Wednesday, July 27, 2011

These are a few of my Favorite things....Summer edition

Since Oprah can get away with listing her favorite things I figured it was high time I put up a list of my own. These are my favorite things of the summer so far as I have been horrible at blogging about current happenings.

Visit from Dad, Sally, and Katie - They came in early June and we had a blast going around to Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Playing tourist is fun!

This is what we did all weekend. I swear Katie and Dad were never away from their phones!

2nd Anniversary! - June 20 was our 2nd Anniversary so to celebrate we went to Colorado Springs for the weekend. It rained a lot (which was nice because we never see rain here) and Paul got to re-explore his old stomping grounds (as he was 5 years old when they moved away).

Notice one of his newest t-shirts pays tribute to Angry Birds. We spent one Friday night playing the game for two hours...yes we were bored!

Weddings! - Okay so it was really only one wedding for Paul's friends Sean and Jen but it was nice. Weddings always make me smile.

Yummy new foods - We found a new Chile-Lime Fajita marinade that we love (recipe to come soon). We also have fallen in love with Crusher cabernet sauvignon wine. Who says $12.00 wines can't be awesome? One of our favorite meals while in Colorado Springs was just making our own cheese plate at the hotel. I also love that my sister-in-law July can cook and gives us random things sometimes like Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding...oh yes be jealous! ;-)

With a name like that it has to be awesome! Very

New Apartment - We moved at the very beginning of the summer with the help of movers and friends to a great apartment. It's a very quiet community most of our neighbors are either retired or older families so we don't have much noise to deal with. Our view is also awesome we face a major street so Paul can practice panning cars and taking pictures of random lightning storms. 

If you look between the yellow flag NM flag and American flag you can just barely seen Barnes & Noble. If I tilt my Nook just right I can get into their internet (we have our own it's just fun!). The sight of the sign at night makes me happy!

Enjoying our hobbies - For me reading this summer has been great. I'm currently rereading Harry Potter (after 1 1/2 weeks of reading I'm on book 6...I just don't have the time I used to! lol) and decided to read the 1st book to Paul. It wasn't as exciting to him as it was to me, but to each their own. Our next adventure is to listen to all 52 hours of the Lord of the Rings series. It will be awesome and I suspect it will take most of the fall. Summer has done wonders for Paul's photography. He keeps busy on his forums on Flickr and reading new books. He finds out new techniques weekly, which go straight over my head at times. Who knew my college photography class and having two sisters for photographers would come in handy? lol

Lazy Saturday morning reading Harry Potter out on our balcony and watching Paul photograph cars driving by.

So that in a nutshell is our summer. Maybe when fall rolls around the blog will get more exciting? lol

Thursday, June 9, 2011

All the boxes and smoke! AHHH!

So Paul and I are finally moved into our new place. I've never liked moving and find the hardest part getting started packing it all. We waited until the last minute to pack 90% of our things because we're such procrastinators. But there's something nice about unpacking a box in a new place. Getting everything situated and for even just one day having a clean house makes me feel like life is in order. Now knowing us the orderliness of the house will fade over time as life gets busy and we get more lax...but it's nice to look around and have everything in its place.

Here's a few pictures from our move:

Paul's stereo equipment was actually the first stuff in the apartment. We hired movers for the rest but we didn't want to chance having something happen to the entertainment equipment so with his friend Skye's help we moved it ourselves.

I am a master car packer. :D

Hopefully this apartment will be a place we call home for a while. It's right on the edge of some local farms not far from the Rio Grande so every morning we are greeted by the fragrance of animal "presents" wafting into the parking lot. A great way to awaken the mind without caffeine! LOL

We've had a lot of smoke in this area due to the Arizona fires this past week so much so that it looked like a large fog had come over the city. We were next to Pei Wei the other and it smelled like Chinese food mixed with a campfire. This week is only expected to be worse until they get an upper hand on the fires or our weather patterns change. Boo!

It looks like a rainy day...only it's not!

View from across a parking lot.

I just saw on the news the fire is as big as Chicago and New York City combined!!! Since there is 0% containment it's unlikely the smoke will leave any time soon.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Crazy month getting crazier!

So it's been a month! I can't believe it just started only to have it almost about to end. In some ways we're excited it is coming to a close (Paul is ready to be done with school) but in others we need more time (we move into our new apartment May 27 I have so much to pack)!!

To Bee or Not to Bee

The first week of May was very nice weather here. We hadn't put our swamp cooler on yet so we decided to keep the windows open. That first Sunday May 7th we noticed three bees in our bathroom. We thought little of it they must have climbed in through the screen somehow. Then after shooing them out 1 hour later we found 3 more. Then we found the nest.

Now this nest was on the second floor under a roof eave and not very well visible but you could see them swarming! Wish I had gotten pictures but the ones I took never came out very well. After calling a dozen places we finally found someone to take care of it and since then have not seen any bees.

