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Archive for October, 2008

Dear Myspace

Dear Myspace,

I’m sorry to say that I think it’s over. I’ve left you for another social network. Stop crying; it’s okay. Your heart will go on. And on. You see, lately I’ve forgotten to come and visit you. I just don’t even think about you anymore. My other social network has fulfilled me in ways you never could. It’s a network where the cool kids hang. You know, the ones that like the fact that they are no longer in junior high?

I just couldn’t take your large graphics, constant surveys on who I “have a crush on”, gaudy sparklies, and, well, your Tom anymore. It’s just not my bag, baby. What? You think this is sudden? Oh, honey, it’s been a long time coming. You’re just dense, Myspace. Dense or deaf. My maniacal screams through the monitor were not getting through that thick skull of yours. Or was it the awful, automatically playing music keeping my pleas from reaching your ears? I know how to push a play button, Myspace. Don’t patronize me.

I just don’t find you mentally stimulating anymore. Actually, I never did. I faked it. Pretending to enjoy my time with you, I tried leaving comments and picking mildly classy layouts. But I was never really into it. The entire time I was daydreaming about a day when I could enjoy social networking again. Well, my time has come.

Sorry, Myspace. I’m leaving you for Facebook. Yes, Facebook. You read that right. Where grownups go to interact with their weird international friends who add extra vowels where vowels are not needed. Where we create secret groups and spend entirely too much time debating the fine nuances of items such as knitted baby hats. Where we are free to post strange status updates voicing our random mindless drivel and comment on them, endlessly chatting about the intricacies of the finer things in life such as toe hair, wall hangy thingies from Michaels, and chocolate. But not together. Because that doesn’t even make sense. But I digress. Stop distracting me; that’s not helping your case.

My point, Myspace: it’s over. We’re through. Kaput. I am no longer one of your peeps. I’ve grown up and branched out and have no more use for you. So please stop sending me emails from people I do not know who think I’m hot and want to be my friend. I’m really not that cool. They just think I am. But hey, I kind of think I am too, which is why I must call us quits.

Goodbye, Myspace. Goodbye.

(Or: “See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya!”)

(But no, I’m much too classy for that kind of talk.)

(See what kind of bad influence you are? Shame on you, Myspace. Shame.)

Sincerely,
Crystal

Macro Mayhem

After surpassing even more goals, I decided to go ahead and take the plunge and order my beloved Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens. I ordered it quite a while ago, but the camera shop was closed for Sukkot, so it didn’t ship for a week or so.

It came in yesterday.

I was afraid to open the box.

Then I opened the box and inside that box was another box.

I finally got up the nerve to open that box and take off the top piece of styrofoam.

Then I saw the big, honking manual.

I started to read the big, honking manual, then realized I cannot read Japanese.

Then I realized that I cannot read French.

Then I found the English portion and started reading.

I became very confused. This is a serious lens. I barely know bokeh. My brain can process “bokeh” but “magnification priority” and “infinity compensation mark”, not so much.

I carefully put it on the camera body. I think it might actually be heavier than the body itself. Or at least even.

Then I played. I need some macro practice. And maybe a monopod or something, cause boy there’s nothing like watching camera shake in action through that type of magnification! I’m glad I’m not a surgeon. *wink*


But it was fun playing around. I need lots more practice.

The nose agrees.


I’m thinking about posting an extreme macro close-up every week or two and seeing who can guess what it is. That would be fun. What do you think?

Dear Birth Parent

As a part of our adoption profile (aka “scrapbook”) we had to write letters to the birth parents. We wrote one as a couple then each wrote one individually. I had been dreading it for months and I’m so glad it’s complete. See, our home study was approved this week and now we’re legally able to adopt.

We mailed off our scrapbook to the agency’s main office yesterday. Now it’s just a matter of someone picking us. In most cases, we won’t be told when our profile is viewed. We prayed over it before sending it, that God would bless each person who reads it and that the right one would choose us. I’m not sure what I feel right now. Not much, really. Defense mechanism, I’m sure. I don’t think I’ll be excited until that baby is in my arms.

