Tuesday, September 30, 2008


so we had a busy rest of the week as i recovered from my cold and finished up with my clients. i was able to do a photo job on friday night, and we got all geared up for the game on saturday, with tailgating pics beforehand and then going to the game.

let me say that tailgating is an art form in greenville. there are many many people who take their tailgating quite seriously--so much so that the paper has started a contest this year and has enlisted the freelance photographers to take pictures of the biggest and best tailgating set-ups. this was my first home game that i'd been able to attend, and honestly, i had a great time visiting all the tailgaters. it was awesome to just drop in to these parties, have them brag about the best food or the coolest set-up, and then walk down a few cars to the next elaborate tailgate and do it all over again.

(the entertainment factor is also increased by the fact that many of these folks had been "tailgating" since around 10 am and we were visiting them at 1 or 2 pm. they were feeling good and were willing to talk to just about anyone who came by. this is also the reason that justin has said i will be accompanied on all my tailgating shoots--i got hit on by more drunk college guys than my whole time at ecu.)

so i got to do some cool stuff besides take pictures, like...

ring the ship's bell!

and try out some chicken feet! (we didn't actually eat them, but we were certainly made aware of their presence.)
and after a wide circle around the tailgating fields, we headed into the stadium for the game. i was ready to get up to our seats because i hate missing pregame. being in the marching pirates was such an important memory to me, and if anything, i can't miss the star spangled banner. we grabbed some sodas and barbeque sandwiches and made it just in time to see most of the pregame show and the team's entrance on the field.

the band did a great job, and i reminisced about the good ol' days...

plus, it was band day and they had over 1,200 high school students there to participate from 23 different bands!i will say that that's about where the positive stuff ends for the game, though. number one--it had been a rainy, somewhat chilly week up until this point. then, saturday comes around and it's easily in the mid 80's by the afternoon. it was HOT. i was sweating through the tailgating and guzzling water and powerade to keep cool. then, we got in the stadium, crammed into a sold-out crowd with no breeze or shade and it was just miserable. i was afraid my sunscreen was going to be completely sweated off and i would end up with a sunburn on top of that. i had to go down about midway through the first quarter so i could cool off in the shade, and the second half of the game was slightly more comfortable. however, this is when our team began to self-destruct and made some stupid, sloppy mistakes. we left with a few minutes remaining in the fourth quarter when the other team was ahead by two or three touchdowns. what happened to our ranked pirates?

we hightailed it home and showered quickly before heading over to scott and melissa's for destiny's birthday cookout. it was great to see everyone and check out the work they've done on the bonus room above the garage. we got home with enough time for me to upload my photos from the day and crash.

sunday was church, cleaning up around the house, laundry, errands, choir practice, dinner and small group. i couldn't believe how quickly the day went by, but we got a lot of stuff done and i felt much more in control. with our busy weekends and trading off sicknesses for the past couple of weeks, our house had definitely suffered. i was so relieved to finally feel caught up on housework and the other things we'd neglected over the past several days.

this week actually looks like it will be fairly laid-back. we're in a great spot at work, but i'm doing intake on a couple of new families soon so we'll have a full schedule when they get started up. i also have the craziest weekend coming up, but that'll just have to wait for another post.

pepper is doing well. she's had great vet visits (man, if taking a cat to the vet was as easy as taking this dog to the vet, it would make my life a lot easier) and is a joyful addition to our household...95% of the time. then there's the 5% of the time where she is a demon-possessed puppy with razor sharp teeth, a stubborn will and so much energy that you think she'll never stop running circles around you. we're trying to work on all of these things, but we also chalk up a great deal of it to the fact that she's a puppy and she's got a strong personality. puppy training classes are not out of the question, though...

okay, that's all i can think of for now. later, y'all.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

cough, sneeze, sleep

so if you haven't had the pleasure of talking to me over the past few days, you are missing out on a raspy, hacking voice that sounds like i smoked cigarettes for 30 years or have a terrible cough/cold that's just sitting on my vocal cords. it's the latter.

for someone who's job it is to talk, though, it creates an interesting dynamic. i coughed and squeaked my way through two days of work, but was able to schedule my clients for later in the week and was told to stay home this afternoon. so i continued to knock myself out with cold meds, indulged in some egg drop soup (the most appealing food to me right now) and sipped some hot tea. it was much needed.

