November 28, 2011

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas!

My roommate moved out today. I'm sad to see her go, but I'm excited to see where God takes her over the next year. She's going on tour with the World Orphans Choir, and you can follow her adventures here. I normally would have decorated my house the day after Thanksgiving, but I decided to wait until today so she wouldn't have to deal with all my stuff while she was trying to pack. Tonight, Blendy came over to help me decorate. I'm quite pleased with the results!
I got my grandma's tree—it's definitely a step up from my old one!
This is the Nativity we had growing up. Obviously, the pieces didn't all come from the same set, but I still love it.
I finally got a wreath for my door! I moved out of my parents' house more than six years ago, and I'm just now getting a wreath.
I wish you could see the "Joy" better—it's my favorite Christmas decoration. This is in my living room.
No, my ceiling's not on fire ...
Now that my decorating is complete, I think I'll wrap some presents while watching a Christmas movie!

November 25, 2011

what a difference a year (or 13) makes!

When I was at my parents' house yesterday, I came across a stack of my senior pictures. It. Was. Horrifying.

Because I'm getting brave in my old age, I'll post one here.

On the upside, I think I look younger at 30 than I did at 17 ... but is it any wonder this girl never had any dates?

As I marveled at the outward changes in the last 13 years, I started to think about the inward changes, as well. While some things can be attributed to "growing up," I think most of it is directly related to God's work in my life.
  • I used to worry about everything. Now, I rarely worry about anything.
  • I used to think only of myself. Now, while I'm still quite selfish, I've learned to love others.
  • I used to get angry easily (just ask my siblings). Now, it takes a lot to get me fired up.
  • I used to be extremely self-conscious. Now, I am confident in who I am and what I can do.
  • I used to think life wouldn't truly begin until marriage. Now, while I still hope and pray for a husband, I know I can live a full, happy life as a single woman.
By no means do I think I have "made it." I am more aware than ever of my failings and my need for Christ. But I am also aware of how much He has done in and through me. 
    And I praise the Lord that I no longer look like I did at 17!

    November 24, 2011

    just call me handy

    I love assembling things. I'm not sure when I first realized this, but I do remember feeling so powerful and independent when I fixed the desk chair in my dorm room. (I wasn't assembling anything per se, but I was putting it back together.) My absolute favorite part of moving is assembling the new furniture. On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to put something together at work—my new desk chair!

    Can you see how happy I am?
    Putting the arms on. This was the easy part—getting the back on was a bit more difficult.
    The finished product. This is so much nicer than my old chair, which was one of those $15 Walmart task chairs.
    So if you ever need a bookshelf, chair, or other furniture assembled, just give me a call. I'd love to help you out!

    November 23, 2011

    my life in television

    A few weeks ago, I posted "My Life in Films," based on something I saw on author Kaye Dacus's blog. My friend Holly has since posted on her life in films and books. (I plan to do a book post at some point, too.) It occurred to me, though, that a "My Life in Television" post would be most appropriate for me, as, well, I really like me some TV!

