Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What a view!

The view from our driveway has changed a bit. Do you see the change?

Unfortunately after a year and a half in our house, the lot directly across the street from us has sold. Soon we will not have this view of Pikes Peak. We don't sit out front and look at this view so it shouldn't be a big deal, but it is still nice to see any time we go out the front door. We'll miss this view for sure. I think Max will even miss the view.

Customer Service

We've had some interesting dealings with customer service recently. My employer is very big on good customer service. My office is attached to a conference room and more than anything else I have overheard trainings and conversations on customer service.

A couple of months ago Matthew took a stereo/receiver that we purchased around Christmas to the store we bought it from for repair. The store sent it to the manufacturer and we were supposed to get it in 6 to 8 weeks. We called the store a couple of times without an update on our stereo/receiver. Finally a week or so ago Matthew went to the store to find out what was going on. It turns out somewhere along the way our stereo/receiver went missing. They told him to come back the next day because they would replace it with a new model. The next day, they gave him the floor model because they didn't have any new ones. He had to go back the next day because they hadn't given him everything he needed to set it up. Everything works which is good, but it was a little disappointing because they had promised a new one.

Last week, for the second time this year, someone stole our trash can from in front of our house. The last time this happened we were using a different trash company. That company had identifying numbers on the trash can itself. I called the company and they told me they would keep an eye out for it. I didn't really think anything would happen, but they actually found our trash can. I was so glad we didn't have to shell out $70 for that trash can. Needless to say, we really appreciated this trash company. Then our HOA made us switch to one trash service for the community. Last week our trash can disappeared once again. So I called the trash company to make sure they would still pick up our trash if it wasn't in the trash container. The only advice she offered was to steal one of our neighbor's containers. What kind of customer service is that?? And why is someone stealing our trash container???

Max just wants to fetch

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but Max does not have good leash edicate. He pulls like crazy. I went to Petsmart a couple of months ago and purchased what one of their trainers suggested. I can't remember what the contraption is called, but it is like a harness. When the dog pulls, it is supposed to make him feel like he is losing his footing and cause him to stop pulling. That did not work at all. I only walked him a short while because we went to a field to play with a frisbee for the first time and his chuck-it. The frisbee was ok but not as big of a hit as the chuck-it.

We played for a while in the field. Then Matthew showed Max there was a pond thinking Max would take a drink from it. Not Max. Max just ran into the water and got completely wet. He really enjoyed retrieving and then running into the water. He's very silly around the water...he LOVES it! This is the first time we have seen Max lay down in the water. He should really learn to relax.

Congratulations to Andy and Amy

who had a baby girl today. I hope they will soon have pictures and info up on this blog.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


So my next sewing project could possibly take the rest of my life to complete. I hope it doesn't, but I may have decided to take on more than I can handle. BUT I am committed to see it through to completion. AND I am really excited about it.

I have now read a couple of books, a couple of magazines, and at least a dozen blogs about quilting. I am starting with a simple quilt from a book I recently read. It looks pretty simple and says it is for beginners. Have I mentioned I am excited about this?

I started last Friday night at the fabric store. I was going to start small but got so excited about the fabric I was finding that I just couldn't help myself. I like the colors in this fabric and hope it will not turn out too matchy-matchy (which I have been known to have an issue with). Isn't it lovely and inviting?

I am a bit anxious to post about this so early in the process, but I thought it would (1) be fun to have an update each week and (2) encourage me to continue when I get discouraged or overwhelmed.

The first picture is of the fabric just after purchase and before washing. I got home so late from the store that after washing, I wasn't even able to get started until Saturday. The second picture is of all the fabric cut into 6" x 6" squares after it had all been ironed. I'm not sure if you noticed, but I decided I didn't have a large enough variety so I went to the store again Saturday afternoon for some additional fabric.

Now that it has all been cut out, I have to iron all 4 edges of each square. Last night, I ironed 18 squares. I have no idea how many I have left, but it is going to take me a good while to get that part done.

I tell you...there is a lot of preparation before any sewing can start.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bag Lady

I am a serious bag junky...and have always been. When I was a little girl, I loved purses and wallets. I would ask my mother's friends if I could organize their purses if I was in the car with them. I was (and still am) weird like that.

