Friday, March 31, 2006

Internet browsers

For those of you still suffering with Internet Explorer let me open your world to a whole new kind of internet. You may have heard me mention Mozilla or Firefox. If not, you just weren't paying attention. This is a way for you to reclaim your internet.

If you have yet to download this little gem I highly suggest you do it right NOW!!! Fewer pop-ups, better security and killer add ons.

The other little bit Mozilla has to offer is that my blog designs show up the way I want them to. That and you can change the theme of your browser. Currently my screen is the iPox theme. The home button is a little iPod and it is just darn spiffy.

As for add ons. Well I have a tool bar called Rubnub for your Yubnub. Sound odd. Well it is. It is like a search bar. You type stuff into the tool bar and it takes you exactly where you want it to. So for instance. I have it set that if I type the word "blog" it takes me to the Blogger Dashboard. The other feature is if you type the word "Simpsons" it gives you a totally random Simpsons quote. Completely useless, but fun.

Of course there are other add-ons. Take for instance the one D found last night. It is called Security Level or something. It puts a little box in the lower right hand corner that tells you what the current national security threat level is. Again totally useless, but somehow D thought is was funny, so he installed it. I can tell you that the current national security threat level is yellow (or elevated for the dummies like me.)

I must not have enough to do if I am posting about the wonders of Mozilla. But seriously... download it. You'll thank me later.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Play Day

Today is my first "day off" in a very long time. The past few months I have been consumed with Godspell costumes, adoption paperwork, church work that I have fallen behind on and other various projects that I have created for myself. I can say that today I have none of those to do. My only need to do task for the day is to make our house look somewhat presentable. Considering it hasn't really been cleaned since St. Patrick's Day this may be a bigger task than I imagine.

I think I might even attempt do break in my new Laundry Mate 5000.

I have a whole day to sit around, play with my little craft projects, work on some blog/website designs and eat bon bons (oh that's right I don't snack.) I am sure I won't be lacking for anything to keep me occupied.

I can't tell you how great a feeling this actually is.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Laundry Mate 5000

As discussed in the past I hate to do laundry. I almost would rather just go buy new clothes than have to wash the ones I already own. I have a bad habit of leaving clothes in the washer for days on end. And if I have to wash socks... well we all know what happens then.

The worst part is I let the laundry pile up until it is overflowing from the hamper. Of course the bottom 1/4 of the hamper is full of stuff that either needs to be taken to the dry cleaners or handwashed. So the hamper fills up quickly. When I can't stand it anymore I finally sort the laundry into my multitudes of baskets. What happens to the baskets? They stack up in various places around the house. Usually the wind up in Pickle's room.

Since the door to Pickle's room is shut I can't play my usual shove and stuff of dirty laundry. My MIL was even so kind as to bring the baskets that were in there out so I could was the towels and sheets. Pa-Sha I say. There are baskets in the laundry room (which is also the bathroom I use during the day) and in our bedroom.

The piles of laundry are even wearing on me. I had a fantastic idea on how to solve my laundry problem. I would buy a segmented laundry hamper. This way I can fit more into it, I don't have to sort the laundry and I could just roll it down to the laundry room when I ran out of underpants.

Therefore I now own what I affectionately call the Laundry Mate 5000. It is a 3 compartment rolling hamper. It is the neatest thing ever!!! D told me that I now actually have to do the laundry. We'll see.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

My kids

Yeah, yeah, I know the comments aren't working. Sorry about that. I guess it is what I get for trying to modify a blogger template. I'll get them working again soon.

I thank all of you for your words of encouragement. I needed that.

You would be surprised at what actually lifted my mood. My kids. No, I don't have kids of my own. D and I volunteer with our JR and SR high youth at church. And of course you have heard me ramble on about this production of Godspell they are doing. Well the show opened last night. Of course we had to be there for opening night. I saw the show Tuesday at the dress rehearsal, but I wasn't really paying attention.

Let me just say that these kids are AMAZING!!! They range from 6th to 12th grade. They put on a full production of Godspell. Of course Godspell isn't my most favorite musical, but this production was outstanding.

By the end of the show I walked out with a huge smile on my face. This was a huge about face from the Elle that snapped at one of the kids for complaining to me about his bio in the program. Hey man, logical consequences for not turning in your bio sheet on time.

It truly is astounding what young people can do. Thanks kids. I needed the boost.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Underneath it all

I really am a mess. I am trying too hard just to get on with my life. I am starting to worry about that. Everyone was surprised when I went back to work at the church so soon. We shut A's bedroom door last Monday and D's mom packed up all of his things the next day.

