Celebrate the Holidays with a Swap


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I just wanted to take the time to announce another upcoming swap. My friend, CT, is hosting a yarn and ornament swap. So if you're interesting in participating, don't delay and head right over to her blog and sign up by August 5th. More details are on her page!

Have fun!

The Upside


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My mom said that the upside of the empty envelope is that the 5 business cards that I put in the envelope are probably floating around on some post office floor. She said that some random person will pick up the business card, check out my Etsy shop and buy something! Leave it to mom to come up with an upside. She left me in stitches. :-)

***
On another note, I went to a little girl's birthday party this evening and it was a blast. I felt like a little princess. I had my camera out and little kids were like, "Take my picture, maestra." Hanging around little people under 5 years old makes you forget all the bad stuff. They are hilarious!

Give Me a Break


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You remember the rasta hat that I gifted? Well, it just so happens that the recipient never got it. Yes, she got my envelope....with not a thing inside! The mailman said all the contents fell out. Gee whiz. Somebody somewhere has a really nice freebie. I'll look at it as, someone else needed that one. I think I'll make and send another, but this time I'll insure it.

"Now I know and knowing is half the battle."
G.I. Joe., a real American hero. (Do you remember that cartoon? Think 1980s.)

Playing with the Lightbox


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This evening I was helping a friend photograph some eggplants for her digital media class. I really wanted a chance also to try out the lightbox I made. Because the sun was out pretty strong this evening, I decided not to try out the lamps, but to put the lightbox outside on the porch and see what I could get.

I know that I need to practice working with this new piece of "equipment" but I think I will enjoy it. I will admit; however, that this box is a little cumbersome for transporting. I see why the collapsible ones are so handy.

Fish and Finances


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My mom called in the late morning and invited me over for a fish breakfast (well you might as well say brunch). When I got over there she had fried fish and fresh creamed corn. She had just silked the corn this morning. I ate the spots and my parents had the croakers. They have way too many thick bones in that for my tastes.


The food and fellowship was good and then we began talking about finances..... My brother bought my mom and I both a copy of Lee Jenkin's book, Taking Care of Business: Establishing a Financial Legacy for the African American Family. I haven't started reading mine yet, but my mom has and she's been feeding me snippets the entire time. Basically, the premise of the book is about how Christians should manage the other 90% of their income, trusting that the top 10% is given to tithes. I need to get started on my copy now. Hey, maybe this minister offers seminars!

Have a great weekend! My plans: to attend a little girl's birthday party on tomorrow. She's turning 5 or 6. I better find out. Maybe I'll get some good pictures. :-)

Another Rasta Slouch Hat


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I finished another rasta slouch hat today. I just rearranged the colors from the last one. One thing I'm learning about myself is that I don't often like to make the same thing twice, in the same way.

The other one was a gift. This one will go into the shop.

She Likes It


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I gave mom her gift today and she really likes it. She said that she knew I had to be making her something because I've been making all these things lately and none of it has been for her. It's so hard to truly surprise her. Moms know everything. :-)

She's so dramatic. Now, you see where I get that! :-)

Well, my grandma (my mom's mom) is turning 77 in a couple of weeks - depending on which birthdate/birth certificate she uses (you know how it was in those days with records). lol My mom has already suggested that I make my grandma something, so now I have to start thinking because I don't really know what my grandma likes. She's so private like that. And she says she hates surprises. ??? Anything you give her she says she likes, but I want to make something she really would want. I usually only see my grandma once or twice a year, so mom and I will have to put our heads together on this one.

Mom's Shawl - Finished!


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I couldn't resist finishing my mom's shawl. I also couldn't resist trying it on. I can't wait to give this to her in the morning. :-D

Let me just say that blocking is everything!

Updates


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***Yarn Swap Update***

Today I found the chocolate for CT. Then I went back to the yarn store to purchase the yarns for our swap. My goal is to get it into the mail on tomorrow. CT, I hope you like it. My mom really likes it too and it's so soft. That's all I'm sharing. :-D

***Shawl Update***
I've been working off and on on my mom's shawl, but I have been doing a bit each day. Yesterday I finally started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. Currently I'm on the row with 7 shells and I have to get down to one shell. So, I'm getting there. Then I saw an alternate edging on Ravelry and that's what I'm going to do for mom's piece. I wasn't real particular about all that fringe.

