Friday, September 30, 2005

Sedentary Lifestyle= Weight Loss?

Do you want to hear something absurd? When I exercise vigorously and consistently, I gain weight. And not muscle weight. We're talking good ol' fashioned junk-in-the-trunk weight. Whenever I decide to become really committed to an exercise program, like a long distance running regime, I end up packing on the pounds and it's beyond frustrating. The whole reason I try to exercise is to get rid of the faithful jiggle in my jaunt. I know, I know, I should exercise for the sheer thrill of it, the delightful sensation of my lungs collapsing, and the delicious burn in my muscles from lifting dumbells. But by nature, I am not an athlete, and don't find enjoyment in extreme exertion. I love walking with a friend, or rollerblading along a boardwalk by the beach, or riding a bike on a nice smooth, flat surface, and that's about where it ends.
I think the reason I gain weight when I am on an exercise kick is that I stop listening to my body as closely. When those late afternoon munchies hit, I say to myself, "Well, you can have a few dozen cookies, because you went for a run this morning." Yeah, see the run probably burned a mere 200 calories and I jusy consumed 1800. You do the math. It's a bad scene.
But, when I am not exercising, I am much more cautious about the amount of food that goes into my mouth because I know I won't be burning it off. This summer I started a running program and I was putting in about 40 kms a week. I was proud of how I was pushing myself and it was nice to see the improvement in my cardio ability. For 2 grueling months I roused at 6:00 am to jog around my hilly beighbourhood, and do you think I lost an ounce? No sir. The scale did not budge.
So I quit. (There's that Olsen perseverance!)
And in the 2 months since I hung up my runners, I have lost nine pounds.
Is this some kind of cruel joke? I guess if I just keep on not exercising I will eventually reach my goal weight. Now that's a program I can stick with!

Amanda Brown at 2:38 PM


Bye-Bye, Lid'l Brudder!

Later today my brother will be flying over the Atlantic Ocean, headed for Capernwray Hall in England. He will be a student in their one-year Bible school program and will be learning much about God, himself, and the world. I am truly excited for him and I hope that the next few months are filled with adventure. He has grown up to be such a great guy, and as I bade him farewell on the phone last night, it hit me that he is a young man now. A very good young man. I admire who he has become. He is a diligent student, a determined athlete, a hilarious joker, and a good friend.
Good luck in England, Steve. Hope your roomates aren't weirdos.

Amanda Brown at 10:13 AM


Thursday, September 29, 2005

Weeping In Radio Shack

The other day Steve dropped by the office and we went out for lunch. On the way back to work we stopped in at Radio Shack because we know the owner and he's going to give us a good deal on a new receiever. We went to the back of the shop to look at receivers and there were a few big screen TV's there and they were showing footage of a baby giraffe being born. I was spellbound by the image of this creature as he emerged from his mother, covered in gooey slime. As soon as he hit the ground, he immediately tried to stand. But his legs were so long and gangly, and the world so new, that he repeatedly fell over. He kept on trying to get up on all four poles of legs, and his limbs were quivering with effort. After five or six attempts, he wobbled to a standing position and held it for a few seconds. His mother came and nuzzled his head, and licked some of the birth goo off of him and then she begins to nurse him, his hungry little mouth sucking the life out of her.
It was just so beautiful.
So there I am, in the back of Radio Shack, my eyes brimming with tears because I have just witnessed the miracle of life, giraffe style.

Amanda Brown at 11:01 AM


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

This One's For Jen

No explanation would suffice, so I'm just going to let this drawing speak for itself.

Amanda Brown at 5:19 PM


No More Cottage Cheese

My throat is killing me today. For the past few weeks it's been very scratchy and on the verge of worsening. But today when I woke up, it felt like someone had sewn a razorblade into each of my throat glands, and every time I swallow, they slice a little deeper into my raw gullet. As much as this hurts, it got me remembering a time in my life when I had a chronic sore throat...permanent tonsilitis. Not fun, to say the least. But the sore throat wasn't the worst of the symptoms. My tonsils had become so gnarled and sick that there were little caverns for bacteria to grow, and I started coughing up these little white chunks that had been festering in the crevasses of my diseased tonsils. The chunks looked like the curds of cottage cheese, and they smelled like...butt. It was disgusting. I used to just get one chunk every once in a while, but then they started appearing more and more, and when I would look at my tonsils, they were just covered with the toxic cottage cheese. We went to the doctor, and he sent me to a specialist who had terrible bedside manner. He told me to open up and say "ahh" and then he pushed on my tonsil with a tonge depresser and a big chunk came soaring out and hit him in the face. Served him right. Anyways, he decided that my tonsils needed to come out. What ensued was a very painful recovery from surgery and severe dehydration. It was ugly. But worth it. Gone are the days of cottage cheese cultures blooming in my throat.
So this sore throat that I've got today, yeah, I can handle it.

