Saturday, December 29, 2007


This was a fun meme to do with a brand new year coming up pretty soon. I found it at MotherPie and adapted it slightly. It gave me the chance to reflect on and evaluate my choices and my life activities.

I think there are some obvious areas from which I could come up with some (gasp) New Year's Resolutions. I hate those things, though, because I feel like I'm just inviting myself to fail by saying them. But I think it's just a mindset. If I rephrase it to something like, "Here are some habits I would like to develop. Let's work on one at a time," I'm much more likely to be successful.

Take Flylady's suggestions, for example. She starts you off with one simple thing: Shine your sink. Clean your sink every night. Well, built into that, of course, is the idea that the dishes will all be done. But if the concept is short and sweet, like "Shine Your Sink", then the rest will follow. I can do that.

As far as food goes, I started reading Potatoes, Not Prozac, and that is a step-by-step food management program that you can do the same way (do you like my code words for diet?). You start with one step, and when you get that, you move on to the next one. Big complicated lists turn me off. Too many steps, too much conformity, and too much structure. None of which appeal to me.

With all of that said, on to my meme. Tag yourself if you want to play and leave me a comment so I can come read!

Still Loving: my PC and high speed internet at home

Still Not: reading my Bible often enough

Still Glad: I said Yes to Jesus

Still Enjoying: sleeping in late whenever I can

Still Doing: things for other people before I do what I want to do

Still Proud: of all our children--they are amazing!

Still Amazed: at how much fun grandchildren are

Still Hoping: to refinish the house to look more like how I envision it

Still Enjoying: watching Friends DVDs

Still Grateful: my family is healthy

Still Wanting: a yellow Volkswagon bug with 70's flowers on the taillights

Still Trying: to blog every day

Still Failing: To go to bed at a reasonable hour

Still Passionate About: social justice

Still Taking up new things: Flylady's advice, bit by bit

Still Dating: my honey

Still Have Not: finished my online classes that are due by Dec 31. I know! Why am I blogging??

Still Working: on throwing away clutter

Still Reading: my email

Still Thinking: about writing that book

Still Wondering: when I'm going to feel grown up

Still Dressing: in jeans

Still To Do: house projects

Still Cherishing: my comfy bed every night when I go to sleep

Still Trying to Never: take what I have for granted

Still Will Aways: practice gratitude

Still, Still: finding something to smile about in every day

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

just READ the directions!

Santa was verrry good to me this Christmas. I've been trying to save up for a Cricut for my scrapbooking pleasure. If you don't know what a Cricut is, a Cricut is a computerized machine that will cut out cool letters and shapes for your scrapbook pages. If you do know, you'll know that there are two of them, a smaller one and a larger one.

The smaller one is the one I had my eye on because I didn't want to wait long enough to save up for the big one. It was almost twice the price. Anyway, to make a long story short, I got the big one for Christmas! My honey spoils me sooo much.

Well, last night after everyone went to bed was the first chance I had to play with it. I step-by-stepped my way through the directions for getting started, but I was so anxious to start cutting something cute out that I just started skimming through to get to the cutting out part.

I found this gorgeous piece of blue paper I wanted to use to cut out the title for a page I wanted to do. Actually, I wanted to scrap my blog post from a couple of days ago. I wanted to add pictures to the text. I could make a two page spread out of it.

There is this "slightly tacky" cutting sheet that you lay your paper on top of. The tackiness holds your paper in place so that when the machine cuts your paper, it doesn't slide around. Cool. I used one of these when I went on the Awesome Girlie Getaway weekend, and I did okay with it.

The directions said to line up your paper with the corner marking. You're supposed to carefully lay the paper in place, press down in the center of the page, and then work your fingers out to the edges and press out all the air bubbles.

So I took this pretty piece of paper, put the corner of it on the corner of the plastic tacky cutting sheet, and I kid you not. The plastic tacky cutting sheet sprang up and attached itself to my beautiful paper, and it WAS CROOKED!

What?! No! The directions didn't say anything about what to do if this happened. I tried to lift the paper up to reposition it, but Tacky Sheet had a death grip on my paper. Pulling it off was like trying to detach a terrified kitten from your sweater when the dog is barking and dancing up and down trying to get too close. Not. Happening.

Okay, fine. I was committed, so I wasn't giving up yet. I sloooowly peeled some paper along the edge. It started coming up, but I just didn't have enough hands. As soon as I let go of one part to get a grip on the next part of the paper, the first part would magically reattach itself to Tacky Sheet! And I couldn't get someone to help me because they were all SLEEPING!

After about twenty minutes, I got it off in one piece, except for one corner that tore off. I ever so carefully repositioned it and smoothed it down in place. I figured out how to type in the titles I wanted. I pressed CUT! The Cricut buzzed and tzzt'd its way around the paper. Okay. Enough. I wanted to see how it turned out, so I stopped after about three lines of words.

Now think about this. Even though it took me twenty minutes to peel that beautiful, thin paper off the incredibly sticky Tacky Sheet, I willingly and knowingly stuck my paper right back on there, thinking that somehow it would miraculously be different the second time around!

In fact this time, I had actually pressed my sheet of paper firmly down onto Tacky Sheet, you know, just in case it wouldn't stay in place. Ha! You could use one of those stinkin' Tacky Sheets for a mousetrap in a pinch. Just drop a few cookie crumbs, and there you go.

It took me another forty-five minutes to get everything off Tacky Sheet, and some of my letters tore apart as I was removing them. There was still some paper residue left on Tacky Sheet when I finally gave up.

I read back through the directions a little more carefully today and I came across this tip: "We suggest you practice on less expensive materials while becoming familiar with the features described in this User Manual." Oh really! Could we have a hint that is a little more vague, please?

And here's the best part. At the end of the English directions, THE VERY END, there is a FAQ that says:

Problem: The cutting mat is too sticky. It's ripping my paper when I try to remove it. **Yes! Do ya think???**

And here is their "solution": Use a craft knife or the Cricut Tools (sold separately) to successfully lift the material from the cutting mat.

Oh, heavenly days! This should have been a WARNING in big red letters at the beginning of the directions.

So THIS is what I was left with. Can you read the title I laid out on the white paper? Yeah, that's right. Somewhere in this there's an object lesson in irony, I think.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

unto us a Savior is born...

We went to a Christmas Eve service last night, and the music was beautiful. As we sat on the long, padded pew singing along to the Christmas carols, I was overcome with a wave of nostalgia. The music, particularly when we sang together in church, was my favorite part of Christmas when I was little.

The choir sang "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" a capella in a gorgeous harmony, and I remembered that my mom used to have a recording of that song. It was as if suddenly I was a child again, sitting on the couch listening to music with her. Tears welled up in my eyes, and a yearning for her swept over me. I think I barely breathed through the entire song.

The service continued with more songs and stories, and once it was over, we made our way out to the car though the crowd of well-wishers and drove home.

There were a lot of gifts, cooking items, and leftovers from our family Christmas Eve dinner get-together that we needed to bring in in the house. It took several trips in and out of the house to get it all inside. Each time I walked out to the car for another trip, the beauty of the silent night sky took my breath away.

The moon and the stars glinted off the light snow that was falling, adding a mystical frost to the very air I was breathing. The sky was simply glorious. I felt such a strong sense of peace outside in the night. I imagined that if I were in Bethlehem, I could just go to that stable, and there He would be, this baby Saviour.

The Lincoln Brewster song, Another Hallelujah, started playing on the little jukebox in my head. Time stood still for a moment, and I stood there singing. As each tiny snowflake drifted quietly to the ground, I just lifted my hands in awe and wonder, worshiping the God who created this beauty. It was a perfect ending of a lovely day.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Recipe For Joy:

  • Take one family

  • Add a conglomeration of opinions, tastes, and attitudes

  • Stir in tolerance and humility

  • Fold in occasional obstacles to develop appreciation

  • Work in substantial amounts of honesty and loyalty

  • Season with a pinch of spice for zing

  • Throw in liberal handfuls of laughter

  • Pour lavish amounts of gratitude and affection over the entire mixture

  • Add grandchildren generously, shake together gently, and enjoy!

Friday, December 21, 2007

my tricky little daughter

My honey and I broke down and bought prepaid cell phones so we could have them in case of emergency. I haven't had a cell phone since they were about the size of a shoebox, so I've been learning the functions on this new phone little by little.

Gee thinks she is so tricky. She's had a cell phone for a couple of years, now, so she just zips through the menu lickety split. She LOCKED MY PHONE! She activated the password. And she just sat there smirking at me when I tried to use it.

She finally told me the password, but I still had to enter it every time I tried to access anything on my phone. I was fuming, but I didn't want her to know. I pasted my fake smile on and glared at her through it. After she laughed at me long enough, she tried to snatch it back so she could fix it. I didn't give her the satisfaction of fixing it for me. If I could figure out that I could text her from my email, I could figure this out, I told her.

"Mom! That's a computer. THIS is a phone. Give it to me!"

I figured it out myself. After she left, I looked it up in the manual for my phone. Online. The computer is my friend.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

news? I don't like news

I think our local paper has spent an awful lot of money on their marketing plan. I have been bombarded with phone calls from telemarketers for at least the last year and a half, trying to sell me on getting the paper delivered. I answered a couple of times, but I got tired of it real fast.