Of course, right after it was sent, I was told that writing “dear birth parent” is offensive and not a good way to start the letters. However, this is what our agency recommended and they’ve been doing this for longer than I’ve been alive, so hopefully they did not steer us wrong. The case workers are going to review it when it arrives and offer suggestions for changes if any are needed. I be scared, y’all.

All in all, we ended up with 15 pages of pictures (the joint letter was integrated into two of the photo pages), our two letters (which are each about three pages long!) and a couple of pages that were pieces I wrote during this journey. I thought you might enjoy reading my letter. I took out the names of family members that may or may not like having their names out on the internet.

Anyway, here it is.


Dear Birth Parent,

First let me thank you again for allowing Dustin and I to open up our lives to you, and for considering our home for your child. I can’t begin to know what you’re feeling, nor can I guess at what brought you to the place you are now. I only wish I had some magical words to share that would bring you comfort, but what I do have are prayers for you and the little one you are carrying. I hope this book we’ve put together shows you who we are and the loving, supportive home we have to offer a child.

I’ve had a heart for adopting for almost as long as I can remember. I have a vivid memory of sitting on my high school best friend’s bed one weekend, playing the board game “Life”, daydreaming about what our futures would be like. How our husbands would look, how many children we’d have, what their names would be. She was raised by her mother and step father, and that had sparked a discussion about adoption. Of course, back then I was pretty clueless about the entire process, but it put a bug in my ear and a thought in my head that from that day on has been cultivated into a desire of my heart. When Dustin and I learned that we could not conceive a child, as devastating as that information was to me, after going through a period of grieving it also sort of clicked deep down. This is the road we’re meant to travel. My desire to birth children melted away and in its place was the knowledge and peace that our family would grow purely by love rather than by blood.

Texas born and raised, I grew up in a stable and loving home with Christ as the foundation. I am an only child to Chris and Karen, who today remain two of my best friends and greatest inspirations. Married for well over thirty years now, they instilled in me many values that have helped to shape who I am. From a young age, I’ve had a deep love for God. My parents tell me that when I was a very small child, I would gaze through the car window at the sky and blow kisses to Him. I started singing to the Lord when I was little and have never stopped.

I had a happy childhood and many friends. I met one friend in particular when I was about three, and we remain friends today. We loved playing Barbies and My Little Pony. We used to get into all sorts of trouble, from putting on her mom’s makeup to sitting under the table in a restaurant, crumbling up little packets of crackers onto the floor and quietly laughing to ourselves while the other restaurant patrons shot looks of horror at our unsuspecting parents. A few years later, we took ballet lessons together while we secretly crushed on church boys. Many years later, we cried tears of joy at each others’ weddings.

I was home schooled from first through eighth grade and attended a Christian high school where I graduated Valedictorian with honors. My parents somehow managed to maintain a balance between pushing me to do my best and letting me have fun being the child I was. They expected me to work hard in school, but the drive that pushed me to the top was really all mine. That drive followed me to college, where I attended for two years with a major in computer science. It took that experience and two crazy but cool professors for me to realize that my true love lies in the arts. Writing, music, photography, designing — these are things that have been a part of me my entire life, yet I failed to give them the attention they deserved for so long. Today I am a singer/song writer, blogger, jewelry designer, business owner, and aspire to someday be a published writer. My love of the arts has been fulfilled in my life, but an even deeper longing is still calling out — the desire to be a mom. My hope for our future children is that they push themselves to be the best people they can be while still listening to their hearts and following their dreams. We will always do everything we can to help them set and achieve their goals, both in education and otherwise.

In high school, I spent a lot of time with a few very close friends. I have never been very athletic, but I’ve always loved bike riding and rollerblading. I was involved in a few singing groups and loved writing poetry. Volunteering as an assistant in our church’s nursery and babysitting a neighbor’s granddaughter were things I enjoyed often.

