Friday, September 28, 2007

Right now...


Go here and try this free online radio station that Stuart introduced me to. They create playlists for you based on your favorite artists, and you can rate each song and they'll adjust what they play for you. They'll even let you try it before they make you sign up. This is seriously the coolest thing I've seen in a long time.

Nothing to download.

Free.

GO!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Eye Candy Friday

The View from My Lap:

A Milestone.

I just discovered that my last post was my 200th, and I didn’t even realize it! In celebration, I’m going to try to come up with 200 facts about myself, but I’ll give them to you in installments so I don’t overwhelm you with everything Jacki.

1. I had a college reading level in the 4th grade.

2. I am numerically challenged.

3. I thought Michael Jackson was a girl until I was 15.

4. I have never been a patient in a hospital.

5. I was born in a birthing center, and no, a birthing center is not a hospital

6. I have the same birthmark on my stomach as my maternal grandfather had.

7. No I will not show it to you.

8. I love dirt.

9. I grew up around dirt.

10. My dad sells dirt for a living.

11. Now my husband does, too.

12. The combination of peanut butter and chocolate has always made me nauseous.

13. I decided to spell Jacki with no “e” on the end in the 6th grade

14. I did it to be different

15. My mom put up with it because my full name is Jacqueline.

16. It actually made things simpler when my maiden name also had no “e” on the end

17. My maiden name is Cook.

18. Now that my married name is Wolfe (with and “e”), everyone spells my name wrong.

19. There are approximately one million different ways to spell Jacki.

20. I met my husband at a summer camp.

21. He dated my friend before he dated me.

22. No, I did not steal him from her!

23. We were good friends for a year before we started dating

24. I swore we would never date.

25. My mom called our relationship first.

26. I started out going to college at the University of South Florida.

27. The summer before I went to college, I started dating Mike.

28. Mike went to the University of Florida

29. Suddenly, USF didn’t look so appealing.

30. I moved to Gainesville after one semester at USF.

31. One and a half years later, we got married.

32. I worked at pet stores during college.

33. I loved working with animals, even though it was sometimes a disgusting job.

34. I got tired of doing retail and babysat during my senior year.

35. I missed working with animals

36. I did NOT miss working with people.

37. Up until I added on my little cousin, I was the shortest person in my wedding party.

38. I am five-foot eight inches tall.

39. My husband is six-foot five.

40. Our wedding party wore flip-flops.

41. I got my wedding dress from a consignment shop.

42. My mom made my bridesmaid’s dresses.

43. When I was in high school I donated my hair to Locks of Love

44. My first trip out of the country was to Canada

45. I was four years old.

46. The only thing I remember about Canada was they don’t use ice.

47. I am very ticklish.

48. I have never bought a lottery ticket

49. I love Family Guy.

50. I used to be obsessed over the Matrix.

51. As in, I could quote the entire movie.

52. The last two Matrix movies ruined the series for me.

52. I get motion sickness very easily.

53. I HATE cockroaches.

54. When Mike “takes care” of a cockroach, he has to wash his hands in scalding hot water before he can touch me.

55. I grew up watching Star Trek.

56. I still love Star Trek.

57. I love anything involving mint and chocolate.

58. I was born in 1985.

59. I have one older brother.

60. I studied psychology in college.

61. I decided halfway through college that I wanted to teach

62. The college of education at UF told me I would have to start college over if I wanted to go through their program.

63. I said, “uh, no thanks.”

64. I’m starting a program in November so I can be certified to teach.

65. I was at UF when we won three National Championships in a row.

66. I love Oreos.

67. I was on the flag corp in high school

68. I talk to my animals like they can talk back.

69. They talk back.

70. Just not verbally.

71.I had very dark hair when I was born.

72. My hair turned blonde when my baby hair fell out.

73. it’s gotten progressively darker as I’ve gotten older

74. I started highlighting it last year.

75. I love growing things.

76. I’m trying to grow my own vegetables.

77. I hated living in an apartment.

78. Mostly because of the, er, “newlyweds” in the apartment above us.

79. I always change my mind about what my favorite season is depending on what season it is.

80. I love to read for fun.

81. I feel sad for people that hate to read.

82. I feel mad when they teach their kids that reading is no fun.

83. I always have a stack of books to be read.

84. I check more books out at the library than I can actually read.

85. My mom taught me how to cross-stitch.

86. I wish I had paid more attention when she tried to teach me how to use the sewing machine.

87. My mom fostered my love for reading.

88. My dad fostered my love for nature.

89. One of my favorite things to do as a kid was go to the hardware store with my dad.

90. I love the smell of baking bread,

91. I grew up Methodist.

92. I love collecting recipes.

93. I love my big kitchen.

94. I can be very gullible.

95. I hate fake people.

96. I drive a Malibu Maxx.

97. I love a good salad, with lots of stuff on it.

98. My first car was a Ford Ranger

99. I got a 100 on the test I took to get my driver’s permit.

100. I failed my driving test. Twice.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

How My Week Went

My week was consumed with painting the master bedroom, which has taken much longer than I expected it to, and also is a lot more of a pain than I ever thought it would be. I have learned one thing about faux painting:


My mom came over on Tuesday to help me do the "dragging" method on the focal wall. We'd never tried this particular method before, but we've done other finishes successfully, so I didn't think there would be any problem. Boy, was I wrong!! It looked awful. Just awful. We couldn't get it to look consistent, or even inconsistent enough to look artistic. So for now the wall is just plain blue:

(do not notice the unmade bed.)

It may or may not stay that way, depending on whether or not I come up with any ideas. In addition I have renamed the "Buyer's Beige" that was on our walls to "Torturous Tan." On my first go-around, I had to paint over it twice to cover it completely. By the end of that day, I was so frustrated I was just about ready to live with a half-painted room. But I kept on keepin' on, and on the second wall I painted the first coat on really thick and was able to avoid putting on a second coat. Yes!!

Morgan has been an absolute pain this week. I think she's going through the equivalent of the terrible twos. When she's in the bedroom while I'm painting, this is what she does:




Yes, that is a dab of paint on her nose. She also got one on top of her head later. However, when I kick her out, she bumps against the pocket door so that all I hear in BANG...BANG...BANGBANGBANG!!! I can't figure out which is worse. She's also figured out that the kitchen counters are a great place to hang out, because she can knock everything onto the floor.



Sophie and Brooklyn know how to behave when mommy is painting: shed hair all over the new couch!




Other than that, not much has been going on around here, besides Sophie working on her tan:


Yesterday we went to a friends' house to watch the Gators beat Tennessee and play with their baby. Great times all around! Then this morning I got to watch the baby during church because her mom was playing in the praise band and her dad was working. It was great practice! It makes me want to have kids...in a few years. Sorry, mom!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

I was a junior in high school, sitting in my Advanced Placement English class - second row of seats, on the right side of the room. One of the teachers from a different classroom came in and told us to turn on the tv, but our teacher heard the panic in her voice and followed her back to her classroom without turning it on. I guess she didn't want us to see anything traumatic on the tv until she had a handle on the situation. One of my peers DID turn on the tv, and we watched news reports for a few minutes that basically said, "we don't really know what's going on, but a plane flew into one of the Twin Towers." They didn't even have any footage up yet. My first response was, "What's a Twin Tower?" I was very young when the first attack happened in the 90s and didn't remember it. Then I thought that it must have been an accident of some sort. But I knew that whatever happened, it was big enough to change the way we live forever.

My teacher came back in and told us exactly what we'd heard from the television, but I distinctly remember her saying things like, "we don't know the full situation yet, but there must be an explanation." Little were we prepared for that explanation. There was no schoolwork done that day, or the day after that. As the footage replayed on the tv, my thoughts turned to my aunt, who was due to give birth that day. My cousin was born on September 12th, 2001. The school officials deliberated as to whether the school should be closed, but they decided that getting us all home early would be a logistical nightmare. Probably 50% of the kids were checked out by there parents, though - or just left.

When I got home that day, my mom was fielding phone calls on whether or not the library should be closed (she was head of the board at the time). I think that speaks to just how panicked everyone was - a small library in central Florida felt threatened. But I guess that was the point: for everyone to feel unsafe, or perhaps rather to realize just how unsafe we've always been.

