Tuesday, July 31, 2007

a day in the life of cats

Managing the animal life around our house can be pretty complicated. The kitten, Gazhaagens, gets put in the kennel at night and every time when X-man takes a nap because once she ran across his face when he was napping and left two big scratches on his cheek.

She has tons of energy. One of the kids said she did a Jackie Chan the other day...during the day we have the twin mattress resting upright against the wall so there's more floor space. Well Gazhaagens was racing around the room, and ran halfway up the mattress, then ran sideways on the mattress like she was running on the wall.

She'll race up to the other cats and pounce on them. She'll literally leap up and land on top of them, batting them about the head with her paws. Charliemama just hisses at her, but that's nothing new. She hisses at everything that moves and even some things that don't. BoomBoom is more mellow; he just ignores her until she gets bored and goes away.

Franklin always engages in a scuffle with her when she does that, and he always ends up getting the edge of her claws. He never learns. Tucker just pulls his paw back like he's going to whack her and if she doean't run, he hisses, then...thwhap!

When she runs up to Augie Doggie, he turns his head and gives her "The Stare". His lip curls up in a half snarl just enough to show his teeth. He's like a little grumpy old man: no patience, no sense of humor. She usually stares at him, does an about face, and runs off in the opposite direction.

They all probably do this invisible animal cheer when she gets kenneled for the night. BoomBoom will walk by the kennel just to tantalize her because he's out of her reach. But poor Gazhaagens now has another reason to be put in the kennel.

"Just say no, Tucker! Run, Franklin!" The girls were talking to our two cats.

Apparently Gazhaagens has gone into heat and has been me-row-ling around our two cats. They're both males, although they have been fixed. The girls happened upon them in the dining room and immediately went into panic mode. "Flee the sinful lusts!" they shouted. "Gazhaagens, quit your tempting ways and leave them alone!"

"Girls, they're cats. Not people. The kitten doesn't even know what you're talking about." I had to take the spray bottle away from them.

"But Mom. She keeps rubbing up against Franklin. How is he supposed to say no? We can't just let her run around being scandalous!" They were both shocked and horrified that I didn't DO something about it. "How can you encourage this behavior??" Only my girls!

Our kitties will be so bored when Dee and her entourage move into their apartment. Whatever will they do with their time then? Take long naps, perhaps?

Monday, July 30, 2007

a Fours meme!

I've been tagged by Miss Paula with a Fours Meme! My first time, too, Miss Paula!

Four jobs I have had or currently have in my life:
1. Unloading trucks at UPS--ick!!
2. Carhop at A&W
3. Admin Asst
4. Writing Tutor
5. That's far from it, but four is the limit! Lucky for you!

Four countries I have been to:
1. Canada
2. Norway
3. Finland
4. Sweden

Four places I’d rather be right now:
1. The west coast
2. Back at my scrapbook retreat, just cuz I want to finish my project
3. Book Store
4. Starting a new job as a librarian!

Four foods I like to eat:
1. shrimp lo mein
2. vegetable lovers pizza from Pizza Hut
3. mango smoothies
4. pecan caramel rolls from Wuollet's Bakery

Four people that I would like to tag:

1. baby del
2. Unique Bird of Paradise
3. Susiem083
4. Confessions of a Shopoholic

Sunday, July 29, 2007

having a scrappin' good time

It's amazing how therapeutic it can be to get creative energy going. I've been working on (shh, it's a surprise) an album for someone else. I better not give any details yet, but I hope they like it. I have to get more pictures for it, because I didn't have a clue that I was going to make this when I left. I got the idea after I got here, so it's a little hard to plan ahead for that. Not that I really planned any one specific thing before I left! That would require me to be organized, and these days, I'm not that!

I wanted to complete something instead of just having a few pages done haphazardly for whatever. It still isn't done because I need the pictures, but I know what I want to put in there, so in my mind it's as good as done. I wonder if I'll laugh at myself when I read back on this later...I'm already assuming that it won't get done.

I took some pictures of how much "stuff" I have when it's all spread out. No wonder I have a hard time keeping it out of the way at home. Maybe I should just keep it boxed up except when I'm going someplace where I can spread out. It kind of takes over the house. A new black hole, except it's contained in multiple boxes. For now.

Friday, July 27, 2007

anchors aweigh, friends!

It's been a rollercoaster day getting here, let me tell ya! It started last night already, when I was trying to get meal lists straight for when I was gone, and getting other stuff done, like laundry, and having to put the fan going on the clothes that I don't dare put in the dryer so they'd be dry today. I was finishing my list on the computer and heard the lock snick and the front door opening. R-man was home from his second shift job...I said, "Either you're home quite early, or I'm up waaaay too late!" It was 3 am. Oh, my goodness. Off to brush my teeth and fall into bed.

I woke up when the kids were leaving for work at 5 am, but promptly went back to bed. I woke up around 9 am and I thought, "Oh! I have to get moving!" Then I thought, "Wait. If I'm going with my twin, she's not going to be ready either." Guess who called and said she was going to be a couple hours. Uh huh... She was worried that I was going to be mad. I just had to ask her. "Did you think I'd actually be ready? Do you remember who you're talking to?" Oh, yeah. Everyone just laughs and shakes their head every time we find something else we have in common. There's just too many to list. It's almost getting creepy.

So anyway, we finally got going out the door, not at 11 am, not at 1 pm, or even at 3 pm, no, it was about 4 pm. We were about ten minutes out, just getting gas at Holiday when the phone rang and it was my honey. "Uh, dear? Did you mean to take the pillow you had laid on the end of the bed?" Oh, no! Are you kidding me?? I love my Select Comfort memory foam pillow. I have a hard time sleeping without it, so, yeah! I did want it but I didn't want to go back. My sweet man said he would bring it to me! I know I drive him crazy, but he plays catch-up for me all the time anyway.

