Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Premature Preparation

"But if you move to Vancouver and get engaged to Steve while you're living on the West Coast, then we'll never get to go wedding dress shopping together!" my mom exclaimed. "Just for fun, let's go try some on now, before you move."
The suggestion seemed harmless enough, so my mom and I went to some of the bridal boutiques in downtown Regina to try on some gowns, so as not to miss out on such a grand mother-daughter experience.
The pushy sales lady began hauling in dress after dress for me to try on. Some were nice; others looked as though they had been assaulted by a horrible maching gun that spewed 80's lace in violent patterns.
I stepped out of the change room in one of these not-so-dreamy dresses and my mom ooed and ahhed, and we had our wedding dress moment. The ladies at the store knew that I wasn't even engaged, and they were kindly humouring me by letting my try the gowns on just for fun.
Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw an interesting dress on the discount rack, in a clear plastic bag.
I asked to try it on.
It was lovely.
And only $199.
(I'm all about the deals, you know!)
Long story short: I bought the dress. Yes, before I was even engaged. I didn't tell a soul. What kind of desperate loser buys her wedding dress before there's even a ring on her finger?
A few months later, Steve and I got engaged and I confessed, "I've been keeping something from you." The blood drained from his face and I think he was afaid I was going to tell him that I had eight children already, living in Morocco, and that I used to be a man.
"I bought my wedding dress last year," I said sheepishly.
He smiled and was very happy to hear about the discounted price.
I loved my wedding dress and I felt like a princess on our big day. That premature preparation was worth it.
Which brings me to my latest purchase: this diaper bag.
No, we are not expecting. But I hope that one day we will have kids, so I've started collecting things, like a neurotic squirrel gathering nuts before the winter. So far I've got a jogging stroller, a nursery set complete with a crib, change table and dresser, and now this diaper bag.
Being prematurely prepared for my wedding day yielded beautiful fruit, so I figure there's no harm in getting ready for the next big event early!

Amanda Brown at 2:53 PM


My Momma

On August 31, 1955, Elsie Arp gave birth to a little girl and named her Sharon. Sharon grew up on a farm in small town Saskatchewan and was a lovely girl with long golden locks of hair. Her life was not without trials; as a young child she had to endure the pain of living with an alcoholic father, and being shunned in her hometown for it. Despite these obstacles, Sharon went on to graduate from high school, leave the town of her youth and go on to get her nursing degree in Saskatoon. After this, she met a man named David and after a whirlwind courtship they were married and then had two children, Amanda and StePHen.
Sharon is my mother. Today is her 50th birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom! You are so amazing and I love you. I am so blessed to have a mom whom I can laugh with, talk with, and dream with. The past half century has been a better one on this crazy planet because my mom has been around for it. She has been there to kiss the boo-boos on her kids' knees, to comfort us when we've been hurt by life, to encourage us and remind us of her love and support, and to teach us the things that have made her life so worthwhile.
Again, Happy Birthday, Momma! You're the best!

Amanda Brown at 7:55 AM


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

I'm Lovin' It

Would you like to know what the makings of a great lunch break are? I will tell you anyways. A two-cheeseburger meal from McDonalds with fresh, hot fries, and two packs of ranch sauce for dipping (no, there's not already enough naturally occuring grease in the meal; I NEED to soak my fries in extra salad dressing), a good friend who loves McDonalds almost as much as I do (as noted by our simultaneous sighs of pleasure as we take our first bite into our little burgers) to split the meal with, a cute little son of said friend who comes and sits at the table with us and says cute things (by the way, Happy Birthday, Ben!), and some great laughs and conversations in the free thirty minutes I have away from my desk. Thanks for the nice lunch break, Christy. You have to let me know when you get annoyed by my noon-time intrustions. Then I'll just sit across the street at the McDonalds patio, weeping while I gum my burger, and you'll see me across the street and be glad that I'm not in your house, but secretly wishing you were eating a burger too.