In a way, that day was a big part of my growing into adulthood. It made me realize that just because I live in America, that doesn't make me safe from the rest of the world. It began my disillusionment with the media, which only increased the panic of the American people by replaying the same disturbing footage over and over. Ultimately, I would decide not to pursue a career in the field as I had originally planned. I realized for the first time that I had no control over what tomorrow brings, and that made my faith grow stronger. Like many, I long to return to the days before 9-11, when there was much less cynicism of each other. But, like many, I am more grateful of what I have. I wish that day had never happened, but it did, and I think we did the best thing we could have: we kept going.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Cross-Stitch Update

I was working on my cross-stitching today, and I realized that I hadn't shown you my progress in...um, awhile. Last time I showed you this project, it was just a tiny brown blob.

I'm nearly done with the top half. The giraffes and Technicolor zebras are done, and the elephants just need backstitching. I also deviated a little from the pattern with the bird that's perched on the lady giraffe - it's supposed to be just a regular ol'bird, but I changed it to make it (hopefully) look like a duck. When Sherri was pregnant, she had a duck fetish, and her only complaint about this pattern was that there weren't any DUCKIES on it. Well, never fear, SuperJacki is here!

Right now I'm working on the lions on the right side. The bottom half is basically just more of the boat and water, so that should go by pretty quickly. Hopefully this will be done before baby Lydia goes off to college!
Pretty Painting

When we moved into our first house back in May, it was painted (inside and outside) with a tan color that I've heard being referred to as "Buyer's Beige." Usually this means that the sellers paint the entire house a very neutral color in order to appeal to the largest number of buyers. It was fine when we were still getting the house in order, but I'm tired of living in a sea of tan. BO-ring! So I've been holding paint chips up to the walls of the master bedroom, and I finally found the colors I want.

The wall will be a cream with just a touch of blue in it, and the trim will be light blue. I want to do some kind of faux finish on the focal wall (the wall behind the bed), but challenge has been to decide WHICH kind of finish to do. So I've been spending time in the garage, painting test boards. I tried sponge painting first, but it wasn't doing it for me:

Dark Blue bottom layer, with light blue sponging


Same thing, but with another layer of sponging over top in cream





I can't really explain why, but the sponging just wasn't appealing to me. So I went back the the drawing board (or maybe painting board? yuk yuk) and decided to give dragging a try. I'm pretty pleased with the results:


Light blue bottom layer with dark blue dragged over.

Close-up

It's fairly easy to do, but I'm glad I decided to do a test board first. I've found that the more you faux paint, the more you pick up little tricks that make it look better. All you basically do is drag the paintbrush very lightly through the paint to give it a cloth-like look.

What do you think? I'm thinking I'm going to go for it! Next step: convincing my mom to help me!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Eye Candy Friday


I came across this picture when I was cleaning out my hard drive of all the crap that tends to build up in there. It was taken in 2005 at one of the wedding showers we had before we got married. I don't know why I've never noticed this picture until now, but I think it's so cute. I can't believe how young we look. It wasn't THAT long ago...





Stop your junk mail!


The brains behind C3 (Carbon Conscious Consumers) have launched a new campaign to help consumers receive less junk mail, which in my opinion is a win-win situation. Not only is junk mail a really annoying waste of my time, the production and disposal of direct mail alone has consumed more energy than 3 million cars! What an incredible waste! What's worse, it's something that's not even a little bit useful.

Take the pledge to take simple steps to reduce the amount of junk mail. It won't take more than a half an hour of your time, and you'll feel good about doing your part to reduce our impact on the earth.

p.s. another one of my new favorite things is the CO2 saver toolbar from EcoFabulous. CO2 Saver immediately adjusts your Windows Power Management settings to reduce your computer's energy use when it's idle. But the coolest thing is, it shows you how many pounds of carbon you've saved by using the program! It's a small file. It's not annoying. Give it a try!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

We've Been Busy

Last weekend we went to St. Augustine to visit Mike's parents and go to a wedding. One of his friends from Boy Scouts got married...outside...in September...in Florida. What a stellar idea. Of course they didn't ask my opinion, but if they had, this would have been it: RENT A FREAKING TENT!!

We were glad to have Monday off to recover from the heatstroke, then on Tuesday I started a training course so I can be a substitute teacher in Lake County. I think I'm more qualified than I thought I was, because I found myself bored to the point that I wanted to jam a pen in my leg to spice things up a little.

But tomorrow's Friday, and everything will be okay! Now for some animal pictures, so this post won't consist entirely of negativity: