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Archive for August, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #14

So it has been a very long time since I have participated in Thursday Thirteen. The last one I did was a little negative, if you recall. I wrote about things you shouldn’t say to people having trouble conceiving. Whew. That was back in May. It seems so long ago. I’ve changed since then. Some good, some bad. I’ve had some healing and some big disappointments. But overall, *most* people have been very kind and supportive towards me. I’m glad I wrote that post.

But today, as I participate in TT again, I figured I might write a more positive list. Seeing as summer is almost gone (wow, this year has flown by!), I decided to list:

Thirteen reasons I am looking forward to Autumn

1. My husband’s birthday is in September! He might not enjoy his birthday much, but I enjoy it. We’re not big on doing gifts, but I have a surprise for his birthday this year. He knows there is a surprise, but has no idea what it is. I’m one of those people who finds out about a surprise and goes crazy until I find out what it is. He’s sooo not like that. This bugs me! I want to drive him crazy with anticipation, but it just does not work. *sigh* Maybe if you help me taunt him?

2. November 11th. Veteran’s Day, yes, but also our anniversary. This 11-11 will mark 8 years since we met, 7 years since we married, and the rest of a lifetime to go on being in love. Aww, I love my man.

3. We’re giving away free jewelry! The Belles’ Summer’s End contest ends in September, and we’ll be giving away a $25 gift certificate to the person who is randomly drawn from the newsletter list. If you haven’t signed up yet, click here and do it fast! We also have another exciting contest in the works. This one will be hosted on a friend’s site, and we will be giving away jewelry worth $100! I’m not sure when exactly that one will be going on, but I will let you know as soon as I know, so check back often. :o)

4. Bye-bye heat. Summer’s end means cooler weather. Cooler weather means lower electricity bills! Now, since we moved into our house, our electric bills really have not been that bad. But I do love saving money, so I will be thrilled when they go down a little more.

5. No more appointments! I have a dental appointment to fill my last (very small) cavity on Friday, then after that I should be doctor appointment free for a while. Unless I decide to try out the acupuncture, that is.

6. New flooring. I’m not sure exactly when, but we will be ripping out carpet and laying down some nice wood laminate flooring in the living room, hallway, and master bedroom. I’m hoping it will be done by the end of the month. I’m SO ready to rip up this carpet. Have I mentioned I hate carpet?

7. The holidays are right around the corner. This means big bags of candy, more orders for our business, and a sense of family togetherness. I’m not sure what we’ll be doing this holiday season, but I’m hoping it will be a good one.

8. New seasons on tv. We have a DVR now, so we should be able to keep up with tv shows. I’m not sure why I’m excited about this one, since we don’t really have any shows planned for fall. lol Oh well. DVR is just fun
9. Baked goodies. Now that the weather will be cooling off, I plan to bake more. I’ve really slacked off on baking in the past couple of years. I love freshly baked things like cookies, brownies, and breads. I look forward to having more goodies around. I especially look forward to my homemade pumpkin and apple breads – perfect autumn yummies!
10. Warm drinks. I haven’t been drinking too much hot stuff lately, and I really miss my hot tea and hot apple cider. As the weather starts to get cold, my beverages will do the opposite!
11. Less traffic! With school starting again, there will be less cars on the road and less people in stores during the hours I am commonly out. Ah yes, I love it when school is in session. :o)
12. Labor day. Unfortunately, my husband has to work over the weekend, but he should have labor day off. That’s something I suppose. Days off are always good. He just gets way too few of them.
13. Every month that passes brings me one month closer to being a mom, one way or another. I have no idea when it will happen, but it WILL happen. I’ll get there, and autumn brings me that much closer.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Moon over Miami

Or Texas. Either one, really.

I stayed up until 5am the past few nights. One night, I was working. The next, I was outside trying to get eaten alive by mosquitoes catch the eclipse, and the next I wasn’t up quite that late, but was working also. As you can imagine, I’m very itchy and tired, and my pictures did not come out that great (hint hint, hon, need that camera!) ;o)

Yesterday I ran some errands, including stopping by an electronics store to play with all the cameras. I’m sure my hunny will be delighted to know that I no longer want the $600 entry level DSLR. I’m sure he will be displeased to know I now want the $1200 one that is better. *grin* But he’ll be, well, I’m not sure actually, when he finds out that I’ll settle for the first camera’s big sister. His birthday is coming up really soon. I think that would make a good birthday gift. Right? Right?

