Saturday, June 15, 2013

Stina "Minty Poo" Ahmann Nevill

Christina "Stina" "Minty Poo" Ahmann Nevill went to be with the Lord two days ago after a long and gracefully-fought battle with cancer. Stina was my Resident Assistant my sophomore year of college, and we were RAs together my junior year of college and I adored her. Some memories:

When we were RAs together, she somehow got the nickname Minty Poo. I honestly am having trouble remembering how that happened. I think she told a story about minty poo, or she really liked someone's story about minty poo...can anyone help me out with this one? Wow, this is a terrible memory about Stina - it involves me not actually remembering. Fail. Oh, except I remember that Stina had such a great sense of humor that she thought it was hilarious to be called minty poo for an entire year.

She once made turkeys out of Nutter Butters and candy corn and then made a video of the turkeys falling in love.

Stina had a contagious smile and a contagious joy.

Her smile almost supersedes the fact that this might be the worst picture ever taken of me.
In my sophomore year of college, I heard some bad news one night and I could not stop crying. I did not want to talk about it. I could not talk about it. Stina happened to be stopping by our room and instead of plying me with questions or trying to fix things, she simply stood by my loft bed and laid her hand on my ankle until I cried myself to sleep. I'm certain she was praying. I will never forget that.

Stina was silly and totally inappropriate. She liked to play a game called BVB. I hated that game. She also liked to play "take video of residents while they're showering without showing any nudity, of course." I lived in fear of that. She never got me, but the girls who did get videoed got her back with a bucket of ice water dumped into her hot shower one morning. She took it in stride (by running out of the shower and tackling them).

Just some normal college kids...and Karl.
She played the violin beautifully, but I don't think I knew that until she was playing at a recital. It was like - surprise! She was humble about her skills.

Stina was fun. I only got to see her once after she graduated, at our RD's wedding in Oregon. She was my date - picked me up from my hotel and everything - and even though we hadn't seen each other in almost two years, it was like no time had passed. She was that kind of friend. You could just pick up where you left off and feel instantly comfortable.

At the end of my sophomore year, Stina held our last section meeting and told us that if we felt led, we could wash the feet of anyone who we wanted to serve in that way and pray for them. Two hours later, I think we had all washed each other's feet and we had just as much water as when we started because everyone was crying. (WOMEN. AmIright?!) Stina could facilitate community and worship. She could facilitate it something fierce.

Standing in a pond, like you do.
You know how when people pass away, we only remember how wonderful they were and we sweep the rest of their memory under the rug? Well, I know Stina wasn't perfect because she was human and all, but I cannot come up with one bad thought about her. She sought to glorify God in everything she did, she had a great sense of humor, she was loving and generous and kind and talented and beautiful. I hope to be more like her when I grow up.

I miss you, Stina.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Goodwin Games and TV Cancellation Heartbreak

Dear People on the Internet,

Can you all please watch The Goodwin Games? It's only been on for four episodes, but I love it already. It has a fresh, albeit totally implausible if one's disbelief isn't properly suspended, premise of three estranged siblings brought back together to compete for their recently deceased genius father's fortune which they didn't previously know he'd amassed. It stars Noel from Felicity, Barney's stripper girlfriend from HIMYM, and a dude I found mildly annoying in the first episode but already now find completely endearing. There's wit mixed with childish humor mixed with unexpectedly sweet moments - a combination very similar to Go On, may it rest in peace.

And shows like Go On are why I'm writing to you today, Internet. I've experienced too many cancellation heartaches recently. I won't dwell long, but let me tell you about a few fallen heroes:

Bent. This was a long while ago. I think it was about a type-A girl who hires a hot contractor who is not dependable. Antics and sexual tension ensued. 

Emily Owens, MD. COME ON. How do you cancel Meryl Streep's daughter's show?! Shouldn't there be a law against that? There should be a law against that. This show was like Grey's Anatomy: Lite, and isn't that what we're all really searching for in this world?

Ben and Kate. Sure, the premise wasn't original, but I liked Ben and I liked Kate. Ben was a lovable loser. Kate was mega awkward and an imperfect perfectionist, a hard combination to live out but one with which I related. 
 Go On. I think all the major TV networks are just playing a joke on Matthew Perry at this point. This is his third failed venture since Friends. Go On was at times too wacky for me (I loathe the word wacky and I loathe wackiness), but for the most part it was witty and completely sweet. It did remind me of Community at times - a group of people who should never be friends become a ragtag family - but I wouldn't think that's grounds for show murder. 

Smash. Just kidding. I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did. That show took itself way too seriously. Good music though. (Pats Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee on the heads condescendingly.)

Up All Night. The biggest heartbreak. So many times while watching this show, Jeff and I felt like we were watching our relationship. And we find ourselves vastly entertaining, so of course we wanted it to continue. But then LORNE wanted to switch to multi-cam and he ruined everything. Freaking Lorne. (Lorne, if you're reading this, I'm just joking. Please let me be on SNL just once. Please.) Anyway, Up All Night was hilarious, sweet, and honest. Winner. Except, you know...loser. 