***Finding My Niche***
As you know, I love crocheting. You can probably look at my FOs from this blog and from my Flickr page and tell that I like to make a variety of things. Right now I'm in the "excitement" phase. That's the phase you're in when you realize that crocheting is more than blankets and afghans and you're just so happy to make whatever. I'm there, but I hope soon to find my niche. Mom and I talked about that tonight. I feel confident though that at some point that special gift will come shining through and no one will have to tell me that that's it for me. I'll know.

Let me share with you a crafter that has found her niche: meet Erica. I've known Erica for many years, and I'm glad that she has found her special place in the craft world. Check out her blog too.

Now, I'm going to finish my broccoli and cheese soup from Panera Bread (oh it's good) and work on the shawl.

Happy Crafting!

It's Official


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Today I clicked on the "sell" button on Etsy, and now I am officially listed as an Etsy online business. The URL is: kreativedesigner.etsy.com. Don't get too excited because there's nothing there...yet, but I wanted you to know I did it.

Why did I do it today? A friend of mine lost his job at IBM after 14 years and is now making his love/hobby of videography and photography his main job. He's been working steadily in that until recently and while I was motivating him to try new angles of his job/reinvent himself, I thought that I should take my own advice.

I've been wanting to do this for some time now (secretly scared to actually do it). I even had business cards made up about a month ago.

That's it for now. Wish me well! :-)

So, You're Wondering About the Pattern?


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A couple of you asked me what pattern I was using for my mom's shawl. It's the Sweet Pea Shawl featured in The Happy Hooker book.

And many more rows to go.... :-D

My Saturday


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Today was an eventful day. First, I found out my swap partner was CT! (I've already scoped out some possible choices for you. hee hee hee) Then I called a parent of one of my former student's from four or five years ago. She told me yesterday that she had tomatoes to give me and my mom, so I stopped by their farm today and she gave me a whole box of green roma tomatoes! My mom and I are taking some out today and taking the box to church tomorrow so everybody else can get some if they want.

This evening a group of ladies from my church and from another church in our district got together for our quarterly birthday dinner. We ate at Golden Corral and celebrated the birthdays of 6 ladies, two of whom were absent. We had a great time though. We even drew names for our Christmas gathering. This will be interesting/exciting because I drew the name of someone that I don't even know. She married into the family and just moved to the area.

And about crocheting. My current project is for my mom. I got a KnitPicks catalog in the other day and since my mom and I share a post office box, she thumbed through it exclaiming about how pretty the shawls in there were. This was done one day before her birthday. Hint, Hint. So, I knew what she wanted but there wasn't time enough to work that miracle. I've never made a shawl before and I couldn't find the perfect cotton yarn for that pattern. I settled on an acrylic baby yarn in white. I think I'll like how it will come out in the end.

Here is just a beginning of this shawl. I have many more rows to go, but at least they are all decreases. :-)

Here is the stitch a little closer.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

MI: Getting to Know Gerald Ford


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This is the last of the MI set. I have officially caught up journaling about my MI visit from last month. Yay!

During our Michigan travels, we had the pleasure of visiting the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. I was glad for that opportunity because President Ford is one of the presidents that I believe never got much recognition. He came into office at such a tumultuous time in our country with so much on his plate, it is a wonder that he survived, but he did.

I was glad to learn more about him and his Michigan upbringing. I wish I could show you some of the things inside of that museum, but the only photography allowed was that without a flash and I really wanted to spend my time reading the information and standing in awe at the displays than playing around with camera settings, so I have a few to show you from the outside of the museum. :-)

I hope to be able to travel to Michigan again in the near future. There is so much more to see there that I wasn't able to see. Maybe I'll get to go there again before my brother graduates from Calvin. :-D

I Need a System that Works


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Help! I am officially overloaded by my own pictures. I need a tried and true system that works for photo organization on the computer.

