December 18, 2008


1. Favorite Holiday Memory - Kevin licking the candy canes off the Chritmas tree
2. Favorite Holiday Song - “O Holy Night” Fall on your knees gives me cold chills every single time I hear it. Although Harry Connick Jr.’s “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” works for me too. :o)

**Last year I had fun with my Charlie Brown Christmas cd that Kacey bought me.
**This year I have Mikey’s “Candlelight Processional Disney Massed Choir” cd that he recorded when he was in high school and that his mom brought from Florida so I could enjoy.
3. Favorite Holiday Cartoon - How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the animated version!)
4. Favorite Holiday Movie - Die Hard! But I’m also a sucker for “It’s a Wonderful Life”.
5. Wrapping Paper or Gift bags? Both. I like wrapping paper better, and I LOVE big bows, but I hate to wrap, so gift bags or gift boxes would be more honest.
6. Real tree or artificial? Fake, baby! The last time we cut a real tree, some critter hatched out after we brought it home and we were bug-infested the entire season. Ick!
7. When do you put up the tree? Thanksgiving weekend. Always.
8. More importantly, when do you take down the tree? New Year’s Day. I’m firm on this one. When the season is over, doggone it, turn off your giant inflatable penguins and take down the garland. I will give you about a one-week grace period on this one, and then I will be yelling at your house from my car, “CHRISTMAS IS OVER!!!! TURN OFF THE LIGHTS!!!”
9. Favorite Gift received as a child? Hmmmm . . . the funniest one was a GIGANTIC can of ravioli my parents thought would be funny. It was. The most creative was from my boyfriend we'll call "Tim": He did a “12 days of Christmas” thing that included a lot of sweet and fun things like cars and fur coats and flowers and a diamond necklace. I’ll have to blog about that sometime . . .
10. Hardest person to buy for? Dad. What do you get dad? I never do know.
11. Easiest person to buy for? Kacey or mom. They both like what I like!
12. Christmas cards? Nope. Sorry, just don’t do them, but I’m happy to open yours as long as you don't include one of those "this is how wonderful my family is" newsletters!
13. Nativity Scene? Nope again. But then, I don’t even have family pictures displayed in my house, so this is not a big surprise. Jesus is in my heart, but not on top of my entertainment center. Sue me.
14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Christmas Sushi! HaHa. Okay, grandmama’s oyster dressing. Yum!
15. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Yeah, Grumpy, Sleepy, Dopey . . .
16. Angel on top of the tree? Sparkly sticks and twigs and berrys and spirally things that stick out everywhere. Love it. When the kids were little we usually topped the tree with a Santa hat.
17. Open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? One present only on Christmas eve, the rest on Christmas morning, except now that the daughter-face is married and not coming home. Christmas will be weird and a week early, and on Christmas we will sit and stare at one another and sigh deeply while feeling sorry for ourselves. But at least we have cable this year, so we can watch "Paris Hilton's My New BFF" on MTV while we feel sorry for ourselves. (Yes, I'm kidding. MTV is blocked in my house for those of you who don't recognize the sarcasm.)
18. Best part of the holidays? Playing games. Especially ones that I win. Like Boggle.
19. Worst part of the holidays? Missing people who should be sharing the holiday with me. That, and putting away the Christmas decorations and getting used to seeing the house look “naked” again.
20. Weirdest Christmas memory? Asking for a doll that looked like me, and getting a Raggedy Ann doll. Not a great self-esteem booster, though now that I see her again . . . round face, pale skin, thick ankles, unruly red hair . . .

21. Colored lights or white? White, LOTS OF THEM, but NO BLINKING!
22. Ever been Christmas caroling? Yes, but it's been a LONG while! Mostly I just Christmas Carol to myself in the car . . .
23. Ever been ice skating? Once, in Alaska, while pushing Kacey in a stroller. Cold, but FUN!
24. Candy Canes or Gingerbread? Gingerbread, but star-shaped sugar cookies with colored sugar sprinkles are even better!
25. Christmas quirk? When the kids were little, I wouldn't let them see the presents under the tree or open their stockings until everybody was awake and their hair was brushed. (It's a photographer thing. Or a control-freak thing. Who, me?) :o)

December 17, 2008

my six word only blog update

Christmas shopping. No time for blogging.

Don't know what to get grandmama.

Kevin in Indy all week. Quiet.

Snow on the ground. Me happy.

Getting cable today. No longer Amish.

Kacey coming home. Uber holiday excitement!

Lindsay and Parker coming too. Yeah!

Really looking forward to NYEEE Sushi!

Saw '88 Minutes' with Pacino. Ehh.

Kids Christmas program at church tonight.

December 11, 2008

blog written. comments left. world unchanged.

Apparently Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to compose a complete story in six words. His answer, personally felt to be his best prose ever, was
"For sale: baby shoes, never used."

I took on this challenge a few nights ago at Mike’s request (he had some really good ones he was entering in a contest)

and so I came up with a few of my own:

“Love letter remains sealed. Died alone.”
“Two enemies. One weapon. No survivors.”
“Husband missing. Garden flourishing. Mystery solved.”

I enjoyed my quirkier ones, though not quite stories:
“Freaky carnival girl: my ‘fair’ lady”
“Sick of the airport - terminally ill”

Did this for a few hours. Began thinking in six word phrases.
“Getting really sleepy. Time for bed.”
“Your mom called. Please call back.”
“Laundry is done. Will you fold?”
“What’s for dinner? Whatever YOU fix!”

You get the idea.

Then Kacey and I turned it into a game that we played by text.
“Name that movie in six words.”

“Wish granted. Mother, daughter trade lives.” (Freaky Friday)
“Silly actors wear big Mexican hats.” (Three Amigos)
“Theme park dinosaurs escape. Eat tourists.” (Jurassic Park)
“Sleepy writer. Stolen story. Shoot her.” (Secret Window)
“Teens play video games with military.” (Wargames)
“Metal flowers. Blush, bashful. Kidney failure.” (Steel Magnolias)
“Shark attack. Gonna need bigger boat.” (Jaws)

Then we had fun doing only Will Smith movies:
“Impoverished Will Smith kicks advertising butt.”
(Pursuit of Happyness)
“Lonely Will Smith kicks epidemic butt.” (I Am Legend)
“Robots attack. Will Smith kicks butt.”
(I, Robot)
“Aliens attack. Will Smith kicks butt.” (Independence Day)
“Aliens invade. Will Smith kicks butt.” (Men in Black)
“Aliens invade. Smith kicks butt again.” (Men in Black II)

We started to sense a theme.
Game seemed pointless. Exercise in futility.
It was late. Time for bed.

May you dream in six words.

December 10, 2008


My Granny passed away yesterday at the age of 92. I got three things from my Granny: my green eyes, my "girls" (if you know what I mean), and my love of hot tea with milk. Granny has spent the last three years in an assisted living community where Alzheimer's was recently causing more bad days than good, and where my mom was traveling the 3+ hours to care for her on a very regular basis, so this is a bittersweet time for my family. There will only be a few of us to mourn this loss, as we are a small family who has already endured more than its fair share of grief. There will be my parents, my three cousins (and possibly their families), my children, my husband, and me. Grandaddy, Uncle Bill (my mom's only sibling) and Stacey (my only sibling) have already left us.

Though there have been some truly hysterical stories since Granny has been in the retirement home, (Kacey: I'm sure Granny STILL wants her car back!) I will choose to hang on to those childhood memories that have helped mold and shape me. I will remember the high four-poster bed, the always immaculate house, Sunday pot roast, "hon" (pronounced in two-syllables as Hu-Wun), roses, Estee Lauder, "the grandaddy", sitting on the back porch, and many, MANY trips to the fabric store so Granny could make dresses for us.