While reading this blog recently, I found instructions for a reversible tote bag. Since I am practicing on my sewing machine, I thought I would give it a try. I had some leftover fabric (and I know it is quite busy, but I really like the colors and pattern) so I went to the store to find a complementary fabric for the other side of the tote. I made this yesterday and really like how it turned out. I may rework the straps because they are skinnier than I would like.

This floral fabric is my favorite at the moment. I have been trying to think of something else I can make with it.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Much excitement

The weather is changing. It seems as if it changed as of September 1st. We have already had several nights where the temperature dropped below 40 degrees. The days have still been warming up to the 70s, but fall is coming quickly. I noticed while playing with Max yesterday evening that the leaves on one of our trees in the backyard has already changed to gold. It is pretty, but doesn't it seem too soon for this kind of color? I actually wore a hooded sweatshirt one evening this week while playing outside with Max.

I also thought I would show you how much of the wood Matthew cut down has been used so far. I know it's hard to tell from this picture so I will just tell you how much we've used. Ready? I think we've used 5 pieces at the most. When we tried to use it, it wouldn't burn well because it was still too green. We really haven't tried any since that time. Maybe we'll try again during this fall weather we're having.

I opened the door from the garage into the house upon arriving home from work on Tuesday and smelled the most horrible smell. Once inside, I very quickly discovered that Max had the runs in the house. This happened once before - the day the Olympics began on 8/8/08. That time Matthew got home first and discovered Max had the runs on the carpet in the basement. Poor Matthew. That must have been AWFUL to clean up which was done before I even got home from work. Thankfully, this time the incident occurred upstairs on the hard wood floor for the most part. I am telling you...that was DISGUSTING! I felt bad that he was obviously sick at some point during the day. He seemed completely normal when I got home and was ready to get outside and play. I count it a small miracle that I did not lose my lunch while cleaning that up. Whew! I hope that doesn't happen again any time soon. What's weird is that we have no idea what caused that to happen either time. I couldn't finish this post without adding a couple of pictures of Max. Isn't he a cutie? The longer we play fetch, the longer his tongue gets. Where is that thing attached? Matthew swears it is attached at his tail.

the Saturday that was

Last Saturday after Matthew spent the first part of the day fighting a headache, we drove up to Matthew's aunt and uncle's (Lois and Joe) house to visit them as well as two of Matthew's cousins (Mekay and Katie). We had a really nice visit as we always do.

We ate, took a walk around the property, played with the dogs (4 German Shepherds and Max), and visited.

Here's a picture of the kiddos eating apples they picked outside. Aren't they cuties?

And here's a picture of the dogs waiting for a treat. Don't they look well-behaved?

Katie and her husband Jeff are about to leave for Uganda for about 6 months. They took this picture of us for the picture wall Katie wants to have where they will live. That way she will be surrounded by friends and family in this new place. I thought that was a great idea! Thank you to Jeff for taking our picture.

After dinner and the walk, we sat around in the living room and visited. Matthew and I were telling everyone how much Max likes to cuddle. So Jeff got off the couch, laid on the floor, and said, "Our dog doesn't like to cuddle. I'm ready for some of this Max love." So Max cuddled with him, I thought it was very cute and funny. Hopefully, Jeff will forgive me for putting that on my blog.

We enjoyed our time with everyone. While we don't live terribly far apart, we don't get together often enough. We are always thankful to spend time with family.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


I really want to learn to sew and I really want to be good at it. I may have mentioned this before, but my mother is a sewing genius. Anyway, I finally got out some things last night to work on. And I successfully made a purse and a skirt.

I made the purse from start to finish last night in a couple of hours. I had cut the skirt out when I was at my mom's house in May. I just got around to sewing it last night and this morning. I don't think either project turned out perfect, but I don't think anyone but me will notice.

Yeah! I'm so excited to have completed something. I believe the only other thing I've made start to finish is a pair of pajama bottoms. Maybe this will inspire or encourage me to practice some more. I want to get good enough that I can make a quilt.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Life goes on

…it must. And it is good for it to do so. But how do those of us experiencing a great loss move on? What do we do with our grief? What do we do with our desire for life to be as it was a couple of weeks ago? A couple of months ago? A couple of years ago?

Since my last post about Carolyn, I have been trying to come up with what I really wanted to say about the events of last week, how they have impacted me, and about Carolyn. At the time, all I could do was tell you in disbelief what had happened. And now, I’m not sure I can do much more than that. Honestly, I’m not sure I believe deep down that she is gone. I think about going to the house in Chicago and I see her there. I can’t imagine her not being there. I am wondering when this loss will become more real to me.