I was so excited that he was coming to bring my pillow that I just got all flustered. I was coming out of Holiday and was almost to the car when I vaguely noticed that the clerk was shouting through the loudspeaker, "Ma'am? Ma'am! You left your tea and your mug on the counter!" I looked down at my empty hands and realized that she was talking to me! It was almost as bad as having to walk back in there naked with the way people were staring at me. Oh yes! I wear my frazzled brain out on my sleeve, right out there in the open where anyone can see! A little humiliating, but I got over it.

So we got our fabulous matching 64 oz. beverage mugs settled (yes, my twin has one just like the one I bought at Holiday that she brought from home, uh huh), and I started driving out of the parking lot. I decided that the traffic was too bad at the exit closest to me, and I knew I would never get through. So I made a sharp turn to the right to go out of the back side of the parking lot. There was less traffic on the street there--I could see that there were very few cars. I eased through the space between the gas pumps and headed for the ... curb! Yes, that's right. There was no exit there. So the crazy woman who forgot everything she bought right on the counter and had to march back in there past the long line of people giving her knowing looks to get her things, has now just tried to drive over the curb and through the shrubs. Verrry nice move, there.

I made a quick right turn, not quite squealing the tires, and made for the exit on the corner of the lot, when I realized that it said, NO EXIT HERE. It was too close to the intersection. "What does this mean?" I thought, as I nearly got into a collision with an incoming Jeep. I did another abrupt right turn, not as smooth as the one before, and I drove right back to the exit where I began. I made a point of not looking at the drivers staring at me as they filled up their gas tanks. At this rate, it would take us till midnight to get to our destination. "What took you so long?" "Well, I'm not sure, but I think it was the part where we were doing endless circles in the Holiday parking lot!" We laughed hysterically and ignored the poor saps who were just going home from work, and who were not on their way to an awesome girlie weekend to have fun!

We finally got over to get a Mocha Joe at BK, and by the time we had gone through the drive-thru, my honey got there with my lovely, favorite, comfy pillow. I didn't know heroes came in white minivans!

the drawing's been done!

The winners have been picked! I was wishing I had something to give everyone, but so it goes. Gretchen from Moments of Clarity and Emily from Laundry and Lullabys are my two winners. What an exciting week this was! I loved visiting everyone's little corner of the blogosphere, getting to know lots of new folks.

I have lots of new bookmarks and bloglines to keep me busy. I hope y'all will come back for coffee and to see what's new in my crazy world. There's never a dull moment here!

Thanks, everyone!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

the awesome girlie getaway weekend is (almost) here!

What was it that I read on someone's blog this week? As I was blipping around and visiting the giveaways, I found a quote that went something like this..."if it weren't for the last minute, I would never get anything done." I realized that I've always done things that way. The night before a paper would be due, there I was, frantically trying to finish it. The night before company was scheduled to come, you'd see me staying up late, trying to get things ready. Any time I had a deadline, you could be sure there would be something I would not have done ahead of time.

Well, some things never change. I'm due to leave tomorrow morning on my awesome girlie acrapbooking getaway, and I'm. not. ready. Not at all. Now I could blame some of it on having so much going on at home, but the truth is, even if everyone were gone someplace, I still would have a stack of stuff to do tonight to get ready. Just maybe not so much of it.

It's really cool, though, because I've been reading my decluttering book, and there are other people like me! Part of sounds like it could be an ADD thing. Lots of the characteristics fit. We get bored with the routine tasks, or with the planned schedule that would keep things done on time. We need the challenge of the last minute to get us moving. There's nothing like the adrenaline rush you get when it's crunch time and you HAVE to get something done! It's great motivation.

Of course, on the other hand, when too many things pile up and need a last minute fix, it gets overwhelming and any motivation suddenly evaporates like dew in the hot sun. Let's see...I think there's a nice blog calling my name today. Oh, maybe I just won't sleep tonight!

Friday, July 20, 2007

favorite phone call of the day

After several weeks of answering the incoming phones at my job, I've heard lots of funny things. All of our outgoing calls have the same number that shows up on people's caller id displays and we have dozens of employees. So the most common call I get goes something like this.

"Yeah, someone just called me from this number? Whaddju want?"

"Did the person leave a message?"

"No, but they just called just now. Are they still by the phone?"

I explain that I have no idea who called them and they usually hang up. Once in a while someone will keep going with it, thinking surely I must really know and just not want to tell them. I had one guy who called back several times. "Someone there keeps calling me and I want you to make them stop." Okay. Sure.

I got a great call today.

"Is Robin there?"

"Um, is there a last name?"

"I don't know."

"Do you know what area they work in?"

Dead silence..."Uh, no I don't."

"Well, there are about five or six Robins who work here."

"Oh. Maybe it was Ron. Do you have a Ron?"

I just want to bang my head on the desk sometimes.

I think this one will go down as one of my favorites, though.

"New Country Community Center (name changed to protect the foolish and the innocent). How can I help you?"

"Yes. I have a very simple question for you. I took a cooking class there a few years ago. What kind of a class was it?"

"Uh, ma'am? We don't offer cooking classes here. Perhaps you're looking for the Country Community School (name change ditto) nearby."

"No, no I'm not. I know you offer it because I took it there myself. Not that long ago. It's a very simple kind of cooking. It starts with a C. I just can't think of the word."

"Well," (patiently, but with huge eyeroll) "let me look at the catalog and see if anything is there. No, no I don't see anything. Let me look at the Cooking School website for you."

"I don't need that. I just need to know the kind of class it was. Maybe you could look on the internet for cooking and see if another word comes up that starts with a C."

I'm thinking, "Are you kidding me??!" but I asked, "Might the word be . . . culinary?"

Delighted, "That's it! That's it! Thank you." Click.

Me, staring blankly at the phone receiver. "You're. Welcome."