    Television Shows that Remind Me of Childhood
    • Square One TV: This was, without a doubt, my favorite show as a child. I watched it every day after school, and I still remember many of the featured songs (I hated "Nine, Nine, Nine," but it still comes to mind every time I'm working with multiples of 9, and "The Mathematics of Love," and "Ghost of a Chance" were favorites). I also feel compelled to say (at least in my head), " brought to you by erasers. Don't make a mistake without one," whenever anyone says, "Oops!" But Mathnet was my absolute favorite. (This is where I learned the Fibonacci Sequence--"1, 1, 2, 3, 5, Eureka!")
    • Zoobilee Zoo: I probably watched Zoobilee Zoo longer than I should have, age-wise. I don't remember much about it now, other than the theme song.
    Television Shows that Defined My Teens
    • Lois & Clark: Dean Cain wasn't my first celebrity crush, but he's certainly the longest lasting. Would I pass out if I met him today? Probably. I'll never forget where I was when Lois & Clark got married (sort of ... he married a clone of Lois, but we didn't know it at the time)—on a school bus, in a blizzard, writing "Superman, save me!" on the iced-over window with my friend Angie. We were both dying to be at home watching the show with our families.
    • Full House: I watched this show pretty much from beginning to end. I always identified with DJ, though I was much closer in age to Stephanie. And now, once again, for your viewing pleasure, the song I always associate with Full House
    • Friends: The debut of Friends marked an important (and deceitful) time in my life—a time when my brother and I would go to our basement and watch TV shows we knew our parents wouldn't approve of. I was the instigator, of course, but Andrew was a willing participant. Eventually, Mom caught me watching Friends and banned it, and I did pretty well avoid Friends after that (at least until college). All of the other shows, though, we kept watching—but when I look back at the list now, which included Suddenly Susan, The Single Guy, and Veronica's Closet, I wonder ... why? 
    • Hang Time: Anyone remember T-NBC? By the time I started watching, the original Saved by the Bell had ended, and California Dreams was in its final seasons. But Hang Time, about a girl who joins the boys' basketball team, I watched from the beginning. It's funny—I can't remember much about the show now (except that Anthony Anderson was the adorable "Teddy")—but I loved it then.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: This was my first foray into science fiction. My dad always watched TNG on Saturday nights, and many nights, I opened my bedroom door just a crack so I could watch, too. Once I got older, I was actually allowed to stay up and watch with him. 
    Television Shows that Defined My College Years
    • Gilmore Girls: I'll never understand why Rory broke up with Dean. I would have married Dean ... and I never would have had an affair with married Dean or dated Logan. Yeah, the show went downhill in it's latter years.
    • Alias: Gathering with the girls in the Westy 1 lobby to watch Alias ... one of my favorite memories of college!
    • Stargate: SG-1: My dad got me hooked on this one, too. This remains my favorite sci-fi show, and I have all 10 seasons on DVD.
    Favorite Shows of My Twenties
    • Lost: I jumped on the Lost bandwagon the summer after the first season—this was back when the broadcast networks still ran reruns during the summer. I don't know if I've ever been more shocked by an episode of TV than when (GIANT SPOILER ALERT) Michael shot and killed both Ana Lucia and Libby and let Ben (then known as Henry Gale) escape.
    • The Office: In seasons two, three, and four, I was a completely loyal viewer of The Office. Somewhere along the line, though, I stopped caring, and I stopped watching. I still love those first seasons, but I have zero interest in what's happening now.
    • Monarch of the Glen: I discovered this show, produced by BBC Scotland, when I was looking for something to watch on Netflix streaming. It's so fun! It's sweet, gentle, and funny—perfect for a rainy day.
    • Prison Break: While I was watching Lost, my friends Justin and Adair were watching Prison Break. I remember arguing Lost's ridiculousness with them by claiming Prison Break was just as implausible. Then I actually watched the show. Implausible, yes ... and completely enthralling! Season One is one of the best seasons of television I've ever watched. Things do go downhill from there, though, and I never even made it through Season Four.
    • Psych: Shawn and Gus make the perfect comedy team. Psych is simply fun to watch—and the 80's and 90's references just make it that much better!
    Current Shows I Can't Miss
    • Fringe: I've written about my love for Fringe before, so I won't rehash it here. The current season is a bit rocky, but I have faith in the producers.
    • Parks & Recreation: When Parks & Rec premiered, I didn't give it the time of day. I thought it was too similar to The Office. While it does employ the same mocumentary format as The Office, Rashida Jones has been a cast member on both shows, and the shows share some of the same producers and writers, Parks & Rec is so much more sincere, humorous, and endearing. While Michael Scott's antics were often cringe-worthy, I find myself always rooting for Leslie Knope. The supporting characters are wonderful, and adding Adam Scott and Rob Lowe to the cast at the end of the second season was genius. Also, there was a shout-out to the Mighty Ducks movies a couple weeks ago—can't go wrong with that!
    • Castle: I started watching because of Nathan Fillion. In the beginning, I called Castle a total ripoff of Bones. Well, now I enjoy Castle so much more than Bones, and Rick Castle is my favorite Fillion character. But Castle is about so much more than Fillion—the interplay between Detectives Ryan and Esposito, the Castle/Beckett romance, Alexis's heartbreak, and (last but not least) Lt. Commander Worf as Beckett's therapist—and those aspects all make Castle must-see TV for me. It's one of two shows I actually watch live.
    Guilty Pleasure (Scripted)
    • Ringer: A nighttime soap if ever there was one, Ringer is ridiculous, melodramatic fun. Sarah Michelle Gellar plays twins Bridget and Siobhan. Bridget is a recovering drug addict who's on the run from both the FBI and a dangerous drug lord. Siobhan is married to Andrew but having an affair with her best friend's husband. When Siobhan disappears, Bridget sees a way to freedom by masquerading as Siobhan, since Siobhan conveniently never told anyone she had a twin sister. It's totally implausible and highly addictive. 
    Guilty Pleasure (Reality)
    • The Bachelor/ette: I used to look down on those who watched The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. Then one night, I dropped by my parents' house while my sister was watching DeAnna Pappas's season ... and I was hooked. I think I've watched every season since. Also, I'd like to think my interest in The Bachelor helped along a love match ... Janae & Jordan, who will be getting married next month, watched nearly all of the Jake Pavelka season with Blendy and me at my apartment when they were first getting to know each other!
    Favorite Show that Few Others Know About
    • Dollhouse: This was a short-lived Joss Whedon show on FOX. It was a bit uneven, but when at its best, it was completely mesmerizing. Alan Tudyk absolutely blew my mind—what a phenomenal actor!
    Best Show I Discovered on DVD or Streaming
    • Firefly: Okay, I didn't technically discover this myself. My brother and sister-in-law brought me their DVDs to borrow because they were sure I would like it. And I did. This is the show that made me first appreciate Nathan Fillion.
    Favorite New Show of the 2011-2012 Season
    • Once Upon a Time: They had me at "from the writers of LOST." I am absolutely loving this show, which takes place both in "Fairy Tale Land" and modern-day Maine. Go here to watch a preview.
    There you have it: the shows that, for better or worse, have been important to me. What does your list look like? Do we share any favorite shows?

