Things that Go BUMP in my Mind

Knitting, stitching, reading, gardening, cooking--I have no time for any of it.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

A God of second chances.

I'm part of a Bible study group that meets every Thursday morning for breakfast. Several months ago, our "usual" table began to be occupied by a rather odd but apparently harmless man. He's there almost every morning (or at least, whenever I stop in for coffee on days other than Thursday), just hanging out and talking to everyone who goes up to the counter.

As I said, he seems harmless, but his presence still unnerves me a little (and my friends have confessed to the same feeling). I think it's mostly because in our society, you just don't hang out at a coffee shop chatting with perfect strangers (and occasionally chiding them for being late, as he has done to me on a couple of Thursday mornings). But I know that my reluctance to talk to him is completely irrational--what's he gonna do to me in the middle of a crowded, brightly lit coffee shop?

As I was thinking about the coffee shop guy the other day, I remembered a homeless man who I used to see each morning during the weeks when I traveled to Richmond, VA for court. I never said more than "hello" to this man, but I always thought I should work up the courage to offer to buy him a cup of coffee or hot chocolate--it was awfully cold some of those mornings. I never did, though, and one day he wasn't there any more. I had missed, forever, an opportunity to be kind to a fellow human being who might have needed it.

Now it's several years later, and I have the coffee shop guy. I can't help but think that this is a second opportunity to practice the sort of kindness that Jesus preached. Anyone here familiar with the parable of the sheep and the goats? Matthew 25:31-46. To sum it up, Jesus says that as you treat the least of His people, so you treat him. So far with the coffee shop guy, it's just been chatting for a minute or two, but I wonder if God wants more from me than that. And I wonder if, when the moment comes, I will have the courage to answer His call.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The cutting edge of technology...

... is where I am tonight. Chuck and I got new cell phone plans today, and new phones along with the new plans. And as it happens, the camera phones were actually a better deal than the regular phones with the features we wanted, so we are now that proud owners of camera phones.

I know the novelty will wear off soon, but for now it's way cool. I've taken a couple of pics of Andy and one of Wally the Green Monster (the Red Sox mascot). Wally is my "wallpaper" on the phone.

Even cooler is the voice-activated dialing, which was a feature that I really wanted. Press a button, say a name, and BINGO! you're calling.

In other news, a cute thing happened while I was running this morning. I'm jogging along on the college campus I usually run at. Lots of people run out there, and I don't run very fast, so I wasn't really all that surprised to hear someone running behind me, quite fast. As the person approached, I moved over to let him past, expecting some really buff triathelete or something. Nope. A kind of pudgy guy in jeans and a t-shirt books past saying "Good morning! It sucks to be late!"

Any way, I thought it was funny. Back to play with my phone some more. Maybe I'll even call someone...

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Yes, I'm still here....

Time for a general update...

Training update... The 5K is 18 days away now. Training is going well. My longest run is only 3.5 miles so far, but that's enough to get through a 5K, provided the organizers aren't fibbing when they say it's a level course. My times are improving, too. On long runs I'm at about 11 minutes per mile; today I ran 2.3 miles at 10:33 per mile, which I'm pretty pleased with.

Martha-Bob update... Stencilling is cool. The seaweed--what I've done of it, anyway--looks great. I'm hoping to finish the whole thing by the end of the weekend. After that, I'll probably take a project break to get ready for the holidays.

Stitching stuff... I'm working on Mirabilia's 1997 Cherub as a Christmas gift for my parents. She's a garden fairy, and I love the mischievous grin on her face. I still need to stitch Owen's Christmas stocking, but I don't know whether that will get done before this Christmas. I'm not too worried about it, though. Andy didn't get his stocking until his third Christmas, either.

Kids... We have found a Montessori program for Andy. The high-falutin' place we like didn't have a space for him, and our neighbors have spoken really highly of this program (their 5 year old attends there). Plus, it's a lot closer to home, and I can drop Andy off on my way to work. We took him for a visit and he really liked it, and he's excited about starting on Monday.

Owen, the little goober, has learned to climb out of his crib. We've had to get tough on bedtime, which has meant locking him in his room at bedtime (I know, it sounds horrible, but he can climb over a gate). We had gotten into the bad habit of letting him get out of bed if he cried, but we're putting a stop to that, and boy, is he pissed. However, last night went better than I expected. We let him cry for a while, and then I went in and rubbed his back until he settled down for sleep. When I went in, I discovered that he'd actually climbed back into his crib for bedtime.

Chuck is biking a good amount, which all of us like (well, Owen doesn't--he went looking for his Daddy the last time Chuck went for a long ride). The Red Sox are in the playoffs. Check the comments section for anything else--he's "mabelleamie."

That's it for now. Be well, y'all.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Breakfast, yes or no?

