February 27, 2008

Farewell, gentle readers

Alrighty, friends. I'm off to play with my girlfriends for a long weekend. My good friend, AB, is getting married this weekend, so I'm headed south. Hallelujah for warm weather!

I won't be taking a laptop because, oh yeah, I don't have one. So, no posting till I get back. I WILL miss you all so very much.

To tide you over, here is a fun site that I found tonight on Pop Candy. Storyline Online. You can listen to famous actors read kids' stories. I LOVED Bradley Whitford reading Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge. (plus, I LOVE him and have been spending my lunch breaks with him...aka I've been watching West Wing season 3). What a sweet story! Can't wait to hear some more. Enjoy!


Hi! My name is Luke. My favorite auntie (she totally made me say that) wanted me to tell you a little more about our trip to Disney World in December. She didn't take any of these pictures, mind you. She totally swiped them from Nana. Thief. Anyway...

This is me rockin' Auntie's sweet glasses. She pretty much dresses like a rock star. I think I look way better in them though. Plus, look at my sweet ride. It's perfect for waving at the ladies.

Pop and Nana and Great Grandma took me on a boat ride (they made me bring mom and dad though). Note Great Grandma's winter gear. It was about 50 degrees outside. That's swimming weather where I'm from. Wimps. And what's up with Pop's smile? Does he have a fly stuck in his teeth? These are the things I think about....

Yea, it's me. Does anyone else wonder why Nana chose this view of the poor horse? Poor guy. You can tell by my expression that I am wondering the same thing at the moment this picture is being taken. Also, why the heck do they have horses at SEA World. They don't live in the the sea....what? Oh, they pull the beer wagon. Of course. Silly me. I'm sure Uncle Tim took full advantage of that.

So I like to suck my thumb. So what? I think it's cool. You got a problem with that?
As you can tell, I'm trying my hardest to look like I don't belong with these people. I'm mean just look at them? Except for Auntie, the rock star (totally made me say that again), they all look a little needy and crazy. But, hey, that castle was pretty cool. Another crazy factoid. I had a temperature here and Auntie was sick too. But we're made of steel and conquered the Kingdom anyway. Yeah, I'm hard core.

Oh, yeah, I remember this. We were having a serious discussion about actors named Zach and how "they are the cutest ones in Hollywood. You know like Zach Braff and Zachary Levi." (I included links so you will understand who these guys were.) I had no clue what she was talking about, but I like to humor her cause she's 30 and still single. I think she deserves some attention from a boy no matter how old. Plus, that zipper was, like, the best thing to chew on in all of Florida. I WILL listen to her ramble on about Zachs just to chomp on that thing for a couple minutes.

Hey, there's my mom! She says that she loves Auntie and she wishes that she lived closer. Me, too. They must be smiling cause they got to be together for 2 whole weeks.

Dad wouldn't let me do anything but sit on the speeder. If he had turned his head for 2 seconds, I would have been out of there faster than that silly Ewok on the movie. I mean, look at my form?!

I have no idea what this is. I was "NOT ALLOWED TO RIDE" something so intense. I think it was Splash Mountain. Auntie says it's one of her favorites. If it was, why didn't she take ME? I like the water. I like splashes.
Look at the kid in front of them. Uncle Tim said he totally crammed into a seat in between this couple. They had no idea who he was. Now, that's the way to go. Gotta write that one down.....

Please, don't tell me there is proof of this stupid hat. Get it off my head! Now! Mom looks like she's falling asleep and dad has a death grip on me. It's just a boat ride, guys!

My auntie says these are two of her favorite things. Riding the Disney buses and giving me kisses. I agree with the first cause again, I love a sweet ride. But for goodness sake. I have a reputation to uphold. Do I need kisses on the way to Epcot? I say NO! Oooo, but this sweatshirt did have a nice string to chew. That must be why I'm smiling.

Dude, my Pop is so cool. He is pretty much Jack Sparrow's twin. We had just gotten off this sweet boat ride (yes another one) called Pirates of the Caribbean. It had a super fun hill. I got to see anamatronic pirates and ships and cannon balls splashing. I liked it....

So there you go. Hope you enjoyed my little slide show. I'm off to find another sweet ride.....

February 26, 2008

fire, windows and HP

No, my day didn't start off with a fire. Thank the good Lord! Don't want to relive that nightmare again. But isn't this pretty? I had to start a bonfire last weekend for the group I was hosting at camp. I took my camera along cause I was being a good 365 photographer. That didn't last though. My dreams of 365 pictures of my life for 1 year are dashed and burned. I gave up 2 days ago when I realized that I hadn't taken one for the day yet and it was 11pm at night. That had happened too many times. So frustrating. I hate not finishing something I start. But hey, I did get this pretty picture out of the deal...This was my view today. OK, not exactly cause it wasn't snowing. This is from last week. My last 365 day. This is my project that I have been working on. Re-decorating this room. I LOVE this room. I lived here for a few months before I became a cottage girl. It has THE BEST window with the most beautiful view on our property. One night, I laid in bed and watched a meteor shower from these windows. A meteor shower over the water.
Today I was sanding and painting this particular window. The weather today was quite different than this snowy scene. The sea was quite monstrous today. The waves splashed against the sea wall shooting water about 7 ft in the air. The water was a churned up, white capped, murky being today. I got distracted by the water about 20 times and caught myself staring at it with paint dripping down my paintbrush.
Then tonight a low, eerie fog settled over the whole place. It looks like a scene out of Sleepy Hallow. A night the spooks and ghosts come out to play. I couldn't make myself go back up here tonight to finish my painting.

This has been playing in my ears as I've been working feverishly. It's just as delightful and engrossing as the first time around. I looked down at my watch today and realized that 2 hours had gone by in a wink because I was so caught up in the story. I love my little Zune and all the hours of music/books on CD it can hold. I can't wait to finish the window and the book tomorrow.

February 25, 2008

Oscar confession

Confession: I cry every time I watch the Oscars. Mostly when it's people I don't even know like the Short Animation Feature or the Art Direction or Costume Design. I think about all the work they put towards their little project and how they earned a Oscar just like any big movie star, but they didn't have a stylist to do their hair or pick out a dress. They are just normal people. And they are SO excited to be recognized for their hard work.

As a little girl, I was convinced that I would one day win an Oscar. I would buy the fancy dress and walk the red carpet and hear my name called by someone I admired. I always won in my dreams. I was never just "happy to be nominated."

I had worked for years and years on this one little project that I was so proud of. My family would all be watching at home, crowded around their TV's. My parents would see all that money they put towards my "production" major was worth something (instead of going to waste like it is now....).

Sometimes in my dream, I would be married and my extra handsome husband, who was dressed to the nines, was beaming as I stood on stage and thanked him deeply for his love and patience as I worked on this project. Sometimes, I would be still be single because my life long project had consumed my life and I didn't have time for things like a relationship. My guest with me would be one of my siblings depending on which one I had been getting along with at the moment. We would laugh and have fun on the red carpet and gawk over all the famous people we would walk by on the red carpet. I would thank them for all their love and laughter in my life.

I would be handed my award by some fabulous star who I would be just as excited to meet as I was getting the actual statue. Like Harrison Ford. One of my childhood movie star loves.

I would try desperately hard not to cry, but a few tear would trickle down my cheek as I thanked all those important people who made my project possible. Then of course, I would say "thank you, Jesus for giving Your life so I may live" cause wouldn't that just be the coolest place ever to share Jesus?!

Then I would walk gracefully off the stage just as the music begins to play, something by John Williams with violins, I think. I would chit-chat with Harrison and tell him that I used to wish I could fly around in the Millennium Falcon. He would smile and look at me like I was a loon, but I wouldn't care a snitch cause I was holding a freakin' Oscar.

That over active imagination was pretty cool. I don't know that it's really gone though cause today I was imagining that I was riding a broomstick with Harry Potter, zipping around camp property, laughing as we tried to knock each other off our broomsticks with the "stupify" spell jetting from the end of our wands. And of course it was warm outside. No good dreams take place in the cold. Yuk.


My favorite moment from the Oscars last night. So sweet and kind and humble. I love that they let her come back out. I've been wanting to see this movie forever. Love that they met on the movie (filmed in 3 weeks for $100,000, which is pocket change in Hollywood) and then fell in love and toured the world doing concerts with the songs they sang in the movie. That's another movie in itself.

February 24, 2008

private eyes are watchin' you...they see your every move

This weekend, I started doing something totally fun. Kinda like reverse stalking, but not really. Stalking is a little severe of a word to use in this case. I signed up with a company to help me keep track of who is on my site, where they are from, what their favorite color is, their home address and telephone number. You know, all the vital info....just kidding.
I DO have a program that lets me check in on how many people have visited my site and where they found me. It has been very inter-esting to see who comes to read my little musings. I can almost pin point every person, but not everyone. Just so you don't freak out, there is actually no personal info included in my reports. The closest thing I get is the city you are from and that's only because of the internet connection you have. Don't fret. I can't come to your front door one day and ask for some cookies and milk. Wish I could. It would be fun to chat with each of you face to face and hear you talk about your life rather that listen to me ramble on and on about mine.
So, if you are usually a lurker (which I am totally guilty of in one time or another) here's your chance to introduce yourselves. Say hi! What part of the world do you call home? It would be fun to know your name, but no pressure. Of course you could totally make up a name and I would never know. Maybe you'll meet a new friend through the comments. That's happened to me before! The opportunities of fun and excitement are endless in blog world.

Love you, all my dear, sweet readers. And all of you that think you can read and I "won't ever know...." the end is here. Time to reveal yourself just like the final Cylons on Battlestar Galactica.

***and if any of you are Battlestar fans, let me know so we can chat about who you think the final few are. I have theories. If you don't understand anything about that sentence, well, I can't help you...

February 23, 2008


That's what my day was. I'm deep in a new project and it's taking up almost all of my extra time.

I did manage to kill a couple minutes in Borders reading this little gem. Gotta say that I laughed at myself because I was too cheap to plunk down $13 for it, so I read it standing up in the store. Oh, well.
I also started this book (it's a habit, I tell you. I can't buy a book until I've read at least one chapter while standing in the store). It's written in such an interesting way. Not normal sentences and paragraphs. Anyone else read anything by Ellen Hopkins? (ps...they are young adult novels. I always get lost in this section with so many fun choices. And they are usually cleaner than adult novels.)

I found some amazing deals at H&M. They had all their winter clearance for $1-10. I got 4 pairs of long gloves, a dress and 2 scarves for a mere $20. Plus I had a return for $8. LOVE deals like that!

But, of course, the main things I was hunting for were no where to be found today. And I also realized how much I HATE shopping for summer clothes in the winter. You just don't look your best in bitter cold February.

The rest of the day was spent painting and sanding. I'm a lovely mess! Can't wait to see the final product. More on the project soon....

February 22, 2008

Friday finds and inspiration

I think this may be one of my favorites of Tara's. She is a true artist.

Two fun music finds. One from Zach (it automatically plays when you open the page) and one found through this picture. ps. I miss Zach's posts. He always gives great music suggestions....

My friend, who has triplet of her own, sent me this unbelievable story. Can you even fathom being 16 with 6 kids?!!!!!

This gives all us Dillon Panther fans some much needed hope. Need something good to watch tonight? NBC.com has all of FNL online for FREE. Please, please just try it....

The X Men Origins: Wolverine cast now contains some of my favorites. Dominic (Lost and I can never be best friends again just because they killed him off. jerks), Hugh, Taylor and Ryan (anyone else remember Two Guys a Girl and Pizza Place? Anyone?).

