Monday, June 23, 2008

the hole in the sidewalk is being fixed! Yay!!!! Next they'll do the asphalt ones - I'm preparing for the fumes (maybe I'll go to the library ... ).

All Porcupines Float

All porcupines float in water.
Snapple "real fact" #15

Pennies don't.

Maybe porcupines float because of all the air in their quills - something like having natural water wings?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Baby Gets His/Her First Shirt!

I spotted this shirt as we were going into Target today and I could not pass it up! (Not to mention it was only $1!) I know its a little early for these types of things, but if you have ever been in my shoes you would know exactly what I'm talking about....First time dad pride!
~John Smillie~

Thursday, June 19, 2008


This week there are some men working on our street. They are slowly making their way up it, and Tuesday they got to us (I knew, because I woke up at 7 when the jackhammers started). For some reason they are cutting these big square holes (with a none-to-quite pavement saw), jackhammering out the pavement, and then covering the holes with a large, thick plate of steel. On Tuesday, not only did they cut a hole in the street about 30 feet from the apartment, they also felt the need to cut one in the sidewalk just outside our bedroom window (as I was talking with my mom), and one in our parking lot (as I was talking with my mother-in-law).
So, yesterday, to escape all this, I went shopping.
It was a rather cool and overcast day, a nice day to leave the windows open, tidy things up, and write as many thank-you notes as I could before the mail lady got here. But these guys were working just up the street, and I couldn't concentrate.
So, I went shopping.
I only intended to shop, really.
But, just in case, I brought along a bit of cash.
There is a very nice shopping center (Whole Foods, American Eagle, Banana Republic, Gap, Pier One, Ann Taylor, Motherhood ... )1.6 miles from the apartment, and that's where I went. I walked through it and found myself at Anthropologie (huge surprise). I browsed and shopped for quite a while, tried on a few really cute and expensive tops, and then found something in the clearance section.

Basically, John and I now have a beautiful new damask tablecloth.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Myers-Briggs "typing"

I just finished taking one of the "type" tests on facebook, and this was the result:

Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging
The Nurturer

The characterization is rather long, but as I read through it (and shortened it slightly for the blog) I was surprised at how accurate it was. As I said, it is long - so please feel free to skip it! But, if you read through, you'll get to know me pretty much as I am, weaknesses and strengths included.

"ISFJs are sympathetic, loyal, considerate and conscientious. They will go to any amount of trouble, when it makes sense to them [that's a key factor], to help those in need. ISFJs operate most comfortably in situations where the rules are well defined and where traditions are to be upheld. They focus on providing practical help and services for others and for the organizations they serve. They are often self-effacing in getting the job done, and they are willing to make necessary sacrifices, especially for their families. They are at their best quietly providing assistance and making sure things are in proper order.

ISFJ Strengths
• Warm, friendly and affirming by nature
• Service-oriented, wanting to please others [sometimes I wonder, "do I really want to serve, or am I just trying to please them?"]
• Good listeners
• Will put forth lots of effort to fulfill their duties and obligations
• Excellent organizational capabilities
• Good at taking care of practical matters and daily needs
• Usually good (albeit conservative) at handling money
• Take their commitments seriously, and seek lifelong relationships

ISFJ Weaknesses
• Don't pay enough attention to their own needs
• May have difficulty branching out into new territory [no kidding!]
• Extreme dislike of conflict and criticism
• Unlikely to express their needs, which may cause pent-up frustrations to build inside

ISFJ children are conscientious, diligent, and rarely a behaviour problem to their parents or teachers [not so sure about that]. They like to know what is expected, and then they will dutifully and quietly follow through. ... Security and routine are very important to ISFJ children. ... ISFJ children like to know exactly what they are supposed to do in school and like to feel certain that they have the skills before being called upon. ISFJs need gentle nudging to move beyond their comfort level [definitely!]. They may worry a lot about any number of things. This is apparent even in young children [was it really? hmm]. Because of their inward focus, it simply does not occur to them to share their problems with others [so true]. ... They avoid center stage and contribute willingly in quiet, practical, behind-the-scenes ways. When comfortable, they can radiate their feelings and thoughtful values outward to others. They are often accepted for their kindness and quiet friendliness. They typically select a few special friends and nurture these friendships over long periods of time.

ISFJs shy away from disharmony and try to maintain cooperation at all costs... In their careers, ISFJs are often likely to take what comes along ... rather than continue to look for something else and remain in a state of flux. Once in a job, they generally try to make the most of it, since the known is preferable to the unknown. They are loyal employees who diligently work at whatever tasks are given to them.

Learning and Working
ISFJs tend to be good students, because they diligently follow through in their work to please their teachers. One aspect of pleasing their teachers is wanting to know their teachers' basic requirements so that they can meet them to the letter of the law [yup]. They like having assignments that tangibly demonstrate that they have worked hard [and get a little recognition, too]. They are not likely to feel comfortable with an independent study project, because independent study leaves them too much on their own without a set of definite procedures ["but what am I supposed to do?!]. ISFJs learn best by doing. ... They find arguing to be nonproductive and even uncomfortable. They like clear conclusions to their learning. They want to know the right answer [not just an answer, it has to be correct]. They may need to accept that situations do not always have one answer and learn to feel comfortable with that.

At work, ISFJs ... are known for their kindness and for their willingness to go to any length to help those in need. They take the practical needs of people into account when they do their work, and their strong follow-through skills allow them to carry out organizational goals. They do at least what is expected to them and oftentimes more, without attracting attention to themselves. ... ISFJs are attracted to occupations that require dedication to others, service, attentiveness to details, and thoroughness. They would rather work with things that they can see - the tangibles that result in something worthwhile for people [again, all this is so true].
Some occupations are more appealing to ISFJs: ... curator, family practice physician, health service worker, librarian, medical technologist, nurse, preschool and elementary teacher, typist, and other occupations that provide opportunities for them to meet their need to be of service to others [and at some point I have wanted to be all of these!].

For the ISFJ, love means security and commitment. ISFJs tend to fall hard when they fall in love. In love, ISFJs tend to epitomize people who radiate warmth and good feeling. While ISFJs may not verbalize deep love or the underlying sense of security and commitment that they feel, their contented facial expressions and demeanors illustrate their inner thoughts [what?! Okay, I know I may not say or express things very well, but really!]. They will do whatever is necessary to maintain this state. When the spouse or family of the ISFJ does not meet his or her expectations, the opposite facial expression or demeanor may occur [mmm, yes, the opposite may occur. Just ask those who live with me]. They are unlikely to talk with others about their disappointments [yes, and it is a weakness].

ISFJs place a great deal of importance on their personal relationships. They're generally very giving and loving people, who place the needs of others above their own. ... They take their commitments very seriously, and seek lifelong relationships. ISFJs are extremely dependable, and put forth a lot of energy into keeping things running smoothly. They sometimes have difficulty saying "no" when asked to do something. ... What makes them feel best about themselves is when others show them their appreciation of the ISFJ. Consequently, the best gift that the partner of an ISFJ can give them is the expression of their love and appreciation. ISFJs have difficulty with conflict situations, and would much prefer to just sweep things under the rug [another weakness]. It's a common problem for ISFJ's to not express their feelings until pushed to some limit, after which they explode in anger and say things which they later feel they shouldn't have said [mmm, yes (to my shame)]. ... In general, the ISFJ is usually a traditional, family-minded individual who places the comfort of their mates and families as their first priority in life. They're great for providing for everyday basic needs, and have a depth of caring which is very unusual, and not found in most types.

ISFJs as Parents
Parenthood is seen as natural state to the ISFJ. ... ISFJs may have difficulty administering punishment or discipline to their children, although most are able to overcome this discomfort because they feel it is their greater duty to instill their children with sound values [most are able to overcome this - hahah!]. ... In many ways, an ISFJ makes an ideal parent [well, I hope so]. Their children will not lack for structure, appropriate guidelines, or warmth and affection.

ISFJs as Friends
Although the ISFJ is likely to place God and family above their friends in their priorities, they genuinely enjoy spending time with friends and colleagues. In fact, ISFJs usually feel a strong need to talk problems and issues over with people before making decisions on their actions [yes, strangely]. ISFJs ... love to observe people's reactions and emotions in situations, and so enjoy being around diverse types of people [people watching is a favorite form of entertainment - even when I am actively engaged in conversation with you, I am considering your reactions]. The ISFJ usually remains reserved around others, and does not open up very much. However, since they have a need to talk things over with others in order to make decisions, they do really need some close confidantes in their life."
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

something I found - it's really wonderful

I bought all the paper goods for the wedding invitations and some of the thank-you notes from Paper Source, and it has become my absolute favorite place to find beautiful colored and textured paper.

So, imagine my delight when I found Margot Madison Creative Stationary, a stationary shop just up the street from us - a scant ten minute walk - that carries Paper Source's complete product line!
Of course, the staff are all extremely helpful and friendly, and they have great product displays. So what do those things, combined, make? A fun and inspiring place to browse/shop.


The herbs that John bought for me in the beginning of May were starting to crowd the tomato, so I split them up.

And because we were just about out of bread, and I really didn't feel like asking John to go out again, I made some. Rosemary Raisin.

6 to 6 1/2 cups flour
2 pkg. (1 1/2 tbsp) active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups milk
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter (I used olive oil)
2 tsp salt
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups dark or golden raisins
4 tsp dried crushed rosemary
1 egg white
1 tbsp milk

In a large mixing bowl combine 3 cups of flour and the yeast; set aside.
In a medium saucepan heat and stir together the 2 1/2 cups milk, the sugar, butter, and salt until warm and butter almost melts. Add milk mixture to the flour mixture, stir. Add egg yolk, stir until combined.
Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping the bowl. Beat on high for 3 minutes more. Sprinkle with raisins and rosemary. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes.
Punch down the dough. Divide dough in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Lightly grease two loaf pans; shape each half of the dough into a ball and place in prepared pans. Cover and let rise until nearly double, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375. For the glaze, combine the egg white with the remaining milk; brush lightly over the surface of the dough.
Bake about 40 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cover loosely with foil to prevent over browning during the last ten minutes of baking, if necessary. Remove from pans immediately.

For dinner John barbecued some steak which he had marinated with a bit of balsamic vinegar and a shake of seasoned salt (one of the best simple marinades we've done yet), and I defrosted some peas in the microwave and topped them with blu cheese. A simple, yet extremely delicious and satisfying meal.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Birthday Night On The Town

Yesterday was Elizabeth's birthday! So in celebration, I took her downtown to the Chart House Restaurant to have dinner and soak in the view overlooking Cincinnati and the Ohio River. We had a wonderful time enjoying first class service and outstanding food. I know some of you are wondering, so to satisfy your curiosity, I wore my suit, a white dress shirt and blue tie, and Elizabeth looked stunning in a black formal dress. We started off our dinner experience with the best Clam Chowder I've ever salivated over; fresh, creamy, rich, with plenty of clam meat. For dinner, Elizabeth was engrossed by the Shrimp Fresca she order (Parmesan crusted jumbo shrimp with angel hair pomodoro, topped with jumbo lump crab), and I was rewarded by ordering the Cajun Yellowfin Ahi (Cajun spiced and grilled Yellowfin Ahi, ginger soy butter, wasabi cream, spinach & bok choy). We topped off the evening by watching the sun go down over the city and Ohio River while being wowed by a cup of coffee and the Hot Chocolate Lava Cake (Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, molten center, Dreyer’s® vanilla ice cream, served with warm
chocolate sauce and Heath Bar Crunch). All in all, it was the best dinning experience the two of us have had in a very long time (if ever); not to mention the very nice complimentary valet parking.

Afterwards, we went for a walk along the river and enjoyed a warm summer evening hand in hand as a thunder storm blew in over the north side of Cincinnati. The pictures you see above were taken by Elizabeth on her new Nikon D60, her birthday present from me this year. She is very excited about it and I'm sure all of you will start benefiting by it as she post more fabulous picture in the future.

In closing, I love you Elizabeth and I looking forward to seeing what God is going to do in your life during this next year and in the many, many wonderful years that lie in store for us together.

Your Loving Husband,


Sunday, June 15, 2008

birthday joys

The family sent a package for my birthday ... and I opened it this morning.
It had 22 little packages inside - all numbered - and I am still opening them!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

a forgiving flower

the daisy from the Stonecyphers

It's blooming again! The blooms lasted for quite a while, and then I forgot to water it once .......... but it has forgiven me. And is showing me its lovely little face again.
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a mystery

- eleven weeks -
picture from The Incredible Machine, published by National Geographic, 1986

"The LORD ... opened her womb." - Genesis 29:31
"... and the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son." - Ruth 4:13
"... the LORD had closed her womb." I Samuel 1:5

It is God who has the power over the womb, He who opens or closes it. He knows us from the before our earliest moments, it is He who directs the coming into being of life.
"Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope ..." - I Peter 1:3
Not only does He give us physical life, He brings us into spiritual life as well. How mighty is our God!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I found this flower this morning as I was running, dodging the storm and catching the small showers. It has been raining quite heavily here, and the rain and wind have knocked some of the blossoms off of the flowering trees. The tree this is from is a massive deciduous, with large and broad leaves. But I don't know its name.
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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

sunset after the storm

what we bought last night

nike: women's air pegasus

Extremely comfortable. And breathable. Cute, too. :) My husband is soooo good to me! The idea is that these will help me run longer, faster, farther ............ and he might join me. Maybe.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

dinner tonight - because it was warm and sticky

It was red-leaf lettuce with sauteed onions and diced ham, diced avocado, tomato wedges and blu cheese crumbles. We had spicy mettwurst sausages as the "side dish", just to round things out. :)

wedding pictures!

wedding pics
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