Here is what I have:
1. Tons of photos in folders by date taken.
2. Folders in categories (i.e. nature, people, events...) with subfolders (i.e. portraits, family reunions, weddings...) and sub-subfolders (you get the idea).
3. Lots and Lots of photos that aren't categorized and multiples of the same photo.

Why multiples? Because I was afraid to do any correction on the main photo, so I have the original and the one I fixed. But then I may have wanted to Photoshop the main photo differently than a basic color correction, so then I started having these multiples.

I need help organizing and deciding when and what to trash.

* I finally purchased an external hard drive to back up my files, but I still feel that may not be enough.

Thanks in advance,
Libby

The Rasta Floral Slouch


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If you recall, not that long ago, I posted a gripe post about not being able to find green cotton yarn. Alessandra to the rescue! She found the yarn, we exchanged via Etsy, and yesterday it arrived. All this in a matter of days. Thanks, girl!

Because I had the green yarn, yesterday I was able to make the hat that had been requested of me. I plan to make some more of these for my future Etsy shop. Yes, I said it, so you can hold me to it. :-D

The Rasta Floral Slouch:


I hope she likes it. :-)

MI: The House That Frank Built


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Frank Lloyd Wright, that is. While in Grand Rapids, we had the pleasure of visiting the Meyer May House that Frank Lloyd Wright designed. I'm glad that Steelcase could restore this home. I really can't express how beautiful it was, but trust me, it was. The woodwork was phenomenal. But you know what? Even though I'm 5'2", I can say that the Meyer May House is the only home I've entered where I felt more or less like a giant. I'm sure it made Mr. May feel good about his short stature, but I wonder about his guests!

Yarn & Chocolate Swap


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My friend Alessandra has so graciously accepted the role as "organizer" of a yarn & chocolate swap. The deadline for this swap is this Friday, July 17, 2009.

The guidelines are really simple:
1. Join the swap on her blog by July 17th. There you can list your preferences.
2. Receive your partner by July 19th.
3. Mail your items to your partner by July 31st.

That's it!

Please don't miss out on this great opportunity and fun. I can't wait. :-D

MI: Calvin's Nature Trail


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This is some of what I saw on Calvin College's nature trail. I could have stayed there much longer, but when you're with other people, it's kind of hard to explain why you want to keep stopping. lol

* Note: Each photo is linked to my Flickr page.

Lightbox Construction


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Today I spent some time finally constructing a DIY lightbox that I've been putting off for a while. Thanks to Erica, I was inspired to make my own studio setup. And, thanks to the post on the Strobist blog (How to: DIY $10 Macro Photo Studio) I was given some instructions on how to make a lightbox with very basic materials. It only costs $10 if you have just about everything, but it's much cheaper than a tent. Maybe one day I will purchase a light tent, but hopefully this setup will work for a while.

I have to finish the inside: cover the back of the box and possibly extend the posterboard. Apparently black posterboard is not sold around here until school actually starts. ??? I decided to leave the bottom on this box until I see just how I will use it. If I need to cut the bottom off later, then I'll do that then.

Fabric Giveaway


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Hello, all of you fabric lovers. Fabricworm is having a great fabric giveway to celebrate their one year anniversary. If you're not familiar with Fabricworm, check out her Etsy shop.

When you comment on the blog, just tell what you like about her fabric selection...and wait with your fingers crossed in hopes that you'll be one of the recipients of her great prizes.

There will be 3 prizes.

1st Prize: 1/2 Yard Set of Patty Young's Mezzanine Collection (15 prints total, 2 of the prints have not arrived yet)
2nd Prize: A Collection of Holiday Fat Quarters, including Michael Miller's Funky Christmas and the New Alexander Henry Christmas prints (17 Fat Quarters in all)
3rd Place: A large selection of Heather Ross Mendocino Scraps, (4 Yards by weight)

MI: Discovering New Faith Temple C.O.G.I.C


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Let me preface this by saying, that this post is the first in a very short series to highlight our trip to Michigan back in June. I promised you some pictures back then, and I want to make good on my word. :-)

*******************
Around two years ago, my brother moved to Grand Rapids, MI to attend school. While there, he has made his church home at New Faith Temple C.O.G.I.C. and has been the church organist for that long.

