Sunday, June 29, 2008

Slow Berne

Tomorrow morning, I am headed to Berne, Indiana, population 4150.  I hope I find this cow background to have my picture taken with.  Berne was settled by Swiss Menonnites and there is a large Amish population there.  It sounds very colorful and I hope I have some time to buy Swiss Cheese and look around.  Could be quaint and fun, stay tuned!

Normal Girl

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Who is This Woman?

A.  Contestant on next Year's So You Think You Can Dance
B.  Arnold Schwarzenegger's sister
C.  Graduate of Charles Atlas, Are You a 90 Pound Weakling Program
D.  My Bodyguard
E.   Your average 47 year old National Fitness Competitor who beats girls half her age

Normal (P.S. It is not me!) Girl

Friday, June 27, 2008

Mission Trip Day 4

Here is Wonder Woman with Wes, a resident of the BirdHouse. (she looks hot because she spent the day working non stop in almost 90 degrees)  We spent the day redoing an additional bedroom.  It belongs to Wes and Dan.  Every room we have ever done for GCH is what I call bottom heavy when we come in.  By that, I mean everything they own is on or near the floor, with a lot of blank space on the walls above.  They have the basic sofa or bed, but no storage, no lamps, no art.  So, to me, it looks like someone picked up the room, gave it a good shake, and everything settled on the bottom.

See?  Bottom Heavy.

Usually in the bedrooms we find piles of clothes on the floor because they have no dressers or storage.  The good thing is that we have lots of empty space to use, we just build upward.  We always try to get as many storage areas into the room as can fit, because everything they own is in their bedrooms.  

Another thing we find with the residents in aftercare at GCH is that they save, collect and hoard everything they get.  They have usually lived many years with nothing but the clothes on their backs and ownership equals success for them. I can't blame them.  But they save things that are broken or no longer usable as well as the things they need.  

Wonder Woman is our organizing expert.  She has four boy children in two bedrooms at home and has learned the rules of keeping vs throwing out.  It makes her crazy to find things stored away that will never be used.  The discovery is usually followed by the statement, "that hurts me."  If you ever need a closet or a room cleaned out, she is the woman for the job.  So, she organized all of the belongings of Wes.  Then she sat him down and explained to him the necessity of not saving everything, and that if you have 15 hats, maybe someone else would be blessed by having a couple of them.  She showed him how to keep everything neat and organized.  Then I sat him down and made him put all of his CDs into a new CD rack.  He had 104.  I told him that was his limit.  If he got a new one, he had to give away one because the rack would hold no more.  Believe it or not, this is a learned skill and one that all of the program graduates have to learn.  (yeah, and some of the rest of us too) Wes kept saying he understood and he would keep it and he told Wonder Woman she could come back anytime and it would still look good.  All in all, WW was happy and so was Wes.

Another amazing trip!
Normal Girl

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mission Trip Day 3

I had time to work on one canvas for the Birdhouse.  While preparing for the trip, we all read  the story of Ann Judson, the first American woman missionary.  She and her husband went to Burma.  She was very young and Burma was very far away.  It took almost a year to get from her home in New England to Burma by ship. We read about the sickness, the imprisonment, the danger to their lives, the children that did not make it, the wars, and so many horrible things that she lived through.  She never lost her conviction that she was called by God to be a missionary in Burma.  I asked my team members to send me one sentence that stood out during the reading of the book.  I put those on a large canvas and we will hang it in the house someplace tomorrow.  These are all things said by Ann Judson in regard to her relationship with God.  Very inspiring.

So, three days down.  We have carried armoires, dressers, mattresses and more up and down the stairs at the birdhouse.  We have carried a sofa, a dining room table  and a roll of carpeting big enough to cover two rooms into the house.  Well, the carpeting, we carried from two houses down.  We have painted, installed cabinets, built armoires and dressers, sewn and hung curtains, nailed up moulding, cleaned out closets, and 10 other things.  See pics of the work:  The house is looking great.  Tomorrow, we beautify.  We will bring in lamps and new towels and shower curtains and rugs and the homey touches.

One interesting thing happened today that has not happened in the past.  The men living in the house started telling us what they would like us to do in the house and what they would like us to bring them.  It has been a weird experience working hard all day while men are sitting in chairs watching us do it.  And then, today, they start giving us direction.  I am taking it as a sign that they have warmed up to us and feel comfortable.  Many of the women have had great conversations with the guys and I think that is an important part of our trip there.

Also, the men that did not want us to go in their rooms have now seen what we can do, and want us to fix their rooms.  This is work we have not planned for and materials we have not paid for.  But, we want to do it.  I sent a team shopping today and tonight I bought more furniture and tomorrow, we will speed decorate a room.  Stay tuned.

One more day,
Normal Girl

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mission Trip Day 2

This is the most important part of the day, lunch.  Not really, but is sure is a nice part.  The encouragement team is doing a great job treating a bunch of hot sweaty, paint covered women like queens.  

Everyone is working hard, we have accomplished a lot in two days.  Despite none of the four vacuum cleaners in the house is working.  Despite that it took four hours to dry the sheets in the dryer, and we had to fill the washing machine with buckets of water by hand.
We have had the assistance of a young man, sent to help us carry heavy things.  They are spoiling us.  His name is Rich.  He has been in the program for only 6 weeks.  He lives in the mission in the dorm with 50 other guys.  He is working through addiction and learning to let God direct his life.  He comes from a background of moving around the country and living in many places.  He had an awesome attitude and Wonder Woman and I could have talked with him all day, he was so wise.  He told us that he loves learning to get his life right.  He loves working and giving back for the things that are being given to him right now.  And he is learning that it is best to be still and just know God.  He said that he is learning that his sin is no better or worse than anyone else's sin.  Even though we humans look at some sins as worse than others, to God, sin is sin.  He found that humbling.  He also learned that he is no worse than anyone else and that was a boost to his self esteem.  Smart young man.

14 women working in close quarters for two full days....we are really doing pretty well....still lots of laughing.  We had a touch a go moment this afternoon.  We have a lot of furniture to get in the bedroom we are working on.  And, it seems the privacy in the shared bedrooms is of utmost importance.  So we stopped work at 4 o'clock to decide how to arrange the furniture in the room. There were lots of opinions and we moved heavy furniture around several times and nothing was working.  Wonder woman stuffed her head in a bookshelf until she could adjust her attitude.  I stood in a corner sucking my thumb.  We finally had to kick people put of the room.   Finally one of the residents came in and said to forget about the privacy thing...that if someone needs that much privacy, he should move out and get his own apartment.  Ok, that did it and we set the room according to how it fit best instead of how it made private areas.  Only took us an hour.

All in all, it was a good day and we left tired but with a feeling of accomplishment.  New carpet and furniture tomorrow!

Normal Girl

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mission Trip Day 1

Here is most of the gang, headed out in the morning, fed and ready to go.  It takes an hour to get there in the morning.  We borrowed a van and loaded it up with people and stuff.  We also have a pickup packed with stuff.

We spent the morning cleaning out all of the stuff we did not want to keep in the rooms.   In a house of 7 men, we found things I cannot even talk about.  Dirty socks and underwear were the least of it.  But we made great progress.  Both the downstairs and the upstairs teams got alot of painting done today.  Tomorrow will be more painting and alot of furniture assembly
To see more about what we did today and to read the backstory of the trip, go to 

Normal (so tired I am crosseyed) Girl

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Writer's Strike

I am going on strike.  Just for tonight.  See me in the back with my sign?  I have been writing a horrible paper since 9 o'clock this morning.  What a sad fate for the first day of sumer.  I cannot even tell you how the paper ended up.  I could never get a grip on what the prof wants out of it.  Sometimes I get to the point where I know I have to turn something in so I just write whatever comes out.  I have done too much writing the last few days, so strike!

Normal Girl

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Official Sign of Michigan Summer

I just saw my first firefly of the season.  How cool are fireflies? If I could just figure out how to put them on a bracelet...... To me they signal summer is here.  Michigan summer is beautiful, not too cold, not too hot, you can spend 24/7 outside.  I usually miss most of the summer traveling for work, but it is looking good for me to be here this summer.  Sitting at the campfire, s'mores, canoeing, picking cherries, driving with the windows down, swinging in the hammock.  Let me know when you are coming for a visit!

Normal Girl

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Loves Children, Loves Beads

These people have a heart for God's children and they are pretty good jewelry designers too.  Tonight, I spent a couple hours with the adoption specialists at Bethany Christian Services.  It is where Wonder Woman works and she invited me to bring bead soup.  These folks have stressful jobs dealing with people's lives, and tonight was a relaxing time just to visit.  And, they actually were very creative with good design sense.  I don't know if they teach that when you get a degree in social work, but I saw some really good bracelets tonight.  It was fun!

Normal Girl

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It started out like this.....

We made some bracelets....

And then this....need  I say more?
Normal Girl

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sir Walter

I am in Raleigh is named after Sir Walter Raleigh who sponsored the colony of Roanoke, which you remember from history class, was a failure.  All the people disappeared and were never found.  Enough history.

I got here without a camera, hence the picture of Wally.  I also got here without my computer power cord, so I had trip to a lovely mall (with the famous resturants Steak Escape and Kabobi) here as soon as I arrived.  It was a hectic day.  Eight middle school girls were over for a party this afternoon.  Things got out of hand.  Usually the girls are great, but we have one new one who is the instigator of many things of questionable quality.  Isn't it interesting how it just takes one to change the behavior of the whole group?

So, anyway, I was feeling a little frazzled and got out of the house with one girl I did not know I would have to deliver before I went to the airport, and no power cord.  

Off to work on a old testament community differed from new testament community.  If you have any thoughts on that, send them on.

Normal Girl

Monday, June 16, 2008

Join In!

Girl World Announces the Round Robin Charm Bracelet Project. You are invited to play. A round robin is a project in which each participant ends up with a charm bracelet full of charms added by each person in the game. It can be fun and surprising.

If you are not a jewelry maker, this is a good project to start with. All you have to do is attach a charm or two. I will teach you some ways to quickly and easily do that. Anyone can do it.

Read the information below to fully understand what is involved. A commitment means you must participate in all of the bracelets, that is why I am limiting the number of participants. It also means you will agree to mail 8 envelopes.

If you have any questions, please email my assistant Imaginina at, or leave them in the comments section here.

We will begin when the group is lined up.

How the Round Robin Charm Bracelet Project will work:
o Participation will be limited to 8 people.
o At the designated start week, each player will mail to the next person on the list:
1. Her own charm bracelet with one charm of her choosing on it
2. A small journal (can be a couple papers stapled together, a journal from the $1 bin, or something fabulous and handmade that will fit into a 6”x9” padded envelope
3. A description of the theme chosen for her own charm bracelet (can be as simple as “purple” or it can be a thought, a poem, a sentiment, a location, anything, you name it
o Each player will receive an envelope in the mail that week from the person whose name is above hers on the list.
o Each player will add at least one charm to the bracelet that follows the owner’s designated theme.
o She will then write a message in the journal for the owner of the bracelet. It can be an explanation of the charm she chose. It can be a description of how the charm was made. It can be a poem. Whatever. Creativity is welcome.
o Two weeks will be allowed for each mailing cycle, unless everyone gets done sooner.
o She will then pack up the bracelet and mail it to the next person on the list. She will always mail to the same person. The list will be set up geographically to allow for short mailing times.
o When your own bracelet has completed the round robin, you will have a bracelet with at least 8 charms and a message from 7 other people about their parts in your bracelet.

To join the round robin charm bracelet project, send an email to Imaginina ( that includes your name, mailing address and email address.

Looking forward to playing with you!
Normal Girl

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dance Day

The Praise in Motion girls danced at church this morning, and I was again reminded what terrific kids they are.  I love this ministry.  The kids make me laugh and make me proud.  For weeks they have been rehearsing two long dances, even practicing at home.  When we got to the run through this morning, we found out that one of the dances had been cut.  Also, sometimes when we practice with a track and then we dance on Sunday morning with the musicians live, it is not quite the same.  That happened today.  Sections were shorter, they had to make some changes on the spot.  They graciously took it in stride without complaints or pouts.  

Not all middle school girls behave like this.  They enjoyed what they were given and danced joyfully.  I am going to try to follow their example this week and trust that God knows what He is doing in my life even if I have worked really hard to get someplace He is not taking me. Doing that really does bring you joy.

If you are interested in their video from this morning, it is on their blog.

Normal Girl

Friday, June 13, 2008

Moses Was My Lab Partner

Here she is as promised, The Human PinBall.....

I woke up this morning feeling like my right pinky finger is going to fall off.  Now tell me, just exactly how does one injure her right pinky finger and not realize it until the next day?  So I tell my husband, Mr. H. that my pinky is killing me and feels like it is about to fall which he replies, "it's probably arthritis."
That lead me to think about all of the things he could have said,
  • maybe you slept with it in an odd position
  • maybe you need to call and get a massage so you feel better (OK, I know this one is a stretch..)
  • maybe that cute little pinky needs a sparkling diamond ring on it to make it feel all better

In the meantime, my pinky is still hurting.  Then it came to me...I remembered what is wrong with my pinky......only last week, my 9 year old human pinball son told me, "Mom, you are so old that Moses was in your yearbook."  There is the answer, I am about 4000 years old.

How old are you?
The Human PinBall

Where is Normal Girl?

People are just crazy, they all need more beads.   First of all, Normal Girl sent me downtown for a meeting this morning.  Why did I have to go?  It is pouring rain, the kind of Michigan day when you walk out the door and break into a sweat.  Then she made me walk so she could have the car.  Where is she going that is so all fired important?  Look at her, it isn't to the salon!  So, I walked to Starbucks.  I admit, I am not a Starbucks girl.  It is full of tragically hip people drinking fancy coffee that costs the budget of a small country.  And tall means small.  Who thought up that genius marketing tactic?  

I sat at a table waiting for my meeting and listened to the conversation at the next table.  Oh stop it.  You do it too.  Husband and wife.  She is giving him a painful minute by minute rundown of her week.  Does she really think he cares what she was doing Tuesday at 3:15?  He is catatonic.  She stops talking for a second and they are silent.  She can't stand the silence and starts in again.  He married her.

Off to work.  I have a long list from Normal Girl today.  Who knows when she will show up?  If she is not off buying me a new car or a bead store, or a tuna sandwich, I am going on strike.
I just got word from the Human PinBall that she is sending in a post today.  Yeah, I do everybody's bidding and will be posting that later for you.  

Have a great day,

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Slacker Charms

It isn't the charms that are the slackers, it is the charm maker.  I am on homework overload and along with that, I have a huge case of denial.  I don't mind the homework, but when one class takes 3-4 hours every day of the week, I get a little sick of it.  I am hoping if I ignore it, it will go away.

Anyway, denial was fun while it lasted.  The Human PinBall and I bought these little tags when we were in NYC at Tinsel Trading:  

Tonight, I painted them, both sides.  They are so small they barely take any paint and are quick to do.

When they were dry, I glazed them.  I used Dimensional Magic, but anything clear and shiny would have made me happy.  You know I cannot stand the wait to dry, so I stuck them under a lamp.  The hair dryer does not work to hurry this process and neither does the oven.  

I can never take pictures of shiny things.  If I do a better job tomorrow in natural light, I will repost.  Note the one at the bottom.  It is glittered.  HBP and I bought this fab glass glitter at Tinsel.  So, I tried it on a charm.  Like it.

Denial time is over, I am off to do homework, with my Mother's voice in my head telling me I should not wait until so late at night when I can't think well.  Yeah.

Normal Girl

Baby BJ

Here is a tiny little Blue Jay that was sitting under a pine tree in my yard this morning.  I am afraid I scared him while taking his picture, but he did manage a smile for the camera.  He is gone now.  I am hoping his Mama came for him.  I do not want to think about a gruesome alternative.

But there is good news here.  I am sort of functioning on my new computer.  I did manage to upload this picture on it.  I am having a hard time locating things after I put them on the computer.  I am sure there will be alot of aha moments when I get myself into class.  My main challenge today is to get a printer hooked up and functioning.

Normal Girl

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Brand Spanking New

Just look at that new finger crumbs between the keys. scratches. Right now it is great as a paper weight or door weighs 50 pounds. Don't you hate the new computer set up junk? I worked an hour on it today and I don't have all the right parts. SIGH!

I am going to be so happy when it actually works!

