Wednesday, September 14, 2011

That Invention Called The Telephone...

On days like today I think alot about telephones, for the simple reason I'm answering a ringing phone with regularity (some days are just busier than others).  I think about my love - hate relationship with telephones.  I think about the comments people have made to me regarding my voicemail messages on their phones, or my phone voice.  I also think of the more unique moments I've had while talking on the phone with someone. 
So, I've been told by a number of my friends that my voicemail messages are amusing to them, mainly due to their length.  That's alright, I'll laugh with my friends over my long-winded messages, but if you expect me to shorten them don't hold your breathe (not even for the duration of my messages - you might pass out).
Jokingly I tell interested parties that I leave long messages to compensate for my Dad's notoriously short messages.  A usual voice message from my Dad goes something like the, "call me."   I just like to elaborate on why they should call me, and if there is any backstory to that event they should probably know that to.  Actually if I leave a long enough message it might even make talking to the individual unnecessary (I don't always need replies).  I'm just happy to provide amusingly long messages for my friends...whatever brings a smile to their faces.
While my Dad tried to teach me by example the art of leaving a short voicemail message (or not leave one at all).  My Mom taught me the art of phone voice.  There were times in my childhood when my Mom would be voicing her displeasure with us children (rightly so - we didn't always do what we should have) and then the phone would ring.  It never ceased to amaze me that my Mom's stern voice could instantaneously mellow into the most pleasant "Hello." 
I'd stand there in the room listening to her speak to other person on the phone amazed that this was the same woman who had just been speaking to me.  I knew it was the same woman because though her voice had changed her eyes still told me that we weren't finished yet. 
I'm beyond thankful for that lesson in phone voice Mom, it's carried me in good stead on many occassions.  In my current office you never know what heated conversation or hilariously funny joke is being told, when the phone rings my "phone voice" comes out and it's like any other day. 
During the recent Viriginia earthquake I answered the phone as my desk, and the building began shaking.  I managed to make it through the standard greeting, and even answer my caller's first question before I calmly told him I would need to call him back we were having an earthquake.  After our shake down I called back our customer and explained what had happened and when I felt the movement.  He laughed and said you'd never be able to tell the ground was moving beneath me from the tone of my voice. 
Even more recently at work I managed to keep a level tone of voice as a creepy looking spider crawled over my arm and across my desk.  Yes, I might have jerked my arm back and frantically moved away from the offensive eight-legged creature, but my tone of voice as I answered the customer's questions never showed my level of distress.
The first time I distinctly remember using my phone voice during a crisis situation was in high school.  I was talking on the phone with a friend of mine, and distractedly running my finger along the wood window sill  in my room (don't ask me why - just something to do I guess).  Suddenly a large splinter came loose and lodged itself beneath my thumb nail all the way to the nail base.  Talk about nerve endings screaming at you.  In midst of my hurt and shock I remember calmly interrupting my friend to say I needed to go and would see them the next day at school.  The next school day I came in sporting a gauze bandaged thumb from where they had to remove my entire nail to get at the splinter. 
Earthquakes don't phase me, creepy spiders don't phase me, and large splinters don't phase.  What usually gets me on the phone is sleepyness.  Those phone calls you get that catch you in the middle of a nap, an early bedtime, or an even earlier morning wake up.  I just never seem to come awake quick enough to make much sense to the other person on the line. 
Obviously my abrubt awakening is not well hidden from my callers, because more often than not I received the comment, "Did I wake you?" 
When I lived in Utah I received the comment "Did I wake you" plenty of times.  Family and Friends back in Virginia would often forget about the two hour time difference.  I remember several times when my own family who are often ready for the start of their day before 7:00 a.m. would then call me at 7:00 a.m. (I mean who isn't ready to receive calls by that hour).  Of course their 7:00 a.m. was my 5:00 a.m. in Utah, which lead to some interesting early morning, barely coherent conversations :) 
All this to say, I have a love - hate relationship with the telephone.  Hope you enjoyed my random ramblings on the subject!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Creamy Goodness...

...of eating an SB&J.

For those of you who suffer from peanut allergens like myself, you might be familiar with SB&J's.  The initials for SoyNut Butter and Jelly :)

I've been familiar with SoyNut Butter for sometime having tried it once at a friend's home in Utah.  The SoyNut Butter I had there was separated and had to be mixed well to be eaten.  It really didn't remind me of peanut butter, and wasn't a good substitution to my memories of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (as I child I could eat peanut butter - my allergy is adult onset).

