Sunday, March 30, 2008

Crafting as a Form of Procrastination

I have several things bouncing around in the air right now. I'm racing to put together a book list for this three-week online class that I'll be teaching for Concordia Seward in May. I'm getting ready to go to the Women's Leadership Institute conference in Milwaukee next weekend. Well and there are other things but those are the two big ones. So instead of doing things that actually prepare me for these things. I realize what I really need is a new bag--a big bag that fits my laptop but isn't as big as my book bag I carried around at the Sem. So I pull out Bend the Rules Sewing, and I came out with the Pleated Beauty Handbag.

I'm pretty proud. It uses Amy's design with my fabric restraints. The tan fabric is from an old pair of khakis that I wore into the ground. As you can see from the picture below, I worked around some of the pants detail (and got an extra pocket to boot.) I also added pen and cell phone pockets. The dotted fabric is from a king size sheet I thrifted and am working very hard to use up.

I started off using Amy's embellishment pattern, but quickly moved on to my own thing. Free motion embroidery on my sewing machine scares me. There's not enough control.

But the goal was accomplished. I have a bag that's big enough to hold my laptop and other things I stuff in it!

"Wait a sec!" you say, "That's not any laptop I've seen before. Well that's because it's a laptop case that I made some time ago. This is the blog post that inspired it. It's story is a doozy too, because I didn't factor in seam allowances so I had to just sew around the edges in mock serger style. But I have to say that my macbook is snug as a bug in a rug and very stylish.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Okay so I really would like to be one of those fit people who do things like run marathons and eat healthfully everyday, but I just don't. It's a nice idea, but for now I find it too hard to implement. But I really like classes. And I work at a college that like trains physical trainers and such. So I get to go to some great classes for free.

I hadn't taken advantage of it much until last week. You see, fall was just weird, and then they were starting in January but I was changing positions and whatnot so it felt awkward and I didn't know what to do. (I like classes because they tell you what to do.) But I managed to start going to the health center once a week between bible study and work (only once a week though because that was the only day where I had to the same highway 6 times a day and working out was a way to eliminate two of those trips). But then Spring Break came and they were starting "new" classes so I figured it was now or never.

Last Tuesday I did Body Sculpt. Evidently many of the participants had been in the class before the break so she told people to get 8-12 lbs weights and we did lots of hard stuff. I was in serious pain for two days. My muscles still ached through Saturday. And I did manage to convince myself to go to Pilates on Thursday where I actually stretched out the sore muscles and did some good. Today was the second class of Body Sculpt. I used 5lbs weights and didn't hold the plank for 1 minute and then 2 minutes. And I stuck around til the end for stretching and cool down. (Last week I was worried about being late for work so I left early to change--bad idea.) So hopefully I'll be better. My muscles are already hurting though. But one day of pain is a good right? That means the muscles are growing stronger... :-)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Falling off the Blogging Bandwagon

Oh dear. I was doing so well and then I guess my life must have returned to normal because I never have blogged so regularly in my life. So bullet points:
  • Rather important, yet inconsequential news: I heard from Hebrew Union. I've been wait-listed, and unlike Warner from Legally Blonde, I have no rich father to buy my spot/pull some strings. But it's okay, they like me. They just want to be able to give me money. So hopefully other people won't want HUC to give them money and I'll get a happier response. I'll know by April 18th.
  • Somewhat important, but depending on the outcome maybe be inconsequential news: I've been following the Issues, Etc. debacle on Wittenberg Trail, Lutherquest, and ALPB forum. Most of the readers don't care so I won't expound, but wow seeing confessional Lutherans in action has been indescribable. I prefer to observe.
  • More uplifting news: I have a contract to teach Religion and Literature at Seward (online, so at the virtual Seward) so that's definitely going to happen. Now all I need is a textbook list. Do they send those in the mail too?
  • Happy news: Chase Law Library is having their booksale. It's not as big as the Sem's but I was helping set up and found a Loeb*. And not just any Loeb, a Loeb that Mike was actually planning to buy somewhere in the near future. I rock!
  • More happy news: Mike did our taxes. (He rocks!) We're getting money back! Yay!
I think that's about it. I'll see what else I can scrounge up during the week.

*A "Loeb" is a book from the set of Classical texts published by Harvard which are pretty much da bomb in Classics circles.

Friday, March 21, 2008


It's 1am. I'm never up at 1am unless I'm in the midst of an all time girl talk. I'm certainly never on my computer at 1am. But the Friends DVD ended, and this provides a good source of light.

Why am I awake at 1am? The simple answer is that I had several jelly beans at 10:30 which gave a nice sugar shock. But the more complex answer involves big thoughts about big dreams. Issues of plans and purpose, casting away stones and gathering them together.