Granny lived by two principles: 1) Do good for other people, and 2) though she frequently said, "Pretty IS as pretty DOES", what she really believed was, "It's better to look good than to feel good!" :o) (I believe she is thoroughly enjoying her immortal body.)

I have no witty story ending here. Nothing profound. Just a life transition that makes this week a bit harder to bear.

December 05, 2008

salt and battery

Okay, so I just got off the phone with one of my very good friends.

This girl is amazing. She has 5 children - high school down to a 2-year old.

She also takes care of her one-year-old niece on a daily basis.

She also homeschools two of her children.

She also is brilliant and tutors my son in Algebra 2, Geometry and Chemistry.

She would not mind me saying that if you combine brilliance with 5+ children, you get chaos.

Very funny chaos.

So while we were on the phone, her 2-year-old started eating . . . a battery. She immediately dropped her conversation with me to grab the battery out of this kid's mouth. "Baby, "NO" you can't eat batteries!"

"But, Mommy, I hungry!"

Makes good sense to me.
Batteries give you energy, right?

When I read that last line out loud my son said, "Yeah, mom, but this is not a kid we want to keep "going and going and going"!

December 03, 2008

top ten ways my daughter’s $80,000 college degree (and subsequent marriage to the wonderful nathan) has cost me

Today's blog entry is all in good fun. I ADORE my daughter more than you can imagine! However, this will make little sense unless you read Daughter-Face’s blog entry first. I highly recommend it. She’s funny.

10. I had to teach myself Adobe Photoshop. But just the Elements version. No money left over after her tuition to pay for the full program or the cushy classroom instruction for me.

9. I had to pay taxes on daugher-face’s car for 2008 (even though she has been driving it for 3 years) ‘cause she’s been so busy pouring coffee that she STILL hasn’t dealt with her expired tags!

8. While she studied grammar and Greek, I spent mucho bucks on Starbuck’s Gift Cards to enable her caffeine addiction, thus once again contributing to the training for her current job sloshing Joe.

7. Her dorm furniture that I not only bought, but spent hours putting together with a screwdriver, Q-tips, and my bloody fingers wasn’t good enough for her to take to her new “married” apartment. Her new living room now consists of my mirror, my floor lamp, my coffee table, and my comfy chair that she took from me, leaving my current living room naked and empty.

6. New shirts and hoodies for every club function, every campus event, every mission trip, every new dorm cost me $29.95 every other week for two years so she could look cute in the latest logo-laden cotton top. And she still brought home laundry for me to wash.

5. Her $80,000 journalism degree has succeeded in making her blog funnier than mine, thus leaving me feeling inadequate and unvalidated. I ask you, where are my accolades? Huh, where?!

4. We lived off Ramen noodles at home for four years so she could cook in her PRIVATE dorm room with that nifty little hot pot, cute little plastic plates, cups, can opener, and matchy-matchy little towels that she is now complaining about. (Oh, and daughter-face, next time you’re frying chicken, don’t throw tequila into the greasy pan. That will prevent your little kitchen fires. Just a helpful hint from mommy.)

3. She has a minor in Greek worth about $25,000 of that $80K. Unless they serve coffee in “Alpha” cups and “Omicron” mugs at her new Coffee Shop Job, I’m not sure how helpful it actually was. At least it helped her write her sorority name: Alpha Sigma Sigma

2. Again, no money for expensive geography lessons for me. No fun-filled trips out of the country. No last-minutes weekend excursions to New Orleans with my fiance’. (Though I did have that one really exciting outing to the Saddle Boy competition in Fort Worth in September, so I guess I shouldn’t complain.)

And I had to self-locate the island of Saba on Google maps. Took me forever. Like 3 minutes.

1. I tried to fix my daughter up with a certain boy from home when she was 14 (in future tense since she couldn’t date until 16). I tried to fix her up with him again when she was 16, and then again when she was 20, but NOOOOOOO. So instead, I spent $80,000 on a Christian college education so she could find her a good man. What did she do after she earned her degree? Went off and married the boy I tried to fix her up with 8 years earlier!!!

$80,000. Sheesh.

December 02, 2008

basketball and backsides


I was on my blog fast during our church team’s too-short basketball season, so I didn't really get to blog about our boys in black. Let me just say, it was too much fun! (The basketball games, not the blog fast.) I wish I could explain to you why I find it thoroughly entertaining to watch ten athletic guys acting all manly. . . running back and forth on the court . . . getting all sweaty . . .

Um . . . what was I talking about?

Oh, yeah. There is something unique that happens when men play sports. It’s not teamwork, it’s not camaraderie, it’s not even sportsmanship. It’s simply called:

The "Butt-Slap"

My question is: WHY?

They all do it. And it doesn’t seem to matter WHY. They pop each other on the butt to mean “Good shot!” or, “You’ll get that free throw next time”, or even, “Hey, you’re slacking. Pick it up out there.”

I can’t help but wonder why women, being the more physically demonstrative of the two sexes, don’t follow suit?

“Hey, Laura (insert Butt-Slap here), great Hair Day!”

“Randi! (Quiet Tushy-Tap here) Way to nurse that baby to sleep!”


“Way to get that double-coupon discount on top of the sale price, Sara!” (Double-Butt-Slap for the Double-Coupon-Discount)

What happened to “High-Fives” or the “Jumping Chest Bump” (though I’m pretty clear on why we girls don’t participate in that one), or even a simple pat on the back?

I just think it’s funny. But far be it from me to mess with tradition. This fanny phenomenon among our alpha males probably goes back as far as Sparta or something.

Guess it’s okay, as long as they remember what Jesus said:

“. . . if someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.”

December 01, 2008

whatever form it comes in

"Take a deep breath. I smell snow. It’s coming. It’s just my favorite time of the year. The whole world changes color. I love snow. Everything’s magical when it snows. Flakes, flurries, swirls, crystals, whatever form it comes in, I’ll take it. Sleigh rides, ice skating, snowball fights, I’ll even take curling. I love curling.” (~ Gilmore Girls)

I love snow. Did you know? Love it. Some of the best memories of my life are wrapped up in this frozen water-wonder. Stirring homemade hot chocolate. Making snow cream. Building snowmen. Warming by the fireplace. Sleeping late on snow days. Creating snow angels. Bundling up so thick with layers upon layers that you can hardly move. Catching snowflakes on your tongue. Watching the Northern Lights in Anchorage over a snow-blanketed city. Breathing in the ice cold air and watching the whole world turn white. Love it. Love it. Love. It.

We go way back, snow and me.

When I was a kid we lived in Texas for awhile (where it never snows). It snowed. Five inches.

I watched the snow fall on the Chugach mountain peaks the day my daughter was born . . . August 13. Yes, August.

My baby boy was born on the coldest day of the year in 1993. Snowed that day too.

It snowed today. Just a bit. Just a flurry. Just enough to tease. What a perfect way to bring in December. Stop for a minute and watch His power.

God is so good.

I love snow.

November 26, 2008

pooh . . .

Kacey was a newborn - like maybe 3 weeks old - when an acquaintance (sort of a "friend of a friend") called one morning and asked if I could watch her children for the day. Now I’m about as accomodating they come, but I hardly knew this woman, I had no relationship with her kids (girl 3 and boy 2), but mostly, I just wasn’t up to it. (Hey, don’t judge me! It takes a REALLY LONG TIME to recover from 32 hours of labor!)

Anyway . . . I politely told her I wasn’t up to it, maybe another time.

About half an hour later she called back, this time practically begging. Seems an old friend of hers was in town just for the day and they really wanted to go to lunch and catch up. She had apparently called every one else she had ever known and absolutely no one else was available (this should have been my first clue). She would feed them lunch before she brought them and would only be gone an hour - hour and a half tops.

“Well . . . I guess so,” I replied.