I didn't realize how special those memories of Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches were until I recently came across a very good brand of SoyNut Butter.  When I opened the jar it was like looking at a jar of creamy peanut butter, it was like smelling peanut butter and that first taste was so much like all my memories of peanut butter.  Of course I immediately pulled out some bread and jelly and went to work making my master creation of the SB&J.  That first taste combination of bread, sweet and creamy transported me back to my youth with meals at home, picnics in the park, hiking with friends and all sorts of wonderful outings.

I was able to enjoy all those memories in one simple little sandwich, and I could still breathe properly at the end of the meal :)

If you're wondering there are additional benefits to replacing your peanut butter with soynut butter.  SoyNut Butter has less calories and fat per serving, and more fiber and protein than peanut butter...what a winning combination!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Crochet Time...

 Most recently I tried out a new crochet pattern for baby booties.  I had never attempted making baby booties before, mostly because I had never come across a pattern I liked.  All the patterns seemed so outdated and "cutsie".  I wanted to work on something a little more modern and unisex.  I finally came across this pattern for double-straped baby booties and knew I found what I was looking for.

They really didn't take that long to make, and I enjoyed the relaxation of time spent crocheting.  When it was all said and done though, I knew I just had to get them out of my home.  The last thing this single girl needs to see are these absolutely adorable baby booties, just makes you want to have a baby to put them on.

I ended up taking the baby booties with me to the Sustainable Food, Farming and Faith conference this past weekend in Pennsylvania.  The conference was offering a barter fair as part of the event and I ended up bartering these booties for some delicious varieties of potatoes.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof...

Last evening I was comfortably ensconced in my bed, under a pile of blankets reading a good book.  It had been raining all day, and it was particularly cold, so it seemed like a good evening to relax under some blankets. It was so peaceful and calm, the perfect end to a great weekend.  Suddenly, there was a loud noise above my head coming from the roof.  In all the time I've lived in my home I've only heard that same noise once, and that was when my Dad had gone up to my roof to do some repairs.  It was the sound of someone walking around on my roof.

I live in the quiet countryside, and have never felt threatened in my home.  The thought of intruders to my home doesn't even cross my mind.  The sound of someone walking around on my roof though sent fear spiraling through me.  I felt instantly vulnerable, and certainly not in a position to protect myself.  I leaped from bed as I heard the person moving around on the roof, hoping that it was just one of my friends come to play a prank on me. 

My roommate was in the kitchen, and as I passed through with the coat I hastily grabbed, told her of the noise (which she hadn't heard) and how I was about to go outside and investigate.  As cliche as this sounds I even gave her the line, "If I'm not back in a short while get help."  Maybe that wasn't so cliche as it was smart to have a plan :)

Outside I didn't see any vehicles that shouldn't be there, and after walking around the entire house didn't see any persons out of place.  With my home being built so low to the ground with angled roof space I had a fairly good view of most of the roof and didn't see any looming figures walking around.

I came back inside, out of the cold wet rain, and told my roommate of my findings, absolutely NOTHING.  I was describing to her the noise I had heard, when suddenly we both heard it over our heads.  She immediately wanted to check on her cats (I think she had an inkling at this time where the source of the noise might be coming from). 

When she walked outside she was greeted by one of her two cats.  The other cat knowing it's Momma's voice decided to come and peek over the side of the roof where it had been walking around only moments before.  That silly cat had managed to climb up the old utility pole next to my bedroom and jump onto the roof, which in turned scared a couple years off my life.  After some coaxing from my roommate she managed to get him in position where she was able to manhandle him off the roof.

My roommate has reminded me that there is an old fable about being "as light-footed as a cat."  This particular cat though has the footfalls of a grown man.  We're just hoping the disgruntled look he gave my roommate just prior to coming down is proof that he's learned his lesson and won't be making a trip back to my roof.

Just the day before this incident I had been outdoors taking pictures of these two cats.  I'll let you decide which one looks mischievous enough to climb on top of a roof.

 Though I might giving away the secret I will tell you the names of my roommate's two cats.  This first photo is of Lor, short for Ailuro, which means Cat.

This second photo is of Pho, short for Phobia, which means Fear.  So, together the cat's names are AiluroPhobia, Fear of Cats.

When they first came to live with us, I told one of my co-workers their new names (and she's like me - we're not cat people).  My co-worker's response was quick and sure, "I would have called them Home and Less."

I think about my co-worker's response on days when certain cats jump on my roof, or try to sneak into our house when I'm rushing out the door.  Other than those brief moments Lor and Pho and I get along just fine.  They really are beautiful animals for being cats :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Award Winning Rooster

I happen to live next door to an award winning rooster.  Yes, as of this year my neighbor's rooster took 1st place at the Rockingham County Fair.  This afternoon I was over in my neighbor's yard enjoying a photo session and was able to get some great shots of the rooster.