I saw this question on a meme website.

My answer: yesyesyesyesyesyesyes!!!! Breakfast rules. When else are you allowed--nay, almost expected--to consume multiple forms of high-fat dairy products? Butter, cream cheese, cream.... the mind boggles at the possibilities.

I really would not be able to function without breakfast. Whenever I get around to being chrismated into the Orthodox church, I'll have to fast on Sunday mornings before communion. Great for my spiritual health, sure, but not so great for my tummy.

So, what is my favorite breakfast? Hmmm. Really, it's hard to say. Sometimes, the Sawmill breakfast at Cracker Barrel seems like the only proper way to start the day. On the weekends, there must be either pancakes or waffles on one of the mornings. During the week, though, I'll have raisin bran, or oatmeal, or a bagel with cream cheese. Really, I love them all for different reasons. One breakfast item I don't like, though--donuts. There's not enough substance there to keep me going for any length of time. Donuts are an appropriate breakfast time dessert, but they won't do for the whole meal, if you ask me.

And here's my secret breakfast confession. I like real maple syrup, but I like the cheap fake stuff better. I like the thickness of it. Shhh! Don't tell Martha Stewart. Oh, that's right, she's in the pokey and can't do anything about it anyway.

In other matters, Ivan has mostly missed us, but will probably cause a rain-out of the Sox/Yankee game tonight, making DH rather grumpy. But right now, the sun is shining. I may even be able to get out for a run tomorrow, but we'll see. We've got a birthday party and a visit to a new baby tomorrow, so we'll be pretty busy.

MarthaBob update... With DH's help, I've gotten the paint on the walls, ceiling, and baseboards. It looks way cool. Now all I have to do is the stencilling. I may try to get started tonight, depending on how easily the kids go to sleep.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Cute kid moment...

O has been obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine for a couple of weeks now. He carries a two-inch Thomas (and as many related things as he can) with him wherever he goes. So tonight, O and Thomas are sitting O's high chair, and we give him an ice cream cone. Owen points Thomas toward the cone for a moment (so he's "looking" at it), then faces Thomas back toward himself and says to him, "ice cream"--as though he's teaching him what it is. I will note that he did not actually share his ice cream with Thomas, however.

Cue the "Rocky" theme....

Now I've gone and done it. I've signed myself up for a 5K run on October 16. My goal is pretty modest--I just want to run the whole thing. I figure it will give me a baseline for future races. More importantly, having an actual goal coming up in a relatively short time gives me something to aim at in terms of running. Most training programs for a 5K want you to be able to run at least 6 miles at a shot before the 5K (which is only 3.1 miles). I don't think I'll be running that far, but I can probably swing 5 miles by the Saturday before the race.

Today I ran 3 miles on the treadmill downstairs at my office. I would have run outside, but it looks like rain. So there I am, chugging along and feeling oh so virtuous, when two women who work for another judge in my building come in, change into their running gear, and proceed to go for a run outside, saying, "We might get rained on, but so what?" Hmph. I consoled myself with the fact that they were actually wearing official running clothes (moisture-wicking fabric and all that), which wouldn't be nearly as uncomfortable in the rain as my 100% cotton T-shirt.

And now it is raining. And they're probably still out there. Heh.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Yay, me!

I went running again this morning, despite a blister on my right foot from yesterday. I bandaged it up and wore my cross-trainers instead of my running shoes, and off I went. At lunch I went to the runner's shop where I got the shoes and they gave me some insoles to improve the fit and some sock that are not all-cotton blister magnets like the ones I had been wearing. Hopefully that will take care of the problem.

I've really enjoyed getting out the last couple of mornings. It's so peaceful and quiet, and I actually enjoy running. And, of course, it will mean that I have my lunch hours back, which will be really nice.

The other day I read an article by Kristin Armstrong, Lance Armstrong's ex-wife. After they broke up, she started running, and she just completed a marathon. I found her article very inspiring and motivating. If she can train for a marathon while being a single mom of three little kids, I think I can handle the occasional 10K. It would be nice to run a marathon someday, though. We'll see.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Good morning!

I'm trying a new fitness regimen--getting up to run at 6:00 a.m. We'll see how long it lasts. I really enjoyed it this morning, though. It was quite dark when I got out, but there were enough streetlights that I didn't worry about my footing. I had a good run, and got back just as O was waking up. And now, I'm done for the day and I don't have to worry about it. Plus, seeing the sun rise is a pretty nice way to wake up!

This morning a new baby at St. John will be baptized. This will be my first Orthodox baptism, and I'm looking forward to it. I'll be interested to see A's reaction, too. DH is going to keep O, so I should actually manage to be present for most of the liturgy.

I hear movement upstairs--time to start the day!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

First coat done...

I trust, dear readers, that none of you will be surprised when I state that painting a popcorn ceiling is not the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Still, it wasn't as bad as I feared. It went much faster than I expected, in fact, but it used a lot of paint--I only have 1/2 a gallon left, on a space that would normally have used less than 1/3 of a gallon.

I'm also a little worried about the color--I think the blue may be darker than I want. I won't really be able to tell until the whole thing is done, though.



After an insanely busy two days, the sentencing guidelines are safe (at least in the Fourth Circuit, and at least for a month or two), and the state of Virginia may dispense its justice upon the person of James Reid. That takes care of two of the three major things that have been occupying my time at work. Now it's back to the usual flood of stuff to do.

Today was my day for meeting with Fr. Marcus. It'll be our last meeting for a while, as he's heading to Russia next week for almost a month. We talked about the centrality of Christ to creation--the meaning of creation is found in Christ. In Orthodox theology, it's not that Christ came into the world to "fix" creation; rather, Christ was the whole point of creation from the get-go, and the created world can only be understood in light of the eternal existence of the incarnate Word. As Keanu Reeves would say, woah.

Tonight is more painting on the aquatic scene in the playroom--I'm doing the first coat on the ceiling. Wish me luck--I've never painted a ceiling before.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Back at work today...

The holiday is over, in more ways than one. It's one thing to be back at work after a vacation, it's another to hit the ground running, and it's yet another to start off at a full sprint and keep the pace all day. (and it's yet another thing to run a metaphor completely into the ground.) But that was the day--a nonstop sprint from one conflagration to another, and tomorrow looks to be more of the same. So, dear readers, don't expect a lot from my blog for a day or two--me and my little brain will be fully occupied with work stuff. Bleah.

An update on my Martha-Bob progress.... I've painted the baseboard molding brown to represent the ocean floor. The next step is the ceiling, hopefully tomorrow night but probably Thursday night.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

I am afraid of geese.

There, I've said it. The truth is out. I am afraid of geese.

When I was little--probably about six--I was feeding geese at a lake near our house while my mom went running on the jogging path. Canadian geese are very aggressive when it comes to food. In no time, I was surrounded by a swarm of honking, snapping geese who were trying to take the bread out of my hand. I was absolutely terrified.

So, to this day I am afraid of geese. We go sometimes to feed the ducks on the small lake at the college near our house. There are a few ducks and a lot of Canadian geese. The ducks come by first, then the geese (and a swan or two) come and chase the ducks away, and you spend the rest of your time feeding geese. When this happens, I spend most of my time shooing geese away from my children, lest they suffer the same trauma I experienced. Today, one of the geese got beyond my field of vision and came around behind me. I do not like geese behind me. Next thing I know, there is Andy, my hero, shooing the goose away and telling it to get back into the water. The goose was almost as tall as he was!

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Home renovations continue

Martha-Bob continues her rampage through the Small household. I have completed project one, which was painting wooden letters spelling the boys names for their rooms. Not very Martha Stewart-ish, unless you consider the fact that I bought two different shades of red acrylic because the red accents in Owens room are a tomato red, while the red accents in Andy's room are more of a brick red.

I bought the paint for the sea scene today--two shades of blue (chuck helped me pick the colors), brown for the baseboard (to look like sand on the ocean floor, dontcha know), and two colors of stencil paint for the seaweed. I still have to sand the moulding and prep the walls.

I started on project two, which is a shelf for Andy's room. I'm painting it the same color blue as the lower part of his wall; tonight was primer night. I'll do the actual painting tomorrow.

By the way, the glow in the dark stars on Andy's ceiling look really cool. He loves that he can shine his flashlight on them to make them glow again when they start to fade.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Martha-Bob is at it again...

Whenever I get on a home improvement kick, Chuck starts calling me "Martha-Bob Stewart-Villa". Well, I'm at it again, although this time there's more Martha than Bob. I've decided to finally do a little decorating around the house, and I'm starting with the kids' play room. It's over the garage and consists of a large square (probably 12x12) with a sizeable dormer (about 8x12). I'm going to turn the dormer into an underwater scene--light blue paint on the sloped ceiling, for the sky; dark blue paint on the walls, for the water; seaweed stencils, and tropical fish wallpaper cutouts. When I found the stencils at AC Moore, I knew the project was meant to be. I've never stencilled before, but I think it will look really cool.

I'm also doing some stuff in Andy's room. We put his bed up on the bed rails today (up to now it's just been on the floor), and we hung some glow in the dark stars on the ceiling. Next step is a nightstand and some suitable decor--his room already has a sailboat wallpaper border, so I'm going with that theme.

Once I get all that done, I'm going to try to work on the downstairs. I want to paint the kitchen burgundy and redo the downstairs bath. Bwa hahahahahahaa!!!!