25 June 2009

Tuesdays with Morrie

Finished the book in three days; very quick read. Mitch Albom has a great narrative skill, and I fell in love with the characters (real people) and the story. Mitch entwines honest, shamelessness and even humor into this loving tale.

Reminding me of Randy Pausch's story, this story is about how Morrie learns how to live his last days through learning how to deal with his looming death. Morrie has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a disease where you gradually lose control of your body. One with ALS dies when the disease reaches their lungs; they become unable to breathe. Morrie has an unbelievable perspective and attitude towards his condition, but that does nothing to stop him from living out loud and to the fullest. If anything, his condition was his most beneficial blessing. If anything, this disease gave him renewed life.

I chalk this book up on my List of Books Everyone Should Read. It's truly wonderful. It is amazing how life is so much simpler, so much slower, so much more satisfying if we learn from the lessons Morrie shares with Mitch.

My first reflection was how 180 this book was from my last one, American Psycho, haha. A fresh breath of air, for sure! Tuesdays with Morrie helped me with the death of something from my recent past. I think this book can help us all learn about death because, while it sounds utterly morbid, death is always around us in some way or another. Graduating college, moving to a new town, stuff like that. Something in our life has to end and die - this is required for something new to be born into our lives. The Lion King had it right... everything is part of the Circle of Life.

I've not seen the movie yet, but might someday. The movie has Jack Lemon in it to play Morrie. There's a link for the trailer below.

If you've read the book, please feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment!

Book's Website
Movie Trailer

Love or perish,


22 June 2009

Photos from Home

Happy Monday!

Today was a great start to the week. Hope your day was similar, if not, better.

Last night I slept really well, work flew by, tried a tasty California Pizza Kitchen flat bread for lunch (quite good for a nuke meal). After work I knocked out a couple things on my to do list, received My Sister's Keeper in the mail today (yay!), rented a couple movies from the apartment complex (The Corpse Bride because I needed to feed my hunger for some Tim Burton action as I was teased with some new information on the Alice movie coming out next spring, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou because I like Murray and it looked like one of those really great quirky movies). Then I went to the gym for a couple hours, tried to order some photos at Walgreen's, but didn't feel like sifting through the 900 photos on my flash drive (will try again in the morning). And now I'm hope, putting up a quick blurb and having some dinner.

Mom sent some photos from over the weekend up in Indianer (thanks, Mom!!!):

Miss Lilly and Miss Haley with the newest addition to the Travis family: Ryder "Low Rider" Travis the Long-Haired Dachshund - he's so tiny and cute!

Abby, Haley, Lexi and - look how big she is! - Gracie with Darin


21 June 2009

Random Stuff as of Late

I'm almost done with my first quilt. I have yet to baste the fabric, sew the perimeter, and actually quilt the blanket. I'm going to do a how-to blog on the project when I'm finished. I'm excited to take the blanket downtown to Lake Eola to use it for a nice, Sunday afternoon picnic. UPDATE: finished sewing around the perimeter. Time for the quilting!!!! Finishing this project tonight!

I've joined some book clubs. Penny, one of my bosses at work, invited me to join her book club's next meeting where we'll discuss The Beach House by Jane Green. I expect my copy of the book in the mail early next week. I also joined the Orlando Chick-Lit Book Club through MeetUp.com. On top of normal book club activities, the OCLBC also catches movies made from novels. I'm hoping to also read My Sister's Keeper within the next few weeks, too, so I can join the other members at the movie. I expect my copy of that book early next week, too. In the mean time between American Psycho and one of the books I've just ordered, I'm reading Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. It's only a couple hundred pages, and I've heard only good things about the story.

I'm out of contacts. The eye office where I usually buy my contacts is out of stock; has been all week. I've been wearing my glasses around the clock, and haven't ran all week because I don't want to run without contacts && with glasses. (The && is a little programming joke, hehe.)

Work is going along VERY well! In the last week I've become quite engaged with my sub-system on the program. It's been a little overwhelming, but I'm excited to take on additional responsibility. So, I'm happy to report that all is well in the job department. Also, my LM softball team is ranked number one! Next game will be the finals, I do believe. My LM sand volleyball team isn't doing so hot, but that's okay. I enjoy my teammates' company; they're good people.