I learned from my neighbor that the two roosters in the background of this photo had only minutes to live after the photo was taken.  I didn't stick around to continue taking photos of what came next.  Though I'm sure my neighbors are enjoying a good meal this evening, fried chicken or maybe chicken noodle soup.  

Monday, December 6, 2010

Working Toward A Green Thumb

Last winter it snowed, then snowed some more, and then it snowed even more.  I was ridiculously tired of snow by the end of winter.  It was days, weeks, and months of looking at the color white blanketing the ground, and if it wasn't white it was brown.  By the end of winter I CRAVED the color green!!

This winter I hope to keep my green cravings at bay by incorporating more houseplants into my home.  I actually started the process of adopting indoor plants last year, but my collection has enlarged this past year.  In recent years I've wanted houseplants, but moved around too much to make having one (or several) practical.  I guess I'm finally starting to settle down because I'm now into a plant frenzy.  Not only do I want to enlarge my indoor plants I'm also working on my outdoor gardens as well.

For someone who has a notoriously brown thumb I'm doing fairly well with my plants.  I'm enjoying reading about each one and finding out what makes them happy.  In turn they make me happy by greening up my home and providing such beautiful blooms and color. 

 This plant is the first one I brought home last year.  It came to me through the Virginia Mennonite Relief sale.  I decided last year at the Relief Sale to purchase a plant, and that in the years to come I would purchase a plant.  Each year I would have my Relief Sale plant, and when they became much larger I would take a start from the plant and donate it to the Relief Sale.  Just an enjoyable way to continue the cycle, and benefit many others.

This particular plant is a Monkey Plant.  In November it begins to bloom these beautiful pink blossoms for a couple months (atleast mine does).
The Monkey Plant is such an interesting plant.  When I first bought it I didn't know anything about it (not even if it would like the light my home receives).  I just really liked the name, coloring and feel of the plant, and couldn't resist the impulse to buy it over a plant I knew more about. 

This next photo is a close up of the Monkey Plant and it's beautiful blooms.  You might also note the interesting coloring of the plant.  The leaves are green with white ribbing, and underneath they have a deeper, richer purple coloring.  It's a beautiful effect!

I've been so happy with my Monkey Plant.  I've even been able to separate it once over the year I've had it, and give a start to my Mom.  My Mom's Monkey Plant has done so well she was able to make a start for my friend Maurita...and the cycle of giving continues.
The most recent plant to come home with me I received from my Aunt Karen over Thanksgiving.  I was commenting about her houseplants, and asked about getting a start of one of her philodendrons.  She in turned gave me the entire plant (she had two there). 

I've been so blessed by her generosity; the plant sits lovingly in my living room, and adds beauty to the space.

These of course are just a small viewing of the plants I've adopted.  I have several more throughout my home.  Some of my favorites are just the practical ones, like the herbs for my kitchen or the aloe in case I have a burn or cut.  It's amazing how much God has given us in His creation, all the beauty and practicality to meet our needs.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Thankfulness

With a heart full of gratitude I was able to enjoy the richest of blessings this Thanksgiving.  My day was spent with so many loved ones; my friends and family.

My immediate family has a tradition of attending the restaurant named Traditions on Thanksgiving day for an early lunch.  It's always nice to spend that family time with each other, especially now that my brother Brent is living in North Carolina, and we don't see each other as much.  This particular year we decided to arrive extra early and stand in line outside to be one of the first seated when the doors opened.  That's right, my family who doesn't care a twig about standing in long lines on Black Friday for retail deals will gladly stand in long lines for first seating at a restaurant (we've got our priorities).

The afternoon was spent getting some much needed rest!!

Then it was on to another dinner, this one was being held at my Uncle Fred and Aunt Karen's home, for the Heatwole Family.  It's not uncommon for any one of my relatives to bring a guest along to our holiday dinners, and this year I was excited to have my good friend Maurita and her brother Andy join us.  Actually, it was at the Heatwole Thanksgiving meal that I met my friend Chitra three years ago, she had been a guest of my Aunt Glennys (they had classes together at JMU).

 Maurita, a talented musician, found my Uncle Fred's upright bass (not that he was really hiding it).  Isn't she such a natural?
 When everyone else was pulling out their cameras to take posed pictures of each other at the dinner (normal behavior for a holiday meal with the Heatwoles), I was taking pictures of my Aunt Karen's centerpieces.  Aren't these variegated roses gorgeous?  
I had to take a close up on the roses so you can really see the beauty of the color.

The Lord really has blessed me with so much, a loving family, wonderful friends, and the constant beauty of His creation.  So much to praise Him for this Thanksgiving.