So Here's My Life

The things we make,
the food we eat and
the shenanigans in between.

A blog about making things by

Friday, December 28, 2007

It's almost here.

Before you get married, most couples go through premarital counseling of some sort. One of the purposes of the counseling is to eliminate false expectations of certain situations (i.e. how much money to spend of gifts, who will take care of the finances, which family you will spend the holidays with, etc.) I found this part particularly helpful, but here's one thing that should have been added onto the false expectations list. How to Move. Seriously. We have had more disagreements about this silly moving process, than anything else lately. How are we going to move? Will we use a moving van or just make several trips back and forth? (heck no!) Where do we get the boxes from? Do we purchase them or pick through the boxes behind the grocery stores and restaurants? (Ugh) What boxes should we use to pack (fill in the blank)? How heavy should the boxes be? (don't even ask me to help if they weigh more than 50 lbs) Who is packing what articles? Does this really need to packed into a box? (of course it does) Do we really need to pack the clothes in the dresser drawers? (yes, of course). Wait, don't pack those blankets, I need them to pack the glass tabletop!

This is how it has been. And now I am a firm believer that the next person that writes a premarital counseling curriculum should have a section about moving in there.

But the good news is that we are almost done packing.

Over the last couple of days, I've been too preoccupied to cook anything. So our diet has consisted of Hot Pockets, leftover Christmas candy (somehow we ended up with a lot of chocolate this year...not that I'm complaining), and quesadillas, and sandwiches. Last night I was so hungry, I finally gave in and made spaghetti (from a jar of course).

Yesterday our internet/phone service provider got confused and shut off our account, instead of waiting until Monday like we had requested. Do you have any idea how much of a conflict that is right when you are about to move? It is for us anyway, because pretty much everything we do requires the internet. And despite of all that, I did not have a melt down yesterday. And that's quite the accomplishment for me. Ha ha.

Tomorrow we're dropping off our truck at the new house and picking up the Moving truck. The move is coming so fast.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Lessons Learned in 2007

Lessons Learned in 2007

about life:
  • Forgiveness takes a lot of work
  • consider the source of the criticism before you take it to heart
  • God does not do things to us out of spite.
  • Ultimately God's opinion of me matters far more than others.
  • Move on from past hurts. Dwelling on them keeps you in the past and hinders growth.
  • You can only spend so much time worrying about others before it leads to stress. Pray is far more effective.
  • God's timing in perfect.
in marriage:
  • admit when you are wrong
  • an apology can go a long way towards a good relationship
  • sometimes it doesn't matter who was right and who was wrong, the important thing is to move on.
  • forgive your spouse
  • when you keep God first in your relationship, everything else falls into place
  • friendship and communication (and God of course) keep a relationship strong
  • dedication to working through conflict only makes you stronger.

Some of these lessons I have learned, I am still in the process of putting them into practice.

Moving time is almost here. Close to half of the house is packed. We have a moving truck reserved, and this weekend starts the moving process. I am excited, nervous, anxious, and scared all at the same time. I can't believe how limited the time we have here is.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Consider the source.

I've been thinking about one issue in particular recently. In the past we have had some individuals make false accusations about Joel and I, but even if these accusations were true, it was not their place to address them. It was just none of their business. Some of them even had the audacity to sit us down and inform us of our "issues." After all of this arose, I became very paranoid. I was heart broken. I was depressed, and hurt. I was constantly crying over what others thought about Joel and I. I was in a constant state of worry. But recently I came the realization that these issues were not OUR issues, but THEIR issues. These were never issues we had, but issues they had. Their issues come to light more and more everyday. But instead they put their own problems on us. They made up issues that we never really had. They made an issue out of something that didn't exsist. And honestly those people that made these false accusations didn't know us as well as they thought they did, quite obviously. People can be so mean. But I have come to the conclusion that they're dumb. And I don't care what they think. I think that concerning this issue, I've learned to consider the source before you take what they have to say to heart. And that feels really good. Really good. And I feel so much better.