I don’t know what else to blog about today. I ran out of questions. I think I might start asking myself questions. Wouldn’t that be fun? Jessica would have a hay day with that one. See, Jessica wants to get inside my head and play around in there (and people think *I* am crazy). Ok, Jess (can I call you Jess? Or do you prefer PB/Peanut Butter?) here are the directions:

Go north up Nose Drive and travel approximately 2 inches past the Ol’ Factory. Take a left on Foggy Pike, but watch out for all the cobwebs. You’ll see a lot of empty space in the fields out past there, (and maybe a cow or two) but that’s okay. It just means you’re on track. Veer to the right and hit Crazy Lane. Travel north for 4 inches and you’re there. You’ll want to dress lightly, because it’s quite hot and windy. Have a nice trip! But don’t stay long, and keep quiet. The voices up there don’t need anymore competition.

And without further adieu, here are my horrid lovely photos of the moon and eclipse. The first two are before it started. I included them because I thought the clouds in the second picture were cool. They were cool for this one picture, but totally ruined the eclipse for me. Of course, LAST NIGHT it was totally clear around the moon. Figures. Click on the photos to view them bigger.

Thoughts on becoming a mother

The past few days have been difficult for me for a variety of reasons. One of those is some things said about me by some people with whom I used to share my heart. But it’s ok, because I know everything happens for a reason. Or at least I try to keep believing that. Sometimes it is really hard.

I found this online, and I do not know who wrote it, but I thought it was lovely and deserving of an audience here at The Song of My Soul. I hope you enjoy.

Thoughts on Becoming a Mother

There are women that become mothers without effort,
without thought, without patience or loss and though
they are good mothers and love their children, I know
that I will be just as good a mother.

It will be not because of genetics, or money or
that I have read more books but because I have
struggled and toiled for this child.
I have longed and waited. I have cried and prayed.
I have endured and planned over and over again.

Like most things in life, the people who truly have
appreciation are those who have struggled to attain
their dreams.
I will notice everything about my child.
I will take time to watch my child sleep, explore and
discover. I will marvel at this miracle every day for
the rest of my life.

I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night
to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort,
hold and feed him and that I am not waking to take
another temperature, pop another pill, take another
shot or cry tears of a broken dream. My dream will be
crying for me.

I count myself blessed in this sense; that God has given
me this insight, this special vision with which I will
look upon my child that my friends will not see.

Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a
child that God leads me to, I will not be careless
with my love.

I will be a better mother for all that I have endured.
I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter,
neighbor, friend and sister because I have known pain.

I know disillusionment as I have been betrayed by my
own body. I have been tried by fire and hell many
never face, yet given time, I stood tall.

I have prevailed.
I have succeeded.
I have won.

So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from
their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see
it, mourn it, and join them in theirs.

I listen.

And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it
less lonely. I have learned the immense power of
another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that
moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and
when life is beyond hard. I have learned a compassion
that only comes with walking in those shoes.

I have learned to appreciate life.

Yes I will be a wonderful mother.

~Author Unknown

Photo Hunters – Happy


Happiness is: Monk in a sterile room.

(Thanks to my hunny for the photo idea!)

Q & A

As you may have noticed, I forgot to finish answering your questions over the weekend. So, I will do that now. Please, if you have anymore, ask away! Unless you’d like to read more crude posts about my dog’s rear end, that is. (Yes, that is a threat.)

Heidi asked, “Do you like where you live? Is there someplace else you’d rather live?”

