Friday, May 30, 2008


I subscribe to only two magazines. Well actually, both Relevant magazine and Real Simple subscriptions are being paid by someone else as Christmas gifts. I love both magazines.

In each month of Real Simple you can find a section where they ask a reader to list how they would spend an extra $100. I decided to answer the call. I'm creating my list to e-mail into (there's the address should you wish to steal my glory next month.)

Part of me wants to respond in a way (as in yoga mats, chai tea, and tipping my waiter extra) so that I might have more of a chance to have my choices placed in a future Real Simple. But I've decided to respond completely truthfully.

If I had an extra $100 I would spend:

$2.00 on a Route 44 Diet Coke from Sonic
$9.00 on a book of stamps
$8.00 on a drive through car wash
$30.00 on a pedicure
$14.00 on an extra battery for my Canon Camera
Now I'm going to go use my real money to pay rent - way more fun.
How would you use the extra $100?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Postcards From the Edge (of suburbia)

In fifth grade I was required to write a journal entry every day. I'm sure I thought it was extremely lame and boring, not to mention a huge drain on my very important time. Here are a few of the daily thoughts and activities from the wildly exciting life of a fifth grader.

October 6, 1994
Today after piano lessons, I did homework, ate, and studied. When my dad cooked dinner for my sister, it smelled like it was burning, but she said it tasted great!

October 7, 1994
Today was a boring day. Enough said.

October 9, 1994
Today we went on a family bike ride. Clay kept on taking up so much time. When we got home, Mom fixed a gross meal.

October 13, 1994
Today was a busy day. After school, I went to piano lessons. But I was surprised to see our neibors car drive up with my mom in it. It turned out that mom had locked the keys in car. After that I went home, ate a small and quick dinner. Then I had to go to a soccer game, then came home and did homework. In the meantime, my brother had karate and my sister had a piano lesson. Busy day!

October 20, 1994
Today I went to piano, and the rest of the day was boring.

October 21, 1994
Today my sister went to baby-sit, and my parents went out-to-eat. So I baby-sat Clay. We got to watch TGIF.

October 22, 1994
Today I went to the mall and bought a Long-Horns hat. When I came home I ate dinner, and then I got to watch Problem Child 2. It was great!

October 23, 1994
Today after church, I did homework, and played outside the rest of the day. While I was outside, Clay and I put on a Beach Boys tape, and stood on the picnic table, and pretended we were surfing. It was a whole lot of fun!

October 24, 1994
Today we had a girlscout meeting. Boys in the class kept coming in and we would say they are now a girlscout. It was hilarious!

November 12, 1994
Today was the Fall Festival (piano competition). I only made one mistake. I played outside the rest of the day. After dinner, Ginger and I watched Ice Wars on TV. The iceskaters were really good.

November 13, 1994
Today Ginger got to go to Leaps and Bounds with her friends. I played almost every board game in this house with Clay. My Mom made me go to bed early.

December 4, 1994
Today was SOOOOO boring. We had to practice for the Sunday school program from 2:30 to 4:00. It was so boring that I have nothing to say about it.

December 7, 1994
Today was so, so, boring. Let's put it this way, nothing happened, no exciting things, I was just so bored to death today. It was one of my most boring days of my life.

April 25, 1995
Nothing interesting every happens to me. I wish something would. Today I must get a shot- again. I always get shots. I'm sick of them.

May 8, 1995
I'm sick of piano lessons. Piano itself isn't bad, it's just the lessons. I mean, four years of them? Anyone but Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Handle, or any other composer would be tired of them by now!

May 15, 1995
It's so hot! I'm frying! This morning it was 84 degrees! I hear its just a lick of summer! Oh no!

May 19, 1995
Yes! Today's Friday! The last day of school! All right! I can't wait for summer to come!

A hard-knock life, no? ;-)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Better late than ever...

Sometime in my third grade year, I was one of 20 young children returning from lunch rather loudly with exciting plans laid. I was also one of the bravest (read stupid) girls - or so I wanted everyone to believe. I'm not sure of the particulars anymore, of who issued the challenge or why only 3 of us took it on - all I know is that feeling of panic and dread that washed over my body as Mrs. Tall grabbed the Spanish-English dictionary from my hands. It was my purple and yellow copy that I used from 1-8th grade. (I never told my mom that everyone else had a red version with larger print.)