My next strategy was to ignore the calls, because they always came from the same number. Where the heck do 505 area-code phone numbers come from anyway? They certainly are not local for here. Did they hire a bunch of farm kids from South Dakota to make these calls? Anyway, ignoring the calls really hasn't helped because they just keep on calling, and they always call at the oddest times of the day, hoping, I suppose, to catch someone at home. They even call me at my work number. I've always ignored it there once I figured out how to tell who it was.

Tonight, though, I couldn't resist it. I had to answer. I was trying to finish listening to my online class lecture, but I was getting TWITCHY! And for those of you who know me well enough, that is not a good state for me to be in. All that twitchiness is usually followed by too much crabbiness.

I answered the phone. And yes, it was one of he faithful newspaper marketers. I listened to his short shpiel, and then said (most unoriginally), "Oh, I'm not really interested.

He was good, though. He didn't give up. He asked, "Well, ma'am, how do you get your news, then?"

"I don't," I said flatly. Dead silence.

It took him a minute, but then he asked hesitantly, "Well, how do you find out about what's going on in your community, ma'am?"

I said, "I don't."

Silence, then, "I beg your pardon?" He sounded a little nervous.

"I don't want to know what's going on. It's too depressing. It makes me want to jump off a bridge."

There was another long pause. "Well, ma'am," he said valiantly, "the paper has other things besides bad news. There are ways to save money with coupons and things."

I should have said, "I don't like to save money," but I couldn't do it anymore without cracking up. I just said, "Oh, no. I don't think so."

Dead silence. I could almost see him going through his list of objections and his prepared responses. He gave up. "Okay, thank you, ma'am. Well, if you ever want to contact us, the number is... ...and have a merry Christmas." He clicked off without waiting for a response.

That was so much more fun than ignoring the phone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

big dinners are overrated

I have come to one conclusion: big dinners are overrated. Anything that takes more than an hour to make is rapidly making its way off my favorites list. We had turkey, potatoes and gravy, and stuffing last Sunday, and the food took four hours on and off in the kitchen. And I didn't even make most of it. But I got to help, so it kind of took over the second half of the day.

I can think of at least forty things I would rather have done than COOK. Or even be a cook's helper. I'd be just fine eating soup and sandwiches. Not that I don't appreciate a lovely meal when someone else cooks it...I'm just tired of cooking! And I don't want to feel guilty when someone else spends four hours in the kitchen cooking. By that time, I've probably given up and had a bowl of cereal or something instead. Double guilt.

There is something to be said for simple cooking, don't you think? This being said, we're getting ready for our annual Christmas Eve dinner with as many of the family as can come. That is a major production, on the scale of Thanksgiving dinner. I vote for a simpler dinner and more time enjoying family, but I just might get outvoted.

The tradition of making a big family meal brings back the feelings of connectedness that we experienced during the holidays when we were younger. The whole process might be very symbolic for some people. So I have to ask, has the tradition has taken over the meaning, or is the meaning behind the tradition still the reason for keeping it?

It's kind of like Christmas itself. We rush around from store to store, buying gifts for people, and we forget why! The memory of the birth of Jesus is lost in the mad shopping rush. It becomes a holiday centered around gifts, a tradition divested of its intrinsic value by the frantic pursuit of the "perfect" gift.

Dearest God, help me to just slooooow down. Remind me to save time and space in my days to reflect on Your love and Your Son. I want to remember that He came here to share His heart with me, and to give up everything He had, including His life, for me. And as far as that dinner, Lord, please help me get through it with my patience intact!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

why blog about it?

An anonymous visitor posted a comment with a question that really made me think: Why do I blog about my life?

I wanted to address this with a reply here, and maybe see what you other bloggers have to say about why you blog! This was posted on an earlier post, however, the content seems to be directed at a conglomeration of my posts.

By reading your blogs, I maybe reading them wrong. But I feel you have a lot of resentment towards the church or certain people. Why do you blog about it? I am not familiar with the group at all. It sounds like you have a lot of guilt over your divorce. You blame it on the church. Isn't life based on what decisions you make in life. I don't think the church has a rule that says you have to marry at that age. Maybe you weren't mature enough? You couldn't provide for your children are going to remember happy times and memories, and love in the family. Did you and your spouse have a good relationship and did it show to the kids? Did you work on that relationship? I think there is more to your blog than you are letting on.

So this is my response...

This is great! Thank you for your comments.

Why do I blog about it? Because I can. And because it helps me process things that have happened to me so I can look at my past objectively and gain a bigger perspective.

And thankfully, I think I can say today that I do not hold resentment towards the church or certain people. I know that I did at one time, but time plus distance has allowed that to subside. Literally through the grace of God, I have let go of my anger and resentment. I've learned that I can be compassionate and concerned for them, instead. It's much more productive, and way easier on me.

What do you feel I am blaming on the church? I don't understand your comment about that. I don't think I said that. I think you may be, indeed, misreading.

I also don't think I said the church has a rule about marriage. In fact, I don't think they will say they have rules about anything. Their rules are implied and encouraged, but unwritten. I am speaking in general about what I experienced and what I observed.

I do know that I'm not the only one who has experienced similar feelings...maybe you could visit
the extoots blog to read more from other ex-members if you're interested.

Actually the only regret I have about getting divorced is the effects it had on my children. But if I were in the same situation, I would do the same thing again. In a heartbeat.

And yes, there is lots more to my blog, so c'mon back and have a little more conversation! Don't be shy!

For me, blogging is a way to express my thoughts, connect with others, and learn about new perspectives. It's interactive to a point, and yet we can take the time to consider what we want to say before we blurt it out in an indiscriminate brain burp. Although that happens sometimes, too! Heh!

Writing is therapeutic for me. I've been blogging for almost a year now, and it's been so much fun! Why do YOU blog? Any regrets about blogging?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

the rest of the story...

Well, the rest of the songs, anyway. Most of the Christmas songs that I like are ones that bring back memories of Christmas when I was young. I loved music. I still do.

But in my growing up years, there just wasn't much of it because I wasn't allowed to listen to popular music on the radio. The only music we had at home was when we sang hymns on Sundays at church, or sometimes during the week. My mother would even turn the radio off if they played a commercial with music in the background. She didn't want me influenced by worldly music. I led a sheltered life. True story.

So other than being in choir at school (and learning Three Dog Night's "Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog" and Helen Reddy's "I am Woman"--I think she would have been appalled), the most I got to listen to music was at Christmas time. When I hear Christmas carols on the radio, I don't need to see the words for most of them. I know them because I sang/heard/played them over and over.

So without further ado, here's the rest of the list of my top twelve favorites in no particular order--because this post would then take me the rest of the whole day! Decision-making is not my forté.

1. See yesterday's post.

2. We Greet Thee, Christmas
Don't be surprised if you don't know this one. I couldn't find it online anywhere. I think someone in the LLC may have written it because that's the only place I've heard it. But it's beautiful.

3. Breath of Heaven
An Amy Grant classic.

4. Lullaby, Little Manger Boy
Again, not well known. It was on an obscure Christmas cassette I had. I've been trying to figure out who sang it.

5. Little Drummer Boy
I could always identify with the little drummer boy who had no gifts, so he gave back out of the gifts he had been given. I can harmonize on this one...I always got the alto parts. And the rum pa pa pum was perfect for a rhythm-deprived girl like me. I'm not a big Josh Groban fan, but I do like his version of this song.

6. Silver Bells
We learned this in choir, and I sang the alto part. So every time I hear this, I can harmonize and it brings back happy memories.

7. Oh, Holy Night
The sweeping melody and the wonderful imagery the lyrics create...'nuff said.

8. The Holy City
I like it for the same reason as number 7, but this one was one of my mom's favorites, too. I always think of her when I hear it.

9. Sleigh Ride
This is such a fun song! Even though I never went for a winter sleigh ride, when I sing this song, I can almost believe that I have.

10. Jolly Old St. Nicholas
This was one of my favorites as a kid, although now when I hear it, I cringe when the little kid sings, "as for me, my little brain, isn't very bright..." WHAT??

11. Ave Maria
Another traditional carol. Listen to this one by Lara Fabian. The sound quality isn't perfect, but her voice is still...mmmm mmmh!

12. Silent Night
I can't leave this one out. I remember my mom singing it in German, although she was 100% Finnish. Go figure. But I learned the alto part on this song too, so I love to harmonize when it's on the radio and I'm driving in the car by myself.

Are there any favorites you would put on your top twelve?

Friday, December 14, 2007

the twelve songs of Christmas

Well, the results of the poll are overwhelmingly in Kalan's favor.
Here is how it shook out:

Kalan: 45
Mark Lowry: 6
Other: 1
(that vote was for Donny Osmond's version. Which is also pretty good.)

Kalan's got some pretty passionate fans up in Canada. Lucky for him. Otherwise Mark Lowry woulda STOMPED him in my poll.

I love Christmas songs! I saw this post on An Ordinary Mom's blog, and thought it would be fun to tell you about my favorites.

