Thursday, October 28, 2010

Friday Fun!: Double Trouble

Admittedly, these videos may only be fun for me, since I know all the people involved. But I have to say that the JibJab videos ALWAYS make me laugh and so I'm glad they have them for times other than just at Christmas.

Hopefully you don't hate "The Monster Mash" since both of these videos are set to that song...


Video #1: My brother, his wife and my new nephew, me and my mom.

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Video #2: the Ferg kiddos. Pixie, the "evil scientist" is only 20 months old, so I find this one particularly funny...

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bonus Saturday video fun!

Y'all know I'm a fan of the David Crowder*Band. For lots of reasons, but mostly because I think they make smart music that talks about God in ways that a wide variety of people can understand.

Well, recently they completed their music video for the song "SMS(Shine)" from their Church Music album which came out last year. The video has been getting a lot of notice because it was created using stop-motion animation and Lite Brites - over 700,000 pegs! I want it to keep getting noticed and I think you'll think it is as cool as I thought it was. Check it out, below!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Funny! (10/22)

I haven't posted a Friday Funny video in a while. Today I was thinking about the importance of punctuation in clear communication and it reminded me of this comedy routine by Victor Borge. Borge is quoted as saying, "Laughter is the shortest distance between two people." - an idea I can totally agree with.

Enjoy today's video!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Murders and Mysteries (or: Why I will be a Flapper for every costume party for the next 4 years)

My friend Jessica recently celebrated her birthday. I felt pretty excited to be invited to her birthday celebration which she decided would be a Murder Mystery Party.

First - it is important that you know how much I love murder mysteries.

I love them a lot.

I started reading Agatha Christie mysteries in 5th or 6th grade and never looked back. Since then I have read a ton of mysteries - though Agatha Christie and Dick Francis are still my favorite authors. (If you like mysteries, check out Break In and Bolt by Francis - two of my all-time faves)

Second - in the winter of 1998 (I think...) my friends and I had a murder mystery party set in the 1970s to celebrate New Year's Eve. We had a lot of fun and there were pictures taken, but sadly as they were in the days before digital, I am totally not sure where I could find one to scan and put in this post. The point of this second point is this: I like murder mystery parties!

Third: After purchasing all the ingredients for this costume, I decided that the financial investment means that I must be a flapper for at least the next few Halloweens (provided I dress up) and for any other costume-y adventure that comes my way for the next few years. Luckily, I love the costume!

So Jessica planned this party - set in the 1920s, during Prohibition. Her role was a Rosie Marie, the widowed owner of a speakeasy, The Juice Joint. Originally, I was slated to be the "Chief of Police", but because of a person getting sick, I ended up in the roll of "Molly Moll" - fiancee of Notorious Nick - mob boss of the Northside of town.

Highlights of the evening included:

* Jessica required a password for entry. Though many did not investigate to find out what the password was, I did, and it was fun to find the back entrance to the apartment and use my password to get into to the party.

* Everyone came dressed in costume and did a great job of being "in character"

* Getting to know some of Jessica's other friends and having a great conversation about religion with one of them.

Here are some photographic memories of the evening:

The Hostess and Molly

Bootleggers sometimes need some time alone.
I wasn't the murderer, but not for lack of trying....

Molly was an aspiring actress - here I am, ready for my closeup!

Me and my bohunky fake fiance. It was nice to be engaged for an evening.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bat Mitzvah Fun (part 1)

On Saturday, I was privileged to attend the Bat Mitzvah events of my faculty advisor's daughter, Sami. The events included the Shabbat (Sabbath) service on Saturday morning, followed by a luncheon for those who attended the service. And then later that night there was a party/dinner for Sami's friends (and some of Linda and Norman's family and friends).

