a girl, a guy, a tomato, a bean, and a bear

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Happy things

purse and wallet

With spring somewhere in the near future, I've been itching to update my purse and wallet and also try to lighten my load. If I'm not careful I'm going to end up with a bad back hauling my sack of Sweet Potatoes and purse around, so when I came across this little wallet with key fob attached and change purse I couldn't resist. The colors are so happy and ready for spring too, I can't wait to clean out my shoulder bag and put them to use!

Friday, February 27, 2009

It's Official: I've Lost It.

Okay, please laugh with me at myself, because today, I've officially lost it.

Today I woke up like any Saturday and started busying about with Evie. Even though every day is basically the same here, the weekends take on a more laid back feel just because post more or less shuts down and we tend to hang out at home even more (if possible). Usually I spend Saturdays trying to clean the house a bit and work on little projects, whether it be organization or crafts or whatever. While Evie's played, I've tried to get things straightened a bit, checking periodically if the newest BSG has been released online yet, as it usually pops up midday Saturday, having aired stateside Friday night.

Are you on to me yet?

So, it was getting close to 4 pm and I was thinking if we wanted to run any errands--and get coffee before the java cafe closes at 5 on Saturday, we'd better do it. Evie's outgrown most of her socks and I could use another laundry basket (does this make 4? 5? I've lost count)--not for laundry, but sorting and storing things.

My first inkling that something was odd was driving past the mailroom parking lot. "Wow!" I wondered aloud to Evelyn, "There sure are a lot of people getting coffee today..." The mailroom is closed on Saturday and so the only cars you see in the lot on the weekend are people at the cafe. I think three is the most I've ever seen at one time. There must have been at least 7 or 8.

We went first to the PX to get our things. No incident there. Normal Saturday like things happening...

Ok, by this point, if you're not suffering from dimentia as I obviously am, you've realized my mistake. I pulled into the lot at the mailroom, which was still obscenely crowded for a Saturday and began to be really weirded out. It was sooooo busy there. What was going on? As I walked down the hallway I saw that, in fact, the mailroom was open! Had they reverted back to their old hours? They used to be open on Saturday...

"Okay," I thought, "I can roll with this. I'll check the mail." So we went in and checked our box. No joy. But there sure were a lot of workers there--and people for that matter--for a Saturday. Okay, by this point I was REALLY suspicious and reality was beginning to dawn on me. I walked slowly into the coffee shop and asked the dude at the counter, "Is it Friday today?"

"Yeah..." he replied, nonchalantly. Oh boy.

I was totally floored. Virtual friends, I'm not talking the old, "Oh I think it's x-day today but, whoops, it's y-day" thing that happens to us all, I'm talking MY LIFE IS A LIE. Not only had today been Saturday for me ALL DAY, but yesterday? YESTERDAY WAS FRIDAY. ALL DAY. I had pizza for dinner (a family tradition from growing up), I checked the mail late in the day, because OBVIOUSLY it was the last chance before the weekend began...I'm still reeling from this realization. It's Friday? Whoa. What happened? Where did I go wrong?

I think I must have derailed somewhere around Tuesday or Wednesday. I just can't wrap my mind around it. Thinking back, there were signs today...this morning when I opened the curtains in the nursery I saw our upstairs neighbor outside. She's been gone for a few weeks and she was hauling in about a dozen boxes, presumably mail that has been building up. I wondered then to myself if the mailroom was open on Saturday. Ah well I thought she could have picked it up yesterday and is only getting around to bringing it in today. And I was wondering why I hadn't heard from my parents yet today..usually we catch up on the weekend. Then of course was the BSG thing. Of course it's not online yet. It hasn't aired in the states!!! Aaaaaaaahhhhh!

It all makes sense now. I'm so confused.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Latest from class

Here are two more assignments from my class. The still life was a further exploration I did of the pen tool in Adobe Illustrator just for my own edification and the Starbucks ad mock up is this week's project. I'm pretty pleased with my design--we had certain criteria we had to incorporate, including making our own snowflake and turning it into a brush tool. We also recreated the actual Starbucks logo piece by piece using the pen tool. Pretty neat, huh?


starbucks poster

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

He's obviously never been to Baumholder...

I got the feedback from my instructor on my logo for the local hair salon, Jung. The professor had constructive criticism, but was mostly appalled at the use of Hobo as my font choice. I really see just what he means...I'm not entirely sure what I was thinking, other than I was trying to use the built in curves of the letters in my design because we hadn't yet learned the tools that I would need to create such an effect on my own. Still, that's kind of a lame-o excuse for sacrificing design for an idea. It wasn't required, but I wanted to revisit the logo to try and make improvements. What do you guys think?

The logo:

Here's the rest of the identity system. Envelope:


Business card:

And last post, I didn't include these for the old logo, so here's something for comparison.




I think I've made some real improvements. Although I agree with what the instructor had to say, he also said something I found really funny...he said the font felt "dated and unrefined" and not German at all. I get the German part, but dated and unrefined? He's obviously never been to Baumholder. ;)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

February- Luxembourg Cemetery 2006

Gates of the American Military Cemetary

Bell Tower

Map on Monument, Luxembourg

Luxembourg Cemetary

Gospel Statue

February has been a high travel month for us here for some reason, so expect me to be frantically posting pictures in this last week trying to fit everything in. In February of 2006 Justin and I went to the Luxembourg Cemetery one afternoon. Patton is buried there--I know I have a picture of his marker somewhere, but I can't seem to find it...I think I have a video of the bells tolling too, so look to see that posted too.

Look at me, falling behind...

Ok, my great plans to document our past trips each month didn't make it past month #2. I'm going to try and catch up. Here's the rest from our trip in Garmisch, January 2007:

Garmisch collage

Garmisch collage 2

More from Garmisch

More from Garmisch

More from Garmisch

More from Garmisch

I remember as we drove home we saw maybe a dozen hot air balloons. I've always thought it would be neat to go up in one (although I probably would think otherwise while up in the air). Justin, on the other hand, was adamantly against the idea.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

219 Days Later...

I did it! Today, I am officially under my personally mandated "fat limit" of 170 lbs. I weighed in at 167.7 and I'm pretty thrilled. Now, I know, to many of you this still probably seems like a ridiculously high amount, but I'm 5'9" and to me, it's getting back into normal range. Even my BMI is now officially "normal" instead of "overweight."

During my pregnancy I put on more weight than is recommended. I began the journey at 158 lbs and ended at a whopping 217 lbs. At no point during the pregnancy did my blood pressure become an issue and my midwife reassured me every time I asked that my weight gain wasn't a problem.

I think in retrospect that at least part of my weight gain was psychological. I carry additional weight pretty well and because I have a large frame, I really did not look pregnant for a LONG time. I cannot tell you how many times people asked incredulously, "You're how far along?" or "You're due this July??" No, next July, genius, I have the gestational period of an elephant. Come on! After so much of this, I think subconsciously I began to eat more just to try and puff up a bit. Also I think there was a bit of, "well, I obviously don't look pregnant, so a little Ben and Jerry's shouldn't hurt..."

The road to getting back into shape, or at least something resembling it, has been a long one, and I know next time around I will try much harder to not put on as much weight. I'd still like to lose about 15 lbs, but I feel a real sense of accomplishment today! Yay!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

That was too easy...

Last night Evelyn was in bed and asleep by 9:20. Like whoa. I couldn't believe it. I hardly knew what to do with myself. I started and finished an entire homework module, learning how to manipulate the tricky pen tool in AI. Lots of fun, and the end result was this rockin' pear:


I'm really looking forward to playing around more with the pen tool. I see great possibilities.

So around 11:45 I headed to bed, still not quite knowing what to do with myself because Evelyn was still asleep. I had a great feeling of unease because the whole thing was too darn easy. I lay awake in bed for at least an hour, worrying and thinking about minutia. Of course, just as I began to drift off, Evie woke up. Then I began to pay for the ease of her initial bedtime. We were awake from maybe 1:30 to 4am--nursing, cajolling, pleading for sleep, to no avail. I must have put her down 5 or 6 times and had it really look like she was going to make it this time. But no, no dice. I'm not entirely sure how it all worked out, except that she was in her crib this morning, and I woke up in bed, so at some point, I guess it stuck.

Today I've tried her for a nap twice with no luck. The second time I went and had a lie down myself, hoping to make up a little sleep, but no...

NOW, of course, she's asleep, but I have somewhere (grumble) to be in 3 hours, and it's a place I'm not particularly excited about going, so instead of sleeping, I'll spend the next 3 hours mentally pacing and hand wringing and sweating at the forced awkwardness of it all.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Illustration Friday: Celebrate

For this week's topic I'm revisiting a drawing a did back in 2006. If you check my archives from...I think it was July 2006, you can find the original pencil sketch. I re-did it this time using Adobe Illustrator.

Actually, I just checked my archives and I had only posted a weird-o solarized version. Here's the original sketch:

I have a confession to make...

There are some things so dark, so terrible, we can scarcely admit them to ourselves, let alone others, but today I am here to make a confession to you all:

I like MMMBop.

Yes, that's right. That one hit wonder from years ago now by the--shudder--boy band Hanson.

I was just working out and it came up on my playlist. Yes, that's right, Virtual Friends, IT'S ON MY IPOD.

It's just so happy and upbeat I can't help myself. There's one other reason I think it especially appeals to me...

If you've known me for any length of time, you know that my knowledge of popular music (i.e. things other than musical theater) is embarrassingly limited. I will never be able to live down not recognizing "Born in the U.S.A." during a game of Cranium. Not only do I not know tons of bands or song titles, I do not know lyrics. Hardly. Ever. This is the case even with songs I know and like well. I can sing along with them okay, but if I were to try and sing on my own, I'm reduced to "Mmm mmm...to what we've got....hmmm hmm if we...mmm..not!....hmmm mmm give it a shot! OH OH! WE'RE HALF WAY THE-ERE! OH-OH! LIVIN' ON A PRAY-ER!!!"

When it comes to music, I'm drawn to the tune first, lyrics WAY second. I can like a song for years before one day going, OH! Is THAT what this song is about??

Well, listening to MMMBop, I get the feeling that Hanson doesn't know the lyrics either. It makes me feel better somehow listening to them stumble over whatever it is they're supposed to be saying. I can only make out a few lines besides the chorus, which of course, it meaningless mmmbopping, perfect for me!

Hold on the ones who really care
In the end they'll be the only ones there
And when you get old and start losing your hair
Tell me who will still care
Can you tell me who will still care?

Tell me, friends, how could you not love a song as profound as this. I tell you, poetry like this on the condition of life and aging makes King Lear looks like child's play...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Seven months old today!

Evie- February 2009 05 069

Evie- February 2009 05 058

Evie- February 2009 05 024

Evie- February 2009 05 020

Evie- February 2009 05 032

Evie- February 2009 05 036

Evie- February 2009 05 017

Evie- February 2009 05 008

Evie Sweet,

I did a double take when I realized what day it was today. Seven months old? I am the mother of a seven month old? It hardly seems possible, yet here we are. I’m starting to see glimpses of you as child rather than baby. This is very exciting to me, and, as odd as this sounds, slightly surprising. I’m fully aware that you’re on a one way trip to growing up, but sometimes I get so caught up in the day-to-day that I am caught by surprise when you make a sudden leap along your path.

Talking, for instance. In some ways, the idea of you gaining the power of speech is ridiculous. You and I talk now the way Chokydar and I talk. I say something to you, then I imagine what you say back and we have a conversation—okay, I have a conversation. But lately, Evelyn, you’re reminding me that you in fact WILL talk. Real words. Words that have meaning. Of course, you’re not there yet, but thanks to your tongue acrobatics, you’re adding new sounds to your “vocabulary.” This month you’ve started saying “da da” and “ga ga.” These sound so much more like actual words than anything you’ve come up with to date, it just blows my mind.

You look more grown up too. I remember after you were first born running into other mothers with 6 or 7 month old babies. I thought to myself, “Whoa! Monster babies!!” because they still looked more or less like babies, but they were HUGE. You’re probably a Monster Baby yourself at this point, but to me, you’re starting to look more like a toddler than an infant. Again, this is mostly exciting, but I find that it’s a discovery that is tinged with sadness. Although we are getting so close to having Daddy home with us again, it’s really sinking in that he will, to no fault of his own, have nearly missed this first phase of you. I’m glad that you won’t have any memory of him being away, but sometimes the pain of his absence stings me sharply for his sake and my own.

Speaking of sharp pains, did you know that you’re part Vulcan? Or at least you picked up some of Mr. Spock’s tricks in those early months when I watched all of that Star Trek. Lately you’ve taken to trying your hand at the Vulcan neck pinch. You’re quite adept at it, and are very amused by the reaction its application elicits from me. You also really enjoy taking the glasses off my face. This I find amusing as well, although baby fingerprints are slightly more difficult to remove than you would think, and I fear for the day when you pinch your fingers in the hinge. So far we’ve avoided it, but I think it must happen at some point.

Your curiosity is really starting to peak, and you have a knack for getting into things I’d rather you not. I’ve been crocheting and cutting fabric for a quilt, and where a month ago it was safe to leave the projects a short distance from you on the floor, it is no longer wise to do so. You’re like the Magneto of the crafting world, drawing all things crafty toward you by some unseen mutant force. You’re not yet crawling, but you can roll, wiggle and stretch your way over to something a few feet away with surprising agility.

You and Chokydar are really starting to enjoy one another as well. She keeps bringing you her toys. I’m not sure if she hopes you’ll throw them for her, or if she’s hoping for an exchange program to play with some of yours, but of course you see the gift as something new to put in your mouth. I’m constantly watching to make sure you don’t digest puli slobber. She LOVES licking you and you are quite amused by it yourself. While she’s close enough to lick you, you often take the opportunity to grab a fist full of her plentiful hair, often somewhere in the vicinity of her mouth. This really confuses Choky, as she’s not sure how to extricate herself from your vice-like grip. She will often sit there, trying to continue licking you sideways and throwing me imploring glances for assistance.

You can sit on your own now, completely unassisted, and can even catch yourself and correct your balance much of the time. You enjoy a good spill on a soft surface like the bed, and sometimes I think you play face first “timber” on purpose.

This month was a slightly more difficult one in terms of your sleeping habits. You’ve continued to sleep well at night, and even go to bed really pretty easily, all things considered. During the day, however, it can be a different story. For about a week you flat out refused to nap except in my lap after nursing yourself to sleep. I began piling books and papers on the couch just so I’d have something productive to occupy myself with during the time you’d sleep. It was worth it to be immobile for a while rather than have a perpetually cranky Evelyn. The rest of the month it’s been a bit more touch and go. Some days you’ll nap like a pro and others you flatly refuse. I can’t tell if it’s something I’m doing differently, so I can only hope it will sort itself out with time.

You are using both hands to play with and manipulate toys, and you’ve started really experimenting with the noises things can make by banging them together. You also have started clapping your hands with mine. You haven’t figured out you can put both of yours together for the same effect…yet. Oh, and while in your exersaucer you’ve begun dropping toys over the edge onto the floor and then looking to see where they’ve gone. It’s so simple, yet the first time you did it weeks ago, I was so proud of you and your deductive skills. You amaze me!

You still do not have any teeth. We’ve gone through many different pureed fruits and veggies so far, and you are an enthusiastic and skilled eater, save for peas. You do not like peas. True to your nature, though, you’re very polite in your refusal of the peas…most of the time at least. You have an amazingly patient demeanor for a baby, and are very, very observant. When I read to you I can see you scanning the page intently and follow closely as I point to different things on the page.

I tell you every day, but just so you know, and always know—I love you, Evelyn, more than you can ever imagine.


They say having children changes you...

It happened again.

My propensity for exaggeration aside, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to eat a carrot again.

On the bright side, if ever Evelyn dates a boy I really don't like, all I need do is have him over for dinner and feed the girl carrots. The rest will take care of itself.

Thank goodness she was wearing a disposable diaper. I'm pretty sure if she'd been wearing a cloth one, I'd still have thrown it away.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Jung Logo

For the third assignment in my Digital Tools class, we were tasked with creating a logo for a local business. This is what I came up with for the Jung hair salon in downtown Baumholder.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Girl

I made a couple of photo movies. I had taken a BUNCH of pictures, knowing that many would be unusable and then came upon the idea of putting them all together to get a flip book effect.

Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens

Granny Square Experimentation

I came across this GORGEOUS crocheted granny sqaure afghan on Ohdeedoh a while back and since have been itching to try my hand at one. I followed the instructions they had linked from their post, referencing Crochet Cabana and although they are great instuctions, the result doesn't look much like the blanket above. Phooey. So I began experimenting...

Granny Square Experimentation

Granny Square Experimentation

Granny Square Experimentation

Granny Square Experimentation

I think I'm getting closer...I'll be posting my progress. These little squares are addictive!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Paparazzi, are peas considered beans?

Evie does not like peas. Hereditary much?

Nuclear Radioactive Carrots

A little while ago, we had a bit of difficulty with our cloth diapers. I haven't followed up on that here, but after following instructions to "strip" the oily diaper cream residue away, our Clothies have been pretty much back to normal. Somehow, Murphy's Law knows when it's night, however, and inexplicably, the diapers are more likely to leak at bedtime. I'm not talking middle of the night, I'm talking immediately after she's freshly diapered. Go figure. Anyway, I've taken to using disposables at night, just to save myself the headache of seven pajama/diaper/sheet changes a night. Seven might be an exaggeration. But not by much.

I figure even using the clothies during the day saves a bunch on disposables, but lately I've begun to see the end of the line for my cloth friends. Why you ask?


That's right. Nuclear Radioactive Carrots. Okay, they're not really toxic, or I wouldn't be feeding them to Evelyn. They are Happy Ordinary Carrots...on the way in. On the way out, it's an entirely different story, a story I won't go into in detail in case you're reading this while you eat breakfast. Or in case you ever want to enjoy a carrot again in your life. Let's just say, that the NR Carrots have signed the death warrant on the cloth diapers. Evie's tried rice cereal, applesauce, peaches, peas, squash, sweet potatoes, and bananas. Those we can handle. Carrots are another story.

We've had a good run, Clothies. No pun intended.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mary Poppins wind

We're having Remember Who's In Charge weather here in Baumholder.

A couple of days ago I remarked to myself that it was beginning to feel as though there was a hint of spring in the air. Which of course, I knew, meant snow would be coming soon. The past three years, just when you thought you were getting clear of winter, a snow storm dropped several inches on your head.

Of course, it's only Februrary, so we're not nearly out of the woods yet, but sure enough, two days ago it began snowing. Yesterday it snowed a little in the morning but was mostly dry the rest of the day. When I went to take Chokydar out last night, however, the ground was no longer visible. There must have been at least 3 inches covering everything and I was surprised at how quickly it must have come down that evening.

This morning it's all gone! It's raining pretty steadily and there's some serious wind. Chokydar always gets really excited by crazy weather. With the wind and rain coming down sideways I had to change pants once I got back inside from the sweats I had worn as pajamas to---well, more sweats. No judging please.

When I was a child I used to love windy days, especially on the walk home from the bus stop after school. The walk was maybe two blocks; from our house it was down to the corner of the cul-de-sac and then 90 degrees to the right and just down to the next corner. It seemed a lot longer as child, and I would day dream and sing outloud and pick flowers as I walked/skipped/ran home. I was totally oblivious to the fact that anyone might be observing me through a window...I imagine some of the neighbors got a good laugh now and then as I practiced what I thought must be a really good dance move or leap. Windy days were the best, though, because it felt as if I might get swept up and could fly away. I'd spread my arms out wide and jump sometimes, and if I were really lucky, I had an umbrella that day and I got to fully induldge my imagination, doing a full out Mary Poppins.

Watching Chokydar race around with the excitement born in the raw energy of the weather makes me so happy. I think we'll enjoy some hot chocolate today, watch some fantastic B-grade science fiction, play on the floor and crochet. Life is good.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Evie Videos!

Here's a couple more videos of your favorite Evelyn and mine!

Portraits by Mel Stringer!

I first came across Mel Stringer's portraits through Drawn. I really like her line work and when I discovered that she took commissions (at a very resonable price, too!) I contacted her to get some portraits done of our family.

Me being me, I chose more humorous/whimsical pictures to give her as reference. I love what she came up with!
michele, mel stringerjustin, mel stringerevelyn, mel stringer

A Sampling

The Flower Market Cafe

I'm in the second week of my online class, "Digital Tools," and so far, I'm loving it. We're exploring the Adobe creative suite and the class is approached from a graphic design perspective, which I am pretty unfamiliar with but find I'm really enjoying. I think graphic design is something I've been noticing for a while now without consciously realizing it.

In this project, we were supposed to use the tools in Adobe Illustration to create a vase and daisies. That part of the assignment was pretty straight forward. We were then given room to create a background for the rest of the design, and this is what I came up with. I think I'm most pleased with the color scheme. I sometimes have a hard time with color, but I think I'm improving. It was a little difficult approaching this assignment because of the specifications for the vase and flowers. Were I to have full creative control, I would have come up with something different. It's really fun getting to better understand the program, though!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Baby Buddies


Adam, Caelan, and Vanessa

Tricia and Kieran

Smiley Girl

Evie legs

Kieran and Hedgehog

Kieran has awesome eyes

Evelyn's got her eye on you

Also this last week Evie and I got together with our buddies from the pregnancy group. Vanessa and Adam hosted this go around and it was lovely to meet the rest of their family (Caelan's grandmother and Zoey, the dog). It made the second time seeing Tricia and Kieran in one week, which was almost mind-blowing with goodness. :)

This was the first real time we'd gotten together that the babies were actually aware of one another. Kieran and Evelyn "fought" over who would get to chew on the tags of the nearest toy. They took turns stealing it from one another while the other was distracted. Kieran showed off his awesome pre-crawling rock and Caelan demostrated his object manipulation skills with his bottle. Evelyn sat without assistance, quietly watching, taking it all in--a little wary, and slightly more on edge than usual due to her aforementioned nap strike.

It's so amazing to see how far these guys have come!
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