I would like to tell you all about Carolyn, but how do I describe her to you? She was fun. She made a very big deal of holidays and special events. Matthew has great stories about Christmas as a kid. She made the holiday very big and magical. She was generous…not just with money or material things, she gave of herself and her time. She was a woman of faith. She studied the scriptures. During a ski trip in February 2006 to Breckenridge, CO, she stayed at the cabin when everyone else was skiing to work on future Sunday school lessons. She loved to read, and I believe C.S. Lewis was one of her favorite authors. She made a difference in the world – both vocationally and personally. She was intelligent and used her gifts in many ways…she helped with a butterfly sanctuary in Mexico after her retirement from corporate America and then was appointed to head the US Chemical Safety Board where she served for 5 years in Washington DC. She was a world traveler. Matthew and I got to join her and the rest of the family in Scotland for Shannon’s wedding in May 2002. She had contagious laughter, teary hellos and goodbyes, and gave good hugs. She was a good cook and left me several recipes while at our house last Thanksgiving. She was tender-hearted and compassionate. She was passionate and had a strong work ethic. Family was very important to her as was her family’s history. She did not want anyone to worry about her or to mourn her loss. But how can we not mourn her loss?

Since returning home on Sunday, I have had a strange desire to get out all the things she gave me over the years. Maybe these things are what I have at the moment to help me feel she is close.

I have also been struggling with guilt and regret concerning our relationship. I loved Carolyn and know she loved me. Ask any of my friends and you will find out I am not so great at long-distance communication. I am decent at keeping in touch over email, but I am terrible at phone communication. I always intended to start calling her once a week or twice a month just to keep in better contact and build a stronger relationship. I never did that though. And I regret it. What would have been so hard about starting that communication?

These are uncharted waters for me and Matthew. How do we go on with our “normal” every day life? We came home from St Louis Sunday afternoon and I went back to work Monday morning. And here it is just shy of a week since we lost Carolyn. We know she is at home with Jesus now. And that is comforting. But considering the present and future without her here is painful…and that is what we don’t know what to do with. We hope for children in the future but are sad to think of how they will never know her. We can tell them all about her, but those will amount to only stories…not a person.

And so we are left to walk this path set before us. Praise be to God who will walk with us.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Carolyn. I took this picture the day after Thanksgiving while we were visiting Carolyn's nieces that live about 3 hours from us. This was our first time to meet the kiddos Katie and Jeff had just adopted from Liberia. It was a wonderful visit and celebration.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Labor Day with the Furries

This was the name of a photo album sent to me today by my friend Destiny. On Monday, Matthew, Luke, and Destiny took Max and Trigger (their golden retriever) to the pond. Aren't they good looking dogs? From the pictures and the story telling, it appears that everyone had a good time. The dogs played in the water and played fetch. Max was worn out when they got home (after being at the pond a couple of hours Matthew said). The last picture is what he looked like when I got home. Wouldn't you like to join us for a beautiful day at the pond sometime? It's a lot of fun for furries and people alike.

Contrary to any thoughts I previously had, Max is apparently spoiled the most when he stays at our neighbors' house. He stayed there last week while we were out of town. When we went to pick him up, they invited us over for burgers. While preparing the burgers, our neighbor mentioned something about a Max patty. She made a hamburger just for Max. We were later informed that he also had bacon for breakfast that day. Hmmm...I'm not quite sure what to think about all that. Actually, I would prefer he not eat people food but it was a bit late to make that known I suppose. They did us a HUGE favor by keeping him and we appreciate it immensely. It's nice to know that he is safe, happy, and doesn't need to be worried about.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

September 2008

Don't ask me why, but I love this picture of my sweetie and my dad on horseback. I don't know when I took this picture, but I was standing on my parents' front porch to get this shot. The quote says, "There's something about the outside of a horse that's good for the inside of a man." - Winston Churchill
September generally brings cooler weather, memories of football games and school supplies, and a very short amount of time until holidays begin to roll around.
The temperature today was only in the 60s here. Thankfully, it is supposed to be warmer tomorrow. I'm just not ready for summer weather to be over. Where did the summer go? We didn't do a singer summer-y thing this year.