Late last spring, Linda asked me if I would be interested in helping her with the Bat Mitzvah details. Now lets be clear - she did all the work of planning and organizing. My role was simply this: help design/create the centerpieces (she even did this - I just took her ideas/vision and refined it), be at the temple on Friday to set up the tables for the luncheon, and then be present at the events on Saturday to make sure that everything went smoothly and ended up in the right places. This is the kind of job that, frankly, I do well - I'm good at details and I'm good at knowing what needs to be done and good at observing what is happening around the room. I don't always like to do it (like its not always my favorite job at weddings) - because to do it well, you have to be necessarily outside of the event. In this case, it was perfect, because I was outside the event - so I was able to observe and help while still enjoying the food and meeting people, but not feeling bad when I had to leave to run errands or take stuff to the car. For this particular job, we agreed on a fee that I would receive. We also agreed that if I could find a helper for Friday and/or Saturday that they would also earn a small fee.

Linda gave me some supplies to work with in designing the centerpieces. Because Sami had asked all the guests to bring art supplies to donate to a local not-for-profit organization, The Friendship Circle, the centerpieces were to be primarily art supplies (with three gerber daisy's each). I created a few design options for her and sent her the pics. We decided on one that she liked and then later she came over and we played around with it a bit in person.

Above is one of the centerpieces. You can see that its like a little garden of art supplies with three tall gerber daisies. For the luncheon, my friend Lisa was my helper. We set up an assembly line for the centerpieces and once they were done, we set them all on purple squares on the tables, with jelly beans. Adorable!

The reception hall looked totally beautiful after we got it all set up.
kids tables

the pretty purple tables

I loved that the tables for the kids just said "Samantha's Friends"

And the Jelly Belly's added so much brightness and fun to the table decorations.

the whole room

We used the extra centerpieces on the table-card table.

the table cards were adorable.

After the luncheon was cleaned up and loaded into the car and van, I went to Lindas and switched out the daytime stuff for the night time stuff. Then I ferried her and Sami on some errands. Later, I had about an hour break and so I stopped for a pedicure (in Beverly Hills, so I felt swanky). I really needed that pedi by then. The finished product looked great and I got to wear my DKNY shoes with pride. Double pride, really, because I only paid $8.50 for them at Ross!

Before I put on those dancing shoes, though, I helped set up for the dinner events. This deal was pretty easy (comparatively). I created centerpieces using the recovered daisies from the earlier luncheon, and using candy for the kids tables.

Tables for the grown ups....

Kids' tables
I think that Sami ended up having a really terrific time. She smiled non-stop the entire night - and most of the night I marveled at what it must be like to be 13 years old in 2010. Those kids were crazy!!

Linda and Sami

Sami and her brother, Jeremy
(another post to come about the Shabbat ceremony itself)

My commitment to ME!

I'm not so motivated these days. I want to be, but I'm not. I think because there is a lot for me to do:

1) finish the CENS report for my summer job. (we'll say due 10/18)

2) finish the statistical analysis and writing of my Campus Spiritual Climate paper for the ASHE conference (due 10/22)

3) come up with some research questions/ideas for my dissertation (personal goal: due 10/28)

4) figure out how to do my dissertation (methods) (personal goal: due 10/28-ish)

5) finish the other two ASHE papers that I am presenting at the conference (due 10/22)

So here is my new commitment to me:
A) I will work diligently on these projects daily, following my pre-outlined schedule.
B) If I do work diligently, then I don't have to work in the evenings and I don't have to feel guilty about not working in the dark hours.
C) If I do work diligently, then I get to work on making some awesome sewing projects as my ministry to me. I just purchased the book Sew Serendipity and am excited to make some new clothes over the next few months.

On that note, I better get to work! I have 2 1/2 more hours before I get to stop for the day. Peace, peeps.

Rearranging (my secret love)

If you've ever lived with me (and most of you haven't) you would know how much I like to rearrange furniture. Since you generally have to live in the same location for at least a year and often much longer, rearranging makes me feel like I"m in a new place. I love that with 30 minutes or so of work, you can gain an entirely new perspective on the room: what you see, what you don't see, and how much space you have.

On Friday morning, I helped my faculty advisor set up the reception hall at her Temple, for the luncheon that would follow Saturday's Bat Mitzvah. Afterward, I had to stop by Joanne Fabrics for some ribbon and then I knew that I should do some work on my conference papers.

But I had a wild hair (that's what we call it in my family at least). I had a vision for how the living room could be rearranged and I was unable to resist the siren's call to rearrange. Seriously, impulse control when it comes to rearranging is a weakness for me. The real problem is that I am the most effective worker when I am inspired, thus if I am inspired about the room, I need to just do it. The same is true with my writing - if I'm not inspired, it is drudgery and does not go well - however, when I am inspired, or have a vision for what I'm writing, it flows like crazy. 

Well, here is a short video tour of my newly arranged living room. I'm not 100% sure that it will stick this way for three months (which is how long I have lived in the apartment and thus how long the original configuration lasted) but I do think that it will last until after Thanksgiving, as it seems to give a lot more space to the living room, where grama and I will be sleeping when I host the holiday weekend events.

What do you think?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What has two thumbs and 8 questions to answer? This girl!

My friend Carrie tagged me in a post and assigned me 8 questions to answer. Here you go.....

1. What are five things in life you have not yet experienced that you definitely want to experience?
Italy - in particular the wine country of Italy
A Cruise
Fly internationally in First Class

2. If you could be from anywhere in the world other than your hometown, where would you be from and why?
Well, the fact is that I love my hometown, so I don't really want to be from anywhere else. BUT - if I had been born somewhere else, I would want to be from Atlanta, Georgia. I think from the instant I read Gone with the Wind in 7th grade, I loved the south and wanted to live in Georgia. As an adult, its the people from the south - their friendliness and warmth - that really attract me to that area.

3. What scares you?
I watch too many police procedurals, I think, because one thing that really scares me are poorly-lit parking lots.

4. What is one vice that you know you could never give up?
 Well, part of me says that I should say "TV". I think I could totally limit the amount of TV that I watch (often I have it on just for background noise) - but I don't think I could ever give up my TV completely.

5. What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
 I was having a really rough time and one of my mentors said to me, "Your time of greatest trial always comes before your time of greatest use." At the time it was a good word for me, to help me see a light at the end of the tunnel and to remember that God can use all of our experiences for his good; he will redeem all things for His good and glory.

6. If you could do life all over again and only change one thing, what would you change?
I would have kept playing either the violin or flute through high school and beyond.

7. Who was your favorite celebrity as a child?
100% Kirk Cameron. I had a poster of him... on my ceiling. 

8. What is your mission?
I prefer to think in terms of calling, rather than mission. I feel like my calling is to help college students discover their calling and a sense of purpose in their lives. Where possible, I want to help college students grow in their relationship with Jesus, or discover a relationship with him. I want to help them find freedom in Christ.
This response is also a little bit disingenuous because I actually do have a mission statement (see sidebar) but now that I am halfway through my PhD program, I am only certain of my calling - but not so certain about any specific mission. Hopefully in the next two years I'll be able to figure all of this out!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ben's Getting Married!

I think that most of you who are regular readers of Tiff's Life have only known me in my adulthood. That being the case, very few of you have met my younger brother, Ben. After college, I moved back up to Seattle while my parents and brother lived in Phoenix. Ben lived there until just recently and only visited me a handful of times in my various cities.

Ben has gone by a number of names over the years. Growing up he was Benji. In middle school, he switched to Ben. I have called him Benny, though, for a number of years. (And he is one of a very few people that I let call me Tiffy) Growing up, we both loved each other a ton and fought like cats and dogs. As adults, I love him so much and am super proud of him.

Wow, all that to say that just over 6 months ago, Ben got engaged to Isabel.

Isabel is a terrific woman - she's a great communicator, loves her family and is loyal to them, and she loves to have fun. Also, she really loves my brother. Isabel also has a young son named Angel, who is the sweetest and most enthusiastic little 7-year old I know.

Last weekend, I drove to El Centro (which is near the Mexican border in the southern tip of Cali) for Ben and Isabel's wedding shower. It was also my opportunity to meet my soon-to-be nephew for the first time. There aren't words for how excited I am for Ben and Isabel to get married, for Benny to be a dad, and for me to be an aunt. My mom drove over for the shower also (dad had a retreat for chorale so he had to miss it) and we had a nice mini  girls weekend, also.

