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I’m in the process of redesigning my blog. I’ve retained a web designer to help me navigate all the technical programming that I don’t have the time to get smart about. We met for two hours last week and we’ve both got homework assignments before our next meeting in a couple weeks.

Wow, Rachel, you might implore, are you getting a lot of traffic on your site and you’re going to do this more than just as a hobby? Um, no. Just to be clear, I have absolutely no business spending money on this. I mean what are there, like thirteen readers and four commenters?

It’s just that the free sites do not provide the flexibility I’m looking for, like the width of the columns, or multiple templates within the same site. And if I’m going to labeled High Maintenance, I MIGHT AS WELL LIVE UP TO THE TITLE.

It’s a work in progress that I hope to take live by the end of August with changes including a tab just for RaJen Reviews, a photo gallery for those photos I want to highlight with minimal text, and some other goodies. I’ll also have a new name and web address. Which means that my readership will probably be reduced to five people.

I hope you are one of them.


I went directly from undergraduate school to graduate school. In graduate school, during the course of two rigorous academic years, they pumped us up with ideas that we were the Best and Deserved Lots Of Money and blah blah blah. Nearing graduation, a college-friend’s dad – a CEO of a company – offered me a job, and I, with no business experience and zero leverage, had the naïve audacity to ask for more money. He didn’t call me back, and it took me a while into my first job to understand why. What a fucking idiot I was.

All that to say that as humbling as that experience was, I was similarly humbled by the way things went down with Group 1 of American Idol. Totally picked Alexis Grace The Young White Mommy With An Aretha In Her Soul to go as top girl. But Michael Sarver The Oil Worker as top guy? Are you kidding me? I totally had Danny Gokey I Get You Lost Your Wife But It’s Seriously A Damper To Keep Talking About It as the top guy. And even though he’s still going through to the finals, I think the third spot should have gone to Ricky Braddy Is The Cutest Nerd With Zero Air Time or to Anoop Desai What Were You Thinking To Sing An R&B Ballad before the Oil Guy singing that godawful Gavin DeGraw song.

Needless to say, I’m a little skeered heading into tonight’s results show. After all, last night was excruciatingly awful. For most of it, it might as well been a round of those auditions they used to show where the trainwrecks led to show ratings. I was never a big fan of the majority of the Group 2 contestants, save my favorite, Adam Lambert. And I think he will, or at least SHOULD, get the top guy’s spot. I also think that if he makes it into the finals, he needs to show a side that doesn’t include the Billy Idol sneer and so much, albeit, pitch-perfect screaming.

As for the girls, I think Allison Iraheta, aka Braces, should be a shoo-in for the top girls spot. She isn’t a waif and she’s got a joker type smile and even though god made her perfect except her red hair, the combo probably doesn’t spell C-O-M-M-E-R-C-I-A-L. Invisalign sponsorship, anyone? She’s showed personality as flat as Houston, but damn, girl brings it on stage. Hopefully the voters remembered that.

As for the third spot, if my eyes were closed, vocally, I’d say it’s a toss-up among Megan Corkrey, Mishavanna Henson, and Kris Allen. But since I watched most of the show with one eye painfully squinched, and the other eye peeking out from behind a pillow, I have to say that Corkrey’s corky dancing was really really distracting. And don’t they have wardrobe people at this point? Because the little house on the prairie threads mixed with architectural digest tattoos mixes as well together as tequila shots and wine. MySharona’s voice was good, but not sure about the song choice. And Kris Allen, the cute guy from Conway? A little too jittery with the dancing weirdness, I mean, he was singing Man In The Mirror, for crying out loud. And what happened to Matt Giraud??? Dude rocked it in Hollywood, all sultry with the piano and blues and friggin’ took a dump all over the stage last night.

I’m most nervous about Adam not getting through tonight. And most nervous that Welder Boy will make it through. As for all the rest of them, meh. Thank goodness for DVR.

Several weeks ago, we took a day trip to see the newest additions of the family. As with any item that has buttons, lights, and generally should not be touched by toddlers, my camera immediately sparked the curiosity of my now 19 month old niece, E!.


So what did I do? I showed her which button to push to take pictures. Here’s a sampling of her work.

A turtle.

Tickle Me Elmo.

Turtle and Elmo. We’re still working on “framing”.