Monday, December 17, 2007

We had a good trip this weekend. Joel did lots of paperwork at the headquarters of his current job. I sat in coffee shops, drank coffee, read books, and went out to take pictures around town. Friday it started snowing, and therefore I lost interest in taking pictures. I took a couple, but at one point it started snowing heavily and I had no desire to stand around, shivering, trying to get a good shot. Joel also had an interview this weekend for a potential job and it went well. He has a follow-up interview soon. There's a good chance that he will get a job offer from this company. We'll see. We also looked at houses and houses and houses. We'll be renting a house for the first part of the year, improve our credit (which isn't terrible), and then buy a house in the fall sometime...hopefully. We found a house to rent and put in an application. So as long as we get approved, we should have a house. Things seem to be coming together for the move...which is in about 2 weeks. I haven't packed yet. yikes. I should do that. But I hate packing. I'd rather clean the house.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Almost time.

Next month we move. I can't believe that time has flown by so quickly. I have so many mixed emotions about this next step in our lives. On on hand, I am eager to live in a large city again, to have a mall and a walmart nearby, and to be a part of a church plant in its beginning stages. (Did I tell you guys about that? I can't remember. We will be helping out a church plant (which is a church just starting out)) But on the other hand, I am seriously going to miss things about this town. I will miss:
  • my neighbors - spending time hanging out, talking on the phone, cooking steaks, watching movies, and playing music together.
  • my piano students - I seriously love all of my students. They have taught me how to become a better teacher. It breaks my heart to not be able to finish what I have started with them. (Some of them actually plan on driving 2 hours to come and continue piano lessons)
  • Zachary - the funniest teenager ever!
  • many other people
  • my cute little 100-year-old adobe house. It used to be a stage coach stop in the wild west days.
  • the convenience of living being only 3 minutes away from the store, the post office, the bank, etc. And no stop lights. I hate stop lights.
but you know what I will NOT miss? I will not miss the rodent (rat/mouse?) that has been lurking inside my ceiling for the past couple of weeks. The exterminator came and put out poison to kill it last week...but it hasn't taken effect yet. A couple of nights ago I listened to it run around inside the ceiling and gnawing away at the house. I swear that thing was going to chew a hole through the ceiling into the house, and then jump into bed with us....I didn't get that much sleep that night.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

All I want for Christmas is...

an external hard seriously.... you can stop laughing now. It's true. I don't have room to store all my photos on the computer...I need an external hard drive. (It's so obvious that I'm married to a computer nerd...I get dorkier by each passing day) That is what I want for Christmas. Wow, I feel like a dork.

Joel and I have decided to buy ourselves a present together for Christmas this year. We are desperately trying to save money for our upcoming move and hopefully a new house sometime next year. We decided to get ourselves something practical. Something we could be both use. External hard drive it is.

One other gift we will be purchasing this year for ourselves will not actually go to us, but to someone in need. Joel and I have decided to start a new family tradition, and that is to buy a gift for a charity of some sort. Operation Blessing International provides the opportunity to purchase supplies, operations, food, shelter, etc for people in economically depressed countries. We have decided to purchase something for a needy family from Operation Blessing as well. I'm excited about this opportunity, and look forward to this new tradition. Over the coming years we will sit down with our (non-existent at the moment) children and choose a gift for a needy family. Very exciting.

So Thanksgiving was fun. (Just in case you were wondering) We spent it with my parents and siblings (and Aaron). And perhaps I will put up pictures later. But not now. I'm tired. And I'm lacking the patience at the moment too.

I've been working on a building a "portfolio" for my pictures. I started out by making a photoblog on but then out of the the blue Joel decided to buy a domain name for me and so now I have my own website to display my work. I'm not going to tell you what it is yet, because I'm still working on it, but when I have significant progress on it, I'll let you guys know.

A friend asked me to tutor her kids with their homeschool until we move, and I have consented. I like doing it. And I like helping my friend too. Since I've graduated from college, this has been my fourth job in education. Each opportunity has fallen into my lap. I have never sought them out. I find it strange. And although I enjoy them, I have absolutely no desire to get a teaching license or pursue a career in education, nor do I feel God leading me to do so. But I have to ask, "God, what are you doing here? And why do you keep presenting me with these jobs in education?" That is one thing I do not understand about my life right now. I feel a little baffled.

My time has been consumed between teaching music lessons, tutoring, photography, and preparing for the holidays and everything else that comes with it (anniversary, piano recital, etc), and that is why I have failed to write so frequently. Just so you know. And now I'm tired and I'm going to bed.


Monday, November 19, 2007

It's coming too soon...

