Is it just me, or do you get a secret thrill when you use up a container of bath product?

Shampoo, conditioner, face wash, tooth paste...it's all the same. I anticipate The End for a week. I look forward to it. The sense of accomplishment, the fun of a brand new container, the relief of knowing I don't have to use this particular product again for a while - or the mild anxiety of wondering whether the next one will work as well.  I love the whole experience.  It's strange, but I do.  It doesn't take much to entertain me.

So imagine my frustration when I realized that I am currently using the neverending tube of toothpaste. It's a tube of Aquafresh Extreme Clean and I don't know if i love it or hate it. Clean feeling after using?  Check. Clean feeling lasting quite a while, which gives me jollies?  Check.  But this stuff has a really strong, really 'cold' effect. Which was great back a few months when I opened it - and would probably be great in the summer.  But right now, here in Denver, where the cold tap water is approx. 32.5 degrees, my teeth go into thermal shock every time I brush and then rinse. It's like brushing with a snowball and rinsing with ice water. The sensation is painfully, paralyzingly cold.

But I have been SOCLOSE to finishing this tube that I just stuck with it. Because I'm stubborn like that.

And for a week now, twice a day, I have gleefully thought to myself, 'THIS is the time the tube will run out.' Seriously, I have had my next tube selected and waiting in my drawer for days.  And ever time I go to squeeze, there is more toothpaste in there. It keeps coming. My agony continues. The end may never come.

Have you ever been faced with something that you are desperate to replace but it just won't run out? (Doesn't that make you MAD?)


Christmas Tear-Down

At the church of my youth, the contemporary (and the largest) service was at 9am in a giant multipurpose room called the Center for New Life.  We had church setup and church tear down.  I don't remember when setup happened, but tear down happened at the end of the Sunday service.  Everybody stacked their chairs up in the back, put the hymnals away, moved the communion table (which we mistakenly called the altar) back to its weekday place, etc.  Every week there was a list of families in charge of making it happen.  It was regular - a set thing.  You knew when tear down was supposed to happen.

Not so with Christmas.  Our tree is dried up, our stockings are empty, there are no more presents to open, and I am debating whether I should let it linger, or if I should put everything away and get back to the business of unpacking.  Most years I am all about the lingering and letting Christmas extend way into the new year, but I began feeling the tear down itch first thing Saturday morning and I haven't been able to shake it yet.

How long do you leave your Christmas decorations up?


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all my friends who celebrate!

Please enjoy this view of our supremely crooked tree.


daily drop cap

Do you know about the Daily Drop Cap blog?  If not, you're in for a treat. The blog itself has a pretty useful intro, so I'm pulling this description from there rather than reinvent this particular wheel:  The Daily Drop Cap is an ongoing project by typographer and illustrator Jessica Hische. Each day (or at least each WORK day), a new hand-crafted decorative initial cap will be posted for your enjoyment and for the beautification of blog posts everywhere. 

Jessica's letters are so much fun to look at. They lend themselves to all kinds of ideas for home decorating, gifts, and even blog redesigns! There's a pretty good chance that a letter or two of hers might end up in my home, framed as artwork.  She's gone through the alphabet more than once, so there is fun to be had over and over again.

If you're into typography, design, or letters in general, go have a look here.  You won't regret it.


some errands, some bread, and a little bit of word association

I don't know about you, but I've got a huge list of errands to run today.  My list holds 8 stops.  There's your standard issue trip to the grocery store and the post office, some returns to make, some ballet tickets to pick up, AND...a trip to the library to pick up my rental copy of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes.  I'm pretty stoked about that last one.  Honestly though, I don't know if I'm going to make it through the whole list.  Do you ever have errand days wherein you have given up before you even head out? 

I tried my hand at baking some high altitude challah yesterday, and while it turned out much better than my last attempt at making challah (no pictures survived either incident) it's still not quite right.  I think maybe I'm not letting the dough rise long enough.  I'm going to play around with a few other yeasty breads (helloooooo dinner rolls) before I try another serious loaf, and maybe I'll get the hang of it before long.  And with the artisan bread book heading my way, I'm pretty hopeful that homemade bread will become a regular thing in this here household.

And now for a quick meme....I say/you think (or should it be you say/I think?)

1. Taxman :: Obama
2. Material :: quilts
3. Format :: Word doc
4. File cabinet :: Bills
5. Ignore :: dont!
6. Super! :: crappy
7. Fireproof :: Kirk (Cameron)
8. Blockbuster :: online
9. Snooper :: Snoopy
10. Good will ::shopping

What are YOU up to today, my friends?


Advent Wreath on the Mantle

Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester

Growing up, I kind of missed the whole Advent boat. I didn't learn much about it at church and I didn't learn much about it at home.  Advent was, in my eyes, church lingo for 'the Christmas season.'  In recent conversations, I've learned that a lot of churches fail when it comes to teaching about Advent.  If you missed that one Sunday school lesson or that Bible study night, you're in the dark.  We light these random candles up by the communion table (not the altar, as so many people call it) or on the chancel (maybe it's a pulpit to you) and read some stuff and then get on with the service.

