July 29, 2006

More summer? Where did that come from?

I started this summer with some plans like take my first legal drink, go on a road trip with friends, write the beginning of a book, get published, begin the graduate school search, make a fully-functioning website, try something un-Amanda and watch lots of movies and read lots of books not pertaining to anything with a tutorial agenda.

Now, with the season in its dog days, I find I've done most of these things, but some remain illusive, such as go canoeing, hike a rather large hill, swim in a lake and another that I will not mention due to its embarrassing nature.

This has been an amazing summer, and I would be happy ending it with all of these wonderful experiences under my belt. However, as summer would have it, an amazing opportunity has presented itself. I'm off to camp. Next week I'll be traveling to my church's affiliate camp in Michigan to do all the things I've not done so far. Hopefully--I'm not quite sure the last objective I mentioned will happen, but who knows?

I think I will document this trip because it is such a great place to photograph and remember. I have some of my best memories of teenage angst from when I attended camp in junior and senior high school.

But this trip isn't all about me. I'm actually going to serve a purpose while I'm there, too. I'm not just a camper, but a bonafide camp counselor. I hope I won't lead the kids astray... I think I'm just there to make sure the shaving cream battles don't get out of control, but I'm preparing for anything. You know kids these days... ;)

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 11:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 21, 2006

Amandae Domesticus

This is a new species--a hybrid of a curious me with perhaps innate feminine sensibilities which lean toward crafts, interior design and hunting & gathering.

This past week my top priorities were in some way connected to these three areas of domestication.

For the first area, I spearheaded a craft project: a cover-up for my beach adventure, which will commence today. I started it on Tuesday by cutting out the pattern--a borrowed 1970's pattern with a price of $1.75 price tag (versus today's approx. $5+ version).

My grandma and an older librarian helped me out with figuring out how to put the pieces together and to select a suitable fabric with the correct measurements. Though I did not get a cotton fabric, as I should have, the end result is very pretty with an art-deco chiffon feel of black, white and two shades of pink.

My mom wouldn't permit me to function her new sewing machine, however, so the sewing, much to my relief, was done by someone else. HA! It is a difficult fabric to sew. My mom said she doesn't want anyone looking at the seams closely because she was embarrassed with her work. I was proud; it's finished and functions beautifully. Next time I'll just follow fabric directions...

As for the second project, I have been working on the local bathroom. The project has gone on for about a month now, and I was getting extremely tired of it, but the end was near. The last thing to do was the baseboards, which I got another try at the power drill. I was a bit out of practice, however, and caught myself putting my entire weight behind the bugger and nada. Thankfully, my sister's boyfriend was there to, yes, help out the womenfolk. As if we needed it. We did. Thanks Nick! :)

The final thing on my list was to pick blackberries. They are finally in season. I wrote a story about a berry picking experience out of frustration because I missed them last year, and I have to go this year. I'm going to wait until I get back to pick some, though. Word is they're kind of puny this early in the season. I want my berries to plunk-plunk in my bucket and make that delicious hollow sound.

If people think I'm going to make cobbler and pie, however, think again. Amandae Domesticus is a failure hybrid in the kitchen on most occasions. Elements seem to combust when this species enters that realm of experimentation.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 12:05 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 13, 2006

Mission: Annoy people into loving Jesus

I don't usually get in strangers' faces, but the only time I felt compelled to do so is when Jehovah's Witnesses come a'tapping on my door.

The ones that frequent my area end up literally sticking their foot in the doorjamb to indicate how much they want to talk to you--inside. Um doesn't this scream Mafia?

My aunt and uncle have been caught in this trap before. They came in the house and wouldn't leave until their entire spiel was exhausted, and my uncle was polishing his shotgun--no, not really.

My response, however, is a little more direct, and sorry to say, rude. A few months ago, inundated with school work, I responded with: "I'm sorry I'm not into your cult thing, Thanks!" After that, they disengaged their foot, pushed some literature in my hands and stalked off. They probably were happy that I at least took something, which I may, someday, pick up and suddenly convert.

The distasteful scenario makes me happy to learn that someone ironically suggested turning the tables on these door-knockers. It makes me wonder if other people hadn't thought of it before. I mean, Jehovah's Witnesses live in communities, right? It would be incredibly entertaining to see a Satanist group storming the Kingdom Hall gate.

Though I understand the importance of sharing one's faith, I find the entire attitude annoying, and would suggest conversations in the normal places of discourse--like barber shops, McDonald's, Wal-Mart and the local PetSmart. People seem to have the most compelling conversations at these locales. Oh, and in rush hour traffic--on a cell phone.