At the moment my brain feels like mush. It seems as though the holidays are coming a little too quickly for me this year. Thanksgiving is on Thursday. We are leaving the day after tomorrow to spend Thanksgiving with my family. Brody has ringworm. Now he can't come with us like we had planned. I have a Christmas piano to host in a couple of weeks. I need to get my students ready for it. I need serious details to fall into place for the finding a piano light enough to move to the place we are going to having the recital. Joel and I have an anniversary coming next month. Christmas is coming. I have Christmas pictures to take for a family. We are moving. soon. Joel is getting a new job. We need a place to live....aaaaaaaaaAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!! I'm feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment. I think the holidays are here.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Washing Machines

Today I broke my washing machine. I was washing a blanket. It was big. Too big obviously. I broke a plastic gear inside the washing machine. Oops. Fortunately a very nice repair man agreed to take it and fix it, even though it was a Saturday. So Joel and I argued and wrestled the washing machine out to the truck. Moving heavy furniture with your spouse isn't exactly the easiest thing to do. Arguments are just a given when it comes to this activity. Anyway, the repair man was quick and managed to get it back to us after only a couple of hours. And now my washing machine is at home is happily washing my clothes. Very cool. But I learned something today. Only front loading washing machines are designed to wash heavy blankets. Not the top loading kind, like mine. And that was one expensive lesson. Especially when you have a move coming up soon.

Friday, November 16, 2007

My mother told me...

to never pet stray cats when I was young, because I could get ringworm. I believed her. I've always avoided stray animals for that reason.

(WARNING: this blog has the potential to gross you out, feel free to skip reading this blog)

Remember how I mentioned in one of my blogs recently that Brody had a bald patch on his head? I showed it to a friend who's a rancher. (ranchers can be fairly knowledgeable about doctoring their animals) She said it was a fungus, probably ringworm...but then she paused and said, "but if it's ringworm, then you guys would have it too...." her voice trailed off. I pulled up the sleeve of my shirt to show her a round red mark on my shoulder a little smaller than the size of a dime. I thought it was a bug bite. But after she examined it, she confirmed that the spot on my shoulder is ringworm....uhhhh!!! She then went on to explain that ringworm is quite common to find in animals around here because the dirt carries that fungus.

When we found out what this was, I immediately picked up some medication from the pharmacy and have been applying it to both myself and the dog religiously. So far Joel has no signs of ringworm. Last night I was doing some research online about ringworm. I found out that it is very contagious. Just by touching the affected area, you can get it.

I found the mark on my shoulder when I was in Dallas last weekend. I had no idea it could be ringworm. I just assumed it was a bug bite. The worst part is that I wore a dress to the wedding that exposed my shoulders. I hugged so many people. It just blows my mind to think how many people could have been infected and not even know it! Oops. wow. I feel bad.

Ok, well I'm sure that every single one of you guys wanted to know about my ringworm crisis. I don't know why I talk about these things....

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Last weekend

So this past weekend Joel and I went to Dallas. We had a great time visiting family, and friends, enjoying some of the sights, and going to the wedding of a very good friend. Here's a couple of shots from this weekend.

We totally stole this picture idea from Emily. But I'm glad I did....I've always wanted to be a

my brother....climbing on the fountain at SAGU. (i told him to)

visiting the alma mater. they made it way cooler since I graduated. It makes me bitter. No just kidding. Ok....maybe just a little bit.

Yup. Standing on the sign. Just as cool as ever. (*Dear ole' Southwestern, I remember yoooouuuu....* ok. nevermind. terrible song)

Good times with college friends (& bridesmaids) at Cafe Brazil. Seriously good food too.

Joel and Carlos B. Friends from the days spent in Vegas.

Sarah & Eric. One of our favorite couples finally tied the knot!!!

A view of downtown Dallas from Reunion Tower. It took forever to get this shot. Do you like the bars going through the picture??? lol.

In addition, we also went to IKEA for the very first time, and finally understand what all the raving of this store is about. I hope we get one out here someday.

We went ice skating at the mall in Frisco. Good times. I fell twice. The first time I tripped, flew forward, and landed flat on my torso. It hurt really badly. I had to crawl off the ice as I held back the tears. The second time I fell backwards and landed sitting down. Someone stopped and asked if I was alright. My response was, "Yeah, the first time hurt way worse than this time!" lol. I have lots of bruises, and a couple of scrapes.

We went down the Waxahachie and went to the Dove's Nest for lunch. I seriously miss eating there. Good food and good memories.

