Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Birthday

It's my brother-in-law, Mike's, birthday today. Happy 31st birthday!! I told him earlier that his birthday was obviously more important than Halloween {I'm working on some major suck-up points!}, so I thought I better make sure that was true, even on my blog!

I also want to wish everyone a HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I can't wait to move into my house. Maybe then I can actually partake in the trick-or-treating by handing out some delicious candy. Or, I could be one of those people that kids hate because you hand out popcorn balls, nickels, or pencils. For you good Catholics out there, don't forget tomorrow is a holy day of obligation.

Happy retirment, camera

Our current digital camera (Sony Cybershot DSC-W7) has been acting up lately, especially recently, and it ended up being sort of a pain for Blake while he was in Brazil. The buttons don't always work, zooming out actually zooms in more, etc. The worst is the annoying black spot on nearly every picture and having to explain the problems should it act up when a nice random stranger is taking a picture for you. I must offer a big thank you to the trial version of Adobe Photoshop which allowed me to "spot heal" the spot right out of Blake's Brazil pictures. Now, I have 28 more days to heal my entire black spot collection. Turns out, the spot on the pictures is caused by some spot on our sensor, not the lens, which requires a decent amount of $$ and a send-away service call.

After much talking today, Blake and I decided it was time to retire our three-year-old camera and purchase a more up-to-date one rather than spending the money to try to have the buttons and sensor fixed. Isn't it amazing that after only three years, our digital camera is actually out of date? Our current camera has taken thousands of pictures and has traveled to two other countries (Mexico and Brazil), Disney World, Las Vegas, and San Francisco, as well as various places around the Midwest. So, my dear camera, I hope you enjoy a happy retirement.

Below, the model of our new camera (Sony Cybershot DSC-W90). We got it in black.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


A short photo recap of Blake's trip to Brazil! What an honor and a gift for him to be able to help those less fortunate than us in some way. My favorite story from his trip: While on their way into the clinic one day, there were hundreds of people lined up. They were so thankful for the care they were about to receive that they greeted their "doctors" with applause.

First: Some of the kids he befriended at the orphanage; the first one is the two-year-old, who cried when he left. This was one of Blake's favorite parts of his trip, even though he said it was really hard to see kids with disabilities living in such conditions, knowing you couldn't really do much to help them. But, the group brought gifts for all of the kids, which they loved!
Next: Some shots at the clinic
Finally: A couple shots in and around Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. The last one is my favorite!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Caramel popcorn

My little brother had a bunch of his high school friends over for a game day on the Nintendo Wii, and when one of them asked if I could make them some popcorn, I jumped at the opportunity to try out this new caramel popcorn recipe:

1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. light Karo corn syrup
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Mix all together in a sauce pan and cook on medium heat until mixture comes to a boil, stirring frequently. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and mix.

I used homemade popcorn, but the site where I found the recipe says you can use microwave popcorn as well. I can't imagine it with all the extra butter and salt flavor. It was just perfect with the unsalted and unbuttered fresh popcorn.

It's quick, easy, and makes quite a bit. In the words of one of Ben's friends: "Becky, the caramel popcorn is amazing!" There you have it, straight from the mouth of a 16-year-old. Give it a try!

Counting down

I get to see Blake in 8 hours!!! Here's hoping the last legs of his journey home from Brazil are safe ones. I can't wait.

Another countdown: 27 days until we move. Holy cow.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A great day

Congratulations to my friend, Rod, on his ordination as a transitional deacon. I hope today was all he could have hoped for, and I wish him a very blessed journey on the remainder of his road to being ordained a priest. I would, under normal circumstances, have taken many pictures to post, but since my camera is vacationing in Brazil with Blake, I have been without the luxury of digital photographs. Have you noticed the lack of pictures in my blogs lately?

Kudos to my choir for sticking through everything this week. The music this morning was wonderful, and they are a lovely bunch of people to work with. I thank God every day for having the privilege and honor to work with them. They will need a much deserved break after mass tomorrow morning.

Have a great weekend, and in the words of Rocco Palmo (a new-found friend), "God love you."