I met the love of my life while in college. Dustin was a world away, stationed in South Korea, but we somehow managed an unlikely meeting on the internet and later went on to meet in person. The day he flew to Texas to meet me, we decided to do dinner with my family and then catch a late movie as our first date. I remember that day like it was yesterday. We went to a little locally owned Chinese restaurant that has since shut down and planned to see The Bone Collector at the big theater. Interesting first date movie, I know. But no matter, to this day I’m still not sure what the movie is about. Dustin had my undivided attention and my mind was too busy reeling from the excitement of meeting him to pay attention. I drove to the theater, my dad’s little red Toyota puttering along… until it died, that is. We sat there on the road, unsure of what to do, until a car full of strangers came by and offered to help Dustin push start the car. And so he did. My tall, handsome Army man push started my little red clunker on our first date and didn’t even complain. What a catch! It was undoubtedly the best first date ever.

That began the start of our wonderful life together. Dustin is truly my best friend and my rock. That man constantly amazes me with his wisdom and intellect, yet keeps me in stitches with his crazy sense of humor. He is a great balance of strength and gentleness. I’ve not met a child that didn’t almost instantly adore him. It’s really no wonder, since he’s like a big kid himself. He’s such a good man and excellent husband… I can’t wait to see him grow into a great dad. We consider our marriage to be strong and full of love and respect. Respect is important to both of us, and we plan to be a good example of a healthy marriage to our children. Dustin has always supported me in my good days and bad. Last year when I tragically lost my beloved granny, he was the perfect picture of tender strength for me. Granny was one of my favorite people on the planet. We used to sit and talk for hours. She possessed the kind of wisdom that only comes with age and her simple faith in God. Dustin was completely there for me and my family during that difficult time. He’s such a treasure.

As you can see, family is very important to me. Growing up, we spent summers and the Christmas holidays traveling up north to visit relatives and that was always a lot of fun to me. I’ve always been pretty close to one of my younger cousins (I am the oldest on both sides), *name*, who is about to get married! Another cousin and his wife just had a little baby girl, *name*, named after our late granny and I cannot wait to meet her. My mom and I are very close and my mother-in-law is someone I call a dear friend as well. Just recently my dad’s brother *name*, his wife and three kids moved to our town. My aunt *name* and I love to sit and chitchat, and our families enjoy getting together for holidays and BBQs and such. My baby cousin *name* is just the sweetest thing, and I’m very much looking forward to giving her a little buddy to play with!

I’m having a bit of a hard time finishing this letter. I feel like I still have so much more to say to you, yet I’m finding myself with so little words (which is a rarity!). I want you to know that even though I don’t know you or your story, I have already been praying for you and your child for quite some time. The enormous decisions you’re faced with in this season of your life must be such a scary thing and my prayer for you is that the Lord gently guides you through each one. If He happens to guide you in our direction, we would be honored to be the family that loves and raises your little one. If he guides you in another way, rest assured that you still have our prayers. We truly believe with all our hearts that every child is a blessing… now we’re just waiting to be a blessing to one in return.

Sincerely,
Crystal

What does your name say about you?

On a forum I’m on, someone posted a link to this site where you type in your name and it analyzes your personality based on it. Now, please note, I do not believe in or agree with the Kabala religion or whatever it is, but the link thingy was kind of fun.

And so right. Well, almost.

This is what my name says about me, in case you’re interested.


  • The name Crystal creates a very independent, practical, analytical nature with skillful business abilities.
  • You desire freedom from restrictions and authority in order that you can pursue your own ambitions.
  • This name gives you leadership qualities and you are seldom happy in positions where you must direction from others.
  • Material and financial success are the focus of your interests, but sacrificing much for material ambition will result in a lack of harmony and balance in your personal life, particularly a lack of appreciation for social courtesies and things of a more inspirational nature.

  • I’m not quite independent due to my current limitations, but the desire is there in my nature and I fully believe I could be if I didn’t have anxiety disorder. And a shugah daddy (I kid, Dustin, I kid…).

    I don’t think I sacrifice much for material ambition, but I think I could if I didn’t have a good head on my shoulders regarding financial stuff. In fact, before I got old and wise (stop laughing) I could spend with the best of them. I still like pretty things, but I like even more a reasonable amount of financial security (AKA, our savings account). I don’t know about that social courtesies and inspirational nature thing. I’m inspired by a lot of things and hate when people aren’t courteous… but I don’t see how materialism has anything to do with that.

    So what does your name say about you?

