Chasing Contentment

Tuesday, February 27

So maybe this is our lazy week. I'm just going to do the bare minimum of laundry, and I'm going to read blogs and magazines. As I've been reading blogs, I found a new one or two (check out my new buttons).

And we're gonna watch lots of tv. Sometimes, you just have to give in and watch lots of tv. We've watched "American Idol," and I'm about to start voting. And now we're watching the new Fox show about being smarter than a fifth grader. I'm TiVo'ing it for Griff... he's going to think this is super.

I'm also going to answer Tami's fresh friday questions from last week that I didn't do then.
Plans this weekend: last weekend my parents flew in to visit, and this coming weekend, we're all Astros all the time as we take the kids to two spring training games
Song currently playing: whatever's on the Verizon ad
Favorite shade of food coloring: red
Cold cut of choice: cheese
Word most often used today: appears
Your middle name is: Michele
Your favorite office supply: paper clips
What did you eat for breakfast today: nothing (well, Diet Coke... but the yogurt I bought was the wrong kind & it was yucky)
If you were a film genre, what would you be: I have no idea
Complete this sentence: "I often wonder why they don't make Advil patches that give you a nice, small dose all the time." (The TMJ contributes to this thought.)

[  posted by Chel on Tuesday, February 27, 2007  ]

Monday, February 26

We've had a quiet evening tonight, and I've read blogs that I've been missing, and I've finally caught up on all of the comments I haven't responded to all month. So if you left a comment on my blog this month, I've now responded. Woohoo, me.

Gotta go have another chocolate chip cookie. 'nite.

[  posted by Chel on Monday, February 26, 2007  ]

Our little family had a really long weekend, and so we're all worn out this evening. We're all kinda retreating to our own little areas tonight. Later this week, I'll write about some of the thoughts this weekend left me mulling over, but tonight, I'm just posting funny new home pictures.

I posted earlier about the crazy rug sales slogan at the store at our closest intersection, and now I've got pictures of two other local sites that crack me up... or freak me out, as the case may be.

There's this crazy car that usually comes out only on the weekends (today being a really great exception). It's covered with stick-on letters spelling out Bible verses and sayings, and it's got all of these figures and statues adhered to the vehicle. It's a hoot. Now, these pictures aren't close enough to be able to read the words on the car, but it's not easy taking a picture and driving, too.

And for those of you who are aware of my bird phobia, these are for you. For the rest of you who may not know, I'm terribly afraid of birds... all birds. I hate birds. And there are these huge, tall birds in the parking lot of my building at work. I've seen them pecking on people's cars! Freaks me out.

[  posted by Chel on Monday, February 26, 2007  ]

I saw a link to The Ultimate Blog Party on Val's blog a week or so ago. Of course, in that time, I've been crazed and nuts and tired and completely unsure I could figure out how to participate (that's me... always convince I'm not quite capable... one of my biggest faults).

But tonight, I decided to give it a whirl, and I've managed to get the Party button onto my page, and I'm planning to participate and attend. I've always been a little conflicted about whether or not I wanted lots of people to read my blog (I'm pretty open and transparent here), but I do love the idea of getting out and finding groovy new blogs to read.

So, during the week of March 2-9, I think we should all joing 5 Minutes for Mom and party like ... well, like people who don't have to pay babysitters $6 an hour in order to leave the house.

[  posted by Chel on Monday, February 26, 2007  ]

Tuesday, February 20

It's been a really long day today, so I've just got some random thoughts.

Linda, I gave blood again today. It's not my favorite activity, but I can't think of a legitimate reason not to give, and since I know you can't any longer, I'm sorta giving on your behalf. For the record, your arm is still bleeding. Apparently, I'm a good bleeder... a 'textbook four minutes' was what they said.

My day was really difficult at work. I was out yesterday with the kids, and things just kept piling up. I was completely overwhelmed. A co-worker made a sincere and well-meant comment that nearly had me in tears. Of course, once I got past the near-tears part, I was annoyed and more determined than ever. I have to bear in mind that I've only been on the job for two weeks now.

The necklace that I made and donated to Food For The Poor was auctioned off this month and brought $90! That's way more than I would charge for a necklace, so I was just delighted to hear that someone thought it was worth that. I haven't made anything since before Christmas, so maybe this is the encouragement I need to make something new.

Lastly, today's Dilbert made me laugh... that I could do without being overwhelmed or frustrated or confused and near-tears. I keep trying to remember that I was really good at my previous job and that if I hang in there, maybe I can be good at this one, too.

[  posted by Chel on Tuesday, February 20, 2007  ]

Monday, February 19

More paint news... I finally got tired. We did the living room and started the kitchen before I quit. So now the kitchen walls are half painted... and I'm okay with that.

When we moved the furniture into the front room to give us more room in the living room to paint, we discovered that it looked really good in there. So we left it in there, and now the kids are sitting on a mattress in the living room watching tv in a relatively empty room.

And there's been lots of tv watching today. We're taking the holiday to extremes... it's mid-afternoon, and the kids and I are all still wearing our jammies. Not bad if you ask me.