    November 17, 2011

    a quick trip

    At the end of October, my sister Blendy, her friend Janelle, and I made a quick trip to Indiana to see Val. (Well, Janelle went to see her boyfriend, but she saw Val, too.) Once we got home, I hit the ground running with book reviews, homework assignments, and Singing Christmas Tree practices, so I'm just getting around to blogging about it. And since I'm feeling kind of lazy, I'm not even going to write any more—I'll just direct you to my facebook album! So go here to see what we did ...

    November 14, 2011

    sometimes, it's better to pay

    A few months ago, we were in Kansas cleaning out my grandma's house. While working in the bathroom, I tweeted the following:

    Becky Ritta
    Cleaning out grandma's house. Just found some Milk of Magnesia that expired in 1988!

    That should have been warning enough to ignore the "treasure" I found in that bathroom—a hot water bottle. But, being my father's daughter, I decided to take the bottle home with me, thus saving the $7 or so I'd pay for one at Walmart.

    Flash forward to tonight. I wasn't feeling great, so I decided to dig out the hot water bottle. I filled it, checked it all over for leaks, wrapped it in a towel, and took it to bed with me. Then I found the latest episode of Ringer to watch. (Ringer is my "guilty pleasure" TV of the season. The plot line really is ludicrous, but I enjoy it—just ask Blendy ... I gave her a 20-minute recap of the season while we drove home from Grand Island today!)

    So there I was, all settled into my bed, watching Ringer on my computer and trying to get my mind off my stomachache, when suddenly I was wet. Soaking. The hot water bottle had popped like a balloon. For a second, I just lay there while the hot (HOT!) water ran over my stomach and to my backside. Then I leapt to my feet, holding the hot water bottle, trying to contain the remaining water. I was largely unsuccessful.

    Water went everywhere. My bed, a memory foam mattress, got soaked. I looked like I'd wet my pants. Somehow, water even got in one of my shoes, which was several feet away from both the bed and the door. Maybe I sloshed the water around when I jumped out of bed?

    Somehow, all the electronics escaped unscathed. (Thank goodness!) And I just made the following purchase on Amazon:
    Large, 2-quart capacity. ribbed surface helps retain warm or cold temperatures. made from durable, natural rubber latex.

    Lesson learned.

    November 5, 2011

    lazy saturday thoughts

    I don't have anywhere to be until 2:30, and I don't have any books that have to be read now, so I'm enjoying a rare morning of laziness. I decided to write a "real" post—it's been a while since I've written anything besides a book review!
    • One of Tricia Goyer's books is free on Amazon right now. She's the author of my favorite Amish series (which I reviewed here and here). You can get Songbird Under a German Moon here, but hurry! Another of her books was free two days ago, and now it costs almost $10—I don't know how long this deal will last!
    • My parents received the "Hall of Faith" award at Nebraska Christian's Harvest Festival last night. The award is given to faithful supporters of the school. It's supposed to be a surprise, but they figured it out—which I told my boss would happen! Mom is always responsible for ordering the plaque, and she knew something was up when no one would tell her who the winner was. We did manage to surprise them a bit though—my brother and sister-in-law came, sat where we knew Mom and Dad wouldn't see them, and then showed themselves after the banquet ended. I didn't get any pictures at the event (I'm hoping my yearbook photographer was on top of it), so here's a recent picture of my wonderful—and deserving—parents.
    • I think I'm going to bite the bullet and get TV. Not pay TV, but free TV. I haven't had TV since I moved out of my apartment over a year ago, and after hooking up my sister's converter box and antenna for her last weekend (or turning on the converter box and turning the TV to the right channel, which is basically all "hooking it up" required), I've decided to do the same for myself. I already own a converter box, so it's just a matter of buying an antenna (which can be really expensive. And even though I checked out, I'm still not sure what I need). Hulu and Netflix give me a lot of TV options, but sometimes you just want to be able to watch immediately, you know?
    • You should check out Clash of the Titles, this fun website I stumbled across recently. Basically, two books go head-to-head, and you vote on the excerpt you liked best. There are always contests to enter, too ... and I just won a $10 Starbucks gift card yesterday, so I know it's possible to win! 
    • Snow White: A Tale of Terror, which is one of the movies I talked about in the "My Life in Films" post a few weeks ago, is now streaming on Netflix. Yes, I've already added it to my queue.
    • I hate online learning. I understand its value and convenience, but I'd so much rather go to a real classroom where I could physically interact with my instructor and classmates. And I'm thinking about quitting the library program. More on that to come later ...

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