    “Nursery Inspiration” – a page from our adoption scrapbook

    Or: “How Crystal’s baby’s nursery SHOULD look but never will because while she is quite possibly a veritable genius when it comes to jewelry/blogging/being Dustin’s wife/being a phobic/ruining baked goods/eating chocolate, she is not nor will ever be a good interior designer.”

    I am so attractive…

    … to the weirdos.

    I don’t know how or why, but my blog attracts the strangest traffic. Each week brings me new laughs when I check my Google Analytics stats. It never gets old! Here’s what has brought hits to my blog in the past couple weeks. I promise, these stats are for real. No words have been changed to protect the non-innocent.

    “how to get my husband to adore me” – I’m so glad you asked. First, you must demand chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate. Men like to be bossed around, you know, buying tons of chocolate for their damsels in PMS distress. Next, you feed him lots of healthy stuff that he hates, like spinach and lentils and fish oil that’s supposed to taste like pudding. Finally, make sure to leave many annoying comments on his blog. Husbands LOVE this. Wait, what? That will never work, you say? Mwahahahaha! Oh, but it does. Right, hon?

    “how big is a mol” – perhaps a better question might be WHAT is a mol?

    “find your soul song”
    – Hurry up soul, find it already!

    “breast cancer awareness wah pedal”
    – Ok, now I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about a wah-wah pedal. I totally should though. Wah-wah pedals are awesome. I don’t have one, but it sure would be fun. Show of hands: who knew Crystal owns an electric guitar? Oh yes, I do! A gorgeous shiny one. I should take a picture. It sure would look even prettier with a wah-wah pedal, though I think a pink one might clash.

    “do you want fries with that song”
    – I generally prefer my songs to be trans-fat free, thanks. Oh, what the heck? Sure, I’ll take a small fry. Extra ketchup, please.

    “crystal+blogspot” –
    I am the Crystal on blogspot?! I’m so glad you found me. *Whew!*

    “making a meal out of a mole hole” – Thank you so much for ruining what little appetite I had left… never mind on those fries. You are so disturbing.

    “a soul would have one mol” – Again with the mol?

    “how to pronounce humuhumukununukuapua’a” – I wish I knew, but alas, I do not. I shall defer you to my father, expert in all things Hawaiian pig-nosed fish.

    “why athletic shorts smell when i go outside” – Ummmm… perhaps a better question would be why did they invent showers?

    “orange rotting fruit” – I have some rotting potatoes. Will that suffice?

    “my life with this finger that song my soul” – The soul of mol that is be with toe.

    “whats that song that goes butt naked sitting on the bathroom floor” – The song loves the American people. It did not go butt naked sitting on that bathroom floor.

    I feel so dirty now. And very not hungry.

    Cranbery Baked Oatmeal

    With the fall season here, don’t you get the hankerin’ for some cranberries? All red and juicy and plump, these gorgeous little gems are a staple in the American diet, especially in the colder months. It’s easy to see (and taste!) why.

    I don’t cook breakfast very often these days. I’m not much of a breakfast person at all myself, and Dustin usually drinks a high impact breakfast smoothie each morning. I say high impact because it has everything but the kitchen sink. Organic yogurt, milk, at least one kind of protein powder, raw oats, a mixture of fruit (usually banana, peaches, strawberries, or blueberries) and a couple handfuls of baby spinach (nope, you can’t taste it). It gets him through til lunch and is packed with nutrients.

    This weekend though, I wanted to do something different, so I decided to make some baked oatmeal. I’ve made this before with mixed results. See, Dustin doesn’t like mushy oatmeal. He’ll eat raw quaker-type oats or cooked steel cut oats, but that’s it. He does not like regular cooked oatmeal. The first baked oatmeal recipe I tried, he liked. The next one or two were too mushy and he was not a fan.

    This one is non-mushy and tastes great. I made it with cranberries this time, but next time I might go for blueberries. Yum.



    Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

    2 cups quick or old fashioned oats
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    A few dashes of cinnamon if desired
    1 cup milk
    2 eggs, beaten
    1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
    1/2 cup sucanat (sucanat is unrefined evaporated cane juice… you can use regular brown sugar if you don’t do natural stuff.)
    Dried cranberries or other fruit of choice, optional (I just dump some in until it “looks right”)

    In a large bowl, mix together oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and sucanat. Stir in milk, eggs, applesauce and fruit and pour mixture into a greased casserole dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes or until well set.