I've received some interesting things from certain groups within my denomination, as well. My favorite(?) piece of missionary memorabilia I found lying on the sidewalk outside of Dick's Sporting Goods.

It was a $5 bill--or was it? No. It said, "Disappointed? Well, you should be if you haven't found Jesus." Of course I was disappointed, gas just crossed the $2.50 mark and I thought I just found money. I was angry at God for a second for creating stupid people that thought this would cause people to convert. :-) No, not really, but, with a background in communications, I cringed. Why, oh, why did everyone get access to editing software and $5 bills?

I keep it in my car's ash tray, though. I've fooled so many passengers into thinking they've found green in my car's ocean of poor maroon interior. Sometimes I find myself into thinking I am $5 richer, too. But really, even when I mistake that bill for money while waiting at the turnpike gate and laugh at my stupidity when it's not, I realize that infinite wealth lies at the base of these approaches. If only there were a tactful way, a tactful communications professional out there...

Missionary teams are so caught up in the mission that they ironically do not worry about their appearance in the public eye. Any philanthropic/religious endeavor needs the same finesse that a Fortune 500 company does for communications. Why doesn't anyone realize this?

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 10:09 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 5, 2006

Holiday of remembering

This was a holiday to remember in every sense of the word.

So, amazing holiday in Amandaland. It all started in Shanksville on a very rainy morning. It was incredibly mushy and I was tired from working on a ceiling in our house that was falling and couldn't get up until 1 a.m. (but that is neither here nor there). However, the shots, in black and white came out nicely. Check out the old standard here.



This is the field, and in the distance is the flag where the plane went down. The park service has plans for a permanent memorial. At the site, visitors can pick up a copy of the new architecturally-savvy design template.


Each of the benches has the name of one of the American passengers aboard Flight 93, minus the names of the terrorists.


The sad wall.


Sweet sentiments, but America, spell-check, please, before marking any kind of public area.


Artificial flower.


Still praying for peace.


Angels and flags.


Sharing the memorial wall.

Moving on through the day, quite literally, we had lunch and traveled to nearby Somerset to visit the Quecreek Mine Rescue site. It's a beautiful spot, and contrasting the Flight 93 site and this memorial, there is and was a markable difference in tone, as there should be.


This was at the Quecreek. Beautiful angel sillhouette.


In the pipe for Plan 'B' of the rescue.


Cute baby cousin makes me happy. I love photographing kids these days.


More cute cousinage.


Half the fun of outdoor photography is the outdoors. Daisy anyone?


So this is "the hole." It has since been filled in, as we learned when we tried to throw rocks down in the shaft. Yeah, folks, you can throw rocks down it. Doesn't that scream another Baby Jessica?


My cousin reads the messages the miners prepared for their families to find, now etched into stone.

After ice cream and a trip home, I found myself at Moira's, where I promptly met this kitchen species of squirrel. He holds spoons, whisks and the like. If squirrels can stand the kitchen, I'm thinking, maybe I will a little more, too. Moira, I had a great time, by the way. Thanks for the invite.


Great Fourth of July. Great fun. It's great to be free.

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July 3, 2006


More evidence of the cult. :-)

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Stuck-uh-oh in stucco

Stucco is a glue-like compound which is ideally applied to flat surfaces for the effectual purposes of texturizing the area.

My surface is not flat. The post-apolcalyptic wallpaper took care of all that. My summer project is to remodel the bathroom and I'm finding the endeavor more and more difficult.

I began about a week ago with tearing down the yellowed early 90's wallpaper and purchasing my first heavy tub of stucco (not stuck-o or stuko, just stucco). The first application was a medium blend my mother promptly told me was wrong, that is, after I applied the entire bucket.

However, all was not lost. This prompted her to take some action and she bought more proper, correct stucco for the ghastly walls, devoid of color and feeling for the novice interior decorator, namely--me.

So application went a bit better the next time. We have a trowel, but I hate it. I didn't buy a texturized roller that the Busy Beaver guy suggested, so to get the texture necessary for a beautiful room, I have to, literally, feel up the room. I use my palms and pat/smack/pound the walls until the wall looks like a huge Dairy Queen confection.

If one would stick their head in while I'm working, one would think I've been hugging the still-elusive, yet melting abominable snowman. The job is getting done, however; I only have two small walls and some touch-ups to do.

Next comes paint. We've chosen, after much deliberation "Belle Grove Aloe Green." Mint-green, really, but I guess someone has to have a job naming paint.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at 9:13 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack