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So, recently, I have gotten addicted to Swapbot.com, which is basically a place where you can sign up with other people from across the interwebs, to swap cool things. So far, I’ve swapped ribbons and embellishments and papergoods and tons of ephemera-type stuff. It’s really cool, and I’ve gotten to communicate with some really cool people–some from right up the road near Charlotte, NC, and some from as far away as Austrailia.

Now, I’m participating in a digital swap, which includes a photo scavenger hunt. I thought I’d host it here!

1. My Pet. This is my favorite picture of Sake, my cat. He likes having his belly rubbed, and this picture just cracks me up.

2. Something in my favorite color. Blue is my favorite color, but I don’t have a lot of pictures of blue things. But here is a picture of the scoreboard from Cameron Indoor Stadium, home of the Duke Blue Devils. This is from when the women’s basketball team beat Carolina at home to cap the regular season and remain undefeated.

3. Clothing I regret buying. I actually don’t have any pictures of this. I rarely buy clothing I regret. And when I do, I usually return it, or sell/donate/give it away to friends. I don’t let it stick around too long.

4. Something that represents freedom to me. I love this picture, and I can’t think of anything more free than hiking alone in such beautiful country.

5. Me or someone I knew dressed up for Halloween. I have two hilarious pictures for this and I couldn’t decide which to use, and since I didn’t have a picture for #3, I figured I’d post them both. The first is of my friends MS and BJ, who hosted the party where this was taken, and made the perfect Mario and Luigi, SUPER MARIO BROTHERS!!! The other is of one of my former RAs, CQ, who is dressed up as a “One Night Stand”–my favorite costume ever.

6. An activity I enjoy doing. I love doing decoupage and other crafts. These are the Christmas ornaments I made this past year, using those skills.

7. Something circular. This is the “Magic Swings” ride at the old Pavilion Amusement Park in Myrtle Beach. I used to go to this park as a kid all the time, and I took this picture a few weeks before it closed, when my parents, brother, and I went back for one last hurrah.

8. Something that will make me laugh. I love this sign. It’s actually still up here in Durham, and I laugh and say “God Bless the South” every time I drive past it.

9. The weather today.

10. Me. This is my all-time favorite baby picture of me. I just love it, and I still have that bunny. His name is BunBun. And I don’t think I’ve changed all that much. You can definitely tell this is me when you see the picture.

Hope you enjoyed these pictures, and to my Swap-bot buddies, welcome!

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When I was in college, we were always keeping a Quote Board.  A new board for each semester, or event or trip.  Summer always yielded the best (read:  most ridiculous) quotes.  That tradition is about to continue here, with this running list.

Work Quotes

Co-worker K:  It’s not like my arms are freakishly short or anything!
Me:  Yeah, you’re no Tyrannosaurus Rex!
—On how we can never reach anything (ATMs, card swipes at the parking garage, etc) from our car windows.

“That Finding Nemo will get you every time!”  –my boss P on a report that some kids “got carried away” while watching a DVD at our program.  (All our movies must be PG-13 or less.)

“I didn’t know it was going to get dark tonight!” –me (In my defense, I was talking about the dark clouds from the impending storm, but of course it sounded totally stupid the minute it came out of my mouth.)

Family Quotes

“Straight Jujitsu Baby.”–My brother, after being caught admiring his guns in the bathroom mirror.

“The Pentacostal Church is down the street if you wanna go handle snakes.  I ain’t got time for this.”–My brother on the liturgical stylings of our new Pastor’s wife at our parents’ church.

Ok, so I keep finding all these cool crafty projects on the internets, and I keep forgetting them. So from now on, I am keeping a running list of things I want to do, and when I complete them, I will take pictures and post!

1. Make Biscornus. Maybe for Christmas Ornaments.
2. Covered Barrettes. And no, I don’t think I’m too old to wear these. Neener neener neener.
3. A cute wristlet. Yeah, I’m so obsessed with this, I’ll be surprised if I don’t make one this weekend.
4. Bottle cap Pincushions. So cute!
5. Soy Wallet. Except I want to make one out of the Limeade carton that’s currently in my fridge.
6. Make my own shrinky dinks. I want to make luggage tags and jewelry with Loteria cards on them.
7. Rootbeer float cuppycakes! These make me feel a little sick just looking at them, but I know they would be delicious enough to balance out the suffering!
8. Fun Luggage Tags. I love Crafty Chica, and this is such a great technique. Maybe if you’re real sweet, this will be in your Christmas package, friends.
9. Bubble Mailers from scratch. Good for swapping!
10. Quilted Wallet. Might make good holiday presents!!
11. Poppy Corsage. So cute, right?
12.  OMG the cutest hat ever.  Which will look awesome with the scarf I’m currently working on.
13.  CHERRIES!  I love cherries.  Might not make earrings, but I’ll come up with something fun…

