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March Madness

Hi there! Remember me? Wondering what happened to me? So am I. The anticipated, calm, beginning-of-spring side of March gave way to complete March madness! (And I’m not talking about sports!)

Since I believe that focusing on more relaxing things can help keep the stress at bay, I want to share with you what I did with my first weekend of spring.

First: I bought a new book. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I was killing time in the book section of Target and it caught my eye. Kathleen, over at Kapachino, has seemed excited about reading it, so I picked it up and thought I’d start a project of my own. I’ll let you know how it goes when I get into it.

Second: I got a new haircut! And it only cost $25. (I love Living Social!) Unlike usual, I didn’t spend time pre-cut obsessing over what to do and how much to cut. Instead, I went in, demonstrated how short, and then sat back and worried until she was done. It turned out a little shorter than I wanted, but I’m working with it. (photo below!)

Third: My husband and I built a living-room blanket-fort to sleep in on Friday night and managed to sleep-in (in the fort!) until almost noon! While the OCD side of me is embarassed and wants to stress out about wasting half the day, the more practical side of me is both proud of our accomplishment and grateful for the sleep. (We were so back-logged on sleep it was getting ridiculous! Example: I fell asleep mid-blowdry during my hair appoinment Friday evening!)

Fourth: Sunday was amazing. After church I drove up to Hunstville to have a wonderful picnic at the duck pond with Cio, Nicole, and, as an added surprise, Ronnie! Nicole made fresh spring rolls and sushi for us! Accompanying that, we had sweet green tea, sangria, and fresh strawberries and watermelon. We sat in the shady gazeebo while the geese squaked in the distance and the gardens bloomed with bright azaleas. It was the perfect first day of spring and I am so glad I got to spend it with such great company! That evening Cio, Nicole, and I made dinner and cocktails and played a much anticipated game of Harry Potter Scene It before I had to head back to Houston. I don’t think I could have asked for a better first day of spring if I tried.

Ronni, Nicole, and me!

What did you so this weekend?

What are your feelings on spring? Are you planning anything special to prepare for the change of seasons and arrival of flowers?

❤ LF

{img by CIO!}

Ten on Tuesday!

Wow, what a nice break it’s been since I finished the February Challenge! I’m back, now, with Ten on Tuesday, hosted by Chelsea at Roots and Rings (go visit her!)

1. How did your parents decide on your name?

I think they told me once, but I was pretty little and I don’t remember now. Let’s just say it was the name of a childhood friend of my mom’s and call it a day.

2. Do your initials (First, Middle, Last) spell out anything fun/funny?

They spell out LAF, so, I guess that’s as funny as it gets.

3. Did you take your middle name from childhood or did you take your maiden name as your middle name? (If unmarried, what do you plan to do?)

I took my middle name, but it was such a hard decision. Growing up, I hated having a vowel for my middle initial because it meant my initials spelled something (in my case, LAB). I couldn’t wait until I got married and would have a different middle initial. But then, after 22 years of enduring lame jokes about my last name (a last name I shared with a popular male movie character), I realized that I couldn’t wait to rid myself of it. It’s not that I disliked it as a name or disliked the association with my family, but I had grown weary of it. Also, I was a new person in a new life with my husband. I think it made my family a little sad, but, I think it goes hand in hand with the leaving and cleaving idea.  

4. Are you or will you name your children thematically (ie. same first letter, all of same origin…)

Probably not. I like originality. (Which unfortunately means that my kids will probably be named Baby One and Baby Two  for years because I will never think of a name original enough for them.)

5. Did you decide on baby names as a little girl? Did you stick to them or change your mind?

Not really. I haven’t been able to stick with “future names” for much longer than a week.

6.Does your family have any names that have been passed down through generations?

My grandfather’s name was James, after his father. Coincidently, it’s my husband’s middle name, after his uncle. Both my brother-in-law and my father-in-law are named David (I’m not sure if there were more before them.) I’m not sure that we’ll continue either of those traditions, though. Probably not.