Hmm, good question. I guess that depends on what exactly you mean. If you mean the US, then yes, I like living there. If you mean Texas, then yeah I’m partial to the state. If you mean my city, that’s out for debate. It’s an alright town I suppose (the recent water issues notwithstanding). However, it does have its drawbacks. We’re in a prime location for a hurricane disaster. We’ve had to evacuate a few times in my lifetime. Now compared to my Floridian buddies, that’s nothing… but to me, it’s a few times too many! I don’t think it’s entirely possible to escape nasty weather though. If it weren’t hurricanes, it would be tornadoes or blizzards or earthquakes. I do count my blessings that at least with a hurricane, we have plenty of time to evacuate if need be. But have I mentioned how much I *hate* to travel?

Now if you mean do I like my neighborhood, yes I LOVE our neighborhood. It’s really quiet and mostly new and it’s a good location. Do you mean my house? Yes, I like my house. I would prefer it didn’t have paint splatters on the ceiling that I can’t cover up properly because I can’t find the right “white”, and I would prefer it to be bigger, but for a starter house it’s great. Is there somewhere else I’d rather live? You know, I’m just not sure. In some ways, yes. I’d rather live by a beautiful lake and mountains than on the coast, and I’d rather live somewhere that’s not hot most of the year. But I do like Texas and I love living so close to my parents and I’m not sure I’d trade that for scenery. I wish we lived closer to the in-laws though. Hubby man doesn’t get to visit his family in Pennsylvania very often. :o(

Heidi also wants to know, “What about books. Have you read anything you liked lately?”

I’ve been really lazy with books lately. See the one in my sidebar that I’m “currently reading”? Yeah, no. I’m not. I got about 1/3 of the way through it and put it aside, never to pick it up again except for when I had to return it to the library. I didn’t get any new books either. I did buy one, however, titled The Mood Cure and have read most of it. I did enjoy it. I found it very informative and helpful. My dad thinks I’m mildly insane to be so enthralled by a book on amino acids, but what can I say? I’m a nerd. A nerd obsessed with health topics.

I have a lot of books sitting on my shelf waiting for me to read. Sadly, some of them I probably never will because I bought them in hopes I would be pregnant soon. I need to get rid of those books, but I keep holding onto them because I feel getting rid of them (and the few pregnancy tests I kept but will probably never take) would be completely admitting defeat. I’m not sure I’m ready for that, as dumb as it sounds. So they just sit on my book shelf, glaring at me and me back at them.

And finally, “Do you like Mr Clean Magic Erasers?”

This is a fun question. Why? Because I think I’m the only person on the entire planet that does not get all giddy over this product. I kept hearing raves about them so I bought a BIG box of the things, excited to try them out on everything. This was well over a year ago, and I have at least half of that box left, and I know I’ve never finished an entire eraser. Most of the ones I’ve used have been thrown away before they were even halfway gone (and yes, I do realize that is probably a mortal sin. I’m now waiting for Jessica to come beat down my door and confiscate what precious supplies I have left). I really don’t understand the appeal of them. I know people that love them in their bathtubs. But see, I’m a germ freak, remember? I like to use something that is strong enough to kill small animals on my tub so I can make sure all the e.colis are gone. Lysol is my friend. I *heart* Lysol. Plus, I hate elbow grease… you know… hard work? Not my forte. Magic Erasers take entirely too much oomph to get rid of the scum in tubs.

I’ve also tried the erasers on the paint splatters on my ceiling. Didn’t work. I tried to clean spots off of various things that people raved about, nope, not impressed. Kitchen sink? Didn’t work. Cabinets? Nuh-uh. Dirt on dog? Just kidding.

There are two uses I have found for them. One is to clean my microwave. It works pretty well for that. However, so do other products that are cheaper. The other is a stubborn spot I had on my cheapo laminate kitchen counter (I HATE CHEAPO LAMINATE COUNTERS… whew… sorry, had to get that out). You know those plastic grocery bags that have the store logos printed on them? Well, apparently wet grocery bag w/printed store logo and cheapo laminate counters do not a good combo make. Those spots are freaking hard to clean. Even my faithful baking soda struggles with it and I usually have to resort to using Comet (which rhymes with “vomit” so you know I’m not in love with the idea. Actually I’m kidding now too; I *heart* Comet almost as much as I *heart* Lysol. It’s just that Lysol is sooo much more useful for killing momma baby butt spiders.) So, anyway, I had my “microwave-cleaning-Magic-Eraser” sitting by my sink and I said to myself, “Self? Why not try it?” So I did. And wonders of all wonders – it worked! That red HEB logo was no match for the Mr. Clean Sometimes-Magic Eraser. I guess I will eventually work my way through the rest of the box. Afterall, we are pretty messy when it comes to the microwave. I swear things spontaneously explode in there and get ickies everywhere, even when they’re covered. So for now, my answer is “not usually, but they are fun to randomly throw at people walking down the street”.


Some Like It Hot (and Stanky)!

I’m seriously addicted to my torch. Shhhh. Don’t tell my husband, but it’s a sordid love affair we have. I love, love, love it! Can’t you just hear PeeWee Herman shouting, “So why don’t you marry it?” (Yes, I watched PeeWee’s Playhouse. Yes, I am embarassed to admit that. Yes, I may just go jump off a bridge now.) PeeWee, I probably would if I weren’t already taken (by a wonderful handsome man, no doubt, but he just doesn’t have that automatic combustion thing going on) and if it were indeed legal in all 50 states. I’m obviously turning into a pyromaniac. People, lock up your pieces of scrap metal. Hide your small, furry animals. Run… very far away… or the torch will get you and apply very cool soldered jewelry onto your body.

But would that be so bad, really? I think there are worse things in life. Such as drinking bleach and having sticks shoved up your bottom. But more on that later.

I’m anxiously awaiting a large order of silver wire so I can torch away to my little heart’s content.

Tonight I decided to make a flower pendant inspired by a jewelry artisan buddy, Laurel, that I met on a crafting forum earlier this year. I think I’m going to hang it on a leather cord.

Last week, I made some large circles that I soldered. First time ever that I soldered silver! I’m so proud of me! I made a bracelet and earring set with them. I wore them proudly already. :o)

So enough about fire. I guess. If I have to.

We no longer have e.colis and little e.coli babies floating around in our water. Can’t you just hear the angels singing?? This is big news. Now when I brush my teeth, I no longer have to use the preppy bottled stuff. Now I brush with pool water. Yes, pool water. You heard correctly. You know, the stuff you go and swim in? We simply don’t have normal water flowing from our tap anymore, but rather we have water saturated with ten times the chlorine that the state requires. Thank God I’m not a blonde. I am now no longer boiling water for my stinky poop dogs. Nope. Now they are getting the same preppy stuff the man and I are drinking. I just didn’t think disinfecting their innards sounded like such a grand idea. Are you with me?

Stinky Butt Dog (aka “Molly Mouse”) went to the vet on Saturday for her yearly. Mouse is the BEST dog EVER when it comes to vet visits. This dog truly is an enigma. She is the most skittish creature you’d ever meet. If you look at her funny or raise your voice even one iota for any reason at all, she goes off running to her crate. However, get her to the vet’s office and she’s all calm, cool and collected. Crazy dog. They were mercilessly digging into her leg, trying to find the vein from which to draw blood and what did she do? Nothing. Just stood there like the world was her oyster. Not even when they brought out the torture device they use to collect a stool sample did she flinch. She looked only mildly annoyed when they expressed her anal glands (oh happy day – no more leak issues!). Dang, I wish I had that dog’s doctor mojo. See, if it were me, all heck would break loose. Digging around in my arm to find a vein? We’d have a problem. Poking sticks in my booty? We’d REALLY have a problem. Squeezing said booty to express nasty smelling liquid?? I think my hubby would be stuck paying bail. But look at me funny or raise your voice, and I’m just fine!

I wish I could be that calm at a doctor’s appointment – (though maybe minus the booty issues). Do you think my dog will switch personalities with me?

Lifehouse: Everything

I came across this video tonight and thought it was too amazing to not share.

I watched it twice and cried both times! Hope you enjoy:

Photo Hunters – Two


Once in a while, my wonderful handsome man surprises me with some flowers. I have two favorite flowers – tulips and white orchids. These two tulips are from a beautiful bouquet he brought me a long time ago. They were so lovely I had to photograph them!

Aren’t they puuurdy?

