General Update: Sometimes, I don't post for a while because there's nothing going on. Sometimes, there's just too much going on.

I've had several pretty busy weekends over the last month - friends and family visiting two weekends in a row, and then back in Frederick last weekend. Don't get me wrong, it's been great, but as I tend to use weekends to unwind a bit, it's been a little crazy.

Last weekend in Frederick was pretty insane - Jacob's 3rd birthday party was Saturday morning, and then Brenda's funeral in the afternoon. I ended up staying way too late on Sunday, but I got to chill a little and go shopping with Mom, so it was worth it.

Also - somebody decided to vandalize my parents' neighborhood and others early Saturday morning, and shot a BB gun through the window of Kelli's car. See? Crazy stuff.
About me: I couldn't tell you why, but I've been feeling introspective lately, and have been doing a lot of self-analyzing. It might have something to do with being a part of the Bridge Church, with the studies we've been doing at Life group, and the way that being part of something new and big makes me consider my gifts and my best fit. It may also be the move to a new place and having the time to think about things now that life has settled down a bit. Regardless, here's what I've figured out so far.

I'm creative. I used to think that creativity equaled artistry. I'm not artistic, but I am creative.

I'm analytical. I can analyze anything to death. This is not always a good thing, but sometimes it is.

I don't follow through. I actually really stink at following through. Come to my house and I'll tell you all about my plans for it. But if it involves anything more than buying the supplies and hiring someone else to do it, it takes me forever to get around to finishing.

That's it for now.

New design: Oh, and the new design? I made it. I took a basic design from Blogger and changed the colors and some of the other details, and I added the photos and the rotating quotes in the header (refresh your browser to see different quote). Yep, I'm creative. I figured, I do this kind of thing often enough in my job, I ought to do it for me every now and then.
Goodbye: I found out a couple days that a dear friend had died recently, after a long battle with lung cancer.

Brenda was a member of the church I grew up in for as long as I can remember. She was a youth leader my senior year, and I was in youth group with her son and daughter for years. She was an incredible woman - I loved talking to her. She loved Christ, and she was one of the most genuine people I knew.

While I'm saddened that she is gone, and my heart breaks for her family, I'm grateful that she is no longer hurting, and that she is in the presence of God.
Remembering: With the 5-year anniversary of 9/11 earlier this week, I've been doing some thinking.

I was working on a project in downtown Chicago when the attacks occurred, and was driving to the train station when I heard the news on the radio. I still remember the song that was playing - Eve 6's "Here's To The Night." I heard about the New York attacks in the car, and the Pentagon attacks while I was on the train. By the time I got to work, I ended up turning around right away. I think there's something about wanting to be at home, with friends and family, during a time like this, but there was also the real uncertainty about whether Chicago was also going to be target. The train schedule was completely abandoned, as they pulled a train into the station, loaded everyone on it that could fit, and pulled out, just to pull another train in. I spent the commute standing up, trying to get in touch with my parents on my cell phone. I finally got through near the end of the trip, and Dad assured me that as far as he knew, our family in New York and around DC were all safe. I spent the rest of that day and the next in front of the TV watching the news, occaisionally doing something else, but with the news always as a background.

I remember thinking that day that the world as I knew it had changed, that the idea of war and battle would be a part of our lives and not just the words of history. And, for a while, that was true.

The problem is, I forget that we're at war. I always had this impression of the World War II era, that everyone had a good friend or family member fighting, that they scoured newspaper reports of those who had died, praying they didn't recognize any names on the list. That might be an overly-dramatized impression, but nonetheless, that's what I expected. But here I am, working for the Navy on the largest naval base in the world, and I can actually forget we're at war.

I know a few people who have had tours in Iraq, more if I count less-than-direct connections (a friend from home, the son of someone at my parents' church, my friend's cousin, another friend's fiance). Still it doesn't feel real, and it doesn't feel like my life is different because we're at war. Shouldn't it, though?
Painting: Finally done. For now, at least. Until I do the kitchen, which will probably not be for a couple weeks.

Visitors: Friends are coming for a visit this weekend, and my sisters and nephew are coming next weekend. The weekend after that, I'll be in Frederick for Jake's birthday party, then two weeks later my parents and grandmother are coming for the weekend. It sounds a little overwhelming to read it like that, and with the big push I'm under to get the house back in order, it is, a little. But I love it. Hopefully I'll still say that after another month.

Motivation: I always seem to need external motivation to get things done, which is why I'm actually getting a lot done this week, trying to put my house back in order after the floors were refinished and I finished painting the living and dining rooms and hallway. It's an insane way to get things done, because it's so stressful, but I have to fight for motivation any other way.
Painting: Yep, still painting. Deadline to finish is the end of the day tomorrow, because I need Monday and the rest of the week to set everything back up again.

Ernesto: Welcome to my first hurricane season living near the coast. Not too big a deal all in all - it took forever to get to work, only to turn around almost right away because the base was closed to non-essential personnel (this is when it feels very good to be non-essential). That was weird - I'm used to unexpected holidays from work in the winter (because of snow), not the summer. Norfolk floods like crazy, especially the main road I travel on my way to work, so that was an interesting adventure. I've seen enough cars stranded in standing water that I'm not taking any chances.

There are several houses a few blocks from mine with docks on the Elizabeth River, and many of those were either underwater, or hovering just above it. Oh, and I lost power for several hours (along with many others) - I can't say exactly how long because I wasn't home when it went off or came back on, but it was several hours. I painted while I had enough daylight, then played around on the computer until the battery died, then called friends and invited myself over for a couple hours.