Some Jinky Art. One (I'm always drawn to multi-cultural families especially if they have little Asian babies!). Two. Three. I've been a huge fan of hers for years. The colors in her pictures are so delicious I want to dive in and swim around in them. I would LOVE to get her actions one day.

Lovely little preview of a wedding book that one of my favorite photographers made for their client. Isn't the music just perfect?! And, dear goodness, I NEED their actions.

A couple Flickr faves....uno, dos, tres.

And of course Pioneer Woman. This post was my favorite of the week. I am just loving this site. Has anyone else gotten addicted yet?

All right, gang. That's it for this week on my end. Did anyone else find anything fun?

February 21, 2008


One belongs to a college graduate. One doesn't. Hmmmmm......

February 20, 2008

Lesson for all you high heel wearers

A story from the depths of Atlantic City:

She had on the type of outfit that gets second looks, but not for a good reason. 5 inch heels and booty shorts (reminder: this is NJ in February) with a blouse. And we are talking BOOTY shorts. Like Daisy Duke short.
When she walked by me and B we both looked at each other. No actual words were spoken for a moment, but if they were spoken it would be something like....

Who is she kidding?!
Does she know how ridiculous she looks?!

It was one of those poor girls who you kinda feel sorry for because she doesn't know that she doesn't look "sexy/pretty" like she think she does. She looks ridiculous. The shoes are just plain ridiculous.

Well, we forgot about 5 inch heel girl and continued our walk around the indoor mall. We came to the end of a section of the mall and the 3rd floor just ended with a escalator going up. We needed to go down. Of course, one of us decides to go DOWN the UP escalator. Then it becomes a challenge because we didn't want to be the one left behind searching for another staircase. Challenge accepted and accomplished by all. And oh the scene that was waiting for us at the bottom.

We turned and looked up the back hallway behind the escalator and there was 5 inch heel girl. She was with her boyfriend (we think). But she was leaning against a large pillar with one knee bent and her hand grabbing her foot. It appears (from our extensive spying deductions) that her heels have gotten the best of her. She must have rolled her ankle or done something else equally as painful. We keep watching (from around the corner, trying to be invisible) and she finally can't take the standing any longer. She is now on her hands and knees gasping for pain freedom with her hand up to her boyfriend so he won't come any closer. It was just pitiful. And definitly not something you see every day. I must say that we did laugh. Sorry to disappoint all of you that think we took the high road.

The rest of the trip that image would keep popping into my mind I and would laugh out loud. So beware all of you who think high heels are "the bomb diggity." You can roll you ankle at any second and completely humiliate yourself all in the name of fashion. Is it really worth it? Well, my 5 pairs of tennis shoes and only 1 measly pair of 2 inch heels say no.

February 19, 2008

I'm back

with stories to tell. Oh, yes I am.

And bonus points to my bro and sis who correctly identified the movie that includes the song from the previous post. And extra, extra points to my brother because he quoted the movie (there is a good possibility that he was mocking it at the same time), and he had to watch it about 57 times as a youngster because his 2 sisters were obsessed with it.

Ladies, if you have never seen Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken, don't let the title fool you. It's still ranks up there for one of my favorite movies of the 90's. The story is so sweet and adorable and a true story to boot. It's about a girl who learns how to dive horses off of huge towers into a big pool below as a traveling show type act in the 30's during the depression. And it's rated "G." Did anyone else LOVE this movie back in the day?!

More from my trip tomorrow....

February 18, 2008

and now, I leave you with a song

On the boardwalk
In Atlantic City
Life can be peaches and cream
You will find your fella
Someone you've been waiting for

In romantic, enchantic
Atlantic City
Down by the old
New Jersey shore

February 17, 2008

this and that

Watching this. (lovedy, love, love, love)

Still addicted to that.

Can't stop eating this.

Want that.

Outside, it's like this.

And tomorrow I'm headed to that.

February 16, 2008

stupid internet

It won't cooperate tonight. Sorry. I had a fun post too. Dumb, idiotic, useless.
Oh, who am I kidding?
I'll forgive it tomorrow when it starts working again.
Till then....

You know you love me.
Cottage Girl

February 15, 2008

Friday finds and inspiration

This story broke my heart. I can't even imagine how horrible it must be....

I know I post something of theirs every week, but I couldn't resist. Can you imagine having pictures of your kids birthday parties that look like these?!!! Again, they inspire me constantly.

I posted about this earlier in the week, but here it is again. Pioneer Woman. It is my new addiction. It.is.funny. It.is.beautiful. It.is.heart warming. It.is.inspiring. And so help me, I cannot stop reading. Be sure to read Black Heel to Tractor Wheel from beginning. I was glued to my monitor for hours reading. I kinda love that I'm behind in discovering this site because I now have a treasure trove of archives to sift through. Read it. Trust me. Audrey and Stephanie, you WILL love it. I think of you two every time I read it.

The campaigns have begun yet again. Time to save my favorite show from extinction.

Hallelujah!!! Now we just need the executives to play along and bring back Friday Night Lights, ER and Scrubs. They all have their heads on the chopping blocks.

More comic crash course from Pop Candy. This time it's for the kids. I read Y: The Last Man Vol. 1 in one sitting at Barnes and Noble one night. Gotta say, I loved it. I'm currently on the hunt for Vol. 2.

Indy. Sweet Indy is back. Oh, how I loved Harrison my days of girlhood. Han Solo, Indiana Jones. It didn't get any better. Good gracious I can't wait for it!

Elsie's creating again. I'm so jealous of her talent.

I SO loved this show as a kid. And now it's a TV movie? Hmmm, can't decide if I want to see it or not.

I really want Yahoo to win this one. Stand strong. Don't let the big fish eat you up!

Flickr yumminess for the week. All of these. This one. And this random one. This one is so creepy! And one of my own that I love for some reason.