Twenty minutes later she showed up at the door, and informed me that she just hadn't had time to feed them or even pack them a lunch, but that they would eat just about anything I would fix. (Lucky me!)

So I attempted to feed and clean up after two toddlers, while breastfeeding one-handed (now, this may work for some of you B- cup gals, but some of us more well-rounded moms requre both our hands to adequately accomplish this task without smothering our babies.)

Once that task was complete, Kacey fell asleep, so I took her upstairs and put her on the bed. When I returned downstairs a very few minutes later, I saw the 2-year-old turning a corner dressed in Pooh fashion. (Read: shirt, no pants.) Seems he had dropped his diaper . . . somewhere. I quickened my barefoot pace to catch up to him, when, first . . .


Then I said it.

Seems he was not only dressed in Pooh fashion, but also in poo. Which, thanks to the ripaway diaper, now covered my living room floor as well. Gross.

Three (3!) hours, two diaper changes, one temper tantrum (mine) and a $60 carpet cleaning call later, “mom” returned to collect her little angels, without so much as an apology for being late, an offer to clean my carpets, or even a “thank you” for my time.

I’d say I learned a valuable lesson from this experience, but since it has been 20+ years and I am still whining about it, probably not. :o)

November 24, 2008

This little angel could not be more precious! She has been so sweet and so entertaining and I have enjoyed "watching her" while her parents conferenced! "Emily's Event Countdown Calendar" worked like a charm - my husband says it was "brilliant". (Insert a bit of false humility here . . . but, you know, who am I to argue?)

I learned quite a bit this weekend:
1) Emily's pink socks make her feet "fwetty", which at first I thought meant "pretty" but later learned was "sweaty".
2) Emily's favorite color is pink. So much so that she had to wear the same pink socks all weekend no matter what the outfit, even though her feet got "fwetty".
3) Sunday evening's event was "Going to the Big Movies". We referred to that a lot over the weekend. Finally on the way to the "Big Movies" Emily asked me if it was one moobie or two. I told her it was just one, so she informed me it was NOT the "Big Moobies" but the "Big Moobie". (singular).
4) Emily will only refer to my husband as "Mr. Kevin's daddy".
5) Emily likes to cuddle. Emily REALLY likes to cuddle.
6) "Joe the Polar Bear" is Emily's bedtime story of preference. Her daddy makes up Joe the Polar Bear stories for her at bedtime. I had a bit of fun introducing a new character into this story. . . hope Philip knows what to do with "Freddie-Bob the big giant pumpkin head."
7) Emily can eat her weight in chicken. And popcorn. And macaroni and cheese. And fruit.
8) Tickling and giggling never get old.
9) You can only hear "Mit Tepanie" so many times before it is no longer cute. :o)
10) Emily informed me that her mommy loves her, and that when her mommy comes back she will have to leave me

. . . true, but I think I will be a little sad.

November 20, 2008

countdown calendars and the warm feet policy

This weekend I will be housesitting for my favorite people and sharing a sleeping space with Topaz the Wonder Pooch, (that is, as long as he sticks to warming my feet and doesn't violate my "stay outside the covers" policy!)

I will also have the lovely little Miss Emily with me for the weekend. She is 3 and is spending her first prolonged length of time away from Mom, Dad and baby brother "Buddy". I am also hoping my niece (and maybe even my nephew?) will show up for the latter part of this weekend!

So to intercept any "homesick for my mommy" feelings that may arise, I have made what I am calling "Emily's Event Countdown Calendar" for the weekend, with progressive photos of all the exciting things we plan to do, including McNuggets and the cowboy's horses and a visit to the latest Kiddie-Fun-Place with her best friend, culminating in the return of Emily's sweet family. I thought this might help keep her weekend in perspective and give her something tangible to pass the time. Hope it works!

I tried this with Kevin, but "Kevin's Kountdown Kalendar" was a flop.
I guess gazing at a list filled with photos of taking out the trash, carrying boxes to the car, doing an English class rewrite, and watching t.v. with Mommy just didn't hold the thrill for my 15-year-old that I thought it would. :o)

November 18, 2008

indy-GO and the mattress mayhem

Our Indy weekend involved the new James Bond, Cold Stone ice cream, a quest to find a restaurant that could seat us in under 90 minutes, an extensive tour of downtown Indianapolis (beautiful architecture and history, but not much in the landscape department), sleeping late, napping after sleeping late, going to bed early after napping and sleeping late, caramel apple cider at daughter-face's new work establishment , and visiting the church Kacey & Nathan have decided to be part of. (Yes, I am aware I ended that sentence with a preposition. I tried wording it numerous other ways, but "of which they have decided to be a part" just wasn't cutting it for me. My deepest apologies to all whom I have offended.)

Preparation for the weekend trip involved Kevin climbing into our attic to get his sister's Christmas tree at her request. After initial searching, Kevin was unable to locate said tree. I informed Kacey via text that her tree may have been the one we planted in someone's yard last year as a practical joke. (Trust me, this was hysterical.)

Facing the fact that she might not have her beloved tree, Kacey replied, "Sheesh. Some Christmas this is gonna be. I feel like Charlie Brown."

Upon reflection, I realized it was the BIG tree we had prank-planted and hers was definitely here. I sent Kevin on another hunt. Still, nothing. Then I remembered, "Oh, yeah, you're sending a 15-year-old boy to look for something he doesn't want to find!" So I told him I would keep sending him back to the attic until he found it. AMAZINGLY he found it on the very next trip.

In anticipation of our visit, Kacey borrowed an air mattress so we would have a comfy place to sleep. They offered us their bed, but we declined and said we were happy to sleep on the air mattress. And then I remembered . . .

(Mom and Dad, please forgive me in advance for the story I am about to tell!)

When we lived in our little one-bedroom apartment in Georgia, my family came to visit and brought an air mattress with them. My sister slept on the couch and we inflated - manually - the balloon-bed on which Mom and Dad would sleep. And when I say "manually" I mean "orally". Yep. No vacuum inflaters back then. Not even a measly little foot pump. We huffed. And we puffed. And we huffed. And we puffed. And we blew that giant overpriced pool float right up. . . over the course of, say, two or three hours.

Some time later we were all sleeping peacefully in our respective beds when the apartment complex came under attack. In the wee hours of the morning we were awakened by an explosion akin to a sonic boom or an 8.2 earthquake:


It hit us so hard we literally screamed ourselves awake. "WHAT WAS THAT?! ARE YOU OKAY? ARE WE UNDER ATTACK? IS EVERYBODY ALIVE?" I ran the 5 steps from my bed to the living room to witness the following: the air mattress had exploded, Dad was lying FLAT on the floor, Mom was draped over him like the wreath on a winning racehorse, and the remaining air (and saliva) in the mattress was poofing out past their toes. Recalling this story still makes me laugh out loud.

I'd give anything to have an actual photograph of "Ground Zero" following this mattress-mayhem, but then again, the mental picture in my head is so worth these thousand words.

November 17, 2008

indy-pendent . . . part 1

We went to see "the kids" this weekend. Nathan & Kacey moved to Indianapolis about two months ago, so we took a rare free weekend and make the 5-hour trek northward.

First, Kacey began texting on Friday morning. Dozens of texts throughout the day: "Are you packed? Are you ready? Are you excited? When are you gonna get here? Get OUTTA BED AND GET IN THE CAR WOMAN!!! When are you leaving? Mommy!!!!!!! Are you STILL in bed? Get up and go to work and then come see meeeeee! Oh, my goodness!!!!!!!!! Have you left yet??????? Come on, Mommy!!!!!"

I have to admit, it's nice to be wanted. :o)

Once we were on the road there were only a few essential texts from her:
1) because she knew I would be the one driving; and
2) because her dad is textually incompetent.

The last text was "Are you guys close?" To which we responded, "Yes, we feel we are a very tightly-knit family." She responded with sarcasm which communicated to us that was NOT what she meant. Ten minutes later we were enjoying a dinner of pork tenderloin, sweet potatoes, pineapple, broccoli and rice. This kid who used to need help adding water to her Ramen Noodles has become a competent boiler-baker-biscuit maker! She also made a "big breakfast" Saturday morning using every kitchen-gadget-wedding-gift known to man - waffles, coffee, biscuits, eggs, and the promise of fruit smoothies (which we somehow never got around to making. Maybe next visit.)

It's time for my Monday lunch with you-know-who, plus guitar lessons for Kevin, new shoes for me (preferably some that will help me remain in an upright-and-locked position), and tutoring with the Seifert clan. More later!

October 24, 2008


So, I've been very, very patient. A long time ago a certain someone hijacked my blog and posted a picture of me skiing. My best form of revenge is to ignore because it drives people crazy that you don't say anything. However, now it's my turn to hijack! Steph is not back from her blog hiatus and I miss her blogs ALOT but I just wanted to take this opportunity to say........


If you know or have been around Stephanie at certain times you know that if she notices that it is 10:24pm or 10:24am she wants her children or whoever to sing to her because it's her "birthday." I thought it only appropriate that we all leave you birthday wishes on the actual date.... 10.24.08!

I hope birthday week has been fun and that you know how loved you are by your friends and family!
It's time to celebrate!!!!

I love ya friend!


October 02, 2008

i'm not leaving this room

I'm at a hotel tonight. Never stayed in a hotel by myself before. Thought it might be a little creepy . . . until I saw the room. Can I just say, "Holy Hyatt Place, Batman?" This is the most amazing room I have ever been in. There are 7 pillows on the bed and a sectional sofa on the other side of the wall. (No, there are not 2 beds . . . I will try to remedy that for those of you joining me tomorrow night!) A real hair dryer is tucked away nicely in the vanity drawer - not mounted to the wall with a too-short curly cord. The artwork does NOT look like it came from a 1992 Home Interior's party. A desk, a mini-bar, some interesting built-ins and wainscotting (you know, that nice moulding around the middle of the wall.) I have decided to skip the Friday session of the ZOE Conference and stay here all day watching HG-TV - on the large, flatscreen tv. After I get a massage and a pedicure, of course.

Oh, yeah. I don't have a laptop. I'm blogging from the Hyatt Place's little computer nook.

Feel sorry for me . . . I'm all alone.

happy hour

We were eating lunch one day and wondering if we couldn’t just hang around the restaurant until 2 p.m. so we could just go straight to Sonic for Happy Hour (Oh, yeah. Health nuts we are.) Anyway, the subject got changed somehow to breastfeeding and the fact that Kevin nursed until he was old enough to tie his shoes. Kevin was expressing his disdain for the awkwardness of the topic when Mike said, “I don’t see what your problem is. You used to think THAT was Happy Hour!” Made me laugh.

We have decided to name our amazingly fun kitten, Thumper. She jumps. Vertically. Makes me laugh.

My daughter calls me “maw”. I hate it. Hate. It. She says “maw” implies a good, old-timey, but hip to what her kids need, mother. I say it is the “old-timey” label to which I take offense. I asked her to stop. She said “get used to it”. I have decided to call her “hag”. Makes me laugh. I think she needs to get used to it.

October 01, 2008

free-range butcher-fleers

It seems a few weeks back some cows escaped from a farm in the south part of our county. I’m not sure of the details, maybe the Chik-Fil-A billboards were starting to worry them, maybe their “uttermilk” was being shipped to Ben & Jerry’s, but regardless, they saw a downed fence, cried “Freedom”, and decided to make a break for it. They were wildly successful. Something like 50 or 60 of them wandering the streets and suburbs near Almo.

We learned this information from my youngest brother-in-law who is one of the deputy sheriffs in the county, as they spent many hours working with Animal Control trying to round up the AWOL cattle. They, unlike the cows, were NOT successful. Consequently, my brother-in-law was busy over the next few nights answering phone calls from people with unexpected bovine yard invasions.

“Uh, Mabel, call 9-1-1, thar’s a cow on the porch and I’ont thank she’s sellin’ Avon.”

After a week or so, the farmers from whom these cows absconded informed the officers they should just “eliminate” any of the ones left roaming lest they become traffic hazards.

Upon hearing this, my husband, ever the opportunist, devises a plan.

Free cows = Open Season

Cow Hunting. Or, cow herding, really, as he has no intent to kill, (unless, of course, the cows draw first blood.)

His plan is only to capture these free-range Bessies, and thereby begin his own cattle farm (or dairy farm - again, I didn’t get all the details). Of course, we don’t own a farm, but that’s a minor detail to the cowboy. His modus operandi involves his dad, both his brothers, one friend, at least 3 ATV’s, a farm trailer and, of course, his mustangs.

There were more details to this ingenious scheme, but while he was recounting them to me, my brain wandered off to my happy place.

September 29, 2008

juneau what the answer is?

Every parent thinks their child is a prodigy. Mine were not. Oh, they are smart kids. Good kids. Funny kids. IQ’s in the upper range. Still, no prodigious talents from either.

But there is a video store clerk by the name of Gregory from Jackson, Tennessee who believes differently . . .

See, Kacey was an only child until she was almost 7, and I was, for the most part, a stay-at-home mom who loved nothing more than hanging out with my kid. We loved to read, sing, play games, swim, watch "Eureeka's Castle" on Nickelodeon, and listen to music.

By her 2nd birthday, Kacey could recite the alphabet and spell her name. By 3 ½ she could read some basic words, plus recognize a few familiar names. No big deal. One of the words she knew was the name “Gregory” as it was on her dad’s police badge that she saw every day.

Around the same age we began learning state capitals as a car game using a children’s atlas my parent's had given her. We started alphabetically, and because she was born in Alaska, she eagerly learned the capital city of Juneau. (I would say, “Did Juneau you were born in Alaska?” and she would giggle.)

Finally, though we listened to many types of music, the only real thing she knew about classical music was that Beethoven wrote those two songs (“Fur Elise” and "Moonlight Sonata") that both mommy, and Schroeder from ‘Peanuts’, played on the piano.

So, back to the Blockbuster clerk, and the most amazing coincidence of fake-believe prodigy:

Kacey was barely 4 years old and we were walking the aisles looking for a movie. There was classical music playing in the store. “Fur Elise” came on and Kacey said loudly, “Mommy! Beethoven!” The clerk, who was restocking shelves, said with amazement, “You sure are a smart little girl!”

A few minutes later as we are checking out, he decided to see just how smart she was. Now he could have asked any number of follow-up questions at this point, but he didn’t. Here is what he asked: “You’re so smart, but I bet you can’t tell me what my nametag says.” She looked at his nametag, then looked at me as if to ask, “Does it really say what I think it says?” She spelled it to him, “G-R-E-G-O-R-Y, Gregory. Is your name Gregory?” His mouth literally dropped open and he looked at me with an expression of disbelief. I pulled my shoulders back proudly, and allowed my head to swell a bit. At this point, other clerks and some customers are observing this interaction. “Okay,” he said, “How about this: What’s the capital of Alaska?” SERIOUSLY? Did he REALLY just ask her that? “Juneau!” she squealed with enthusiasm.

At that point we were batting 1000. I figured if we stuck around for another swing, our stats would drop significantly. We left him speechless and I left the store pretending to be the world’s greatest mom to the most precocious child ever to grace the doors of Blockbuster Video.

That was a pretty decent day.

September 23, 2008

a tick in your navel

Sooooo, coming back from Ft. Worth was a similar experience driving down - at least the first half. Once we hit Little Rock I made Kevin wake up so we could finish listening to "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" on cd, which we did. May I just politely request that Robert Louis Stevenson rise from his Samoan grave and rewrite the last chapter? One of the most fascinating stories in English literary history, and he nearly ruins it with the longest, most tedious, most anti-climactic ending ever written. But I digress . . .