Amanda Brown at 3:01 PM


Monday, August 29, 2005

Birds Are Bad

We exited the grocery store through the big automatic sliding doors. I felt the heat of the sun beat down on my five year-old shoulders as I walked hand in hand with my mother towards our car in the parking lot. All of a sudden, there was a wet impact on my head, as though someone had chucked a clump of soft mud at my skull. I cried out, with all of my five year-old might, "Hey, don't throw mud at me!" to whoever might have hurled the ball of gushiness at my little head. But within seconds, the said "mud" began to drip down my forehead, into my eyes and down my neck, creeping into my shirt, making it moist and hot. This "mud" was streaked with white. This "mud" smelled really sick. This "mud" was in fact bird turd. I had been CRAPPED on by a lousy bird flying overhead. I started crying, and my mom dragged me to the car where she tried to peel the pooey shirt off of me. It was a bad experience, and thus began my hate-hate relationship with birds.
A few years later I was in the living room in the little bungalow I grew up in, and all of a sudden my mom started shrieking that there was a bird in the house! She grabbed a bed sheet and was trying to shoo it out the window, then she hastily threw me and my brother into my bedroom and closed the door. Peeking under the the crack at the bottom of the door, I saw her flailing around, screaming in fright, trying to get the bird out of the house. After a few minutes, the screaming stopped, as did the flapping of the bed sheet, and she came and retrieved us from the bedroom. We were both crying, and afraid that our mother had been eaten by the killer bird. Mom said that she was "pretty sure" she got the bird out. We all breathed a sigh of relief and went on our merry ways.
The next morning, I was eating my toast with peanut butter downstairs watching TV, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a bird walking along the ledge in our basement. I hurled my toast to the ground and sprinted upstairs yelling, "The birdie's back, Mom! The birdie's back!!"
Eventually, my mom managed to get the blasted bird out of the house for good, and we somehow survived the trauma.
I still hate birds.
I flinch when one flies too near to me and I can hear the flapping of its wings, and I imagine its bony claws getting tangled in my hair, and its pointy beak pecking at my neck.
Birds, stay away!

Amanda Brown at 3:11 PM


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Meet the Fandamily...

Peeve's rendition of "Blue Steel"
I thought that I would showcase some of my most loyal family. This whole blogging thing is new to them, but they have been faithful at logging onto this little site and reading all about what's going on. I have been blessed with an amazing pair of parents and I love them very much. I also have a younger brother, who is named Steve (yes, it's confusing having a husband and a brother with the same name). To simplify matters, I have given my brother the nickname "Peeve". Creative, I know. I went through a phase when I thought it was funny to change the first letter of everyone's name to 'P'. Hence, my best friend Kristin is now called Pisty. And whenever she gets a boyfriend, I also change the letter of his first name to 'P'. There have been some unfortunate names as a result: namely, "Pad" (sorry, Chad). Yes, I have always been this cool.
Anyways, I digress. I wanted to brag about my wonderful family here on this worldwide forum, and tell everyone in cyber space that my mom and dad and brother are the best a girl could ask for. It's only been in recent years that I have realized all that parents have done for me out of unconditional love, and that hey, my brother actually grew up to be a really cool guy.
Peeve and I used to not get along at all. There were valid reasons for that. Yes, I am guilty of ripping his tooth out when he was chewing on my favorite blankie, and yes, he did throw a dinner plate like a frisbee at my head. But we've worked through those issues, and the scars of childhood have healed. :)

This is Nipper, the dog I grew up with. He is what most would call "special". His eyes are always weeping brown goo, he gets patches of warts that look like swollen cauliflower and he chews them till they're raw and he has to wear a cone (see above photo), and he attacks people if they take an empty plate away from my mom at the couch. We got him ten years ago through an ad in the newspaper, and all I remember is the choking stench he filled the car with on the drive home. He has, however, been a good companion for my mom, and I guess we all did come to love him, the crazy mutt that he is.

This photo was taken this summer when Steve and I were back in Regina celebrating my parent's 25th anniversary. It's always nice to go home and relax and let mom spoil us for a few days. I miss my family very much, but I am so thankful that we keep in great touch on the telephone, and I'm even more grateful that we have the kind of relationship where we WANT to talk to each other a few times a week on the phone. You guys are great and I love you!

Amanda Brown at 4:11 PM


Happiness Is...