And now can we all bemoan the fact that the Lights are NOT on this week. I must also admit that I am ridiculously depressed about the possibility of them never turning back on. Oh, the horror of it all. I'm going to their site to drown my sorrows in the webisodes. Sniff, sniff.


I don't know why, but I find this hysterical. I laugh so hard I can't breathe. See follow-up as well for additional hilarity.

February 14, 2008

Oh, what a day: the appendix

When I crawled into bed the night of the adventure filled day (see previous posts 1 and 2), I had to pray that the Lord would pretty please let me sleep through the whole night. I was exhausted. I'm surprised that I didn't have any nightmares of raccoons eating my face.

When I walked into the office the next morning all I could think is

Surely we won't have another day like yesterday. It's just not possible.

It was quiet in the office for about, oh, 45 minutes. Then 2 of The Guys came in, in discussion about something that seemed important.

What? What is it?!

Um, we think the tree next to the "house" is on fire still.

Yeah (laugh), right. It's been raining all night. Ice and everything. There's no way.

I saw red and small flames and smoke. I think we need to call 911.

And so he did. While on the phone, I and one of the other Guys decided to go and check it out. By this time, we didn't doubt that the crazed and unusual seem to follow us like fleas on dogs. So we bundled up, grabbed an umbrella and walked down the long driveway to the ruins of the once beautiful house. Sitting beside the house (or where it used to be) is a LARGE dead tree that has an old eagles nest in it's barren branches.

As we passed the end of our gate and headed to the other one belonging to the burnt house, we see a truck pull up and an older couple roll down their windows and say hello. They ask about the house. The live in the community next to ours. It seems that the fire engines went to their beach to get water. The tide was so low that night that they couldn't get to the water from our beaches. And we have no fire hydrants anywhere around our neighborhood. The couple was very nice and turned around and left (by this time, our street had become a parade of curious neighbors).

Before we entered the gate, we noticed a random car sitting in the next neighbor's driveway. The driver was just standing near his car walking back and forth every couple of minutes. Clearly he was waiting for someone. But The Guy I was with quickly identified him as "that creepy lying stalker guy" that had driven on our property the day before claiming to be an insurance agent. Hmmmm.

We opened the gate and walked down the burnt house's driveway. About half way in we began to see the tree WAS on fire still. It was BRIGHT red and glowing. Small puffs of smoke came out of the top of one of the branches. How in the world was this possible?!!

It's like Mt. Doom or Silent Hill (never watch this. Too creepy. stupid brother made me.) or that town in PA that is eternally burning from underneath. OK, maybe not that extreme, but pretty close.

As we were standing there watching it burn, we heard fire sirens.
They were back.

We opened the gate up to let the truck in. We explained the situation (by now all 4 of us who were at camp was all crowded around watching everything) of the burning tree. The firefighters were very nice and went to survey the situation. The decided that dumping 400 gallons of water on the tree was the best solution. Who were we to argue?

So we stood and watched the firemen do their thing. By now, it was FREEZING, damp and just nasty outside. I couldn't feel my hands or legs anymore. As the firemen finished, of the The Guys, went up noticed that "creepy stalker guy" had decided to walk up the road and knock on the doors of 2 of camp's townhouses.

Yeah, that's not gonna bode well for you mister.

The Guy took off after him and finally caught him in his bluff. He called out, and I quote, "hey, creepy stalker guy, you aren't really their insurance agent are you?" This guy, of course, back peddled and try to pull out some random story about being a public insurance agent.

Um, yeah. Totally creepy. I will be locking my doors more often now.

The fire department finished up and pulled out of the driveway just as bona fide insurance agent, in a company car pulled in. Creepy stalker guy seemed to think that this was a good time for him to head out.

As the engine was pulling out after it had turned around in our big parking lot, one of The Guys decided that he wanted to ask the fire men to turn on the siren by doing the old fashioned truckers sign. You know, the one that you pull your fist down out of the sky. The one you used to do when you were on the school bus in middle school. Yeah, that's what he did.

The firemen thought it was funny and happily obliged. Off they went.

We went back to the office and thankfully the rest of the day was uneventful. And that stupid raccoon never showed his face.....

Until today, again. Oh, yes, he's back.....

Nielsen wrap-up

Last night ended our Nielsen ratings week. Over and done. You know what I discovered? I don't watch as much TV as I thought. In the last week (7 whole days), I only watched 4 shows in prime time. 4. The rest of the viewing was my "have-it-on-while-I'm-getting-ready-but-not-really-watching" show and last night it was David Letterman, which I was basically listening to while I made some Valentines (ah-hum, I tend to procrastinate till the last minute). That's it.

I read more than I thought. I'm on Flickr and blog reading more than I thought. I piddle around the house more than I thought. I did watch 2 movies, The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (beautiful, haunting, FANTASTIC performances by Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck. They were delightfully CREEPY.) and Across the Universe (ehhh. just okay).

There was a comment section on the last page of the diary. This is what I wrote:

We like TV, no, make that LOVE TV.
We hate the Writer's Strike.
We like doing Nielsen diaries.
We want a Nielsen box for our TV.
We want to know if you really read all these diaries.
We miss Scrubs and 30 Rock and 24 and ER and Chuck and Friday Night Lights and Battlestar Galactica.
We also miss Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. Are you able to do something about that? Oh, and Veronica Mars. Anything? Please?!
Thanks for giving us an excuse to watch TV. We had fun.

The end

February 13, 2008

Oh, what a Day: Part Deux

After I finally feel asleep, it seemed like only minutes later that my alarm went off for me to get up and head over to the office. It was tough getting up and motivating myself to go to work.