Kevin woke, and after Karen (the GPS aussie navigational mistress) led us on an unfruitful wild goose chase for a non-existent, but much-craved Schlotsky's (which she pronounced "skaLAWTskies") we stopped at Carino's for lunch. About an hour post-lunch, Kevin expressed a great need to void his bladder. I reached up to his take-out cup, lifted the lid, and insinuated a porta-potty use for said cup. He looked at me with disdain and proclaimed, "You should stop talking. Seriously, Mom. You should take a vow of silence. I bet you can't do it for even 10 minutes."

I proved him wrong by 50 minutes. A complete HOUR of silence. Not only I, but the radio as well. Insanity for Kevin was soon to surface. He found the quiet, uh, disagreeable. Begging ensued. "Please talk, Mom. Please. You can break your vow of silence. You are driving me crazy. Talk to me!!!"

My son had no idea just how strong-willed his mother could be. For a very long hour, I became the Mrs. Hyde to my usual Dr. Jekyll persona.

Now, lest you think me the world's meanest mom either for not letting my baby sleep in peace on our Texas trek or for the 6o minutes of white noise, let me just share a couple of quotes with you about my precious boy:

From one of our church shepherds to my son:
"You're worse than having a tick in your navel!"

From a sweet girl Kevin knows from his drama class:
"I didn't believe in hitting people until I met you!"

He's a pest . . . make that Pest. Capital P. So, I took great delight in returning the favor on behalf of everyone he has ever annoyed. (Ahhh . . . I can almost hear the applause rising from all of you who know him.)

September 22, 2008

automotive narcolepsy

Officially I have driven over 1700 miles in the past 5 days. I like road trips - always have . . . of course, that's always been within the framework of traveling with Mom or Kacey. They talk. I like to talk. Especially on road trips. Frequently we have taken "books on cd" with us when we travel . . . we have yet to ever listen to one. We just gab. Or sing. Or play music/movie trivia games. It has generally been entertaining, quality family time.

This trip, however, was with Kevin. Just Kevin. Now Kevin likes to talk. And sing. At least when we drive around at home. But what I discovered about my son last Thursday is now being researched by the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta and may be documented in the January issue of the American Medical Association's Journal. My son has a disease of which I was heretofore unaware: I have named it "Automotive Narcolepsy". The engine starts, his brain stops. He slept. And when I say slept, I mean instantaneously and continuously. From Nashville to Fort Worth, as though comatose from an OD of Benadryl. For 13 hours he woke only to pump gas, eat sushi, and make a few snide comments about his mother.
This makes driving a very lonely business indeed. And I do not like lonely. I kept myself busy by the following means:
7:45 - 8:30 Texted both Sara and Mike who dutifully entertained me
8:30 - Took picture of Kevin sleeping
8:31 - Listened to a great mix cd with everything from RocketSummer, Silver Chair & Hoobestank to Eric Clapton, Elton John & James Taylor to Jack Johnson, John Mayer & K.T. Tunstall.
9:30 - Stopped in Jackson for gas and a Starbucks' Cranberry Orange Scone and Pumpkin Spice Latte.
10:00 - Speed conversation with Kevin (about the fact that he was born in Jackson) while he consumed his Starbucks.
10:03 - Took picture of Kevin sleeping.
10:04 - Chewed all of my cuticles off, until my fingers were pink and tender. Gross.
11:00 - Listened to the mix cd again, this time taking great delight in poking Kevin every time a new song came on to ask, "Who's this?" "Who's this?" "Who's this?"
11:59 - Took picture of Kevin sleeping
Noon - Misprogrammed the GPS on purpose just to hear Karen, the Austrailian navigational voice, tell me to take every exit north of I-40, which, of course, I did not really want to do. Then, each time I did not make her recommended exit she would say, "REcalculating!" At one point I'm pretty sure she cursed at me.
1:30 - Carried Kevin over my shoulder into Sakuro Sushi in Little Rock. Set him in a high chair and force-fed him a Sherwood roll with chopsticks.
2:30 - Made Kevin play music trivia with me until "Let It Be" came on the radio and I asked him which Beatle sang "Let it Be" and he replied, "George Hanson". My 20-minute lecture on John, Paul, Ringo and George HARRISON put him back to sleep. (Oh, and it's Paul who sings Let It Be.)
3:00 - Took picture of Kevin sleeping
3:01 - Took a text poll to find out what Baskin-Robbins flavors all my people like. Kacey is a Rainbow Sherbert girl, Nathan prefers Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Lindsay loves Raspberry Cheesecake, Mikey likes Strawberry (snooze) and Sara doesn't know. I, myself, am a Peanut Butter Chocolate fan.
3:30 - Learned that Moore's and Bradley House were burning and that McKayla's homecoming dress was lost in the fire. Prayed for those involved and felt bad for McKayla since homecoming was the next night.
4:00 - Took picture of Kevin sleeping
4:01 - Tried to remember the name of the sushi place, which was Sakuro, which reminded me of Sudoku. Attempt to work a Sudoku in my head, but when I try to work with numbers my eyes always drift up and to the left, making for unsafe driving conditions.
4:30 - Tried to wake Kevin by blowing on him through a straw. He mumbled something that sounded like "jam q-tips up your nose . . ."
5:00 - Took picture of Kevin sleeping
5:01 - Talked to Greg on the cell, wrote down his stall number, horse number, competition order, etc.
5:30 - Tried to learn all the words on Jack Johnson's "Sleep Through the Static" cd
6:30 - Took picture of Kevin sleeping
6:31 - Made faces at a small child in the car in front of me
7:00 - Explained the "Facts of Life" IN DETAIL to Kevin while he was sleeping. Concluded by singing the theme song from the "Facts of Life" tv show really loudly until Kevin woke up.
8:00 - Arrived at the "Saddle Boy" competition to find Greg's horse trailer/camper on a gravel parking lot about 6 blocks from the nearest building, and by extension, the nearest bathroom as well.
9:30 - Checked into hotel. Thanked God, and Priceline, for the Country Inn and Suites.
10:30 - Reclined comfortably in my own queen-size bed and asked Kevin what he wanted to watch on tv, but he was already asleep.

September 15, 2008

eye don't understand

My sister's eyes:

My niece's eyes:

My daughter's eyes:

My eyes:

Will somebody please explain the fairness of recessive genes?

September 12, 2008

it's that time again!

I am thrilled to announce that it is almost time for the Saddle Boy Competition in Fort Worth! (aka: Extreme Mustang Makeover) With gas jumping up overnight, and the cowboy & I driving separately, this little trek may cost us what is left of Kevin’s college tuition fund (now that his sister’s wedding is over). Anyway, the cowboy is quite excited about the whole ordeal, and plans to spend his Fort Worth evenings relaxing in the comfort of the aluminum shoebox on wheels (reference award-winning cockroaches and beaches manatees) . . .

Kevin and I have chosen accomodations elsewhere:
*A place where “cable” means television channels - not what is holding the fridge to the trailer floor.
*A place where “king” refers to the size of the bed, not the name of the horse in the next stall.
*A place where “3 stars” ranks the quality of our accomodations, not the number of Lone Star state flags flying in the parking lot.
*A place where “remote” means the tv controller, not the proximity to the nearest restroom.

In other news:
My niece borrowed my house key the week before the wedding, and I failed to get it back from her. The cowboy's key broke off in the door Sunday before last. Since then we have been passing Kevin’s key back and forth hoping that whoever has the key that day makes it home before those who don’t. We’ve been moderately successful.

We have had a new kitten for a month or so. I love her. She is the sweetest little cat on the planet. We haven't named her yet, though Zagnut and Nastia have both been tried and dismissed. I mean, just look at that face! She is saying, "Mommy, you can love me and squeeze me and call me George." She says she is happy to take daughter-face's place and will sit in my lap and let me hold her. I’ve never had a cat that would let me do that before. She seems to be almost as affectionate as I am. I love her. I really love her. But I forgot I don’t like animals . . . so nevermind.

Oh, yeah, daughter-face and Son-In-Law are moving to Indianapolis!

I am so excited for them, and bummed at the same time!
I’m really proud of S-I-L, but I’m really gonna miss daughter-face.

A couple of blogs lately have made me laugh uncontrollably - you may enjoy them as well:
Bu, bu, bu, chicken!
Honeymoon horror story

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

September 10, 2008

unladen swallows and online banking

So the cowboy asked me a few weeks ago if I wanted him to sign us up for online banking. (Yes, I know, everybody else has been doing this for 5 years now, but we tend to be a bit behind the curve when it comes to technology . . . you know, what with our Amish background and all.) Anyway, he asked me about this online banking thing.

Now, because I am the one who pays ALL the bills, my answer WOULD BE a resounding “yes” - PRVOVIDING I would be:
.....1) The only one looking at the bank statement
.....2) The only one inquiring about the bank statement
.....3) The only one holding myself accountable for the bank statement.
But knowing that my husband would now have full access to the account information, and knowing that he would now hold me accountable EVERY SINGLE DAY for EVERY PENNY SPENT, my answer was a firm and definitive “NO”.
(I am woman, hear me roar.)

He signed us up the next day.

And my husband loves talking finances. Loves the idea of investments and insurance and retirement. I, on the other hand, hate it. Blue passion hate. When the discussion turns to finances my eyes glaze over and all the receptors in my brain move to “high alert” and begin looking for ways to circumvent the discussion (which is generally accomplished by reciting “The Princess Bride” in my head. The cowboy is talking about the rates on his mutual fund and I am mentally reciting, “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” with an unfortunate British accent.)

My solution would be to just barter my way through life. (Though I’m not sure what I would barter in exchange for sushi, so I may have to rethink my stance on that.) My point is, up until now, we have been able to limit the financial discussions to once a month when the bank statement arrives via the good ol’ U.S. Postal Service. I can deal with that.

But now, in addition to his daily informative phone calls telling me all about his latest tractor discoveries or the new fungus growing in the horses’ hooves, I also get: “Honey,the mortgage check didn’t clear until the 6th. It’s due the 5th, you know that right?” (I’ve been paying the mortgage every month for 13 years. Yes, I know that.)
“Honey, you know I love you, but what is Chapman’s and why did we write them a $70 check?” (That’s where your son has been taking music lessons for the last year and they don’t like to be paid with chickens.)
“Honey, did you remember to record all your debit card uses? And did you remember to date them as well?” (Why? Why do I need to date them if you are looking at them online every single day??? )
“Honey, why did you go to Wal-Mart twice this week?” (Because I forgot to buy you ice cream the first time, and maybe if you have ice cream, the sugar-high will make you forget about online banking altogether.)
“Honey, the bank shows the amount of check #7384 to be $192.35, but you have it recorded as $192.33. You might want to fix that.”

Yeah, and I might not.

Oh, I’m gonna need an attitude adjustment on this one for sure!

September 08, 2008

"I have today"

"I have today" is my friend Sara M.’s blog title! It has also been sort of my parenting mantra. I mean this in several ways:

First, “I Have Today” reminds me of a conversation my sister and I had about drawing up our wills and who would raise our children if we couldn’t do it, etc. We were both convinced there was no one else who would raise our children the way we wanted to do it, no one else who would love them the way we did. She was right, of course. She died the next day. I don’t say that to be morbid or sentimental; I say that to mean, “I have today. I may ONLY have today. So don’t waste it.”

Second, “I Have Today” doesn’t mean you have to do everything everyday, and it sure doesn’t mean you have to pack each day with fun-filled activity. What it means, at least for me, is that I make the most of every opportunity every day. Take advantage of every teachable moment. Like when your daughter says, “I’m not sleepy” and you understand this to mean, “Come lay down with me and talk about something important.” Or, and this coming from a tv-junkie, choosing to NEVER watch a 9 p.m. drama so you aren’t tempted by anything that would keep you from reading with your kids and tucking them into bed each and every night. Or when you are driving down the road after a major afternoon thunderstorm, the most amazing rainbow becomes visible, and you pull the car over to the side of the road to retell the story of Noah’s ark to your 4-year-old with the hope that one day he will understand the reality of God’s promises.

Third, “I have today” takes on special meaning for me when it comes to discipline. You can’t let discipline issues slide. Not once. Not ever. CONSISTENCY. If kids know there is a crack in your armor, they will keep poking until they draw blood. Metaphorically, of course. Well, and literally, if you have boys. And those of you who know me know I am NOT a tough cookie. But “I Have Today” means that when your kids don’t finish their chores properly on Monday, then on Tuesday you wake them up an hour early so they “have time” to do them right, since that MUST have been the problem the day before. (If you know how precious sleep is to my kiddos, you would appreciate the effectiveness of this approach.) It means that when you say “no”, it ALWAYS means “no” - there will not be whining or begging or temper tantrums. Ever. Whining, begging and temper tantrums lead to a whole ‘nuther level of consequenses, and you REALLY don't want to go there. There’s a whole book’s worth I could blog about here, but that’s all for now.

I have today, so I’d better get busy.

August 26, 2008

ring. ring ring.

I am not a phone person. Now, this comes as no surprise to any of you who know me.

. . . it’s learned behavior from my dad. Our adult conversations have mostly gone like this:

Dad: “Nnnnnyellow?” (I don’t know why it’s not “hello”, but his resounding bass voice clearly pronounces a series of “nnnn’s” to signify he is about to name the color yellow. It’s cute.)
Me: “Hey Dad!”
Dad: “Hey! Uh, here’s your mom”

Dad and I have a great relationship, it’s just that he talks on the phone all day as part of his work and I, well, I would rather stick those thin, dry off-brand cotton swabs deeply into my ear canals than chit-chat on the phone and he knows this.

. . . it’s because I once heard someone say that after 5 minutes into a phone conversation the discussion always goes from “what” to “who”, and the topic begins to spiral downhill into gossip. I generally find this to be true, and prefer not to badmouth people ever again. (This is not to say I WON’T do it, I just prefer not.)

. . . it’s because I’m afraid of calling people at the wrong time. I’m a firm believer in etiquette when it comes to the right and wrong times to use the telephone. I have always adhered to a strict “between 9 and 9” rule. Any earlier and you risk waking people, any later and you risk, well, waking people. It’s rude, unless of course it is an emergency. And by emergency, I mean death. A Saturday night 10:15 “Oh, Steph, I forgot . . . I’m not going to be there to teach in the morning because my cat has worms, so can you do it for me?” is NOT an emergency! And the reverse is true for our rural friends who call EARLY because they believe if you are still asleep after 6:30 a.m. you must have been worshiping Satan the night before.

So, while I’m on the subject of poorly timed phone calls, my mom has had issues with this on more than one occasion. When the husband & I were newlyweds, we became convinced she had a sixth sense about when to call . . . or rather a “sex-th sense”. No matter when Mom called, it was ALWAYS when we were, uh, well, you know. Bad timing. Sometimes REALLY bad timing. We decided to find it humorous.

Then, when we lived in Alaska, she would frequently forget which way the 3-hour time difference worked. She’d call at 8 a.m. . . . unfortunately, it was 5 a.m. in Anchorage. Add to that the fact that we had a 3-story condo with only one phone - in the kitchen on the main floor. If you wanted to actually ANSWER the phone when it rang, you had exactly 11.63 seconds from the first inkling of a ringtone to jerk awake, kick off blankets, bound out of bed, down the hall and down a flight of stairs (necessarily taking 2 at a time) just to grab the phone off the wall before said caller hung up. Many times I took a gold medal in this event, but there were many other times when my qualifying time just wasn’t up to par.

