Friday, March 27, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday #41--Jason + Cameron

It was our wedding anniversary on Wednesday; nine years. NINE. Nine!!! It's gone soooo quickly.

If you know me, you know that I can occassionally be a teensy bit high-strung about certain things. (And I used to be far, far worse.) So something like oh, I don't know, my wedding could've throw me into a tailspin.

But I didn't become a Bridezilla. Before I'd become engaged I'd attended the wedding of a Bridezilla who was so awful that none of her bridesmaids wanted to sit next to her at the rehearsal dinner. She was so horrible to her fiancé that I actually had to pull her aside and say, "You do want him to say 'I do' tomorrow, right?"

So when I got engaged I decided I didn't want to do that to myself (or Jason, or our friends and families). I actually wanted to enjoy our wedding day. What a concept, huh? So as I planned all the minutiae of our wedding day and I could feel myself getting stressed and whacked-out, I repeated my mantra: "You can stress all you want today; go ahead and make yourself nuts. But on your wedding day you will relax and have fun."

I must have repeated that to myself a thousand times.

Before the wedding I had a flash of genius and decided to ask my sister-in-law-to-be, Angella, to be my wedding-day coordinator. She was perfect for the job; I knew I could trust her to handle any problems that popped up so I wouldn't have to worry about anything. Every bride should do this. It was awesome and I just can't recommend this idea highly enough.

Thanks to that Bridezilla and the mantra she unknowingly encouraged me to adopt (and thanks to Ang) our wedding day was one of the happiest days of my life. Everyone was really surprised how relaxed I was, and I can honestly say that I had so much fun. This photo is one of my favorites (from that day and of my whole life) because it makes me remember the joy I felt that day.

Pure joy. Can't you just see it? :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday #40--Kel + Cam in Venice

In spring of 2005, our first spring in Italy, Kellie and Alex came to visit. We spent a few days in Venice before heading off to Cinque Terre, Pisa, and Florence. We had so much fun! Even though Kel and I talk often--she's one of my very best friends--until this week we hadn't seen each other since then! Four long years that flew by so quickly since we talk often enough to stay up on each others' lives.

I love this photo from that visit four years ago. Not necessarily a great photo, but since Kel and I are both usually the photo-takers of whichever group we're in that means that we each rarely get photos with ourselves in them... and the only way we get photos with the TWO of us is by holding the camera out in front of ourselves, using a timer, or getting creative with reflective surfaces. I wish that none of our faces had lines through them, but still... getting all four of us in a photo is pretty cool. :)


This has been a busy week! Yesterday we had a ring soldering class--I made three matching rings! Today I walked 15 miles up and down the hills of Seattle for Avon Walk training and I am tired. I also discovered that the TSA "inspected" my suitcase on the way here and now my pedometer watch, mp3 player, and a set of metal number stamps are "missing." Fifteen miles is a long way to walk with no tunes to keep you movin' or a cool watch to tell you how far you've gone, how long you've been walking, and how many calories you've burned. I AM BUMMED about my stuff being stolen. But on the brighter side I made a Twitter/Facebook plea for pledges while I was walking and I got FOUR pledges!! Hooray!

Tomorrow we have another more advanced soldering class where we'll learn to bezel-set a stone onto a ring. Then we're going out to dinner and to Hello, Dolly! with some friends from college. On Sunday I get to see my nieces! My sister's family is visiting her in-laws this weekend, about an hour away; so they're driving over for brunch. I'm super excited since we didn't get to see each other at Christmas.

That's about all the brain power and energy I have left, so have a good weekend! :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Make Stuff

I've been creating beauty lately but have been too busy or not in the mood to post anything. Now that I'm creating and relaxing the day away at Kellie (and Alex)'s house I thought I'd share.

First, here are some heart charms I made for some swaps with Inspired ladies. When you put these three colors together all I can think is, "Blech, hello '80's!" but luckily each color is for a different swap so they won't be all together. :) They're made of polymer clay, then I rubber-stamped the surface for texture and design and added holes for jump rings.

My friend Shannon is a Chemo Pal for an adorable girl named Natasha. I read her Caring Journal blog whenever she or her family writes updates and she's been having a hard time lately. I wanted to send her a little gift; hearing all of the things that poor Natasha has had to endure for so long now makes me think of the courage that she and her family and friends are forced to have. I hope she likes it!

One of my favorite things is when someone e-mails me and says, "Hey, can you make this?" Stella did that last week, sending me a link for gold earrings at Anthropologie a popular nationwide chain and asking if I could make them in silver. So I did! She loved them based on the photos I sent her and hopefully she loves them just as much when she gets them in the mail. :)

On Sunday I felt like eating a good, yummy breakfast, so I looked up recipes for pancakes. Then I figured if I was going to make pancakes from scratch I might as well break out the waffle iron and make waffles instead. Now, I will admit: I had never made waffles before (I've never made pancakes, either). EVER. I poured the batter when my mom made them when I was little, but I'd never actually made them myself. Even though we own a waffle iron that has been with us for ten years and through five moves. So I looked up the recipe and helpful tips in my favorite cookbook and got to work.