Monk & Neagle

monk & neagle banner
Hooray! It's here! I listened to the whole thing, and the ones I have to keep listening to over and over again are The Twenty-First Time and Hallelujah Jesus! The Twenty-First Time gives me goosebumps when I hear it. It's so true.

I'm hooked on this CD. It speaks to my heart. Click on the CD image and you can listen to about five of their songs yourself. I give it five out of five stars! Thank you, Brian!***

I think this is a cool way of getting the word out about a new CD. They are doing a giveaway and asking people to post a link on their blog. I read about it on BooMama's blog. I seem to have heard a lot about this group lately. Are they really good or is that due to good marketing? I guess I'll find out.

I'm excited to hear their music. Stay tuned -- I'll let ya know what I think about them. Maybe you are already familiar with their music? Lemme know if you like them, yes or no.

(Do ya think they'd still give you a CD if you didn't have a blog? I wonder about things like that.)

it's a bloggy doggy summer giveaway!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Rocks in My Dryer has started a full-blown bloggity giveaway week. (Click the button for more details.)

Yippee! Of course I want to play! I am going to give away two books that I loved reading. I haven't picked them up for quite a while, so I want to share them with someone who will enjoy them as much as I did! Check back on July 23, this coming Monday, for more details on my giveaways!

No, I'm not giving my Augie Doggie away. Although if we still had poor Otis . . . hmmmm. No, never mind. E-girl would be sad if I made jokes about poor Otis.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

walking, and walking, and walking the dog

Augie Doggie's a smart cookie. His morning walks used to take only five minutes or so but he's catching on that the longer he takes to do his business, the longer his walk will be. We only walk around the yard, up and down the driveway, and around the edges of the gardens. I refuse to walk him on the street in the mornings because although he may spring up from a dead sleep and be ready to go, I usually still have my raggedy pajamas on and my hair looks like something from the last wave of punk style. I won't even come out from behind our trees, because I'm sure that as soon as I do, one of my neighbors will be driving by, staring and laughing.

This morning as we walked down the driveway, his hair suddenly went up when he spotted a rival. He is very territorial. Well, he's an animal AND he's male. What a combination. (That's no slam on males, just a statement that they're territorial, as I mentioned before.) Some lady was going by on the street with her dog, out for a nice morning drag. So Augie goes on full alert. He thinks he is going to go tear up this big, buff, shepherd-mix dog. I think Augie Doggie sees himself more as a Great Dane-ish kind of a size, when really, he's just a little dachshund about eight inches tall who walks with a limp.

I had to hold him back. Seriously. He wanted to take a piece out of the buff dog. I dragged redirected him toward the back yard, and he looked just like a tough guy you'd see on the street. You know how when a guy who is mad at someone will keep looking back while he is walking away, puffing his chest out, and flinging his arms around to show he's not scared? Well, Augie was doing the same thing. He was huffing, and puffing, and kept stopping and turning around, trying to see where Buff Stuff went. I kept hearing the theme song for "Bad Boys" running through my head!

After that, he was walking with his nose to the ground, which is usually a good sign that his business is imminent. Today was not my day, though, because I discovered he was on a rabbit's trail. He was running along, sniffing and sniffing, and as I looked ahead, I saw the bunny! It froze in place, and I steered Augie in an immediate about-face. So much for doing his business.

It was back down the driveway to try again, trying to keep him on one side of the driveway. He won't go potty in the middle. He has to be near the bushes that run along either side or chances of him going are slim. Finally after about twenty minutes or so, he did his thing, and I did a little victory poo-poo dance right in the middle of the driveway.

I'm pretty easy to please.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

no new cats, dogs or newts, and I'm for real!

I'm still reading Organizing for Life. I think certain members of my family may have been selling information to Sandra Felton for material for this book. Only the names may have been changed to protect them from the consequences of telling all.

Here's one scenario I can relate to: the bargain! She gives an example of a woman who bought a mantel clock because it was such a great deal, but it was completely pointless because the woman buying it didn't have a mantel to place it on. Hello, been there!

Even if I don't have a place to use something I find, I know I can find someone who will want it. I've realized, though, that if I buy a bargain with the intention of giving it to someone, it may take a long time to find the "someone" to give the bargain to. Finding someone who will truly appreciate the deal I got may take even longer, and besides which, I will be storing it for the duration. Eventually I think I just give up and add the bargain to my own collection. They all start to blend together into the same black hole after a while. WHICH IS PART OF MY PROBLEM!

Actually, the best bargain in the world is free, don'cha think? I have many, many free treasures taking up space in my world, let me tell ya. I'm learning, though. I close my eyes tightly when I pass things on the road with FREE signs on them instead of bouncing out of my seat and putting my honey into cardiac arrest. (If I'm driving, I only close one eye. Have to set a good example for the young drivers and pre-drivers in the car.) I purposely don't look at garage sales when I drive by, just to keep myself in check. Instead I think about all the junk I have that I could put IN a garage sale. Ouch. That usually cures me.

The worst thing I ever do to myself is when I can't resist a free pet. Especially a baby one. Every pet we have I got for free, except for the $57 hamsters. When people are giving away free baby pets, now I keep saying, "I can't. I just can't. (How old is it? Is it housetrained? *slap, slap!*) Oh, no, I just can't."

When I'm having a moment, even a baby newt looks cute. Slimy, but cute. But something like a puppy? Oh, my. I have to make myself think about all the things that test my patience about having pets. Like how much I hate having to get up just when I have fallen asleep to let the dog out of the bedroom so he can get a drink of water, for crying out loud! He could have had the courtesy to get his drink before he went to bed.

Or when he gets his drink but he is still barking at me an hour later. Rowrf, very quietly. Rowrf, a little louder. (long pause) Rowrf. Obviously the drink wasn't enough. He has to go outside. NOW. (Otis used to put both paws up on the end of the bed and shake it to wake me up for his late-night potty runs.) So then I have to stagger down the hall and my eyes are too tired to stay more than half open.