Friday, October 26, 2007

Have a little wine with your dinner

I'm dreaming of these beautiful wine bottles from Montinore Estate sitting on the counter in my new home. I've never had this brand of wine, but I'm guessing the wine in them is just as delicious as the look of the bottles! Only $49.99 for all three. They would make a great housewarming gift. I'm tempted.

A friend referred me to a deal site called WOOT, where they have daily deals. Today's regular deal is a digital camera for $99.99, and my wine bottles were discovered on their wine woot site. I'm going to check the deals every day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Understanding is a wonderful thing

I've officially been cited here. I am mesmerized by Mr. Palmo's elegant use of words and his dedication to current Catholic news around the world. I've always had a desire to learn more about my Faith. I went to Catholic schools through high school, and while I learned many things, I didn't gain a true understanding of my Faith until Blake and I worked with Fr. Petty when Blake decided to convert. I had actually attempted to read some literature on the Catholic Faith while in high school, but my young mind couldn't grasp all that the literature was telling me. Fr. Petty explained everything in a way that just made sense, probably because he was a convert himself. The bad part about the situation? I was supposed to have already known everything he was teaching Blake. It made me feel terrible, but I didn't know what to do about it.

My current position has been a huge blessing in my life. I credit my job at the church for my current state of spiritual bliss. I love God, and his Church, and everything that being a Catholic has to offer. The best part is that I finally understand all of it. I understand my beliefs and the church's teachings, and I'm confident that I could defend my faith if I were challenged. That is a wonderful feeling. I have been blessed with many great things, and becoming a more spiritual person has allowed me to remember to be thankful for them and to God every single day.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Scatterbrained barfly

This is what I have become over the weekend. With the very important funeral getting thrown into the mix, I forgot a few minor details for the ordination, which I only realized at choir rehearsal tonight! They are easily fixed, but I'm wondering if my weekend had anything to do with it...

For the past three nights, I could've been found in the same pub.

Night one: A nice get-together with Nick and Janelle whom I haven't seen in ages. It was a nice evening, and I even made friends with some foreigners; Bernard from Ireland, Bill from South Africa, Fred from Canada, and Scott from New Zealand. Bill and Fred work together in Canada, Bernard and Scott in Saudi Arabia. They were in town looking to buy some cows, which is an idea my dad has been entertaining since I told him of my new friends. By the end of the evening, I was in the middle of the group, and enjoying multiple free drinks, and learning all about them. Fred left me with his business card with instructions to e-mail him so that he could e-mail me his photos from the evening.

Night two: After playing at a concert, it was late and I was hungry. What is open late on a Sunday night in a small town and serves food? The pub. Once again, Nick and Janelle joined me. Fr. Loecke was there letting loose after some long hours at Fr. Petty's wake service. He found plenty of time to give me a hard time about making sure everything was perfect for the funeral, as though I wasn't already nervous!

Night three: I did not intend to go out on a Monday night. But, my foreign friends wanted to hang out again before they left. Really, how often do I get phone calls from foreigners to hang out? I finished up my work and joined them for "one drink." Meredith joined us, though she was a little skeptical of how much fun a bunch of middle-aged foreigners (minus young Scott) could be. In the end, she didn't go home when she said she was going to, we had to walk back to her house, we all had fun, and neither of us paid for a single drink. There were even dueling harmonicas, a result of the local Irish variety fest being in town. What an unexpected evening. :)

See? Scatterbrained Barfly. That is me. I officially declare that I drop the title tomorrow.

The one thing that could have made my weekend better is if Blake could have been here. He would have loved every moment. Days until Blake is home: 6

Fr. Petty would be proud

That's what I've been told by multiple people after his beautiful funeral service on Monday. Over 100 priests, countless deacons, three Archbishops, and 1000+ people were present for the magnificent service, which oozed "Fr. Petty" down to every last detail. There wasn't enough seating; there were people standing in the entrances. He was certainly loved and will be remembered always.

Please click here to read a very nice article about "Big Ed." There is also a link on the page to his full funeral sermon. If you don't know Fr. Petty, it's definitely worth a read, and if you do know Fr. Petty, you don't want to miss it.

Rest in peace.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Welcome home

I love this, and especially with Fr. Petty's wake and funeral coming up soon, it's an important reflection to anyone who's ever lost someone. Below, one of his Christmas homilies:

All this business about "coming home" is not just some secular custom
that gradually grew up around this religious feast. The reason for Christmas is "coming home." God the Son, by the power of God the Holy Spirit, with the cooperation of Our Lady, became one of us, in order that we might "come home" to God the Father.

And all the happy home-comings and reunions that we experience in our lives -- especially at Christmas -- all of those homecomings are just a prelude to, if we are faithful, the great home-coming and permanent reunion we will have one day in heaven.

And for those of us for whom this feast contains some sadness, because some of those we love are no longer with us; we keep our chin up, and we never give up the faith and hope that those we've lost are still alive, though unseen. And because of this feast-- because of that Baby in the manger -- we have the promise that we will be seeing them again some day.

That's why we still kneel on this feast during the Creed, at the part about
Christmas. We don't kneel for the appropriate phrases on Good Friday, or
Easter, or the Ascension. We do it today, and remind ourselves that God
loved us so much that He became one of us, and shared fully in our joys and in our sorrows.

And that one day, if we are faithful, we will hear from Him and everyone
with Him, those two most beautiful words a human being can hear: "Welcome home."

Welcome home, Fr. Petty.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Getting to the bottom of this feeling

For the past couple of days, I've had this bad feeling...I still don't know what it is, but it's annoying. I'll feel better about the bad feeling once Blake is safely in Brazil.

I don't want to sound like a sap, but I've been really sad about Blake being gone all day today. It's not that I can't handle being apart from him....we already spend half of every week apart the way it is. I've just been especially bummed that I can't call him or contact him. I can't even call the hotel once he has arrived and askl for his room number because the rooms are booked under the group name. I have to wait for him to e-mail me in two days. And even then, he won't be spending much time in his room as he'll be at the clinic all day long....the next couple of days will be hard...once I CAN contact him, I'm sure we'll work out a time to chat. It won't be every day, but it's better than nothing.

On a positive note: We found our long lost abstract for our house. One more thing to cross off of our list!

Hello pretty things!

I wish I could take a picture of all the things I found today.

I must rejoice in finding a fall dress, in a beautiful purple hue. It's not exactly what I was looking for because it's a simple knit dress, but it's certainly better than none at all! And, it was only $25! I also bought some wooden word art for my new home. I couldn't resist at 60% off. It's just the word "HOME" and it stands on its own. I already have a spot picked out for it and I bought a smaller version of the same style that says "FAITH." I've really been into this word art stuff lately. In fact, a friend introduced me to Uppercase Living, and I'm planning on having a party in January or February for some more decorative word art. If you're into this style of decorating (even just a little bit), Uppercase Living products are beautiful and inexpensive. I can't wait for my party! :) I particularly love these pieces of wall art in the photo below.

While I was out and about, I also found the shirt that I liked seen here, and discovered that it does not fit nicely, and frankly, makes me look like a clown. I felt like I was wearing the clown suit that I wore to go trick-or-treating when I was about 8.

Status of Blake's trip: He landed safely in New York - JFK and his flight leaves around 7 p.m. ET for Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Days until the big move: 37
Days until the house is officially ours: 43

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I'm leaving....on a jet plane

Ok, so I'm not leaving, but Blake is....his group leaves for Brazil in the morning. Say a prayer for a safe trip for them!

I will be very busy while he's gone:
1. Playing a wedding on Saturday
2. Fr. Petty's wake/prayer service/funeral
3. Accompanying the local high school for their concert
4. Ordination mass
5. Finish housing documentation with the bank
6. Continue my regular working schedule

...sigh...he hasn't even left yet, and already I want him to come home....11 days....

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sad news

I received word a little while ago, that Msgr. Petty passed away earlier this evening. His arrangements are pending, but I know that he was loved and will be missed by not only his family and friends, but an entire community. He was a great man who touched many lives.

Since he's been on a downward slide, he had picked out music for his funeral last week, and the choir has already begun working on it. I'm so happy that we had a little time to prepare. The music will never again have to be as perfect as I hope it is for his funeral.