Biopark gardens

Saturday after a month of trying to go we finally got to go to the gardens. I was happy because it gave me time to read my new book World Without End by Ken Follett while Paul got to photograph flowers to his heart content. I got about 75 pages read which is a successful morning if I say so myself. Here is one of my favorites from his photo shoot:

Dinner with Grandmama

Grandmama came to Albuquerque this last week with her senior citizen group. We decided to go out to dinner Friday night to El Pinto and took her on a driving tour of Corrales and Rio Rancho. I hadn't been to some of the locations in Corrales we went to so it was fun to see that side of the city.

Boxes are invading!

May 27 we get the keys to our new apartment. Yay! In preparation we have been slowly trying to pack. This is the scene in the hallway this afternoon!

Scary right? I am hoping from the boxes they can tell the kitchen things are fragile (maybe I should write it Spanish, French, and Chinese lol)! I already broke 3 glasses myself, but the good news is they were misfit glasses anyways. We have hired movers since we don't want to throw out our backs moving a washer and dryer to the second floor apartment! Those will come on Tuesday so we'll have Memorial Day weekend to pack odds and ends.

The good news is we have all of our wedding kitchen gifts that we've never been able to use and our books packed. I also went through my dresser and tossed a ton of clothes I have no intentions of wearing again. Goodwill will be very happy next week when I deliver the sack full of clothes and box of books. Moving is a great way to consolidate what you own and we are hoping to get rid of a lot!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Easter fun!

Happy Easter to all!

Easter is a pretty busy season for us. Paul sang at a total of 4 services and had 2 rehearsals so he was busy all week long. He also had horrible allergies that week which I in turn had this week. At least we think they were allergies...ah well! His kids at school also put on a live Stations of the Cross (14 Stations where you meditate on the sufferings of Christ) which his kids were amazing in from what I heard.

My mom and Randal also came to town! It was great being able to see them and enjoy roaming around town. We went up to the top of the mountain last Saturday and despite dealing with 37 degree weather and winds had a wonderful time. Most of our time was spent indoors eating lunch and admiring the views.

That night was Easter Vigil Mass with Mom, Randal, Jeff, and July. Always love that Mass. Just the idea of being complete darkness in the beginning to coming into complete light after the readings really brings home the Easter message of Christ's salvation given to all of us. The service lasted until 11:30 so after a midnight meal at IHOP it was bedtime!!

The next day was mainly just relaxing. We took them out for some good New Mexican Food at El Pinto, played Ticket to Ride (an awesome board game kind of like Risk), and lazed around the house. They left Monday morning which was sad but the visit was great.

PS here's a blast from Easter past (I would show one of Paul's Easter past...but I can't find a single picture of him as a kid! Someday there will be an epic Paul as a kid post! lol):

On tap for today: Dawn, Jessica, and Paul's birthday barbecue. I have some surprises up my sleeves, which y'all will know about shortly. Yes it will be legendary as Barney would put it! :-D

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday: How our view of media relates to the crowds

So today officially started Holy Week in the Protestant and Catholic faith. With Paul it means a weekend of singing and lots of services (he has 2 rehearsals and 3 services to sing at)! For me it is a celebration of joining the church two years ago. I always enjoy Easter Vigil Mass for that reason on Saturday night because seeing the candidates and catechumens going through the service reminds me of my continuing journey as 9 months is not nearly long enough to learn it all! It's kind of like being a baby: you don't come out of the womb reciting Shakespeare or doing algorithm (and some of us never do...math ugg! lol). My faith before converting was still evolving and I doubt this evolution in understanding Christ is anywhere near completion.

Here's a little chart I found that I thought was cool about Holy Week put out by Bible Gateway Blog (click on it to get a better view):

Palm Sunday always seems like such a juxtaposition to me: on one hand you have Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem being praise as the messiah and then just days later he is given up by those same crowds condemned to death. I mediated a lot on on the crowds' reactions to Jesus in both instances as we were preparing for Mass this morning. I relate a lot with the idea that even myself I am capable of being completely on fire for Christ (as the crowds were that Palm Sunday) and then in the same day completely ignoring my need for a Savior by my action or inaction (as the crowds condemned him to death). We went through the Passion today in Mass and as difficult as it is to say "Crucify him!" when it came time for the congregation to respond, I know I could very well have been in the crowd saying those very words.

I also think about when the soldiers mocked him by labeling him King of the Jews and placing the crown of thorns and robe on his back. I thought a lot about our media and how easily they mock Christ, the Catholic faith, our values, and Christianity as a whole. I also thought of how easily we dismiss it and continue on as if nothing has happened. We accept it as something that cannot be changed: the media will do what is popular and we are the minority unable to change it. The secular media continues on with destroying our values and our faith and we continue to support them with our time. You wouldn't be friends with someone that openly mocked you so why do we allow entertainment to do that to our faith? Why do we continue this friendship with secular media that attacks us?