I am just so afraid that I am trying to play the strong roll. I get asked how I am doing and I tell people I am doing okay. I don't say great, but I do manage an okay. In reality I am a basket case. What the hell am I supposed to do? I can't just sit around feeling sorry for myself can I? I feel like I owe it to myself and my family to be the strong one.

I do happen to have my good moments, but more often than not I am pushing feelings down inside. I am about to lose it at any moment. I was so tired on Tuesday that I almost started crying in the middle of hand bell practice. I had to finish the last of the props for the kid's Godspell production, I worked the afternoon at the church, had a 3 hour long Godspell dress rehearsal that I had to write a video production shot list for then bell choir. In the end I just couldn't take it anymore.

Moreover, I had to tell my dad tonight that his grandson wasn't coming home. He got angry. He tried to tell me the Russians are just telling me a story. He doesn't want me to continue. He thinks I should just try for a domestic adoption. It made me so angry. I got frustrated with him and explained why this is our best chance at having a child right now. It took a while, but I hope he came around. He doesn't understand the concept of an open adoption. I had to equate it to me. I said, "how would you like it if my birth mom wanted to be involved in my life?" He wasn't too keen on that idea. He is just so stubborn sometimes. Gee, I wonder where I get it from.

Needless to say I truly am a mess. I will continue to tell you that I am fine, but in reality we all know different.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Extreme Makeover Home Office Edition

I am like a good girlfriend of mine. When I have something really bad happen the place that I am in holds a bad connotation. Monday night we were in my office when Olga delivered the bad news. This is not a good thing. You know how much time I spend in my office? This is where I work, so quite a bit.

Tuesday morning I told D about my bad karma theory and asked if I could go buy a new desk to give the room a bit of a change. Well the project turned into a bit more than a new desk. D's parents took us up to our local IKEA store. I found the desk I wanted, but of course it was larger than my old desk thus eliminating the space for my small bookshelf and printer table. I need somewhere to put my hoards of plant books so I bought wall cabinets to put the books in too. At the beginning of the store they had a display room that was painted the most beautiful color of aqua. It was paired with a clay brown and I fell in love. So after the IKEA adventure we made our way to the local Mega Home Improvement Store for some paint. I decided to just go with the aqua. (Thank you Ikea for now listing the paint colors: Benjamin Moore Passion Blue)

Wednesday afternoon I spent the day painting my office. I actually finished it in one day. Thursday we put together the new desk. Which of course was not without incident.* Then of course D says this room would look really good with some new stained molding to match the desk.

Friday we hung the wall cabinets and Saturday we made a trip to the other Mega Home Improvement Store for new Hemlock molding. Of course the molding had to be stained. Also not without incident.**

So here I am sitting in my pretty new office. Almost totally finished. I have some more artwork to purchase (of course the old artwork just didn't work) and some touchup painting to do. So say it with me... "Bus driver... move that bus!!!"



Oops, I forgot to add my footnotes.

*When we brought the large corner section of the desk into the house I peeked inside the box. It was the wrong color and the wrong shape!! It of course would not fit into either car so I called my friend Kathou who graciously drove up from Olympia to help me exchange the desk top. (Olympia=30 minutes from Tacoma, Tacoma=30 minutes from IKEA) Kathou you are the best!!

**While applying the wood conditioner to the molding I decided not to do it the Swedish way. You know, walk back and forth to the can. So I set the can on one of the pieces of molding as it sat on one of the saw horses. As I was applying the wood conditioner to the opposite end of the piece of molding the can was sitting on I picked up and turned the wood. Thus upending the brand new can of wood conditioner spilling its entire contents onto the patio. Smooooth.

Friday, March 17, 2006

I suppose you are wondering...

How is Elle?

Oddly enough I am ok. I have my moments, but otherwise I am doing remarkably well. D and I took Tuesday off and his parents came to spend the day with us. I worked on a project all day Wednesday and yesterday I did go back to work.

Today is St. Patrick's Day so of course that means the annual dinner. I make a great St. Pat's day spread every year. That will take up the good part of the day.

I am trying to keep myself busy, but am allowing time for the occasional breakdown. I cannot believe the amount of support we have gotten this past week. We have had many comments on the Adoption-Adventure blog. I have had countless emails, e-cards and general good wishes from people. I have had phone calls from family and friends and even a bouquet of tulips from one of the pastors at our church. That of course made me cry when I got to work yesterday. I suppose it was a good thing no one was around.

I have lots of theories, reasoning and just plain epiphanys about this whole situation. Too many to go into, but just know that I really am doing well.

