Behold the Green Lantern ... limited time only

We recently had our house painted (it’s not quite as bright in reality as it looks in this photo)...

If you are aware of my penchant for the color green, you’re no doubt assuming that I chose the color of our house. Well, the truth is that Bret and our neighborhood’s homeowners association (HOA) board president chose the color scheme.

However, the rest of the HOA board members did not like the colors (neither did they like the fact that the board president didn’t run the scheme by them), so they’re repainting our house in the near future (they have to vote on new appropriate color schemes).... Fortunately, we don’t have to pay anything out of our pockets.

In the meantime, our house has been quite the conversation piece. I had no idea people could have so many opinions about a house color! We’ve heard many a suggestion on what would look better (thanks, mom), and we’ve had many friends proclaim that they love the colors and that the board doesn’t know what’s good for the neighborhood (thanks everyone).

Anyway, our house is still our home, and green is still my favorite color…

Andrea, Tuesday 30 September 2008 at 2:36 pm Three comments

Crop rotation

In case you haven't noticed, I've not been writing very much. It's true in every aspect and outlet of my life - not just this blog. I haven't journaled or even written in Natalie's baby book. Neither have I freelanced as much as I assumed I would at this point in my life/career.

Until I e-mailed a friend about God revealing the seeds of a future direction in our lives, I had been having a difficult time understanding the nature of change in my life. How could I just stop writing? I’ve been writing for so many years. The seed analogy planted a seed of its own: Perhaps this stoppage of writing can best be explained as crop rotation of my talents.

At the time I wrote to my friend, I’d been wrestling with being in a place where my endeavors seemed rather insignificant - shallow, even - in comparison to what I had previously been employed to do and what I aspire to do one day. At the same time, I have to remember that I’m doing the most significant job anyone can hope to do: raising a child. I know there’s much more inspiration and aspiration growing inside me, and now is the season to give my writing a rest.

When that thought occurred to me a couple of months ago, I was intrigued and briefly researched the definition of crop rotation and fallow (when I searched Wikipedia for the latter, it directed me to the former).

From Wikipedia:
"Crop rotation or crop sequencing is the practice of growing a series of dissimilar types of crops in the same space in sequential seasons for various benefits such as to avoid the build up of pathogens and pests that often occurs when one species is continuously cropped. Crop rotation also seeks to balance the fertility demands of various crops to avoid excessive depletion of soil nutrients. ... Crop rotation can also improve soil structure and fertility by alternating deep-rooted and shallow-rooted plants."

There we have it. Dissimilar types of crops (writing and crafting) in the same space (me/my time) in sequential seasons (four years of college education focused on journalism and six years as a journalist giving way to time at home raising Natalie and nurturing inspiration in a different way) ...

I'm not sure about the build up of pathogens and pests specifically cynicism, ego, selfish ambition were certainly pesky weeds that I had to uproot often, but they can be found in just about any field.

Balance - I was happy to see that word in the Wikipedia entry. I feel balanced right now with regard to creative outlets, something I've always needed. I'm excited to express myself visually not only through making greeting cards and other craft projects, but through photographing Natalie and our adventures as parents. If a photo is really worth a thousand words, then I've actually been quite a prolific writer… But I digress.

Coming to the crop-rotation realization felt good - it makes sense and gives me hope and ultimately frees me to enjoy what I'm doing right now.

Andrea, Sunday 21 September 2008 at 01:22 am Three comments

Pop Quiz, Hotshot

So, after finding a link to this site on Craig’s blog, I decided to try it and see how I’d do. After all, it’s just the kind of meticulous eye strain-inducing test that we all like to take for fun now and then. Right? Are you with me? Guys?

After spending long enough on it to discover a few helpful strategies and develop a mild headache (translation: way too long), I nervously hit Score Test…and got a zero. Every colored block in the correct place. I’m pretty surprised that it turned out that way, since there were a few that didn’t look quite like they fit anywhere, but apparently I guessed right. Anyway, I’ll take it.

So what were the strategies I came up with? Turn your monitor brightness up and adjust your screen angles if you’re on an LCD. Move the blocks which most match the extremes toward the ends first and then try to fill in the middle. When you’re getting close, try moving each square left and right by one space and decide if the spectrum is better or worse than it was before the move.

And in the end, remind yourself that it’s a meaningless amusement on the internet, and not really worth a headache…

Bret, Tuesday 16 September 2008 at 01:38 am Two comments

Yet more spam issues...

As some of you might have noticed, my Hotmail account got broken into. Regardless of what my email might have said, I am not now an “electronics wholesale.”

(I assume you all know this, but as a public service I’m reminding you that you should never click on links in emails unless you’re 100% sure they’re safe…)

You probably know that I’m not a naive user—I run antivirus software and keep my browsers relatively locked down, I never let browsers remember passwords, I don’t give out personal information online if at all possible, etc. So what’s up?

A little Google searching has shown me that this particular issue has been an ongoing problem for the last year or so. The interesting thing is that it’s not just a Microsoft issue. It has been reported on Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo webmail accounts (at least), and it happens to both Mac and PC users. Similar messages are also getting posted to internet forums all over the place.

To me, that implies that it’s not a virus or malware problem. It’s more likely someone out there using brute computing force to guess passwords…which has an extremely low probability of working, but isn’t impossible. That might explain why the the outbreak reports seem so sporadic. (Hotmail considered my old password “strong,” but in all honesty it was pretty mediocre…get yourself a good one.)

Anyway, my password has been changed and I sent all the details to Microsoft’s help department. I hope this won’t be a problem again…but unfortunately I can’t make any promises.

Bret, Saturday 06 September 2008 at 6:54 pm One comment

Andrew Peterson's New Album

“Resurrection Letters, Vol. II” isn’t due in stores until October 21, but it can be streamed in its entirety from this page on the Centricity record label’s site. Awesome. Is there anything that isn’t streaming on the internet? (Don’t answer that…)

By the way, I found this through the Rabbit Room site, which I’ve started to frequent. Notice that you can pre-order 2 copies of the CD there for only $15…

Bret, Friday 05 September 2008 at 12:26 pm No comments

Worth Watching on

For those of you interested in music, and especially traditional American music, the recent documentary, “Awake, My Soul: The Story Of The Sacred Harp” is streaming online at here.

It’s only up until the end of the week, though, so watch it soon…

Bret, Tuesday 02 September 2008 at 11:23 pm No comments