I even got fancy and made a berry compote, then surrounded it with peanut butter on one side and syrup on the other. My-oh-MY it was good!! YUMMM-O. Good thing it's a lot of work (so I won't make them very often) 'cause that's probably what, like a thousand calories?

Then I broke out the polymer clay again to make more charms for a different Inspired swap. Fifty charms! I can't believe that in a few weeks I'll get back 50 different charms from 50 different ladies! Actually we're giving a few sets as gifts and we're auctioning one set off so I think I'll actually get 42 charms back, but still--that's a lotta charms!

Finally, I liked Stella's earrings a lot but they were a bit long for me. So I made a pair for myself with just the top teardrops and then I added some dangles of peacock pearls and amethysts. I love them!

I've been making more jewelry here at Kel's but that will have to wait for another day because I need to go get ready... we're going out to dinner with some friends and then out for drinks with another friend!

Monday, March 16, 2009


I'm settling in to chill out and watch CSI Miami while I sort out which beads I want to bring with me to Seattle, but I thought this was hilarious and worthy of sharing. Here's what I'm in for for the next week+ in Seattle:

Only in the Pacific Northwest do we note the difference between "Rain," "Showers," and "Few Showers." And get excited about only 30% chance of rain. :)

I have a bunch of photos loaded into posts that I'll write the text for during my travel and while I'm in Seattle and Kellie's at work, so check back in the next couple of days. :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday #39--Sunglasses

Heya Friday, how the heck did you get here already?

This week was busy; I started my Avon Walk training, Verizon dug up our yard (and all the other yards on our street) to install Fios, I got my first jewelry order from Australia (!), I checked out the Pompeii exhibit at the National Gallery, and our computer started dying. I started a blog post about the Avon Walk training but then the computer gave a nasty "hard drive death is imminent" message and everything else kind of got postponed while we made sure everything was backed up. (Hopefully I'll post an Avon Walk update over the weekend.)

While I was out and about this week my beloved sunglasses died. They were just cheap things I picked up somewhere, but I've had them for who-knows-how-long and I loved them. The hinge broke and I'm taking it as a sign from the universe that I should start wearing some of the other dozen pairs of sunglasses I own. But before I do, here's my favorite photo of the sunglasses. Oh, I'm in there, too.

Daniele took this in Italy... we'd all come onto base for a Thunderbirds air show for the Fourth of July in 2007. He stole my camera and snapped away long enough that I'd stopped paying attention to him and trying to avoid the camera. :)

Oh, sunglasses, you've served me well and often, far and wide. I'll miss you!

LOTS up this weekend. LOTS. I need to do more Avon Walk training (hopefully 12 miles on Saturday and 6 miles Sunday); make 51 charms for a swap I'm in with the Inspired gang; scrapbook a couple pages for a gnome; get a bunch of packages prepped and sent; place a silver supply order (which means doing some inventory); compose and send out my first Avon Walk e-mail plea for pledges, which means I need to remind myself a hundred times that I am not asking for money for me, I'm asking for money for breast cancer research and programs; find another pair of those sunglasses I have around here somewhere; prepare my jewelry supplies for travel; and do enough laundry that I'll be able to pack a suitcase. Because on Tuesday I'm headed out to see one of my favorite people, Kellie, in one of my favorite places, Seattle!

Have a great weekend! :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Favorite {Photo} Friday #38--Spring Flowers

Hooray, it's Friday! Happy, happy Friday!

This week has been nuts. And I mean much more nuts than normal (since it's usually kinda nuts around our house anyway). On Monday we had 5" of snow. Today it was 70 degrees. Seven-zero. Seventy. Whaaaaaa? Welcome to Northern Virginia, I guess!