One last thing. This weekend I sold my very first picture on istockphoto!!! Yay!! Someone bought one of my pictures!!! And I currently have 6 pictures online for sale. Yay for accomplishments!
Happy Wednesday Everyone.
I haven't written in a while...well, ok just a week. Here's what has been going on.
  • last Wednesday I made my students come over to my house and show me their Halloween costumes. They were very of my students dressed up like a salt shaker, while her friend dressed like a pepper shaker.
  • For the past 5 days or so, I've been hearing something on the roof at the early hours of the morning...about 4 or 5 o'clock. I think there's a rodent of some sort...raccoon maybe? I hear it scamper across the roof right above our bed. This morning I climbed on top of the roof to see if I could find something...all I found was a couple of piles of juniper berries from the tree right next to the roof. I'm not sure what it's doing up there, maybe collecting those berry things from the tree? I don't know, but I find it difficult to sleep when I hear something walking across my roof...makes me feel like someone is stalking me.
  • Last night we found a bald spot on Brody's head, right by his ear. It's weird looking. The skin is dry and flaky, not scabbed. Anybody have this happen to their dog? Joel was looking it up on the internet, and found out that it might be a parasite. aahhh!!! Poor dog. Maybe I should just live at the vet's office or something. This dog always seems to have problems...why doesn't everyone else have such weird problems with their dogs??? I swear, having a dog is like having a child.
  • I'm pretty sure I have decided on a name for my photography "company". I've been thinking about it a lot, and I really like the name Perspectography. I will explain the name soon. And btw, I currently have 3 pics up for sale on Istockphoto and I'm applying to sell my photos on another website too. Slow progression here...but getting there.
  • Tomorrow Joel and I are going to D-town!!! whoo hoo! Very excited about this. We have a very good friend getting married out there this weekend, and will be spending some time with college friends, and family. Yay. The only draw back is that when we visit my brother at college, the college will be hosting Campus Days. Boo. Oh well.

I took this picture on Monday in Dilia, New Mexico (I'm sure everyone knows where that is. no. just kidding) I pulled over on the side of the road to get a couple of shots, and I ended up jumping inside the fence to get a couple more. But there was no one around. lol. I'm such a trespasser.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


It feels good to accomplish goals. Yesterday I accomplished a goal. I finally got my first picture approved to be sold on on Even though I have been approved to become a photographer on iStockphoto, I still had to resubmit my photos for approval to be sold (each photo you submit to sell must be approved)...and have had several rejected. But that's ok, because with each rejection, I learn a little bit more about what makes a good, marketable picture. But yesterday I finally got a picture approved. You can view it online here. Honestly, I don't think it's that good, and don't anticipate that it will sell very well. There are like 50,000 other photos on the site similar to mine that are way better. But that's ok...because I finally took a picture well enough to get accepted to sell online. And that was my goal. And so I'm proud. I feel accomplished. Even if nobody buys it.

And Happy Halloween...even though I don't like this holiday very much.

Monday, October 29, 2007

We are....

moving. That's right. Joel and I will be moving at the end of this year...probably around the New Year. Joel's job contract finishes at the end of December, and we feel that our time here is done. I have mixed feelings. I'm sad, but also very excited at the same time. There are people here that I will miss terribly, yet I know that the Lord has great opportunities for us waiting in the next place. We do not know for sure where our next place of residence will be yet, but we are considering two different locations - one place only a couple of hours away...and the other...10 hours from here. We swing back and forth between the two, but this weekend, we had a very strong swing towards the closer option. This weekend, while Joel and I were working at a Youth Convention, we met the pastor of a church plant in the closer city. As the weekend progressed we were invited to spend time with the pastor and his family, learned more about the church and their clear vision, and even visited the church this morning, we felt that perhaps we have found a place to be connected. The church was an exact fit of what Joel and I had been looking for in a church. It was so exciting. BUT we still have not made a decision. Next month we have a quick trip. In that time we will be spending some time with family and friends, watching a very good friend get married, and check out the prospect of moving to the area. After this trip, I believe that we will have a clear direction on where to go. We will see...

Friday, October 26, 2007

I <3 Photography

Lately I feel as though I am rediscovering myself...and perhaps even discovering how much fulfillment is gained through photography. I love photography. I love it more and more each day.

I took this picture yesterday in Montezuma, New Mexico near the United World College. UWC is a series of prestigious world wide junior colleges for children of prominent families from all over the world to attend. It's funny because the students are encouraged to not associate with any people from outside of the college. The college in Montezuma has even gone so far as to imply that people in the towns outside the college have diseases!! Weird. Anyway, back to my picture. I was near the UWC taking pictures of the amazing scenery, and several UWC students walked by me on the way to the post office. Some were friendly, smiled, and greeted me. Others avoided eye contact, lowered their voices, and walked on the farthest side of the path. It amused me to see the different reactions of the students as they passed by me. The funny part is that yesterday I was feeling serious effects from the flu that I've been fighting all week. I was sniffling and sneezing like maybe I did prove the college right...maybe we DO have diseases!! lol.

Ok. So I've been doing some thinking. I need a "company" name for my photography...some kind of logo to put on my pictures, mostly for when I post them on the internet...and specifically my public blog on the Blotspot. Since I'm trying to sell my pictures as stock photos, the copyright issue is a big deal. It doesn't bother me if you guys were to copy my pictures and use them for your own benefit, but if someone else were to copy them and try to sell them, that's a different story....

So I've come up with a couple of names, but I'm still not's a couple names I've had in the back of my mind...

Melodic Photography
Photo Melody
Music To Your Eyes

Hmmm....I don't know. I really like Perspectography BUT someone I know uses the "-ography" suffix on their work...and I didn't realize this until after I came up with the name...So I'm still not sure what name to use. Input? Suggestions??? I suppose for now "Michelle S." will work.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Youth Convention '07

So this weekend was Youth Convention out here. And since Joel and I are no longer the youth pastors, we worked behind the scenes as the assistants to the Stage Manager, ran various errands to keep things going smoothly during convention, and in addition Joel over saw the set up for the late night activity. I have to admit, we had lots and lots of fun. It was a blast. The whole event was TONS of work, but worth every minute of it. I can't explain why we like to help so much, but there's something so rewarding about working together on a big event to see so many lives eternally impacted during a matter of 3 days. I love it. A couple of things that occurred during convention were:

  • spending time with Youth Convention's band, LOOKTOTHESKY, from Abilene, TX and teasing them constantly about their emo clothes and how much time they spend on their hair. Seriously, they spend more time on their hair than I do. LOL!! Despite their amusing appearance, they were really great. ;o)
  • a hit and run. Yes. Someone hit our car while we were eating at a restaurant, and took off. Luckily for us, a nice person observed the whole thing, took down their license plate number, and then reported it to us. Fortunately it was just a couple of scratches to the side, and our insurance is currently taking care of the repairs. Not too big of a deal, but POOR CAR!! I think that people LIKE to hit our car or something. That's the third time (to our knowlege) that our car has been hit! What the heck? Maybe our car is bad luck, especially considering the recent incidents that I wrote about with our car a couple of blogs before. Ok, I really don't think our car is bad luck...but still...our car...has issues. really.

Ahhh!!! Sorry I forgot to rotate the picture (as always)

The band, LookToTheSky, leading worship

still worship with LookToTheSky

Patty is SO Pregnant!!

Sweet Street Fiesta (late night activity) with a Mexican theme. I have no idea why I put up ugly pictures of myself.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Cruise Pictures!!!

Here's a couple of my favorite pictures from the cruise:

Eating Sushi on the ship...I love sushi but....some of it tasted a little...scary.

Waiting for dinner on formal night #2. I bought this dress in Puerto Rico and I LOVE it!!!

This is a lookout point in Old Town San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The view from a high point in the Morro Castle in San Juan.

At the Castle in San Juan.

A street in Old Town San Juan. I love the combination of Latin vs. European culture.

The view of St. Thomas from Paradise Point.

This shirt really amused me, and perhaps I should have bought it.

This man had a melt down when he caught me taking a picture of him. He almost threw a piece of fruit at me, and started yelling like a lunatic. I probably would have deleted this picture, but now I have a great story behind it...and learned if you are going to take pictures of locals, either be quick and candid or ask. lol.

The beach at Grand Cay.

A hermit crab we found on the beach at Grand Turk & Caicos.

Joel didn't like wearing my pink backpack, but I still like the picture. lol

On the beach at Grand Turk & Caicos.