After we recovered from a really looonnngg drive out, my brother took us to see his church. Fortunately a deacon was there and allowed us to go inside. Immediately, my brother found his way to the organ, kicked out a few tunes, and lured everyone to become a soloist. Ahh, good thing it was just family there. I thought my aunt might go grab a mic or something! She is prone to do that. :-) If you know anything about the C.O.G.I.C. you know any good organist has to learn to play "shout" music. Since being there, my brother has picked up a few new ones.

After leaving the sanctuary, we visited the basement area. It was very nice down there. They had just finished having Vacation Bible School, but all of the props were still up. I just had to get a shot of this "big fish". That section was used to discuss the Bible story of Jonah being in the belly of the great fish. All the kids piled inside for the activities. Too cute! I wish I could have seen it for myself.

I peeked inside the kitchen and was fascinated by the old-time stove. There were like 6 or 8 burners! That must mean that they don't have to rotate pots like we do at our church.

That night we ended up attending the Prayer and Bible Band service. It was really nice. The topic was on giving. They discussed what it means to truly give from the heart.

So this is New Faith Temple.

The Grey Purse


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The lining has been topstitched. I hate topstitching, but I like the way it looks - if the seams are straight. lol I had completed tacking the lining halfway in when I decided that I didn't like the way it was looking with the topstitching so I will take that part out and then tack the lining in with a transparent thread.

Where To?


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Just popping into let you know that my finger is on the mends, and it feels much better now. I went to a family cookout around the corner from a Joann's yesterday and was able to find a fabric to line the grey purse with and a black handle for the red fat bottom bag.

Now let me tell what I haven't been able to find all month long and it's really getting to me - green cotton yarn. Someone asked me to make a slouch hat in a particular color scheme and I wanted to make it in cotton being that they live in a relatively warm state all year long. The problem is is that for some reason I cannot find a regular green cotton yarn. I have been to so many stores in the past month, and I only see sage green or sometimes lime green. I didn't really want to order it because of the time factor, but I see now that I probably should have. So far the only place I've even seen it online is from the actual manufacturer - Peaches and Creme, which is made right here in my own state. When I went to place an order, the shipping was outrageous so I deleted my cart. So, in the end, I may have to sacrifice and just purchase one or two skeins from there instead of what I had in mind. This hat could have been made in an hour if it wasn't for this.

Now, that's my gripe for the day. I'm done now; it's off my shoulders, and tomorrow I hope to happily complete a project or two. :-)

* I have enjoyed reading your blogs inspite of my own blog absence. :-)

Back to the Basics


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Thanks, for all the lovely compliments that I received my for my previous blog design, but now it's time for me to get back to the basics. There's nothing like a simple, black background - especially when photographs are involved. IMO. I may still tweak this one a little, but for now I'm satisfied. So when you see me go "black", you know that photos are to come. :-)

I've been in a real serious craft mood, and I admit that I cannot shake it. Everyday my hands yearn for my hook and yarn, so much so that I had to put my camera down, but after editing a series of photos last night, the wheels in my head started turning. Now I will admit that most of the time I don't know what to do with these two very important craft sides of me - in terms of giving them both an adequate amount of attention, but I guess I need to better plan my day. In the meantime, I'm still on that journey!

Be back soon!

What Summer Means for a Southern Girl


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My dad did the husking. I did the shucking. And, mom did all the rest, so I really can't say a word. :-)

Thursday's Happenings...


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Yesterday, I discovered a great purse that I wanted to try. You know, I had seen this pattern before, but thank goodness to Ravelry posters because due to the pictures of their work that I saw, I decided to make this bag myself. I thought I would have been finished today but I cut my finger while washing some kitchen shears and it's mighty sore....and the band aid kept getting in the way.