[  posted by Chel on Monday, February 19, 2007  ]

Thursday, February 15

I read in the paper this evening (I'm married to a journalism professor... yes, I still read a paper newspaper), and I saw a tidbit about how the new Enviga and Celsius drinks are supposed to help burn calories... partially thanks to high caffeine levels.

Good heavens, if I'd known it was helpful, I'd have been drinking more Diet Coke all along. I think I'll go have one now.

[  posted by Chel on Thursday, February 15, 2007  ]

Wednesday, February 14

Happy Valentine's Day.
My dear Mike didn't get me a card this morning. Of course, he's got this golden touch. So he came home with this fabulous gift that only I would love. And I do love it.

But in the spirit of fun and romance...

I tell these silly, annoying, very Chel-and-Mike stories about the two of us, and both Mandy and Aleece have mentioned how they miss hearing all of those all the time. So, for them, here's our latest really great funny story.

Remember the episode of "Everyone Loves Raymond" (yeah, Mandy, I know Mike's Ray) where the two of them left the suitcase on the stairwell forever in a passive-aggressive insistence that the other one take it upstairs? Well, we've got our own little suitcase going on.

Except it's a trashcan full of dryer lint. Gross but true.

There's this tiny little trashcan in the laundry room & when I clean the lint filter, I put the lint in the trashcan. Now, in our house, Mike's in charge of trash. So I assumed (incorrectly) that he would take it out eventually.

But he didn't. And so I just kept squashing it down, and now there's about six months' worth of lint in there begging to be taken out. But I'm not going to do it. And he's not going to do it. And we both know it. And now... it's just a waiting game to see who cracks first.

I'll keep you posted. (See, you two, we're still crazy... we're just crazy in balmy weather.)

[  posted by Chel on Wednesday, February 14, 2007  ]

Monday, February 12

Last Friday, Tammy posted her first fresh friday, and I was so busy painting this weekend that I didn't answer any of the questions. But I do love a good survey type thing, and so I thought I'd do that today (you know... instead of watching another Strawberry Shortcake dvd with Eliza).

1. if you could straight-up, successfully change one element of your life this year, what would it be? I would be actively involved in a church where we were all having our spiritual needs met and where we had found a sense of true community and acceptance.

2. what kind of knowledge are you most hungry for in life? I'm afraid one of my downfalls in life might be that I'm not just really hungry for knowledge, in general. We tease that Mike's in charge of knowledge. But my prayer would be that I would become hungry for God's word in a way that I have been before and am missing now.

3. what really stupid thing do you think about too often? whether or not my life would be better if my weight were less

4. what one thing do you really respect in others? The ability to stand up for something they believe in... regardless of the personal cost. Mike's like that, and I am in awe of his convictions.

5. would you call yourself a patient person? What makes you impatient? Nope. No one would call me patient. I want everything right now.

6. what one thing do you wish others respected in you? my compassion, humanity, sense of humor

7. do you trust other people to keep your secrets/honour their promises/do the right thing when it comes to you? There exists a small group of people - very small, truth be told - with whom I trust my innermost secrets, who I trust to do the right thing. It's something I struggle with at this point... I'm not so big on trusting right now. Those few, though, I trust completely.

8. do you think people who are doing/saying stupid things need to be told, or is it none of your business? Live and let live. That's my motto. Now, if someone asks my opinion, I'll tell it. But in general, experience has directed me toward the whole everyone's on his own theory.

And now it's time to cut off Strawberry Shortcake and send Eliza to bed and Griff to his room to read.

[  posted by Chel on Monday, February 12, 2007  ]

Sunday, February 11

This weekend, we painted the front room and dining room. I had hoped to do our bathroom, too, but by today, we were just all too tired. Maybe this week sometime. For those who loved our old house, you'll be pleased to see that we used some of the same colors, proof, I suppose, that we are who we are regardless of where we are. Once we save up to buy actual furniture to sit on, these rooms will be groovy.

[  posted by Chel on Sunday, February 11, 2007  ]

Today's "Sherman's Lagoon" was fabulously me.

[  posted by Chel on Sunday, February 11, 2007  ]

Thursday, February 8

One of the things I love most about having a settled routine is knowing the landscape around me. I like noticing when little things change in the yards and business windows on my way to work or to the store or to wherever. I like that familiarity with a place.

(In our former hometown, on the way to the Target, there was this house with a fabulous Mary garden - very popular in the heavily-Catholic Louisiana - that changed all the time. I loved that garden. Mandy still sends me pictures of it sometimes.)

Anyway, on my way to and from work each day, I pass a gas station - convenience store. The owner lets people sell various junky stuff in the grassy area out front. And the junky stuff changes periodically, which intrigues me. Of late, someone's selling rugs. While that's not spectacularly interesting, they do have a sign that is fabulous.

Can you read the sign? "Buy rugs not drugs." As if someone on their way to buy drugs is going to see that sign and think, "Oh, my gosh, why didn't I think of that? If I just had a rug with Elvis on it, I wouldn't need that nickel bag."

It just seems like such an absurd suggestion to me that it cracks me up every time I pass it. I'll miss the drug sign when they move on and make way for the next bunch of junky stuff someone's trying to sell at the gas station. But it's nice to know that I've got favorite places to watch here in our new hometown.