I suppose one could draw the conclusion that I have poor taste in television since all of these got canceled, and to that one who is drawing that conclusion I say this: Dancing with the Stars has been one of the top rated TV Shows in the recent past. That's bad ballroom dancing starring, at best, C-list "actors." So maybe good taste has little to do with keeping a show around.

In conclusion, watch The Goodwin Games. Let's keep this one alive!


Meet the Goodwins!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

anything once: making an indoor play tent

My mom is addicted to Pinterest. If she hears an interesting quote in real life, she thinks about which of her boards she could pin it on. She has 52 boards and 1409 pins, and I've mocked her more than once for her addiction. However, she also discovers such fun ideas, like making an indoor play tent for Eiley's room! 

We decided a few Saturdays ago to move full force on this idea, and we headed over to Hobby Lobby. I absolutely hate to admit how much I like that store. I mean, they play muzak versions of CCM. On one trip there I endured an instrumental version of Michael W. Smith's "Place in this World" played entirely on sax and synthesizer. So basically the place is like a giant Christian elevator filled with craft and decorating supplies, but I can't deny that it's magical. My mom and I went without a firm plan on how we'd create the tent (how hard could it be, right?), and we walked straight over to the fabric section where there was...a free pamphlet with ideas on how to make indoor play tents. What?! MAGICAL. 

Steps to creating a play tent:

1. Purchase super cute fabric. Guys. I actually used the Pythagorean Theorem to figure out how much fabric we'd need. I still had that in my head from Geometry, which was in my sophomore year of high school. Please at least pretend to be impressed (except you, Manny. You may say something like "pshaw" and return to being a genius). Anyway, to make a tent that was 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide, we'd need a little less than 4 yards of fabric. 

2. Purchase 4" wide ribbon, at least 4 yards.

3. Purchase embroidery thread and needles and an optional fancy threader thing to make threading the needle easier.

4. Purchase wooden dowel. We chose one that was about 3 feet long and 3/4 inch in diameter. The diameter isn't super important, as long as it's strong enough to hold the weight of the fabric.

5. Sew the ribbon onto the edge of the fabric so it has a bit of a finished look. We did this by hand, which was the only time consuming part of this process and wasn't totally necessary. We watched some fun movies though, so it didn't really matter.

Shhh...she's concentrating!
6. Cut two holes at the center of the fabric, where you plan to hang the tent.

7. Wrap ribbon under wooden dowel and through the holes in the fabric.

8. Affix something to the ceiling in two places that correspond with the ribbon locations. My husband used something that enabled him to screw a metal hoop into our ceiling.

9. Tie the two ribbons to the hoops or secure them to the ceiling some other way.

10. Attach the sides of the tent however you choose! I thumbtacked one side to the wall, then used Eiley's crib to hold the other side down. You could also use carpet tacks or think of something else.

11. We hung string lights over the tent for some extra lighting in there, added a couple pillows and a cushy blanket as a carpet, and voila! Awesomeness.

This was a success (even though I admit I've been enjoying the tent more than Eiley)! And, of course, you can find it on my mom's Pinterest board, "we saw, we pinned, we DID."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Our Romantic Fifth Anniversary

Jeff and I celebrated our fifth anniversary on Friday. Well, I use the term "celebrated" loosely. We did meet up at Rubio's on his lunch break for about 45 minutes. We also had dinner together for about 30 minutes before he went to perform in a production of "The Matchmaker" in Hollywood. He brought me flowers, I wrote him an epic card. Doesn't sound terribly romantic, does it? Well, let me tell you about romance. 

The day after our anniversary, Jeff helped me prepare for a party I was throwing that evening. He cleaned the house and took care of our toddler while I ran errands, then he assisted in arranging tables and thought through seating for me. I didn't ask him to do any of that, especially since it was for a bridal shower that he obviously wasn't going to attend. He just offered. That's romance.

The day after that, I came down with a mystery illness that left me shivering in bed, crying for no apparent reason other than miserable aches. He gave me medication, held me to warm me up, and didn't even call me a wuss when I cried. That's romance.

The day after that, I was still sick and he came home from work with the worst migraine ever. He laid on the couch, and I took off his shoes and put his feet up for him. Romance.

Once his Excedrin kicked in he felt better, but I was still sick so he prepared soup for my dinner. Romance.

In the midst of all this, our Internet stopped working, and like a freaking genius I pushed the reset button on our router. Apparently that put everything back to factory settings, which meant we had no clue what our password was because we changed it from the original back in October. I am ashamed to admit I'd done this once before many months ago, but somehow forgot about that ordeal and did it a second time. Instead of telling me I'm an idiot (which would have been accurate), Jeff just sat down and fixed it. It probably took a couple hours, but he was so calm about it. ROMANCE.

We're going to get away some time next month to celebrate in a happier, more traditionally romantic way, but I'm proud of the solid marriage that Jeff and I have even when life isn't all a shiny, fairytale romance. I'm grateful to be married to such a wonderful man, and I'm pleased to team up with him for better or worse.

Engagement picture by Chris Humphreys