Normal (computer moron) Girl

Quick Thought

I just realized that in our last blog poll where I asked you what you would like me to send you, there were equal votes for chocolate and a tape of me singing. A bracelet got less points. Of course, I am thinking through that. Considering that you have probably not heard me sing, does that tell us:

  • you are not big chocolate fans?
  • you have a fascination with the unknown, scary as it may be?
  • I need to do a little work on my jewelry design skills?
  • you have heard me sing and are looking for a tape to play to keep the critters out of your yard?

Normal Girl

Sunday, June 8, 2008

List of Lists

While sitting in the hotel this morning avoiding doing my homework, I saw a story on tv about magazines doing articles on lists. You know: 21 ways to save money at the gas pump. I started thinking about lists and I am making a list of lists I need. Join in please!

  • 10 ways to travel painlessly without going to an airport

Yeah, I am not home yet, still in Milwaukee hanging out at the airport. Now there are thunderstorms in Detroit, can you stand it?

  • 5 ways to find the perfect job that makes you cry you are so happy

  • 12 ways to stay young

  • 21 ways to get a honey do list done without being married

  • 1 easy way to lose weight without even trying

  • 24 ways to find more than 24 hours in a day

  • 30 ways to take decent pictures

  • 10 ideas for best selling books

  • 100 right things to say at the perfect time

Guess you can tell what is going on in my life. What about you?

Won't you be glad when I am home so I can stop talking about airports?

Normal Girl

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Lotsa Ladies Lotsa Beads Lotsa Buttons

Who came to the bead show?? I saw two men walking down the aisle shaking their heads and one mumbling,"There's lotsa ladies, lotsa beads and lotsa buttons." The bead show is a most excellent place for people watching:

Lotsa ladies!

Here's Pam, editor of Bead Unique Magazine.

No, this guy was not at the beads show, but he made me laugh.

Cool guy working in a booth.

I loved this lady with different socks and shoes and three colors in her hair!

Bead selling is so stimulating!

tutu wearing lampwork bead maker....

Zoot suit man.

The Diplomat and I spent most of the afternoon and evening in the airport trying to go home. My flight was cancelled and NW airlines handled it like champions. They closed the airport an hour later and so neither of us could get out. The Diplomat was on Midwest. They did not return the bags on the luggage carousel. They hauled them into the ticket counter and called off people's names to come get their bags. Several flights worth. We sat in this mess waiting for two hours for her bag. Meantime, I got us a hotel room nearby, and that was a very happy thing because before we left the airport, they announced on the PA that all hotels in the city were full. I have a flight at 6am but the weather channel says it is supposed to thunderstorm all night and all morning. So, we will see!

Normal (but tired) Girl

Delay Entertainment Manual

I am stuck in Milwaukee waiting for yet more bad weather to roll on by, and could be here for hours. Being usually pretty good at entertaining myself in these situations, even I have my limit. My heinie is tired of sitting on the floor because they will not even let us in the gate in case the tornado wants to come in the window. Can you detect a little whining?

When I realized I was making up stories about why the girl sitting across from me is wearing orange lace undewear under white pants, I knew I needed your input. Let's start the airport delay self-entertainment delay manual. Leave your ideas, please..... Please don't say write my paper for school.

Normal (weather magnet) Girl
P.S. The Department of Homeland Security has declared us at level orange. Anyone know exactly what that means?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Bead & Button Show

The Diplomat and I had a great time at the Bead & Button Show today. I am sharing pictures of the award winning designs in the annual contest. All of these projects were in a glass case, and all are hours of work and really amazing. Very inspiring! Click on the pics to make them larger.

These beads are polymer clay.

Also polymer.

These are polymer made by our friend Barbara McGuire.

Seed bead work on this necklace.

Seed beads here too.

Polymer Clay

Lampwork Glass Beads

Beaded beads, big and beautiful.

Wedding bouquet...Best in Show!! This is all seed beads.

We worked the show in a split shift today. We came home mid day to ride out a tornado that was coming. The sirens were blaring. After the tornado moved on, we went back to the show. It was great, there were not many people there and it was easy to shop in the booths and chat with the vendors. We have part of the day tomorrow to finalize out lists and the list HPB gave us. I am really motivated to go home, make some beads, and put them into jewelry pieces.
Can't wait!
Normal Girl