We hum along to Lady Gaga on the radio even though some of her songs, such as Judas (lyrics attached if you want to examine further), and actions openly mock our faith. We watch programming and support artists that do not support our morals and are set out to destroy it (here's an article regarding a recent Glee episode and ties to Planned Parenthood through Gwenyth Paltrow. When someone questioned her for supporting sexual activity in teenagers she responded with "what are you the pope lady?"). But if  we contacted the advertisers for some of these shows in force it would be persuasive. Can you imagine what would happen if we boycotting any one of the advertisers for Glee (which in the spring according to this article is set to earn $373,014 per 30-second ad)? Money speaks. Not saying it doesn't have catchy tunes and some really great singers...but when do we stand up?

On the other hand we don't support enough the Christian media that struggles against a very secular leaning society. Programs like Catholic Answers, The Journey Home, Veggie Tales, and Adventures in Odyssey are in need of support. There are also some great movies coming out such as Of Gods and Men, Cristiada, and There Be Dragons. And as far as singers go Christian music has everything from Gospel to Christian Rock to Christian Screamo (which I've never got personally...but if that's your cup of tea go for it!). There are so many voices out there it is easy to go with the popular voice or the easiest to find, but what about absorbing programs and media that isn't trying to put our faith down? Am I saying curl up into a cave, never listen to another Glee song again, and defriend everyone you know who loves Lady Gaga? No. I don't have cable and PBS (despite some of their programing I disagree with) is still a fun station. I love History Detectives, some Nova programs, and American Experience. I also am an avid watcher of Grey's Anatomy still despite my disagreements with character choices and storyline.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is our choices in what and who we support can be closely related to the crowd on Palm Sunday: at church we praise Christ but what did we do with the rest of our day or for that matter Holy Week? Were are actions or inactions glorifying Christ? I myself am not perfect as I still get sucked into programming like Grey's Anatomy. It's called being human, but when we recognize our choices are not aligned with Christ shouldn't we make efforts to change them?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Day 11 - Your favorite book

Where do you start?! Books have been my livelihood from a young age. I still have fond memories of reading The Little House on the Prairie series, Babysitter Club, and of course Harry Potter.

Here's just a few of the memorable ones:

Three Weeks with my Brother by Nicholas Sparks - Wonderful book! I love Nicholas Sparks books in general, but this one felt more personal. It is part autobiography about Sparks and adventure around the world with his brother as a grown adult. His autobiography takes you from a broken childhood of poverty to his adult life struggling with helping his child with autism. Interestingly enough he took up writing after an injury in college made is dream of being a competitive runner impossible. Very few books make me cry but this is on my list.

Green Mile by Stephen King - Never saw the movie and don't really have a desire to. I have a huge fear that the wonderfully rich book will be ruined for me by Hollywood's creation. I read it all in one afternoon while visiting universities my junior year of high school. I cried at the end and then quickly reread it again! 

Harry Potter by J.K Rowling - No list for me is complete without Harry Potter! I have to say in the beginning I had no desire to read them. Becca and Emily were all about them starting in 6th grade when the 1st book was still very new in the United States. I picked up the 2nd book shortly after it had been released and fell in love with the characters. I've been to all of the midnight releases since then and was sad when the final book was released by Junior year of college. It kind of felt like an era had ended as the books got me through my teenage years.

Three Cups of Tea...One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson - This was a recommendation by a lady who I got to know rather well while working as a fitness center receptionist. She was a retired college professor and always had a plethora of reading advice. It's a true story about a man who is on a trek to climb K2 on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. While on this trek he becomes violently ill and is taken care of for weeks after by a small village on the border of Pakistan. He is moved by their generosity and vows to return with the ability to educate the children in the area including women. He has since built over 50 schools in remote areas all over Pakistan and Afghanistan and has transformed their societies as a result.

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson - To me the moral of this book was be true to yourself and life is never definitive. I read this originally in 4th grade and it's a story that has stuck with me ever since.

Rome Sweet Home by Scott Hahn - This book is a book Paul got for me as I started my conversion. It was great to hear his account as a previous Protestant minister converting to Catholicism. Seeing him in person this past January was nice as well. 

There's plenty more on my list of memorable books...but it would get boring after a while! ;-)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day 10- A photo of our favorite place to eat.

Well if you click on the link there are photos! lol

I kind of asked Paul a little bit about what he considers his favorite place to eat just to see if our answers would be the same. I can't just pick one so I created  categories! :D

My answers:
- New Mexican: El Pinto (kind of like the Disneyworld of New Mexican food lol)
- Italian: Saggio's (Paul got me hooked on it due to the amazing calzones!)
- Steak: The Keg! Still haven't found a place in ABQ that beats it
- Asian: Kobe's Steakhouse in Dallas
- Fast food: Schlotzsky's (there are only 2 that I know of here...we happen to be less than 5 miles away from one!) or Twister's (New Mexican fast food with amazingly addicting Green Chile cheese fries!)
- Guilty Pleasure: Chipolte!!! (Is it bad one of my motives for going to Colorado Springs is because they have one? lol)

His answer:
- New Mexican: Little Anita's
- Italian: Il Vincio's
- Steak: The Keg!
- Asian: Kobe's Steakhouse
- Fast Food: Taco Bell
- Guilty Pleasure: Cinnabon (he could eat this for lunch or dinner alone! lol)