...ramming my not so little dog into a chihuahua sized doggy tee shirt. It says "VIP: Very Important Pooch" on the back and I got it for 15 cents at the Summerland Thrift Store. Does Rolo deserve such mockery? No, but it sure makes me smile.

Amanda Brown at 4:06 PM


Chute Lake: A Weekend Retreat

To celebrate our third anniversary (which was actually over a month ago), we went to Chute Lake this weekend. We stayed in the same little cabin where we had our honeymoon and our first anniversary, so the place is wrought with memories. It was so nice to relax and enjoy some quality time with Steve. We got there Friday evening and after we had partially unpacked, Steve got the dirt bikes revved up and we went for a quick ride down some logging roads. I hadn't been on a dirt bike for a few years, and had a few rough starts (a.k.a. I mistook the throttle for the brake and sent the bike soaring into the ramp on the back of the trailer) but once we got zooming down the gravel roads I was fine. A nice, manageable hour-long ride down some open kind of ride. We went back to our cabin and curled up under the sleeping bags to watch a movie on the laptop, then we hit the hay.
The next morning, we slept in a bit, then Steve got the fire in the wood stove blazing and he fried up some bacon and eggs. This is always one of the highlights for him; he loves stoking the fire and feeling like a true pioneer getting his grub ready first thing in the morning. What I think he truly enjoys, however, is consuming a solid pound of bacon! Steve polished off half of it at breakfast and the other half as an AFTER DINNER SNACK. Oh, the injustice! He gorges himself on greasy pork products, and is as thin as a rail. If I, on the other hand, breathe a few too many times in a day, the scale goes up four pounds.

Here he is, inhaling the strips of greasy goodness.

After breakfast, we got on our dirtbiking gear and headed out for what was supposed to be a relatively short ride. I guess the word "relatively" is open to interpretation. We were out for over FIVE HOURS in the heat of the blazing sun! I was so tuckered out, being the beginner that I am, and had a few near emotional breakdowns when Steve tried to get me to go along some really tough, rocky trails. In the end, we made it home. It was fun, and I definitely became more comfortable on the bike, but in the future I hope to avoid such long excursions. My butt and my arms and my back and the palms of my hands are all aching today, because I was too tense while I was riding. You see though, I have good reason to be a fearful rider. I am the kind of person who, if she falls down or wipes out, snaps her bones, sprains her ligaments, and dislocates her ribs from her spine. I rarely fall and brush myself off with just a few bruises; I get seriously injured. So, I tend to be a little too cautious at times, when it comes to sports and anything that involves a motorized vehicle.

All in all, it was a great weekend. Steve and I take turns planning our anniversary getaways. This year it was dirtbiking and sleeping in a rustic cabin. Next year, it's my turn...I have a feeling it will involve some time at a spa, some relaxation on a beach, and having someone else cook for me and change my bed sheets. :)


Amanda Brown at 3:02 PM


Friday, August 26, 2005

A Sucker For Punishment

"On the Go"...
should be more appropriately named "On the CAN"
A few months ago I waltzed into 7-11 and was jonesing for something cool and refreshing to drink. I usually tend to go for the delightful burn provided only by a diet coke or diet pepsi, and I love getting my aspartame fix. I know, it's a vice, but I've been drinking diet stuff for years (can't you tell by my girlish figure?!). I try to steer clear of sugary drinks because if I am going to spend a few hundred calories on something sweet I will opt for a chocolate indulgence. It's simple logic, really. Anyways, there I was in the convenience store when out of the corner of my eye I saw, at the slurpee machine, a flavour by Crystal Light. A sugar-free slurpee? What a treat! I hadn't had a slurpee in years, so I walked over and filled up a cup with the syruppy ice and began happily chugging it down. A guilt-free cool treat, what a perfect addition to a hot summer day.
about an hour later I felt this rumbling in my lower intestines, as though there was a rabid monkey kicking my spleen. Before I knew it, I was doing a cheek-clenched sprint to the bathroom and I had the most explosive diarrhea I've ever experienced. Seriously. It was a major event.
After my guts had been totally cleared out, I swore to myself that I would NEVER have a Crystal Light slurpee again.
Fast forward three days. It was hot and I had just finished a 5 km walk and I got a craving guessed it...a Crystal Light slurpee. So I bought one. And the same thing happened. Again, I promised that would be the last time.
Yeah right.
Over the course of this summer I've had about seven of the laxative slurpees, the last of which being one that I had just yesterday evening. I was out driving with Steve and was like "Can we stop and get a slurpee?"
And he asked, "What kind are you going to get?"
"I don't know," I lied.
"Yes you do," he retorted.
"You're right. I do. I want me some Crystal Light!" I yelled.
He tried to convince me to abstain, but after a short debate he caved and I had a slurpee in my hungry paws. Sure enough, an hour later, I was plagued by riotous cramps and a frighteningly poweful case of the squirts.
I promise...that was the last time!