But none of it makes sense now at 1am. Light from the computer screen isn't the most illuminating.

P.S. Dear blogger, Please remember to leave the dramatic postings up to Hannah. She does them much better. ;-)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Jerusalem Market

So I did my first big church thing today: I volunteered in the clay booth at Jerusalem Market. Jerusalem Market is an outreach activity the day before Palm Sunday where they "recreate" Jerusalem 32 AD and have crafts, food, and plays. It's been going on for 3-4 years and really draws in a lot of people from the community. So in the clay booth we formed pretty things out of messy red clay and remembered how God forms pretty things out of our messy lives. Not a bad thing to remember in the midst of Waiting for Grad School anxiety. Though I think it's most helpful aspect was making me too tired to think about anything...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Speaking the Truth in Love

Yesterday I listened to part of an NPR interview with C. Vivian Stringer. She is the Rutgers women's basketball coach, the team that had the controversy with the shock jock Don Imus last Spring. The interview was about her new autobiography of which the Imus controversy only factors into the last chapter, but I was really impressed with what she had to say about the ordeal. (This is all paraphrased.) She didn't want her team to be victims but to show in word and deed how they refute Imus's slur. And part of that living the part included having their press conference and calling attention to the issue.

I so often don't want to be a bother or an irritant. I want to listen to other people's views and not necessarily feel the need to show them how they are wrong (or how they differ from my own views). And yet I am very passionate about many things, many controversial things. So I found in the interview a model of how to speak out without speaking down--a real life example of speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). So I did in a small way today. It's not the sort of thing to blog, but I did and I'm proud of myself for doing so.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

IKEA Opening!

So it finally happened. IKEA (aka the reason I moved to Cincy) opened today at 9am. I wasn't there at exactly 9am and I didn't camp out, but I was one of the first 2500 customers (I won a bogo free frozen yogurt) and I did contribute to their opening day profit. Here's part of my haul:

There were no furniture purchases. I find that place so overwhelming. I think I need to make weekly trips to get used to it all. Anyway, I found that I couldn't think clearly enough to make the decisions I needed to make in that regard. However, our living room is that much closer to the navy/chocolate gold theme with floor cushions and rug(s). There are also some very cute shades of blue tealights that did not get in the picture. I bought matching bedside floor lamps for Mike and I (one is pictured). The white thing is a set of drawer organizers for our dresser that we bought from the Detroit IKEA back in July. I'm quite satisfied and have to say "I LOVE IKEA!!!"

Better Pictures

I (well Mike) finally got the digital camera to download to my Mac so I've got pictures. Several actually.

Some people may have stir-crazy, snow bound significant others to make them light boxes (Allison!). The rest of us must make do with what we have and in this case it was a lovely blanket of snow in afternoon light. It's the picture I wanted to upload but couldn't. I had a lot of fun just experimenting with the embroidery stitches and figuring out which stitch works best for what kind of line I want. I need to work on my stem stitch.

Another snow day picture, because the first one happened way too easily and didn't take up enough time. This is the small tote from Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol. It's made of oh-so-cute Hobby Lobby animal print fabric. I am especially proud of how I lined up the stripes just right. I also used a decorative stitch on the handles and around the top to use up the bobbin of gold thread. (Note to self: get more bobbins.) I really want to keep it, but it deserves to be sent off to one of the little girls I know and love. Oh but it's so cute!!!

I love Amy Karol's book, but it has so many cute things for kids and not so much for me. Though next on my list of things to do is the larger tote for me as a nice summer bag.

This last set is also a Bend the Rules Sewing pattern--the artsy clutch. I made it back in October as one of my first sewing projects. It's made from the shawl of the bridesmaid dress I wore to Laura's wedding and some thrifted fabric (evidently Laura Ashley pillowcase that EVERYONE I know had and loved). It was my first experiment with free hand embroidery and probably turned out a little too well because now the idea of using a pattern seems so dull. However, this little flower was a common high school doodle so I had a lot of practice (and used a marking pencil to sketch out a design first).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Clothes Make the Woman??

I went shopping today. My aunt and uncle gave me an Eddie Bauer giftcard for my birthday, and it's amazing that it lasted this long. Now normally Eddie Bauer is the type of store that I find a lot of cute things in for other people. However, it's a nice meeting point for my tastes and my aunt's tastes so I always enjoy checking things out and seeing what's for me. So I went today and holy cow! I found a lot. Cute skirts, cute capris, cute pants, cute tops, cute sweaters, everything! And that's when I realized I've cross the line. When I first graduated college and even that last year when I was in student teaching mode, I was continually frustrated by the lack of clothes that weren't teenage/college skimpy or mommy ready frumpy (extremes of course). And Eddie Bauer for all it's quality clothing goodness with it's relaxed fit and lack of darting always leaned toward the frumpy. And now at 26 (oh so old! ;-) ), I'm appreciating a little less fitted look. Their jeans fit me. (Yay! Jeans I don't have to hem!) And everything is cute. Eddie Bauer has now become age-appropriate for me. I don't think that means I'm settling for frumpy, but I do think I'm officially crossing into "women's wear".

Monday, March 10, 2008


So I joined a women's bible study. And if you know me, you know this is like joining an LWML circle. (Not that I don't support LWML; it's just not for me.) But I joined because I had the time and it was a way to get involved in church things without a huge commitment and I have this overwhelming need to be normal and this one is the most important thing: I thought it was really important that I figure out how to enjoy bible studies with normal people where we don't get into theological discussions about the filioque controversy. Sem was great. Seward was great. But I didn't hang with the normal church-goer crowd and now that we're normal church members I should figure out how to be one.

But we're studying Mary and Martha. And there are so many books about Mary and Martha. And we're learning how to distinguish "concern" from "worry". And the bible study writer keeps randomly quoting Greek words. (That bothers me. You can introduce a concept associated with a word without smarting off. Though it's so easy to do and I do it too much. However it's interesting to note, they never do that with Hebrew.) And I get annoyed and then I have to chastise myself for not being like Mary and choosing the better part. :-P Dear me. Actually what I have to do is remind myself that it's about the fellowship and about appreciating all approaches to scripture and especially appreciate the fact that this is what I need.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Snow day...

I haven't left the house in almost 48 hours. The blizzard warning expired about 4pm, but everything in Cincinnati has been shut down so there's not much to do even if we could get out. There's been brief openings of the sliding door and a quick run out to the front of the apartment to look at what's been plowed, but otherwise my world measures 800 sq. ft. And for the most part Mike's been here with me trying to make the best of his collapsed plans to research all day in the library. A studier and a non-studier sharing 800 sq. ft.--that's been a challenge. I finally had to start baking just so I could do something different. (I wish I had decided that something different was going to be Hebrew translating or doing some reading for the Religious Lit class this summer. Too bad.)

It's interesting what happens when your world shrinks down to such a small area. You really have to see what makes up you. Currently what makes up me is a rather lazy, yet domestic person. I feel very removed from "academic mode". Should it change?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Promise Fulfilled...

So I have to say streaks are very motivating. It's a small way to both indulge and counteract perfectionism.

Today was a snow day. NKU closed at noon which was when I was supposed to start working so I continued to watch Big Love (HBO polygamy; some really great actors who are never in anything else including the weather girl from Mean Girls). And I also tried to figure out a way to get pictures up. Unfortunately, our digital camera has run out of batteries and there's a snow storm brewin' so it's dumb to go get batteries. I fretted and fretted and then realized I had a macbook with a built in camera so here's the promised pic:

I must say my pic with the snow background was much cuter, but needs must. I have this grand scheme of a navy, chocolate and gold living room. We have a chocolate couch, but that's about it. So this pillow is one step closer. The fabric is from a pillow case I got from a thrift store when I just started thinking about sewing. I used stuffing from an old pillow that was falling apart (which really made me want to buy a wool carder like my mom had). And the embroidery was totally made up since my current stash of patterns consists of liturgically correct crosses, wheat, and trinitarian symbols (yay Ecclesiastical Embroidery!). You can't tell from the picture, but it's about 14 inches square so it's a little small, but hopefully it will motivate other projects.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

So Sew

One day I'll post something theological or hebraicly oriented. But for now that's not what's on my mind.

What I'm really concerned with is: craftiness. I really want to be crafty. I've picked up a slew of craft blogs in my google reader and I've been lurking on craftster, but I'm totally intimidated to post anything or even really experiment without posting. It comes from a perfectionist/frugal/stingy mindset because I don't want to mess up, waste fabric, or the like. So I've stuck to making so presents, especially for kids because they don't care if it looks horrible. But I just need to get over it. So I made a pillow for our couch. Tomorrow I'll edit this post and show it to you.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Searching for Substance...

So I'd feel really bad to blow my streak with full knowledge. I'll wait for a day where I really truly forget. Until then...

Mondays and Wednesdays are really hard days for me. I take the 4yo Jacob to preschool early in the morning and then work 1-10pm afternoon/evening. So any time to relax and "unwind" has to be taken in the morning between tasks. Now I can't call myself a morning person any more, because I really like sleeping in and can be a bit grumpy when I wake up, but I am still more productive in the mornings. Add to that my instinct to be goal oriented and mornings aren't good for relaxing. If I do get into relaxing mode, coming out of it is harsh because I have to do really things and all of a sudden the clock matters. But the worst is when I'm halfway between relaxed and productive and I am simultaneously looking at the clock watching my free time tick away and berating myself for not using my relaxing time in productive relaxing ways.

So I find myself in the position today. It's noon. I'm playing around with some embroidery to make living room pillows. I'm still in my workout clothes put on with the intent to leave the house early to work out at NKU but ultimately used for the "ballet exercises" from Self magazine (done while watching friends). I realize I need to make lunch so I pop in the french fries and chicken nuggets as instructed by my hubby. And continue to do embroidery. And pull out the food. And continue to watch Friends. Until 12:40 when I realize I need to eat, change, put on some form of makeup and leave the house by 12:45. It was 12:50 when I actually turned on my car. It's a good thing I budget a half hour for a 20 minute drive...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

On the way to work

So it rained all day today. I watched it from my sliding glass window as I cleaned and then watched Friends. But then I had to go to work and the mist from the cars on the road made crossing four lanes of highway traffic ominous. And then I got down town and the sun came out from behind the clouds and I started seeing rainbows in the mist. And THEN as I came up to my exit to cross the river, I saw a huge full spectrum rainbow in a perfect arc. It was perfectly echoed by the arches of the "Big Mac" bridge (so named because it has two arches and is yellow). And I'd like to believe that one of those legs of the rainbow ended right at the Party Source a popular stop for residents of Ohio who take advantage of Kentucky's cheaper taxes on liquor.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Three in a Row

Whew! I don't think I've ever been this committed to a blog before. I did make it past my bro's record. So Mondays are my busy day. Do you want to hear why?

6:45am A decent waking time. I get up before Mike because then I can climb back into bed while he hogs the bathroom. :-)
7:45am Leave the house to pick up Jacob, the 4yo I take to preschool, whose mother is a "dancer". Yeah.
8:30am Return to apartment and do chores/pack my bags.
9:00am Leave for Bible Study. This is Zion's Monday morning Women's Bible Study. We love Zion, but it's on the east side of Cincy and everyone lives near it so it takes me a half hour to get there. It's well worth it. The women are very nice, and it's good for me to be in a bible study that doesn't function as a Theology class.
11:30am Leave Bible Study and head to NKU. No I don't start working at noon. That'd be bad, but NKU is on my way home and I realized that I really only had 20-30 min. to make lunch and eat before I had to head down the exact same highway I've already driven on 2 times that morning. So I pack a lunch and my work clothes and go to the health center to workout. The first time was horrible and I was so tired, but now at least I'm self-satisfied at my excellent work ethic. :-P
1:00pm Eat really quick before work.
1:15pm Begin working. My normal long day at the library includes overdues, reserves, and doing random jobs around the library. It also normally involves eating food that people bring in (which is justified by the fact that I just worked out). :-)
7-ish pm I remember to eat dinner.
9:40pm We close the library.
10:24pm I get home and get ready for bed.

It is one long day...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Blog Template

I found a new blog template from the site Hannah uses. Is it good or not?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

A Fresh Start

Okey doke. So I'm blogging. It's official. It's public. I'm scared. But I'm here and I feel it's really important for me to have a blog because other people's blogs give me such enjoyment and connectedness that it's really not fair for me to take and take without giving back.

I will say I hesitate to blog much because I worry about being appropriate and safe and, well, not dumb. So here's the deal I'll post if you (the currently fictional audience) overlook my dumb moments and just read and sometimes comment and hound me in real life if I go too long without posting.

Current events:
  • Grad school: Application to Hebrew Union is complete and under review. Estimated time of decision: end of March.
  • Chase Law Library: My performance review when exceedingly well. They like me, they really like me.
  • Church: Mike's leading a Nooma bible study series on Sunday mornings (to end at Easter). I'm getting more involved with bible study, this Jerusalem market thing, and subbing for Sunday school.
  • Recreation: I haven't sewn a lot since Christmas, but I'm starting to feel a desire too. I did just make some costumes for Jerusalem market so I think I need to make something for myself. Otherwise I'm reading A LOT (like 8 books in the past month) but most of it has been adolescent lit. so I don't know if it really counts.
  • Hebrew: And someday I'll start being regular about my Hebrew study. Not having an arranged meeting time where someone expects me to have things done is rough on me. But self-discipline is bread and butter of grad programs so I've got to work on it. Bibleworks is now installed on my Macbook so hopefully I'll get used to switching platforms and the like.
  • Social: I like people. I need to see more of them during the week. We went to the Classics Prospective party last night and it was really fun to talk to people I haven't seen since November. It should happen more often.
  • Friends: Friends are really great. I need to connect with them more often.
That's all for now.