Monday, January 31, 2011


This is the first year we've gotten any measure of oranges from our baby tree in the back yard. It's been really fun to pick them. Chris observed this evening that oranges you grow yourself taste so much better than oranges you buy somewhere else.

I think he's right.
I have been sucking down these babies, trying to fend off all the nasty viruses being passed around here with a giant dose of Vitamin C.
Hope it works!

Daily Bliss: Checking stuff off my list
Wake-up Playlist: My Morning Jacket, Off the Record

Friday, January 28, 2011

He Made It!

Andrew made this at school and I think it's pretty fantastic.

You should always know a hero's back story, and this is time is no exception.

He comes in his own cool box.

He's made out of computer parts.
So cool, right?

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I finished up this little sweater for my nephew this week. It's the Baby Sophisticate pattern that I made for him last year. Of course, he needed a new one this year because he's growing so big!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Win!

My friend over at Mindful Ramblings gave me a Stylish Blogger award! She's a homeschooling mama whose kids take all kinds of instrument lessons at the studio where I work. Seriously. They're amazing kids. A real testament to all that she's pouring into them!

Now, I will say this: typically, I am not very good at these memes. I'm, uh, not going to follow all the rules. I always feel a little weird asking people to do these things. Most of the blogs I read aren't people I know and, well, to be honest, I'm a lurker. I never comment! Aaaak! Now you know the ugly truth! And when I started counting up the number of bloggers I actually know? There weren't many. But I still want you to play along. Would you please?

So, here are my friends, are seven things you may not know about me:

1) I like to eat cold hot dogs.
2) One of my hips is double jointed. It bends in all sorts of wrong ways.
3) Burberry Brit is my favorite perfume. I feel all sorts of lucky when I get some as a present.
4) I usually don't remember my own age. I have to do the math when you ask me.
5) If I weren't studying music in school, I'd probably study physics.
6) I don't like roller coasters. It's not that I haven't tried, I just don't like.
7) Also, I don't like playing games at parties.

Now I want to know seven things about you. The weirder those things are, the better, I say. If you're a lurker, now's a prime time to jump in on the conversation. I'd love to meet you.

1, 2, 3, GO!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Farewell

We said goodbye to our faithful Caddy this week.
It was time.

This car has been with us longer than I've had...well, almost anything. Even longer than almost any house I've lived in.
This car was free. It was given to us and I loved it so much because of that.
Not having a car payment meant that my kids could go to an amazing private school. It meant that our life was more comfortable. It meant a certain amount of freedom - especially the kind of freedom that meant I could quit my awful office job and teach piano, a pay cut of more than half.

It hasn't been a beautiful car in a very long time, but that crooked bumper on the back of it is a reminder that my giant, free car protected me well when I was hit by a careless driver.

Little things and big things alike have gone wrong with it for quite a while, but they have started to add up lately and we have been entertaining the idea of finding something else. But, since we're friends, I can be honest with you, right?

I didn't want something else.

I wanted my free car.

I don't care that it isn't pretty. I don't care that the leather seats have rips in them. I don't care that the bumper has made embarrassing noises while driving since my accident. I really don't. Because it's free and it gave me freedom to do something I love.

My husband has been dutifully shopping for cars. I have been pretending we weren't getting anything else. I have been, secretly, afraid that I will have to be a secretary again. I don't have time to think about a car either. I am sprinting through the next four weeks or so, due to some serious over-scheduling and I just don't have the emotional and mental capacity to face what shopping for a new car might mean.

But something happened that changed everything. We found somebody who needed my free car more than I did. And, you know what? Suddenly, I felt better about losing my free car. Everything it has meant to me, it can mean for someone else now.

We didn't get a fancy car, but we got a solid workhorse that should be less expensive to repair than the Cadillac. We are working on naming it, because we name everything in our family. My husband and my parents took care of me in this thing. I couldn't handle it and they did - beautifully. And, you know, I think it was a God thing too. Our needs have been provided for without straining our budget beyond what we can bear and somebody else gets to drive a free car.

I will miss those eight cylinders rumbling under my gas-pedal foot. I like to drive fast and Caddies go fast. But my new car is rear-wheel drive. Taking corners in that thing? Pretty fun.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

All State

This weekend was all about my boy. I already told you where we were and why we were there, so, how about telling you what we did?

I took him out for pizza, 'cause that's what you do with boys.

He made a little music too.

We had breakfast at a cereal bar. Seriously. It was so cool!

This is the delicious mess he ordered up.

Now, I am definitely not a city girl. I like taking pictures of trees and, well, natural things. I also didn't have much time to explore and think about picture-taking. But still, I had my camera everywhere and saw some things that I liked.

Then I found something a little bit more to my picture-taking liking.

I ran into my junior high band director.

This man so greatly influenced my musical life. He made sure I went to see the Nutcracker so I could see a real orchestra. He's the one that put a bassoon in my hand. He taught both of my brothers and myself. He even played a song for my wedding. It was such a pleasure to introduce him to my son, who plays the same instrument he does, and to tell him that I'm a music teacher now.

But most of all, there was a concert. An awesome concert. And my boy was in it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Alright. So.
In a smallish, sideways manner, I wanted to go ahead and tell you about my new project.

But wait!
Before you visit it, I want to tell you that it is still under construction. I mean, really completely under construction.

Mindy (my sister-in-law) and I have decided to do a photography project - a 52 project, to be exact. We both love to take pictures and I think committing to taking one picture every week this year is a really good way to make sure I'm still taking pictures when life gets too busy.

Who am I kidding? My life is always too busy.