Amanda Brown at 11:36 AM


Thursday, August 25, 2005

My Beak

My schnauz.
I have what could accuratley be called a prominent nose. I never really noticed it much, but in recent years it has been brought to my attention on more than one occasion and by more than one person that my nose is a noticeable one. Such statements as "you and Rolo have similar profiles" (Thanks for that, Mom. You've always known how to boost my self-image) and "if you were in the passenger seat of my Landcruiser and I wanted to drive through a deep river, I could, because your nose could be our snorkel" (unending words of love from the hubby) have made me think that maybe my nose is a tad large. But I don't mind. My Dad has a big honker, and I think that a big nose must be equated with a big intellect. Or something like that. :)

Amanda Brown at 8:01 PM


When You Eat Your Smarties...

I would like to introduce you to a few of my little friends. They have been a welcome addition to my life; they make the hours spent at my desk just a little sweeter. There's something about choosing five of these colourful little fellas out of their box, setting them on my desk, contemplating which colour to savour first, placing it on my tongue, letting the hard candy shell dissolve into a tiny stream of sugar and feeling the warm chocolate center melt in my mouth...each smartie is an experience, an escape of sorts. It takes me to a land called Chocotown, where I am queen and I walk the brown streets and my humble smartie subject bow to kiss my feet as I walk past. An unhealthy infatuation? Perhaps. But I care not.

Amanda Brown at 1:49 PM


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Moon of Honey

Nothing beats authentic guacamole!
We lived off of the green goodness while in the Mexican ports.
A friend of mine was asking if I would post some pictures of Steve's and my belated honeymoon that we went on this past spring. For the first two weeks of March, we commemorated the two and a half years we had been married by traipsing around Disneyland and cruising along the Mexican Riviera. The trip was everything I had hoped it woulde be: romantic, relaxing, and fun. It was such a blessing to have some quality time with Steve and just get away from the everydayness of life. Disneyland was fun and I am happy to say that I am no longer one of the deprived souls who have never been to the land of magic. And cruising...what can I say? It was wonderful! It's definitely the way to travel. You go to sleep and then wake up in a new tropical port, have a dreamy breakfast at the mile-long buffet, sun yourself on a sandy beach all day, then get dressed up for a gourmet dinner, then go to see some great entertainment, then go blow some loose change in the casino, then go out on the deck and stare at the was amazing and I would do it again in a second.

The Happiest Place on Earth

A formal dinner on the cruise ship

Amanda Brown at 5:21 PM


Touch the Sky

No, this is not a picture of was one I took while in Mexico!

Scratch one off of the "Things To Do Before I Die" list...on Sunday I went parasailing! I have been longing for years to try it, and I finally got to go this weekend. It was so peaceful and quiet 350 feet above the blue lake water, and I got an amazing view of the mountains and the valley as I soared above. The only disappointing thing was that Steve was unable to come in the boat, because it was too full, so I didn't really get to share the experience with him. Being the great husband that he is, he waited on the pier and took dozens of pictures of all of the parasailers who went by, not sure if he was photographing me or some random stranger who was out on the ride with me. What a dear. :) Unfortunately I was too far away from the camera for there to be any pics worth keeping. "You see that dirty little speck in the far corner of the frame? Yeah, that's me. I know, we really should get that one framed. It's a keeper." Not really.
Owell, the memory will just have to remain in my mind's eye, that's all.