When I stepped out of the door for the day, I decided to walk the long way to work, so I could see the house in it's final, burned out state. And it was such a sad site. All charred and broken and ugly, where it had once been white and pristine and beautiful. Several cars drove up the edge of the fenced driveway and then turned around after the occupants stared and shook their heads for a couple minutes. Finally, I, too, had to look away, and I turned my back and walked to the office.

I settled into my desk for the day, waiting for the The Guys to come in so I could hear the rest/more of the story. They finally arrived, bleary eyed, yet so kind in their willingness to re-lay the entire night's events again. It seemed almost unbelievable. One of the guys had gone to the gym that morning and said that the entire place was abuzz with the story of the fire last night. Many at the gym kept saying "oh yeah, it was the camp that burned down, right?"

Great, now the whole peninsula thinks our camp has burned to the ground.

Then as we were sitting in the office talking, a strange car drove by on the fire lane that isn't made to be driven on. We all looked at each other and then 2 of The Guys went outside to investigate. The rest of us continued to discuss the events of the day. When they came back they had another story to share.
Apparently, the person in the car had said that they were the "insurance agent" for the family of the burned down house. He then proceeded to ask for the family's phone number, which we didn't give him. And then he asked, "what was their last name again?" and "how do you spell that?"
Um, if you are my insurance agent you sure as heck better know my last name and my phone number. And asking how to spell it? Seriously, man, are you even TRYING to lie well?! Ambulance chaser...

After he left, we went and voted (Super Tuesday in our area) and were asked once again.

Oh, isn't that the address of that camp that burned down last night?

Um. No. The camp did not burn. It was a nearby house. Get your story straight people. Sheesh, gossip spread like wildfire in this little community!

We finally get back and then the next phase of the story takes place.

The day before, it had been discovered that a raccoon had taken up residence in the dark, dank basement of one of our buildings. Today was the day that The Guys would catch him. He didn't seem to like the traps The Guys had set, so it was huntin' time. They were gathering their "weapons" when one of them came in and said,

"There is a squirrel IN the Lodge. It ran up to me and finally stopped about 4 ft. from me before it realized I was there and then it took off into the chapel. I searched high and low and can't find the stupid thing. Gonna have to leave it for now cause we have to get this raccoon before it disappears."

What?!! What in the world is going on around here?!! Have the animals all gone crazy?!!

So the boys all saddled up and grabbed their weapons. I decided that this was one task I couldn't miss. I ran home, snatched my camera and came back just in time to see them all standing in the hallway with their weapons of choice. A lacrosse stick, a child's metal baseball bat, a small gun, a Maglite, a golf club and a trash can. Yes, these boys were ready for their prey. No way was it going to outsmart them...

I follow them downstairs to the basement to watch/laugh/photograph whatever would transpire. Here's proof that my job is never dull.

Just as we had him cornered IN the wall, a person ready on each floor, one of The Guys comes running down to us and says (I kid you not),

"Quick, put everything back. I put everything back in the closet (where he had been stationed) and shut the door."


"The health inspector is here."


For those of you who don't get the joy of interacting with the health inspector, let me tell you....Our is VERY thorough. He likes to show up, usually at the worst time possible, just to poke around. Now, we have never been shut down for anything and we run a very tight ship. Clean and passable. But we knew if he knew that we were hunting pesky raccoons, we would be knee deep in you know what.

So, we all gathered our gear/weapons and RAN back upstairs to look like we were all "working" on other things. More normal things.

Everything went fine. We passed once again and no one was the wiser of either one of our little creatures that apparently were able to outsmart about 6 of us full grown adults. We all went to lunch to return and find that the raccoon had disappeared.

We did find that dang squirrel though. He chewed a nice hole in one of our doors before we were able to open the door and shoo him out.

The day finally slowed down except for freezing rain and sleet that made the roads in our area more treacherous than a Jesse James train robbery.

So there you have it....a middle of the night awakening, a house on fire, countless discussions over said house, voting, huntin', squirrels and raccoons. All in a day's work.

in between

My brother posted a pretty amazing picture of the whole adventure yesterday.

He also told his side of the story.

Obviously, I tend to over-verbalize stories compared to him.

So, if you want a quick version of the story, read his post before scrolling down to read my 100 page volume.

I promise I will continue the story as soon as I can.

Or as soon as I can tear myself away from Pioneer Woman. (It is possible that I ran out of valuable posting time yesterday cause I was unable to tear myself from her stories. Possible and very likely. If you have also been reading feverishly, do share.)

February 12, 2008

grap a cup of something and settle in. this is going to be a LONG one....

I grumbled a little and rolled over.

I'm dreaming. My dream woke me up.

I snuggled down into my bed and swished my face back into my pillow and sighed hoping that I was only partly awake and that I would quickly fall back asleep.

Then again, a noise outside. Nothing shocking or loud, just weird. Out of the ordinary.

I grumbled again and rolled over to my other side, fluffed my pillow again.

My eyes slightly opened, saw nothing and closed again sleepily.

It's all in my head. My two roommates were still sleeping soundly.

I opened my eyes one more time and glanced at my clock.

Of course, for the last week, I had been waking up at 4am to go to the bathroom.

The clock glowed red 4:00am.

Right before I shut my eyes, I heard something that made my stomach drop. A noise that I've heard quite a few times before. Then, it was followed by a couple of bright flashes of light.

No, please not that. Not again. Not at 4am.

I closed my eyes again and hoped and prayed that it was just a dream.

I sure didn't want to get out of my nice warm bed on a 15 degree night like it was. (ps...the cottage never gets warm on nights like that. Stepping out of bed is like stepping onto a ice rink.)

It will go away. It's not what you think.

That weird low rumbling noise again....

Okay, that was it. I couldn't imagine it away anymore. I threw back the covers and shuddered as I stepped onto the ice patch/carpet.

I peeked out of my blinds in my bedroom window. Gulp...it's exactly what I feared....I closed my eyes for a second...

It's not there. You're dreaming.