It was great to see Ben, who has lost about 70 lbs since I saw him last! I hadn't seen him in months and although he has been much better about calling and texting since he moved to EC, its not the same as seeing him in person. Isabel has also lost some weight and they both look really great!! I'm so impressed with the work they've been doing!

The wedding is November 13th. I'm super psyched to be able to attend their wedding and share that event with them. I'm even more excited that not only will my parents and I be there, but also my grama and a few of my aunts and an uncle. It will be great that so many of us will be there to celebrate with Ben, Isabel, and Isabel's family and all their friends.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Even more haps! September Edition

The great part about September was that I didn't have to travel anywhere until right at the end.....

Here is a look at some of the September adventures!

Tiny and I went with some friends to "Dog Beach" in Long Beach.....

My parents came into town for Labor Day weekend and we went to "Let's Make a Deal"! Mom and dad dressed waffles and syrup. Jessica dressed as a Shark (her last name is Sharkness, so it was fitting) and I dressed as a referree!

Some adventures happened in the middle of September but I have no photographic record of them and my planner is far away, so I can't even tell you what they were....

Then I went to the Fergason's!!

 I love them so much....

they blessed my heart with their smiles and laughter...

 they shocked me with how big they are getting....

they blessed me with their total love of me and excitement with me being at their home...

and their gratitude for the gifts I gave them...

And then I got back to California and it was so hot my thermostat maxxed out.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

More haps... August ed.

August went by super quickly - before I knew it, it was over. But here is a quick recap of the happenings in August!

It seemed like Tiny might be getting cold on our morning walks, so I bought him a little fleece outfit. He subsequently stood and stared at me while wearing it - as if to say, "I hate you so much right now." After taking the picture, below, I got rid of it and decided that no cute outfit (or warm dog) was worth enduring that look again... :)

I flew to San Francisco in the 2nd week of August to participate in another wedding! Bethany and Ryan got married in a cute little wedding in a park in the city, near Lombard Street!
(at the bachelorette party, above)

The wedding crew visited Alcatraz - it was one of the best audio tours I've ever taken!

Bethany and Ryan bought us all San Francisco t-shirts as a "thank you" for helping with the wedding.

... and then they got married!

Near the end of the month, President Obama visited LA - his visit messed up the commute and we ended up walking halfway home from UCLA (below - the crew who joined me). We made it a fun experience by stopping for fro yo along the way.

To close out the month, my friend, Shark, and I headed to Griffith Park to see one of my favorite Shakespeare plays: Much Ado about Nothing!! She had not seen it before and we both enjoyed it a ton!

Last but not least, I bought a table!! Woo hooo!!!!!

What's the haps!? July Edition.

Well, I was on a roll for a while... but then life ramped up and went crazy and while I was living it, I kept forgetting to update the blog.

Here are some pics from the last three months. Stories may come, I'm sure, over the next few weeks. Now that school is starting, my life is slowly getting back to normal (until November - but that is a post for another day) and so hopefully that means more posts!

In July, some friends and I took a girl's weekend trip to Santa Barbara. It was my first time there, and I loved the town!

My friend Chelsea turned 30 and we took in some hilarious improv comedy.... it just so happened that one of the actors was that guy who plays "Gabe" on the Office - so that was pretty sweet! (the next weekend on a hike, I ran into one of the other actors - LA is a small world)

I discovered the Venice Canals. Now one of my favorite places in LA.

And most excitedly, I traveled to Greenville and celebrated the marriage of TJ and Emily!! It was a great celebration of God's goodness and reunion of friends!
 (above: the happy couple)

(below: some of the gals at the wedding reception - dancing fun was had by all!)

(below: some of my favorite former students - we were so happy to be reunited!)

(below: shortly after this event, Heather ("old roommate") would get engaged! Our happiness here is almost representative of how happy we are at the announcement of her engagement!)