Amanda Brown at 3:36 PM


Frapuccinos Are For Cool People.

Tonight I am getting together with two very good friends of mine, Bretta and Heather. We went to Bible school together and have shared much laughter and many memories over the years. The silly thing is that we now only live about half and hour away from each other, but we kept in better touch when we were separated by a few provinces! Terrible, I know. Anyways, tonight we are meeting at the half-way point, in Westbank, at Starbucks for a long overdue get together. Heather has just recently announced that she is moving to Vancouver this weekend, so this may be one of the last times I see her for a while. And Bretta just got married this past June and has been hard at work setting up her new love nest, and establishing her interior decorating business. They are both such fun girls, and I am looking forward to seeing them, whilst nursing a cool caramel frapuccino. I know, they are madly overpriced, but paying $26 for a coffee slushie somehow makes it taste better.

Amanda Brown at 3:06 PM


Monday, September 26, 2005

I'm Baaaack...

Well, I am sure you've all been dying to hear what I've been up to in the last four days. The weekend was fairly uneventful. Aside from a few emotional meltdowns. I don't know what my problem was, but I was very fragile and sensitive and just felt like curling up under our duvet and weeping until our king size bed was saturated with my tears. Why am I such a nut case sometimes?!
On Saturday I had high hopes about getting a lot of painting done. Steve left to run some errands and while he was gone I finished up the mudding and sanding that needed to be done and then I primed the walls. Good progress, right? I was about to start slapping on the first coat of colour when Steve came home. He came and looked at the walls and said, "Are you serious?" and then proceeded to inspect the walls and point out any little spot I had neglected to fill. I felt like an incompetant idiot. And I was MAD. I was all, "This is MY project, so don't tell me how to DO it! If you want it done a certain way, then YOU DO IT!" And then I stomped off to the bedroom and cried and writhed under the duvet, fretting over the fact that I am a lousy painter, a lazy sander, and a terrible wife. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
Steve came and tried to talk to me, and we hashed things out, concluding that it's OK that we have different standards about painting, it's not the end of the world, and that I should stop crying because the mattress is going to collapse from the weight of my litres of tears. OK. I peeled myself off of the bed, but had lost all momentum for painting and decided to tackle the eight foot high pile of laundry that needed folding. I watched a few episodes of Arrested Development (aka: the funniest show EVER) and was feeling a bit better.
Then Steve suggested that we practice a song that we were supposed to sing as a duet for church the next day. We started singing, but after we had gone through the song once I cried, "I can't find the harmonies! My voice sucks! I suck! This song sucks! Singing sucks! Did I mention that I suck?! I can't do it! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!"
And I felt terrible all over again.
What's going on in this crazy head of mine? I just hate it when I know that I'm being an irrational bafoon but seem unable to snap myself out of it. And then I get sad that I'm a lunatic, and then the downward spiral begins. I'm sad that I'm a sad loser who should be in the loony bin, where no painting or singing is allowed.
I feel better today though. We'll see how long that lasts.

Amanda Brown at 1:40 PM


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Fantastic Fruit Fun Forever!

Yes, alliteration and I have always gotten along quite well. I just thought I would take a moment to gloat about the fact that my husband is presently stooped over a sink full of plums and is ripping the pits from them so they can be frozen and eaten later. Bless his heart. It's nice to see him helping out, and I appreciate his willingness to do a job that he doesn't normally do.
While Steve de-pitted the plums, I was busy being the domestic goddess that I am. I whipped up a delightful dessert for our small group Bible study tonight. Caramel Apple Pizza. OK, that sounds kind of gross, but it's good! A sugar cookie crust, spread with thick gooey caramel, topped with fresh apple slices from the orchard and then a light drizzle of more caramel on top. Yes, it's OK to be envious of my domestic talents. Maybe one day you'll make an apple pizza too. It won't taste as good as this one, but we can't all be famous now, can we?