I know you’re waiting on the edges of your seats

to see how I answer your questions! So, I guess I’ll end the suspense now.

Kristin asked, “Do you have any recipes using summer squash?”

You know, I don’t think I do. I love squash, especially yellow summer squash, but I’m pretty boring with how I fix it. I like the simplicity of it, so I usually either grill/broil it with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sautee it with a little butter, or steam it with some sweet onions (and butter). I fix zucchini in the same way. In fact, I have some gorgeous zucchini in my fridge right now that I need to fix. Kristin, I wish you lived near me, I’d take some of that squash off your hands! I tried growing some myself last year, and well, umm, that didn’t work. As for other summer veggie recipes, again, I’m pretty boring! I roast, sautee, or steam everything with some salt, pepper, and butter (or olive oil and balsamic vinegar)! I know, I know. You’re disappointed. You expected so much more from a vegetarian! *sigh*

Jessica wants me to give away my jewelry trade secrets!! ;o)

HAH! No, seriously, I’m not sure I’m the best teacher. Plus, I’m very self conscious about my hands and wouldn’t photograph them for lessons, and it would be hard to not include them for most things. I will tell you though, that I am a self taught jewelry artisan. If you have the personality to self teach, there are a TON of good materials out there to teach you the basics. Some are free, some are cheap, and others are quite expensive. But the free stuff and the magazines you can find in a local bead store or a local craft store are enough to get anyone started. If you’re not good at teaching yourself, check your local bead stores, craft stores, and college campuses. Many of these places have classes for various things. If you have specific questions, feel free to ask me. :o)

Heidi asks, “Have you talked on you blog before about how you and your mom started your jewelry business?”

I don’t think I have! However, I wrote a nice blurb about that on our “About Us” page on our site. I also finally added pictures on it! Woot!

Meet the Belles

We are a mother and daughter team of jewelry designers based in south Texas. What started out as a bonding hobby between two belles and a little bead has transformed into a lively business that has allowed us to both express ourselves and help others do the same. We have both always loved jewelry, but when Daughter Belle married her Beau almost seven years ago, we found the jewelry selection in area stores to be sorely lacking and turned to a jewelry artisan in another town. The handcrafted wedding pieces we bought are lovely and will always be treasured, however they were priced for a queen, not a simple southern Texas belle. We are pleased to be able to offer our handcrafted goodies to you at excellent prices! We believe you will find something suited perfectly for you and yours in our wide variety of affordable styles. Every belle should be able to afford to look “classy and fabulous” in their very own quality handcrafted jewels!

Meet Daughter Belle, aka “Crystal“:
Crystal started making jewelry a few years ago when Momma Belle gave her a set of tools and design books for Christmas. She quickly dove in head first, making simple pieces to give as gifts. It wasn’t long before friends saw her work and requested their own pieces. Things have only grown since then and Crystal has enjoyed all the opportunities she has had to learn new skills. She has recently learned some wire work and is delving into other metal workings. She is excited to share her passion and skills with you! She happily lives with her Beau/husband, Dustin, and their two dogs.

Meet Momma Belle, aka “Karen“:
Karen became interested in jewelry making when she saw how addicting it became for Daughter Belle. She and her Beau/husband, Chris, were in a rather terrible car accident a few years ago that severely and permanently injured her back. She has had a long road to recovery, including major back surgery, and in the process has found that making jewelry is a therapeutic distraction from her physical pain. The Belles are addicted to gemstones and are like two little kids in a candy store, drooling over the yummy and shiny delights, when they are choosing goodies to incorporate into their designs. Karen has amassed quite a collection of yummylicious gemstones, but there are never enough! She and Chris live with their dog just down the road from Daughter Belle.

We are so happy you decided to visit our little corner of the internet and we invite you to kick back, grab a glass of sweet tea, and stay for a while. We know you have a lot of options when it comes to handcrafted jewelry and we are truly grateful to be given the opportunity to let our passion embellelish your life!

Heidi also asks,”At what age did you first start having phobias and the like?”

