April 29, 2009

A Playlist that Inspires Interesting Thoughts

Last week I was inspired to make a playlist on my i-pod dedicated solely to songs I absolutely love. I called it "Songs that Make Me Smile," and after creating the list I tested it. With my eyes closed I would randomly click on a song. If I started smiling, the song stayed. If not, delete. Not factoring in things like my mood (which can pollute an otherwise smile-inducing song), I'd say the playlist is effective at making me smile about 85 % of the time.

Making the playlist was a lot of fun, and it has been fun listening to it. As I added each song I didn't spend much time thinking about why I liked any particular song, but I find I reflect on this more as I listen to the songs. Not surprisingly, many of the songs I like for sentimental reasons. They remind me of fun people, places, and times.

I think that I will begin a series of posts dedicated to the songs I love and why I love them and how the circumstances surrounding those songs have shaped me. I am confident this series will include at least one other post, so here goes nothing.

April 20, 2009

More catch up...Saying Goodbye

Last week I had to say two very sad goodbyes. The first was to my 1991 Honda Accord, Marabelle. Marabelle joined our family in 1991 when my grandparents bought her new from a dealership in Coral Gables. When they were ready to get rid of her in 2001, they gave her to my parents, who in turn let me drive her as my first car. I named her "Marabelle" because my grandparents lived in Marabella Avenue in Coral Gables.

I continued to drive Marabelle through college, and when I got married, my parents gave me the car to take into my married life. We even took her on our honeymoon and jammed her full of wedding gifts when I moved to Montgomery. Below is a photo of Marabelle in the driveway of our house in Alabama. I used her as a commuter car for my drive to work in Alabama, even when the air conditioning didn't work.
Marabelle was a fabulous car, but it was time to let her go. A few weeks ago we posted an advertisement on Craigslist and found a great buyer who I know will take good care of her. The buyer even promised to continue calling her "Marabelle."
But it was hard. As we showed the car to potential buyers I noticed the parking sticker for Baptist Hospital, where my grandparents used to volunteer in the gift shop. And I saw the Coral Gables Fire Department sticker that my grandfather put on the car just because he liked the Fire Department. The bumper still has multiple Grove City College parking permits, and a close inspection will reveal a few places where my father fastened the car together with shoe goo.
Selling Marabelle felt like I was selling a part of myself. It felt like I was letting go of a connection to my grandfather, who died in 2003. It felt like giving a family member up for adoption. When Lindon called me at work on Friday and told me the car was sold, I cried.
But as hard as it was to hear, my boss was right when he said, "It's just a car." It's not a family member. And it's ok to let go...after a little more crying.

On Saturday I had to say another difficult goodbye...this time to real people. Our friends Andrea and Chris left Saint Louis for Chris to take a job with a church outside Detroit. While we are thrilled for them to start this new chapter of their lives, it was tough to let go. I worked with Andrea when I was on staff briefly at Central Pres. She and I became fast friends as we bonded at the 2006 National Youth Workers Convention. We even got matching shirts.

And it was so amazing to watch Chris and Andrea move from engaged to married to parents! Their little girl is one of the sweetest, friendliest babies I've ever seen. Lindon and I would always have to take turns holding her because we both wanted to play with her. She brought everyone so much joy.
The older I get, the more goodbyes I must say. And each goodbye gets more difficult. I long for the day when there will be no more goodbyes...even to cars, but especially to loved ones.

Playing Catch Up...the Garden

Spring is in bloom, and I couldn't be more excited. A few weeks ago I went to Home Depot and bought some more plants to fill in our giant planter boxes. My first goal was to find a ground covering that would flower and dramatically spill over the front of the boxes (thus reducing their stark, boxy look) without taking over the entire box. And these plants had to thrive in lots of shade.

Apparently these requirements severely limited my choices, but in the end I went with beautiful periwinkles. The purple flowers add wonderful color, and the plants are already draping nicely over the boxes. They add a lot to our boxes, and I look forward to how they will look when they grow in a little more.
Obviously, they still have some growing to do...
And while I was at Home Depot, I decided it was time to get some flowers that were decidedly spring: tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. Since it was so late in the season for these flowers, they were all on sale! So I picked up a dozen bulbs and started planting. In all I planted about 20 plants all by myself. I was VERY proud to show Lindon when he came home from his weekend class at the seminary. And I was even more proud when my little plants started to bloom!

My purple tulips started to bloom right away. The red tulips are taking a little more time...but they are coming!
The hyacinths were not quite ready to bloom when I was taking these pictures. The next day they were in full bloom, and the white blossoms are really pretty next to the daffodils.

One of the azaleas that we planted last year has already started to bloom. Two of the others have developed buds, but they look like they are a few weeks away from flowering. And one of the bushes looks a little sick. I am still holding out hope it will come around, but my confidence wanes every day.

April 13, 2009

Happy Belated Easter!

Though Easter passed yesterday, I wanted to take this moment to wish everyone a belated happy Easter! We Fowlers had a wonderful day marked by worship, celebration, and meaningful time with friends. And there was delicious food as well, which never hurts.

This year Easter was a little extra special because it marked the end of my Lenten fast from sweets. I am still pondering what this fast meant to me and how well I did in keeping to my goal. I can tell you now I wasn't perfectly faithful, but I will blog about that later this week. I also hope that later this week the sun will return, and I can snap some photos of the new life growing around our house. There is a lot going on with the Fowlers!

More to come later...

April 7, 2009

Work Quotes - The Dummies

I am not sure I will be able to explain the context of this quote sufficiently for it to make sense or be amusing, but I will try. It helps to know everyone in this story loves and respects the others very much, and with them there is a negative correlation between insults and respect - the lower the insult, the more affection they are expressing.

With that said...

A few minutes ago Attorney 1 meandered toward the door to head to a meeting with a client. He was finishing a conversation with Attorney 2 as he meandered. When his hand hit the door the phone rang, and the caller ID indicated it might be Attorney 1's brother.

"Hold on a second," I yelled. "This is probably your brother calling."

I answered the phone, and sure enough it was Attorney 1's brother. But he did not want to talk to his brother; he wanted to talk to Attorney 2. So Attorney 2 turned toward his office to take the call, and Attorney 1 again put his hand on the door to leave. I apologized to Attorney 1 for his brother not wanting to talk to him.

"It's ok," Attorney 1 said. "It's better that the two dummies talk to each other."

And with that he turned the knob and left.

April 6, 2009

Hobbies Wanted

Talking with Lindon last night made me realize that I don't have a hobby. Really, I can't think of ANYTHING I do that might constitute a hobby. So we decided I need a hobby.

In true blogger form, I am opening up this quest to the worldwide web. Your suggestions are welcome... but you should know that because the "fearless" Fowler is more a work in progress than reflection of reality, I will likely shoot down suggestions that sound risky, frightening, expensive, difficult, or complicated. Anything that involves crafts or scrapbooking is already dead in the water.

But don't worry - I will run ALL suggestions by my spouse to let him have a say, and he trumps my cowardice most of the time.

Looking forward to your thoughts!