before this became a full blown cold/chest congestion, i was able to enjoy a wonderful weekend at the beach with my family. this trip had been planned for a few weeks, and we were excited that we had the opportunity to stay at the seahawk motel villa, the place where we stayed for several summers in a row while i was in middle school and high school. it was great to bring justin and rachel there to share in some of our "beach" memories from when we were kids.

we were able to head down on friday afternoon, after we finished our CARF (accreditation) process at work--which went fabulously, by the way--and had to get some seafood for the first night. the closest place that served a tasty shrimp burger was the big oak drive-in, and i loved the vintage style. we joked that we should call guy fieri from "diners, drive-ins and dives" to come check it out! (the shrimp burgers really were great--though they typically serve them "all the way" with ketchup, slaw and tartar sauce--which seemed like just a bit much for me)

i got a quick shot of the sunset that night...
the next day we spent the morning and afternoon on the beach. it was cooler than normal and overcast for most of the day, but it did make for perfect kite-flying weather. we struggled through setting up two cheap plastic kites that did not make it (one took a nose dive into the ocean, the other never made it off the ground) and then we tried out a nylon one that mom found in alan's room from way long ago. once we got it set up, it really took off and justin easily had it flying out on 500 ft of line. you can just barely see it in this picture.if 500 ft doesn't sound like a lot, let me put it to you this way. when justin started to reel it in after letting it fly for a couple of hours or so, he timed himself. it took about 45 minutes to reel in the kite, with him twisting in the line the entire time. talk about a work out!

we also had a great time playing frisbee on the beach...

alan is regularly playing disc golf now and enjoyed getting in some practice.
and yes, we did get in the water! well, some of us. despite many weather warnings about strong riptides and huge waves, we actually did not experience that. both days, we saw some decent size waves with very little undertow or riptides. maria, carmen and their friend rachel were catching some awesome waves... and, well, i just had to check it out myself. these were perfect boogie boarding waves--not too strong, breaking at just the right depth, and enough to carry you in all the way to the sand. we had a blast and only got cold when it was really overcast or we got out of the water.
by sunday at lunch, it was time to head home. we know we'll probably get one more trip in to the beach area, but this is the last one where we could get in the water. we got back home and tried to get ready for the week (while i started to feel the full effects of the cold taking over.)
we did find a great "dog sitter" for pepper this weekend--my friend dianne graciously offered to watch her, so pepper had a great time spending the weekend with them. dianne has two daughters that absolutely loved pepper, as well as a couple of dogs and cats that were willing to play with her (well, the dogs were. the cats felt about the same way mine do.) she did very well and we're really working on training this week. we practiced "sit" a few times tonight and she seemed to catch on quickly.

so in the evenings, pepper does calm down to the point where i can have her in the house and the cats don't seem to mind her quite as much. sunday was an excellent example. i was watching tv in our room and had her up on the bed with me. milo came up and made himself comfortable, and then grace joined us as well. before you knew it, we had a bed full of animals that were peaceably sharing the space. it's rare, but enjoyable. i keep hoping more moments like that will allow the cats to warm up to pepper, but milo continues to play "mr. tough guy" and hisses at her any time she's on her leash in the house and is walking around. he can only tolerate her when she's sleeping or sitting quietly. and this is a puppy!

i do ask that everyone pray for justin's grandfather who lives up in west virginia. he was admitted to the hospital yesterday after some blood work came back from a doctor's appointment with signs of myeloma, a type of cancer. they're still doing tests to see what stage it's at, but there's the possibility that it's quite treatable. his family is going through a lot right now with his grandmother as well, who has had alzheimer's for the past several years, and was primarily being cared for by his grandfather. so with one grandparent in the hospital and the other one now needing daily care and supervision, it's tough to handle. please keep them in your prayers through out this week and we'll update you as more information becomes available.

i would like to add that i have enjoyed expanding my "blogging" horizons and becoming a regular reader of some other inspiring blogs. it is such a blessing to be able to keep up with my friends and family members who blog, but i have also been getting into some other popular blogs that are written by some amazing Christian women. it is so refreshing to read about the lives of other women who have gone through (or are going through) some difficult times and can write about it with such grace and strength. i've also found that there are some awesome photography blogs out there, too, and i just keep adding new feeds to my "google reader." it makes for a nice morning treat when i can pull up my feeds and have several new posts to scroll through that are inspiring, humorous and heartfelt. any recommendations on good blogs out there?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

quick mid-week post

so in case you're still wondering about the origins of pepper's name--it's from my favorite childhood movie of all time... "annie"! pepper was one of the orphans (and a stubborn, sassy one at that--quite fitting for our stubborn, sassy puppy.)

