Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I survived the Memorial Day BBQ

I think I need to work out more often, because I am running out of energy before the day is two-thirds gone when I have a busy day! Yesterday I think I started sending kids to carry and fetch by about five o'clock instead of running myself. But we had a fun time. I finally wasn't too sick to snuggle the g-babies. And I made up for lost time! (Pearl calls us G-ma and G-pa, so I guess I can call the grandbabies the g-babies.)

We ended up with most of the family coming over for BBQ, along with some friends. Burgers and brats on the grill, some great salads, brownies for dessert, fruit slush with pop--not too difficult, and delicious because the outside air is a great flavor enhancer. It was a little warm and muggy, so most of us camped out by the grilling area to eat and chat.

Work is so weird. It's like being plunked down in the middle of a board game, and everyone knows all the rules except for you. And just when you think you have them figured out, they change! Or there's an exception. I feel like a fifth wheel...I'm a temp, so there is no spot for me to put my purse, or any personal things. I just carry them with me in a bag everywhere I go, even when I just go to lunch.

I brought Kleenex and a bottle of lotion and left them tucked in the computer cabinet last week. Today, my lotion was gone already and I saw someone using it in a different area. Now someone has cleared out part of one shelf in a locked cabinet so I can (barely) put my purse there. I feel like a nomad. I'll be glad to get back to my own office by the end of summer where I can leave and lock the door, and come back to find everything exactly the way I left it.

Oh, well. I'll remember the Sunday message G-girl heard in Las Vegas about doing your work like Jesus was your boss. Go the extra mile. Do the extra thing. Do more than is expected. Surprise people. Although I probably do surprise them, not in a good way, when I do things wrong! :( As my mom always said, this, too, will pass!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

a new day, a new treat!

So I had a couple of Archiver's classes scheduled with my twin, and when I left this morning, I took a peek at my mystery iris. The bud was still tightly wrapped with only the top purply ruffles poking out, but I could see a tiny bit of light brown in the middle of the purple. I went to play at Archiver's, and I found out that the second one of our classes had cancelled due to not enough people having signed up. So they refunded the money for the class. We spent a blissful two hours just browsing and shopping for our little treats. We bought the supplies for the project we were supposed to make, and we're going to have a play date at home very soon. We went to the grocery store, and finally we went to her house to make some space for her furniture-to-come.

I got home and—voilĂ —! One of the irises was in full, glorious bloom! I put before and after pics on the sidebar for your enjoyment. Isn't God just the best artist ever?? This is my favorite line, and it still holds true: God is a genius! I'm still waiting for the other mystery iris to give me just a clue. There are also a couple of other babies blooming, so I put a couple of those on there as well. Lots of purple in my garden right now.

We need to get new daisies this year as the Shasta daisies died out over the winter. What would a garden be without daisies? At least my garden seems incomplete without them! Of course, the purple coneflowers are very daisylike, too, so they make great stand-ins until I can get real daisies.

I bought my honey an elephant ear plant and a white dicentra plant (otherwise known as a bleeding heart, but if it's not the red and white variety, it doesn't look like the heart is bleeding!); both of them were plants that he wanted for the garden. He was tickled.

I did use up my Mother's Day giftcard at Archiver's when I was there today...AND I remembered my 30% off coupon, too, so I have new toys to play with! I can't wait!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

now I can concentrate on my garden

It's over for another year. American Idol season is done. It's like baseball season being over. Time to pack up the cleats and uniforms, put the bats and mitts away. Jordin has won, and Blake was so very gracious. He would be a fun person to be friends with. Very down to earth.

Well, life rolls on, and fortunately it's garden season. Every year we try to add a little something more to the garden. I don't think we'll add on any new garden areas for a while because it takes a lot to keep them up. We've missed two years of maintenance, basically, because two summers in a row we've done major things to the yard and house. A well one year, and a new septic system the other year. Not to mention new windows, walls, etc. The garden got neglected both of those years. So we'll weed, move around, thin out, transplant, refine and maintain what we have, and see what happens next year.

The lilacs are done blooming, but the spireas are in full bloom, and so are the Miss Kim lilacs. They bloom just a little later than the standard lilacs. There are some irises almost blooming in one of the gardens, and I have no idea where they came from. They could have been rescued from the back yard when we put in the septic system. I'm waiting for them to bloom to see which ones they are. They look like they are going to be a deep burgundy or a black. My flowers are like my babies! Every year it's like meeting old friends when I see them come up and bloom again.

You know . . . a pond or a waterfall would be very nice, though. The wildlife and butterflies would love it, too. The sound of water in the morning, along with the wrens and cardinals . . . what could be better? Mmm mmm! See? It's irresistable. The mentality of more. Somebody stop me!

What's happening in your garden this week?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

sparks are flyin'!

Whoo-ee! I think Jordin is going to win it!

She was very consistent on all of her songs. It could go either way because of the fan base, but I think she did the better job tonight. She made that last song sound like a completely different song than the way Blake sang it. She put her own spin on it, and she was fabulous.