[  posted by Chel on Thursday, February 08, 2007  ]

Tuesday, February 6

It was so funny that I called Mandy and Aleece to tell them both. But in all honesty, it probably wasn't as much funny as it was a reflection of just how much the last few years of our lives and the work situations we were in before the move have changed me.

Yesterday was my first day in my permanent section, and I now have a desk that's mine. I can put pictures and such in my cube area, and I can settle in and make the space mine (as much as is possible in the corporate environment). Everyone has these great, unique spaces.

I have three pictures of my kids taped to a shelf. There's also a bag of yogurt raisins and a cup of soup in my drawer. And that's it. I decided at lunch that I would go and buy myself some groovy office/desk supplies and begin to make the area more friendly. But I didn't.

I just couldn't bring myself to do it. It seems that I have a combination of problems. I have work commitment issues. If I put pretty Chel things in this space, then I'm committing to stay there. And I'm not sure I'm ready for that commitment yet, despite the fact that I've been there almost six months and have already received one raise.

There's also this leftover belief that I need to be portable. If something were to happen, and I needed to leave quickly, I could put my three pictures in my bag and go. Or I could even just call it a wash and print more from Snapfish later. Or if they decide I'm a lousy employee, it won't take my supervisor long to pack up my three photos. She won't need a box. An envelope will do.

But I suppose I am relatively commited to the job. And they don't seem inclined to fire me just yet. So maybe I'll slowly add cubicle decorations. If I'm going to paint my house and make it my home, I guess I should begin to work to feel at home at work, too.

See, funny. But not.

God's working in my life. He removed us from a situation that was becoming increasingly detrimental to us, and then He placed us somewhere wonderful. My faith in Him never waivered, but I lost much of my faith in other people. Now, I see that it's time that I begin to let down my guard a bit and conceive of a life here outside of the walls of our house. I need to let God show me how to trust again... in my work environment.

I think I'll go find a picture frame to take with me tomorrow.

[  posted by Chel on Tuesday, February 06, 2007  ]

Monday, February 5

So, this weekend, we painted. And it was fabulous. I was thinking as I was painting the kids' bathroom that, even though I'm no artist (and I know artists... my brother, Aleece, Kate... so I'm well aware of my limitations), I do love the possibility of a blank wall and a fresh coat of paint. Do you think God felt that tingle of excitement when He began His creation?

I can only imagine what my artist friends feel when they look at a blank canvas or piece of wood (my brother does phenominal burnings) ready to be turned into something new and different.

And there is such a feeling of accomplishment to peel off that blue tape and see that crisp new line of color (all of the credit for the straight lines goes to Mike, my blue tape guy). I wonder how much more pleased God must have been when He paused to survey His wondrous works.

Today, I finally started the job they hired me to do back in August. It was a really long, hard day, but I made it through. Now, I left the building behind, and I'm sure that by tomorrow, I'll be further behind. But I did it. And I am blessed to have other Christians in my section, which makes this latest transition a bit easier than the previous ones.

We're settling in really well these days... moving past just feeling at home and moving toward finding a church home and a sense of community. But still, it felt really good this weekend to accomplish the painting, to begin and end a project... not to mention having Eliza walk into her pink room and whisper, 'ooh, pretty.'

And while I'm way too tired to continue with anything tonight, I'm hoping to get Mike started taping another room tomorrow so I can continue the painting process. I think that once I manage to get this entire house painted in my colors and in my way, and once we get our new lime tree planted outside, we'll be at home.
That feeling of home, of being wrapped in God's love and in my family's love and in the love of those close to us, that is what I pray for this family.

But for now, I've got a few photos of Eliza's room before I go to sleep.

[  posted by Chel on Monday, February 05, 2007  ]

Thursday, February 1

I was tagged this week by Val at Purple Valley, which was a delightful surprise. As per the meme, I'm supposed to reveal five things my readers don't know about me. So here goes...

1. I hate raisins but I love Raisinettes. (Griff would say that's a Fannie Dooley from all of those years of watching Zoom.)

2. If given a gift certificate to the mall with the requirement that I spend the money on clothes, I would always prefer to buy pajamas. And without the clothing requirement, I would buy cosmetics and bath products. I'm a product junkie.

3. I am far harder on myself than anyone else ever is, and I tend to give myself less credit than I often deserve.

4. I sometimes make frozen margaritas in Griff's slushy maker (I lost my really great blender in the move) in the garage after the kids go to bed (it's a loud slushy maker).

5. I listen to NPR on Mondays (on the Mondays that I'm in the van... Mike's truck radio doesn't work at all) and I love the "This I Believe" series, and I'm always trying to decide what my essay would be if I ever had the never to submit one of my own.

** Mike says that I'm secretly crafty. And Griff says my secret is that I'm really nice on the inside and that I do nice things but that I pretend to be really tough and that I pretend to yell but that he and Mike are the only ones who can tell I don't really mean it. :)

And now I invite Mika, Tammy, and Craig to play along.

[  posted by Chel on Thursday, February 01, 2007  ]