With a group of fellow LM folks, last night I went out to a really great Spanish Tapas bar downtown called Ceviche. Delicious, fantastic atmosphere, friendly staff. I loved it. We were there for about 3 hours! There were bread slices and a really tasty "pesto" sauce with lots of cilantro for appetizers. I ordered a Poema white Spanish wine that had some citrus hints. Then I fell in love with the white Sangria! Oh, man, I was very impressed with the white Sangria! I ordered pan con tomate and ceviche de salmon. The pan con tomate was okay, but the salmon ceviche was delicious! Spicy, with a citrus/ginger kick. Mmm! Jeremy, Ryan, Eric, Kevin and I all had a very nice time. Eric had a great order of steak tapas and spicy, cheese potatoes, AND creme brulee! That will be my next order at Ceviche exactly! After dinner Josh and Jared visited from Melbourne. We were celebrating for Jared's 23rd birthday! We went to Wall Street and ended the night at The Lodge. After the bar scene Josh headed home, and Jared and I chilled to some RadioHead. It was a really fantastic evening.

Josh, myself & Jared at Wall Street

Today Jared and I slept in, picked up my car from downtown, had some tasty B-Dubs (nostalgia), then baked in the sun for a few hours at my pool. We both got some nice color this afternoon. We showered up, and caught a showing of Year One. We agreed that the flick was okay, some funny parts, but overall Jack Black and Michael Cera can be a little over the top. It was worth seeing once, I suppose. Not something I'll probably watch again, though. After the movie Jared and I went to Steak N Shake for some grub, then he headed home. It was nice to have him visit. = ) Hopefully I'll make it over to Melbourne in the next couple weekends. I miss Andy and Jo Ann and the beach.

My friend Kubacki just purchased a very nice motorcycle! Andy is building a house in Melbourne, and Jeremy & Eric are moving into Tortuga next month. I'm very happy for my friends. = )

Oh, I picked up some items at Bath & Body Works the other day. They had a Buy 3, Get 3 deal going on, and, as I was in need of new lotion and new perfume, I took advantage of the sale. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the B&BW here in Florida (at least at the malls I've been to down here so far) carry my favorite scent!!! Dancing Waters!!! It was a very happy moment. They say that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory, and, for me, this particular scent is associated with so many wonderful memories... I also bought another favorite scent: Sweet Pea. Mmm, they smell so nice!

Since the Indianapolis Mini 500 Half-Marathon I've not had any race to train for, so I've slacked off a bit, but I did recently stumble upon the following recap of my running in 2008. Nike+ is so cool.

If you don't "get" Twitter, but you at least appreciate geeky humor, you should like the following trending topic copy/paste of "robot pick-up lines." My favorite is #18.

1. zax0rz: is that a stick of RAM in your pocket or are you happy to see me? http://tcrn.ch/3EL #robotpickuplines less than 5 seconds ago from web
2. jakelleywrotty: Let me show you my hard drive #robotpickuplines less than 10 seconds ago from web
3. sliceouttaluck: #robotpickuplines Want to come up to my for some coffee? less than 20 seconds ago from web
4. fadilnet: A male robot must obey the orders given to it by a fembot except where such orders would conflict with the mombot. #robotpickuplines less than 20 seconds ago from web
5. ifilmtheclouds: Roses are #FF0000, violets are #0000FF, all my base are belong to you. -- Oldie, but goodie. #robotpickuplines less than 20 seconds ago from web
6. SteveGreenwald: #robotpickuplines Is that a deterministic finite automaton or are you just glad to see me? less than 20 seconds ago from web
7. Tukitavi: "You've got mail!" (? I dunno, I thought I'd try. ) #robotpickuplines less than 20 seconds ago from web
8. dinkydudette: RT @JazzyFee: #robotpickuplines "Do you have Intel inside? No? Would you like to?" (HA HA!!) less than 20 seconds ago from web
9. GematriaSL: I'm more than a simulation. #robotpickuplines less than 20 seconds ago from web
10. bogeydog: #robotpickuplines Wanna 3-way with a Roomba? half a minute ago from web
11. sandbar17: rt @stephaniehobson Is your processor over heated? Because you've been running in my mind all day. #robotpickuplines <--LOL! half a minute ago from web
12. Lizeelou2: Are you a socket cause I really need to charge my battery. #robotpickuplines half a minute ago from web
13. billtoth: nice boot sector, wanna fuck? #robotpickuplines half a minute ago from web
14. emilyooo: #robotpickuplines Part 2 M: Are you sure? Maybe I should sneak a peak at your access panel. half a minute ago from Tweetie
15. BrokenSword: RT @MickSturbs: #robotpickuplines 'I suppose Hex is out of the question?' OMG Groan!!!! half a minute ago from TweetDeck
16. trupoet: Nice Rackmount! #robotpickuplines half a minute ago from TweetDeck
17. salottimc: Make sure your ports are open. #robotpickuplines half a minute ago from web
18. DreamingFox: RT @BadAstronomer "Your lips say 0 but your eyes say 1." #robotpickuplines half a minute ago from TwitterFox
19. Thebigdoerehab: #robotpickuplines I'm a scorpio, I enjoy sailing, and I don't have any passwords but hope to one day. half a minute ago from web
20. spkr4thedead51: #robotpickuplines Hey, do you like to roleplay? I'll be a traveling salesman and I'll figure out the fastest way to get to your bed half a minute ago from TweetDeck