One of the many towel animals our stewards left in our cabin during the cruise.
Ok. There you go. I still have plenty more, because I took around 1,000 pictures. Seriously. LOL.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Our parasailing adventure gets a blog of it's own because it was so fun. We went parasailing our in Grand Cay (the Bahamas) our second day of the cruise. It was seriously so much fun. They started out by strapping the parachute to us. Then we sat down on the back of the boat and as soon as the boat is put into gear, the wind gently pulls you up, as the rope is let out. Once you get up into the air, the view is amazing. You have a bird's eye view of the Caribbean. There's no noise, and it's absolutely peaceful. When it's time to come back down, they reel in the rope and you slowly get closer and closer to the boat until you're close enough to stand on the back platform of the boat. Parasailing is one of the coolest things I've ever done in my life, and I would do it again in a heart beat. I highly recommend it.

getting ready to go...

taking off...

sailing high above

my turn...i'm excited but a little nervous...

It is sooo relaxing up there...

coming back down.

I'll put more pictures online soon. But if you're feeling a little impatient, I finally added our vacation pics to my albums on myspace. There's a whole wealth of pictures on those two sights.

Monday, October 8, 2007

finally home.

so we're finally home. we got home late on saturday night. saturday evening we finally arrived at our home airport, took the shuttle to the off-airport, long term parking to our car. when we reached our car, i opened the front driver's side car door and hit the power lock to unlock the rest of the car...nothing happened...i tried it again. still nothing. oh no. i had a sinking feeling inside of me. i sat in the driver's seat, and looked at the ignition. it was turned to "accessory" (the setting where you can keep the radio on without turning on the car). the sinking feeling became even stronger. i put the key into the ignition, and turned the key. nothing happened. the car battery was obviously dead. i killed our car. somehow when i turned off the car in the long term parking lot, even though i pulled the key out, i didn't turn it off all the way. and so our car stayed on the "accessory" setting for nine days straight. and unfortunately the jumper cables were in our other car at home. how convenient. so after half an hour of flagging down a shuttle bus, and finding jumper cables that weren't fried, we finally got our car started and began our two hour drive home from the airport. after about 20 minutes or so of driving on the interstate, we heard a big "clank" from underneath our car. after i questioned joel about the noise, he dismissed it as a change in the road. we continued driving, and i noticed the car started shaking hard. at that point joel decided that he needed some coffee. we took an exit and pulled into McDonalds. as we were pulling into the parking lot we noticed the car making a lot of thumping noises. joel parked the car and began to check the car. he put his hand on the driver's rear tired and shook it. it moved back and forth with ease. that was a bad thing. then he check underneath the car and discovered that one of the supporting beams to the axle and actually broken off. there was no way we could continue driving home. so we pulled into a well lit parking lot, called joel's parents, turned off the car, and waited an hour and half for them to pick us up. They did and dropped us off at home. yesterday joel, his father, and a friend of the family took a flat bed trailer and drove back out to pick up our car from the Smith's parking lot and bring it home to be repaired. Getting home on saturday proved to be difficult. it's crazy to think how serious the situation was and amazing to realize how much God protected us from a potentially fatal accident. God is so faithful.

Our house isn't complete finished being tiled yet, but fortunately the living room is done, and so we can at least set up the entertainment center and the computer. But the tiled floors look so great.

Caribbean pictures coming later today! but for now i need go and work out! especially after all that food i ate on the cruise.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

I'm at the airport.

Half Moon Cay

We are back from our vacation...well...almost. We're sitting in the Ft. Lauderdale airport, waiting for our flight. So pretty much, our vacation was amazing. We stopped at four different islands: Half Moon Cay (Bahamas), St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands), San Juan (Puerto Rico), and Grand Turk and Caicos (Bahamas). Here's the summary:
Half Moon
  • Sandy beaches. turquoise water. perfect beaches. the perfect oasis.
  • Parasailing in Half Moon was absolutely breath-taking. The view was spectacular.
  • Swimming in the ocean = fun. yes.
St. Thomas
  • Snuba in St. Thomas was a blast, and this time I did great. But the colors of the plants and coral were muted and dull compared to Cozumel (we went to Cozumel a couple of years ago). But it was still lots of fun.
  • Took the tram to Paradise Point (one of the highest points on the island) and enjoyed the view.
  • Locals drive on the left side of the road, honk at every passing car, and drive like there's no tomorrow. (just like Latin America) the appearance also resembles some Latin Countries too...but beautiful nonetheless.
  • walked the 99 steps built by the Dutch several hundred years ago.
  • Checked the outside of Blackbeard's castle.
  • A strange local man almost chunked a piece of fruit at me after he caught me taking his picture. (oops).
  • Convinced taxi drivers to give us half the normal cab fair to and from the ship.

San Juan
  • checked out El Morro Castille, which is the fort built by the Spanish (I think) on the coast. Very fun. Met a new friend named Tom from the ship on the way.
  • Shopped in Old Town San Juan (historic section). Bought a way cute pink polka dot, spaghetti-strap Puerto Rican style dress.
  • Went to an authentic Puerto Rican restaurant and ordered my meal in Spanish (word). They spoke in English to Joel. FUN FOOD.
Grand Turk
  • Walked the beach. Lots of pictures. Serious amounts of shells...all over the place.
  • Found a beautiful, nearly flawless, whole conch shell...took it with us, but later returned it after we found out it was illegal to take them (Grand Turk is a state park or something like that).
  • went snorkeling...but quit after fighting the current, strong waves, rocks, and stupid snorkelers who collided with you and then continued on, kicking their fins in you face (I wonder about stupid people). But lots of cool stuff to see.
On The Ship
  • Swam, rode the slide, played miniature golf, met lots of friends, ate at the sushi bar, ate 200,000 meals (last night for dinner I had 2 appetizers, 1 salad, 1 entree, and 3 deserts, plus sushi before dinner as well...just because I CAN!!), worked out at the gym (had to in order to support my eating habits aboard), went to a yoga class (minus the weird chanting meditation) but it was still a little odd...and really hard to balance while the ship was rocking, dressed formal, took like 1,000 pictures, slept (sleeping on the ship is the best because of the rocking ship), and relaxed. It was way way way fun. And totally needed.

I will put up some of my favorite pictures soon...when I'm not at the airport. And now it's your turn to go on a cruise. Do it.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

We are currently in our hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. We flew in last night, and spent the night in a hotel. Hotels are expensive out here. I think our hotel is in clucker-ville (but the hotel itself isn't so bad). We got in at about 10 pm last night. And we were starving, because we were unable to grab some dinner. So we walked around at almost 11pm (Joel had his knife ready so he could shank someone) and finally found a place open...Little Caesar's Pizza. You know what? weird people come out at night. And they were hanging around Little Caesar's. We decided to take our pizza back to our room and eat it. lol. In a couple of hours we're leaving to board our ship. By the way, I always forget how hot and humid it is in matter the time of day. It's a weird change from home.
Think of us tomorrow (as we're parasailing in St. Thomas ;)

Monday, September 24, 2007


Let me just tell you guys that I AM SO EXCITED right now!!! I've decided that I want to start selling my pictures online as stock photos. Stock photos are royalty-free pictures that people buy from a stock photo dealer to use for various purposes...websites, articles, books, banners, logos, etc. Artists can submit their pictures to the stock dealer and they get a portion of the sales each time their picture gets purchased. I've been in the midst of the application process since the beginning of September. Among several other things, you have to submit three of your own photos to get approved. The problem was that I couldn't get all of my photos accepted. There was always a problem with one of them...out of focus, no focal point, purple fringing, lack of diversity, etc. So I keep taking pictures and learning how to work PhotoShop. BUT today, I finally got all of my pictures accepted, and now they have accepted me as an artist!!!! YAY! I'm SO ELATED!

I took this photo last week. It made me laugh.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I've had a long day. Not necessarily a bad one, but a long one.

I had a trip to the airport today.

I brought my camera with me (as usual, because you never know when you're going to come across a great photo opportunity) and managed to lose my lens cap. (losing a lens cap to your SLR is a bad thing) I was seriously baffled by this whole event, because when I carry my camera with me, I'm very meticulous and conscientious about my camera and it's condition. I couldn't figure out how I lost it. I assumed I lost it at the airport. So on my way home, I stopped at a camera store and bought a new one. Later when I got home, I opened the trunk to bring a couple of items inside, moved around the random junk inside of our trunk, and what do you know...I found my lens cap. How did it get there? I'm a little confused. But now I have two lens caps. Oh well.