On the most unlucky days, I step on the hairball that the cat threw up, and it's always wet and ice-cold when it squishes up between my toes. Blgghhh! The shock can almost stop a person's heart. It's dark, and you're doing this dance trying to see what it is on the bottom of your foot, trying not to throw up yourself. Meanwhile, Augie Doggie is dancing impatiently at the door. Rowrf!

Or if he waits till I'm actually up before he asks to go out, what about when I have to walk him for twenty minutes instead of the usual five to get him to do his business? And then when I give up and head for the house because I'm going to be late for work, he lays down on the grass. He's not ready to go in yet. So I either have to drag him through the wet grass, which you know I'm not going to do, so my alternative is to pick him up and carry him, trying not to let his dew-drenched muddy little paws leave prints on my work clothes. It's a darn good thing he's as cute as he is!
cute dog picture
So anyway, this is what I focus on when I'm tempted to get any more hairy mess-makers. I just go over to other people's houses instead to get my cute baby animal fixes. When our animals go, I am not, I repeat NOT, going to allow any more of them sneak into the house. No. Not. Never. Don't laugh, kids. I mean it this time.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

there's a hazardous waste warning at my house

Well, it's not really. It could be hazardous. Some of it is probably surely waste. But it isn't toxic. Except to my sanity.

It's the black hole! The one and a half laundry baskets full of (groan) stuff at the end of my bed by the closet has multiplied, as it is so prone to do. I usually spread my things out a little in different rooms. It camouflages them and the piles don't seem so big. But now with D-girl and some of her stuff here, I have fewer places to put things that don't belong anywhere particular, so the increasing size of the black hole is that much more obvious.

I either have too many things (my honey would agree here), or I don't have enough Aways. I vote for the lack of Aways. How can I put anything away if I don't have an Away to put it in? My friend Beth is all about Aways. The more the merrier. I think that is why there are so many mini storage places now. Everywhere you look, there are businesses that make money providing Aways to store things. People just don't have enough Aways at home.

I'm reading Organizing for Life: Declutter Your Mind to Declutter Your World, by Sandra Felton. She says it's not about the house. It's about us and why we are messy. According to her, I must either save too much, have too much clutter, or waste too much time. Personally, I think it's a combination of all three.

She talks about the pack-rat who has the scarcity mindset. If we're mentally living on the verge of the next Great Depression, we squirrel things away so we have enough for the future. Well, if you can't walk in the bedroom, and if you have to climb over the bed rather than walk around it because there is too much stuff there, when the Great Depression hits, you won't know where to find your stuff.

Besides, in a depression, I am not going to be looking for a pair of size 14 capris that I might fit back into someday (that's another fairy tale in itself) or a cassette tape of the Chipmunk's Christmas, Vol. 2 that I haven't listened to since 1998. I will need food. Any food in that pile will be so long past its expiration date that it won't be safe to eat. Then it will fall into the category of hazardous waste.

There's only so much I can process in one sitting. I'll have to save the next segment of this exciting tale for another day. I wonder if she'll say anything about procrastination, or getting distracted. Stay tuned...

Monday, July 16, 2007

the house is inhaling again

You know how, if you breathe properly, your middle expands when you breathe in and it sucks in when you breathe out? Well, I think our little house is the same way. Kids move out, and the house exhales. So what happens when the house inhales? Someone comes back in, of course!

We've temporarily added to our household, and to our menagerie! My daughter's apartment wasn't ready when she and her husband and their baby went to move in this weekend! What do you do when a plan falls through? You call on your family, and people pitch in. So we are two (sometimes three) people richer at our house for a few weeks.

And, let's not forget the cats. She has three cats who came along with her. As delighted as we are, our animals are not impressed in the least! Franklin and Tuckie keep stalking the cats. Every time they catch sight of any one of them, they go into hunting position. They flatten their ears, they freeze into position, and start slinking towards whichever one they see, hissing every time one of them moves. They are so territorial. Just like men, my honey informed me.

When Gaazhagens (her kitten) saw our cats, her little tail puffed all up till it was bigger around than the whole rest of her body. She tried dancing her little scrawny body with this big fat cigar of a tail into the room where Frankie and Tucker were, and when one of them flinched, she turned tail, ran back in the other room, and dashed under the couch! I was surprised that her tail fit under there. I expected her to come to a screeching halt with her body under the couch and her tail sticking out like a little bottle brush.

The bigger cat, BoomBoom, is bigger than either one of our cats, but you would never know it by the way he acts. He got scared when our cats were hissing at him, and he tried to squeeze himself behind the two boxes under the printer. He got his head back there, but his big ol' butt and huge fluffy tail were still sticking out in plain sight. Just like a scaredy-ostrich! Poor BoomBoom.

Charli, the third cat, just hisses at everything that moves and everything else that she thinks might be going to move. She's just plain mad at the world, and especially at Diane. She walks around carefully, all stiff-legged and defensive, and never lets her guard down. All three cats have decided that their favorite hiding place is under the couch where our cats never go. I have no idea at all how BoomBoom manages to squeeze himself under the couch, because when you peek at him under there, he looks like a five-pound blanket smushed into a one-pound box.

Augie Doggie got caught in between the cats when they were having a hissing contest, and he just sank to the ground and froze. His eyes got all droopy and glassy, and I'm sure he thought he was done for.

Well, I have a reputation for being the peacemaker, so I foresee that they will learn how to get along, or they will all be sitting in their respective corners, each in a kennel, till they learn how to get along.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

a quiet morning

Well, morning's almost over. I've spent the day so far recovering from helping my daughter get ready to move. I'm used to sitting on my backside all day at work, not doing physical labor. Methinks I need to move some more during the day.