    I refrigerate the leftovers. It’s good both hot or cold.

    Enjoy!

    The Monstrous Crib of Hideousness

    Please don’t think I’m awful for hating this crib. The crib looks better in the photos than in real life. The walls, on the other hand, look even more rosey in the photos!

    Repainting them is not an option. See, remember, I painted the rest of our entire house over the course of the past two years. I.Hate.Painting. Plus, I really really really suck at it. Big time. Hence hiring the painter guy. He did 100% better job than me; the paint is just so light, we didn’t see the touchups that needed to be done in the lighting we had when it was finished. Dustin and I even looked. Dustin still can’t see them, but he’s just blind (he loves me, love is blind, right? Something like that, anyway.). In the early daylight though, they show.

    The only thing I like about this room is the fact that we decided to paint the ceiling the same color as the walls. I love that and will probably do that elsewhere too. But I hate the color, and want to seriously harm this crib. I’ve never liked light toned wood, at least wood with too many yellowish hints in it like that. A true natural like pine or something can look nice for some things, but this crib has an odd tone that makes me want to puke. Cherry is ok (our floors are fake “natural cherry”) and walnut is nice. I like espresso colored furniture the best (hence my dining table and living room armoire) and those black cribs are pretty sweet too. Espresso is my favorite though and what I would get if I bought everything new.

    So here it is, the monstrous crib of hideousness against its backdrop of too-light-and-rosey walls. Ignore the trim. And the orange chair that is, for some reason, still in existence. I placed the trim on the floor to make sure we still had it all, but it is not yet attached or re-painted. The trim and door will be lighter, like almost white. Or I might take the almost-white back and get pure white since the walls ended up being so light.

    *sigh* I hate being so picky, but this is really bugging me and I’m not entirely sure why.

    A recipe for disaster

    I love recipes, but just the ones that make food. The ones that only make disaster? Not so much.

    The paint in the nursery dried and I discovered I liked it on the paint card a lot more than on the walls. It has too much of a rosey hue in the background and is too light. I pretty much hate it, but now I’m stuck with it.

    We put the crib together today, and the crib looks awful with the floor. Actually, I don’t even like this crib without the floor. It’s huge and, well, kind of ugly (to me). I don’t like the color and never did, but I was being frugal and frugality doesn’t always breed gorgeousness, you know? I thought I’d be okay with it, but I’m not.

    After putting it together and seeing spots that need to be touched up on the too-light-and-rosey walls (actually, I’ll probably be calling the painter back to do a second coat), and seeing the monstrous crib of hideousness, I totally lost it. Cried for an hour, letting it all out at my poor, confused husband. I cried about things from 15 years ago that I didn’t even know were an issue. Who knew the monstrous crib of hideousness could be therapy?

    I feel like the nursery and making material preparations for this baby is the one and only thing I can control throughout the whole process… and I can’t even get that part right. I just want our baby to come home to a room that’s pretty. The baby won’t care, but I do. I bought a crib I hate and picked a paint color that’s not that great. I should have just gone with green for the walls and not looked at Craigslist. Now I’m stuck with too-light-and-rosey walls and left wondering whether or not I want to waste money for a new crib in the colors I like. So, I guess I’m materialistic. I want a nursery that looks like it’s out of a magazine, not one that looks like someone threw up all over it. Blame it on society. Materialistic beasts!

    I feel like a failure of a mother already.

    I’m not cut out for home decorating. I’m just not. I have nice pictures in my head that I can’t translate into reality. I have a nice picture of being a mom in my head as well… will I continue to fail at that too?

    Don’t mind me. I just hate this crib.

    LA-to-the-Z

    Two people are painting my nursery, my dad is mowing my lawn, the groomers are cleaning and trimming my dogs’ hair, and what am I doing?

    Just sitting here on my booty blogging for you, telling you all about my laziness.

    Aaah, this is the life.

    Now, where are my chocolate bonbons?

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