Anyways, she, Mrs. Tall, must have been alerted to the goings on as soon as she entered the room. 3 students wide-eyed flipping through their Spanish dictionaries while the rest of the class gathered around giggling and speaking wildly. Aaron, Jesse, and I were marched to her desk individually for questioning. Very calmly she asked me to tell her what I had been looking up in my purple and yellow dictionary. Hah. No way was I budging for this lady. I knew the boys wouldn't cave - and as brave as I pretended to be, I always had a desire to please my teachers and remain in their good graces. She looked at me through those grey eyes that I'm sure could have made Mother Theresa feel guilty. Perhaps I started tearing up, but I wouldn't buckle. I didn't say a word...and neither did any of the kids in my class - perhaps because it had all begun in eight year-old mob mentality in the first place. Before she sent me back to my seat, Mrs. Tall gazed at me steadily and said, "Well, I can't make you tell me what you were doing, but I want you to tell your parents when you get home." Sure I will.

I wish I could have taped not only that conversation, but also the one that followed in my head after my time at the judgment seat.

"Mom, dinner is so good. Dad, please pass the butter. Oh, by the way, after eating my bologna sandwich at lunch today...some of the bad know, like Tara and Chauncey (hah!) - they thought it would be funny to look up words in Spanish like fish and ball...hmm...oh yes, this meatloaf is good...umm, so yeah - we went back and looked up the word sex, only we couldn't find it see, because the print in my version is so small and we didn't have time and may I be excused please?"

It would have been a blast. Cheerio then.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Closest Thing to Crazy

Y'all should probably be worried about me. Because I think I'm losing my mind. Let me tell you three stories here to illustrate my new brain condition.

Story #1. I love listening to my iPod in my car. So that makes my iPod car adapter my new best friend. It allows me to simply listen to my podcasts and the occasional musical soundtrack and altogether avoid that unsightly thing we call radio. After each car trip, I am careful to unplug the iTrip and iPod and either place them in my purse or in my center console. The other day I decided to leave them plugged in my car for just the 2.5 minutes needed to run into my grandparents house to stack up their newspapers and mail since they were out of town. The whole time I was telling myself to "Hurry, hurry!" because I didn't like leaving my iThings unattended. I came back and "Phew!" they were fine of course. Fastforward to a couple days later. I get in my car yesterday morning to drive to work and wonder of wonders I have left my iPod plugged in to my cigarette lighter all night long. Let's evaluate here. 2.5 minutes. An entire night. Worried the first time. Didn't even realize it the second time. What is wrong with me?

Story #2: I am allergic to a little ingredient that's in most face washes called benzoyl peroxide. As in, my eyes will swell up, turn red, and I find myself rivaling John Rhys-Davies for craziest lobster- looking eyes. So needless to say, generally I'm pretty careful to check the ingredients list when buying a new facewash. When you are losing your mind ,however, all the typical rules no longer apply. Case in point: buying a new facewash a couple of weeks ago. It didn't even cross my mind to check for benzoyl peroxide, and I didn't realize my mistake until I was in the shower washing my face! As soon as I felt my face tingling a little bit, a lightbulb went off and I went to work attempting to scrub off the first few layers of my skin. I spent the rest of the night dousing my eyelids in lotion, squirting in eye drops, and laying a pound of ice cubes across my face. By the next day I had actually managed to stave off the worst of my symptoms, and I went to work with perhaps a slightly pinker right eyelid. But either no one was tactless enough to mention it, or I did a handy job with the eye shadow that morning. No, you're right, it's probably the former. Either way, I am an idiot.

Finally, Story #3. Perhaps the most unnerving to me. I went to take a shower this morning but remembered I had left my (benzoyl peroxide-less) facewash by the sink, so I turned on the water, grabbed what was next to the sink, and set it on the edge of the tub. It was only when I was in the shower ready to wash my face that I looked down and saw a tube of toothpaste on the ledge. Y'all. Tell me that is not scary. I hadn't even look at what I picked up, I just grabbed something off the counter and put it in the shower. The toothpaste. Is something eating away at my brain??