Amanda Brown at 5:14 PM


Monday, August 22, 2005

VHS= Very Hot 'n' Shrivelled

So I was at Homeside Video last night, about to pay for my video rental when the clerk looks at the computer and says "Oh, you've got a late charge."
No biggie, I think. "How much is it?" I casually ask.
She replies, "Fifteen dollars."
Excuse me? Fifteen bones?! For what? I was sure I had returned my last movie within a reasonable time period. I told her that I didn't remember being that late with my rental. Then she squints at her screen and says, "Ahhhh, your movie wasn't actually late...I have it on record that it was damaged. From heat. Yeah, see how we've got this shrivelled shell of a VHS stuck on the wall with duct tape here as an example of what retards do to their movies? To make a mockery of the fool who would leave her VHS somewhere where it could be exposed to extreme temperatures. Yeah, that's your movie. Pay up, fatso."
So I coughed up the change and ran out of the store, not before I asked the clerk if she could please untape my mutilated VHS from the wall.

Today's lesson: don't leave VHS tapes in your car at work all day long.

Amanda Brown at 11:15 AM


Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Shrew Has Officially Been Tamed

The Gooey Guts
So, it was Friday night. Woohoo! Let the weekend begin! What exciting adventure do you think I had? Perhaps going out for a nice dinner with the hubby? Then maybe to the theatre or to see a movie? Maybe a nice walk along the beach?
I pitted cherries. 24 LITRES of cherries.

The innocent cherries, moments before I violated their insides and stole their pit-hearts.

As I hunched over my kitchen sink, wearing my poo-brown apron and my baggy pyjama pants and a pair of Birkenstock sandals, I realized that I am officially a housewife. Spending her precious weekend hours squishing the innards out of fruit. :)

It's really not that bad, though. I'm glad to have all the cherries pitted and frozen...frozen cherries are so delicious! As I was pitting, and feeling a tad bored with the monotony of the job, I began thinking that if I was a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp, stripped of all freedom and dignity, being able to pit cherries at my own kitchen sink while listening to my favourite music as my husband comes to give me a hug, is something I would give my life to experience.

Well, the Brown' Sweat Shop is closed on weekends, so I'm taking a break. :)

Amanda Brown at 3:32 PM


Friday, August 19, 2005

Weekend Warrior

I got to baby-sit Ben and Megan last night. What adorable kids!
The tardy blogger is here to recap her week for those of you waiting with bated breath to hear about what has transpired in the last seven days. My regular full-time hours have resumed at the church, but the extra hours have been passing quickly as there is much to do as we gear up for the fall and all of the ministries and activities start up again. It's nice to have a bit more time in each day to get the tasks done, so I am not as frantic. My job is, as a rule, basically stress-free, but there are certain times of the year when the pace quickens to a beat faster than I feel like keeping up with, and the fall, along with Christmas, is one of those times. Owell, it's kind of fun to be a part of things and get to see first hand what an amazing team effort it is to keep a large church running smoothly. Everyone truly does rely on one another.

We had a BBQ at the Julien's house on Monday night. Great fellowship, yummy food, and a dip in the pool...does it get any better than that? Here are all of the great people I get to work with: Gary, Randy, Del, Sue, Jen and Pam.

On Monday night we camped out on the deck!

Well, it's late and my drooping eyelids and telling me it's time to crawl into bed. I'll write more tomorrow. :)

Amanda Brown at 10:10 PM


Thoroughly Spoiled

A birthday dinner at Granny Bogner's with Steve, Kaile, Sylvia and new friends Chad & Carlene

A big thank you to everyone who made my 23rd birthday one to remember. The day began with Steve bringing me breakfast and some freshly cut flowers from our garden, then once I got to work I was greeted with a platter of gooey cinnamon buns with flickering birthday candles and the staff serenaded me with "Happy Birthday". Many well-wishers came to visit me at the office, bearing gifts that warmed my heart (smarties and diet pepsi...yes, I am easy to please!) and thoughtful tokens of friendship (a beautiful frame with a hilarious picture from Jessica...thanks, Jess!). I received e-cards and phone calls from far-away friends and family, and I felt so loved and blessed. In the evening Steve took me out for dinner with the family to Granny Bogner's, a beautiful restaurant in an old heritage house in Penticton. Delicious food and delightful company. The festivies continued into the next day, too! On Wednesday night, the gals surprised me with a little birthday celebration at "The Sweet Tooth" and we just hung out and enjoyed some ice cream.
I was spoiled rotten by all of these great folks and I just want to say thank you to everyone who made my birthday something special. I really appreciate it!

Amanda Brown at 9:59 PM


No Vacancy

I am feeling scatter-brained, as though there is no room left in my mind for anything else to be processed in a rational manner. I don't know why I am feeling so fuzzy in the grey matter...I'm finding it hard to focus on the tasks at hand because my dumb head just starts thinking about all the other stuff I need to do. Dumb little things like: pit the 80 pounds of cherries Steve brought home from the Fruit Packers (we got them for free because they had fruit flies...I'm sure they'll be an excellent source of protein), vacuum the inch of dog hair off of our carpet, paint our entire house, clean out my car (I do this on an annual basis and the year's worth of Rolo fur, cookie crumbs, and empty Ice Cap cups is starting to irk me), finish the books I started this summer, update my blog, etc., etc. See, it's nothing extremely hard or stressful, I just can't seem to decide which job to tackle first, and then someone calls me up and says "hey, want to float down the river channel tomorrow?". To which I reply, "Yes. Yes I do." Gotta love the end-of-summer rationalization. The ol' "When I'm on my death bed will I be thankful that I painted my house, or that I spent quality time with the friends I love (while sunning myself on an inner tube on the river)?"question. And I am pretty sure I will be glad that I chose the latter. However, there comes a time when one must make the necessary sacrifices and miss out on a bit of fun for the sake of ridding her home of the abomination that is an entire house with white walls. That time, though, just won't be this weekend. Do you see how incoherent this post is? Talk about random tangents and run-on sentences and just meandering ramblings. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. I hope to compose myself soon.

Amanda Brown at 3:10 PM


Sunday, August 14, 2005

A Whirlwind Week

The past seven days have flown by in a dizzing blur. I spent the latter part of the week at The Leadership Summit in Kelowna with the staff from our church. It was put on by Willow Creek Church and was broadcasted via satellite to 110 sites all over the world. There were many inspiring speakers with poweful messages, and also some incredible dramas and worship times. All in all it was a good conference and I enjoyed spending time with the staff in a different environment. Because we were away from the church office for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I was left to scurry around for the beginning of the week, madly trying to get everything ready in advance for the weekend. The busyness of the fall season is beginning to creep into the atmosphere at the office, and I was a tad overwhelmed at times. But it all got done (as it always seems to). We have also had company all week, which is fun, but it now looks like several bombs have detonated in our house because I haven't been around to tidy up. Owell, there are worse things in life than mounds of dirty laundry and moldy dishes in the sink, right? Right. :)
Today I am going to a baby shower for a friend of mine who is due in October. It should be a nice, girly afternoon. A group of us all went in together for her gift, which meant we ended up spending a few hours in Wal-Mart ooing and ahhing over every tiny onesie, every iddy biddy baby sock, every cute lid'l get the idea. It was fun.
I resume my full-time hours at the church tomorrow, and I am beginning to regret all of those afternoons I spent at the beach instead of painting the interior of our house.
Hindsight is 20/20.

Amanda Brown at 12:12 PM


Stevie Wonder

Steven Robert Brown. My husband. As I type this, he is presently at the church leading a worship team. I went to the first service and as I sat in the pew and looked up at him playing his guitar and singing his heart out, I was filled with gratitude that he is the man I get to share my life's journey with. He is so full of love and thoughtfulness and strength, and he makes me so proud. I feel awful for the times when I am less than the wife I should be; when I am moody, or distant. He is so patient with me, and I love him for that.
Here's to you, Stevie. I love you and am so blessed to have you in my life as my husband.

Amanda Brown at 11:55 AM


Love me, love my dog.