This song, "Mary, Did You Know?" is one of the best Christmas songs ever. The only version I've heard that I like is the original by Mark Lowry, until I heard this one by Kalan Porter. Wouldn't you know it, he is the winner of the Canadian Idol. (Yes, there is a Canadian Idol show. Who knew?) You can tell he isn't totally polished, but he sings it with the reverence that this song needs. Beautiful.

You can click here to hear Mark's version if you's well worth it!

If you make it all the way through both of these, you can vote in my sidebar and tell me which one you prefer. I'm such a sap. I sit and listen to these over and over.

Okay, I know I said the twelve songs, but I only have enough of an attention span to post about one right now. I'll tell you more of them tomorrow.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

good intentions

I had such great intentions of getting my stuff done. I had a list, checked it twice, and somehow at the end of the evening, none of it was done.

I have classwork to do for the four classes I have to complete by the end of the month. That was on my list to get done tonight. I did not. Get done, that is. Pretty soon, I'm not going to have enough hours left in the month to do them.

Then I was supposed to bake cookies and bars tonight for the school Fine Arts evening tomorrow. How was I to know I would run out of time? That was what was on my agenda for tonight. I think maybe I was going to do the baking simultaneously while studying and taking notes. I don't know what I was thinking. Maybe someone could tell me who took all the hours out of the night!

So I had to go buy some cookies and bars. I used to bake up cookies and bars without breaking a sweat. Now? It's an event the kids mark on the calendar if I actually bake. Actually they check the calendar to see if it's someone's birthday or something.

Then I read the note again and it says they want volunteers to bake cookies and bars. So now what do I do with these E.L. Fudge dudes in the package? It's not like you can heat those up in the microwave and pretend you just made them. It'd be a little too obvious. Perhaps if I talk sweetly to Gee, she will bail me out. I think I should call her Wonder Girl from now on.

I didn't used to understand why people would buy instead of bake, but that was BWFT. (Before Working Full Time). **Gee just said I can't make up my own acronyms. Somebody had to make up the ones we have now, didn't they? How long does she think "LOL" has been around?** Anyway, I was a SAHM and baked when I was bored, I baked to relax, and I baked because it was much cheaper than buying something already made.

But now? Baking is just another layer in my schedule that sits on top of six other layers of things to do. And layers don't work in schedules. They only work in cakes. Do you think you can de-junk a schedule? I'd sure like to try.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

overheard from the other room

Some things never change. I don't think siblings are ever done bickering. This is what I heard the other night.

Dee: Lew, leave that toy alone. Stop playing with it! Put it down.

Lew: Why?

Dee: Because! You're going to break it.

Lew: How?

Dee: Because I'm going to break it over your head if you don't stop!

Ee: (small voice of wisdom from the other room) Uh, Dee? Doesn't that mean'd be the one breaking it?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

♪Ev'rywhere you go;
Take a look in the five-and-ten, glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow.♪

♪It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
Toys in ev'ry store,
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be
On your own front door.♪

It's that time of year...I feel like there should be a soundtrack playing in the background all month long. Last weekend we brought in the box from the garage with the artificial tree, so it could defrost before we put it up. God decorated the whole outside here in glacial Minnesota with a covering of crisp, sparkly snow, and now it's my turn to decorate the inside of the house.

We picked up and swept, we gathered junk and tossed it out, and we made space for the Christmas tree. I know that it's time-consuming to put the tree up and decorate it, but it's a tradition I treasure.

Decorating the Christmas tree is like stepping into a time warp. Every ornament I unwrap releases a swirl of holiday memories. I think I managed to buy a Baby's First Christmas ornament for each one of the kids. We didn't have a lot of money when the kids were little, though, and I usually needed the money I had before Christmas to buy presents. So I almost always waited until after Christmas to rush over to Hallmark and Kemper Drug to see if their fancy ornaments had gone on sale. They were usually marked down anywhere from 50% to 75% off.

I could only afford to buy the ones that had gotten marked down. The kids didn't know that, and frankly, I don't think they would have cared. Those special ornaments let them know that each one of them had been a welcome gift to our family. All they needed to know was that their birth, their arrival, had been something to celebrate, and these decorations signified that they were special and loved.

Every Christmas, I carefully uncovered each precious ornament from the myriad of boxes, bags and totes in which they had been stored for the past year. The kids would wait for me to open the bag that held their special ornaments, and as soon as they were unearthed, they'd dive in, each looking for their own. I can still see them, standing on tiptoe, competing for the best spot to hang them. We'd end up with a cluster of ornaments, right in front in the middle of the tree. As I sat in my chair dreaming, I saw again their mischievious smiles, their laughter echoing in my ears.

Now the decorated silk balls that started this tradition, which my two oldest boys got from their grandparents, are as well-loved as the Velveteen Rabbit. The fine fibers that were wrapped about them have been pulled loose into tangled disarray, and the cherubic faces which once graced the simple ornaments are distorted beyond recognition. Their narrow golden hooks, which those small fingers so painstakingly attached to the branches, have long since fallen out, lost in the nether land of the past.

Some of them are holding up better than others, but no matter what condition they are in, once again these ornaments will be perched proudly in the branches of our Christmas "memory" tree. Only now, I will be the one looking for just the perfect spot for each one. And I've passed this tradition on, giving a "Baby's First Christmas" ornament for each new grandbaby that arrives in our family. Nearly thirty years of celebrating as a family have gone by, and yet this tradition still stands.

It reminds me of why we celebrate this season. We do the same thing with our hearts at Christmas time. We are reminded to clean and shovel out the debris that clogs us up. We sweep out the dust of the past, and we can resolve to discard the behaviors that have caused problems. We take the time to remember and reflect. We make space in our lives to commemorate the birth of our Savior. What a sweet reminder of the great love our God has for us.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

my de-lovely house needs to be de-junked

I don't think I realized this until I started blogging. I obsess about all my junk ALL THE TIME! And I never finish de-junking completely. There is always stuff left out that makes my house look like a forgotten storage room in somebody's basement.

I think the key is to simplify, simplify, simplify. If I don't have all that stuff piled up, I don't have to sort it out or move it from place to place. Or pick it up after a tall, precarious stack of miscellaneous "important" things tips over onto the floor.

All I do is talk about it. Complain about it, actually. Well, I take a few stabs at it periodically. I really need to change that, and set goals about it. My goal is to de-junk my house and throw away all the stuff I don't need that has been piled up in my bedroom (and other places) for the last four nineteen years. Obviously if I haven't used it in that time, I probably won't have a need for it in the next nineteen years.

I've gotten it down to just one Cub Foods tote in my room--several times! But the junk is like a little piece of a root from a yellow loosestrife plant. If you've ever made the mistake of planting that in your garden, you know EXACTLY what I mean! It takes forever to get rid of it, and it will take over and dominate your garden!

It's like the Veggie Tales "Gossipweed" episode. Have you seen it? It's hilarious!! One little snippet of gossip grows like wildfire, and it takes on a life of its own. Well, my house is the same way. All I need to leave out is one loose piece of junk. It sprouts into several dozen more pieces within minutes, I swear, and before I know it, it's infiltrating, taking over the entire house!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

my "to do" list is too long

When did my life turn into one big To Do list? I used to create things, and sew things, and bake things for fun. I used to write in my journal more often, and I wrote poetry. Now? Total opposite. Every hour at home seems like a waste unless I squeeze at least three more tasks into it than seems logistically possible into it. Weekends are just no-win situations. If I work all weekend to get my list of things done, I'm tired and resentful when I go back to work on Monday. If I sleep in and relax, I'm beating myself up Sunday night because I didn't finish any of the things that I wanted to accomplish.

I think it changed when I started working full-time. What ever happened to having time to paint, and scrapbook, and sew, and create? And how about being able to watch Friends without being so tired that I just fall asleep? I see about the first five minutes, and zingo! I'm asleep. Who needs Tylenol PM? I've got a new drug. I've been watching the second disk in Season Three for about two weeks now. Eek finally told me today that she wishes I would just pause it if I'm not going to watch it all the way through, probably because I think she has the entire disk memorized from hearing it so many times.

It just seems like there are so many things that I need to do that I don't seem to be able to keep up with them. Now I have Christmas presents that need to be wrapped starting to stack up at the end of my bed, and in the mornings, when I'm groggy and panicked because I slept through my alarm, I forget they're there. I've stubbed my toes and nearly punctured the bottoms of my feet on the dumb stuff. Then I'm hopping in the dark, I can't see, I can't keep my balance because I'm so tired, and I almost fall into the closet. Out of the darkness, I hear my honey ask, "Are you all right?" I can't even answer him because it's taking all I have just to stay upright.

Why, oh why don't I put the stuff away when it's daylight? Because I can see to get around it just fine, of course! Putting it away is a perfect project for another day! I can see that I'll have to try a different tactic. Tomorrow!

Friday, December 7, 2007

fringe benefit of winter

It's cooooold outside. Winter's here!

The only good thing I can be happy about as far as the cold goes is that Augie doggie goes outside, does his thing and gets back in the house lickety split. No more waiting and waiting, and waiting some more for him to do his morning or late night business outside. It's out, zip across the little yard, pause, and whip right back around to the door again. It takes him maybe thirty seconds, tops. I love it!

I can't blame him for my being late to work. Now what excuse am I going to use?


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

there's no such thing as too much Novocaine

I made it through another dentist appointment! I was NOT looking forward to it at all. In fact, I even tried to give my time away. A friend of ours came into the dentist office with her little girl who had fallen on the playground and smashed her mouth up. I offered to let her use my time, but they had an open spot for her. Doggone it!

Well, the dentist put lots of Novocaine in for me, and I think he stood there for literally three or four minutes, easing the numb stuff in so I wouldn't feel a thing when he was working on me. Then about ten minutes later he came back to do some more. Infiltration, he calls it.

Sounds like a covert operation. "Yes, we're going to infiltrate now." How do you like that for "nicespeak"? I know there's another word for it but I can't think of it right now. What is that word? Not oxymoron, not political correctness, but kind of like that.

It's one word. I think it starts with a "C". It's calling something ordinary a nicer, fancier name so it sounds better. Kind of like renaming garbage collectors and calling them sanitation engineers. I have nothing at all against garbage collectors, or sanitation engineers, for that matter. That's just an example of the word I'm trying desperately to think of. Arrggghh! What is that word??!! Okay, I'm breathing into my lunch sack. Calming down now.

But back to my story, so they filled this tooth where I couldn't even tell there was a cavity, right in front. And they used a metal filling instead of a white one. Don't those have mercury in them? I'm ranting today. It's just the aftermath of going to the dentist. I have to let off steam.

My hair looked I had bedhead, for lack of a better word. I tighten up my shoulders so much when I'm in the chair that my neck scrunches down, and my head tips back. So my hair gets all ratted in the back from when I tense, and then I try to relax. Gradually I tense up again, and then I tell myself to release and breathe. Oh, it's awful.

So I'm madly smoothing down my hair when I'm done, and wiping my face where it's numb so that I don't walk out with half a pound of tooth shavings and splatter on me. My mouth was so stretched out and dry that my lips felt like Goldie Hawn's lips must feel right after she has her collagen injections. I think if the wind had been blowing when I walked out, my lips could have been mistaken for small flags.

Then I had to head for class, and I was starving. I bought a scone and a coffee at Caribou Coffee. I am so glad that no one had a camera when I was trying to eat that scone, and thankfully it was dark out so other drivers couldn't see me! Half of my lips wouldn't purse together at all, so while the right half of my lips were making all the right moves, the left half of my lips were randomly flapping open and shut.

So as I was eating this scone, pieces of it were falling willy-nilly on the front of my sweater! What a waste. I paid $1.95 for a scone, and I only got to eat 80 cents worth of it. The rest of it landed on the floor as I shook out my sweater. I tried not to bite down very hard so I wouldn't find myself chewing up my lip along with my scone. I didn't even try to drink my coffee for about a half hour. Crumbs can get brushed off, but huge coffee stains that would cover half my shirt? No thank you!

The very best part of the whole thing is that I'm home dentist-free for another six months. Whew!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

can I just clone myself? and my car?

I hate when I do this to myself. About three months ago, I signed up for a class that ends tomorrow. Didn't write it down...I figured they'd send me a reminder, plus tomorrow is the last night of class, so I'd for sure be there. It starts at 5:30.

About a month ago, I scheduled a dentist appointment. For tomorrow afternoon. At 3:30. That means I have to leave work by 2:30 to make sure I'm not late. Gee rides with me, but she isn't done until 3:15. That is no surprise--it's been her schedule all semester. Yet, the appointment at 3:30...

Then, Gee usually uses the car on Wednesday evenings at 5:30. And my faithful honey, who usually bails me out of these jams I get myself into, has another engagement at that time. I just want to throw my hands up in the air, run screaming into my bedroom, and stay in bed tomorrow! Why, oh why, don't I use a calendar? Keeping my options open so loses its appeal at times like this.

Monday, December 3, 2007

the upper hand

On our way in to town this morning, we saw a fancy schmancy sports car up in someone's yard, and judging from the tracks in the snow, they had just recently slid in there from the icy road.

I said to Gee, "Oooh, he musta been hot doggin' it."

She looked at me with one eyebrow raised.

I asked, "Didja see that car in the ditch?" She nodded. "I said he must've been hot doggin' it." There was another long pause. "Do you know what hot doggin' it means?"

"Nope," she said.

"He was driving too fast," I said smugly. "But you didn't know what hot doggin' it was because you're not old enough." That, I thought, would regain a little ground for me, since I catch so much flak for being old these days. I thought too soon.

She stared at me. "We just call it driving too fast."

I can't win. I snickered, then burst out into laughter. The best part of the whole thing is that she had no idea why I was laughing. Finally, I had the upper hand...I knew something she didn't. Only now, I've forgotten what it was! So I'm laughing all over again.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

the first real snow

We had our first real snow of the season. It was snowing when I got up this morning. Well, it wasn't quite morning. I think it was just after noon. I can't even describe how good it felt to sleep in! I stretched, and I smiled, and then when I looked out the window and saw the snowflakes flittering their way to the ground, it was like a Christmas card morning.

Do you know how many times I thought that I would never get to sleep in again? When I was a teenager and didn't have school or other things I had to do, I always slept in like that. Some parents used to make their kids get up early even on vacation days or weekends, but my mom used to let me sleep in. I'm so glad! But then after I had kids, I resigned myself to the fact that I'd be tired the rest of my life because I would have to be up early every day. I am a born night owl. In fact as I'm typing right now, it's almost 1 a.m. and I'm barely sleepy. However, I am going to bed soon because I'm planning on being up by eight tomorrow.

But the snow today was so beautiful. The squirrels were hanging upside down from the bird feeder and racing around the yard in a frenzy. The rabbits were hippety hopping all over the yard, checking it out like they thought they had a brand new playground. They were all going crazy in the fresh snow. And my beautiful coneflower seedheads were all wearing matching puffballs of white powder. The day was absolutely gorgeous.

Sometimes it's just necessary to slow down and enjoy the snow--especially when your good friend/neighbor comes over with his bobcat and cleans out your driveway, lickety split. AND won't even let you pay him! And then when kids go out and clean up the rest of it with a shovel? It's easy to enjoy the snow! Thanks everyone! Thank you, God, for a beautiful day.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

what was that again?

So I hear that Christina Aguilera is pregnant. And when she was interviewed about it, she said that when she and her husband decided they were ready to try to have a baby, she stopped her birth control, and before she even expected it, bada bing! There she was, pregnant. Cool! I'm excited for her.

She didn't announce it to her fans right away, not because she was trying to hide anything, but because she didn't "want to make her fans uncomfortable." She adds: "Because I hadn't said anything, people thought I was trying to keep it this big, bad secret, and that's not the case at all. I just wasn't commenting. I'm not being like, `Hey everybody, I'm pregnant!' I'm not that girl."

On the very same page I read this article about her was a shot of the front cover of Marie Claire, where Christina was baring her belly, and certain other suggestive parts of herself...well, let me just say that it looked a lot more appropriate for certain other magazines.

Do a search if you're interested. I didn't post it here because, well, frankly, it makes me uncomfortable because this is a family-friendly blog. But I thought the irony was perfect! Here she is...I'm not a "hey everyone I'm pregnant" kind of girl, but yes I will let it all hang out for the world to see.

And she didn't want to make her audience uncomfortable by announcing that she and her husband were going to have a baby. But apparently her audience will be perfectly fine with the fact that she's doing a partial nude shot on the front cover of a national magazine. I'm not quite sure about the reasoning of all that, but I think it has something to do with marketing!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

the things kids think about

So today when I was talking to G-girl about things, just things in general, I said it would be good for her when she has her own apartment. I think that helps people, girls especially, to learn to be strong and independent. She agreed, and we talked some more.

Then she says to me, "So Mom, I've been thinking about things. I don't know if I like all these stages when people get older. You know, when your parents get older, and you kind of need help, you know..." she trailed off. Then sounding more determined, she says, "I don't think it would work for you to live with me!"

I cracked up laughing. She just shook her head. "It just wouldn't work at all. But I'd help you find a nice home, someplace where people can help you." I was practically rolling on the floor, and here she was, so seriously telling me, "I'd find someone who could help you get your groceries and everything. You know, like your mom had. A nice...senior home." She had that little look she gets, when she knows she's getting a reaction about something.

When I had composed myself enough to talk, I said, "Don't worry about me. I won't need a home for a long time. Maybe you should think about your dad instead."

Her immediate response was, "HE'S not living with me, either!"

Somehow, I don't think we have to worry about developing this whole strong and independent thing with her.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

too much sitting!

Last night I missed my DWTS fix because of class! Then I didn't even have time on my lunch hour to watch the show online. I'm going into withdrawal! I'm twitchy. I'm itchy. My brain is fuzzy. But not because I missed my show. Today was just a long day at work...I had back-to-back students. I can't sit any more. I have to move around, so I'm afraid my post is going to be cut short today.

I feel like I should apologize to my behind for sitting on it all day long. The poor thing. It'll never have curves--it'll be permanently flat! I have to get up and do something! Is that just a little more than you wanted to think about?

Well, P-girl needs help moving stuff, so I'll get to squeeze in some exercise. And my sweet beautiful G-girl is going to record the finale of DWTS for me, with a dose of Charlie Brown's Christmas Special thrown in for good measure. Isn't she a gem?

The only problem I can see is that I'll have to be SITTING DOWN to watch it! Wanna go run laps, anyone?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday mirth

This could be my Frankie!

Funny Pictures
moar funny pictures

Sunday, November 25, 2007

a day spent in neutral

I had a lovely morning sleeping in. No one needed me for anything, and although I woke up a couple times, I went right back to bed. What a luxury! It's a good thing no emergencies happened today. I didn't need to be Johnny-on-the-spot for anyone. I can remember not too many years back when the kids were smaller, when this would not have happened. Moms are really never off-duty. But the kids are more independent now, and so I slept. I was still tired when I got up. I had to drag myself out of bed, kicking and fussing. I still feel like I'll never get enough sleep.

When we went to let the dogs out for our niece, I slept on the way there. When we drove to the butcher shop to buy meat for the next two weeks, I dozed off on the way there. And when we got back home, I wanted to go back to bed again, except there was this huge mess in the kitchen staring me in the face.

The kitchen was pretty intimidating. It was full of Thanksgiving mess, which I have to admit was from me, when I took on cooking too many things for dinner Thursday. I left a huge trail of dishes and drips behind. My honey told me to go ahead and take a nap, and he would make dinner and get started on the dishes. I told him I'd do some when I woke up. I felt guilty taking him up on it, but I went to bed anyway.

Much to my amazement, when I got up, the kitchen was spotless. My honey, bless him, had cleaned up the ENTIRE kitchen. I'll take a gift like that over a dozen roses any day at all! AND he cooked dinner? He deserves a shining medal of valor and bravery. I'm going to clean up the supper dishes and go back to bed.

oh, my achin' feet

I feel a little deja vu-ish. I think I've posted that before! But it's true. I helped my BFF move today (Saturday, because I haven't gone to bed yet), and I was on my feet most of the day again. I think my walking parts in my feet and ankles have gone on strike. Or they're broken. They're twitching and clenching as I'm sitting here. Ibuprofen and warm covers will work wonders, I think. Tomorrow will be a great day to take it easy. Maybe I'll get up and do some of the dishes that are sitting on the counter. Maybe.

I think I'm getting a cold, too, so I'm leaning even more toward the sleeping in idea. It sounds heavenly to sleep until I really want to get out of bed and do something. How crazy is this?? I'm longing to stretch out in my bed and snoooooze, and yet here I sit on the computer, typing madly away! I'm such a dork, or as my daughter would say if she was text messaging me, I'm a fork! "Textspeak" sometimes gets the wrong letter in there since each number stands for more than one letter.

I figured out that I could text my daughter from my Yahoo email and it would show up on her phone. I was pretty excited about that, so I texted her and told her so. Did I get any credit for figuring this out? No. She texted me back and said, "You're such a fork!" I almost choked on my coffee when I laughed out loud. Yes, yes I am a fork.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

slowly recovering

Dinner with the family on Thanksgiving Day was fun, and the house was so lively it was just bubbling over. I think if you would have been standing outside, the windows would have been bulging in and out because of all the energy inside. Only one of the kids didn't make it, and even with all the commotion, he and his family were missed. But the one thing that I don't think worked so well was splitting up the food menu. I still ended up with over half the list to do myself only because I kept thinking of things to add that I could make. When we do our Christmas dinner, I'll try again.

Yesterday, on "Black Friday," my honey and I did a little shopping for the grandbabies, but NOT at the crack of dawn. I thought about doing that, but old age kicked in and I just stayed in bed. I did the early morning shopping thing one's not all it's cracked up to be. I might have gone over to Old Navy Thursday night if I had thought about it, if I hadn't been so tired. They were giving away wristbands to the first people who were standing in line. If you had one and you spent only $20, you got a free MP3 player. Pretty cool marketing gig, if you ask me.

Actually, by the time we went in the afternoon, it was just like a normal shopping day, and we still found everything we had on our list. We had some dinner out, brought little D's mama a birthday card, came home, and watched the movie we bought on sale: Santa Clause 3, the Escape Clause. Not bad at all, for another sequel. I liked it a lot. It had a slight shade of "It's a Wonderful Life." I'm a sucker for a happy ending, and that's all the spoilers you're going to get out of me.

Oh! And I got my hair cut! That's like an early Christmas present because I'm just so happy about it! It doesn't look scraggly anymore, and I LOVE having it up off my neck again. Crysta does such a great job on it. She came highly recommended by my friend Megan, who was absolutely right about her!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving memories

I got up early this Thanksgiving morning. I took the bowl from the deck outside and peeled off the plastic wrap to reveal the smooth surface of the refrigerator potato roll dough I made last night. I flopped it out onto the counter and punched it down to release all the air from the pockets in the dough.

As I started to shape it into little dinner rolls for our dinner today, I thought about our traditions. I thought about how our family has taken traditions from each of our own family backgrounds. I realized that we have created our own unique family traditions that our kids will remember. Some of them they'll carry on into their own families, and I'm sure that some of them they will gladly shed like last year's fashion faux pas.

These potato rolls are one of the family traditions I incorporated into our family. Grandma Ada used to make them. She was my kids' great-grandmother on their dad's paternal side, to be precise about it. She passed the recipe down into the family, and since I like to bake, I started making them.

I also eventually found the recipe in a small, old paperback Betty Crocker cookbook that I got at a garage sale, but Grandma gave better directions about how it should look at each stage of the process. These potato buns are something she used to usually only make at big holiday dinners, and that's the only time I make them, too. I think it's because they are so much work.

In spite of all the work, or probably because of it, Grandma's potato buns are absolutely the best. They poof up into these heavenly, fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth bits of yeasty delight. I've gone a few years without making them, and there's jsut something missing when I don't make them. This year, I just had to do it. Making them brought back memories of Grandma Ada, who would get up at the crack of dawn to start making Thanksgiving dinner for all of us. She always used her good china and silver. Thanksgiving was always such a special occasion at her house.

Our traditions can create a link to our past so it doesn't feel so far away. Are there any traditions you continue to keep that have special memories for you?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'll give you a daisy a day, dear

I've looked and looked for this song. This song is the reason for the name of my blog. My honey planted a beautiful perennial garden for me so I'd have flowers every single day from him. Well, except in the winter, but we live in frigid Minnesota. Whaddya want?

Daisy a Day
(Words and music by Jud Strunk)

He remembers the first time he met her.
He remembers the first thing she said.
He remembers the first time he held her,
And the night that she came to his bed.
He remembers her sweet way of saying,
"Honey, has something gone wrong?"
He remembers the fun and the teasing,
And the reason he wrote her this song:

I'll give you a daisy a day, dear.
I'll give you a daisy a day.
I'll love you until the rivers run still
And the four winds we know blow away.

They would walk down the street in the evening,
And for years I would see them go by.
And their love that was more than the clothes that they wore,
Could be seen in the gleam of their eyes.
As a kid, they would take me for candy,
And I loved to go tagging along.
We'd hold hands while we walked to the corner,
And the old man would sing her his song:

I'll give you a daisy a day, dear.
I'll give you a daisy a day.
I'll love you until the rivers run still
And the four winds we know blow away.

Now he walks down the street in the evening,
And he stops by the old candy store.
And I somehow believe he's believing
He's holding her hand like before.
For he feels all her love walking with him,
And he smiles at the things she might say.
Then the old man walks up to the hilltop
And gives her a daisy a day.

I'll give you a daisy a day, dear.
I'll give you a daisy a day.
I'll love you until the rivers run still
And the four winds we know blow away.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

and then there were three

It was a tough call, but I was guessing Jennie was going home. I don't know if it had anything to do with anything, but I really didn't like the song they used with their first dance. It didn't seem to fit. And she did do much better with her dancing, so maybe it was the song that did her in.

If I had to pick the order right now, I'd say Mel was going to win, and then it's a toss up after that. Marie's fans must be voting like crazy! I'd like to say Helio would be next in line, but if Marie keeps getting votes like that, she could be second instead. She's doing very well for an old broad. Hey! I can say that 'cause I'm an old broad myself. And I know I would be lying dead under a table somewhere if I had to do what she's been doing. They could just sweep me out with the popcorn.

And how fun to see Sabrina and Mark again. I fully expected one of the judges to make a comment about lifts, just for fun, because they had so many, but if they did, I missed it. Did you see that lift they did where Mark was spinning her around holding her back, and she just had her hands on his hips? I expected her to launch and be airborne at any second. Next week, did I hear that anything goes? Lifts and all?

How about Michael Flatley? I was entranced. I sat through the entire number, barely breathing, with a huge smile on my face. WOW!! I want to learn just a little bit of tap. Just a hair. Enough so that I can tap out a rhythm when I'm feeling zippety! Zippety, dippety, doo dah dah!

Monday, November 19, 2007

mail call!

One more thing--I got a book that I WON in the mail today. It's so cool to get a gift in the mail. I remember that when I was little, I used to just WISH for something to come in the mail for me. Magical, almost.

It's such an easy thing to do.

Well, once I've finished this book, Mosaic, by Amy Grant, I'll offer it up in a drawing here, and get just as much enjoyment out of paying it forward as I did receiving it. Till later...

menu Monday

Just for fun, I wanted to share our Thanksgiving menu. We try to have a variety of favorites, and we try to add something new as well.

This year, we're doing a potluck again, and everybody pitches in with something so that no one is overworked. At least that is the theory. I still usually end up feeling like a truck ran me over by the end of the day.

Hawaiian Bread & Spinach Dip
Relish tray (olives, cherries, veggies)
Wrapped Pickles

Ham balls
Apple Pecan Stuffing
Green Bean Casserole
Cheesy Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Macaroni & Cheese (possibly)
Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey
Gramma's Homemade Potato Buns
Cranberry Orange Relish
Pretzel Jello Salad

And if any of us can move after all of that,

Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie
French Silk Pie
Steamed Pudding with Hard Sauce

I think after the dishes are done and the food is put away, a nap might just be the next thing on the menu. But we'll have a grand time getting together, just being thankful for each other.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

interior decorating by Micah

This verse has been showing up in different places in my life lately.

"He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."

It's from Micah 6:8. I just saw that on a bumper sticker recently, and it struck me how complete and concise that verse is. The pastor at a church I visited yesterday used this as the basis for his message on how to "decorate" a Christian home. This is what it would look, feel, and sound like if someone visited. Ideally.

Acting justly? It means not playing favorites and being consistent. Pretty basic, but not always easy to do, right? Oooh, the consistency got me. If I come home in a cranky mood, I tend to be a little snappy at people, not intentionally, but snappy all the same. I don't see myself as playing favorites, but I guess the kids are the ones who are on the receiving end, so they could tell me better if I do that.

Loving mercy? I have an easier time with that. I don't hold grudges, and I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I just have this little judgmental side that sneaks out every so often. The more aware of it I am, the easier it is to catch myself. Forgiving those people who have hurt my family is probably the one where I have the hardest time.

But acting justly and loving mercy also means that you have to step out of your own little world and help other people who are not as fortunate as you are. I need to look for more opportunities to make a small difference in the lives of those around me. Random acts of kindness are so much fun. And planned acts of serving others make you feel just as good. As my honey always says, Those who have, have a responsibility to take care of those who have not. It's not about dying with the most toys, kids!

Walking humbly with my God? I love the way the Message says it. Don't take yourself too seriously, but take God seriously. Be able to laugh at yourself. I have plenty of chances for that. I'm kind of dorky, as my kids are more than happy to point out to me, but you know what? Nobody can be cool all the time. It's more fun to be dorky, anyway. It gives you lots of opportunities to laugh, and laughing is good for you!

So there, paraphrased succinctly, are the top three home decorating tips from Micah. Lots of food for thought for the week for me.

Friday, November 16, 2007

it's finally Friday again

Wow it's been a long week. I've been longing for Friday to come!

I've got a great weekend planned. Little X-man is going to be over tonight, along with his mama. I'm sleeping in tomorrow. Well, with a little guy who likes to get up at 4 in the morning and play, I'm going to TRY and sleep in! I'll let you know how that goes.

I'm going to a jewelry party with my friend--we're going to make something there. And then I'm going to scrapbook. I have to fit cleaning somewhere in there...maybe that will be tonight. Get it out of the way, you know?

Sunday--church in the morning, and in the evening the AMA (American Music Awards, of course) is going on from about seven o'clock on. Don't bother calling then. I prolly won't even hear the phone. :)

Nothing too drastic or strenuous. Maybe a walk with the dog, or without, who knows?

I'm soooooo ready!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

school of shame

As we're soon moving into Thanksgiving week, we have much to be thankful for. I could make endless lists of things that bring me delight.

On a more sober note, however, I want to draw your attention for a moment to the protest that is commencing in Fort Benning, Georgia, at the School of the Americas/WHINSEC. Thousands of people are gathering for the Vigil and the Nonviolent Direct Action to Close the School of the Americas.

If you don't know anything about it, here is a link to some FAQs that can quickly get you up to speed. I'll post just a little snippet that is helpful.

What is the School of the Americas?

The School of the Americas (SOA) is a U.S. Army training school that trains soldiers and military personnel from Latin American countries. Under Department of Defense jurisdiction, this school is funded by U.S. taxpayer money, all of the training is conducted in Spanish, and most of the classes are taught by Latin American instructors. The SOA was founded as a combat school focused on counterinsurgency techniques. Rather than contributing to the development of democracy in the region, the SOA actually taught methods that undermined and destroyed democratic values.

Why should the SOA be closed?

SOA graduates have included some of the worst and most notorious human rights abusers in Latin American history, and for much of the world, the school, under any name, is synonymous with torture and impunity.

Over twenty thousand people are expected at a vigil in Georgia to protest and to commemorate the lives of the victims of the graduates from this "school". The story about how the protest was birthed is a fascinating one. It initially started with just a handful of people from Minnesota who wanted to draw attention to what was happening behind the closed doors of this U.S. sponsored torture-training academy.

The protest actually begins tonight and continues through till Sunday, the last day, when there will be a reading of the names of all the known victims of graduates from the "school of torture". The memorial and funeral process takes most of the day, beginning at eight o'clock in the morning, and finally ending at around two or three in the afternoon.

At a time when we are reminded to be thankful for the freedom we enjoy, it is wise to remember that for people like the murdered Archbishop Oscar Romero, or 14-year-old Celina Ramos and her mother Elba Ramos, or the six Jesuit priests in El Salvador who were brutally massacred, freedom is but a dream unrealized.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

just another day...

Today was a typical day for me, full of distractions and things gone awry.

I got up this morning and felt terrible. It might have been something I ate. I decided to go in to work a little late, and I went back to bed. Too quickly, it was time to get up. I shoulda gone in at the regular time 'cause I still didn't feel any better.

I have PMS, only it's like on steroids or something. I am twitchy and CRAB-BY!

My honey asked me what was wrong. When I said, "NOTHING," he said I should express whatever is on my mind. It's better to get it out, he told me, than to hang on to it and create resentment. He likes me spunky, he said. Welllll, I just have a strong feeling that this TOM (time of the month) is not the time to do that. Things would probably come out of my mouth with a little more...force than necessary. Overkill, you might say. I think I'll pass on that for now. I'll just grit my teeth and paste a smile on my face. Except he has a killer fake-smile detector.

Then today at work, one of the students brought in a little Yorkie named Murph to the office, but he wasn't looking so good. I don't think the car ride agreed with little Murph. One of the girls was holding Murph when he decided it was time to throw up. The girl put him down pretty quickly, and as Murph's owner was cleaning that up, he decided to relieve himself from the other end as well, leaving a little pile of fragrant brown doo on the rug. Oh, just lovely. Time to disappear back into my office. That just reinforces my resolution of no new pets! Uh uh.

I got home, got ready to make pancakes, and of course! The buttermilk had gone bad. Just my luck. Apparently it's been sitting in the fridge for about SIX WEEKS. Who would remember that? It expired the day before Halloween. Of course, how do you really tell when buttermilk goes bad? Maybe if it has a green sweater growing on it or something. The pancakes would just be extra tangy, wouldn't they? Mold is poisonous, you say? Whatever. So, a change of plans for dinner again. I guess I can be flexible. We'll have cottage cheese pancakes instead. We haven't had those for ages.

I'd like to go to bed early tonight, but I can already think of several things that need to be done tonight. It's not going to be an early night...too bad...grumbling under my breath. Grrr!

Maybe I need to talk to God about my attitude. I don't seem to be making any headway myself; maybe He can help. Pray for me! I need all the help I can get.

Monday, November 12, 2007

menu board Monday

I'm making out the menu for the next two weeks. It's so hard to come up with new meals...we often end up eating the same things over and over again. Bleah. I'm cringing as I say that, though, because I know that there are many people who don't have enough food and would love to have that problem. I think I'll stop complaining right now.

We plan our meals out two weeks at a time. We go shopping once for all of that, at least that is the intention, which means that we save tons of money. If we buy a day or two's worth of food, we always get a lot of extras because it seems like we're not spending very much. So we figure we can get a little of this and a little of that. A little this and that can add up to a couple hundred dollars over two weeks. We can't afford that.

Plus, then we don't have the daily song and dance of "What's For Dinner Tonight?" The meals are set, the food is all here; it's a great plan. So without further ado, the list:

  • Monday - Goulash Chicken & potato salad--It was on sale when I went shopping so I changed my list midstream
  • Tuesday - Homemade pizza burgers Goulash
  • Wednesday - Homemade pancakes - Blueberry and chocolate chip Cottage cheese pancakes
  • Thursday - Grilled cheese (Jalapeño Cheddar or Seven Grain bread from Diamond City Bread, with a choice of pepper jack/Provolone/Muenster/Swiss cheese)
  • Friday - Kid's choice - Chicken strips or burgers
  • Saturday - Old fashioned rice pudding (Yes, it can be a meal on occasion. It has your protein, grains, and dairy in it. All it's missing is the fruit or vegetable, and you could serve it with frozen strawberries over the top. But we usually have it with cinnamon-sugar and extra milk.)
  • Sunday - Giada's chicken drummies, cheesy potatoes, and salad

  • Monday - Venison steaks and fried potatoes
  • Tuesday - Roast in the crockpot-I found some great inexpensive crockpot recipes at the Dollar Stretcher that I want to try
  • Wednesday - Chicken chili--this is a fantastic quick meal. I'll share the recipe below
  • Thursday - Turkey Day!!! That is a whole menu all by itself. But we're doing a potluck this year again so one person doesn't end up cooking everything.
  • Friday - Pizza - probably Papa Murphy's

We try to do at least one, if not two, meatless meals every week. It's better for you, and easier on the checkbook, too.

Here is the chili recipe:

Chili Chicken Stew

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 c chopped onion
1 med green pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 T oil
2 16 oz cans diced tomatoes (I use the ones with basil, garlic and onion added)
1 15 can pinto beans, drained
2/3 to 3/4 cup picante sauce or salsa (your choice of how spicy. I use mild.)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt

Optional toppings:
Shredded cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Diced onions

Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces. Cook chicken, onion, green pepper and garlic in oil until chicken is JUST cooked. (No longer pink) Add remaining ingredients, simmer 20 minutes. Let sit ten minutes.

This is a fast, delicious, healthy meal. You can serve with biscuits or cornbread and a green salad.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

a slow, serene Sunday

Ahhhh, it was a restful day. As it should be. I went to church, had a nice lunch with my girlfriend, went to the grocery store for stuff for dinner, and went home. I made some won-der-ful sandwiches...they're Rob's version of a Dagwood sandwich. Easy and delicious.

Here's how he makes them. He takes one of those big round Hawaiian breads, and carefully slices it parallel to the table like he's making a layer cake or something.

He spreads a thin layer of real mayonnaise on the bottom. Sprinkles shredded cheese on the mayo. He likes a combination of provolone and mozzarella. I grated it fresh today 'cause it's better that way. (Right, Susie?)

Then he lays sliced lunch meat over the cheese. Three different kinds. You can use chicken or turkey for one layer, roast beef or pastrami for a second layer, and ham or salami for the third layer. He covers the entire surface of the bread with everything he puts on there, by the way. All the way to the edges. (That's another quirky thing. We are so much alike!)

Then, he puts alfalfa sprouts on top of the meat. Sometimes he spreads a thin layer of mayo on the top of the bread, too. It holds the sprouts in place better.

Okay, then he flops the top back onto the sandwich. He presses it down slightly, and slices it into 6 or 8 wedges. It's ready to devour!

I made them, put the sandwiches back into the fridge and voilà! Dinner was done.

One by one, everyone came home. My honey and the boys got home from hunting (guys 0, Bambi 1--yesss!), E-girl got home from the youth retreat, G-girl got home from work, and Rob got up from his nap. Oh! And I made yummy molasses cookies.

Some of the kids watched Friends with me for a little while, Chandler finally proposed to Monica, and now, it's time to think about going to bed. (big yawwwwwnnn) Oh, maybe one more rice game, and then I'm good.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

can you handle one more blogthing?

This one was too funny to not post! Four Giggling Monkeys had this going on over at her blog today.

You Are a Fruitcake

People pretend you're sweet and precious, but they know how weird you really are!

Can you see that I have not gotten off the computer to do anything productive all day?

calling all word geeks

Okay, all you wordies. I found this site on Antique Mommy's blog. It's a huge time killer, at least it was for me. BUT, you are helping donate rice for hungry people while you do it. It's addicting. I don't know if I dare go back! I might be stuck there for another hour.

The highest I got was a 45, but your score can fluctuate up or down, depending on how many words you are getting (or guessing, as the case may be) right. But every correct answer wins ten grains of rice for the hungry. So far, 1,072,025,720 grains of rice have been donated. Not by just me. Totally. I've (only) donated 8070 grains myself. It's dangerous, but ya gotta love it.

a sluggish Saturday

What a contrast to last weekend. Today my heap of ambition is maybe the size of a small anthill. I can't see my way through to doing a single thing.

We went to Baby Del's birthday party, at his other gramma's house--my honey's ex. That was a surreal experience. It's lovely, because their relationship is relatively good now, but every once in a while I just kind of shake my head and wonder if this is really happening.

All I can say is that God is a miracle worker. When I think of the animosity that used to be there, mmm mmm mmm.

The kids took the grandbabies to the fall maze thing at the local community center after the party, but we were happy to come home and just, well, collapse would be a good word here, I guess. My brain was buzzing by the time we left because of all the noise. I'm beginning to recover. I suppose I'll find that other pile of ambition right around the time I get ready for bed. And then I won't sleep until two or three in the morning. Being almost fifty is so much fun!

Friday, November 9, 2007

too tired to tango

It's been a loooong week. But it's almost over, and I have Monday off. I just seem to be dragging myself through the day. Do you think it's because fall is here, and the clocks have been turned back? It's almost dark out now when I go home from work.

It's a day when I would just love to cuddle up on my bed with some Sugarland and Selah in the CD player, some Pecan Sandies, a cold glass of milk, a bunch of magazines to clip, and my Discovery Journal. You can call it a scrapbook or an All About Me journal, but I happen to like the name Illustrated Discovery Journal. It sounds like a journey, like travels to another land, only you get to do it from the comfort of your own cozy bed (or chair, as the case may be).

If you've read Sarah Ban Breathnach's Simple Abundance, you know what I'm talking about. I don't buy into everything in her book, but I do like the principles she proposes. Gratitude, Simplicity, Order, Harmony, Beauty and Joy. Gratitude takes us out of our selfishness. Simplicity streamlines. Order brings peace. Harmony speaks for itself. Beauty is food for our eyes and heart. And joy? A gift from God.

Well, unfortunately I don't get to play right now. I get to make dinner for my ravenous family. We are having homemade calzones tonight. I guess you could call them semi-homemade because I use refrigerated biscuits. They're still a little time consuming to roll out, but yummy to eat. Comfort food, if you ask me. I'll share the recipe. They're even delicious the next day if you heat them in the microwave. We dunk them in pizza sauce.

Cheesy Sausage Calzones recipe

Source: Pillsbury Crescents Biscuits & More - March 2004

1/2 pound bulk Italian pork sausage
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 (10 ounce) can Pillsbury Grands
2 ounces (1/2 cup) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups tomato pasta sauce, heated

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

In medium skillet, combine sausage, onions and bell pepper; cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink, stirring frequently. Drain. Cool 10 minutes.

Separate dough into 5 biscuits. On ungreased large cookie sheet, press each biscuit to form 6-inch round. I cut the sides of a large baggie open, spray the insides of it with cooking spray, put the biscuit in between them to roll it out with a rolling pin. Top half of each biscuit round with sausage mixture and cheese to within 1/2 inch of edge. It takes a couple of tablespoons. Fold dough over filling; press edges firmly with fork to seal.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm calzones with warm pasta sauce for dipping.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

seven quirky things

I've been tagged by .:B HappyGirl:. for this meme. The deal is you write seven quirky things about yourself, and tag seven other people to do the same. Easy peasie! I have plenty of weirdness to talk about. I'm not so hot on the tagging people thing, but if you'd like to play, too, please consider yourself tagged! Just leave me a comment so I can come enjoy your weirdness! LOL

So, here goes.

1. I love things to be organized, but my house is anything but organized. I'm a perfectionist, but I procrastinate at doing things, because if I don't have time to do things perfectly, I don't do them at all. At work, however, my office is completely organized and clean. I have fewer "things" and more "aways" in which to put my things. It's impossible to put everything away unless you have enough "aways". "Aways" are good. That might explain my fascination with all things related to organization. Boxes, totes, drawers, shelves, you name it. But sometimes they just sit there empty while I admire them. I will often move them from place to place, just to figure out what to do with them.

2. I can't sleep if I have socks on. I hate wearing socks. The only problem is that your feet smell if you're not careful to switch up the shoes you wear. Bleah.

On a side note, my cat Franklin carries socks around the house in his mouth and me-rows through the socks. Thinking that it's stuck on his teeth, I go to help him. Then and only then, he drops it and waits smugly for me to pet him.

3. I think it's fair to say that my pet peeve is people not picking up or cleaning up after themselves. The quirky part is that I don't do it either! (Don't pick up after myself. Maybe I should change that...huh.) Oh, I also really hate when people don't put the toilet paper on the holder with the end coming off the front.

4. The most boring thing I do in my day is take a shower. Of course maybe procrastinating on that contributes to the smelly feet thing. Eeee-yew.

5. We don't try to get rid of squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits--we FEED them! I beg my honey to leave a nice brush pile in the yard every year so the rabbits and other critters have a place to hide from the dogs and cats that roam the neighborhood. I draw the line at rats, though.

6. I hate making time to exercise, but once I actually am doing it, I love it.

7. Once I get into bed at night, I settle myself and get comfortable. If I have to get up and do anything (like feed the dog or get a drink of water), it's almost impossible for me to get comfortable again. I have to thrash around for a while to find that comfy spot. I fling my covers up in the air several times to try and straighten them out so I don't have too much covering my feet or have them too far up my neck. I have to adjust my pillow several (dozen) times, and huff and puff mightily (as if that helps), before I can settle down again. Are you feeling sorry for my husband yet? I am. It's just much better if I don't have to get up after I lay down.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

finishing off the day

I didn't finish my list. But I cooked two meals from scratch: Autumn Butternut Chicken for lunch and Stuffed Shells for G-girl's birthday dinner. And brownies for dessert. Those were from a box, though. But not from the freezer.

The Butternut Chicken was just okay. It wasn't that great. The recipe was on the grocery store ad. I think they just print those on there so you buy the ingredients to make the stuff. But it sure beat peanut butter and jelly for lunch.

And the other thing I got done was some smoothing on the mudded walls in the living room. One of my coworkers suggested trying a wet sponge to smooth things out instead of sandpaper--that was a great suggestion! It worked like...oh, I don't know. It worked like a key in a well-oiled lock. It was slick!

But oh, my achin' body. I am not used to being that active. Sad, but true. I took some ibuprofen before I started working. My ex-boss said that if he took three ibuprofen BEFORE he went to play racquetball, he was never sore the next day. But if he didn't take any, he could barely walk the day after he played. So we'll see if it works tomorrow. I'll keep you posted. If I remember. Heh.

The pièce de résistance of the entire day, though, was when I was getting up this morning. Even though I didn't have to work today, I got up to make sure the girls were up for school. I was sitting on the edge of the bed, and I heard plastic bags rustling over by the closet. Thinking that one of the cats must have been behind my boxes, I looked over there...just in time to see the entire black hole avalanche down onto the floor! It had tipped forward just a bit, tilted slightly to one side, and floomped! in one swift slide, and instantly, there was no remaining floor to be seen between the bed and the closet!

I had stacked everything from the bed last night into a delicately balanced pile that reached all the way up to the closet bar. So much for that. I have since picked up and folded each and every piece of clean clothing that was in that pile. I'm debating if I'm going to put them away tonight, or if I'm going to create another pile. The later it gets, the less chance that I'll be putting them away. :)

They got put away. Yip pee. My energy is draining away...I can scarcely form words...good night.

Monday, November 5, 2007

what I'm doing today

Today is a free day! Yippee!

By that, I mean that I don't have any obligations to anyone. I took the day off work. My kids are in school or gone. My hubby is gone hunting. The animals are fed, watered, pottied, and content. Me? I'm cleaning my little brains out.

Go figure. I could do anything at all, and I'm cleaning! Huh. It's like I have a split personality or something. It's the only explanation. LOL.

Here's what I've done so far:

  • Cleaned the bathroom (the toilet, the floor, the sink AND the nasty, yukky tub)
  • Cleaned the stove top, burner grates and burner plates
  • Cleaned the oven
  • Cleaned the oven racks
  • Scrubbed my counters
  • Cleaned the microwave
  • AND did all the dishes!

** a side note here...did you know? You can clean your burner plates and oven racks by putting them in a big garbage bag, pouring in a cup of plain old ammonia and tying the bag shut. Just let them sit overnight, and when you take them out in the morning, you can almost just rinse them clean!! It's better than magic! **

And by the time I'm done with everything today, I hope to get the rest of these things checked off my list:

  • Scrub the kitchen floor
  • Clean under the fridge (yukkk!)
  • Finish switching out my summer/winter clothes
  • Find the kids' boots in the garage for when they need them
  • Pick up the garden decorations and critters and put them away for the season
  • Put the yard furniture away
  • Throw away the broken totes and coolers (halfway done)
  • Clean and organize the deck

If I get that done and I'm still standing, I'm going to scrapbook. Wanna take any bets that I make it that far? I'm optimistic, but I'm going to need to stay focused. So I have to get off this computer and get moving!!

How's your Monday going?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

one more thing before I go to bed

I've been debating if I should stop checking books out from the library for a while. You see, I check out a huuuuuge stack of them every week or so. I bring them home. I set them down in a place where no one will trip over them. I have the best intentions of reading them ALL before they are due again. I usually read ONE at a time, and with the time that I have to read books, it takes me forever. By the time they are due, I have usually only read a couple of them. I have almost always misplaced one or two of them, and I end up paying overdue fines on them. I need to stop the madness! I should stop checking books out for a while, and read the ones I own at home.

Well, that all sounds fine and good, but, and it's a big but, I am hooked on being able to get all these fine books I read about when I'm blogging. I can check them out for FREE! That free thing always catches me. Unfortunately, I don't get them READ. And I have to pay for them when they're late. I don't like it. Not a bit. So I'm seriously debating this.

On Saturday, I stopped at a garage sale. The lady was selling her stuff, cleaning (weeding out) her house "Clean Sweep" style. Two bucks for this, a buck for that. She brings out a huge box of books. How much? A quarter/fifty cents each! She has my taste in reading! She had dozens of books I had not read yet, and she recommended a bunch of them. So I came home with a bag full of new authors and new books to read. And I don't have to worry about returning them on time, cuz they're all mine! They cannot cost me any more money. Hooray!

You may see them on a Pay it Forward post in the future if I give them away. I'm trying to hold things loosely now, and not have so much STUFF accumulate in my house! Although, if you would see my bedroom tonight, you would have some doubts about that! The bed is piled high with junk, clothes, stuff to go through...aauuuugh! It's baaaack. (the black hole. shhhh.)

If I sneak up on it quietly and attack it before it knows what is happening, I might win. If not, and you don't hear from me for a while, it might have gotten me! In which case, send out a search party! But hold hands, so you don't get sucked in, too.

the end of a long dry run

I heard from the guys tonight, and they got three deer today. Bambi's lucky streak ran out this time. They're still hunting tomorrow, so they may get even more. Well, the meat will be nice to have. I do like venison the way that my honey trims it out. We'll probably get some venison sausage made from most of it, and cut up the loins into steaks.

I was happy for them, but sad for the deer. You know, the guys have just as much male bonding time even if they don't get deer. Good times, less work, don't have to mess with cutting and cleaning, and Bambi gets a reprieve. What a concept! But somehow, I just don't think I could talk them into it. Not this year, I guess.

Hey! What do you think the chances are for passing a federal law against hunting? Let the critters be! Live and let live! Preserve life! They passed Prohibition back in the last century, didn't they? With a federal amendment, to boot. It could happen. Not. Not in my lifetime.

Oh, I think I might be in the doghouse with this one. Forget the doghouse...I'll be in the rabbit house--the brush pile!

I don't really have a lot else to say about that.

Guys - 3
Bambi - 0

and the winner is...

AMY! She is at "We Owe How Much?" and she has a fun blog over there, writing about how she and her husband are living frugally so they can get out of debt. I could take lessons!

Okay, I waited up until Daylight Savings Time switched over to post this. I love y'all that much! Just kidding. I was up anyway.

Auuggghhh! Wait. Foot in mouth disease strikes again. I reread that. I was only kidding about the part about staying up this late to post this.That sounded so snotty. I do love y'all! My apologies.

And if G-girl was reading, right now she would say, "No, thank you." We had a crazy conversation where she declined my apology, and when I said she couldn't do that, she piped right back up with, "Sure I can. I'll show you. Say it again!" And of course I fell for it, and she did it again to me! I'm also gullible!

Going to bed now, at 1 am.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

scrap mania!

We had a lovely evening scrapbooking with G-girl and Dee-girl. G-girl turned 18 today!! She went out to breakfast with her boyfriend, Sports-guy, and spent some time with me today, too! Went to Scrap Mania at Archiver's...oooooh I am tired. I spent six stinkin' hours there, and do you know how many pages I got done???

Almost one. Almost!

I am the pokiest little puppy I know. MAN I'm slow!

I've made small progress on my house projects. Small. Not telling what they are yet. I have to get them done and take pictures first. Then I'll share more. I don't know if I'll be brave enough to share the before pictures. Maybe not even the after pictures. We'll see.

Well, anything more I write won't make sense anyway, so I'll head for bed and try again tomorrow.

my "Fall, Y'all" bloggy giveaway

Happy Fall, Y'All! The drawing has been done. Amy is my winner! Congratulations, Amy! Thanks for stopping by, everyone. C'mon back for a visit and a cuppa coffee when things settle down for you!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Let's get this party rollin'! I'm excited! I can't wait to see all the giveaways that are happening this week in Blogland.

This Breezy alphabet set from Magnetic Poetry is so cool! It's a sassy font, and it's great to use when you're stamping anything...I just went through a class at Archivers recently, and they used craft paint with their stamps as well as many of the cool inks they have now. It's fun to do just an initial on a large button or piece of chipboard, or you can do a custom title on a scrapbook page...just whatever.

There is a full set of upper case and lower case letters, and punctuation marks and numbers as well. The upper case letters are about an inch tall. Each letter has a dandy plastic handle on the back so you can stamp without getting your fingers messy, and then the handle sticks into the placeholder when you're through with it. The entire set is new in the box.

I will use a random number generator to draw one lucky name from the comments on this post. I will pack it up and pay the postage...all you have to do is leave me a comment here and tell me one of your favorite songs and who the artist is, or the most recent good book you've read. I'm always looking for new music and new reads. Thanks for sharing!

If you are a blogger, sign in when you leave your comment, and I will be able to find you. If you do not have a blog, leave your email address. It would be wise to type it out using brackets or parenthesis around the @ and the . in your address to avoid having your email picked up by bots.

(Example: daisyaday [@] gmail [.] com )

Anyway, here is the prize you're entering to win! Do ya like it?