May he rest in peace, and may his soul rejoice with God and His Angels in Heaven.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Can you say "fire truck?"

My niece is becoming quite the talker --- though perhaps we should work on the enunciating....

What? Say that again? Well....don't be angry about it!

Children are so precious! Apparently Jessi isn't the first and only child to make this mistake. Click here to see another!

Funny huh?? :)

1994 Top 5

One of the local radio stations is re-playing the top 100 from the past. I happened to catch the last little bit of 1994's top 100. This makes me smile, and laugh, and sing at the top of my lungs!! This was great pop music. Ha.

The Top 5 from 1994:

5. Mariah Carey - Hero

4. Celine Dion - The Power of Love

3. Boyz II Men - I'll Make Love to You

2. All-4-One - I Swear

1. Ace of Base - The Sign

I know some of you started singing them out's ok to admit it! :)

Anywhere but here

Lately, my family has been planning another trip to Taiwan...the trip has even been dubbed "Taiwan 08." While my dad was researching ticket costs, I started daydreaming. It's rainy and gloomy here today, so I'm imagining the tropical warmth of Taiwan, the desert heat of Las Vegas, the beautiful breeze of San Francisco, the sticky heat of Mexico, or (ooh!) Disney's happiest place on earth.....anywhere but here for today.

Blake and Me in Taiwan, 2004

View of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands, July 2007

Blake, Me, Brian, and Jennifer at the Happiest Celebration on Earth
June 2006

Friday, October 12, 2007

Pretty shirt

I'm really drawn to this purple ruffle blouse from the Simply Vera Wang collection at Kohl's.

I love the color, and think the ruffles are adorable, though I'm normally not a ruffles fan. Unfortunately for me, it's out of stock. So....another pretty thing that has eluded me. Boo. I will have to check the store for this one. I haven't been to a Kohl's in eons. Wouldn't it look nice with a pair of black pants and some black (ooh, or purple!) wedges or heels?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Why must pretty things elude me?

Awhile ago, I was all pumped about decorating my new house right away. Now, I've decided against the immediate decorating for a few reasons:

1. Rugs (at least the ones I like) are ridiculously overpriced for something you just walk all over.
2. I don't like to pay full-price for things. I am going to look for a washer and dryer around Thanksgiving when they have all of the great sales!
3. I just don't know, and won't know, how I want to decorate until I've lived there for a little bit. I need some time to let the house inspire me.
4. Who has time to decorate with new stuff while you're still unpacking all of your old stuff?
5. Time will tell what I will have the $ power to need in setting my sights on fancy things I can't afford.
6. I don't want to purchase and decorate things without Blake's insight. Even though I'll be living there alone for three months, it's his house too!

I've already been looking for things that I thought I might like to decorate with (just formulating ideas), and I can't seem to find just the right thing. It's very reminiscent of my search for the perfect fall dress, which I still don't have.

Math 911

My sister sent me this video a few days ago. Hilarious! Is this kid smart...or really stupid?

Blake would like to know if you think a four-year-old is too young to have math homework? Isn't that pre-school?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Whoa horsey

It's really hard to keep a normal life when you have a million other things going on. Here's a list of everything Blake and I are doing while still maintaining our regular work and school schedules:

1. Find our's lost in the corporate world somewhere....we've been searching for weeks, but we got a lead today
2. Get Blake ready for his seminar in Chicago this weekend
3. Meet with the bank to finalize financing
4. Finalize papers to accept the seller's counter-offer on that house we like
5. Set up home inspections for times when one of us can be there to hear what the inspector has to say
6. Pay off my car bill...$1000 + two tires (are you tired of hearing me complain about this yet?)
7. Get some of the documents needed for closing prepared (it sucks to be a seller!)
8. Find other documents needed to prepare above documents
9. Find boxes to pack our stuff into...anyone got a million laying around?
10. Make sure Blake has everything he needs for his trip to Brazil...arrange for drop off and pick up times, around all of the other appointments we have...this actually requires re-arranging my work schedule which is almost impossible these days!
11. Lining up musicians, and their stipends, for the Ordination Mass on the 27th.
12. Fitting in the time to go to two weddings
13. Setting up two times for two closings on 11/30
14. Get letter/contract from Dr. regarding Blake before Sunday
15. Finish my summer 2006 scrapbook, and dream about starting 2007
16. Find washer and dryer for our new place
17. Go through our new house to measure windows for blinds, and find some curtains for select rooms
18. Get garage key/code so that when we move, we can get into the garage at our new house - we're so smart asking, as part of our offer, for possession of the garage before the closing date so we don't have to worry about where to store our stuff
19. Line up some moving help
20. Eat
21. Sleep
22. Shower
23. Feed the dog