I used to be one of those people who would shy away from dogs when I saw them. The hot, stinky breath, the dirty fur, the slobbery chops...I had no desire to spend any more time than necessary with the canines that crossed my path. All of that changed, however, when we had to dog-sit my mother-in-law's dog for a few months. Her name was Rylie and she was a huge black lab, built like a beluga whale. I remember being somewhat miffed upon her arrival, and I would bemoan the fact that I had to follow her around with a vacuum because she was shedding so much and stinking up our house. But after a few days of being the one to feed and care for her, Rylie began to get excited when I would get her breakfast in the morning, and her tail would wag excitedly when I came home from work, and if I ever threw a ball for her to catch, she had a grateful look in her big doggy eyes. It didn't take long for my heart to soften towards this furry black beast and I started to appreciate her gentle personality and her intuition. After a few months, my mother-in-law took her back home, and I missed the clumps of fur on my carpet, and the smell of doggy breath, and the ecstatic tail-wagging.

So, we decided to get a dog of our own.

Rolo is the best dog I have ever met. He makes me laugh and smile and he fills my heart with puppy love. I know it's cheesy, and I NEVER thought that I would be cooing over a mangey mutt, but I have reached the point of no return. Now, I notice every dog I see and I love them all. I just have an appreciation for them that I had never known until I took the time to get to know a dog of my own.

I love it when other people see the good in my dog. It makes me proud. Which is stupid, I know. It's not like Rolo is my child, or anything, but for now, he is the little being that all of my nurturing gets poured into. I love teaching him new tricks (he's gifted, you know) and taking him for walks and watching him pounce on mice in the orchard and hearing him howl at a distant siren.

So, this is just a post to say that I am a dog-lover. Never thought I'd see the day, but it has indeed arrived!

Amanda Brown at 8:20 AM


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A Tiny Harvest

Erin and I Pitted the Little Fruity Gems

This weekend Steve and I roused early, before the sun's rays became too strong, to pick the last of the cherries. This was the first year that the cherry trees produced a crop, so the harvest was quite small. Like, we're talking about one ziploc bag full of cherries. Steve's dad had picked quite a few the week before, I guess, so we were left with the shriveled remnants. Owell, what can you do? It was fun to scour the trees for the hidden clusters of fruit, and it was nice to spend some time with my favorite farmer. If someone would have told me 4 years ago that I would be the wife of a farmer, I would have laughed in their face. Quite loudly. You see, I was raised a city girl, through and through, and had never really been exposed to the horror that is physical labour. :) But, I am so grateful for the life I've been granted with Steve, and the orchard, and the beautiful simplicity of working the land. However, on days like this, when the mercury in the thermometer is boiling like lava, I am also very grateful for my air conditioned office at the church, and my cushy desk chair. We all have different strengths and passions, I suppose. I am so proud of how hard Steve works on the orchard. He is so diligent and thorough, and I love him for that. Farmer Brown is my hero. :)

Amanda Brown at 4:48 PM


There's Something About Kristens

Here's my other friend named Kristen (something about that name seems to guarantee that the person with that name is destined to be a good friend of mine). She is one of the first people I really got to know here in Summerland when I first moved here, and we have had so many great memories. We have a few favorite places that we enjoy frequenting together, and whenever she comes back to Summerland for a visit we are always sure to make a stop at McDonalds, Wal-Mart, and a Dollar Store. Simple pleasures for simple minds? I do believe so. Here are some shots of Kristen doing her best chubby bunny rendition.

Gotta love those cheeks!

