Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Here's my (early) birthday present...

Isn't it beautiful? For a while now, I've been wanting to learn how to play the violin. In high school, I tinkered around with the cello (which I love), but the violin seemed like the best choice for two reasons: 1) you can get one for pretty darn cheap and 2) i love folk music, which features the fiddle. Knowing that I now have some time off to play around with it, my husband decided to order one from ebay at a good price. What a great idea!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

As Sweet as Pie

There are a few things that I think are becoming lost artforms: baking pies is one of them. On a day off from classes, my friend and I decided to explore downtown Grafton, a small river town that has quaint shops and farmers' stands. We stopped by one stand that had an immense amount of peaches for sale. So, we were inspired to try our hand at making a pie.

Here is our adventure in pictures.

our inspiration: a half peck of peaches

just before the oven

our finished project

up close.

And just in case you're wondering, the pie tasted as good as it looked :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Makin' millions

For quite some time, Randy and I have joked that our pug, Sophie, is so cute that she could make us millions with her good looks. While I understand that this is never going to happen, my friend, Mandi, and I have come to the realization that we could be onto something by marketing my pugs.

So, we are going to open a store dedicated to everything dog on Mandi has skills on the sewing machine and will be making some fun dog apparel, and I hope to market my photography of dogs (mostly pugs right now). So, I'll let you know when we're up and running, but we're in the marketing stages as of now.

Just thought I'd share my business endeavors... I am discovering my inner entrepreneurial skills and can't wait to share the goods!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Forgive me for this blog.

The theme of this weekend can be summed up in these words: I don't think I'm meant to have children. Now, I know my readers are few in number, so I don't really think I'm reaching that many people with my message. But, just in case there are a few readers out there that feel differently than I do about this issue, I'm sorry. This is how I feel.

A few select events occurred over the weekend that made me come to the realization that I don't think I have one maternal bone in my body. (NOTE: I must be clear that the events that I will describe did not soley create my opinions on children... they just merely reassured my previous feelings).

Event One: One of my long-time friends and her husband are trying to get pregnant. Blah. I hate myself for having a negative attitude about my friends getting pregnant, but I can't help it. I can't even fake happiness for them. I think my direct quote to her was this, " Oh. Wow. Uh. Ok. If that's what you want." Geez. I couldn't even mutter a "Hey! That's wonderful!!" Although, I've never been one to mask how I really feel.

Event Two: My two very young nieces came over to visit for 45 minutes, and I about lost it. So, I'm neurotic about having visitors over... especially if we're feeding people. I care about how things look, how much food we have, etc. That was kind of the situation I was in this weekend with my brother-in-law, his wife, and their 2 kids (ages 2 & 6 months). So, the whole clan comes in and everything becomes chaotic. My dogs are going crazy because visitors have arrived, but I have to restrain them because of the little kids. I have mounds of food to prepare, but the 2 year-old is climbing up our very unchildproofed stairs sans railing. It's just crazy in our house the second 2 children are introduced to the situation. And I suddenly realize that everything that my brother-in-law and his wife do revolves around the children. Everything. Can we meet people at a restaurant at 11? Well, it depends on if the kids are taking a nap or if they've eaten or if they are in a good mood, or if ...... it goes on forever.

As I stated earlier, these two events alone did not make me hate kids or never want them. But, it's been a slow realization I've had over many months. I don't think I'm cut out for it. Definately not genetically predisposed to just loving and wanting kids. There are those people who die when they see babies. They have to hold them. They have to swoon over them. Ugh. I am the type of person who declines when people ask if I want to hold the baby. No. I don't. What's the point? It doesn't make me want them any more. Actually, I do recall when my second niece was born, my mother-in-law was frantically asking how long in inches she was. In retort, I directly said, " Who cares?" Who does care? Does anyone really get out a tape measure to see just how long the baby was. Geez.

This brings up another issue about culture. Northern vs. Southern culture is something of interest to me. I've lived both in the suburbs of Chicago and in smalltown southern Illinois. And this is the major difference: Up north, people put childbirth on the backburner. People place emphasis on establishing a career and perhaps get married, go traveling, save for a house, etc. Down south, there is a natural progression to things and they happen in this order. Get married. Have babies. I often wonder if people ever sit down with their significant others and talk about the reasons they want to bring a child into this world. I've heard reasons like: "I want to be a young parent" or "I just feel like it's time." But, to me, those reasons aren't enough to make such a life-altering choice. This child, this human, is going to be here for the rest of your life. No going back. No re-dos. Your life as you know it will be over. The end.

And, while we're on the subject, can I just talk about those people with the belief system that parents are never really ready to have children and that if a couple waits to have children until they are financially ready, it'll never happen. I have a hard time respecting this viewpoint. You can plan a child. You can save money to afford a child. You can be sure that your relationship with your significant other is strong enough to support bringing an additional life into the equation. It can happen, and it's a smart thing to do.

Therefore, that brings me to my conclusion (I'm hardly over talking about this issue, but out of respect for any readers, I'll wrap it up): Kids aren't for me. Maybe never. Maybe someday. But certainly not now. I've got too many things to accomplish that are more important to me than bringing a life into this world at this point in time. And I'm lucky that my husband supports me in this decision. So, for all of you out there who want children, great. More power to you. Ignore what I've written and do what's right for you. Okay, I'm done.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bits of summer...

breakfast muffins made with farmer's market blueberries...
just one of the reasons summer is good.

ying and yang

Sunday, July 6, 2008

fourth festivities

This is where I spent my fourth of July.

Sometimes holidays defeat the purpose of having time off... relaxation usually doesn't occur. But, I must say, it was hard not to unwind at a friend's lake for the holiday. Located on 88 acres, there wasn't another house to be seen. We were surrounded by beautiful nature, great family and friends, tasty food, and awesome fireworks. I hope everyone had as good of holiday as I did.