Tuesday, August 28, 2007

80s Night!

Grab your leg warmers, stick your cassette tape in your boombox, and press play!

Last Saturday night, our class (girls AND guys, despite the song) had a blast at 80s night, where we donned every colorful piece of clothing in our closet and relived the crazy days of the 80s.

Everyone brought snacks, and someone thought to bring Fruit Roll-Ups. We had 80s music in the background, 80s games, and an 80s movie to end the night: Back to the Future.

Tons of fun! Here are the photos!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Fan Innovation

Have you ever had a ceiling fan that made lots of noise, wobbling back and forth, especially when on high? The problem was probably an unbalanced fan. There are many ways to combat an unbalanced fan, but I will tell you what we did.

First, I tested the fan to see if the fan blades were unbalanced (one might be higher than the others, etc). I clipped a clothespin to one fan blade at a time, turned the fan on high, and watched for changes. Most times, the fan wobbled even worse. Only on one blade did the wobbling seem to get a little better. So I tried two clothespins on that blade, only to see that it made it worse. Evidently the blades were not the problem.

Next, Jon took the fan down from the ceiling. This isn't the most fun task in the world, and make sure you have someone nearby to hold screws and be of general help. He tightened the metal mounting into the ceiling. It was loose, so we presumed it to be the problem. However, even then, he could still rock the mounting back and forth. Hm...

So, Jon took a couple of small blocks of foam and stuffed them in the areas where the mounting was rocking on the ceiling (picture a see-saw, only upside-down with the ceiling as the ground). That did the trick! Once the fan was reassembled, we cranked it up and enjoyed a much more pleasant sound: air whooshing around the fan blades and onto our faces. No more banging and fear that the entire contraption might fall off and attack me in the night. Hooray!

So, sometimes Google searches are all you need to get the job done; other times, you gotta add in a little ingenuity and innovation.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tagged by Teresa

The Rules:
1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog (about their 8 things) and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

1. I like to plan for Christmas. As a matter of fact, my family has already finalized date and location for this Christmas, thanks to the prodding of Yours Truly! My mom is a great planner, so I get that from her. Then it turns out the newest member of our family is a huge Christmas-lover, too, so she and I are already getting excited about Christmas trees and stockings. Jon and I honeymooned over Christmas, and we made a roasted hen, potatoes, green beans, and Jon started the tradition of making monkey bread for breakfast. (That last sentence was just to fill out the paragraph a bit.)

2. I like to sing really loud in the car. I especially like to sing a completely different song/key that what's blasting on the radio. Usually, it's a song I make up myself at the spur of the moment, and it's very bad. This is why I only do this when I'm alone. Jon's heard it once or twice, maybe. That's why I know we'll be together forever. :) Though I don't stay in key or rhyme or even have a tune I stick to, I've found that singing is a good way to talk out my thoughts to God. I guess it feels less awkward to sing alone in a car than speak. Anyway, I'd recommend it.

3. I am Jack of All Trades, Master of None. I love to learn new things. I like to listen to others talk about new subjects. From photography to how to make biodiesel...it's all interesting to me. I want to learn how to play several instruments, and have tried a few. From my natural curiosity about life, I've learned how to do lots of things. However, I've never learned how to do any of them well. Once I've messed with them for awhile, the drudgery of mastering them gets boring and hard, and I stop there. So, I can sew, take photos, float and tape a wall, make crafty things, paint, garden (don't laugh), roof a house, oil squeaky hinges, refinish furniture, hem pants, fly a kite, make cards, play the guitar and French horn (not at the same time), and other various things, but I cannot do any of them well. I might be able to say I can design well, but even then, I never had the most creative projects, or the best out-of-the-box presentation in class. The good thing is I don't work for a rock band or someone who might want that stuff!

4. I've broken both arms (at different times). Once when I was trying to be like my big brother and swing on the monkey bars. It turns out I couldn't reach them, even when I jumped off the top rung of the swingset ladder. My dad gave me a fudgsicle and an ice pack. When my mom got home, she rushed me to the ER. The second time was when I was sweeping the driveway...on rollerskates. Not one of my most brilliant moments. Again to the ER with my mom, where it turned out that a broken bone isn't near the emergency one might think it to be.

5. I have a good smeller. I can identify people/items by their smell. My shining moment was when I identified a mattress at my parents' house as smelling like my grandparents. It turned out they'd owned it years before! I'm amazing. I like to sniff Jon. I think it weirds him out. I try not to sniff other people too much. I sniff Friday, but he sniffs me back, so I don't think he minds.

6. I like to have each item on my plate equal out. So if I have chicken, green beans and mashed potatoes, I eat a bite of each, always making sure I'll end up with one bite of each at the end. When I get to that last bite, I then eat them from least favorite to most (chicken, potatoes, then green beans) so the best flavor is the one I'm left with. However, I don't combine food (chicken with a bit of potatoes) in one bite. That gross. Unless, of course, it's Mexican food.

7. I'm so competitive I don't like to compete. Many of you may think I'm the least competitive person you know, but it's not really true. I'm actually very competitive, which is why I'd rather play without rules and have fun, than lose. Or than get my feelers hurt in the process of winning (or worse, hurt someone else's feelers!). Usually, I don't win anyway, and then I'm mad. So, it's much better to just see how long we can keep the ball moving in racquetball or bash into the other cars for laughs in the race car video game. Who needs the score? The point is to have fun!

8. When I was a kid, I drew a detailed diagram of a Cat Room where all my cats would live. There were water fountains, toys galore and self-feeding areas. There was a special section (separated by vacuum-sealed doors) for a litter room. Since then, I've come to realize that having one cat is nice, but they're too demanding to have lots! In the more recent past, I've discussed the best way to lay out an animal shelter with Leanna and designed the perfect cat tree, so I haven't changed too much.

People I'm tagging: Leanna, Hillary (moving across the world is no excuse!), Jill, my mom, and KarenN.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

New Logo

Our church is going to be putting an emphasis on service this fall; we have several projects and trips going on that are related to service. To help spread the word and get people involved, the Design Team (of which I'm a part, and Margie is, too--Hi Margie!!) was charged with making a logo. The theme is "FallOut'07--This fall, we're reaching out."

Logo ideas don't always come very easily to me, but this one did. So, I worked it up in Illustrator and sent it on. Surprisingly, there were no edits to the logo I'd sent around, and everyone seemed to like it. So, my logo will be on all the stuff for this fall's emphasis! Crazy!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Leanna's Hair color

I'm a visual person (and like to mess with Photoshop), so here's the visuals of Leanna's color possibilities. Let her know which one you like best by posting on her blog or right here! Oh, and I picked these colors, not her, so she may like a variant of each of these, but it will give people an idea, anyway. I had the hardest time with the red/strawberry blonde. The others blended pretty well.

Here's Leanna natural (with her great new haircut!):

And here are other options:
Bleach Blonde:



Dark Brunette:


Strawberry Blonde:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Welcome to the Blogger World

Everyone give a friendly hello to my friend and roomie Hillary! She's joined the Blogger ranks so we can keep up with her in her travels, newly-wed life, and whatever else she feels like talking about. She's lucky I'm not on my home computer; otherwise I could dig up some funny photos to add to this post....

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Alternate Titles:
Ticked off
Letdown of the day
Lydia is Mean to Pseudo-Manager Peter
If it seems too good to be true...

So I've been saving money for a digital SLR camera. I like doing research, and I was looking around today and came across two websites that sell the camera I've been looking at for a really great price. I was really excited, and couldn't believe the price. I called both companies and asked them what was included in the cost. They both said "the camera body only." Okay, that's fine, and that must be why the price is so low. So, I checked around on eBay and found the battery and other things that weren't included for pretty good prices, and decided this would be a good way to go. So, I picked one of the sites and placed my order.

Twenty minutes later, I got an e-mail telling me to call the company and speak to Peter regarding my order. I call, get Peter, and he just needs the security code on the back of my credit card. (Odd, why didn't they ask me for that in the form I had to fill out?) I give him the code, and he says, "By the way, I'm wondering why you got the body only instead of the package?" I explain I was going to get the battery and other items cheaper elsewhere, because I knew they didn't have to be Canon brand.

He says, "You can't beat the prices we have, and you have to buy Canon brand to get the chip that translates the menus from Chinese to English."


"My camera is in Chinese??" I ask him.

"Yeah, for a price like that....the USA package is $400 more. You have to make sure it says USA next to it on the website."

"Why would I assume it wasn't English?"

"Well, the price...."

"I'd like to cancel my order."

"Sure, I'll cancel it for you. That'll be a 7% restocking fee."

"But I just made the order 20 minutes ago."

"I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do. That's our policy."

So, I hang up, on the verge of tears because I'm so disappointed. And ticked off. I go to the website to find the fabled USA label. I look on the camera I ordered, and there was nothing there to say it was in Chinese, not even an option to buy the USA package. (There was an option to "See Similar Packages" which I had clicked on before ordering, and it just took me to more Chinese cameras.) I do another search for the camera, trying to find any of them that said they were in English. Nothing. It's dawning on me that this whole thing (the suspicious call for my security number...) is a scam to make a quick $20 off people looking for a deal.

Meanwhile, Holly got online, so I told her what happened. Being a much more assertive person that I am, she insisted I needed to call them back and demand they take the restocking fee off my card. So, for the first time in my life, I called to complain. I called Peter back, and asked to speak to the manager. He very quickly told me he was a manager. I know from speaking to friends of mine that everyone says they're a manager, but what could I do?

Long story short, I explained to Peter the Pseudo-Manager in no uncertain terms that I thought they were pulling a scam and I refused to pay the restocking fee. He explained to me that I was being very unreasonable, was choosing to see the situation from a glass-half-empty perspective, and that he was simply offering a great deal on a camera.

Yeah, a Chinese camera! How am I supposed to even find the English cameras? Well, it turns out, you have to enter USA into the search bar. Seriously.

I again said, that's all well and good, but I'm not paying the restocking fee. I didn't care that there was a policy about cancellation, because the company had already broken their side of any agreement by not fully disclosing the details of their products.

He put me on hold.

Two minutes later, he picks back up and says, "Is there anything else I can do for you?" in a too-sweet voice. I ask him if he took off the fee, and he said, no, that was policy, and he couldn't take it off. After a few minutes more of conversation, he hangs up on me, refusing to transfer me to a manager or anyone else. "Call back tomorrow" he says.


I go back to Holly, my online coach, who says, "Call back! Don't talk to him, but ask to speak to a manager."

So I do. I get transferred to JJ. I tell him the situation, and he puts me on hold. I can feel my blood pressure start to rise in readiness for the second uncomfortable call of the day. He gets back on and says, "Okay, there's no charge."

"What? I don't have to pay the fee?"

"No." (They don't teach manners, evidently. "No ma'am, sorry for the inconvenience...")

"Okay, thank you." and that was it.

But be sure I'll be checking my bank account the next few days to make sure I don't get charged.

I realize that the "too good to be true" price should have been a warning sign for me, but I also did my research (as best I could), and two sites with similar pricing helped me think it was legit. Phonecalls to both prior to ordering would have been a good time for someone to tell me what I was really looking at, as well.

Also, even after knowing the camera was in Chinese, I couldn't find a single mention of it, or an extra acronym tagged onto the product number, or anything that could suggest I was buying something other than an English-language camera.

Seriously, even their name is deceiving: USA Photo Nation! What a scam.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

New Things (Random Post)

Last week, I got the latest and greatest design tool, Adobe CS3, which has everything I'll ever need...at least until the next upgrade. I put it on my computer yesterday, but I can't bring myself to uninstall the CS2 programs. For some reason I'm afraid CS3 will be full of bugs or something. CS3 includes Dreamweaver, the gold standard of web developing programs. Dreamweaver used to be owned by Macromedia, which Adobe bought last year. So now Adobe has Dreamweaver. Adobe's web program, GoLive, is no longer available. GoLive is what I learned and used for my own website and anything I've done so far on the work website. I'm not very good at web stuff in the first place, and the learning curve just got a whole lot steeper! I'm going to have to find a Dreamweaver class pretty soon, or I'll be lost.

This past weekend, I got to play with my mom's new iPhone. It's pretty neat! Some people bristle at all the hype, but you gotta admit, it's a well-thought-out phone. Things like seeing all your voice messages, and being able to pick which one to listen to (and fast forward and rewind) is brilliant. Also, simple changes like having a button on the phone to record your voice mail greeting solve the pain-in-the-neck problem of punching through options to finally get to record what you want. ("Press 1 if you would like to....") And then, beyond the phone functionality, the rest is pretty cool, too: iPod (of course), camera, widgets, internet. Everything carries the signature simple brilliance of Apple design. I only had a couple of problems: 1) you can't pick a song on your iPod for a phone ringtone. What's up with that?? and 2) there was one design element I thought should have been different, and I was really surprised it looked the way it did.

Last night we had some friends over for burgers, so we bought some flowers for the occasion. This huge vaseful of flowers was only $4.50! And I set some aside for the table arrangement:

Along with burgers, we served Caramel Frappuccinos, a new concoction Jon put together. We froze coffee in ice cubes, then added about a pint of cream (yep, whole whipping cream...yum...), and some caramel in the blender with the coffee ice. Top with with RediWhip, and you've got a good thing going!

We had some cream left over, so I did something I've wanted to do for a long time...made butter! Do you remember making butter in class? I was in 1st grade maybe, and I remember passing a jar filled with cream along the rows of desks. We each got to shake the jar a few times, and then we had to pass it. That was so fun! So, I made butter last night, and used it on my waffles this morning. :)

I found that the best way to shake cream to make butter is while playing Dance Dance Revolution!! Yep, Jon got the XBox fixed that Cliff gave him, and we headed to GameStop yesterday for some used games. I came home with DDR, something called Corvette (how could I pass it up??), and a racing game. Since the controllers are still in the mail, we couldn't play anything but DDR, since it uses a separate dance pad as a controller. I totally stunk it up, but it's still fun. And it passed the 20 minutes of shake time I had for making butter!

In other news, I have my curtains up! Leanna and I have hemmed two of the panels, but the two shown here aren't hemmed, yet. I love the new colors in the house! I've also added a new welcome mat in the entryway, which Friday promptly claimed as his own:

So, that's pretty much a recap of what's happened lately. It's been a busy week! But I'm so thankful for the blessing I have: a good job, family, friends, and a home that makes me happy.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

My cutie kitty

Today is a blah day, as Karen said on her blog. Well, few things cure the blah day blues like kitties! So, just in case you don't have one of your own, I'm sharing mine:

Of course, there's always one thing that's guaranteed to make me laugh. Jon doesn't understand, but it cracks me up. Here it is:

And in case you missed that last one, or wanted to see the poor guy getting chewed out (Long Johnson, maybe?):

"Why, I eyes ya."

Hahahaha! *Sniff...Sigh.... Ah, I feel better already. :) Hope you do, too!