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I’m Moving!!!

July 26, 2010

No, unfortunately, I am not actually moving into a new home yet.  But my blog is!!!

I invite you to join me as my blog begins a new, vibrant, and exciting life with a new name and a new web address.

After today, I will no longer being posting here at http://www.nevershaken.wordpress.com under the name Stirred, Not Shaken.

This blog (yes, I am taking all my old posts and photos with me) is moving to the web address www.justpluckingdaisies.com and will now be known as Just Plucking Daisies.

I am super excited about this, and I hope you’ll come check out my beautiful new (professional!) web design and see the fun road my blog is headed down.  My content won’t change, but it will just keep getting better.  Thanks for sticking with me this far and I hope you like the changes!

Just a quick housekeeping matter – please don’t forget to update your Favorites, subscriptions, and Google Reader web addresses to the new web address.  There is a link for email and reader feeds on the new home page just to make it easy :).

Love,
Leah

comin’ round the bend…

July 25, 2010

Hi everyone!  This is just to let you know that there will be some changes hitting these here corner of the internet very, very soon.

I’m really excited about this… although I am up to my eyeballs in DNS values, plugins, burning feeds, meta tags, and other crap that I really don’t understand a teeny, tiny bit (you other bloggers, I know I’m pathetic…) so…

Keep your fingers crossed for me, and check back tomorrow for news!

A Girl and Her Dog

July 22, 2010

We had a dog a few years ago.  She was… something sent from the other world to torture us.

So we gave her away to a farm (a real farm, not the proverbial Farm).  This tortured my brother F so much (as he had some strange attachment to The Beast) that my parents soon set about finding a dog more appropriate to our non-daily-catastrophe-loving family.

Still reeling from the monster that had recently left our home, my Dad picked up a little ivory colored fluffy Yorkiepoo with the mildest manners and the emptiest head of any dog that I’ve ever encountered.  (The Beast had empty eyes, but that is because she had to hide the evil plotting going on in her horrid little brain.)

Mitzi the Yorkiepoo, despite her lack of common sense, has very powerful emotions – although they aren’t well directed.  And unfortunately, instead of bonding to F, for whom she had been bought, she decided to bond – and by bond, I mean nuclear fusion bond – to my baby sister, B.

If B is gone (and worse, if Mom is gone too) for any length of time, she mopes.  And by mopes, I mean that she has to be carried outside to go to the bathroom, and won’t eat anything for days on end.  My Dad usually remedies this by frying up her own meal of eggs and cheese, which tempts her for a while and then gets old after a couple of days.

I’ve never seen a dog do backflips before, but when B walks through that front door, Mitzi is just one blur of blonde wispies.  And if B is inaccessible, like in the bathroom or some other inexcusable location, Mitzi whines.  And pads outside the door.  I never need to knock to find out who’s taking too long when Mitzi is curled up outside the bathroom with her nose frantically pressed against the crack under the door.

In the above photo, for instance, B had the unmitigated gall to be eating her dinner on the back porch.

It really is rather touching.  And I’ve always been a touch jealous.  What child didn’t want a dog that faithfully padded at their heels wherever they went?  And although she can’t properly be termed a “family dog” because of her insane blinders for B, and despite my long standing devotion to my own childhood German Shepherd (The Most Wonderful Dog In The World) I’ll admit (don’t tell anyone) that I think Mitzi is super sweet.

Stiller Cohntry

July 16, 2010

I may have lived here and even, it’s almost possible to say, grown up here, but Western Pennsylvania still sort of… weirds me out.

Some things I have fully embraced, like french fries on salads and cookie tables at weddings.

Other things I am able to just ignore without it bugging me anymore, like saying “pop” or “ye’uns”.

There are a few things that are… different… no matter how you look at them, but I accept them, such as the hitching post outside of WalMart for the Amish horses.  (Side note – does anyone else find it weird to see Amish folks buying potato chips and Oreos?)

But, every once in a while I am reminded how positively weird W. PA can really get.  After an absence of three years with only weekend visits or the occasional week at home, it’s really eye opening to be back living here for a couple of months and observing the locals.

For example, the extremely large woman in clothes not even fit for a Salvation Army bin getting into her souped up, spotlessly white Buick Rendezvous.  Obviously, she felt that her money was better spent on a custom made license plate than things like… shampoo.

Then there are the “dudes” who are “cruisin’” (please accept the loose usage of that term… I don’t have anything better to use) around the neighborhoods on the edge of town with the windows down and blasting rap music… over a querulous stereo in a 1982 pickup with the bottom rusted out, a sticker on the back that says “Bush/Cheney” and while wearing a baseball cap with a fishing license pinned to the back.

Or the fact that work boots and snug jeans are perfectly acceptable going-out-for-the-evening wear.  Let me clarify.  It wouldn’t be that weird if it was paired with a nice, clean, button-down shirt (this is a rural area after all) on an older man.  But a 21 year old boy with his highly-coiffed girlfriend, wearing his snug jeans and work boots with an old high school t-shirt with the sleeves cut off?  Really girls, have some respect for yourselves.

Oh, Western Pennsylvania.  I love you.

And if you get the title of this post, you must be from ’round these parts.

Learning to Breathe

July 13, 2010

On the one hand, my day to day life in this in-between period is pretty mild.  Typical quiet summer fare – sleeping a lot, reading a lot, eating a lot, talking a lot.

But flip things over and my life is a bed of tumultuous, magma-tic drama on just about every front.

So forgive me for the schmaltz that has reigned here recently, but I spend a lot of time focusing on my brothers and youngest sister and letting their childishness calm and teach me.  It’s very therapeutic.

They remind me to daydream.

They think it’s kind of fun to get grimy.

They are the best at enjoying the little things in life.

They love hard.

They know how to just sit and let things soak in.

They throw themselves wholeheartedly into just about every possibility for fun that comes their way.

It’s really healthy for me, spending the last month completely joined at the hip to these kids.  So when I feel that spike of tension shooting through my chest, I usually just go grab one or two or three of them and off we go.

The Arby’s dollar menu fries and DQ dip cones that I feel entitled to buy for them don’t exactly hurt either.

Doves and Serpents and Houses in Cincinnati

July 10, 2010

So, our house.  The house.  The house that we’re trying to buy.  Not, I keep reminding myself, our house.

So, the house.  The house that is sitting in Cincinnati that I’d love to live in but am not sure that I ever will get to live in.  Yes, I just may be living with my parents for the rest of my life.  I’m more and more certain of it every day.

I digress.

So, the house.  Let’s just say that the process has not been smooth.  It was a foreclosure, so we expected some complications and were mentally fortified.  And we handled it well for a while.

First our offer was rejected, and then accepted.  Then, we’ve waited patiently for almost three months as our closing date has changed constantly and finally dropped off the face of the earth.

And then there was the mold.  I can’t even talk about that.  Let’s just say that after MUCH haggling, they’re going to pay for it… since it was their negligence in leaving the sump pump off that led to the mold in the first place.

Needless to say, we’ve been patient.  And every time we were tempted to walk away, everything worked out.  God seemed to be working things out in his own time and teaching us patience.  And we finally seemed to have things under control.  Our closing date was to be this Friday, July 16th.

But then.  THEN.  Then today, we get this call:

Folks, we finally got the water turned on in the house so that the appraiser could inspect it.  But we didn’t know that the pipes had frozen while it was off… so they burst.  And they flooded the ceilings.  And now we have to replace all the piping and redrywall and paint all the ceilings.  And there’s no word yet on electrical or carpet damage.  And… we won’t even decide on a contractor for about a week.

WHAAATTTT??!!!???

So Andy and I are learning to be grown ups.  We are learning that being a responsible adult does not always mean just being patient and passive and waiting on the Lord.  It also means taking action.  It means that instead of just saying “Okay, let us know when you’re done, this must be God’s will”… we need to take action to follow God’s will too, even if that means walking.

And we need to write to the bank with a bristling note making our demands known, giving a specific time limit for how long they have to fix this before we walk, declaring our rights to have it inspected to ensure that it wasn’t a shoddy job, and that we can walk away whenever we choose to if we don’t like how they handle this.

Which, my awesome husband did this evening, with great confidence, brutality, and menace.  What is that saying of Jesus?  “Wise as serpents, innocent as doves”?  That’s us, baby.  Meek and sweet Leah and Andy, the pushovers of the ages, are finally learning to be adults.  To balance patience and contentedness with shrewdness.

Sigh.  So here we are.  Anybody out there with words of wisdom or similar experiences to console my poor self with?

Living Summer

July 8, 2010
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Seasons are meant to be felt.  Lived.  Experienced.

You know what I mean.  Fall – crisp and sweet and the first little shivers.  Winter – wild rushes of air from sled rides and burning snow slipping in around your ankles.  Spring – soft and fresh air gently rubbing skin that is finally free.

And summer.  Yes, summer.  As an “adult”, this has been my least favorite season, until a three-year absence from it made it sweet once again.  Sweet like it was when I was a child.  I want to embrace it.  Every day is long and slow and I just forget what day it is.

And I am living it.  The sting of sweat mixed with sunblock in my eyes.  The rush of clean lakewater over my face.  Little kids’ sweaty hair against my arm on the way home.

It’s summer.  Real summer.  And I remember, now, why I used to love it so much.

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