I went to lunch with my favorite aunt, Susan. I heard there was some awesome Italian paper marked 75% off at the Georgetown Paper Source. I love everything Italian and I love paper so we headed up there for some shopping and crepes. Yummmmm. During lunch I mentioned that I hadn't thought about a photo yet and she said, "Something spring-y." Hence, the favorite photo for this Friday:

Jason gave me my first (and so far only) DSLR at the end of March 2006 for our anniversary. The very next weekend we headed up to Germany; Jason had a class (or conference, I don't really remember) there and I tagged along. Obviously I took pictures of everything. But this one is still one of my favorites... to be quite honest I just got lucky. I didn't know anything about aperture (or any of the other settings on my camera) and took this photo on the automatic setting. But I love the colors, I love the DOF (that the pink flowers are in focus while the yellow and purple flowers aren't), and I love the composition. And it's a nice reminder that there's always an element of luck when it comes to photography, no matter how much you know! :)

I've been busy-busy-busy this week and nothing will change this weekend. I'm spending this evening sorting through my craft room, trying to create some semblance of order, while Jason watches some motorcycle race upstairs. I'm more and more in love with A&E because they're showing a marathon of CSI Miami episodes, which are perfect for my organizing marathon; they're entertaining and interesting, but not distracting (since I've already seen every episode at least once!). Tomorrow I start my Avon Walk training (8 miles!) and go to the Walk Expo to hang out with my team and get some good info about the walk weekend. And of course there are a hundred things on my To Do list waiting to be tackled. But for now, it's back to organizing!

Have a super weekend!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Unsuitable for Combat

If I Were President... I would make everything go in REVERSE alphabetical order. That's what happens when you get a Yates for President.

So I went to Traffic Court today. Yeah. It sucked. But it was also kinda funny. Granted, it's taken several hours and two glasses of wine to get to "kinda funny," but at least we're there, right?

My ticket was for speeding, which here in Northern Virginia means, "Keeping up with the flow of traffic."

I brought a book so imagine my disappointment with the huge "No reading material including newspapers, magazines, or books not related to your case" sign on the door into the courtroom. What good does this do? Can someone please tell me?

So I wrote my updated To Do list, and then I sat and listened to the dozens of cases that were further up in the alphabet than me.

I heard one case involving a man who explained, through an interpreter, that he doesn't have a valid license because he can't read or write (even in Spanish) so he can't pass the driving test, but he has to get to work because he has a wife and four kids.

I heard one case involving a young nursing student who was traveling 96 mph in a 55 mph zone (on the freeway late at night, which is not at all uncommon here (although I would never do it)). She had a lawyer present her case and screamed in anguish when the judge sentenced her to 30 days in jail. She was crying so loudly in the holding room that the bailiff had to go in and move her so her cries of, "I'm scared!" wouldn't affect the rest of the proceedings. I listened to her father weeping two rows behind me.

I heard a bunch of false apologies for things like rolling through stop signs, making illegal u-turns, and expired tags/expired licenses/expired safety checks. And the judge just handled each case like you'd expect a traffic court judge to handle them. With an "I've heard this a hundred times, who the heck really cares, $100 plus court costs" attitude. (Even for the girl he sent to jail.)

When there were only about six of us left I was finally called up. I told the judge that I was nervous and I hoped he wouldn't mind if I referred to notes I'd written. He suddenly got very animated and said, "I don't understand you people who are nervous for traffic court. You and that other girl earlier. You are totally unsuitable for combat," and kind of looked at the bailiff and laughed as if to say, "Look at this idiot, she's going down at the first round of mortar attacks!"


I was so shocked that all I could say was, "Uhm, I'm not going into combat, Your Honor."

So that kind of threw me.

I proceeded to attempt to give my explanation of what had happened, all the while wondering why in the H-E-double-hockey-sticks the judge has referred to COMBAT. Am I not in traffic court?

I explained that while I don't have "positive points" here in Virginia (the point system here is such that certain offenses remove a certain number of "points" from your license, while every year you go without any offenses adds one "point" to your record), I haven't even been pulled over for more than 12 years (since I was in college). I have a very very good driving record and pride myself on being a safe, attentive, defensive driver. I was explaining that even though I don't have "positive points" here, it's only because I'm new to Virginia.

Somehow, I either did not manage to explain myself well, or (more likely) the scales of justice had been piling up on one side all morning, because all of a sudden the judge snapped.

I received a tirade about how many people die in Fairfax County every month due to traffic incidents. How it doesn't matter if I'm not a chronic offender, all it takes is one incident to kill someone. Etc, etc, etc, etc. It was as if he was making an example of me, only there was almost noone left in the courtroom to hear it.

Meanwhile, I started crying.

Meanwhile, I'm saying, "Yes, Your Honor." "I understand that, Your Honor." "Of course, Your Honor, I was only...."

Meanwhile, I'm thinking, "All these idiots with worse offenses went before me and you said not one word, and I'm the one getting yelled at?"

So imagine my surprise when he suddenly says, "I find you guilty and suspend the fine. Pay only court fees."

Huuuuhhh-errr? Wha...? I thought he was going to throw the book at me the way he went on and on and on and on, but then he suspended my fine?

The bailiff actually had to tell me to leave. I was so confused at the sudden change.

Court Fees: $62. Parking lot fees: $8. Time spent traveling to and waiting in court: 5 hours. Having a Traffic Court judge tell you you're "unsuitable for combat": Priceless!