Monday, December 29, 2008
Maybe I'll try to sneak in a visit before the New Year starts in force.
We had a surprising amount of creativity...I baked some treats and made gifts with the help of Shutterfly. My aunt made us photo collages from some of our recent trips. And then there were the "recycled" gifts. I asked for a Pyrex measuring cup. I got 3 certified "pre-loved" cups (well, one broke in the parking lot and the other I traded for some measuring cups). Obviously I'm the only one who cooks.
Gift giving continues all year long, and while the economy continues to be challenge, maybe you can share something pre-loved with your friends and family.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
I wish I had the ability to savor books. I love to read, but I read quickly and have a hard time putting a good one down. This past week, two books that I had requested from the library came in at almost the same time. Heart Fate by Robin D. Owens and Just Breathe by Susan Wiggs. I really like both authors, and each may only have one book released each year. So what did I do? Read them both cover to cover over the course of the weekend. I could have stretched it out, reading a few chapters a day, but no.
I remember when a friend recommended the Harry Potter books when I was in college. A few years after graduation, I decided to read the first one. Books 2 -4 followed in short order. Then I had to wait impatiently like the rest of humanity for the remaining three books to be released over the course of 5 years. Each time I picked up a new one (and I'm not ashamed to say that I would go to the midnight release parties at Barnes and Noble), I read it immediately.
Now on to a new phenomenon: Twilight. A friend loaned me her copy telling me that I wouldn't be able to put it down once I started it. So I haven't started it...yet. It will be on my carryon for my trip to Wisconsin for Christmas. At least all 4 books in the set are out, so if I am addicted, I can feed my addiction without a problem.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
I usually get emails from my favorite stores with coupons, etc. I learned of a new website Retail Me Not that collects Internet coupons and discount codes for various stores. The message from these new breed of sites is that one should never pay full price. So now you can find discounts from that store where you only shop when looking for specialty engraved toast tongs for Great-Aunt Hilda. You wouldn't want to be on their email or mailing list. The jokes would never end.
The trend for 2009 is : pay less. Who wants to argue with that?
Monday, December 15, 2008
At the absolute other end of the spectrum is a new song by Toby Keith, who is not not known for his political correctness by any stretch of the imagination (see exhibit A: "The Taliban Song").
In reality, two of my favorite Christmas songs are "Mary, Did You Know?" and "Do You Hear What I Hear?" Whatever your favorite is, be sure to enjoy it this Christmas.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Yesterday the DJ's on one of the local radio stations played an a capella version of The 12 Days of Christmas, by Straight No Chaser, an a capella choir from Indiana University. Listening to it reminded me of going to see The Other Guys when I was at the University of Illinois. Ahh...warm fuzzy orange and blue feelings. Enjoy!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
What gifts would you put in a shoebox for a child somewhere else in the world? At church we're participating in Operation Christmas Child. You pack a shoebox full of non-perishable gifts for a boy or girl in a specific age group, pray for him/her, and send the box on a trip. Unless I get a letter back, I'll never know where it went or who got it. Will it travel by rickshaw, camel, or boat?
Safe travels to my little shoe box, and may it end up in good hands.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Last night I had the opportunity to go to Madonna's show here in Denver. Considering she was one of the artists that I grew up listening to, I definitely enjoyed it. What I enjoyed even more was that our original seats were up in the rafters with a limited view of the stage and some of the Pepsi Center reps came up and gave everyone in our section new tickets. We moved down to seats 4 rows up from the floor with a fantastic view of the stage. She puts on quite the production with dancers, video, moving stages and more. I didn't bring my camera, thinking that I'd be too far away, and a lot of times security is after you if they see you using it. Not last night. Every other person had their camera or their cell phone up taking pictures and video, so I've taken advantage of their footage on YouTube. Prior to the concert, my friend asked what song I most wanted to hear and I said "Like a Prayer." My friend's favorite was La Isla Bonita (which, surprisingly, she sang as well).
The people watching was also entertaining, a good thing since the show started 90 minutes after the 8:00pm ticket time. There was some crazy 80s fashion going on in parts of the arena as well as some men's fashion that you don't see many other places (at least in my circles....). For a woman who is 50 years old, she has a lot of energy and was dancing, and even jump roping, the entire 2 hour show!
The videos are a glimpse of "Like a Prayer" as well as a video montage I really liked with the theme of "Your Life, Your Choice."
Saturday, November 8, 2008
So now the question is how many ways can I enjoy it before it gets demoted to the bottom shelf of the fridge?
Mmmmm....pretzels and Nutella, pancakes and Nutella, toast and Nutella, ice cream and Nutella...
Monday, November 3, 2008
In college I had the opportunity to do my first international trip, a week doing vacation Bible school in rural Costa Rica. I didn't speak much Spanish, but was able to have fun and build relationships with kids, just the same. Our church was big with stained glass windows. The Methodist congregations in C.R. met in open sided buildings decorated with hibiscus blossoms.
Fast forward one year and we worked in West Virginia with Appalachian Service Project.
Time passed and work trip opportunities didn't present themselves for a while. In 2005 the church I was attending in Indy had a partnership with a church outside of Playa del Carmen, Mexico. This trip was a mix of both. A chance to relax on the beach and go out to dinner, visit Mayan ruins, and volunteer at Vacation Bible School (or E.B de V en espanol). Even after moving to Colorado, I took the opportunity to go again and continue those relationships. (You can learn about this partnership through their blog and if you look on the July 2006 link, you'll even find some of my commentary).
This year, I was able to cross one more state off my list of places to visit on a short work trip to New Orleans. Our work was coordinated through PDA. Again the balance between using a crow bar and drinking a daiquiri on Bourbon Street.
Three months from today, I'm embarking on a volunteer vacation adventure with Cross Cultural Solutions. In the past year I've been trying to determine a way to spend an extended period of time in another country while still keeping my job. I want to be more than just a tourist. Having a house, dog, etc. makes it a bit more challenging to just pick up and go. I'm going to Trang, Thailand with CCS for a 3 week program. I'm not sure yet what my project will be although it seems most likely that I will be helping in a school in some capacity. It will be my first time to Asia. I'm excited about doing it on my own. I will be living and working with other volunteers when I get to Trang, but it's different than traveling with family or friends. I know I'll be keeping a journal, blogging and taking a ridiculous amount of pictures while I'm there and who knows....maybe I'll learn something new about myself.
If you're interested in sponsoring me for this adventure, click the "sponsor me" icon to the right of my blog. For more information on organizations that do good around the world, check out this article from Budget Travel.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
There are training programs here in Denver that help refugees by giving them a crash course in American culture as well as preparing them for the realities of living and working in the US. Some of it is basic, like how to open a bank account or get medical treatment. But some of the cultural notes are important too, like the American slant on personal space, being on time, standards of dress, grooming and hygiene.
The next time I'm in a major airport, I'm going to have to look at a guide book marketed to international guests coming to the US. I don't think the travel section in Borders is going to have quite the same spin.
Pondering: What if we do smile too much here?
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Next year I will cross the IDL again. But I won't lose a day. However, I already know that March 5, 2009 will possibly be the longest day ever.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
On Sunday afternoon I got a call, from a real person no less, wanting me to take a survey. Am I registered to vote? Yes. Can the Obama/Biden ticket count on my vote? I haven't made my decision yet (at least not to some person giving me a survey). Are you aware of Amendment 47 and the impact it has on firefighters? Are you planning to vote no on 47? Sorry...I'm going to vote yes on 47 since it would make Colorado a Right to Work state. Thank you for your time, this survey was sponsored by ______ (labor organization) and not by any political party.
Minor political pet peeve #2: Getting mailings to support Colorado candidates or initiatives from organizations / addresses outside of Colorado. Really, the ABC building company in North Carolina is concerned about my vote? I wonder why?
Can't wait until November 5!
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I might not swoon, but I'll get my island-country groove on and sing along.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
The Great American Beer Festival is back in town. Sold out. As I was getting on the train, the line was wrapped around the convention center. And this is for an event where you taste beer in little shot glasses.
Sorry, not tempted. Let me go home and watch the Saturday Night Live Thursday Update in peace. Really?
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
But every once in a while a pop music / hip hop phrase does go over to country...exhibit A, The Lost Trailers and their song, "Holler Back."
Monday, October 6, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
In spite of people worrying that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, good is still being done. Today one of the local community organizations sponsored a day of volunteering with projects all over Denver. We were at local school, where all the planting beds needed some love after a long summer. Mulch covers a multitude of sins in landscaping. So adults and kids together weeded, pruned, and spread mulch by the wheelbarrowful.
Did we change the world today? Probably not. Will parents and teachers notice the change on Monday, even if the 6th graders don't? Probably.
I'm good with that.
In other news, I've moved to Blogger from my previous blog from the past 2 years. Click here to catch up.