Today must have been National Nose Picking Day. I seriously saw several people picking their nose while driving their cars. It was hysterical. Seriously. They were sitting in their car, moving their finger around in their nose, assuming that nobody was watching them...little did they know that I had a clear view of them from my rear view mirror. It was even funnier when they nonchalantly flicked the booger off their finger. LOL. I wanted to shout out my window, "Yup, I saw that buddy!" But my driver's side window doesn't roll down anymore. (remember last winter when the window fell down into the door while Joel was driving home in 20 degree weather? that was pretty funny...but only because it didn't happen to me. ha ha ha)

I also got to meet a good friend for coffee and a good chat at Starbucks today. It's nice to have good, uplifting friends. She managed to brighten my day.

I'm tired. Peace.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

At the moment...

I HATE my dog. I'm so furious with him. I cannot even describe the anger I feel right now. The dog is wearing a freakin' MUZZLE to keep him from picking at his foot, and yet he STILL has managed to find a way to pick at his paw. I've spent so many hours (literally) caring for that dog's stupid paw - bandaging it, cleaning it, etc only for him to pull everything off, and undo all the hours of work I spent on him. At this point, if a MUZZLE won't keep him from it, nothing will. I GIVE UP!! I'm not joking. At this rate, the dog's wound is NEVER going to heal...and we may even lose our dog. I'm SOOOOOOO tired of this struggle. I'm not doing it anymore.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Cattle Branding.

I mentioned earlier that I was able to take a cattle branding, and take some photos. When they brand their cattle, they vaccinate the cows (so they won't get sick), trim their horns (so they grow better), and brand them. Here's some of my pictures. I set the camera to underexpose the photos because it was so bright, and haven't edited them yet...and I forgot to rotate them again. sorry. turn your head to the left..

Sorry. I forgot to rotate that pictures again. The father is watching as his son fills a syringe with a vaccination.

One of the sons gives the cow (actually the bull) a shot. (turn your head sideways)

Branding the cow. Notice the smoke coming from the fresh brand.

The rancher clips the horns of the bull.

father and son work together to stop the bleeding from the freshly cut horns with a hot poker thing (i don't know what it's called.)

the youngest son practices his branding skills on the side of the cattle shoot.


Today I was at a coffee shop. There was a woman behind the counter wearing a spaghetti strap tank big deal, right? No. She raised her arms, and I realized that her armpits have not seen a razor in at least six months. Why the heck to people do that??? Nasty. That should be against the law. It's so gross. I was thoroughly disgusted...I kind of wanted to give my coffee back and ask for a refund. But I didn't. Gross. In this coffee shop I also saw a lady in her 50's wearing black rolled up sweat pants, pink patterned socks, and black shoes. It amused me. Then I saw a girl walk in wearing a short T-shirt, big Jnco skater pants that fell about two inches below her exposed pink polka dot underwear. It was weird. Strange people frequent coffee least this particular one.

So recently I accidentally let our car insurance run out...I forgot to pay. lol. oops! So we used the opportunity to switch to a carrier with a lower rate. We haven't even got the insurance cards to put in your cars yet. Then later on my way home, I had to go through a police check point! And of course I didn't have my insurance papers! DANG IT!!! Here's how the conversation went with the cop I talked to.
Cop: Hello. (I take off my sunglasses)
Me: Hi. I would roll down my window, but it doesn't roll down anymore.
Cop: Just kick it a couple times!
Me: No! The last time we rolled down the window, we had to open the inside of the door to put the window back!
Cop: Ok. (smiles) I need to see your license and insurance papers.
Me: (I hand him my license) I don't have my insurance papers! We just changed from Safeco to Progressive and our cards haven't come in yet.
Cop: Do you have your receipt?
Me: At home...are you going to give me a ticket? (He nods)... Even though I have insurance but I don't have my papers?
Cop: I have to. (This made me sad. I was hoping the ticket wouldn't cost too much since we're trying to save our money for our cruise at the end of the month) Do you have your registration papers? (I hand him some papers)
Me: Is this it? (my registration papers)
Cop: Yes that's it. They didn't send you a fax or anything with your insurance? (I frown and shake my head) Are you coming back this way again?
Me: Not today.
Cop: Well, I'm going to let you off today with a warning. Have a nice day.

OMG! I couldn't believe it. He actually let me off the hook! I didn't get a ticket. I couldn't believe how lucky I was! I was so elated to NOT recieve the ticket I thought I was doomed to recieve. Yay.