God bless Craft the Magazine for having such a freaking awesome blog, by the way…

Title: The Solace of Leaving Early
Author: Haven Kimmel
# of pages: 336

Comments: Full disclosure–I don’t like Haven Kimmel much. She lives around here, and I have friends who have had run-ins with her. She seems like a crappy human being in general, actually. But my dad gave me this book for my birthday, and so I decided to read it. The story was very engaging–a murder revealed in tiny pieces, mostly because of the haughty nature of one of the characters, who refuses to believe that anything interesting could happen in that small town, or outside of her own brain. In fact, that character, Langston, is incredibly annoying for most of the book. She’s so self-righteous and self-satisfied, all in her own head. But the rest of the characters are wonderful, and the story is intense. However, as I was starting the last chapter, I thought, “There are not enough pages left to tie up all the loose ends.” Well, they all get tied up, but not in any way that makes sense. It’s as if Kimmel got tired of these characters and was just ready to be done–but since most of the characters were so lovely and loveable, it made the ending much less satisfying than the rest of the book.

Title: But Enough About Me: A Jersey Girl’s Unlikely Adventures Among the Absurdly Famous
Author: Jancee Dunn
# of pages: 288

Comments: I’ll admit, when I found out about this book, I was both oddly attracted and repulsed by it. I figured it was going to be just another former reporter name-dropping and giving us tired old tell-all tabloid tales that we’ve already known for years. But I also love US Weekly, so when I saw this on a sale table for $4, I decided to give it a shot. I totally love this book. First of all, Dunn does a very good job of not name-dropping, except when she has to talk about how she was so nervous she almost puked before she met Madonna, and things like that. She also alternates with one chapter about her life, and one chapter about her work. The chapters about work come in the form of advice for young reporters, which is generally hilarious. And you can tell that she has genuine affection for people like Stevie Nicks, Dolly Parton, and Loretta Lynn, which is sweet to read. Finally, Dunn does a good job of tying up this memoir which ends sometime in her thirties. Whose life ends then? She doesn’t make any promises about happily ever after, just pretty happy at the moment–which is a nice, reasonable way to end this fun, easy story.

Title: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Author: Jonathan Safran Foer
# of pages: 368

Comments: I have a mega crush on Jonathan Safran Foer. His writing is all at once bizarre and commonplace, beautiful and strange, and comes at you from all angles until you can (mostly) figure out what’s going on in the story. Much like Everything is Illuminated, much is revealed but there is a little mysticism and a little of the story that is left in the dark for you to figure out. Also like EiI, there is a very strange character that you just can’t help but fall in love with. In this book, it’s Oskar, a very gifted little boy who lost his father at the World Trade Center on 9/11. This is not the first book I’ve read that centers its story on 9/11 (The Good Priest’s Son by Reynolds Price was), but it certainly captures aching loss and the incomprehensible things–like voicemail messages from the dead and no bodies–that families faced for maybe the first time ever on that day. I also love Oskar because he is such an amazing kid–and since I’ve worked with gifted children and young adults for most of my life, I definitely recognize other children I’ve known in him. I love this book, but I’m not sure if it will be one that I re-read ever; it is very emotional, and is punctuated with some hard images from 9/11. But overall, a great read, and I look forward to JSF’s next book.

Ok, y’all… I’ve had some personal stuff going on that I can’t talk about here, and I can’t think of anything else, so I took a little blog-cation. I still can only think about stuff I can’t share for the moment, so I decided that I would just do some Book Journal entries, since I’m behind on those, anyway! Here goes…

Title: We Thought You Would Be Prettier: True Tales of the Dorkiest Girl Alive
Author: Laurie Notaro
# of Pages: 240

Comments: So, I have loved Laurie Notaro ever since I read her first book, The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club. She is completely hilarious, and usually self-deprecating but not in a way that makes you uncomfortable. Note that I said USUALLY there. This time around, I thought there were more moments that made me wince at her humor than in the past, but it didn’t make it any less of an enjoyable read. My very favorite part (and the one that left me with tears in my eyes) is where she talks about being in the Borders bathroom and “letting the trumpet blow” but thinking it was the person in the other stall. Once she realized it was her, she saw the other lady at the sink, and then that lady ended up being the only person to show up at her reading. Not only was this hilarious (as one of my former RAs says, “Farts are always funny!”), but it was also really brave because so few women (no matter how funny, cool, and smart they are) will talk about farting. We need more fart talk in the world. Thanks for starting the trend, Laurie!