I'll get back to regular old Elle soon. Posting about the useless crap in my life like the fact that my hair hates me and that Lutherans are a breed of their own. I just ask that at this time you please pray for the 3 other families that lost their children this week. I am not going through this alone.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Damn you Trader Joes

Never. I repeat, Never go to the grocery store when you are hungry. The smart person would have figured this out a long time ago, but I happen to only be an average person.

I asked D last night what he would like for dinner seeing as we had no thawed meat in our house. He said, "You could go to Trader Joes and pick up one of those vegetarian Indian dishes that I like so much." Oooh! good idea! I was already hungry at this point.

I hop in my little car and drive down the street to the bestest grocery store in the whole world. (ok, it's not as good as Whole Foods, but we don't have one of those here.) I love Trader Joes. See my love decent wine at affordable prices here.

I am not much of a snacker. I eat my meals at very specific times and don't eat much in between. Let's just overlook the 2 boxes of Girl Scout cookies in one week thing shall we. But... when I go to the grocery store hungry I come home with all kinds of crap that I don't really need. I have been known to buy a box of Lucky Charms just because it looked good that very moment.

So I am standing in the chip aisle at TJ's thinking I really should get myself a snack for those moments when hunger strikes. I found the most delectible little treat! Papadums! Papadums are typically a large, tortilla sized crispy Indian flat bread. Difficult to make at home, but oh so yummy. Thanks to the magic of TJ's they have made this treat into a bite sized chip. Of course they need some kind of dip to go with them. OOOOHHHH Hummus!!! I sounded like a hippie stoned out of my gorde in the middle of the store. I hot foot it over to the dip area and they have about 6 different kinds of hummus. I select the garlic.

I really could eat this snack as a whole meal. In fact I might just do that for lunch today. If you have a TJ's near you, try it. I promise you will like it! Sure beats the reduced fat Cheez-its I just ate*. Reduced fat. Really. Who buys reduced fat snack foods. If you are going to snack have something that actually tastes good.

*Please note that I passed up the unopened box of Thin Mints sitting right next to the Cheez-its. What the heck was I thinking?

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Sorry about that...

I had a moment there. Let's just move past the post where Elle says her cousin is attractive. I don't really want to be labeled any more of a redneck than I already am.

I must say that currently the Life of Elle is quite boring. Granted I am up to my eyeballs in projects, but there isn't really anything of particular interest. Look for a few new blog designs to come out pretty soon.

I unearthed my office a little. Evidently I have 2 desks in here! Who would have thunk it? I am still doing a little freaking out about that whole parenting thing. Still not quite sure what to feed this thing when it arrives, but I suppose I will figure it out.

On a totally unrelated subject I have to recommend a book to all of my readers. On most days I am a pretty smart person. I love to read and read just about everything. I do tend to shy away from trashy romance novels and anything suggested by Oprah, but that is a whole different story. I picked up one of the greatest books I have ever read. I know you have all heard about it. The book is Freakonomics. This book if fantastic. I was quite in the need of a good dendrite fluffing (oh, you will hear that phrase from me on occasion). The guys who wrote this are geniuses. They really do look at the hidden side of everything. It will simply astonish you as to how clueless we are to the pressures of "conventional wisdom."

There you have it. Elle's very own little book club. Pick yourself up a copy of this one today!

Monday, March 6, 2006

Is it wrong to think your cousin is good looking?

Noooo, I am not from Kentucky. I grew up in Podunk little town, Washington. I think that might be worse than growing up in Kentucky.

Sunday afternoon was my Grandma's 70th birthday party. (yeah yeah, she's young, so are my parents) The party was at none other than one of the tribal owned gaming establishments. Can you see my joy? I firmly believe casinos outside of the state of Nevada or Atlantic City are wrong on so many levels. However, it was Gram's birthday and I couldn't pass up an opportunity to spent the afternoon with my family. They are a kick. Besides, I had to have a reason to see my dad and scold him for not taking his medication.

Anyway, all of my uncles and aunts were there. Even a few cousins. And when I say few I mean very few. There are 23 of us and only 5 showed up.

My uncles rock!! My dad is the oldest and then the youngest is only about 12 years older than me. I grew up around these guys. They are just your average working joes. (no pun intended as my dad's name is Joe) They are genuine and sweet guys. What was most surprising is that my Uncle Kevin actually came. Well, the truth is his sons brought him since he can't drive. I do actually mean that plural. Sons. I haven't seen my cousin Jesse in a few years.

Here is a little background on me and Jesse. There are 3 of us who are the "older" grandkids. All girls. I am the 3rd oldest of 23. Then there are 3 boys. 2 of the boys are brothers to 3 of us girls. Then there was Jesse and I. We are not siblings, but look similar to each other. Both blond and fair skinned. The 6 of us spent summers together. We were like bickering best friends. The best part was that us girls would dress the boys up in girl clothes and make them play fashion models. (it is amazing that even one of them turned out normal) We would even do stuff like swim in the horse trough. Talk about redneck.

Well I got married, move away and then Jess graduated high school and we hardly see him. The last time I saw him was two years ago. Lemme tell you this boy has turned into a man! Holy Cow! Jesse now measures in at around 6'5"-6'6", longer blonde hair and great blue eyes. He works as a firefighter and is starting his EMT class shortly. Sorry ladies, this guy has some mystery girlfriend that none of us have met.

It was so amazing to see him I just had to get a photo of that one! This is Jesse with my Aunt Robin. Yeah, that's D in the background. Like how I am not in the shot? Of course sitting or standing next to Jess would make me look like a dwarf.

I am sure that it is not ok to think that your cousin is good looking. But what a fine man this boy turned out to be. I am glad to know that there is another one of us that turned out somewhat normal. You can't help but be just a little warped by my family, but that is what makes us charming!

Ok mom, pick your chin up off the desk. Yep, the little boy is all grown up now. Shocking I know!

Sunday, March 5, 2006

Visit with my sister

I bet you all are dying to know how the visit with my sister went. I have to say that it went quite well.

First, I'll tell you about her. My sis stands all of 4'11". Her name is very unique and for fear of ridiculing her in the future and people she might know finding out I will call her "Little". I am sure I could have come up with a better nickname, but that one is so fitting.

She and her boyfriend arrived around 2:30 yesterday afternoon. We were supposed to drive down to Olympia and meet at mom's house, but mom had to work. So I talked her into driving up here. See how I worked my laziness in there? Anyway. We had a nice visit. She has actually darkened her hair (she is a natural blonde), she has gained a little weight (which she fully admits) and looks very good over all. She talked non-stop. This could be from nervousness or just her personality.

I can say that it was strange seeing her again. It has been so long. However, the visit was nice. They stayed for about an hour. We showed her the house and the movie D made of the boy. She is excited to be an aunt, but I am not quite sure she understands that whole aunt thing. After all she hasn't been here through the whole nightmarish process. I tried to explain it to her, but I am not sure if it all sunk in or not.

We had the opportunity to talk about some of our fond memories of growing up. (I'll let you in on some of those at a later date) Actually it was us telling Little's boyfriend about our mom. As I have noted in the past mom is a little neurotic. (oh don't seemed shocked woman! you know it's true) I am totally the way I am from my mother. I am not seeing this as so much of a bad thing anymore. D disagrees.

I am certainly not the same person I was when she left. Growing up will do that to a person. I am more reserved than my mom on this one. I will admit I am thrilled to have Little back in our lives. I have to get used to the fact that she is her though. My mom, Little and I struggled so much when we were younger. Our childhood could have been better. Little and I competed for just about everything in life. I am noticing that I am still doing that with her. I would like the ability to put that aside, but I am not sure if I am ready for that yet.

My main fear is of my mom getting hurt again. This probably stems from a trust issue. Little left 2 times in the past and it hurt my mom so bad. I don't ever want to see her go through that again. Mom and I have worked so hard over the past few years to have the relationship we have today. I treasure that relationship so much. Things are good now, my mom is so happy (especially since Little's return) I don't want that to be taken away from her.

I think at this point I am going to have to let go of my fears. I am going to have to trust that Little has grown up and that she has no ill intent. And Little, if you read this, I love you very much. I have missed you terribly. I am glad that you are back in our lives.

Friday, March 3, 2006

My sister

I have a sister. Not sure if I mentioned that one before. Ok, I mentioned I had an 8 year old sister, but this is not the sister I am talking about. This sister is going to be 25 this year. Damn I feel old. Anyway, I haven't spoken to her in about 4 or 5 years.

She actually was my step sister. Her dad married my mom when I was 10. She came to live with us when she was 6. When I was 22 my mom divorced her dad and fought for custody of her. My mom won. Not long after that my sister moved out of the house to live with her boyfriend. I lived in Kansas at the time so I am not exactly sure surrounding the circumstances on that one. Our family never attended her high school graduation. A few years later she contacted my mom and apologized. Soon after that she moved back in with my mom. A while later she up and moved out again. That was the last we saw of her. My mom and I have always wondered what happened to her. Was she ok, is she safe, where was she living.

Recently my sister decided to contact my mom again. She sent her a card saying she was sorry for hurting her. She has made a good life for herself. She lives in Portland, OR. She is a real estate broker and living with a very nice man. (I haven't met the guy yet, but this is what she says) Anyway, my mother was elated! She wrote my sister back and they have been in communication for a few days now. My mom called Wednesday to tell me all of this was happening.