And speaking of this 100-meter-phone-dash . . . once the phone woke me out of a dead sleep. Or rather, it rousted me . . . I don’t think I was really awake. I stumbled down the hall thinking to myself, “I have to pick that thing up and SAY something! What do I say??? Isn’t there a WORD you’re supposed to say when you answer the phone? What IS that word?!?”

11.63 seconds later, I picked up the receiver and muttered, “HUH?”

Eloquent, as always.

Maybe THAT’S why I’m not a phone person.

August 21, 2008

they broke my happiness

First, if you recall my disgusting fast-food chain, “McGross,” and the 3-day old raw meat, melted margarine, and french-fry escapees that have littered my personal space recently, then you will appreciate the newly-added menu item: an entire Route 44 Cherry Limeade. Yep, we were on our way to deliver this Sonic Happy Hour giganticup to a certain someone who shall remain nameless (Mike) when I turned left and the cup turned right and Kevin wasn’t holding it and it landed upside down on his feet, his schoolbooks, and the already-bacteria-laden floor mat. So after a trip through the car wash to hose down the mat we headed back to sonic to repurchase drink part deux. (Sidebar: Why isn't it "Happy Hours" since it takes place from 2 to 4?)

Second, I love my new BPA-free Camelbak water bottle, except when it lives up to its “camel” name and spits water at me. Now, I don’t know how this happened. I should probably ask Bill Nye the Science Guy or Beakman or somebody skilled in the art of gas-siphoning, but anyway . . . I put my water bottle in the fridge. A few hours later I took my water bottle out of the fridge and placed it on my desk. I did not drink out of it, nor did I open it. The next morning, however, I placed it in front of me, and glanced to the left while flipping open the sippy-straw. By the time I realized “Old Faithful” had erupted from my water bottle, I was drenched. I’m talking a constant stream of water, shooting 8 inches above the straw for a good solid 4 seconds! Even my shoes were squishy.

Finally, the boys play ball in my office. Used to be a daily routine, but because of this summer’s wedding surplus, my office has been “off limits” to any of Mike & Kevin's recreational activities. Now that I have reclaimed my work space, so have they, and in true Olympic fashion they have announced, “Let the Games Begin!”

Now when I say they “play ball” what I mean is they take turns slamming rubber balls at each other as hard as possible in an effort to prove some sort of manly “bring it on big boy” something-or-other. Sometimes my head gets caught in the crossfire, and I have seen circling stars on more than one occasion. So last Friday, during one of their bouncy battles, the boys shattered my happiness. Okay, maybe “shattered” is too harsh a word, but with one fell swoop of the ball, they knocked over my Willow Tree “Happiness” figurine and broke off her hand. A hush fell over the guilty parties. Lucky for them it was a clean break, and Dr. SuperGlue was able to repair her. Unlucky for me, while I was employing Dr. SuperGlue and squeezing Happinessessess’ hand to her arm, I inadvertently glued the underside of my middle fingernail to my finger.

Does this kind of stuff happen to the rest of you . . . or is it just me???

August 19, 2008

seven? quirky things about me

I'm not a very private person. Not that I broadcast every thought or feeling, but I'm not out of my comfort zone when it comes to revealing my weirdness. So here goes nothing:

1. My hands HAVE to be busy. Always. I only use clicky pens, which I click constantly. Or I bite my cuticles. Or I double-click my mouse. Or I tear up paper. Or I text. Or . . . just watch me, you’ll see.

2. I’m a complete perfectionist about my blog. I will write it, post it, then edit it sometimes 5 or 6 times until I get it to sound exactly like I want it. Doggone it, I have a responsibility to you little people!

3. I have a brain for trivia, especially dates. I remember weird little things nobody else does. Back when people used to play Trivial Pursuit, I would usually win. Remember when Dateline NBC used to do the timeline things . . . they’d give you several events from a certain year and you’d have to pick the year? I ALWAYS got them right. Always. Even before they’d give the three choices. See, we moved so much when I was a kid, I have a frame of reference for every song, every political event, every movie, every fashion trend from childhood up until we moved here, making it fairly simple for me to identify and categorize by year. Adding to the quirkiness factor, I have no idea what I did yesterday, as my short-term memory is useless.

4. I love storage containers. I have more fun shopping for the containers than for the stuff that goes in them. I like to label my storage containers – “pens”, “glue”, “scissors”, etc. I love organizing closets, kitchens, offices, etc. just for the satisfaction of having everything in its place. I get the same sense of satisfaction in folding other people's laundry. But that may be a different quirk altogether.

5. Ironically contradicting the need for storage containers, I don’t keep anything. Except for my comical collection of disgusting family memorabilia which I keep in my jewelry drawer and which would completely freak out anyone who broke into our house to steal “valuables” (Kacey’s baby teeth, the cowboy's retainer, my gallstones and Kevin’s umbilical cord), I don’t collect anything. I like change. I hate clutter. When I get the mail each day, I go through it right then, throw away the junk mail, put the bills in my purse, read any personal correspondence then toss it. I don’t keep piles of paper or old catalogs or the extra buttons that come with new shirts or bad photographs or greeting cards or useless kitchen gadgets. For Pete's sake, I sold my wedding dress in a yard sale. There is, however, one thing I do keep. More on that later.

6. I pick stuff out of my bath water. Not that there’s a lot of stuff floating around, mind you. But I keep a cup in the bathtub so I can scoop out hair or towel fuzz or blobs of conditioner or whatever else might float to the top of my bathwater. I don’t want ANYTHING in my bathtub that shouldn’t be there. It’s a bit OCD, I know.

7. I don’t do drugs. And although I succumbed to 2 Excedrin PM the week before the wedding in an attempt to regain some sanity with one good night’s sleep (which, I might add, did NOT work), the last medication I took before that was 2 aspirin the month before I got pregnant with Kacey. I feel that I have blogged about this fairly recently, so for that I apologize, but it is, nonetheless, a quirky thing about me.

8. I buy lipstick obsessively. It’s more of a quest, really. I feel, in my heart, that somewhere out there is the perfect lipstick. It should be the right color, though I have no idea exactly what that color is. It should NOT be gummy, sticky, smelly, sparkly, too light, too dark, too wet, or too dry. It should not taste good so that I am tempted to eat it off my lips, nor should it taste bad for obvious reasons. It should be packaged with a lid that does not come off in my purse, inadvertently leaving gooey graffiti on my checkbook cover. It should stay on my lips more than 45 seconds. It should not dry in the corners of my mouth, bleed outside my lips, stick to my teeth, nor leave noticeable residue on anyone whom I might feel compelled to kiss. Maybe those Halloween press-on wax lips are what I’m really looking for. The problem with lipstick is that you can’t test it before you buy it, and once bought cannot be returned. And all those little color charts and swatches and fake plastic inserts in the tops of some lipsticks are never REALLY the color they should be. So, my quest is ongoing. And what do I do, you may ask, with all the lipsticks I buy and DON’T like? Well, that's the one thing I DO keep - in the bottom drawer of my bathroom cabinet. I have NO idea why.

9. I have a hard time limiting myself. If I am asked to pick a favorite, inevitably I will choose 2 or 3. If you ask me to list a favorite movie, I will give you eight favorites, each in a different genre. If you ask my favorite food, I may, at this point in time, just limit it to sushi, but I will be compelled to mention different ones of which I am especially fond. If you ask me to describe seven quirky things about myself, you will most likely get nine, because that’s just how quirky I am.

August 18, 2008

i once met a girl named maria

I always think about Maria at the beginning of every school year. I was 7 on the first day of third grade at Crieve Hall Elementary. Being the first day of school, Mom walked me in to get me situated. We were early . . . I was the second student in the classroom, and the only one who had her mom with her. The other student was a little girl standing alone in the corner of the room wearing a brown plaid cotton dress, and I remember even as a 7-year-old, thinking she looked really scared. I felt for her. Where was her mom? Why was she alone? I was scared and I had my mom with me. For a moment my heart was braver than usual, and I walked to the corner and said "hi". We instantly struck up a friendship, as is so easy to do when you're 7, and I was blessed to have her as one of my two best friends that year in Mrs. Cosman's class. Her name was Maria. Maria had been bused there by the Nashville city schools. They had taken this little girl miles from her home, her friends, and her family and "integrated" us by putting her in a classroom with 29 white kids. Even at 7 I knew there was something unfair about the whole situation. We moved to Longview. Texas after that school year, so I don't know what she did with her life. Anyway, I'm not sure what prompted me to share this memory, except that I am working on lesson plans and was thinking about that day.

That story reminds me of another one. One late fall day about 4 or 5 years ago, a dozen kids bounced off the school bus and into the church annex where we had our afterschool program. I was waiting at the door to greet them as usual, mini-corn dogs in the oven, juice boxes on the table. But today was a bit different. Instead of rushing in, dropping backpacks and heading to the bathroom to wash hands, the kids pushed toward me like salmon swimming upstream, each one trying to slide past the next to show me the contents of their large manilla envelopes that marked the arrival of school pictures. Missing teeth, crooked ponytails, dirty shirts – some cute, some comical, all precious. One 11 x 14, however, was particularly adorable. With my arm around his shoulders, I squeezed the little boy who was the mirror-image of this photo, and told him how much his mom was going to love his picture. His eyes hit the floor and his little voice trembled, with words that will never escape me, “I don’t have a mom anymore.” His eyes, and mine, welled with tears. I didn’t want to let go of him. My heart literally ached and I wanted nothing more than to make all the pain in his little life disappear. I couldn’t, of course, but I did make sure he got a hug and a smile and as much mothering as I could squeeze into 2 hours after school.

Some kids you just never forget.

August 15, 2008

a, b, c

Since I was tagged, so here goes:
(A.) Attached or single? The certificate says attached
(B.) Best girlfriend? Daughter-face and my darling friend, Sara
(C.) Cake or pie? My mom’s Rum Cake with dark chocolate icing after it has been in the refrigerator for 2 days. But pie is good too. Except for fruit pie. I don't particularly like fruit pie. Or meringue. Meringue is a weird entity that kind of freaks me out. Maybe that's because my mom always called it "calf slobber" . . . not exactly appetizing.
(D.) Day of choice? I love Mondays, but they’re all pretty good.
(E.) Essential item? My car. Or my cell phone. Though oxygen ranks right up there with them.

(F.) Favorite Colors - lime green/purple/turquoise
(G.) Gummy bears or worms? Bears, I can’t handle the feel of the worms.
(H.) Home? No, but I hope to be Someday.
(I. ) Indulgence? Joseph Schmidt truffles. Though one day I hope it will be a gorgeous jacuzzi tub and an unlimited amount of hot water.
(J.) January or July? January - I LOVE SNOW!!! Did you know I love snow?
(K.) Kids? 2 - my just-married baby girl and my sophomore baby boy
(L.) Life isn't complete without? Unconditional love. And sushi.
(M.) Marriage date? Sometime way back there
(N.) Number of brothers & sisters? 1 baby sister, Stacey, who is no longer with me physically
(O.) Oranges or apples? Oranges. I love fruit, but apples are one of my lesser faves.
(P.) Phobias? Escalators . . . but just the "down" ones.
(Q.) Quotes? “No thanks. Low on saliva and only prefer a bad taste in my mouth on Thursdays.” (That was from Mike when I asked him if he wanted to help me lick envelopes for wedding invitations.)

(R.) Reasons to smile? Hope. Blogging. Spending my days with goofy, entertaining boys.
(S.) Season of choice? Autumn
(T.) Tag seven peeps! Sleepy, Grumpy, Bashful, Happy, Sneezy, Dopey & Doc (You know who you are)
(U.) Unknown fact about me? Weddings stress me out. Haha. I don’t know. . . what DON’T you know? I tell all my embarrassing stuff!
(V.) Vegetable? Asparagus and pea pods. I love pea pods.
(W.) Worst habits? Biting my cuticles
(X.) X-ray or ultrasound? Never had an x-ray, but Kacey's in-utero ultrasound made her look like E.T. That was a little scary for me as a first-time mom.

(Y.) Your favorite food? Reduntantly, sushi. Specifically the White Castle Roll at Tokyo Sushi.
(Z.) Zodiac sign? Scorpio, which of course, is NOT compatible with Taurus. Guess what the cowboy is???

August 13, 2008

wuv, twue wuv

Today is Kacey's birthday. It's weird to not even be able to wish her a "Happy Happy" on her day! But, considering she is honeymoonin' in St. Maarten, I guess she's not missing my birthday greetings too awfully much.

Monday was our anniversary, but since the cowboy was was working, my friends took me out to dinner . . . well, sort of. See, I gave a certain little friend a gift card and a little money of her own for being such an amazing wedding coordinator. She wouldn't accept it. Some nonsense about my being her doula last year and not accepting money for that, yada yada. Anyway, I made several attempts to force her into receiving this gift, which she finally did. Or so I thought. So Monday, when they took me out to dinner - SHE PAID with the gift card & money I had given her!!! Stinker! Regardless, I had a great time!

The first book I assigned to my co-op literature class this year was "And Then There Were None". This used to be a favorite book of mine, but I haven't read it in years. So, I picked it up the day after the wedding and began reading . . . the story begins on August 8 with an 8:00 p.m. dinner. SERIOUSLY??!?! (Isn't it ironic, don't you think? A little too ironic, yeah I really do think.)

Kacey: "Why do they call it putt-putt?"
Me: "Because you putt, and then you putt again."
Kacey: "Then why don't they call it putt-putt-putt-putt?"
Me: "Because then you would think it was a motorboat."

When I was concerned (and rightfully so) last week about not being able to seat all of our wedding guests, my best friend texted, "I will stand. And I wil also sneak down to the Christian church (2 buildings down) and put 'Nathan & Kacey Wedding Here' so people will be confused and there will be plenty of seats!" (Any wonder why I love her?!)

TEXTING, Part Three
(The day of the wedding, from his lovely wife): "Want to laugh? Mike (the wedding minister) is in the shower reciting, 'Wuv. Twue wuv.' "

My bestie & I love going out to lunch on Mondays. But we hate deciding where to go. It's always the same conversation week after week. "Where do you want to go?" "I don't care - you pick." That sort of thing.
So one day she asks, "What's the story on lunch?"
I responded, "Once upon a time two good friends were hungry."
She came back, "And where did they go eat?"
I concluded, "In my story, the older one makes the younger one choose."
And we're back to square one. I say we makes a list of all the places we like to go and just mindlessly rotate through the list. That way the decision is already made. It's not really about the food anyway.

So I was doing laundry as a favor for my friends when I ran across a shirt with the least threatening mascot ever. Apparently, just down the road from the "Coral Shores Hurricanes" the "Coral Gables Cavaliers" and the "Coral Reef Barracudas" are the "Key West Fighting Conchs." REALLY? Ohhhh, look out, it's an angry marine gastropod mollusk! Run away, run away! Sorry, just makes me laugh. Ranks right up there on the intimidation scale with the Toronto Maple Leafs. (And while we're on that subject, why isn't it the Toronto Maple Leaves?)

And, yes, I know I'm weird.