythms, my journal, my book notes journal, phone, knitting (I've just been practicing on this ball of yarn over and over - probably not good for the yarn) my computer, and of course a Coke Zero.

Day 11 - Something Blue

Not the most interesting thing, but when I looked out my window for something blue, this is what looked back at me from across the street.

Day 10 - Childhood Memory

At first on this day I thought, "How on earth will I find something that reminds me of my childhood in China??" And then I looked at my bookshelf. Hello, old friends.

Lessons from a dog's life

1. Love your people
2. Show them how much you love them by wildly running at them when they come home and kissing them a lot.
3. Play hard
4. Sleep when you're tired
5. Stay close to the people in your life
6. When in doubt, play or sleep, whichever you need most.
7. Listen to the people in your life because they know what you need
8. Don't pee on the carpet or anywhere other than accepted places because the people in your life will be unhappy.
9. Love your people

Sunday, November 13, 2011


I've been pondering the soul this week. Ruth Haley Barton says that the soul is the part of you that is most real, the part of you that is who God made you to be. I have begun to try to ask myself regularly, "How is it with my soul?" I can really only answer that question when I pull away from the distractions of life and am silent before God.

Today I was looking over some poems I wrote way back when distractions in my life were much fewer. I hope that I can get back in touch with the part of me that writes poetry. I think if I actually do what I was talking about in this poem, that might happen.

My Bit of Heaven

Not in the powerful wind,
nor the earthquake, nor the fire,
He came in the gentle whisper.
                                                            I Kings 19:11-13

My soul longs for solitude,
like a desert thirsts for water
And somewhere out there,
the solitude is calling me.

In search of it I find
cutout trees against an orange sky.
Snow lays unbroken, pure, white
as the peace it pours over me.
A single leaf is hurried
Scattering across the white in
reckless ignorance to the stillness it is in,
            Too much like me.

I breathe in the silence
and realize I’m home.
His gift to me is a bit of heaven
filling my heart, loved poured in by the Spirit.
I only find it in the gentle whisper.

Versatile Blogger Award

It's nice to know that people read my blog, particularly people I've never met. If you know me, maybe you're just following my blog because you like me (is that a pity follow?). But to know that people who've never met me also enjoy hearing my ponderings is pretty encouraging.

It's even more encouraging when one of them gives you an award for doing it. So thanks Melanie, your blog is awesome!

Now the rules of this award are as follows:

1. Thank the person who gave you this award. (check!)

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic!

4. Contact the bloggers you’ve picked and let them know about the award.

So here are seven things about me:

1. I am, unbeknownst to most people, an introvert. I really don't get energy from being with people.

2. I love to communicate in any form (this should be obvious). This combined with #1 causes dissonance and misunderstanding. Just because I like to talk doesn't mean it refreshes me to always be with people. I'm happiest when I can either communicate in writing or in front of large groups. Or I just talk to myself.

3. I am learning these days what it looks like to be fully present with people, to be still with them and with God and with myself.

4. I love to exercise. I mean I genuinely enjoy it! Mostly I walk or run, sometimes I even run races if I feel inclined. Lately I've been doing Insanity which is actually really fun and makes me feel strong.

5. I love decorating. If I had to start over with another career, I'd probably pursue being an interior decorator.

6. Another one of those "almost" careers is photography. I had a mentorship in photography in high school, back when I would spends hours in the high school darkroom developing pictures for the yearbook. Lately, I feel like my photography skills have plateaued a bit so I'd like to pursue improving them at some point.

7. I never planned to homeschool. I was one of those "can't wait till my kids get in school" kind of moms, but I've never regretted my investment in them.

Now here's the tough part for me - I don't follow a lot of blogs aside from my friends. I used to, but I found it took too much time to read them all. So while I'm sure lots of people are out there saying interesting things, I just can't keep up. And I don't have a blog roll on the side of my blog because it feels like picking friends in the playground - who will make the cut? So I'm going to choose not to post any links because all the new people on my blog feed are people Melanie also mentioned in her post! But I encourage you to go to her website and check out her blog roll. Thanks again Melanie!