So here is what I have so far. I had a lining that I was planning to use. It was a cotton fabric of pink, yellows, and greys, but now that I decided to use these black accents, I want some sort of black satin or satin-like fabric. You know the deal with the fabric, so I won't go there. I also can't find purse handles anywhere, but I have this bag of my own that I don't care for, but I love the handles, so I will cut them off and use them for this bag.


When I found those buttons today, I also came across some satin flowers that I thought might work for the red fat bottom bag. It needed something on the front to make it pop. What do you think or should I keep looking? Brown handles and black accents...um....???????

If you're wondering how I spent my day since I haven't been crafting, well it's simple:
1. I re-joined a gym (Curves) on yesterday and had my first workout this morning.
2. I ran errands, and finally bought some milk!
3. The slideshow tells it all:

Sandhole Safety + a Giveaway


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Just a moment ago, I read a really important post about sandhole safety. This is particularly important for those of you who are beach goers with small children. There is also an amazing giveaway involved. Please read the post on sandhole safety by earthchickknits. Thanks for sharing your story, earthchick and thanks to marce for sharing this with me!

Libby

Get Your Lunch On...


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Today, I forced myself to get out of the house and go stand in line at the post office. How did I know there was going to be a line...The answer is simply, because it's hot. Whenever it's hot it seems like you have to stand in line in an air-conditioned place that has a poorly functioning air condition. But I did it because I really wanted to mail that package. :-) oh, and of course, pick up our bills!

On the way home I decided to pick up lunch, instead of cooking when I got home. I stopped at La Cabana's to pick up a vegetarian fajita meal. Is is strange to not want to eat meat when it's really hot or is that just me? Well, this is the first time I ordered this and I was pleased. I just wanted to show you my serving of what I ordered. As little as I eat at one time, I could easily get two more meals out of what I ordered. lol

Inside the tortilla are grilled vegetables. The of course the other things are refried beans, rice, and a salad (lettuce, guacamole, onions, tomatoes) to fill in the tortilla.

¡Adios!

More Projects to Share


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Here are two projects that I finished up today.

I started this FBB while I was at the braid shop. I see now that when you begin a project such as this one, you need to get all of the materials at one time. Here, the only store that sold fabric was Wal-Mart, but recently Wal-Mart sent all of their sewing items to another store. It's a shame that I can't find any other place that sells fabric within a 70 mile radius. I ended up settling for this fat quarter piece I found at a Wal-Mart in a neighboring county. Needless to say, I bought some extras in other colors for future bags since they were only $1 a piece.
The washcloth is the one I mentioned some time ago that needed 3 stitches of the yarn I ran out of. I still didn't find the yarn even though my dad kept stopping along the highway on the way home from MD every time I saw a craft shop. I ended up purchasing the same color in a different brand. I can tell the difference in the two in general, but I don't think it's that noticeable on the actual project. I need to block this cloth so that it lies flat.


I'm finding that my fingers crave the crochet hook almost daily. When I intend on not crocheting, my fingers get the itch. Anybody know what I mean?

While I Was Away


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Ok my friends, here is a snapshot of some of the goodies I made while I was away from my computer. More to come soon...

There's No Place Like Home


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First off, thank you all for your condolences. My family and I appreciate them. Thank you for your prayers for safe travel as well. I was the one driving through the crazy part - from Richmond, VA around our national capital and up to Baltimore, MD. Let's just say that I'm glad that's over. It makes me appreciate this tiny city that I call home. :-)

When I wasn't driving or sleeping, I spent some more time crafting. With all of this hair, I had to make a hat for the funeral so I finished that just in time for the service. Then I finished some other things. Details later. :-)

And What About Day 5????


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Yeah, what about it? It was a bust. I tried to adhere to my plan, but it was nigh near impossible. First off, we got to the hotel in Md at 2 a.m. so by the time we were checking out, breakfast was over and we had to get something quick due to the funeral. We ended up at Burger King of all places and I ended up with a fish sandwich. You see, I had already planned to only add fish back on the weekend, but I hadn't intended to eat it for breakfast.