It is so ironic that my sister decided to contact my mom when she did. I was driving home the other day and thought it would really be nice to have her around to talk to. I missed her.

I mulled over writing her for a few days. I finally sat down today and sent her an email. I told her that I was glad she contacted mom and was happy that she was doing well. I told her she was going to be an aunt and sent a photo of A. Within an hour I got a response back. I can't begin to tell you how nice it was to hear from her.

She and I had always had a fairly good relationship. We fought like crazy. Like me holding her down and beating her with a piece of kindling. Or her stealing things from my room or telling mom things I was doing that I really shouldn't have been doing. But what siblings don't fight. I always had someone to talk to in my sister. I always tried to look out for her.

So tomorrow she and her boyfriend are supposed to be driving up to our area to visit. It will have to be a short visit. Unfortunately D and I have tickets to go see the Seattle Thunderbirds. (hockey team) and the tickets were a Christmas gift from a friend, so I can't cut out on this one.

I am excited to see her, but cautious. I have missed her so much and don't want to lose her again. I want A to have his fun little auntie. Mostly I want my sister to talk to. Somehow you just can't call up an 8 year old and complain about your job or a foreign government. Wish me luck all. I'll let you know all about it.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!

I have a weakness. Ok, I have more than one, but this one is a biggie! It's that time of year again when the little angelic girls in their little green dresses whore their cookies at every grocery store, department store, convenience store and everywhere else you go to. They have even infiltrated our local IKEA! You know the ones. The Girl Scouts.

I am a Girl Scout cookie addict. Whew, it felt good to get that off my chest. Anyway, about a month ago one of our sweet little younglings at church looked at me with her big doe eyes and said, "Elle, will you buy some of my cookies." Well, I'm not sure sweetheart... I don't have my checkbook with me. "That's ok, you don't have to pay right now." Ok then, I'll buy a few boxes.

How many boxes does Elle purchase? 5. That simply won't do. That is not nearly enough cookies to get me through the week. Actually, I bought 2 Thin Mint and 3 of those peanut butter things. Those are D's. I am a Thin Mint snob.

You would be proud to know that I did not rip open the box and start shoving said cookies into my face the minute the little angel delivered them. I was a good girl. I waited until the next day when I ate nearly an entire sleeve in one sitting. It is day 2 of the cookie fest and I am almost through my first box. I am eyeing that second box and thinking about where I can find me a fix when that one is gone.

I will fully admit that I am a Girl Scout hunter. I usually don't have the privledged of pre-purchasing my cookies. I actually like it when they ask at the store. They see this huge target on my chest from a mile away. I buy at least 3-5 boxes each time. They LOVE me!!

I secretly cry when they are all done selling cookies each year. I have to go back to the Thin Mint ice cream that just isn't the same. I really shouldn't eat it anyway with that whole lactose intolerant thing.

So if you hear news reports of some cookie crazed lady taking Girl Scouts hostage looking for a cookie fix... that's me.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Shrove Tuesday

I am very aware that today is Ash Wednesday and not Shrove Tuesday. I know this very well since I spent the whole day yesterday trying to get some kind of printing device to print the bulletin for tonight's service. The fuser is going out on my laser jet and our fancy dancy, hooked to the computer RISOgraph copier hates me. I can print the newsletter, but not the stupid bulletin. After much struggle, cursing and crumpling of paper I got it done. Whew!

So our Youth and Family Ministry team puts on a Shrove Tuesday Pancake Feast every year. It is supposed to be a fundraising event for youth activities. This year the funds are going to our 8 youth attending the National Youth Gathering in San Antonio, TX. (of which D and I are 2 of the adult counselors. TX is July... yeah...) In years past the Pancake feast has not been as well attended as it should have been. Which is unfortunate because it is a super fun event. We make masks, eat pancakes for dinner and have a pancake flipping contest.

D decided that he wanted to start a new program at our church to advertise events such as the Pancake feast. Thus Video Ministry. It is a great program. Our highschool youth shoot commercials, church events and just plain fun stuff all in attempt to showcase the life in our congregation. The kids put together a commercial for the Feast and we showed it during church. The congregation loved it! Best yet... IT WORKED!! We got twice the turn out for the Feast than ususal. Good job kids.

So my Shrove Tuesday was spent in the church kitchen flipping hundreds of pancakes and trying to herd teenagers. Let me tell you this is almost as fun as herding toddlers. I have determined that teenagers are much like lemmings. And this is the group of youth that I am going to take on a plane to Texas?! God help me, what have I gotten myself into?