I need the last four because I'm afraid I might forget with everything else going on! :) Moving is a pain in the ass. It's worse because Blake will be gone, so I'm alone with most of this. Yowza.

Assuming that everything goes as planned, our prospective new place is below.

Days until the move: 44

Monday, October 8, 2007

Gather around the table...but where? Kitchen or restaurant?

While out to eat tonight, and waiting for a table, I overheard this conversation:

Woman: "Why are there so many people out to eat on a Monday night? This is ridiculous to have to wait for 20 minutes for a table!"

Man: "I know. Families just don't eat at home anymore. They spend all this money on kitchens but then don't stay home to cook in them. If they're going to have a kitchen, they should use it!"

My thoughts:
1. This is true. More and more we are becoming a society that frequents restaurants more than our own kitchen tables.

2. Since the man was also out to eat, doesn't that make him a hypocrite for having a kitchen and not using it? Then again, he may not have one; but I do know that one of his two female companions did, because they were speaking of her large new house and everything it included prior to the above conversation.

3. I can't believe I was eavesdropping, but it's so hard not to when they were speaking so loudly and freely.

4. They seemed agitated and then they started talking about alimony and how the lady's ex-husband was trying to take everything from her and left her with two kids and it has ruined her life. Maybe that aspect of her life is hard right now, but surely it hasn't ruined everything about her life, has it? Aren't her kids really a blessing? Isn't she thankful for the beautiful day? Wasn't she just speaking of the nice new house she bought? Surely her entire life isn't in shambles. Have we really become that blind to all the blessings in disguise?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Finally taking a breather

What a busy weekend:
1. Blake talked with the Dr. about a job - So far so good
2. I played a wedding
3. We put an offer on the house we like; we have not heard back yet
4. The boys started demolishing a building
5. Ben went to his high school homecoming
6. We baby-sat Jessi all day Saturday, while Lola and Mike were helping friends fix up their house
7. Worked at church this morning
8. Blake met again with the Dr. to try to discuss details; this could get interesting
9. Returned home to discover we forgot Sophie's leash, so had to go buy her a new one. Now she has a pretty hip camouflage leash. GI-DOG

I don't know why there are sunglasses in the candy dish

A fun Saturday with Jessi. It's impossible not to love this girl.

When she wants to see a little more of herself (already so vain, and she's not even two!), she simply says to Mommy:

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Do not disturb

My two little sweethearts taking their afternoon nap. So precious.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Sr. Marian (yes, a nun) taught me this today - apparently it's something she, and some of her priest friends, use frequently. If you call someone a pita, you mean they are a:


Side note: Luke and Sara have baby #2 on board. Ah! I'm so excited for them, and for little Paige to get a sibling! :) It's also slightly weird because they are younger than me, and baby #1 for Blake and me is really still just a figment of our imaginations! As my mom says, "some people are just made for making babies." I guess that's Luke and Sara to a tee. Congratulations you two!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Adding to my worry list

11. My car has been broken since Friday night. My uncle can't fix it at his handy auto shop. Since it's a Honda, it must go to the dealer. The computer is either broken or needs to be re-programmed so that my car will start. Let's add $1000 to my expenses this month + two new tires. Boo.

I thought Honda's were supposed to be so trusty. I think this is all punishment for hitting that deer. Not only did it break my fender, but now the computer is acting up....I know it's a few months later, but that deer must have a serious grudge.

I shouldn't complain. My life is blessed, and my car really hasn't given me any trouble before this, but it still sucks.