Amanda Brown at 5:55 PM


Toothpaste Trouble

All of this talk about Bible quizzing has taken me way, way back to the place where my memories reside. There are a few special moments from my quizzing years that jump to mind. You might think that a bunch of pre-pubescent nerds who like to sit on bum pads that light up don't know how to have a good time, but you would be wrong! We were daring little adventurers.
Quizmeets were held at churches all over Saskatchewan and we would get billeted out to homes at each location. It was always fun to see who got the worst billets: whose basement was the creepiest, whose little white dog would hump your sleeping bag while you tried to go to bed, who served the grossest meals. I think I always won. Creepy billets abounded.
One year there was a big group of us who were all billeted to the same home. We stayed up late into the night, until one of us, Dauna, fell asleep. As Dauna innocently snored away, my friend Jen and I plotted about how we could take advantage of the situation. I pulled out a tube of my toothpaste and we proceeded to put globs of it all over her face. We were laughing so hard, but desperately trying to keep quiet so as not to wake poor Dauna. We stared down at her as she slept with huge blobs of Aquafresh on her face and decided that the prank wasn't quite complete. So I grabbed some toilet paper and scrunched it into little balls and stuck them on top of the toothpaste globs. The task was done. We were satisfied with our work and went to sleep.
The next morning Dauna roused and went to the washroom. Jen and I snickered to ourselves, thinking of the shock she'd get when she looked in the mirror.
She didn't come out.
We went to have breakfast, and about a half hour later Dauna joined us, all clean and free from toothpaste globs. She didn't talk to us or make eye contact. She was ANGRY.
Now, Jen and I hadn't meant for the toothpaste globbing to be seen as a vicious and personal attack on Dauna. We thought we were just having fun. The unwritten rule and sleepovers was that if you were the first to fall alseep, you were fair game. I had had my training bra frozen at a sleepover one time. No big deal. What harm could toothpaste do?
Well, Dauna was not amused, and she was really hurt by what we did. She hated me for the next 5 years. We became quizzing rivals, and we never got along.
Eventually we got over it and became better friends in the later years of high school. But wow, I never knew what damage a tube of Aquafresh could do to a friendship!

Amanda Brown at 3:26 PM


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Question Number One. Question.

The Canadian Midwest International Bible Quizzing Champions of 1998.
OK, I'm just going to come right out and say it: I used to be a Bible quizzer.
Many of you may not even know what Bible quizzing is. Basically, it's like Jeopardy, except you get asked specific questions about a certain book of the Bible. And instead of holding a buzzer in your hand, you sit on these special bum pads that light up when you jump off of them. (No, I am not kidding.) The first person to leap off of their bum pad gets to answer the question and get points for their team as well as their personal average.
It's a geek's paradise.
From grade 6 until grade 10, I was a die-hard quizzer. I loved the competition, the trophies, and the social aspect as well. Walking around churches all over Canada trying to pick up guys while wearing my swanky plaid vest and too-tight jeans from the "husky" section of JC Penny. Oh, the memories.
In grade nine I decided that it was time to get serious about quizzing. I set a goal of making it to internationals, and I spent hunderds of hours locked in my room memorizing the book of Matthew, word for word. At the final quiz meet of that year, the top 5 quizzers were announced, and I was one of them! I got to go to internationals in Redding, California. It was a lot of fun, and the competition was fierce. We got fourth place. Not too shabby.
The following year I again dreamed of making it to internationals, and after much work on the books of Romans and James, I made it. This year the competition was in Salt Lake City, Utah. We got first place that year! I was on the team with international champs! It was a great experience, but I decided to quit while at the height of my quizzing career.
I never quizzed again. I left people begging for more. "More!" they would cry. But I refused.
I look back on my quizzing years as a period filled with much nerdiness, but also great memories with friends and learning the Word and growing in my self-confidence. I never did pick up any guys at quiz meets though. Must have been the mushroom cut (see above photo).

Amanda Brown at 5:30 PM


Pepperoni With Extra Cheese

My face is an oil slick. I have officially re-entered the land of Pizza Face. When I was in high school I didn't have terrible acne, but there were more than enough zits on my face to make me feel like a greasy mess. Since I have been on the pill for the last three years, though, my skin cleared up nicely and I only battled a few pimples every now and again.
Well, I went off of the pill a few weeks ago, and since then pockets of pus have been popping up in undesirable places. We're talking eyebrow zits, zits close to the lips, zits on the bridge of your nose, zits on the hairline of your forehead, zits on your cheeks. ZITS EVERYWHERE.
I thought that I had outgrown this whole acne thing, but I thought WRONG.
Bring on the clearasil, baby! It's like puberty all over again.

