May 24, 2016

The Big Day

5/24/2016 — cori
The Big Day finally arrived. Gavin and his friends, Collin and Andrew, set aside this past Sunday as "Build Day". After a year of working and saving every penny, Gavin finally earned enough to purchase all the parts necessary to achieve his dream of building his own computer. Excitement was in the air (as well as a lot of boxes, trash, plastic and screws). The kitchen island was deemed the build site. They never even noticed me and my little playskool camera. They were knee deep in this venture from 10am to 4pm. There was ALOT of problem solving going on around this island all day long. I'm amazed and impressed with how they stuck with it and pushed through some of the problems. There were no temper tantrums, melt-downs, or cussing. Like I said, impressive! There was only one Best Buy run due to a broken part. These boys amazed me. After a whole day of problem solving and building, Gavin decided once and for all that he prefers to program and build code over actual physical engineering and building machines. This was not his forte and was so thankful for his friends' help. He said many times he could never have done this on his own. 

Admiring the motherboard

Installing the motherboard

Figuring out what to do with the gaggle of wires

Andrew hugging the case (actually, he's trying to something important, not sure what)

Installing the graphics card holder thingy (I think)

Checking to see if it works

The boys taking an ice cream and shoot the bow and arrow break

The new computer in it's final resting place with it's happy owner.

May 20, 2016

My Filter

5/20/2016 — cori

My Filter

You may think I see things just like you
But my lens filters everything that comes through.
When I look at the world I know what I see
Others can't know exactly what that will be.
We view the same basic image to be true
But the color and clarity might be different to you.
Maybe the way I see things, to you, are new.

I use my words to explain what I see out there
But if your filter is different, you may feel I'm being unfair.
You may think I'm not explaining the way things truly are
But what if your filter is skewing things from afar?
Communication is the important key,
I patiently explain to you, you to me, 
exactly what we see.

Mutual respect is the object here,
Not authority, correctness or something to fear.
We need to take time to listen, learn and be kind
To another's point of view that's not like mine.
Understanding where the other comes from
And listening to how life's experiences shape some
Displaces the fear and anger that often come
From the desire to be right all the time
And replaces it with compassion and words that are kind.

I may find a tribe who share the same filters as me
But that doesn't make us right, it should cause us to be
Sensitive to others with opposing views
Because none of us have all the truth.
If I want to understand you,
I must respect and listen to what you think is true.
We need each other to love, learn and grow
And from that open heart peace begins to flow.
We then start to understand that more we listen, the less we know.

photo credit:

May 17, 2016

Smell Association

5/17/2016 — cori

Helen Keller says, "Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived." Isn't that just beautiful?! It's the truth too. When I go for my daily walks around the neighborhood and the sweet smell of the lilac bushes envelops me, I get this goofy little grin on my face. It just makes me happy. Minnesota equals lilacs. So that got me thinking, what do the other states/places I've lived smell like? When a certain smell accosts me, what place do I immediately think of?

England smells like two things to me: fresh cut grass and diesel fumes. Every time a diesel truck drives past me, I'm whisked away to England where I lived as a child. 

Equally pleasurable is the scent of fresh cut grass clippings. This was the best toy in my make-believe world. I would spend hours arranging the grass clippings into floor-plans of houses IN FIRST GRADE! Who does this? 

Virginia is all about Honeysuckle. Mmmm...I can smell now. I remember a friend had a row of Honeysuckle bushes in her neighborhood that I HAD to go smell whenever they were in season. I was drawn to the honeysuckle like a moth to a flame. When I lived there again for a short while as an adult, that's the first smell I sought out. Ahhh....all's right in the world again. 

Connecticut also has two smells, both very personal to me. Whenever we visited my grandparents it was usually summer. We spent most of our time outside in the back yard. Sweet, fresh-cut grass always takes me back to their backyard. We swam in the little plastic Scooby-Doo pool they set up each summer for us. I think it had more grass clippings in it than water from our dirty little feet. We played bochie ball, whiffle ball games and had many, many family pot-lucks there as well. Good times.