i've included my favorite song just in case you needed a refresher. sigh...

the remainder of our week has been busy, but with typical stuff that will keep us busy throughout the fall. with school in session, i meet with clients and families only in the afternoons. that means that i have fairly relaxed mornings and early afternoons, but once the school bells ring, i'm on the job! this does mean later dinners and not as much free time in the evenings, and now that youth group has started back up AND i'm doing clinical supervision in the evening, too...it's a full schedule! i'm enjoying it, though, and feel quite productive :)

we are quite excited to be heading back to the beach this coming weekend with my family. we're going through our accreditation process right now and it's been a little hectic. i'm looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the beach one last time.

not sure it'll be beach weather, though--not that i'm complaining. the crisp air that greeted us this morning was such a welcome change and i cannot WAIT for fall to be here. i've always been a big fan of fall--positive memory associations with football, marching band, comfy jeans and long-sleeved t's. my camp cheerio trips were an awesome way to get in the fall spirit, and i'm looking forward to fall festivals, pumpkin patches and corn mazes. i'm even a fan of the "fall flavored" food and drinks--give me cinnamon/apple/pumpkin/sweet potato ANYTHING and i'm set. yay fall!

and finally, new fall tv is coming up! i've got the DVR ready and waiting...

that's all for now. later, y'all.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

after careful consideration...

we have named her pepper. i realize that's not a name i listed before, but it had been mentioned early on and we thought it was just fitting.

she's slowly learning it. next step is working on some basic commands.

now here's a question for those of you who REALLY know me. what movie also features a character named pepper that was a movie favorite from my childhood? i mean, i've got milo (named after the orange tabby in "milo and otis.") it was only fitting that we had a character name from this movie as well--our VHS copy of it was worn out from the number of times i watched it over and over and over again as a kid.

Friday, September 12, 2008

so i've been told...

that i'm not allowed to bring any other animals home--

but this one can stay :)

so here's the next question--what should we name her?

is she a lucy?

or maybe an abby?

or ginger?

or perhaps a penny?

or daisy, maya, isabel, haley...and the list could go on for a while.

any suggestions? and anybody just dying to dog-sit? (that's the major change of having a dog vs. the cats.) we're compiling a list of possible dog-sitters for those weekend trips when she can't tag along.

in other news, i just topped off my tank with $4 a gallon gas. ike and his impending damage to the oil refineries in texas has sent the town into a tailspin, with everyone flocking to gas stations. while this seemed a bit extreme in the past, there seems to be some valid concern with gas stations reporting it will be "a while" until their next shipment comes in.

i've got two photo jobs lined up for this weekend, which is good considering hanna wrecked my plans for last weekend and we're going to the beach with my fam next weekend. so i'll take the assignments when i can actually get them squeezed in. a high school football game tonight and tomorrow, some sort of fundraiser where policemen, firemen and EMTs compete so that their coworkers will shave their heads? i'm not sure, but it was in the late morning/early afternoon and i didn't want to commit to anything in the evening. keep your eyes peeled for the pics on reflector.com over the weekend.

we also had to look to alternative sources to get tickets for the ECU/houston game in a couple of weeks. with their recent wins, tickets have already sold out for the game! so we found a pair on craig's list and snagged them just in time. though i could work the game for the paper, that would leave justin out and i would love to just watch and enjoy the game this time. i might end up taking some pictures of tailgating beforehand, though, and i definitely want to work one of the games this season. looking at the shots from last week's game, it appears that we get access to the field! so awesome and would be especially fun for homecoming.

finally, a picture that i snapped yesterday in our neighborhood. on flickr, i captioned it, "stop and remember." it's hard to believe that it's been seven years, but i can still remember exactly where i was when it seems like everything changed. though there weren't as many tributes or memorials this year, i still think it's important for us to take a moment and say a prayer for those who lost their lives and their families who still miss them.
"we will never forget."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

a bit of advice...?

alright, all of my friends who have a dog AND cat(s)--there are many of you out there.

any tips on keeping the peace? i've read numerous articles online, but i'm sure there are some fun anecdotes or ingenious ideas that you could share.

i have the un-named dog in her own "playpen" with her crate inside. it's plenty of room, tons of toys, and she went to sleep amazingly well last night with no whimpering during the night. she'll whine for about 5 or 10 minutes after going back in following a walk or playtime outside, but otherwise it's not too bad.

the cats are not hiding from her. grace is pretty much ignoring her unless the dog breaks loose during transition and chases after her to play. milo is quite interested and will sit in the kitchen, staring at the dog. occasionally, he'll give a good hiss and yowl. i figure this is milo establishing his dominance and showing the dog who's boss. not to mention that he's got a good eight pounds on this dog. i think it's more of the sheer energy and bounciness that frightens him. i only wish he could remember how he would terrorize grace and any other moving creature when he was a kitten.

she does not run loose in the house and won't until i'm positive the cats aren't traumatized (and that we're keeping her, of course.) some websites even recommend keeping her on a leash in the house until you know the dog will follow directions around the other animals.

but after a good long walk this morning and another run of playtime a minute ago--the cats are lounging around, the dog is quiet and i'm off to work.

(p.s.--the dog is napping and grace is right up by the pen, sniffing and observing...)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

a new family member (on a trial basis)

so i've been bugging justin for a dog since june, when i had way too much time during the day and spent hours searching humane society websites to find the perfect dog.

well, i found this one :) she's from a family that wasn't able to take care of her anymore and couldn't give her the attention that she needed for basic discipline and potty training. they got frustrated and so...we're trying it out. she's smaller than both cats (which allows them to maintain the physical upperhand), walks decently on a leash, is a mix of chihuahuas (both long-haired and short) and will have a name once we've determined that she's staying.

but look at those eyes...

we'll see how she does through the night...

Sunday, September 07, 2008

finding time to post...

even though i've had a couple of brief posts over the last week or so, i realized it's been a while since i've posted anything of substance. so... here we go!

pirate football. what a beginning of the season it has been. though i haven't been able to attend a game, i've loved watching them on tv and cheering on my pirates! it was particularly tough not to be at the wvu/ecu game yesterday, but i had a photo job (more about that below) and we knew it would cost us big to get tickets--guest tickets were already at $55 a piece! because of the timing of my other photo job and hanna coming through, i wasn't able to take any photos beforehand like i had hoped to. next home game, though, we'll be there! and i just hope that my pirates can continue this great winning streak. to be receiving this national coverage and finally get some recognition is just amazing!

i had to include one of my favorite pics from last weekend--the game-winning football from the blocked punt against VT (with coach holtz in the background!)

by the way, we had a lot of rain and some wind with hanna, but no damage. a few leaves off of our poor little trees, with one of them bent over sideways during some of the wind gusts. i had the work crisis phone for the weekend and was worried that i'd be up all night answering calls, but no calls! we were able to go out to dinner friday night, drive around town to find open grocery stores on nearly empty roads, and by lunchtime on saturday, the storm was gone with minimal damage around town. it looks like ike is going to leave us alone, so hopefully that's it for the storm season.

i realized i hadn't posted about my awesome john mayer concert experience. the thing that bugs me about this...i forgot my camera. now, jennifer has a couple of pictures that we took with her little camera that she keeps in her purse--but it's only like 2 or 3 mp and i'm not sure that it will really capture the awesomeness of our seats. jennifer is a member of the john mayer fan club and was able to get first pick of the tickets for this concert. she ended up with.... 11th row, dead center. she had an extra ticket, and since she and i went together a few years ago to see JM and maroon 5, she knew i would enjoy going. we headed out as soon as i got finished with work on a wednesday afternoon and made it to raleigh just as the headliner was finishing up (onerepublic--also a very entertaining band!) when john finally came out...wow. i could read the stickers on his guitar, we were that close! it was one of the best concert experiences i've ever had and i'm still reveling in the musicianship and the inspiration that he put forth.
most people wouldn't see him as being "inspiring"--unfortunately, his social life has gotten more attention that his ability to play the guitar. however, this concert brought back his genuineness, his openness and his desire to share love for MUSIC with his fans. he told such wonderful stories that added so much to the concert, and in a way that true fans would appreciate. i think anyone who calls themselves a musician and feels the music could relate with his anecdotes and the emotion he put forth when performing.
noting halfway through the concert that at that point he had only played a couple of songs that were on the radio, he commented on the depth and the appreciation of fans who loved him for more than the top 40 hits. one of my favorite quotes was about his motivation--that he used to play concerts to hear the screaming fans and to get girls. and he would leave the stage empty and wanting more, and then he learned to play for the love of playing music, for the love of sharing what he loved, and now he's never been happier. and as corny as that sounds (as i now write it out and realize how corny it sounds) in the moment, it was real and honest and just him pouring his heart out. 
my other favorite quote--"we are musicians. we don't think linear or logically. we're like children, finger-painting, playing. and when you have an amazing group of musicians that get to play together like this, then it's like we're painting a beautiful work of art."