Amanda Brown at 1:24 PM


Monday, September 19, 2005

The Choice is Mine

It's amazing that we as humans have the capacity to choose how we will react to the situations that arise in our lives. Quite often I feel like I have instantaneous reactions to the things that happen to me: someone says something that makes me doubt my ability in a certain area and I am immediately plagued with self-depracating thoughts and negativity. Or I find myself in a challenging situation and it's easier to bemoan the obstacles than to rise to the occasion and push myself to accomplish something greater than I have before.
But I get to decide. I have been given the choice. I can look at things and say, "I get to..." instead of, "I have to...wa,wa,wa,wa...poor me...I found a new dimple of cellulite on my thigh and my universe has collapsed."
I had a little victory today, though. I went on the elliptical trainer this afternoon and managed to work out for 15 minutes! Better than the painful five minutes I wrote about a few weeks back. I chose to push myself. I decided I was going to do it, and I did. Sure, I wanted to throw up and run for cover with a bag of oreos after the four minute mark, but I kept going. And that feels good.

Amanda Brown at 5:06 PM


Saturday, September 17, 2005

Family Matters

The Olsen Clan
My family has been here for the past few days and we've been having a lovely visit. Here are some photos from our time so far. I am not going to blog much right now, because they are in my living room, and it doesn't make much sense to write about how much I love them and think they're great while I am avoiding them and locked in the office.

Me and Steve and our spoiled little doggy

Momma and Pappy, posing with the apples.

Amanda Brown at 5:14 PM



My brother, Stephen, will be leaving for Capernwray Hall in England in a few short weeks. I will not see him again for a very long time, but I wish him well as he heads off on his European adventure. We joke that he is going to come home with a hairy bride. Only time will tell, I suppose. It's been great visiting with him these past few days and I will miss his crazy antics and silly ways. When the two of us are together, we pull out all of the old movie quotes from shows like Dumb and Dumber, Tommy Boy, and Anchorman. We are the only ones who think that's funny. Owell. We share a unique sense of humour that others seem to roll their eyes at. What can ya do?
Here is Steve, riding the bull (Rylie, the burly lab)
The stud-muffin, contemplating his future. He's single, ladies!
I'll miss you, Peeve! Have a wonderful year in England!!

Amanda Brown at 5:03 PM


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I've Got Me A...

...and it's growing ev'ry day!
My mom came to visit me at the office today and she brough with her a COSTCO bag of Jelly Belly jelly beans. We're talking a good two kilograms of pure sugar. Last time I had a bag that big on the premises, it was devoured in mere hours by the staff and people that dropped in. I don't know much about candy dish etiquette, but as a general rule I thought it was polite to limit yourself to one or two of the morsels in an office candy jar. Usually that's what people do, if there's something like peppermints, or stale jube-jubes. But when there's Jelly Belly jelly out! People start salivating and they dive into the bowl and inhale a few dozen beans in one gulp. Jelly Bellies do weird things to people. Like right now, I'm sitting at my desk, and in the drawer next to me is the half bag of Jelly Bellies that were left after I filled the office dish to overflowing. I'll admit, I had a few of them this afternoon. No biggie. But for the past two hours, those little beans in my desk drawer have been taunting me, begging me to rip open the bag and dump the hundreds of beans down my throat. I have been resisting, though. The beans will not conquer me! I will fight them to the end, and in the name of moderation I will try my best to just have a few every day, as opposed to swallowing an entire kilogram right now. Pray that I keep the faith and stay strong against so vicious an enemy.

Amanda Brown at 2:57 PM


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Man, He Vacuums!

So, here's the deal: it's been quite a while since I've run the vacuum across our carpets. And when I say "a while" I mean that I'm pretty sure that some weird fungus has probably rooted itself in the dirty strands of nubby carpet that have long been neglected. It's not my fault, though! I'VE BEEN PICKING APPLES. There, I am going to use the ol' Farmers Wife excuse and that trumps all others. I haven't had time to properly vacuum because I have been too busy helping on the farm (and watching trashy TV at Christy's house...c'mon, the OC is a necessity!). So anyways, this last weekend as Steve and I debated about my work in the orchard, we came to the conclusion that I would pick apples on the weekend if he vacuums before my parents arrived.
So, when I got home from work today, Steve donned his ear muffs (he thinks it wise to preserve his eardrums) and vacuumed the whole house. He did such a good job. That's one of the major differences between me and Steve: he cares about being thorough. He was going crazy on the baseboards, putting on special attachements for different surfaces, and he even moved stuff off the floor to vacuum under it, instead of just around like I do. When I vacuum, I lazily let the machine kind of whir along on its own, and I just kind of go in streaks all over the carpet. In other words, I don't really give a rip about vacuuming. Or dusting. Or mopping. Or most housework, for that matter. When I do housework, I have a motto: "Mediocrity Is My Goal!" and I successfully meet that goal each and every time.
Don't get me wrong; I do like a clean and tidy house, and for the most part I try to keep things under control and every now and then I get in a cleaning frenzy and I go nuts. But for the most part, I am OK with things being almost good enough. Kind of the story of my life.

Amanda Brown at 5:46 PM


I Got Beat Up At the Library

When I was a child, going to the library was always an exciting excursion. I loved filling my arms with dozens of hard-cover story books and plopping down in one of the big cozy chairs in the library's loft to read them.
But one time something terrible happened at the library.
I was about five years old, walking down one of the book aisles, when I saw a pair of little native kids, one girl and one boy, about my age and they gave me the evil eye. I shrugged it off and carried on with my literary selections. But then they passed me again, whispering mean nothings in each other's ears, glaring at me all the while. I didn't know what to make of their sharp stares or rude whispers, so I just gathered my books and went to sit on a big chair to read them. I had just flipped the second page of my book when all of a sudden I looked up and there were the two kids standing right over me. The little boy grabbed a fistful of my hair and yanked me out of the chair and threw me on the ground. The little girl hit me and punched me. I was so shocked that I didn't even think to cry out. My scalp burned as the little jerk pulled on my hair. After a few minutes of the brutality, they just stopped and walked away and left me in a shuddering heap on the floor, my books scattered everywhere.
I remember straigtening my hair and wiping my tear stained eyes, then silently gathering my load of books before I walked downstairs to meet my dad and go home.
I didn't tell my dad what had happened.
I didn't tell another soul for about a decade after.
I was afraid they would find out that I tattled and they would come and kill me.

Amanda Brown at 2:55 PM


Monday, September 12, 2005

Beluga Days

Some days are good days. When you feel full of vitality and energy, and you look in the mirror and smile at your reflection and say to yourself, "Hey, I'm OK!"
Then there are those other kind of days. When you peel yourself out of bed after hitting the snooze button eight times and you can't even see your reflection in the mirror because you have a layer of sleep crusted on your eyelids. And then when you manage to dislodge the chunks dried gunk from your lashes, you wish you hadn't, because when you catch a glimpse of your reflection you want to shriek in terror and you cry out, "When did I become a beluga?!" Today is one of those days.
A beluga day.
Beluga days suck.

Amanda Brown at 3:15 PM


Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Brown Assassin

Steve just left to go be a savage in the woods. The latest hobby of the good ol' boys from Summerland is paintballing, and they have been getting out in the bush quite often to shoot each other with high powered guns and give each other burgundy welts.
I think he is a soldier at heart, because he loves the whole combat feel of paintballing. He leaves the house toting his gun and dressed in camoflauge gear, and he comes back a few hours later drenched in sweat with paint splatters on the butt of his pants and welts all over his lanky body.
I am so glad that he has a group of friends with whom he can just let loose.
Have fun tonight, Steve, and get 'em good!

Amanda Brown at 5:54 PM


Saturday, September 10, 2005

I'll Shut Up Now.

OK, so apple picking isn't so bad. Turns out it's a nice way to spend the day, getting some fresh air and some exercise. I take back my previous griping. I think I was just in one of my special moods where the cloud's lining was not silver, but more a shade of poo brown. Today I am feeling more like myself, and that self says, "Apple picking is A-OK!" with exuberance. Well, that may be stretching it, but it's been a good day thus far. :)

Amanda Brown at 12:43 PM


Friday, September 09, 2005

A Narcissist, A Camera, and A Dream

I have a terrible habit. I take pictures of myself. A lot of pictures of myself. On our computer there is a file folder deemed "self portraits" and it is brimming with photos of me, taken by me. I suppose there are worse vices than vanity. That makes me feel better. Now don't go thinking that I am all conceited and self-absorbed. I think I just like to capture the moments of life, and no one is interested enough in my life to snap pictures of it every few minutes, so that task is left in my hands. Here are some of the self portraits I have taken recently. Enjoy! "I wonder if anyone heard me toot just now."

"Look at me, I'm so deep. Thinking about deep stuff while I look at the ground. I wonder what I should have for dessert tonight."

"The sun is shining and I am happy. Let's make it look like I have an admirer who took this picture of me. C'mon, look admired!"

Amanda Brown at 6:32 PM


Tell Me Again

"Amanda, I hate picking apples just as much as you do!" Steven bellowed, as he and his wife negotiated what her hours of labour in the orchard were to total this weekend.
"Well, if you hate picking apples so much, then why the heck are you an APPLE FARMER?!" she cried.

This is an excerpt from a "discussion" that I had with my husband last night. We are both tired and feeling over-extended with our work and committments, etc. And it's harvest time. I was under the impression that the present round of picking would be done on Friday and that I'd have a chance to get caught up on the things around the house that desperately need doing. I was thinking that I'd be able to use Saturday to get ahead, and feel like things were a little more under control. How foolish I was! Of course the picking has been extended to the weekend and I will be out there, with a big heavy bag strapped to my paunch, while the layer of mildew in our shower thickens by the minute. What can ya do?
Living on an orchard has both its beauties and its blemishes. I think of picking on the weekend as one of those blemishes. A blemish that is red, and swollen with a glistening white head of puss, begging to be popped and go spraying all over the mirror.

Amanda Brown at 6:13 PM


Without Fail

No matter how quiet a morning at work may be, the one time I go to use the washroom, the phone rings. There I am, trying to have a peaceful moment on the john, and I hear the telephone going berserk down the hallway. This situation presents itself with a few options. Do I yank my bottoms up and sprint back to the office, to answer the phone on its final ring, sounding harried and out of breath, and also with unwashed hands? Or do I remain seated and continue my business? I often choose the latter. The answering machine can do its job and I think I am entitled to tend to my body's needs, right?
But, what about on days like today? Days where my guts are churning and I am scrurrying to the washroom every 6 minutes to drain my writhing intestines? I am feeling sick, and it's kind of awkward when you have a desk job. Everyone's like, "where is Amanda?" and then they hear my laboured moans coming from the washroom and they're all, "that's sick."
Today is not my day.

Amanda Brown at 11:58 AM


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Wednesdays Are Sacred

What began as a simple Bible study group has evolved into a living, breathing entity that we like to call "If We Don't Have A Girls' Night Every Wednesday We Break Into Fits of Rage". Yes, our Wednesday night meetings are a wonderful way to slice up the week and just catch up with some of my favourite ladies. Over the summer we took a break from the actual Bible study part of things and pretty much just drank a lot of frapuccinos and diet coke and laughed about crazy stuff. It's been great. These women are fantastic and I love them all dearly! Eating some overpriced pastries from Starbucks is a favourite past time of ours.
Here's the whole group of us. You may need to avert your eyes, since we are so hot this photo is probably burning your retinas.

Sometimes we sing.
OK, so it's only happened once, and it happened to get captured on film.
In about ten minutes I am heading out the door to meet with these friends of mine and I am looking forward to chatting, laughing, and nursing our addiction to aspartame.

Amanda Brown at 6:56 PM


Soon and Very Soon We Are Going To See The King!

In less than a week, my parents and brother will be arriving from Regina for a visit. I am so excited for them to come and experience fall in the Okanagan, and it will be so nice to see them in person. I am sure that a few of the highlights of their visit will be:
1) My dad running up Giant's Head mountain. He is a maniac when it comes to running. He has gone for long distance runs six days a week for the last nearly 40 years. The man is a machine. When he comes to the Okanagan, he likes to torture himself on the many hills and for "fun" he sprints to the top of the highest peak in town. I am definitely my mother's daughter. We prefer exertion in the form of turning the pages in a book and lifting a strand of licorice into our mouths every few minutes.
2) My brother will eat 80 pounds worth of fruit leather. He loves that stuff, and since we get it at a discounted price through Steve's workplace, our pantry is full of it. After my brother's been here a week, however, all that will be left is a wake of "Fruit To Go" wrappers. He's a true piggy hog.
3) My mom and I will go out for coffee. This may sound like a trivial event, but I assure you that it is not. You see, I am married to a man who claims that the smell of coffee gives him a headache. I used to enjoy a steaming cup of joe in the mornings, but after we got married and I heard him weeping in the corner because the aroma of the coffee was making his brain shrivel, I stopped brewing it for good. Steve doesn't even like to set foot in a coffee shop, but I love spending my free time with a latte and a friend. Being the coffee addict that she is, my mom will take me out to a cafe and we will sip on the steaming goodness.
Can't wait to see you all, family!