Cigar smoke. Love it. My Grandfather used to smoke these down in the basement. My Grandmother hated the smell and exiled him to the basement. I loved spending time in the basement playing school, thus my love of the cigar.

Texas comes roaring back to life at me through the smell of the Texas Mountain Laurel. Chuck and I like to call it the Kool-aid tree cuz that's exactly what it smells like. We were first introduced to these in Nacogdoches at the school aboretum where we went to college, but gradually saw more and more in the Dallas area the longer we lived there. It looks similar to the vitex tree, which is rampant through-out Texas since it is so drought tolerant. But this makes you giddy with excitement.

Lastly, and probably surprisingly, the smell of Texas is also pine trees and pine needles. The Piney Woods covers the smallest portion of East Texas. We lived in the heart of it when we were in college at SFA in Nacogdoches. With the smell of pines, I'm instantly transported back in time and place. It is a very nostalgic smell for me. I don't think I appreciated it enough while I lived there, but I sure do now.

May 16, 2016

It Is Finished

5/16/2016 — cori
It only took a year but we finally did it! Our master bathroom is complete with working shower and all. Here's what we had to work with....

Green and ugly

Dark and gloomy to...

Open and light

clean and bright

white and nice

my happy place

We did every single thing by ourselves except for installing the glass in the shower. Thus, the year timeline. We ripped everything out and were down to studs, plywood and a few pieces of sheetrock. Our original plan was to get rid of the post by the shower, but it turned out to be load-bearing, so...we worked around it. It was a long, tedious process. Everything that could go wrong pretty much did. But alas, it is finished. It's not perfect...but neither are we; so it fits us nicely.

May 12, 2016


5/12/2016 — cori

This sick, narsty (these are positive traits, or so at least I'm told - I'm speaking his language) 8th grader just wrote an amazing poem for his English class. He gave me permission to share it here:


I'm walking down the street in a poverty ridden city
Looking for a place eat, trying to swallow my pity.
When I see that old man holding up a sign
I give him all the change of mine.
He smiles and grabs my hand, thanking me
And asks if I want to hear a story of what he used to be.
So I sit down with him on his cardboard house
 He talks about how he didn't used to be like this.
He said his life used to be a happy bliss,
And he shares memories that he will always miss.
He talks about how he used to be attacked by a mob,
As the police sat back and watched, not doing their job.
I hear about the injustice that cannot be stopped.
He used to be a janitor and mopped.
He talks about the fear that was behind every corner,
And how when his son died, he became a mourner.
Poverty is like tasting the hottest hot-sauce with no water in sight,
It's so painful you just want to fight.
Poverty is like a deadly disease,
It has pain with no cure and no ease
So let's end poverty, please.

May 11, 2016

The Mailbox

5/11/2016 — cori
As Chuck and I walked out of our bedroom yesterday, we came upon this....a new mailbox taped to the doorframe. It has the markings of Chloe all over it. We found many little 'i love you' notes inside that evening.

I guess she felt my door didn't have anymore room for her to express her feelings for us.

So she got creative and taped a homemade mailbox up there instead. She said we will know when we have mail because the flap will be up. Not surprisingly, she has an identical one taped to her doorframe so that we can respond in kind. Apparently we have communication issues and Chloe is trying to get us to talk more.

Here's an example of one of the little treats we found inside last night....a comic book Chloe made. It was the perfect size to fit into our new communication device. Who needs email, texting, snapchat when you have a cardboard mailbox to pass notes back and forth with?! 

This is Chloe's desk after the creativity process. Apparently, creativity is a messy ordeal. I am glad, however, that she was able to find an ingenuitive way to recycle the cardboard backing from her spiral notebook (hope that wasn't for school).

So, moral of the story, I'm going to work harder at communicating with Chloe...but everything I have to say must fit on a 2" x 4" piece of paper. I can get a little verbose sometimes. I just hope everything I have to say can fit in there.

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