Amanda Brown at 4:39 PM


Monday, August 08, 2005

Friends For Life

The year was 1992. I was in the throes of my pre-pubescent chubby/awkward stage and I came home from the first day of grade 4 to my mom's question, "Are there any new kids at school this year?" I replied, "Yes, there's this one girl named Kristin." My mom told me to invite her over. So I did. I don't remember much about that first time we hung out, but I am guessing that it involved the consumption of popcorn slathered in butter and ranch seasoning (and I wondered why I was chubby and awkward?) and the viewing of "Full House". Kristin and I quickly became best friends and we went on to develop the deepest friendship I have ever know with another person. We went through so much together: we both fell in love with clothes from Northern Reflections ("nice sweater. I like the loon on it" "thanks, I really think the painted image of a lake looks just divine on your turtle neck" "we are so cool, hey?" "yeah, totally cool") and then simultaneously realized that, no, Northern Reflections is not cool, and we need to move onto bigger and better things, like hyper colour t-shirts, plaid vests, and tapered jeans. We endured puberty, awkward first kisses with creepy boyfriends at Bible camp, training bras, and the drama that is high school. But through it all, the bond of friendship remained steadfast and it was strengthened. Kristin has been my kindred spirit, my rock, the person who has stood with me when others refused to, my best friend.
After we graduated from high school, Kristin and I parted ways. I went to Capernwray on Thetis Island and have lived in BC ever since. She moved to Calgary to go to school and is still living in that bustling city. Though our circumstances have changed dramatically in the past five years, we have fostered our friendship and we still talk on the phone often and visit each other a few times a year. I miss her nearness. Although we've grown accustomed to the distance, I miss the times when I could call her up late at night and tell her I'm coming over and we would just sit in her room, with candles glowing, and talk about life, and God, and our dreams. I love you, Pisty.

Amanda Brown at 8:41 PM


Yes, It's Ladies' Night...Oh, What A Night!

Moms Gone Wild!
When a special occasion arises, or when they simply feel like getting all hot and going out for a night on the town, these ladies can be found, dressed to the nines, enjoying some cool beverages and appies, and, if the mood strikes, a white chocolate brownie from Moxies (to be read with reverence and awe at the amazingness of the white chocolate brownie from Moxies). I love my crazy girl friends! This past Friday was Erin's birthday so we took her down to the beach in Penticton for some Mexican food. Aside from having to wait over an hour for our cold enchilladas, it was a great night and I hope Erin knows how much we love her and wish her the best in the year ahead.

People ask if Christy and I are sisters. Shocking, isn't it?

Adele (our English rose) and Erin (the birthday girl)

Amanda Brown at 8:24 PM


Bums, Bums, Glorious Bums!

Beach bums, that is! The vast majority of our weekend was spent at the lake, in the company of our great friends. How blessed we are to be surrounded by such beauty; beauty in the jade waters of the lake, in the way the sun softly roasts your skin, in the fruit leather that is sweet and sticky on my tongue, and in the smiles of people we have come to know and love. On Satuday our friends Dustin and Christy met us at the lake, with their two adorable kids in tow. We all went out on the boat and had a riot watching Steve and Dustin work their magic on the Sky Ski. Christy and I tried it too, and although we lack the grace of our husbands when it comes to water sports, we make up for it in HOTNESS. And humility.

Steve ripping it up on the wakeboard!

Me and Rolo chilling on the boat.

Amanda Brown at 8:06 PM


Sunday, August 07, 2005

Man's Best Friend

I just had to post a picture of Rolo. We have had him for about a year and he has brought much joy to our lives. I know that once we have children I will scoff at how I smothered this little furball with so much love and attention. But until then, allow me the indulgence.

Amanda Brown at 8:47 AM


Saturday, August 06, 2005

"Who Are We?" you ask.

My name is Amanda Brown and I am married to the greatest guy on earth...Steven. We have been married for just over three years and are so blessed to live the life we do. We live in Summerland, which is truly a slice of paradise. Steve is an orchardist and he tends to thousands of apple trees, coaxing their fruit to swell and sweeten. I am a secretary at the church we attend and am privileged to work with some of the greatest people I know. I am inspired and challenged daily.
We have an adorable dog named Rolo, who, you will soon find, is the object of my photographic obssession.
This is just a short little bio...stay tuned for a more in-depth look into our lives!

Amanda Brown at 7:56 PM


It's My First Time

You know, this first post is tougher to write than I thought it would be. How does one make her entrance into the world of blogging? Does she do a cheesy explanation of how she came to hear about blogging and how, after she saw all of her friends start writing online, she decided to join their ranks? Or does she just jump right into telling all about the little adventures that her day has held thus far? Or perhaps she should launch into a deep, philosophical discussion about the purpose of mankind? I don't know. it is. My first post. Hopefully the second one will be a tad less awkward.

Amanda Brown at 12:55 PM