7. Do you look at the meaning of the name or just the name itself?

Both. Given my husband’s field of study, I think it would be really neat to find a meaningful word in Greek or Hebrew to use as a name. (But so far I haven’t found anything name-worthy, so that idea might go out the window.)

8. Do you name pets with human names (Sally, Henry) or with pet names (Fluffy, Mr. Bo Bo)?

Both. There was a black gerbil named Blackie (unique, I know) and my dog’s name is Skidd(mark). But there was also a rabbit named Dexter, a gerbil named Quinn, and one day there will be a puppy named Chester Fitzwilliam.

[Side story: Actually, I realized that my brother was the one to name the gerbil Quinn, after a business associate of my dad’s who my brother thought was cool. Then one time Quinn (the business associate) came over for dinner, so the whole night we pretended that the gerbil was named something else so that he wouldn’t think we were weird kids who named our pet after him. Judge accordingly.]  

9. Are there any names that you have an affinity or dislike for based on a childhood experience/someone you once knew?

I’m not sure. It’s extremely hard for me to seperate names from those who own them, so I guess the answer is kind of.

10. What are some of your favorite names? Why?

I’m not telling. What if I decide to use them as baby names one day? My lips are sealed.

❤ LF

Note: I just realized that this has been sitting in my drafts since Sunday! oops! Better late than never!

27. Paper or plastic? And why?

If I remember to bring them, I use reusable papery-plastic-whatever bags, otherwise I use paper. (But probably not for the reasons you think.)

I like everything to be organized in my grocery bags, which is much harder to do when you have a plastic grocery bag (which cause everything to fall all over everything else.)

Also, I sort of just love groceries in paper bags. It makes my heart happy in a weird way.

As for the reusable bags, yes, I care about our environment, but to be perfectly honest, my use of these is more because I really hate plastic grocery bags and it’s usually a pain to get your sacker to use paper bags. (And paper bags aren’t an option in the self-checkout.)

Which do you choose?

❤ LF

Confession: I forgot about today’s post until about 9:00 tonight.
I think I can be excused, however, seeing as how I took at brutal, mind-zapping four hour exam this morning. But enough about that, since exam = boring and embarrassing moments = funny (hopefully).
Enjoy the last day of the February Challenge! It has wiped me out so I might stay under the radar for the next several days.

28. Describe an embarrassing moment you had in the past few years.

I chickened out from posting the entry I orignally wrote for this question. Here is a different situation that contains much less TMI.

A few weeks ago, I was at my weekly community group dinner meeting with my husband. The theme was Asian food and there were various dishes prepared, including edamame. As I went through the food line, I noticed that there were two plates of edamame, one a little fuller than the other.

“What’s the difference between these plates?” I thought out loud / asked my fellow food-line members. When no one really answered, I decided that since they looked the same, they must be. I put a few on my plate and continued on my merry way.

A while later, about halfway through dinner, I picked up my first piece of edemame. As I brought it to my mouth, I realized it didn’t have anything inside.

“That’s odd,” I thought, “but I’m sure that happens sometimes, I mean, I’ve found empty pecans before.”

I picked up my second piece and put the end of it in my mouth. This one was empty as well. And then it hit me.

There were two plates because one plate was for the empty edemame pods that people had already eaten!!!!!

About that time, it also hit the girls who were sitting around me observing me not being able to eat my edamame. I think there were a few screams and a few unfortunate laughs.

I mean, when you think about it, it is SO gross.

Lukily, I am pretty good at not thinking about things.

(Also, I like everyone in my group and am not incredibly grossed out by any one of them, so, I think I’ll survive, but I’ll probably pass on the edamame next time around.)

February Challenge – Day 26!

26. Do you cry during books/movies? If so, what cues the waterworks?

A) Yes

B) Everything.

More specifically: If a beloved pet dies, if a couple becomes permanently separated (emotionally or physically), when parents and their kids are tragically separated, when hearts are broken, when the underdog wins, when the enemy succeeds to the demise of the good guy…this list could go on forever.

❤ LF

February Challenge – Day 25

25. Which do you prefer: the mountains or the ocean? (Or both?)

Both. 

I love the magic and magnificence of the mountains. I visited Alaska a few summers back, and I fell head over heels in love with the blue, snow-capped mountains that lined our drives through the countryside. I still miss them even now. 

Also, one day during our honeymoon, we went snowshoeing in the mountains of British Columbia with just a guide and another guy. In the middle of our hike, the sky opened up and we were caught in the middle of a snow-flurry. In the middle of a forest, on a mountainside. I am not exaggerating when I say that it was one of the most magical moments of my life. 

But the beach, oh the beach. The exhilaration, the rush, the power. 

I am not the kind of girl who is content to sit on the sand and read a book. If I had wanted to read a book, I wouldn’t have slathered on sunscreen and traveled all the way to the beach, I would have curled up in a comfy window-seat in the shade. If I’m going to be at the beach, I am going to be in the water. Hopefully with a boogie board in my arms, wrestling with the amazing force of the waves. It is one my favorite outdoor activities. I become a completely different person in the ocean. 

But also, the ocean instills so much awe in me. I have been pulled under and thrown around by more waves and more times than I can count. I have also been pushed way further out to sea than I would ever choose to go without a boat. The ocean has made sure that I fully understand that I am no match for its power and that it will do as it chooses. How amazing then must our God be that He controls the sea? This giant force that stops for no man is completely under His control. So beautiful!

Which are your favorite? Do you have any great stories about your love for either?

❤ LF

February Challenge – Day 24!

24. Write about your favorite character from a book or movie.

I love Mr. Darcy (specifically the Colin Firth version.) I also love Lyra Belacqua (and Iorek Byrnison!!!). And Alice Cullen. And Kahlan Amnell. But, it’s sort of hard to explain why I like each of them so much.  

That said, there is one more character for that list for whom my interest is easily explained, even if it’s not extremely obvious at first. But, after writing an entire post about this character, I’ve realized that I can’t actually tell you about him or her. Why not? Because it is a character in my favorite book. The reason this character is my favorite is due to a hugely unexpected plot twist at the end of the book. If I explain to you why this character is so amazing, I will have completely ruined the story for you, should you ever chose to read it. I can’t betray my favorite book like that. 

So, instead, I will tell you about Sousuke Sagura (pronounced Sose-kay).

(The rest of this post is going to be pretty nerdy, but please don’t quit being my friend!)

Sousuke is the star of the Full Metal Panic! tv show, but, as I recently discovered, the show is based on a “book” series, so it still counts! 

Sousuke is part of an independent military group, Mithril, that sort of works at keeping the peace around the world. He doesn’t have any family and has basically grown up in the military, so obviously he takes his job very seriously. When Full Metal Panic! begins, the main task he is charged with is pretending to be a high school student so that he can guard Kaname Chitori from enemy attacks. He has to guard her because she is a “whispered.” (Meaning that she is gifted in a special way and could provide a huge advantage to any opposing forces who happen to capture her and tap into her abilities.) The other main part of his duties involve operating a special man-powered-robot that only he has the ability to control  (sort of like Iron Man, but the size of a giant).

From this description, the plot line seems fairly masculine, war-themed, and deep, but in reality it’s more of a dramedy.

Anyways, because Sousuke takes his job of guarding Kaname so seriously, he never really fits in to “normal” high school life. He perceives absolutely everything as a threat and will go to any means necessary to protect Kaname from any possible danger. 

For instance, when another student leaves a love letter in Kaname’s locker, Sousuke detects that someone has “tampered” with her locker and decides that, clearly, the only way to save everyone from this possible hostile situation is to detonate the explosives he conveniently carries for just such times and blow up the entire hallway. Clearly. Kaname doesn’t really appreciate his over reactions, so she yells at him a lot. 

So why is he my favorite?

Because if there’s one thing you can count on in this series, it is Souske being hilarious, passionate, and loyal, almost to a fault. If I were an anime character, I would want to be his friend