I've already decided that I won't be doing any "photo shoots" this semester. I don't have a passion for portrait photography (unless I know you, then I really love to take your picture!) and I just have too many irons in the fire. But I was afraid I'd put my camera down and forget about it for a while. Having a project like this helps me remember to do what I really love to do with a camera - just take pictures of what's around me and what I love.

Some of you have asked me in the past about whether I would ever sell prints. My answer has always been something like, "Maybe someday. But I'm not really a photographer, see?" But my answer to that may be changing. I think that could grow out of this project. Eventually.

We are calling ourselves Two for Joy, and for now, it's just a fun blog (that is totally not all-the-way set up but I couldn't wait any longer to show you).

Just two girls. Two girls who love to take pictures. And that's enough.

Broadcasting Live From...

Hello friends! I'm writing to you today from a hotel room in Tampa, Florida. That is not very far from where I actually live. In case you were wondering, no - I don't just sometimes stay in a hotel instead of in my house.
My son is in the All State Honors Band (for middle schoolers). This sort of makes me proud.
It makes me so proud I could just burst.
It also makes for a very fun weekend. The All State bands and choruses all come together during the Florida Music Educators Association's annual conference. That means I get to spend my weekend around music teachers, listen to fantastically talented kids making music, attend a few classes (if I want), shop for all the music I could want and eat pizza downtown.
Also, I could just stay in a quiet hotel room with no dishes to wash while Andrew has band practice.
Guess which one I picked?
Yeah. I'm not always an exciting person.

I'm going to get a ton of homework done, though. That's exciting in my book.

It's freezing cold here today. We've had such roller coaster weather - more so than a usual Florida winter. I didn't even really know what to pack for the weekend, but I knew I wanted to wear one of those darling cowls that all the girls seem to be wearing.
So I made one.
Wanna see?

I know you can't see it very well, so I will tell you that one side is a lovely gray linen and the other side is a light weight, dark-ish taupe cotton with gray, flowery vines. I like it a lot and it's really warm, which is good. At least my neck is not covered in goosebumps.

My toes are a little jealous of that.

Monday, January 10, 2011

If I Only Had a Brain

I came home to discover that the pinto beans I had carefully soaked last night, then rinsed and placed in the crock pot under the prescribed two inches of water, were actually still cold.

I forgot to turn the crock pot on.

So, I figured I still had time to just boil them. They'd soaked for about 20 hours by then and they should boil up just fine.

I poured the whole mess into a big pot, turned it on and went about my afternoon business. I started to smell the beans and thought I'd better go turn the heat down, but once I walked into the kitchen I realized that my stove top had basically become a bean juice hot tub.

The pot boiled over and then some. I have one of those flat-surface stove tops, and the sides rise up neatly around it, about like the lip of a cookie pan.

I think I should just order a pizza.

Daily Bliss: girls' movie night tonight! on the agenda? Johnny Depp.
Wakeup Playlist: Mumford & Sons, The Cave

Sunday, January 9, 2011


So, it's a new year.
I have begun a new semester,
still a little unsure.
And I have a new project.

It's a big one, but not so burdensome as that might sound.
The trouble comes in naming a project and then in just starting it up.
I'm nearly there and you'll all be the first to know!

I am looking for new ways to simplify.
The old ones didn't work so well.
Is it possible to simplify without compromising?
I mean to find out, if it's the last thing I do.

Daily Bliss: Grande Americano. Black. I really do love coffee.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Our Technology Tzars gave us a super-cool present this year for Christmas. They set us up to go geocaching. In case you don't want to click on the link to find out what it is, I'll just briefly explain that it's kind of like a treasure hunt. People bury little boxes of fun treasure and hunters use GPS receivers to find them. We decided to look for a bit of treasure while we were in Georgia and our hunt led us to an incredibly old cemetery, hidden in the woods.

We did find the cache, but that had very little to do with the amount of fun we had. Mostly, we had so much fun going on an adventure - just the four of us.

Second Christmas

We met Chris' family halfway for Second Christmas at a Georgia lake house. It's always a little tough to travel during the holidays. I know some people do it every year and it's just what they do and, well, good for them. But it was oh-so-nice to see my darling nephews and visit with Chris' family.

There were some half-attempts made at fishing. Mostly it was fun to be out on the dock.

And beautiful views were to be found everywhere.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas cookies were made. In a big way.
I'm not even kidding.
Christmas Eve, girls gathered at my mom's house to make some good stuff and we over-made some good stuff. But that doesn't matter so much. I have cookies in my freezer now. That's a really good feeling.
I'm making a weird face in this picture because I am trying to boss my little brother about how to use my camera. I decided to post it anyway, since there are four generations of girls in it.

We went to the candlelight Christmas Eve service at my grandma's church. That's a tradition we hold to every year and it's my absolute favorite part of the entire season. The quiet worship and the peace of hearing the Word, familiar and true, calm me when I need it most - at the end of the frantic preparations for the next morning. So, yeah. I brought my camera into church. I'm not entirely certain it was the right thing to do, but every year, I wish I could capture those moments of worshiping with my family, so this year I did it. I will never be sorry. Most of what my stealthy snapping gave me will be just for me. It's too precious to share. But here's a bit of what Christmas is to me:

We tucked all the presents under the tree and weren't even up too late. I mean, it was late, but I didn't pull another all-nighter or anything, which was a really nice change.

And, oh yeah. Emma got an electric guitar.

I made loads of stuff for Christmas too. I know I promised I wouldn't. At least most of it was sewn and not knitted. Knitting takes forever. Sadly, I neglected to photograph any of it. I plan to spend a bit of time this week visiting my creations at their new homes and taking pictures of them so I can show them all to you.