sigh...oh, john mayer.

to conclude, it was awesome and ranks up there with the coldplay concert from '05. 

back to the real world. though my reflector jobs have not been as numerous as before (mainly because of an already busy schedule and school hours affecting when i can work with clients) i have been picking up some additional work on the weekends, this time a 5 year old birthday party with one of my former oakwood families. a friend from church and oakwood who is getting into specialty party planning was able to recommend my services as part of the party package, and so i spent yesterday afternoon documenting a "fancy nancy" party for young sydney. i especially loved the colors and frills of the decorations--everything was quite "fancy!"

believe it or not, this is the cake... quite tasty, too.

the dress-up station was a very essential part of this event. i loved all of the shoes, lined up in a row.

some coloring of a "fancy nancy" picture, but with a fairy wand close by...
and once i get some of those up on my pro website, i'll let you know. need to check with the family first :)

my other creative outlet lately... well, it all started with a fabulous pair of linen pants that was 70% off at new york and co. and fit beautifully--except for the length. i couldn't turn them down, so i bought them anyways and said i would get around to hemming them eventually. many of my friends know that i hand-sew when need be, and in the dorms, i would be the go-to girl for patching up a pair of shorts or basting in another hem for pants when it got torn out. my grandmother sewed constantly when i was younger and still does occasionally. i would take old scraps from her sewing room and make doll clothes, pillows, even a Nativity scene that still gets put out at Christmastime. when it looked like i was going to do senior project, she taught me how to use her sewing machine and we made an apron together. the plan had been to make my black concert dress for band concerts as my senior project, but then i dropped out of the global studies program (so i could take ap music theory, if i remember correctly) and that was the end of my sewing experience beyond mending tears and reinforcing buttons by hand using the sewing kit my grandma gave me for graduation.

so--i had the linen pants. then i went shopping for some work-appropriate jeans (yes, i can wear jeans to work!) and absolutely loved a wide-legged pair that i found at jc penneys. again, great fit except for the length. knowing that i had to hem the pair of linen pants, i bought them anyways and figured i would hem those at the same time. 

then i got to thinking--both of these pairs of pants were for work and a more professional looking hem would be appropriate and could i get my hands on a sewing machine...and i remembered that my niece, destiny, received one for her birthday a couple of years ago after she took some sewing classes and wanted to have her own machine to work with. so, long story short, i borrowed a presumed broken sewing machine (minus the manual or any other information that would help in actually using it), watched several youtube videos on how to thread a sewing machine, and worked diligently (albeit quite frustrated at several points) for a few hours to hem both pairs of pants AND finish piecing together my t-shirt quilt that has been a project for probably...three years? it's not quilted yet, but i figure that can be a project for the winter months. i LOVE that it's finally finished. 

then it became a quest to see what else i could do. and the weekend before, when i was out taking pictures during the ecu/vt game, i commented on a cute top a girl was wearing with pirate skulls that looked adorable. she told me that her mom made it, and that got me thinking about what i could make to wear on game days. i was frustrated with the fabric that i found, and i think i might check out some other places in fayetteville the next time we're there to see if i can't find something less...busy? but i had to try it out, so i bought a pattern, the necessary materials, and worked for a few hours several nights this week until i finished my "pirate" top.
now let me say, i'm not thrilled with the shape of the top or how it was cut, so i tried to fit it as much as possible once it was actually pieced together. the fabric pattern was a bit much once i had it made, BUT it's a wearable piece of clothing and not too bad for a first try. and i had to show my pirate spirit after the awesome win last night!

i have some madras print fabric that i'm going to test out with a halter top pattern that came in the same set of patterns. wish me luck! 

alright, i think that's it for now. i've got to get some groceries so we have something to bring to our church small-group picnic this evening.