It was ok, but it didn't feel right on my stomach. At the repast, there was all that food, and there seemed to be meat in everything. How many ways can you prepare chicken? Finally I spotted some meatless pasta dishes, so I tried a couple of those and some water. That was it for me.

We got back on the road again, but I will admit I ate a part of a chicken sandwich at Panera Bread somewhere in Virginia. It was not bad, but I realized that I could have been totally content with just that broccoli cheddar soup that accompanied the sandwich. If I had to do it over, I would have ordered a large serving of that soup and called it a day.

So, I wasn't able to completely finish what I started, but due to the circumstances, I believe it would be understandable. Um, my aunt called me and told me that she ate a piece of fish on Friday, so we're even. :-)

I'm back home, and it feels good.

The Rest of Day 4


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So, after we left and began our trip, we stopped to eat dinner. I was able to convince my dad that Hardee's wasn't going to work for me, so we decided to go to Golden Corral. Since it is a buffet restaurant, each person could choose their meal for one set price.

This is what I chose:


I will admit that I couldn't finish that tossed salad. I think my stomach said, "oh, please, not another salad..." I felt guilty about the seafood salad, but I knew it was imitation crab meat. What imitation crab meat is really made of, I'm not sure, but I ate it anyways.

And that was Day 4.

Sneak Peek


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In a few moments my parents and I have to drive to Maryland. One of my cousins passed away and the funeral is tomorrow. My dad is officiating, so off we have to go again. This trip is about 7 1/2- 8 hours long. Please pray for our safe travels, especially since it is a holiday weekend. We will be back on Saturday.

I didn't want to keep you waiting too long, so I'm showing you the present I got back from Peru. Lucho picked out the backpack. He did good. His mother-in-law picked out the yarns. She also did good, especially since I've never met her!

These are alpaca yarns and I think they will make great knitted items. So until I can improve my knitting skills to make something special (not like a sunglass holder - lol) I'm putting the yarns in the drawer. :-)

This backpack has now become my WIP bag. Now I can put away that vinyl tote that I kept carrying around.

Day 4


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I'm posting a bit earlier today because we are supposed to get on the road again. My cousin passed away and we are headed to Maryland today. The funeral is tomorrow, mid-day. We should have already left, but you know how that goes....At least this trip is shorter than the one we just took. It should be 7 1/2-8 hours. No GPS this time, but we've been this way plenty of times before.

By now you know my usual morning routine, so I did that, and had a cup of peach yogurt again. Now I'm eating a tossed salad that is quite tasty. I didn't have a lot of toppings because if you recall, I was cleaning out my refrigerator/pantry before this trip and as a result it is quite bare. On this salad I have lettuce, carrots, bell pepper, cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese, and boiled egg. I did use a little Italian Vinaigrette dressing. Now I feel like some green tea.


Unlike my mom, I plan to complete my routine inspite of the trip that we're about to take. This should be interesting....

Day 3


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Today was pretty good in terms of eating more filling foods and such. Again, I did the water and lemon juice this morning and the acidophilous. I didn't get up as early as I should or could have so I didn't have much for breakast - peach yogurt. Lunch though was really great. My buddies in the "Man Cave" prepared a vegetarian lunch that was quite tasty: vegetable stir fry, a crock pot brown rice dish, and some marinated cucumbers - all with an Oriental flare. So, in a sense, this was a really good day to pick up my computer. :-)

After a lunch such as that one, I didn't really need much for dinner. I finished eating the black beans and rice dish from yesterday and topped it off with a cup of green tea. I do feel somewhat better. I feel "lighter" for sure.

Could I become a vegetarian? Well, the answer to that, in short, is this - only if I found (for myself) a solid reason to do so. What I mean by that is, I would have to make that choice based on my on personal reasons and not by the coercion of outside people that think that I should become one. Only then would I be completely happy with my choice. Until then, I will remain as I am - a sometimes on/sometimes off, meat eater. (There sure are some good vegetarian dishes though.) lol

It's Here!!!


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I am officially using my own computer at my house! :-D

and here's my new do for the next 3 months - kinky twists ....

Thanks, Leslie, for the recommendation!