Open eyes....nope. There it was right in front of me. A police car with lights swirling in blues and reds sitting in my neighbors driveway.

Quick, look in the other direction. That's not what's making the noise. You KNOW what that noise is.

I turned and looked to the right. There blocking the dirt road that led past my house and down to the beach was a LARGE, brightly lit, FIRE ENGINE. That's right.

Quick back-story...for those of you who have never lived at camp (those of you that read this and have lived here will know exactly what that sight and sound does to your heart). Our camp is OLD. Our oldest building is about 110 years old. The second oldest building is a HUGE lodge that was built in the 40's. Our biggest fear in life is that The Lodge will one day catch fire and burn in about 30 seconds flat. We call it a match box/tinder box/fire trap. Not that it's dangerous, just that it is VERY old. It's entirely wooden. Little insulation. That type of thing. One little flame would finish it in mere minutes.
The other part of it is that we have LOTS of fire systems at camp. You have to to be up to code with the various government agencies in our area. Kids have to be safe! Anyway, with all these systems comes the inevitable false alarms. And let's just say, we've had more than one. Many a time, the fire engines have rolled up our dirt roads when nothing is wrong, but the alarm goes off. While it's wonderful that it's that good of a system, it can drive you crazy. We've had to turn them away several times in the middle of the night because of a false alarm.
So keep this in mind as you read "a LARGE, brightly lit, FIRE ENGINE."

Back to 4:00am.....

My fingers slipped off the blinds and I ran as quickly and quietly (roommates still sleeping in next room) to look out another window. Living room....window facing The Lodge....wait....it was still dark on that side of the room. I got as close to the glass as I could. No bright lights. The Lodge was dark still. But I could only see half of it. The camp garage blocked the other half. I ran from that window into the kitchen barely noticing the icy floor didn't have the protective carpet shield. I leaned over the sink to see as much as I could.

The fire truck was still there. Blocking the road.

That's it. Something weird is going on....then I gasped.

My eyes had glanced upwards and I gasped because I saw smoke. HUGE billows of white smoke. Billows upon billows blowing in the wind.


My mind screamed over and over.

I ran, even quicker back around the corner to my room and pulled on whatever heavy layered pieces of clothes I could find plus and coat and hat and gloves.

I grabbed my boots out of the closet and ran to the door, unlocked it and burst outside as quickly (and still quietly) as I could.

I ran down the stairs and fast-walked out of my little gate, past the gym that sits next to my house.

When I rounded the corner of the building, I literally stopped and gasped in a huge intake of icy air. I think I stopped breathing for a few seconds.

There in front of me were about 10 fire trucks/tanker trucks, at least 3 police cars and a swirling mix of lights and people running around.

To my right, before my very sleepy, but now 100% awake eyes was a very large 2 story house with a large front porch COMPLETELY engulfed in smoke and flames. A ladder truck had it's bucket extended as high as it would go over top of the 2nd story (which was about 50% gone at this point) spraying gallons upon gallons of icy water. Fire fighters were running around talking loudly on walkie-talkies.

I stood there for a couple minutes rooted to my spot before I realized that it was truly happening before me. Then my mind sprang into action. Not really logical action, but at least it was working again.

Boys....I have to find The Boys...surely they know what's going on....(I call all the guys at camp "The Boys/The Guys" regardless of age or whether they are married or not)

I saw lights on in their houses, which face the inferno, so I knew they must be around somewhere. Doing what should be done.

My mind switched to:

roommates, still sleeping. No idea what's going on. Wake them now. Need someone else out here with me to find boys.

So back to my house I ran, up the porch stairs i to the house panting as I entered their dark room.

Hey guys....(huh?! what?)...um, the neighbors house is on fire and there are about 20 fire trucks here and there is smoke everywhere and do you want to come outside with me? I don't know where the boys are.

That, of course, got a sit-bolt-upright-in-bed (as much as you can with bunkbeds at least) WHAT?!!

I repeated my 1 sentace tale.

We're coming.

The three of us clomp outside to the field to stand there again, dumbfounded.

Finally, we see one of The Boys.

And then the true tale is told....

Apparently (and this is from what has been gathered from several sources aka "The Guys" and their whole crazy adventure last night), about 3:15 two of the guys, who live in adjoining townhouse with their lovely wives, heard strange popping sounds. One of them looked outside to see a bright orange glow. He, then, ran outside to see exactly where it was coming from and saw the house engulfed in enormous flames, to which put him in panic mode as his loving wife ran outside shoving warm clothes at him and a cell phone to call 911. When he called, the other Guy was already on the phone (in his adjoining house) with 911 telling them the same story. The fire engines came a couple minutes later, but by then the house was pretty much a lost cause. The firefighters were simply trying to keep the fire from spreading to another building. Lots of the rest of the staff had been up and around and had gone back inside (ah, warmth) by the time us girls came over.

At publication time (or while I'm sitting here typing this) it appears that the fire was arson. It was most likely started by the punk kids that live in our neighborhood and have been reeking havoc for the last few months. We've already had problems with them breaking into our buildings and stealing stuff. It seems that they broke into the house and the fire started after that. The police found TVs on the beach outside of the house. We don't know if they started the fire or if they knocked something over and it was accidental, but either/or, they started it (again, as of press time). The house is (was) a beautiful summer home that had been in our neighbor's family since the 40's. They had re-done their entire front wall/pier after a hurricane had demolished it in 2003. Thankfully, it is only used in the summer and no one was home when all this happened.

I went back to bed after about 20 minutes when I realized that there was nothing I could do and it was freakin' freezing outside and I couldn't feel my face anymore. I tried to go back to sleep, but my mind wouldn't turn off. What if it had been The Lodge?! What if we had lost all our data bases (The Lodge houses our offices as well as kitchen, dining hall, chapel and 30 rooms upstairs). That made me have a mini panic attack. When I finally fell asleep an hour and a half later, I dreamed that the fire jumped over to The Lodge and it was now burning to the ground.

Now this only takes us to about 6am this morning. This is only the beginning of the adventure that the day turned out to be. But, I'm exhausted and I'm sure you are all tired of reading this LONG epic. I will close for tonight, but there is much more to come.

So until then....to be continued...

(Click photo to see bigger)


You. Will. Not. Believe. the day that is happening right now. It's still unfolding.

Ooooo, uh....Gotta go.....More later.

February 11, 2008

early find

I wanted to wait and post this on Friday in my Friday Finds. Think I still will, but I just can't hold it in that long.
I've heard about Pioneer Woman for a while now from bloggy friends. I clicked over there one or two times just to read one quick entry. Today, I did so once again only I couldn't get out of the site. I was like Han Solo on the Millennium Falcon when he gets stuck in the Death Star's tractor beam. Sucked in, but in a good way.

Ever read a good book? You know the kind that you can't put down. It's even better when there are sequels to said book and you run like a mad woman to the nearest store to find the next one so you can continue to speed read every word. Been there. Recently, in fact. My childhood was full of that scenario.
PW is pretty much like that. The site has been up for a while, (how on God's green earth have I not discovered it's wonder before, I know not.) so it is a treasure trove of stories, photos and moments. I adore good writing. It makes my "thumbs prick with magic" (as Jane of Lantern Hill would say). It makes me stop reading in the middle of sentences to think about the wonderful mix of words I had just encountered and the re-read them again so as not to miss anything. PW's words are those kind. She has the gift of a born storyteller.

I'm honored to be friends with a girl like that. Born storyteller. I never knew they really existed until I met her. We met in college and I swear that I would go into her room and sit on her bed and listen to her tell stories for literally hours. Sometimes she would be nice enough and grant my request to hear a story over and over. The most mundane event would be transformed by her words and voice. I desperately miss those days of living 1 door away from her. Now we have to swap stories through email, which is nice, but not the same....

Anyway, enjoy PW in all her glory. A few of my favorite posts, so far, are:

Her phone conversation with her brother. (I was giggling, hysterically as I listened to their conversation. OK, I've listened to it about 4 times already...)

The engagement dinner. (the magic is all over that one)

Black Heels to Tractor Wheels (I'm on chapter 4, and, help me, I can't stop)

PostSecret - A Valentine Video

Another great week of Post Secret complete with this video. Enjoy!

February 10, 2008

for you, Daddy

Yesterday was my dad's birthday, or "Daddy" as I call him. You're never to old to call you father "Daddy," I say. He got the yucky thing going around from his grandson. So nice of him to share that with "Pop Pop" before he left! I won't get to see him for a couple days so I wanted to say hello here.
Love you, Daddy-O. I'm so very thankful to be your daughter and to have such a Godly, amazing man to be my father. I love that he still gives me big, long hugs and lets me sit on his lap when I go home. He still makes me laugh and still watches the West Wing with me. He can fix anything. He works on my car for free. He loves to travel. He's been married for 34 years. He loves kids and still works in AWANA's at church even though his kids have been done with it for about 10 years. He is giving and loving and mine.
Love you! See you soon, with a present and dinner out.

February 09, 2008

wittle won

He's even cuter in person.
And I know I'm completely biased, but I seriously think he is one of the cutest kids in the world. His little toothy smile can melt any heart. And when he puts his hands up to you so you will pick him up...well, you think you just won a million dollars.
It was tough saying goodbye this time.

February 08, 2008

Friday finds and inspiration

I'm in love with this column. (It has been on the advertisement sidebar of my yahoo page forever and I always thought she had a cute hair cut. About a week or 2 ago I decided to click on it and that was it. Hooked.) Loved this post on graphic novels. That type of art just make me stare for hours. I can't believe that someone can draw like that! Wanna try this one and this one, especially.

I just love her style of creating. While scrapbooking is not really my thing, her work makes me re-think it.

One of my favorite CD's of last year (available on itunes) was by him. And it appears from this photo that he is now dating one of my favorite artists/bloggers/photographers.

My sister was in town all week. She came for dinner on Wednesday. Here's the evidence.

Tara is a genius. LOVE her front room. The white and sunlight and colors. If you don't read her blog, you should. Her pictures are always delicious.

Some Flickr love. One. Two. Three. Four.

The second picture on this post. Can't you just feel the emotion in it?! Looks like a book cover or a picture to hang on your wall. I can't get enough of them.

Irresistible Revolution. A book making me re-think everything. Do you ever feel like your Christianity is compartmentalized? I do sometimes. God belongs here and then the other part of my life is here. I know I'm supposed to make them meet, but I can't figure out how. This little book holds some valuable lessons for living the life that Jesus calls us to live. Read it!

This made me mad. I hate that I seem to live in my own little world when it comes to good TV. A week with out FNL. Please, oh, please say it isn't so!

Can the end finally be here? If so, I may have to do the happy dance.

Her images are astounding. I faved SO many of them. The mixture of lyrics and photos is incredible. You can tell she loves Jesus. One of my favorite songs. My fave David Crowder song. The story behind this song gets me every time.

This looks like it could be a cover for the Twilight books.

Speaking of Twilight....I want to read them again. Plus, Breaking Dawn comes out in August. And she has another book out in May.

Urban has new baubles for sale. I love this one, this one, this one, and this one is my favorite, of course.

And my Nielsen rating will of course be going to NBC at the 9-10pm time slot for a little show that I've talked about once or twice here. I didn't get a chance to watch last week's episode until tonight. It took me approximately 5 minutes to remember why this is the best thing on TV right now. It was superb. I wish I could tie you all down and force you to watch it with me so the rating would be thru the roof! Then you would be addicted too!

That's it, everyone. I must say, I really do enjoy doing my Friday posts this way. I write throughout the week and then go back over it on Friday with a few additions. Reading back over it reminds me of all the fun stuff I find on the web. I may keep this up for a while....

G'night. Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can't lose.

February 07, 2008

grab your remotes....

Today was a much better day. Maybe because the sun is BRIGHTLY shining and it's not very cold outside. Maybe, but I know that it's more because so many of you have been praying. For that and for all your little "love" notes and comments I send you a big hearty *thank you* complete with {{{hug}}}. God's love has been so evident to me these last few days. It's amazing...

Anyway, I do have something fun to write about today. I'm so happy to feel the writing mojo come back. I miss it so when it's gone. I hate when it's all trapped inside my head!
Yesterday, I received in the mail something very exciting. Now, you may not care one lick about this, but oh, well. I got a big, lovely, green and blue envelope from Nielsen TV ratings. That's right folks. For the next 7 days. I will be determining what is good TV. My vote WILL count. My little cottage will be a representative for thousands/millions of homes. I got 2 diaries. One for each TV in our home. Each of us cottage dwellers will be writing down what we watch. Every show. Then we mail in back in 1 week to Nielsen and they calculate the ratings that you hear so much about and that determine what is and isn't going to stay on TV.
What does that mean? Well, anyone who watches TV at my house will be rating television programs. When you hear about a TV program not getting "good ratings" or maybe a program you like is canceled because of "poor ratings," this is what they are talking about. Nielsen is the #1 ratings company in television. Each week, they put out a statement for what is #1 thru whatever on TV. This week, the cottage will help to decide that.
Again, I know this may not interest some of you, but for me, who has had a life long love of TV and has diligently watched the Nielsen ratings for years, this is a HUGE deal! I've always wanted to be able to do this! So many times shows I love are canceled because of "poor ratings" and each time I say..."if only I could be one of those ratings people.." See! Exciting times!
How did I this happen? Well, luck of the draw. I was randomly selected and called and asked to participate. That's it.
So, in honor of my Nielsen week, I'll post what I watch each day in the side bar. Fun TV times here, folks!

February 06, 2008


Sorry, guys. No long post tonight. I don't have it in me.

But thank you for all of your kind words and prayers. They really are exactly what I need right now. I'm so blessed to have friends like you.

February 05, 2008


It comes in so many different forms for so many different reasons. Some are silly. Some make you laugh. Some rescue your heart from breaking. Some are quiet. Some hold your hand when you feel lonely. Some just listen.

I have lots...in no particular order

Chocolate chip cookies (I swear they make me happy)
Coldplay (so soothing)
My journal (it has saved me from insanity and loneliness more times than I can tell)
My cozy bed (a good night's sleep is always a comfort after a rough day)
Scrubs (Zach Braff can make me smile on the worst days)
Psalms 139 (never fails me. never. guess this could be the entire Bible)
Old notes from friends (there is a reason I save them)
Hugs (nothing better than a good hug from dear friends/family)
Friends (whether in person or thru email or a phone call.)
Family (the ultimate you can get on earth)
Instrumental soundtracks (Battlestar, John Williams, James Horner)
Photos (those frozen moments in time)
The water (the river, Bay, ocean...from a pier or the beach or just about any where else)

Today I was comforted immensely by just the presence of beloved friends and family.
We buried my grandfather today.
And just the fact that those special people, who had to take off of work and drive so very far were there to give us (me and my family) a hug and tell us they loved us, well, I can't put into words how it felt.
It was so wonderful to see all them.
It was so right to have them there.
Just knowing that they were sitting there. Just knowing that they cared enough to take the time to do this.
There is no better definition for comfort or love.
They were the arms and face of Jesus today.
I remember why each one of them are so very special to us. Why our connection is much more than just a "family member" or a "friend." And how Jesus binds the hearts of believers together, so we can comfort each other when the world is hard.
It was a tough day, but the burden was so much lighter because it was shared.
Thank you, each of you, for your love.

February 04, 2008

Home again

Originally uploaded by cottagegirl1.

Flew back home last night during the Superbowl. Made it back to the house just in time to see the last 9 minutes of the game, the most exciting part, it seems. Missed all the commercials though. Happy to be back home. I do love the drive home from the airport. I sincerely love where I live. I LOVE coming home. I'm so thankful that God has let me live here for so long. I never get tired of it.
Good trip. Quick, but good. The munchkin and his momma are here for a couple of days. Got lots of pictures to post!

February 01, 2008

One year ago....

....I was headed to the frozen tundra because of a phone call in the middle of the night. The little one was born before we got there. This was me holding him for the first time. So tiny!And this is the little monster today! (his momma took this picture earlier this week) Tomorrow he will be ONE!!! I'm headed back to the tundra to go to his pirate themed party and give him lots of kisses. It's crazy how fast they grow up isn't it?!!
Happy Birthday, Lukes! I love you so very much.

Friday finds and inspiration

Some sweet stuff I found while clicking around this week. Enjoy!

Fun Etsy shop

Cool stitches. (found on Danielle's site)
Sublime Stitching I want "spaced out."

I saw this a couple months ago in Adorn. Now that I have a sewing machine I have to make it.

Flickr fun
This and

Rob Ryan

You can watch the Oscar nominated Animation Shorts here.

For all of you that are hoping to have an inexpensive wedding check out this site.

Hula Seventy again. She inspires me constantly:

Look who had a baby! They can make any place look fantastic. Again, left kidney available for sale the next time they have a workshop.

I love the idea of using a white room as your blank canvas. And the decorations are incredible!

I'm always in awe of Danielle's photos. In this post she gives away some of her secrets.

The Lights are still shining bright tonight. (Now I know you are all running out of things to watch and you don't want to stoop to American Idol and the 100 other reality shows that are jamming up the schedule. Won't you give this sweet, happy, perfectly delightful show a chance. Don't let the football scare you. You like well written shows with characters you can love? This is it, baby.)