Sunday, May 27, 2012

Summer Madness: Part 1

So we've been busy lately. Part One of summer madness as started, and the next parts are going to be just as crazy. So, here is part 1.

On the second weekend in May, Mandy had her second cello recital. Instead of the formal black and white that she wore last year, Mandy went for a different look that was more of her style anyway. She wore a long black skirt, a sleeveless white shirt, and then a long maroon vest; oh, and she went barefoot. Mandy did good, except for a couple of goofs that happened because either her hair got caught in the strings or because her sitting position was not what she was used to, causing her intonation to be off. I recorded a video of the performance, but Mandy was not happy with how she did and has told me not to upload it.

The week after that was also busy. Mom took her students to a tree farm for the afternoon, and we had them over for burgers that night. Her students, to show their appreciation for her teaching over the past year, gave Mom a series of gifts: a two-night stay at a little bed and breakfast in southwest Georgia, a cheesecake pan, a stainless steel skillet, and then the extra money. It was very generous, and we were very touched by it. Then on Friday, Mandy went with a group of her friends to Six Flags for Homeschool Day. Mom and I used that day to get some shopping done and do running around. On Saturday, one of Mandy's peers had a graduation party that we attended.

Then last week was very busy, largely with us camping at Blue Ridge in North Georgia. We had two families over for dinner on Monday, and then on Tuesday Mom made dinner for a church family that recently had a baby while Mandy and I went shopping. On Wednesday, there was more running around and then hasty preparations to leave. We ended up leaving the house later than we wanted to be, which led to us having dinner on the road. We arrived at the campsite on the north side of the Lake around 8:30 or so, and we had to set up the site as quickly as we could before it grew dark. Then we made a fire and sat around it for a little while before going to bed. The first night, as always, was the hardest because we were getting adjusted, and it was cold. Mom made lemon blueberry pancakes, bacon, and eggs for breakfast, and then we hung out that morning. We visited the beach for a swim and waited for another church family and Mandy's Latin teacher Ben to show up. On Friday, we went tubing down a nearby river, and it was a nice two-hour trip. I kept hitting rocks and such, and at one point I actually got stuck on a branch, which was embarrassing because a guy was fishing nearby and watching me. Mom also had a few funny moments on the trip, such as when she and her tubing partner got a spider on their tubes and had difficulties getting rid of it or when she fell out during the last set of rapids, the most intense of the trip. After our fun-filled trip, we went back to the parking lot, where we learned that our pastor's step-father was being rushed to the hospital, so we offered up a prayer for him. On our way back to the campsite, we learned that the man had died upon arrival at the hospital. It was a bittersweet evening with the man's grandchildren, who had gone tubing with it, but we nonetheless enjoyed some fellowship. On Saturday, we got up, had breakfast, and then began packing up. Mom, however, accidentally burned her hand while she was dumping out the dishwater on the fire, but she's all right. Then we drove home, where we unpacked, did some laundry, and took much-needed showers. All in all, it was a fun trip with our friends, and we all enjoyed it.

And so, now on to Part 2 of the summer madness. We've got Memorial Day festivities tomorrow, Mandy's graduation party, and then our trip to Florida.

Monday, May 14, 2012

My Big 23rd

So, yes, it has happened: I have turned 23 years old. And yes, it is quite frightening to think that I am that old.

Anyway, I had a good birthday this year. I originally did not have any plans for my birthday, other than my birthday dinner and getting my gifts. Dad then suggested that we go see "The Avengers," and I whole-heartedly agreed to the plan. We invited some friends to go with us, so we had a decent-sized group.

I spent the 3rd and most of the 4th doing some proofreading work for a Christian publishing company (to clarify: I get paid for it, but the work is so sporadic that I don't really consider it a real job), and I was itching to get it done by the weekend, which I successfully did. Mom took me over to Kinko's, where we scanned over 200 pages and converted them into a digital file and then sent them off before we picked up Zaxby's for dinner. I quickly figured out my reimbursement for work and enjoyed the meal.

Then it was time to go see the movie. In the past, seeing movies for my birthday can be hit-or-miss (for example, I was terrified after watching "Fellowship of the Ring" for my birthday years ago, which I have gotten over, and I was not fond of "Spiderman 3," which I still do not like). However, this movie was well-worth seeing. As I said, we five went to the theater and met up with five other friends. Mom had bought the tickets earlier that week, so all we had to do was walk into the crowded theater. The group ended up splitting up because of a lack of room, but we were only a row apart. We watched some pretty worthless trailers (which is typical nowadays) and listened to some guy in the back loudly make a crude comment which made most of the audience laugh. Guess it just goes to show you how crude humor is nowadays. Anyway, the movie finally started, and we all really enjoyed it. You can check out the review on my "Ramblings" blog for more details. Afterwards, we ten stood around and talked about what we liked and how much fun we had. Then we all went home.

For my presents this year, I got a new MP3 (because my old one was becoming very irritating in various ways), clothes (some of which I have yet to go out and buy yet), a hand mixer (which has already gotten some good use in the kitchen), and "The Hunger Games" trilogy for kindle (I have read the first two books and am working on the third).

On Saturday, Mandy had her senior pictures taken by a lady at our church; we have yet to see the final product, but we are eagerly awaiting it. After the photo shoot, Mom made my birthday dinner. By request, there was steak, mushroom risotto, and green beans. It was a delicious meal, and we all enjoyed it. While we ate, we watched "Captain America," one of the recent predecessors to "The Avengers" and the only one of the series that we had not seen yet.

It was a good birthday, and now everyone's focus has turned to the rest of the month. We've got camping trips, trips to Florida, parties, and much more between now and the end of June. Not to mention that this year Mandy and I are going to the family conference in Virginia, though we are going with a much smaller group this year. So, needless to say, we are going to be quite busy for the early part of summer.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Animal Antics

Two recent events that are humorous and about animals.

Event #1: for the garden this year, Mandy suggested that we try to grow strawberries. We bought some plants and have planted them in cinder blocks, so we shall see how they do. Anyway, this year the squirrels have been particularly bad in raiding the garden boxes. For some reason, they like digging in the boxes, which often kills the sprouting plants. To solve the problem, Dad made a kind of screen made of chicken wire and some pieces of wood; we lay it on top of the boxes, and it allows the plants to grow but prevents the squirrels from digging in the dirt. However, we didn't count on what would happen last week.

That day, for some reason, the squirrels were being particularly mischievous in our backyard, and Mom was constantly going outside to shoo them away. Well, one of them decided to be bold. He approached one of the strawberry plants, grabbed it, and then took off across the yard with the plant in his mouth. Mom, Mandy, and I stood there in shock before Mom shooed away the others. We're not sure why the squirrel wanted the plant, but it was a rather humorous moment, watching a squirrel uproot a plant and carry it away.

Event #2: I have never been much of a breakfast eater, but lately I enjoy having two pieces of pre-cooked bacon for sort of a light meal (until I find a better replacement, which I am thinking up as I write this). This morning, I microwaved my bacon and sat down at the table. I prayed and then, when I opened my eyes, I found Boo right in front of me, sniffing at my meal. I shooed her away, and miraculously the deaf cat walked to the edge of the table. I only had my eyes closed for five seconds, and that cat had the audacity to try and steal my breakfast. She is getting bolder in her thievery, and I do not like this new development.