That's all for now.



Remember when you had a nice meal with the family every Sunday evening?

It's been a long time for me. I don't remember the last time - prior to my moving away from home - my family had a dinner like that on Sunday.

I do remember my Sunday routine as a girl.... getting up in the morning (Mom giving me wake up calls several times), cinnamon rolls for breakfast (once the savory scent of those buns wafted to my bedroom I'd finally roll outta bed, haha), gathering necessary things for church (my Bible and something to do during the dreaded sermons), Dad making desperate attempts to round up the family to get us on our way to church without being too terribly late, giggling in the pews, Grandma's super stash of candies and her readiness to accept the wrappers with a smile, Dad throwing me and my brother's the "brain duster" stare if we started to get too rowdy during service, waiting for what seemed eons after the service concluding because Mom and Dad had to say hello to nearly everyone, then - my favorite part of the day - lunch at Taco Bell! We'd place a big order, drive home, and gab about the day while chomping on our tacos. I remember thinking how manly Dad was because he could eat so many burritos. After lunch we'd attend to the chores, then it was nap time; I never cared for either activity very much. In the evening my brother's and I would play outside before it got dark. I remember poking holes in glass jar tops for catching lightening bugs in the flowered hedges between our house and AJ's grandparent's house. When Mom would call us in we'd argue, claiming there was still enough light, but eventually she'd win and we'd have to get ready for bed (that was the worst). Eventually my parents, brothers and I would say a prayer, and I'd make it to bed, but always with a book in hand (I've always been a reader).

And that's what I remember most about Sundays when I was a child. It seems so long ago. I just pulled out memories I've not touched in over a decade... wow. I had a really wonderful childhood. I'm so blessed to have such a loving family.

Back to Sunday dinners. You may have noticed that I didn't mention a Sunday dinner, but more of a Sunday lunch. I'd say that counts. It was a meal which we shared together, the five of us, and we reflected on the day's lesson, the last week and discussed the up-coming one.

Right now Discovery Church is doing a series on the Ten Commandments. I haven't studied the Ten Commandments since my days at the Nazarene in Fairfield, Ohio. There were tons of fun children's programs to help us learn the Commandments, but since elementary school I haven't really thought about them. Maybe some during Sunday School at East Side in Anderson, but that was only up to middle school.

If you're not familiar with them, or if you need a refresher, The Ten Commandments are God's law. The Hebrew word for "law" is "Towrah;" instruction, teaching, guidance, law. David Loveless, the pastor, explained that "towrah" translates to the guidance provided by the fletching on an arrow.

Today David discussed The Fourth Commandment.

Exodus 20:8-11 : (8) Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. (9) Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: (10) But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: (11) For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

God's intentions for The Sabbath (Sunday, Shabbat, Day of Rest, Seventh Day - it's all the same). This day is meant for rest. It is a break from the rest of the week's labor. It is a day to reflect, a day to honor the Lord.

I've always considered the weekend a great time of the week to knock out errands, but even through the work week I will run errands. Today I stopped doing procrastinated activities (that's typically what errands mature to be for me) on Sundays. For instance, I had some dresses to exchange for a smaller size at JC Penny' (they've been hanging in my car for a couple weeks now). I needed to pick up a prescription receipt at Walgreen's (on my list for almost 2 months). I needed to - you get the idea. But instead, I am taking the time to share something I learned about God with whomever so happens to read this blog entry. This is the first thing David pointed out about Sundays: we need to take a break from the rest of the week.

The second thing David pointed out was that Sunday is meant for emotional rest in addition to physical rest. This thought had never occurred to me! How interesting to take a day of emotional rest. At the end of the sermon David gave the congregation a few moments to unload our burdens and hand them over to God. Here are a few of the things that I've been lugging around emotionally lately that I turned over to God:

*money (saving, bills, debt, student loans kicking in next month)

*social situation (relatively new in the area, learning about how I develop friendships with people in different areas of my life; i.e., colleagues, neighbors, etc.)

*contacts (I'm out of contacts, Walmart is out of stock, and I've been stuck wearing my glasses for the last week; I've been doing well with being patient, but it's still frustrating because I also haven't ran in the last week because I don't like to run with my glasses/without my contacts)

*Ashes (my cat has been knocking the waste paper basket over, being noisy in the 15-minute window before my alarm is set to go off, waking me up in the middle of the night - he's been getting under my skin lately)

*books (I ordered some novels online last Tuesday and I had my hopes up that I'd receive them by Friday; they're still not in)

All of these things have been beating me down emotionally as I've been trudging through the week(s) with them on my back. God is awesome because he commands us to lay these burdens down at his feet. I think life becomes complicated when we lose sight of our being a part of God's plan, not the other way around. In His wisdom God placed Sunday in our week and commands us to rest so we could take a breather and refocus.


Kristin & Aric's Wedding

I should have posted this two weeks ago, but you know how it goes sometimes. In a nutshell, the wedding was simply beautiful! Kristin and Aric have a great life ahead of them, and I truly believe they are meant to be. Their deep, honest love for one another proves it. I learned a lot about weddings in a behind-the-scenes sense as a quasi-bridesmaid. Kristin's bridesmaids were all wonderful women, and I'm thankful to have met them. I also had the pleasure of meeting Deana and Steve, Kristin's parents; they're awesome. The whole weekend was amazing, and I'm so glad to have been a part of Kristin and Aric's wedding. And! I get to see them for the Fourth of July weekend when they visit Orlando!!!!

me + bride + groom

Iowa is a lovely place

the bridesmaids + me

my hair up-do loopty-loop style

Congratulations, Kristin & Aric FOLDEN!


20 June 2009

American Psycho

Yesterday I finished reading American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. First off: extremely disturbing novel. Second off: extremely disturbing novel.

A quick summary of the story-line... Yuppie: a young upwardly mobile professional individual; a well-paid middle-class professional who works in a city and has a luxurious life style. One the surface Patrick Bateman is the epitome of a yuppie. Skin off a layer and you have the skeleton of a yuppie. He is simply not there. He seems to be the perfect guy in Manhattan but he's a brutal murderer who is completely out of touch with reality (hence the term psycho).

My take on the story... While reading the first half of the book I was not interested. It wasn't that it was a slow read but that I wasn't interested. Perhaps dark satires that are gruesome like this one aren't my kind of book. Anyway, at first I didn't like the book, but I really hate to "quit" on books, so I trudged onward, page by page. In retrospect I see that Ellis developed the story very well. About 2/3 through I started to be interested in what was going on, despite the utterly obscene behavior of the main character. I don't know what clicked in place to hook me on the book, but it became a page-turner for me.

In the beginning Bateman is obsessed with materialistic things. He goes on about his shower routine, the products he uses, his jealousy of colleagues with better business cards, his dedicated exercise regime, his diet, his hair, his skin - everything on the surface of one's life; this is all that Bateman is: the appearance of a person... of a human. He only seems sensible. "On the inside nothing matters." That is the book's point. As the story progresses Bateman's obsession transfers to his sick craving for murdering.

How I interpret the book's message is that society has become so involved with what doesn't matter (popularity, wealth, appearance, possessions, sex, etc. - it's a long list) that what should matter (friendships, emotions, uniting to solve the world's problems, etc. - also a long list but rarely given as much credit as the former list) goes into extinction.

The second part of the message is that society also turns a blind eye towards not only attempts for repentance and confession but also of anything outside of one's small little bubble of a world. For example, in one scene a girl is asking Bateman what he does for a living. Bateman responds causally that he's "mostly into murders and executions." The girl only hears what she expects to hear: mergers and acquisitions. Bateman's honesty is ignored and replaced with what folks want to hear.

As Bateman slips out of reality throughout the book, his murders worsen. The most appalling murder was the one involving the starved rat... I won't go into detail, but for those of you who also read the book, you know what I'm talking about. *shudder* I don't want to give anything away, so I won't go into more detail than I've provided already, but the end of the novel is very well done.

As for the movie... not nearly as gruesome as the novel (naturally as movies cram novels into 2 hours). I liked the movie, and it enhanced my understanding of the novel. Christian Bale nailed the yuppie and he was a wicked psycho. Some things were left out in the movie, and others were modified from the book, but all in all, good movie. Watching the movie definitely deepened my appreciation of the book; this was a first for me.

A few closing thoughts: In the book I didn't get the purpose of the chapters on music, but in the movie I enjoyed how the music was worked into the story (especially Huey Lewis and the News' scene). I still don't understand the Patty Winter's blips throughout the novel. I think maybe there was no point, and I think that is the point of their presence. I liked the ending of the movie and - to give nothing away I'll say this - his actions' consequences. Ellis did make a bold point about the world we live in. Lesson learned: keep materialism on the surface; something has to serve as the skin. But, more importantly, don't let the meat of life rot away.

The novel and movie links:

Wikipedia Article - Novel
Wikipedia Article - Movie

The movie trailer:


18 June 2009

Sparrow Tattoo Ideas

Update! Here is an excerpt I found:

Tattoo Design Directory, Vince Hemingson

The swallow heralds the coming of spring and happiness, and is thus a symbol of hope. For some it is a symbol of fertility and renewal, a harbinger of good and a symbol of transformation. For the pilgrim to Mecca, the swallow is the symbol of constancy and faith. Swallows mate for life and therefore represent fidelity and loyalty, but in Japan they can also represent betrayal. In China the swallow symbolizes daring, danger and a change for good in the future. For more than a century, the swallow has been a favorite tattoo motif for sailors because a swallow at sea is usually a sign that land is near. A swallow with a dagger through its heart is a memorial for friends lost at sea.

1 March 2009:

As I said in a recent post, I'm leaning towards a tattoo of a bird (likely a sparrow) more so than that of a butterfly. Here are some images I like:

I don't care for the feather edges in the wings, but other than that, I like this one.

These ones have "broad shoulders," if you will, but they're okay. I like the flock idea, but won't be getting more than one to start with.

I haven't decided on whether I want to get a full silhouette or have some outlining as these ones have. Hmm... I'm leaning towards full silhouette.

Although, these ones are really cool. Having some outlining allows for some more detail. The detail might not be feasible if the size of the tattoo I want is too small.

For an outlined tattoo I like this one the best. The shape of the bird isn't awkward like in some of the above, I like just the fringe of the wings being detailed, and most of the tattoo is silhouetted.

If I clipped out the one bird I liked most, then the image would be too small. The one I like is the dark brown bird on tan paper; it's identical to the tan bird on white paper. It's my favorite of the full silhouettes.


17 June 2009

To Be Understood

What does it mean to be understood? Please share your opinionated answers. = )

09 June 2009

Please Pray

After six months of enduring a painful recovery, I am doin' all right, with one exception: I'm suddently on what seems to be a permanent sideline, watching a person, someone who is dear to my heart, suffer. Not only that, but I'm struggling with some related and difficult things right now. I won't go into detail, but I will ask that you pray for me and this person. I believe in the power of prayer.


06 June 2009

What To Do in Any Situation

Happy moments, praise God.
Difficult moments, seek God.
Quiet moments, worship God.
Painful moments, trust God.
Every moment, thank God.