It was fun to spend the day in the presence of a little angel, though. Little X-man has nothing on his mind but racing around as fast as he can go on his hands and knees, stopping to see if anyone is watching, and breaking into a big, scrinched-up grin as he takes off again.

When he started to get tired, I picked him up, popped his Nuk in his mouth, and settled his head on my shoulder. His arms crept around my neck, and I rocked him gently back and forth. Oh, sheer heaven to feel the weight of him, leaning confidently into the love of his grammy. I remember my mom telling me when my kids were small--these are the golden years, she said. I didn't get it then. I was so tired from doing everything for them that I didn't always see the precious moments that were right there in front of me.

I think that is God's gift to grandparents everywhere. You get a second chance to soak in those blessed encounters with little angels. Mmmmmm...

Well, my quiet time is over, and the house is stirring. I've just finished my coffee, and after the last swallow was gone, I saw a drowned gnat punctuating the end of my morning, stuck to the inside of my cup. Tastyyy!

Friday, July 13, 2007

A-Z meme

This was a fun meme that I copied from someone else--whoops, sorry, I forgot who, because it was two months ago. (Miss Paula, was that you? :)

Feel free, girls, to tag yourself if you'd like to do it, too--leave me a link to your post cuz I'd love to come visit you!

Aprons (yes or no)? Can't stand them.

Baking (favorite thing to bake)? Rocky Road fudge bars

Clothesline (yes or no)? I used to have one outside. Now I don't, but I hang clothes inside.

Donuts? Of course. The best ones in the universe are chocolate frosted cake donuts from Wuollet's!

Everyday (one homemaking thing you do everyday?) I make coffee ALMOST every day

Freezer (Do you have a separate deep freezer?) Yes, and two refrigerators.

Garbage Disposal (Yes or no)? No, a compost pile.

Handbook (What is your favorite homemaking resource?) Google.

Ironing (love it or hate it?) What is that?

Junk drawer (y/n) where? Yes, many. Almost any drawer in the house!

Love (What is your favorite part of homemaking?) Looking at the clean house when the chores are done.

Mop (y/n) No, Swiffer

Nylons (y/n) You've got to be kidding me. Most of the time I don't even like to wear socks.

Oven (Do you use the window or open the door to check?) Both.

Pizza (what do you put on yours?) Loaded with veggies and pineapple.

Quiet (what do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment?) I haven't had enough of those to set a pattern in recent years. I think I sit and stare blankly, wondering which of many hundreds of things I could possibly do. By the time I think of one, zoop! the moment's gone.

Recipe card box (y/n)? No, several three ring binders and, thankfully, my PC!

Style of House: Single family residence, verging on well-worn to worn out, one story

Table cloth and napkins? Um, once in a blue moon. Paper towels are more likely.

Under the sink (organized or toxic wasteland?) Fairly organized and not toxic

Vacuum ( How many times per week?) Maybe once

Wash ( How many loads of laundry do you do a week?) 3 to 4. The children are responsible for their own laundry.

X's (Do you keep a daily list of to do things and cross them off?) I used to, but I kept losing the darn list! Now I just lower my standards.

Yard (Who does what?) He does it all, except I plant flowers, weed occasionally, and then I sit my behind down on a lawn chair to enjoy it.

ZZZ's I don't know what was supposed to be here.Well, I'll add one: Take naps? And joyously I can say lately, YES! Sadly, too, though, because sometimes I can't make it through the evening without one. But then I stay up late and blog! It all works out!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

a sliver, a shiver, a scream

G-girl came home complaining about her foot. She had a huuuuge sliver in her heel. She barely would let me even look at it, and when I held her foot to see it, she shook like a leaf.

"No, Mom. Don't touch it!"

"Just let me SEE it! Oh, yeah, I think we can get that out."

"Aauuuggghh! No, I don't want it to hurt!"

I tried to find my tweezers, but eventually I figured out they were in one of those mysterious safe places (black holes) that I seem to have so many of. So I found a long pin instead.

"A needle? Oh, no!"

"How about a scalpel, then?"

The scream was piercing.

"It won't hurt. I promise."

I picked up her foot.

"Ow, ow!" She tried to curl her leg up into a ball.

"I haven't touched it yet."


Yeah. Hadn't touched the sliver yet, not even with my finger, and you'd think someone had found a whole nest of giant tarantulas or something.

Deja vu. My dad used to take slivers out of my feet, and he got the same reaction out of me as I did out of G-girl. I picked up her foot again.

"No, no! I changed my mind. Just leave it there."

Well, I finally gently poked and picked at it for a while, but couldn't get it all out without it hurting. We ended up soaking it. She fell asleep with her foot in the water. When I woke her up, she kept saying, "No. I just wanna be dennis. Mom, no. I just mmm mmmm be dennis." I'm thinking, "Dennis??! What in the world?" But I finally figured out she was saying, "I want to be done with this." I took the water away, and she was out for the count.

She picked it out of her foot herself in the morning. She showed me her trophy later that day. Safely sealed in a clear plastic baggie, there was the source of her trouble: a black skewer of wood.

All's well that ends well, at least as far as slivers go.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

he needs some help with public relations

Oh, my!

Some people's chutzpah never ceases to amaze me. We stopped at JJ's Fish in Brooklyn Park the other day. Excellent fish, by the way! I highly recommend it, particularly if you don't like the thickly-breaded, nearly unrecognizable fish you get at BK or McD's. They do chicken wings, too, but the fish is tops. They are newly open. Their other stores are in Chicago, and this is the first second one up in MN that I know of.

Okay, I'm hopping down off the JJ's Fish soapbox, now, before I forget what I started to say in the first place. Apparently there is a new fitness place starting up, and the office is just a couple of doors down from JJ's. There were people outside on the sidewalk trying to recruit people as they were walking by. The place isn't even open yet, but they're already trying to get people's money! This one guy was very persistent. My honey just told the guy we weren't interested, but he had to tell him twice.

John was sitting out in the van waiting for us, and he said the same guy tried talking this girl into coming in to sign up. When she didn't, and she started walking away, John said the guy slapped his own backside and shouted after her, "You really need some work — on that butt!" He really needs some work, too, like maybe a few sessions with Miss Manners. Although if he would have said that to me, my honey and Johnny would have given him some lessons for free, I'm sure!

Where did they learn their marketing techniques, I wonder?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

a life begins, a life ends

Life stressors are those things that cause an unusually high amount of stress in our lives. These are things like marriage, buying a house, having a baby, losing or changing a job, having a family member pass away...our niece and her husband, Kathy and Craig, have had more than their fair share of stressors lately.

She is just forty, and they very recently had a beautiful baby boy. (They have two girls, one is twenty, one is fourteen.) Can you imagine their excitement at the long-awaited birth of their son? So you have this delightful event happening, and naturally she will be off work for a while. But now, Craig's dad passed away this last week. What a contrast. Good stress, bad stress.

We greet the one event with so much joy, and the other with such sadness. At the very beginning of a new life, when a baby is born, we look at the potential for that child. We pour our hopes and dreams into them as we bring them up. Every milestone, every new event is a celebration.

On the other hand, at the end of a life, we don't want to let go. We've developed a history with this person, so much that a part of us is defined by our relationship with them. Hopefully, we can reflect on what this person did with his or her life, and what it meant to us. Then we can look at what we want to do with our own lives to make them meaningful.

Craig's faith is so much a part of his life that he naturally shared that in his conversations with his father. Shortly before his father's passing, Craig was privileged to be there when his father accepted Christ as his savior. To everything, there is a season. This was Craig's season with his father. They had precious time together, although it was a short season. Again, such joy in the middle of sorrow.

The scripture that the pastor spoke from was Ecclesiastes 7:

1 A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.
And the day you die is better than the day you are born.
2 Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties.
After all, everyone dies—
so the living should take this to heart.
3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
for sadness has a refining influence on us.
4 A wise person thinks a lot about death,
while a fool thinks only about having a good time.
I had to think about that for a bit. Why does Solomon preface this talk about death with a verse about a good reputation being so valuable? I think it is because our reputations are directly tied to the choices we make every day of our lives. Every choice that is directed by our desire for integrity is also a reflection of the One who created us. Reflecting on death helps us make wiser choices about our lives. Death is the one thing none of us will escape. So how will we live our lives to make them count for something, to make them worthwhile? I think Craig has it figured out.

Thanks, Craig and Kathy, for sharing, and for letting us be a part of your lives. Love you guys!

Monday, July 9, 2007

a receipt scanner?

Oh, my. I've just looked at these online recently. I'm getting hooked on these contests. I should be going to BED. But I can't resist the thought of winning one of these ingenious gadgets. My BFF Beth would love this, too! She's the real gadget girl. But just think about saving Rx receipts for my taxes, product receipts for warranty info, oil change receipts for maintenance agreement warranty, recipes(!)...oh, the possibilities are endless. How about handwritten journal pages??? Notes from my mother that I could scan in and add to my digital scrapbook pages? Yes!

Well, over at 5 Minutes for Mom, they are giving away TEN of them. So here is my entry for one of them.

Now, I'm really going to stop reading and stop blogging, JUST for tonight. Till tomorrow, parting is such sweet sorrow. (Yes, I'm overtired. Hee hee.) Stopping now...

book giveaway

Over at Overwhelmed With Joy, you can find a book giveaway going on. I'm really intrigued by this because I think it's a great way to share books that I love. I hate giving them up, but if I know that someone who really likes to read is going to have them (let's say it, not them - little steps, here. I'm thinking one at a time. *smile*), I can fathom giving one away. I'm attached to my junk and my books. I'll peel my fingers off one at a time.

So I'm tossing my name in the drawing for a new book to read. I'm trying to broaden my reading habits a little at a time. Instead of reading scrapbooking magazines and garden books exclusively, I'm seeking out new fiction, besides Karen Kingsbury's books. I can read one of her books in a day or two, as long as I have enough Kleenex. But unfortunately she doesn't publish them every day or two, so I'm forced to widen my horizons. I've read a few this summer, and there are several more that I tried to read but couldn't get past the first chapter! If I win this one, I'll do a book giveaway myself in a month, or even sooner, as soon as I read it. I may just have to dig a few goodies out of my bookshelf even if I don't win.

How about you? Have you read anything outstanding lately that you want to recommend?

life comes at you fast!

Have you seen that commercial that shows this guy trying to figure out what his light switch does? I laugh every time I see it, because as he is flipping the switch up and down, trying to get his wife to see if there are any lights turning on and off, this elderly lady is sitting in her car, halfway out of her garage, staring bug-eyed at the garage door that is bouncing up and down off the hood of her car. The commercial says, "Life comes at you fast!" I can't remember what the commercial is for, but I think we could be candidates for starring in the sequel.

Life seems to come fast at our house all the time. Take Sunday, for example. I guess when it comes to reading weather warnings, it pays to read all of it instead of butterflying it. When you butterfly something you're reading, your eyes flit around, resting here and there for a moment until you find the information you want, and then you move on to something else, satisfied that you know what you need to know.

I butterflied (I wonder if Webster's will pick this up) around through the weather warning in my email for Sunday till I found the location and the time it expired. Didn't bother to read any further. It said that the severe thunderstorm warning for our area ended at 1:30 pm. Allrighty then. I gave my honey the all clear and he went out to grill after the rain quit shortly before two. He put the charcoal going in our handy-dandy charcoal chimney and came back in to wait till it was ready. Well, the rest of the warning, when I reread it later, said that conditions were ripe for it to storm until about five. So just when the charcoal was burning nicely, yes, you guessed it: it started pouring down rain again!

So I shouted out the back door at the big boys, who were shooting Roman candles at each other in the rain (don't ask), and told them to move the charcoal chimney into the garage. Thankfully, the bottom of the small garage door has fallen out so it provided great ventilation! Even more thankfully, the garage didn't start on fire, the boys didn't get carbon monoxide poisoning when they were taking shelter from the deluge, and it quit raining in time for my honey to grill some yummy brats before the charcoal completely burned up. We had some great purple German sauerkraut to go with the brats--best sauerkraut ever! The kids just looked at us like we were crazy for putting that purple junk on our 'dawgs.

All's well that ends well, I guess. Just another day in the life of our big (shrinking) happy (most of the time) family! (Truth in advertising, you know?)

Sunday, July 8, 2007

poor, poor Rodney

I think E-girl should resign herself to not having pets. She has the worst luck. First it was Otis (see previous posts). Then she and G-girl bought goldfish for pets. They expired within a few weeks. Something in the combination of the water changes and the feeding schedule just didn’t jive, and they didn’t make it. Well, recently we bought the cutest teddy bear hamsters for the girls. E-girl named hers Rodney, and G-girl thought about naming hers Hammy (I think she was humoring me because I liked that name), but she finally settled on Smoked Ham because he is light-colored with a darker gray around his nose and ears.

Last week, Rodney made the great escape. Somehow the cage door was not latched and he found his way out. That is the official press release, however there may be extenuating circumstances that were kept private for protection of the innocent. We don’t really know. Anyway, E-girl has been setting out food and water for him in hopes of his return. She tried to stay up all night last night to see if he came back for it, but thinks she fell asleep for a short time so she may have missed him.

Okay, here’s the rub. If he got out of the bedroom, I think he’s toast because we have the two cats who love nothing better than stalking small creatures who roam in the house. They will sit for hours and hours on end if they think there is a mouse or a shrew under the washer or dryer (which is where they usually hide if they get in the house). They have ultimate patience when it comes to hunting.

As a backup, we have the mighty Augie Doggie. If he sees a small critter running loose, he is lightning quick, and he would crunch it up in milliseconds. He’s just as good, if not better, than the cats when it comes to hunting critters in his territory. So if Sir Rodney got into our room where Augie sleeps, he wouldn’t have a prayer of surviving. Those are the lousy odds that poor Rodney is facing. I think I’d rather be a mosquito in bat country. I’m trying to keep a hopeful demeanor for E-girl’s sake, but I’m just afraid. Very afraid.

Friday, July 6, 2007

every day is a new adventure

I rented a movie because I knew the weather was going to be unbearably hot this weekend and I would want something to do inside.

G-girl said, in her “being patient-with-her-mother” voice, "Um, mom? You already rented that movie before."

Me, "Well, I don't remember renting it, so maybe I didn't watch it. I don't think I rented it before."

G-girl (with eyeroll), "Don't you remember? I told you I watched it, and I told you that it was a lame movie."

Well, if I hadn't remembered that I rented it before, did she think I would remember what she told me about it? Hello. Let's think about this carefully, and quickly, before I forget what I'm supposed to be thinking about.

So anyway, I’ve decided that this whole forgetting thing is just a great fringe benefit of getting old(er). Every day is a new adventure, and I get to enjoy things over and over because I can’t remember half the things I’ve already done. I tell my kids a story, and two weeks (or two days) later, I can tell them again, with great enthusiasm. The enjoyment lasts until they cut me off with, "Heard it, Mom," or, "Um, I was there, don't you remember?" Hmmmh!

Well, I can read a book, and two months later, I can check it out and read it again! I can see a movie, and once it fades out of the memory bank, I can enjoy it again — and not remember the ending till I get there! This is wonderful! Who said life goes downhill after forty?? Actually, on a side note, I don’t think under fifty counts as old. Even seventy is looking pretty good from here.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

I got to see a "first" yesterday!

One of the grandbabies, little X-man, was at our house with his momma D-girl yesterday, and he took four steps across the dining room! He'll be a year old this month. He's definitely a little ways behind his grandaddy, who walked at seven months, but right on pace for where he should be.

I love this age. Little X's great-gramma used to say that kids at that age were all legs and no brains, meaning that their legs could carry them into some sticky situations, but they didn't know how to get themselves out of them yet.

Little man can walk, though, and he doesn't even know it yet! If he thinks about it too long, he just gets scared and sits himself down on the floor. If he doesn't think about it, and he just takes off, he'll be going lickety-split in no time! Then he'll be keeping them on their toes chasing him down and keeping tabs on him.

Watching grandbabies is such great fun. P-girl's little guy is SO much like her! It just tickles me to see his mannerisms--the way he talks, fusses, and even the way he runs are almost identical to the way she was. It's like deja vu! Re-runs of the P-girl show are currently showing...at her house every day! It's going to be entertaining to watch them as they grow older--what will they get into??

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

just a nice day for a BBQ

Happy Fourth of July! I'm a party pooper when it comes to fireworks, though. I will get out of going to fireworks any way I can. I don't see anything fun anymore about going someplace that is crowded beyond all comfort, slapping mosquitos all evening, and fighting traffic for an hour and a half to drive five miles to get home.

I'm perfectly happy sitting at home and puttering around with something there. I used to love taking the kids to see them when they were little because they would get such a kick out of all the different kinds we'd see. They would name them: Long Haired Guy, Popcorn, and some were just Oooooooooooo! It was easy to get excited about them when the kids were so excited.

I remember watching fireworks with my dad when I was little, and I wasn't that excited about them then. We would go to the stadium in town, and I remember being so afraid that the sparks were going to fall down from the fireworks and burn me. I hated the noise. I'd scrunch my eyes tightly shut, cover my ears as hard as I could, squeeze in as close as I could to my dad and just cower underneath his arm until the fireworks were over. But it was still fun because I was doing it with my dad and my brother. Strangely, I don't remember my mom being with. Like mother, like daughter, I guess.