I’m not completely sure. As far as I can remember, they started affecting my life sometime when I was in high school and have just gotten worse since then. I have social phobias – stage fright, big crowds/stores/enclosed spaces; emetophobia – extreme fear of vomit and vomiting; and slight agoraphobia that stems from the other phobias. Oh, and germ-a-phobia. I’m sure that one has a technical name too, but I don’t know it. It’s from the other phobias too though. I’m a regular nut job! :o) The germ-a-phobia subsides when the other ones are better under control. The slight agoraphobia is something I have to constantly work on, but it is better now than it was a year or two ago. The emetophobia never goes away, though when I have extreme panic attacks from it, I have found a self acupressure method that calms me down big time. If only it was a lasting thing.

I do not medicate for them, though my doctor suggested it and wrote me a prescription. At this time, after doing research on the drug, I just simply do not have peace about taking it. We are exploring some natural treatments and I’m hopeful that someday I’ll find significant relief. BUT in the past year I have really come to understand what causes phobias and panic attacks and even if I never “get normal”, there is an extreme amount of peace and satisfaction in finally coming to that place and accepting it for what it is instead of beating myself over not having enough faith to get “healed” or living with unfounded guilt due to the belief that it’s a spiritual matter when it is purely physical. I lived with that for a very, very long time unfortunately. If I take these phobias to my grave, at least I can die knowing the truth and with NO shame.

Ok, I think this post is long enough for now. I’ll try to address the rest of the questions sometime this weekend. Please leave me more! More, more, more! I just might get back into this whole blogging thing after all. ;o)

There’s *what* in my water??

We’re now entering day three of a city wide water boil advisory. Why, you ask? Well, apparently all of our crazy July rain has caused the system to not get flushed well enough and some testing showed the presence of e.coli in the water.

Yep. E.coli. You know, the stuff in poop. Now this is not that big of a deal to me personally because I do not drink tap water. I’m a water snob (totally my mom’s fault) and will only drink water that has been purified by reverse osmosis. So, it’s bottled water only for me, at least until we buy an RO filter for our house. Which may or may not happen in this century. Besides, bottled water is fashionable, you know? But even though I don’t *drink* the water, I do sometimes cook with it and I always brush my teeth with it. Now, I thought that brushing your teeth was supposed to get rid of the ickies, not put more in. I gotta tell ya, I’m not relishing the idea of rinsing my mouth out with, you know, fecal matter. Love that poop breath!

Yesterday the grocery store was a MAD HOUSE as the crazy people in this crazy city were all making a mad dash to the one store we decided to visit. Why? Well, I imagine they don’t enjoy poop breath much themselves, so they were going insane buying bottled water. They had huge piles of the stuff (both gallons and flats of the little bottles that all the cool kids carry around) and these crazy people were quite literally filling their shopping baskets. With water. I feel completely comfortable calling these people crazy because, well, I joined the ranks. Two flats of the cool little bottles and four gallons later, I waited in line to pay for my precious fecal-free commodity.

This was yesterday. How much water have I drank since then? Umm, none. I have drank some canned sparkling water though. I guess that counts in someone’s world.

So, we’re supposed to boil any tap water used for cooking and drinking purposes for two minutes. Guess what I did at midnight. That’s right, I boiled some water. But not for just two minutes, mind you. What if there are some very stubborn little e.colis and their little e.coli babies floating around in there that were smart enough to apply some heat-proof shielding to themselves before infiltrating my pipes? Shut up. Of COURSE that’s possible. “I reject your reality and substitute my own.” So I boiled the water until it was about halfway gone and called myself satisfied. “But wait!” you scream, “I thought you don’t DRINK tap water!” You are right, bloggy friends, I don’t. So why did I boil the water at midnight? Well, for my dogs of course. The dogs that lick each other’s butts and eat all manner of gross things they find outside. The one dog that used to eat cat poop daily and eats her sister’s vomit anytime I don’t get too it soon enough. The other dog that pukes all the time and has a booty leaking issue that she makes sure to clean regularly. Yes, these dogs. I boiled water for these dogs. We can’t be having poop-breath dogs full of e.coli, right?

And now the crazies of the bloggy world will go to bed. After I brush my teeth with *drum roll, please* that precious bottled water, of course.

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