A photo of Grandma G hand sewing birth stats onto the RJBs’ quilts.

I was reading a piece about the BlogHer conference, maybe it was this one, and at some point came across a blog written by a cancer survivor/mom/amputee/community gardner. In scrolling through her blog, I came across her Pieces Of Me mosaic and wondered what my picture would look like.

Flickr meme

Credits to the picture takers: 1. DSC09513 – Rachel’s eye, 2. Flickr Loves Sushi. Mmm., 3. Street Performers – Alain Clark, 4. Sunset Wine3  ice cream float:), 5. Diane Lane, 6. Sunset, 7. Nocturnal hike into the bamboo forest, 8. Bread Pudding, 9. 23.366 I have an eye for photography, 10. I shall not live in vain, 11. making of Japanese sandal – Waraji, 12. The Best News Ever, (in Sensuous Spice)

Here’s the meme:
If you want to play too, type your answer to each of the questions below into a Flickr search. Using only the first page, choose your favorite image, then copy and paste each of the URL’s into the mosaic maker (3 columns, 4 rows) – I regularly use this one. If you decide to play, leave a comment so I can have a peek.

The questions:

1. What is your first name? (Rachel)
2. What is your favorite food? (sushi)
3. What high school did you attend? (Clark)
4. What is your favorite color? (orange)
5. Who is your celebrity crush? (Diane Lane; which was in a three-way tie with this one and this “one” )
6. Favorite drink? (water)
7. Dream vacation? (hike)
8. Favorite dessert? (bread pudding)
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? (photographer)
10. What do you love most in life? (living)
11. One word to describe you. (diligent)
12. Your Flickr name. (RaJenCreation)

Butterfly iris in the front yard.

Stop War

  • 3,979 U.S. Soldiers killed; 3,851 of them since the “Mission Accomplished” speech
  • 29,320 U.S. Soldiers seriously wounded (not including nearly 20,000 brain injuries that the Pentagon doesn’t count)
  • $12 Million monthly spending in Iraq by U.S.
  • $9 Billion U.S. Taxpayer money and $549.7 Million in spare parts (2004) lost and unaccounted for in Iraq
  • Find out the costs and tradeoffs in your community at the National Priorities Project site


Got to my polling station moments before it closed. Me and the RJBs doing our civic duty. Hung around for caucusing. I still don’t understand how it all works here in Texas; makes me wish I would have paid more attention in those classes in high school – was it Texas History?  Texas Government?  I don’t recall.   To me, it seems like I just got to vote twice, or maybe one of each in case I was undecided.


Got scolded by an elderly election clerk after taking this picture inside. Apparently, the empty booths have privacy rights, too.

And I’ll just go ahead and go all politico-cynical and say that I think we’re handing the presidency to McCain. Know why? Because I don’t think the United States is ready for a female or a black man to be in the Oval Office. Misogyny and racism are deep and ugly undercurrents that run rampant. So it’ll go to a 72-year old. Of course, for the sake of preserving some civil liberties, it is my hope that I am proven utterly wrong.

A couple weeks ago, I published a post about a gorgeous dog, Copper** and her mom, Trish, who is a seminary student and pastoral intern at our church.  Well guess what, Internet?  She’s got a blog up now called Sacred Ambiguity.  And she’s posting a Lenten study, just in time for folks sobering up from Mardi Gras.  Visit the site when you get a chance.  I’ve also got it on my Blogroll at right.  She’s witty, insightful, and flat out REAL.  The kind of person you’re glad to have on your side whether or not you’re on the fringes of society or sanity or spirituality. 

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**And then the dogshit hit the fan because I was promptly scolded by the parents of another dog friend, Tucker, a precious beagle friend we’ve known almost as long as we’ve lived in this town.  And I’m sure, maybe, secretly, the parents of our dog friends, Maggie and Kirby, were equally pshawing me.  I WOOFED UP! 

I’m considering submitting this photo to the 101 Uses For Duct Tape site.  E! goes from 0 to 5mph in about 2 seconds.  And considering the majority of the floors are tile, they have found this solution to extend the life of her houseplay clothing.  Plus, it gives her wardrobe that ecclectic look, half Posh-spice, half girl-next-door. 


An ounce of prevention...

More Photos!

The Aforementioned