I guess the Fourth of July is whatever you make it. For me, it's more about family, food, and friends. Those seem to be the key ingredients whenever we want to celebrate something.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

crazy woman-dreams

This morning at about 3 AM, I woke up with my heart pounding. I was breathing heavily, and I was feeling half-panicky. My honey woke up a little and asked what was wrong. "I can't breathe," I remember saying. It was like I woke up thinking I was having a heart attack. I remember concentrating on my left arm to see if it was hurting or not. It wasn't. I focused on my chest. Was it hurting? It wasn't. Did I feel pressure? I didn't.

I know, I know. If it really was a heart attack, it'd be more evident than that. I know that women often feel different symptoms than men do, but I felt nothing. I kept thinking, in my half-awake half-asleep state, that I must be feeling something, but that I must just be numb. It was my dream turning into a semi-real nightmare.

I looked it up. Here is the public service announcement part of my post: women's symptoms prior to a "cardiac incident" are unusual fatigue, sleep disturbance, shortness of breath, indigestion, and anxiety. Symptoms of an actual incident are often shortness of breath; weakness; flu-like symptoms such as nausea or clamminess; unusual fatigue; cold sweat; pain in the chest, upper back, shoulders, neck or jaw; and dizziness.

Hmmm, I might want to pay some attention to that. No, I'll think about that tomorrow. Back to my dream...

I remember thinking that just in case it really was one, I should go around to the other side of the bed to get an aspirin out of my honey's nightstand drawer, but I decided against it because I didn't want to wake him up. He might want me to go to the hospital, and I was just too tired to go anywhere. I was too tired to even talk about it. Such is the logic of dreams, you know?

Then I remember thinking I should just lay back down. I even reasoned to myself that it was just a dream. One of those freakish peri-menopausal night terrors we women tell each other stories about. Ha! I was still a little nervous, but then I reassured myself. I said to myself, "This has to be a dream. And even if it's not, and it is a heart attack, and I die, well, I’m not going to worry! I am ready to meet Jesus!"

So even in my sleep, during my worst nightmare, in my deepest unconscious, I know my Redeemer lives! I love that! I closed my eyes. Que sera sera!

Okay, I'm looking at the symptoms, and I'm thinking about my dream, whatever it was...I see the parallels. I'll check it out, kids.

Monday, July 2, 2007

ooh, ooh, only 26 days left...

It's almost time to go scrapping again for a weekend! I'm practically breathless with anticipation. Can you say...responsibility-free? I'm so tired--I can't wait! And my twin gets to go, too! The only thing better than a creative weekend is being able to do it with someone who enjoys it as much as you do. It's so therapeutic to be able to do nothing but create, cut and paste. It's not really brain-free work, but you get to use the other side of your brain so it's just as good as a vacation.

Today went by in a blur, partly because it was freight-train busy (that's where you have to rush around so much you feel like you're on a freight train), and partly because I stayed up late last night and didn't get enough sleep. Like I told my honey last night, I don't know why it is, that at around ten o'clock at night, I get this second wind and I feel like I could accomplish almost anything. And sometimes I do, only I have to get up at five so the night shrinks down to next to nothing. It's so unfair!

But now, I'm ready to tip over off this chair, so I'm going to go to bed and dream sweet dreams of cropping, stamping, embellishments and paints, titles and diecuts, and papers with bling. My new copy of Digital Scrapbooking came in the mail, and I'll read that till I pass out. Which will only be about six minutes, tops!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

another teenager disappears -- a frightening statistic

Okay, I just want to say that one more of the kids has crossed the line from a teenager to a twenty-something! L-man is officially twenty today! Augghhh! They're getting away! LOL. The only teenagers left in the house are the girls.

I swing back and forth between delight, seeing them grow up into responsible, wonderful adults, and nostalgia, remembering how adorable (and frustrating) they could be when they were little.

L-boy was the just the cutest thing, all eyes and serious face...I remember that when he was little (about a year old), my mom would come and visit, and every time I turned around, she had him in the high chair, feeding him because she thought he was too skinny! If she wasn't feeding him ice cream, it was cream of wheat with lots of butter (but not too much sugar).

He was (and still is) the one who would tell you exactly what he thought, whether the opinion he held was a popular one or not. I still remember when he was in kindergarten. He was riding the bus home, and he told this kid who he didn't like, "You sure are a stupid kid." Is it bad to admit that I had to cover my mouth because I wanted to laugh? Because I didn't like that kid either. Sometimes kids just spit out the truths that adults want to say but can't.

But I still had to have a conversation with him about what things are appropriate to say, and how people's feelings get hurt; even so, he would never compromise the truth by telling white lies. He learned how to not say anything if he couldn't say anything nice, but if someone asked him for his opinion, he'd give them the unvarnished truth, warts and all!

He had the most energy of all of the kids, and he could make us all laugh till we fell off of our chairs, just by the funny way he told a story or acted out a situation. That boy could "what-if" you to death!

I remember that he was always determined to tag along with his older brothers whether they wanted him with them or not. Half the time, he would come home madder than hops or crying because they had ditched him or teased him once too many times. Regardless, he was just NOT willing to be ignored. If they didn't pay attention to him, he would simply harass the daylights out of them until they got so mad that they would chase him around the yard. He, of course, would start laughing so hard he could hardly run. He'd fall down on the ground, at which point the boys would pounce on him and try to pound the mess out of him. He'd yell for us, and the two boys would get in trouble for picking on him. There's no justice, is there?!

Fortunately, all the boys get along now that they are older. It does a mother's heart good to see that, you know? And he is growing into an awesome young man. Happy birthday, L-man! Love ya big bunches.