In the past couple of years, my attention has been turned to Advent and learning what it's all about.  I get the hope/peace/joy/love thing now, the quietly preparing our hearts for the arrival of the Savior thing.  Advent has added a whole new dimension to my experience of Christmas.

For a couple of years now, I've wanted to make an Advent wreath. As an Advent 'novice,' I thought there was a specific way to make a wreath...in other words, a right way or a wrong way.  I thought it needed to be round. I thought there had to be greenery. I thought you had to have the right colored candles or else your Advent wreath wasn't really an Advent wreath. I just didn't know any better.  So I bought a foam ring, but the process stopped there.  Because I don't know how to build an advent wreath from a foam circle.  As Advent arrived this year, I sighed and thought about how maybe by next year I will have figured it out.

And then I read this post by Rachel from Small Notebook.  And I realized that an Advent wreath is really just 5 candles, with one taller or bigger or otherwise distinguished from the rest.  There aren't really rules to follow.  There isn't a wrong way to celebrate Advent.

It's amazing how bound up we can be without even realizing it. There is so much freedom to be had when we lose the fear of doing something incorrectly. Flylady has so much to say on this very topic (and for those of you who are struggling with feeling overwhelmed, I encourage you to check out Flylady. She has changed my life, for the better).

I went to my candle/vase shelf in my linen closet (I have a linen closet now!!) and pulled out five candle holders - four little red ones I'd just picked up from Pier 1 on the clearance shelf as a whim, and a red-and-gold cut glass one my mom gave me a few years ago.  Up they went on the mantle.

And now we have an Advent wreath.


christmas doesn't look as good this year

I spent most of yesterday wrapping up and boxing all our Christmas gifts for family back east.  I am looking forward to what might become my new Christmas tradition:  setting up a wrapping station in front of the TV, munching on a giant Hershey bar and watching soap operas.

I have always liked wrapping gifts and coming up with a new way to do it.  This year, my plan was to make fabric gift bags for everything.  And then, I got sick.

SICK.  ugh.  During one of the more inconvenient weeks of the year.  I'd had big plans for this week that's wrapping up right about now: finish unpacking the living room, finish decorating the apartment for Christmas, finish Christmas shopping (that was supposed to be this past weekend) and then pack everything up, including making all the gift bags and stamping our 80 Christmas cards, with PLENTY of time to get everything to all the right places before the big day without having to pay an arm and a leg in shipping.

Well, most of that didn't happen.  And saddest of all: I couldn't find my supplies for a backup wrapping job, since there was no way I would make it to the fabric store, unearth the sewing machine, and get all the sewing and wrapping and packing and shipping done in the brief window of feeling like a human that I had yesterday.  My backup plan?  Wrap everything in brown paper, tie with twine, and hand-stamp the receiver's name on the package.  Cute and old-timey and coherent.

Except I couldn't find my twine.  Or my stamps.  (They are probably not unpacked yet.)  Not even my emergency jingle bell stash!!  And I had like 2 hours to get it all done.  No time for trips to the store or anything.

So this year, everybody's presents from Brian and Ashley are wrapped in brown package paper and written on with silver Sharpie.

I make Christmas ugly.

I do take solace in the fact that they will be arriving on time, however.  That counts for something, right?  Even though the wrapped gifts are a bit of an eyesore?


booking through thursday

Another edition of Booking Through Thursday!

btt button
Suggested by Tammy:
What items have you ever used as a bookmark? What is the most unusual item you’ve ever used or seen used?

My bookmarks are pretty normal I guess. When I was little, I would ONLY use a bookmark.  Or I would just remember what page number I'd last read, and open to that page.  In college, I went through a phase for a long time wherein I didn't buy any bookmarks.  I would either fold corners down or use whatever scrap of paper I could find.  You know, the usual: index cards, post-its, fliers.  Mostly, though, since I went to a crap load of sporting events in college, I used game tickets as bookmarks.  I would occasionally fold corners, but it didn't often happen that I didn't have a scrap.

I have since begun to buy bookmarks as souvenirs when I go to really special places. I only have a couple right now - one from St. Louis, when I was there for the 2005 Final Four.  I bought it down in the dungeon of the arch, and it's a spiffy magnetic kind.  I also picked up a nice leather one from the Library of Congress in Washington DC when Brian and I visited there with a couple of friends.  We had barely any money at all, and the bookmark was $2.

In keeping with the ticket theme, I now keep tickets from special games or events and use them from time to time.  

Brian, the third generation librarian, has effectively broken me of the corner-folding habit...for the most part.  I will fold corners in certain books I know I'll use for reference.  I'd rather do that than have a million little scraps poking out and whatnot, but I will now go to almost any effort to find a bookmark alternative to corner folds.

(Incidentally, Brian won't fold corners but he WILL write in the margins.  I'm not sure what the difference is.  Maybe he will enlighten us with an explanatory comment.)

How about you?  Play along here.


Book Review: Summer at Tiffany


I just read the greatest book.  It's called Summer at Tiffany.

Ok so maybe it's not the greatest book, but I sure enjoyed it.

It's the story of two college friends from Iowa who spend the summer of 1945 working at Tiffany.  Or, as people today might know it, Tiffany's or Tiffany & Co.

It's a fantastic true story about two college friends who move to New York City for the summer, planning to land a fabulous job at a large well-known store on 5th Avenue.  Things don't go exactly to plan, and their big job lead turns up nothing. So what do they do?  Hop back on the bus until they come to Tiffany. They march in and ask for jobs, right there on the spot. A few days later, they find themselves as the first women on the sales floor that Tiffany has ever hired. They work as pages - taking packages from the floors to the repair room, and from the repair room to the sales floors.  Set against the backdrop of the end of World War II, the story is a fun look at the Big Apple through the eyes of a good small-town girl and her friend.

So to all my friends out there who are really into charming stories and the cute life in general - see if your library has this book.


TBR Challenge

For the year 2010, I am signing up for the TBR challenge.  Here are the details, and my list will follow:

** Pick 12 books – one for each month of the year - that you’ve been wanting to read (that have been on your “TBRead” list) for 6 months or longer, but haven’t gotten around to.
** OPTIONAL: Create a list of 12 “Alternates” (books you could substitute for your challenge books, given that a particular one doesn’t grab you at the time)
** Then, starting January 1, read one of these books from your list each month, ending December 31. )
By the end of the year you should’ve knocked 12 books off of your TBR list! (of course, if you’re anything like me, you’ll have added *at LEAST* 12 more to the ever-growing pile by then! LOL).
The good news is, though, that you’ll be making some progress! ;o)
Additional rules/guidelines for this challenge:
* the challenge is to read 12 TBR books in 12 months — you can read those all in one month if you want, or one a month, or however you wanna do it.
* you should have a list posted somewhere for others to see
you CANNOT change your list after January 1st, of the current year!!!
* you can create an Alternates list of MAXIMUM 12 books, if you want, in order to have options to choose from (you can read these in place of books on your original list).
* audiobooks and e-books ARE allowed
* re-reads are NOT allowed, as they aren’t TRUE “TBRs”
* you CAN overlap with other challenges
* OPTIONAL: you can join the Yahoo! Group created for participants of the TBR Challenge, if you want to have a place to keep your list, or just to share with others about how you’re doing!

So, here's my list of 24 books - the 12 main and the 12 alternates:
1. blue like jazz
2. love as a way of life
3. how to speak dog
4. born to kvetch
5. the well-educated mind
6. why (by anne graham lotz)
7. a concise history of the russian revolution
8. cleopatra's daughter
9. the other end of the leash
10. the way of a pilgrim
11. between god and man 
12. slow is beautiful
and alternates:
1. metaphors we live by
2. the excellent wife
3. andrew carnegie
4. father melancholy's daughter
5. i isaac take thee rebekah
6. the unlikely disciple
7. the man who loved books too much
8. ellen foster
9. after dark
10. the life of lou gehrig
11. sink reflections
12. something by Bonhoeffer

Anything look interesting to you?  What would you put on your list?  Did I miss something good?


a post about snow

Holy white stuff, Batman!

As is to be suspected, it is snowing again here in Colorado.  Twice in 2 weeks!  My feeble southern snow-loving mind might explode.  Other pertinent details include: the forecast predicted that it would 'snow for two days.'

Did you see that?  SNOW for TWO DAYS!  Not like two hours, or two seconds like I'm used to seeing.

Eli has experienced a couple of snowfalls in his young life.  While it can't be determined whether he actually likes the stuff, he certainly tolerates it pretty well and he's been known to brave snowfall deeper than he is tall, which is pretty cute. He is not so much interested in temperatures in the teens, or lower.

Rory LOVES snow.  More specifically, she loves to eat it.  She does NOT love to potty on it, which has proven a challenge for me, the potty break enforcer.

All in all, we love snow.  Good thing, since we moved to the mountains, right?


This just in from a little while ago in basketball news

NCAA mens basketball referees call fewer fouls on the home team.

And they try to keep foul counts relatively even (though this is, in most cases, subconscious).

Read more here.

What the article doesn't mention is the well-known fact that ACC refs are firmly implanted in dook's pockets.  Who's gonna write THAT story?



Eli non-update

It's 7pm. I was supposed to hear something between 6 and 630 and there's been no call.

I haven't quite decided how much to panic, but I've already cried and calmed down three times.  So...there's that.

I am so worried for my little buddy.


Nerves for Eli

Hi guys.  I could use a little bit of support today.  Eli is going in for his first (and hopefully last) dental procedure today.  This will involve anesthesia, which makes me very very nervous.

I could use some warm thoughts and encouragement today.  Hopefully I'll have him home again by 4pm this afternoon.  And hopefully he'll still have all his teeth.  I'll post a report later today, if my nerves haven't defeated me by then.

Here's a little cuteness for you to focus on today: