Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Pain in the Neck

Somehow, in the last hour or so, my neck and right shoulder decided that they don't give me enough flack already and decided to act up. My shoulder has a knot in it that would give an Eagle Scout a run for his money.

Massage gift certificates are welcome.

posted by Amstaff Mom | 8:29 AM | 4 comments

Monday, January 30, 2006

Helping Hands (or why my biceps still hurt)

On Saturday morning, (not so bright but very early on Saturday morning), Brian and I got up to meet with a crew to go on a service project in west Texas. That area was devastated with the wildfires so a large group (50 or so) of all ages caravanned out west to where the tumbleweeds roll. As we got within about 10 miles of the town, I began to wonder if we had made the 3 hour trip for nothing, and then we hit the "city" limits. This poor town was devastated by the wildfires the day after Christmas. The ground was pitch black everywhere. The wind had picked up while the fire was spreading, so much so, that one lady told us that it looked like tornadoes of fire. They jumped the road, spreading everyone and yet being random in their pattern. Sometimes it was just a yard that was scorched, other times, several homes were destroyed. The United Methodist Church was less than a slab. This small town lost over 130 homes.

Thankfully though, the donations have been pouring in. So much so, that they turned a former nursing home into a donation center, and you couldn't get through the aisles for all the donations. It was completely overwhelming. A large bathroom and a 15x15 room were so stuffed that you could not enter the room, and it was stacked from floor-to-ceiling with bags and boxes of donated clothing. We put the clothing in commercial sized trash bags and took them to another facility to be sorted, and it took 3 trips in a stock trailer to unload it all. This is in addition to all the clothing in the hallways and rooms that have already been sorted.

Brian and I headed a crew of 5 college guys and by the time we'd fill the bags, they weighed around 50 lbs. That's alot of Wrangler jeans! At the drop off point, we'd form an assembly line and "toss" the bags to the next one down the line. Fine for college-aged guys. Not so fine for me.

We had a full day (6am to 4pm) but the trip was definitely worth it. It felt good to help a town so much in need and the head volunteer that we met was very kind and had been putting in full days, 7 days a week for no pay for a month now. A true servant. Please pray for those affected by the fires, they've lost all of their material possessions. We have alot to be thankful for.

posted by Amstaff Mom | 9:35 AM | 6 comments

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Lettin' My Fingers Do the Talkin'

In a good way, that is. I've always wanted to learn ASL - American Sign Language. Cat and I used to check out the books at the library and tried to learn fingerspelling on our own. I always enjoy watching people sign at church and try to figure out the words they are signing. Opportunity has presented itself and I will be taking not one, but two ASL classes a week for the next 8 weeks, one being on my lunch hour at work, and the other at church. The classes at work will be taught on Wed. afternoons, and the one at church will be on Thursday nights, so together, I'm hoping to absorb what I'm taught. Today I learned how to say "my name" and then fingerspelled my first and last name. We also fingerspelled small words. It's a start and I'm looking forward to learning how to sign. No hand jestures please!

posted by Amstaff Mom | 11:13 AM | 22 comments

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

On My Soapbox

Normally my blog is filled with useless information about me and the goings on in my life. Every once in a while I get on my soapbox and my blog becomes a sounding board for my feelings, opinions and thoughts. This is probably useless information as well, but I shall post them anyways. Brian, K-T and I went to go see End of the Spear on Sunday, as both K-T and I mentioned in yesterday's posts. Yesterday afternoon, someone mentioned to me that the actor that plays the main characters, Nate Saint and Steve Saint as a grown man, is gay. Because of this, some Christian groups are boycotting the movie and saying that anyone who supports the movie is really not a Christian.

What are my thoughts on this? It doesn't change my opinion of the movie one iota. It was a fantastic movie, and they did a wonderful casting job of it as well. There were probably quite a few non-Christians that took part in the making of this movie, just as there were alot that took part in the making of the Passion of the Christ. What better way to reach out to the actors than for them to take part of the gospel message?

The thought of Christians boycotting a "Christian" movie baffles me. Am I missing something here? Aren't we shooting ourselves in the foot? I know that every group has it's fringe or radicals, or far-lefts or far-rights, but the very idea is incomprehensible to me. Since we are to use God's Word as our guide, here are verses that stand out to me.

Mark 2:15-17
While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?"
17On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Romans 14:9-13
9For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. 11It is written: " 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.' " 12So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
13Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way.

Matthew 5:43-47

43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

In an attempt to not judge those that I feel are judging, I make a plea. To remember that we are all sinners, and that we are saved through Christ who judges all men equally.

Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Thanks for listening.

posted by Amstaff Mom | 7:59 AM | 13 comments

Monday, January 23, 2006

Weekend with Bloggers

I spent the weekend with my friends and family. Many of these friends being those that I met through blogging. Friday night, I met JLR and RR for some shoe shopping, where our intentions were to find RR some running shoes. We went to DSW and then we decided to go to Run On! to get fitted by the professionals. I needed to go to Run On! to pick up my race packet and so I thought I would go ahead and get fitted for real running shoes myself. As of right now, my intentions are to keep jogging, and hopefully increasing my distance to a half-marathon someday, so I figured it would be an investment to get proper fitting shoes. The focus at the store is to find the best fit for your foot, so they have you walk back and forth to see exactly how you walk. I haven’t had my foot measured since I was a kid, so after taking my measurements and telling me that I walk on the outside of my feet and then roll in, he picked out three pairs of shoes for me to try on. I found a perfect pair and made my purchase.

After saying goodbye to JLR and RR, I headed to Campisi’s to meet Roger, Jes, K-T, Eddo, and Cat for dinner. We heartily consumed slices of garlic toast and pizza, and enjoyed the fellowship of friends. Roger, Jes and K-T then went and saw End of the Spear while Cat and I went home to get a good night’s rest before the big race in the morning.

Saturday morning, we got up at 7 to get ready for the Too Cold to Hold Race. It was a 15k around White Rock Lake. I met Cat and her friend at the race as well as Deals and her boyfriend. I had met Deals in person once before and so it was really nice to get to talk to her and her boyfriend both before and after the race. The four of them cheered me on when I crossed the finish line of the race, finishing in 1 hour and 47 minutes. It had been a windy and cold morning, which did not work in our favor for the race, but we all did a great job, and I’m still sore this morning to prove it.

Yesterday afternoon, K-T, Brian and I went to go see End of the Spear together. I had read the Jim Elliott version of the story back in jr. high, but seeing the movie with the breathtaking scenery and a powerful story made it a must-see. This movie was really well done, and I hope to see it again soon. I highly recommend this film, and look forward to seeing the documentary of it as well.

posted by Amstaff Mom | 7:08 AM | 9 comments

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Afters

Last night Cat and I went to The Afters concert at our church. On Sunday night I ran into one of my friends from high school and he mentioned that there was going to be a concert on Wednesday night. I mentioned it to Cat and we decided we'd go. At first I thought it was going to be a concert targeted at the college group, since it hadn't been mentioned in church, but later I found out that it was for the jr. high and high school groups.

We arrived a few minutes before the concert started and immediately I recognized the generation gap in the building. Close to the stage were hundreds of jr. high and high school kids all excited about the concert, jumping up and down, girls flirting with boys, boys flirting with girls, awkwardness at its finest. Standing towards the back of the room were the "oldies". A few college students here, some friends of mine I recognized there, mostly people around the age of Cat and me (notice that I link us together even though 5 years separates us).

Do you ever have those moments when you realize that you're growing up? I know I'm not old, but with 30 looming around the corner in a few months, the distance between early twenties and early thirties seems to grow at warp speed sometimes. It hit me last night when I realized that I was older than the guys in the band. When did that happen? When did I become older than all the guys in a band? Youch. At least I think it was all the guys, maybe it was just half of them, but two I know for sure. The lead singer went to a very small private school with Cat in jr. high. 11 people in their class small, so she's kept up with him via email over the years. I grew up with one of the guitarists/singers at church. The last time I saw him he was shorter than me and his voice was alot higher when we sang together in the jr. high choir.

We enjoyed the concert, sitting on the floor in the back of the church and taking the whole scene in. Some of the kids have got to have some sore calves today as they were jumping up and down thoughout the concert. I recognized some of the band's songs after hearing them on the radio, and unlike some bands, it sounded just as good (or better) in person than on the radio. Kudos to them. They've been one of the few bands that have been successful both in mainstream music and on Christian radio. Their label is Sony Epic, so I think they are only going to grow in popularity. They recently won the MTVu "Streaming Woodie" award, in part to the numerous clicks of Cat nominating them for the award.

After the concert they came out to greet everyone and sign autographs. Kids were getting their shirts and CD's signed, some were even pulling off their Converse shoes to have the band sign them. Who would want to sign a smelly shoe? Cat and I finally made our way to the front and the lead singer shouted out her name and was all excited to see her. You could see the jealousy on the faces of the kids. It was kinda funny (in a mean way). They caught up on the latest and greatest and then we went to go say hi to the guitarist. He saw Cat and said that it had been so long since he'd seen her, and then he saw me and he was like, it's been even longer since I've seen you! His mom and my mom were really good friends when were little, and I have a picture of his mom and sister at my wedding reception in my wedding album. It was fun to catch up and hear about his family.

It was indeed a fun evening, and I've still got the star on my hand to prove it.

posted by Amstaff Mom | 6:04 AM | 23 comments

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Fabulous (fattening) Free Day

Today has been a fabulous free day for me. FUN!

1. Co-worker brings me the aforementioned fabulous Latte from Starbucks.
2. Co-worker wins free lunch bunch off radio station last week and treats me and co-workers to a free lunch at El Fenix where we can eat anything we want off the menu.
3. I decide that the fajita quesadillas weren't enough of a treat and stop by Chick-fil-a for an Ice Dream on the way back from my interview. The drive-thru has a miserably long line and so I go inside to order. The lady in front of me says that she doesn't need the free ice cream coupon she has because she's on a diet and so she gives it to me. Not even knowing that it was exactly what I was going to order. So I get my Ice Dream for free.

So the only food that's cost me money today is my protein shake and vitamins for breakfast. It's cheaper to be fat I guess!

posted by Amstaff Mom | 1:37 PM | 12 comments


I have an interview today at 1pm. Will you pray for me? That I'll do my best in the interview and not be nervous. If the job is for me, then I know the Lord will provide it. And if it's not, I know he'll close the door. Please pray that I will be content in whatever His will is for me. It's in a different building, for the same parent company, but a different division of it. It would be alot more convenient for carpooling, so it definitely has its advantages. It's hard to think of leaving my present work group though. Especially after one of them treated me to a Tall White Chocolate Mocha with 2% and WHIP this morning. What good friends I have. There's still a gym over in that building, but no swimming pool. Sniff. I worked over there once before, for about 4 months the summer I got married, so I'm pretty familiar with the building. It would be nice to be back over there.

I thought I had learned my lesson last time - not to wear heels the day after jogging a 5k. My little calves are crying for mercy, but I needed to dress up more than usual for the interview. I already told one of my co-workers not to be surprised if she sees me walking around here barefoot this afternoon. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Have a good day everyone!

posted by Amstaff Mom | 5:42 AM | 15 comments

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The A to Z Travel List

Lia, RR and Holly were all teasing me yesterday about my choice of all "H's" for travel destinations in my previous post. The first two weren't intentional, but then I went ahead and went with it. So, I figured I'd try to think of cities, states or countries I've been able to visit. I'll see if I can get through all the letters, there'll be some blanks (what starts with "x"?) but I'll do my best.

A - Aberyswyth, Wales
B - Belize City, Belize
C - Cozumel, Mexico
D - Denver, CO
E - Edinburgh, Scotland
F - Florida
G - Georgia
H - Honduras
I - Illinois
J - Jackson, Mississippi
K - Kentucky (via ski boat)
L -Las Vegas, NV
M - Maryland
N - New York City, NY
O - Orlando, FL
P - Pittsburgh, PA
Q - Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
R - Red River, NM
S - San Francisco, CA
T - Tennessee
U - United Kingdom (minus Ireland)
V - Virginia
W - Wilkes-Barre, PA (where my dad was born)
X - I don't think these exist!
Y - York, England
Z - I'd love to go to Zurich, but I've never been.

There, I did it! Anybody else going to try?

posted by Amstaff Mom | 8:43 AM | 21 comments

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Survivor: Coming Soon

Well folks, it's available for all to see. The next season of contestants for Survivor are available for critiquing. I've never missed an episode in 11 seasons, and I'm not planning on starting now!


posted by Amstaff Mom | 6:35 AM | 13 comments

Monday, January 09, 2006

Me: More Info Than You Care To Know

I'm stealing this from Chad. For some reason, whenever I read these, I feel compelled to do one myself. So here's mine, for better or worse.

Four jobs you've had:
Bank Teller - The most I ever counted was $200,000 by hand. I dreaded the Church's chicken and Dunkin' Donuts deposits because of the grease smell factor. I did transactions for Leann Rimes both in the lobby and in the drive-thru. I actually enjoyed the city's payday Fridays because they made me the check casher for the city's account and I could cash checks like nobody's business.

Customer Service Rep - For AT&T. I did calling cards, etc. Nothing like being on the phone all day.

"Expert Clothes Folder" - Gap Employee

Camp counselor - poor pay, fun job.

Four movies you could watch over and over:
The Princess Bride
Notting Hill
Sense & Sensability

Four TV shows you love to watch:
The Amazing Race
Law & Order: SVU

Four places you've been on vacation:
Hampshire (England)

Four websites you visit daily:
your blogs

Four favorite foods:
Snuffer's cheese fries w/ ranch
Pizza from Pizza Getti
Mexican food, Mexican food , Mexican food
My grandmother's tortillas.

Four places you'd rather be right now:
In my hammock finishing my book
Snowdonia, Wales
Roatan, Honduras
London, England

posted by Amstaff Mom | 12:26 PM | 11 comments

Friday, January 06, 2006

Are You My Mother?

I hadn't seen this picture before, and I thought it was just too cute not to share. You can see the picture here.

Update: For the rest of the story, and for additional tear-jerking (for me) photos, please see Deals' site. Great minds think alike.

posted by Amstaff Mom | 7:53 AM | 10 comments

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Well, I'm not too terribly sore, although I did moan and groan a bit when I cuddled with Abby in her crate this morning. I'll probably go back to yoga tomorrow for a final dose this week. I'm just going to give myself a one-day recoup.

I'm filling in for someone today and so I'm not at my usual workstation. It's always so different to sit at someone else's desk and live in their world for the day. Today has had it's perks : free drinks (SCORE!), but it's also TERRIBLY quiet up here, so quiet you can almost touch the silence. It's just for one day so it's nice to have a change of pace and scenery.

Pet Peeve: A scrolling mouse that doesn't scroll. How do people live like this? I have come across several mice with a scroll button that either doesn't function or wasn't installed correctly or something. This is maddening to me. I find myself attempting to scroll repeatedly, as if it will suddenly begin working if I just try harder. Madness I tell you. Madness.

That's all for now. Latras.

posted by Amstaff Mom | 10:17 AM | 7 comments

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

My Body's Love/Hate Relationship w/ Yoga

So far, so good. I biked 10 miles on Monday, jogged/walked a 5k yesterday, and today I went to yoga for the first time in months. I've been trying to stretch at home since I've been absent from class for so long. A downward dog here, a plank there, and a brief forward hold everywhere. So as I unrolled my mat today, all the memories of stretched and quivering muscles came back. As a kiddo I was too small and lightweight for most sports, but I excelled at ballet, even getting into toe. So thankfully, I still have pretty good balance. I used to be uber-flexible, but this has waned considerably with age. I can't get anywhere close to the splits, and my body just doesn't bend this way or that anymore. And I'm not even old!

In today's class, after the initial stretches, we got into the "sun salutations". I was able to do "tree" (standing on one leg and putting your foot against the side of your knee, at a right angle) and other balance moves. But other moves had my calves screaming from the after-effects of yesterday's jog (and the move itself). Using one's body weight, or in this case, MY body weight as resistance results in the arms quivering enough to register on a Richter scale. Just bending down to get my gym bag resulted in my legs protesting violently. I can rest assured that I will be oh so sore tomorrow.

As we age, our bodies seem to lose their elasticity at an alarming rate. I remember how much better I felt after going to yoga class consistently, and could really notice that I was getting more limber and flexible. This is really important in preventing injuries and protecting the bones with strong muscles. I began to say things like, "Hey look, I have toes! And I can even touch them now!". Getting the oxygen flowing and moving muscles that have been collecting cobwebs and dust really does make me feel better. Just remind me of this tomorrow, please. I'm afraid I'll be too sore to post.

posted by Amstaff Mom | 11:05 AM | 8 comments

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Back in the Swing of Things

It sure has been nice having time off and enjoying the holidays. I've had a great time with family and friends and it was a great start of a new year. It has been rather difficult getting started back in the old work routine this morning, and I can see that I'm not alone in my misery. Many of my co-workers and even my bosses are bemoaning coming back. But, we must pay off the Christmas bills, so here we are.

I simply must, MUST get back to my exercise routine as well. I have been exceedingly lazy as of late, and it shows. Between the cruise and the holidays, and the gi-normous cheese pizza that K-T and I shared on Friday, I've gained more than my fair share of "fluff". Yesterday, some of our friends invited us to go bike-riding with them on our usual trail. It was a beautiful day, kinda breezy, and the sun was shining through the trees. As the 6 of us pedaled along, we heard the usual scurring noise of armadillos, but then WAIT! what's that?!! Right there on the path were two white-tailed deer. We really REALLY came close to having a 6-bike pile-up, as we all were staring at the deer and not noticing that the first guy had actually stopped to see the deer. It could have been ugly. They were oh so cute and while they jumped off the path, they made little effort to conceal themselves entirely, and were even still there on our way back. I love that I live in a city of over 100,000, but I can drive 6 miles and see white-tailed deer. How nice is that? I like it, I like it alot.

Doing 10 miles on the bike yesterday was definitely a start, but I need to keep it up. I was doing good when I was training for the Turkey Trot, but I'm needing a new goal to keep myself motivated. Although, I got a free MP3 player with my Turbo Tax purchase, and so I have a little toy to help me out. It's kinda cheapy, and it holds 60 songs instead of the 100,000,000 that some hold (well, that might be pushing it) but it's free, and it's 60 more songs than I had this time last week. I'm going to give it a try today as I jog around.

So welcome back to the game of life my blogger friends. Even on this pseudo-Monday.

posted by Amstaff Mom | 7:37 AM | 7 comments