Amanda Brown at 1:36 PM


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Every Now And Again

Every now and again, someone wonderful crosses your path. Someone who understands you, someone who has struggled through the same things you have, someone with whom you can totally be yourself and feel completely accepted. Christy Heigh is one such someone. She is an amazing mother to two of the cutest little children I have ever met, she makes me laugh so hard that my guts ache, and she has been a true friend to me. Thanks for the great times, Christy. They mean a lot to me.
Meet Megan Heigh...Christy's Mini Me. She is one spunky little girl, and her smile melts your heart. I could just gnaw on her chubby little thighs all day.
And here is Ben, looking rather pensive. He's a sweet, gentle little boy.

Amanda Brown at 6:07 PM


Burn, Baby, Burn!

Fall arrived yesterday and I have decided that I am going to get in shape. Over the summer I was pretty consistent about going for walks and jogs and what-not, but now it's time to gear down and really start working on that mass of jiggly-ness that seems to follow me around.
Here is how my work-out yesterday went:
As I am lacing up my runners, I map out my routine.
I will go on the elliptical trainer for 30 minutes.
I get on the elliptical trainer and set it for maximum resistance.
I begin to start ellipticalling.
I start to sweat profusely, and my lung start to burn.
I check the clock and see that I've only been on for 47 seconds.
While panting, I re-evaluate my work out plan. Maybe I'll just go for 15 minutes today.
I continue ellipticalling, after lowering the machine's resistance.
The panting and burning of lungs becomes more intense.
Through my sweaty eyes I read that clock and see that I've now made it to two minutes and fourteen seconds.
With new determination, I push myself to the three minute, then four minute, then five minute mark.
Then I get off and puke up my spleen.

Amanda Brown at 2:33 PM


Monday, September 05, 2005

Good Genes + Bad Genes = ???

Steve was an adorable child. As a newborn baby he was a bundle of cooing joy, and the grew into an adventerous toddler, and a cute little school boy, and he is now a handsome man. He had a few gangly years while he was adjusting to his growth spurt, but as a general rule there are very few pictures in his family album that make you shudder when you lay eyes on them.
How I wish it were the same for me.
I was a cute baby, and a sweet rolly toddler. But then something happened. I enetered a phase that I affectionately call The "What the Heck Happened in the Gene Pool?!" Years. It was a gradual transition into the Land of Ugly. I believe it started with the mushroom cut.

I woke up one morning when I was five years old and thought, "Wow, I've got a pretty lame mushroom cut. What would make me look better, and detract attention from my shitake head? I know! A tuxedo dress! Yes, that's the solution." I was wrong. And this picture is only one of the multitude that confirm I was a homely child, with atrocious fashion sense.
Here's a photo of Steve. See how cute he was?
I just hope that our future children get his genes, and that they don't have to endure the awkward decade I did.

Amanda Brown at 12:32 PM


The Long Weekend (a clever title, I know)

The Labour Day long weekend is always one of my favourites. It marks the transition between summer and autumn, and I welcome the days of golden leaves and crisp air. The summer has been a lot of fun, and I have had more than my share of days in the sunshine, but I am ready for the change in season. I know that when I am enveloped by low-hanging valley cloud for months on end in the winter, I will call myself crazy for wishing away the heat. But the cooler temperatures have been revitalizing me. The air is a little nippy when I rise in the morning, and I've even had to don a jacket a few days. I love the Okanagan because it experiences all four seasons, but to much less insane extremes than the prairies, where I grew up. In Regina, I remember having indoor recesses at school and hearing warnings that with the windchill factor it was about minus two thousand and fourteen degrees and exposed flesh will freeze solid in three seconds. Ahh, those were the good ol' days. :)
Anyways, this Labour Day long weekend has been a good one. On Saturday we picked apples and other than that I've just been doing a lot of hanging out with friends. It's been just just swell, really.

Amanda Brown at 10:58 AM


Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Blog Binge

You know how it is when you get the chance to eat your favourite food, that you only get once a year? Like your mom's turkey stuffing at Thanksgiving, or when you go to the Pizza Hut lunch buffet and you just load up your plate because you're like "Well, it costs $7.95 whether I eat two pieces of pizza or 14 pieces. What's the diff? I only do this once a year" (or once a week...details, details). I am like that with blogging. Since it seems like my free time to spend at the computer is limited, when I do get the chance to sit down and update my blog, I go NUTS, trying to cram as much into the experience as I can. I'll do like five entries in one night. Five completely disjointed entries. I just mindlessly blog for the the sake of mindlessly blogging because I know I won't get the chance to do it again any time soon.
"Hi. My name is Amanda." (Here is where you all say, "Hi, Amanda.")
"And I am a Blog Binge-er."
Oh, the shame.

Amanda Brown at 9:42 PM


Happy Anniversary to Jason and Erin!

(cue song from Flintstones)
"Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary, Haaaaaaapy Anniversary! Happy, Happy, Happy, Happy, Happy, Anniversary! Happy, Happy, Happy, Happy, Happy, Anniversary! Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary, Haaaaaaapy Anniversary!"
Happy First Anniversary, Jay and Erin. You have been wonderful friends to us and we love you!

Amanda Brown at 9:33 PM


Could Be Worse

Today is one of those days. I am feeling scattered and discontent, despite the fact that I am surrounded by blessings. What's my problem? Whenever I am feeling down like this, I find comfort in the fact that things could always be worse, so I should be grateful. For instance, I could still have butt-ugly auburn hair like I did a few years ago. That would be bad. Yes, therein lies my peace: I am no longer a homely redhead. About 5 years ago I got the urge to dramatically change my look. This urge was from the pit. I should never have heeded its call. I went ahead and chopped off my long blonde hair and dyed it a way too dark shade of auburn. I think that actual name of the colour of the dye was "'What-the-heck-are-you-thinking-you're- going-to-look -hideous' Crimson". Yes, I am pretty sure that's what is was called. The dye job was a horror in itself, but the real troubles came when I tried to dye my hair back to blonde. Let's just sum up by saying I ended up buring off the top half of my hair, and I had to wear a side part for the next 8 months to cover up the charred ends. It was a really great experience.
Even as I type this awful memory now, I find myself feeling better about all of the little things that have been dragging my down. And for anyone else out there who's had a rough day, just look at this picture and be thankful it's not you.

Amanda Brown at 9:16 PM


Friday, September 02, 2005

'Sup Dawg?

I don't know why, but I've been talking like a gangsta. Only to Steve, though. And he hates it. Out of blue I started telling him, "Deal with THAT, home dawg!" But I say it in this awful voice with really bad nasal congestion so it's more like "Deal width DAT, Hobe Dawg!"
For some reason, when I am truly comfortable with someone, I start talking in a weird voice; different for each person. Steve and I have this little high-pitched voice the we use with each other. I don't know how it started, but we can't make it stop now. Kristin and I share a special still voice, too. If this blog was capable of holding audio clips, I would do a demonstration for you, my devoted readers. Count your blessings that it's not. You big bunch of hobe dawgs.

Amanda Brown at 1:57 PM


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Darn 'Coon!

Rolo began a barking fit at three o'clock this morning. I awoke with a start to his territorial growls and woofs, and sensed that he wasn't just making noise for the sake of being an annoying little yapper...there was something outside he was trying to warn us about. I got out of bed and Rolo ran out on the deck, barking so loud and hard that it sounded like he was going to pop a vein in his jugular. Then Steve got out of bed, too, to look around and see if Rolo's alarm was justified or not. All of the lights in the house were off, so it was pitch black, and Steve peered out of our bedroom window with a little flashlight. I asked, "What do you see?"
He was eerily silent.
No response.
I hissed, "STEVE! What is it?!"
He paused, then breathed, "I think it's a murder."
My heart stopped. A murder. I envisioned a bloody corpse on our front lawn, and the culprit tip-toeing around our house trying to find an entrance so he can come in and slaughter us, the unfortunate witnesses.
By this time, Steve had moved down to his office, at the end of the hall, to look out his window there. My every vein was coursing with adrenaline as I went to meet him there, and as I walked down the hallway I wondered if I should have been doing an army crawl, instead of walking upright, in case the murderer fired a gunshot into our house. My eyes wide with fear, I whipsered to Steve, "Should we call someone? 911?"
"What? Why?" he asked, with a look that says he thought I am a nut case.
"What do you mean?! There's a MURDERER lurking in our bushes! Go get a baseball bat or something!"
"A murderer?" He scoffed. "I said I thought that there was a BIRD outside."
I processed this statement. Murderer...Bird...the first syllables rhyme.
I am a loser.
Steve laughed, and went outside to further investigate. It turns out there was a big raccoon padding across our lawn, and that's what had Rolo freaking out. A stupid raccoon.
It took me a long time to fall back asleep after that. I just laid in bed, thinking about how scared I had been, and also about how I have become my mother.

Amanda Brown at 9:01 AM