Okay, storytime over.

See? These are not the actions of a well person. I'm just amazed that I was able to find my way to this computer to even tap out this entry. So if the next time you see me I show up wearing my bra on the outside of my shirt or something, I really shouldn't be held accountable. I'm doing the best I can sans-brain.

Seeing and Giving

"Two catastrophes have struck this month — the cyclone in Myanmar and the earthquake in China. As the death tolls in these two countries mount, so does the need for aid. But Myanmar has been reluctant to let relief workers into the country, and China says it will accept foreign aid on its own timetable. So where does all that leave charitable contributions? How do people give if they want to help victims of the disasters, and where will their contributions do the most good?" -From NPR's "All Things Considered"

If you've turned to a news page or turned on a television in the past month you've been reminded of the tragedies taking place all over the world. Most recently, the cyclone in Myanmar and the earthquake and China, have brought forth valid questions about our response in giving. In a report by Alix Spiegel of NPR, I learned that the organization "Save the Children" saw $626,000 in aid donated over the Internet within the first 10 days of the disaster. Contrast that to the funds they received after last year's tsunami within 10 days...$7 million.

One of the reasons this disaster is not receiving the funding may be the lack of trust felt towards the government's handling of the situation, but other experts say that has to do with everything we aren't seeing. Photo journalists have been limited in Myanmar, while accepted in most of the earthquake devastated areas of China. Because we aren't seeing it, Spiegel surmises, we aren't giving. (To hear the full story click here.) What will it take for us to remember to give this time?

After hunting around the web today I've discovered that the Myanmar government is allowing aid to trickle in from around the world, but have specifically asked for help from the country of India. Gospel For Asia, an organization and ministry I've been supporting for years, happens to have a large presence in India. GFA's native missionaries have been among some of the first allowed to provide for the needs of survivors.

If you've been looking for a trustworthy organization to give through, then consider Gospel For Asia. For more information or to donate directly please click on the web banner below.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Guest Book

I attended a lovely wedding this past weekend. I had met my friend through a Bible Study group here in Phoenix. Shannon bravely scheduled her outdoor wedding in the month of May. This time of year is tricky in Arizona. The weather is either on it’s way to hot, hot, or unbearably hot. The high on Saturday was 91 degrees, not terrible, but let’s just say that I’m thankful to not have been wearing a tux.

I drove across town listening to yet another book on tape and managed to pull into the parking lot around 5:10pm. The ceremony was to begin at 6:00pm. I enjoy being early. I keep a spare book in my car for when I arrive to my destinations ahead of schedule, as I’m prone to do. I finally decided to get out of the car at 5:15pm and make my way to The Wright House. It’s a lovely place to have a wedding or reception. I couldn’t quite figure out where to enter, as the doors and gates were posted with “please use the front entrance.” I walked around to the front entrance slowly (I wear heels about 3 times a year now) only to come up to a large oak door. Everyone else had been entering the “forbidden” entrances and now no one was going through this front entrance. Frightened of somehow embarrassing myself (what a thought) I decided to follow the crowd through one of the back gates. On my way I spotted my friend Rachel and her husband Anthony. They parked and then I decided to lead them through a door following some other guests. As we passed a blank sign holder I threw out my thought – “This really should say the name of the bride and groom here so you know where the entrance is!”

I vaguely recall passing a server with a cheese tray and then spotting the guest book propped on a table with two attendants standing by. I proceeded to the table and noticed the framed engagement photo with room for signing as well. To be efficient, I slid over to the guest book and penned my name in my finest cursive and left room for Rachel to sign well wishes on the matting around the photo. I had no sooner set the pen down when Rachel turned to me with wide eyes.

Rachel: Ginger, this isn’t Shannon in the picture.
Ginger: It’s not?
Rachel: And that’s not Kyle.
Ginger: Oh…
Rachel: This is the wrong wedding!!

We tore out of that garden like we had stolen something. Laughing eventually ensued as we found our way to the 2nd ceremony location at the Wright House. We asked everyone we saw if this was indeed Shannon’s wedding.

I signed a second guest book that day before taking my seat and settling in for a wedding.

Four Things

I found a show you should be watching. It's called "The Paper," and it airs on MTV right after some reality show about the end times. Unlike a few most reality shows, "The Paper" actually seems to give a relatively realistic depiction of what high school is like. The show is about, shockingly enough, the staff of a high school paper, and details all the drama that editors and writers face when trying to get issues of the paper out. The kids wear normal people clothes, and they all remind me of people I went to high school with. It's hysterical and awful and way too real for comfort! Austin 360 says: "What's so different? It's set in a school, not a bar or a dorm. So? It takes place in a high school newsroom. And? It's about a group of really smart, ambitious, goal-oriented teenagers who freak out over deadlines and grammar more than sex and booze. When was the last time we saw that on reality TV?"
The other night my brother and I were talking about old commercial jingles, particularly the old local ones. We were able to recall large chunks of the songs, and even the phone numbers! An old carpet cleaning advertisement here (Call 267-8433 because the next best thing to new is Dalworth Clean!), and insurance commercial there (730-DEPO! Call us at the depot! Insurance Depot!) How odd that there are entire people, events, places, and trips that have disappeared from my memory, and yet I can still sing these inconsequential jingles! I wonder.... Why is that?
Part of my current job duties include giving tours to our visitors. I actually love this aspect of my job, and I think part of me was always intended to be a tour guide*. Unfortunately I don't get to stand at the top of a bus and speak into a microphone, but I do get to tell interesting facts and carry a handy dandy ring of keys to get into different buildings! I always have a brighter day when I know I'm giving a tour.
*And no, I don't think my former job as a "Tour Guide" (aka seating hostess) at the Rainforest Cafe really counts.
Only true geeks need read on.... There are these two guys who've been journeying around the country with only one pupose in mind: to eradicate America of all typos. A big undertaking, I know, but they've chronicled their findings, and it makes for some hilarious and interesting reading. If you've ever found yourself with a desire to scratch out your eyeballs after observing one too many errant apostrophes, these guys are your friends! Seriously-- they have inspired me to the point where I have decided to keep a Sharpee with me at all times, just in case I find some glaring error at the grocery store that needs to be righted! Consider the battle cry answered, Typo Guys!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Triple Threat

No, I have not added dancing to my resume. I’m the child my mother swiftly moved from ballet to gymnastics and then to softball. I'm referring to a different kind of triple threat.

I was glancing back through photographs and was reminded of the triple threat Ginger that existed from 6th-8th grade. Glasses, braces, and bangs. It’s a sight to behold. And yet I maintained my relatively popular status until my departure to high school. How is this possible you ask? Private school, 20 kids in my whole class, popularity was almost a given, even if you brought Vienna sausages for lunch.

I went to the same private school from 3-year old preschool through 8th grade. The building had two stories and the playground was fitted with monster truck tires painted in primary colors. We went to chapel every Wednesday morning and watched safari films on reels on occasional Friday afternoons.

In 1st-4th grade we ate lunch at 11:30, the older grades at noon. We weren't allowed to trade food. I'm not sure if this was a private school choice, a Christian school rule, or a Lutheran school mandate. Regardless, I can still remember my heart pounding as Mrs. Short hauled Katie McQuillen and myself into the hallway after we tried to trade oreos for chocolate chip cookies. We were properly admonished and sent back to the table. This may have stopped me for a time, but the years brought skill and confidence to our underground ring. I spent 8 years in that lunch room and we always traded.

Even if you weren't allowed to trade at your school I bet you probably did not have a stoplight in your lunchroom. The stoplights' colors, controlled by the teachers, registered the appropriate sound levels. Rowdy lunches were simply quieted by a yellow light and eventually silenced by the red.

And even in the midst of these sanctions on volume and free trade, we still managed to eat, grow, and turn out fairly normal, at least most of us.

*Recipe for a Sodium Sandwich
2 pieces of wheat bread
Vienna Sausages halved and laid on bread
Frito's brand corn chips
1 slice of American cheese
Combine all in sandwich, eat, and enjoy. (Eating too frequently can cause heart problems)