She is so poised and confident at seventeen. Her parents have done a great job. I would love to see her take on the whole fame thing and come out of it unspoiled. We see enough of people who allow their fame to spoil them. I don't need to name any names . . . we can all think of a few notorious "stars" whose attitudes and activities we would rather see much less of. I hope Jordin and Blake both stay grounded and sane in this crazy show-biz world.

Until Wednesday evening . . . waiting with bated breath again.

same song, second verse (but it didn't get worse)

I think I forgot half of what I learned yesterday . . . does that come with age? It doesn't stick there as long, so you have to paste it there twice as many times? Ai yi yi.

Well, I sent some people on the phone to the wrong department, pranked another department several times by pushing the wrong button, and completely spaced out answering the phone a few times because I haven't learned the sound of the phone yet. But (yes there is a but), I did help several people get exactly the information they wanted, and they were very grateful. I was able to answer some questions without having to ask someone else. I found some things on my own, and that's a good thing for someone who is new on the job.

I guess even someone who doesn't know a lot can be helpful if they are just willing. Willing to try. Willing to stick their neck out. Willing to show up. That's a big lesson right there. God can use us if we are just willing. Our efforts may be small, but if they are placed in precisely the right time with the right person, who knows?? We can't know exactly what is needed, so we just need to show up and be willing to work! Okay, God. I got it this time. :)

Monday, May 21, 2007

oh, my achin' feet

Wow! I forgot how tired I can get the first day on a new job. I was running around much more than usual today, and by the end of the day, my foot was telling me it thought it was broken. I should have worn my crocs, but I thought I had to dress more formally than that. Apparently it is only from the waist up, because there were people wearing nice jeans and sandals. You know what I'll be wearing from now on!

My brain was the other thing hurting by the time I got done today. There were so many new things in there that I was trying to remember. My poor brain was completely overflowing by the end of the day, and I was exhausted. Tomorrow will be better, I know. Thanks for the good wishes card, sweet Dee. You always know how to make me smile.

It's so tough to be new on the job. I remember that and try to be sympathetic to any first-timers I run into in the course of a day. You know some things, but when you get flustered, you forget! And then you sound a little like an idiot. I was answering the phone with the name of my old department, and I'd get this blank pause on the other end of the phone. Oh, whoops!

And last night, I had nightmares all night. It's going to be horrible. They're going to be mean to me. Of course none of that happened, but why the anxiety? I think I had it built up in my mind to be worse than it was. PMS does that to me, too. I will survive the summer. I will.

Hope your Monday was good! (For a Monday)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

you've got to be kidding me (sour grapes)

I didn't watch AI this week on Tuesday. I had class, so the troops at home recorded it for me. It was too late to watch it Tuesday night, so I thought I would watch it Wednesday night just before the show, and then I could watch the results show immediately after. Well, we had to go run an errand on Wednesday, so we recorded the results show, too. Then it was too late Wednesday when we got home, so I was going to wait till Thursday. Oh, no, wait. Class on Thursday night again, so it was going to be pushed off till Friday. I tried not to know who got kicked off, but in the end, a headline jumped out at me when I was surfing, and I had to read the article.

Malinda is gone???? Oh, no! Say it's not so!

Phooey! It's a sad state of affairs when the woman who doesn't hit a wrong note gets booted off the show in favor of younger performers...I've been reading today about how "stars" must be sexy to be competitive. I read articles that said how Malinda was too matronly. How LaKisha was too big. How 95% of the top singers today are tall, model-like, and voluptuous, and they have to have that "it" factor (translate that to young and sexy). No matter that they may not have as much talent as the person who gets turned down because their looks don't cut the mustard in some way. Not to sound like a bunch of sour grapes, because Jordin and Blake are definitely talented. Okay, maybe I am whining, because I really wanted her to win.

I know that maybe people thought she was safe so they voted for their favorite out of the other two, and that could have had an impact. Seriously, people. What WERE you thinking?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

who'll be the next to go?

Well, we're down to three finalists. It's very tough to predict who will go home this week, but I'm betting that Malinda will be the last one standing. I'm hoping.

It's not a losing proposition for any of them at this point, though, when you look at it in the perspective of the top five (or more) from previous years. They have an open door to become successful in their own right. It's just that the top spot is the most coveted. We're a competitive bunch.

I will be sad to see AI end for the season.

Monday, May 14, 2007

stock up on tissue

This is a warning to anyone who plans to read Ever After, by Karen Kingsbury. It's the sequel to Even Now, so it's better if you've already read the first one. It's very good, as are all of hers that I have read, but you need to get yourself a BIG box of tissue before you sit down to read it.

I had to laugh when I read the little blurb that she always adds at the end of the story. She says that even though she writes these stories, she feels more like the reader because it's as though they are just given to her as a complete story in her mind. She just records them. Anyway, she was writing this one, and she said she was crying almost every time she sat down to write. One of her kids came in and asked her if they could get anything for her, food or whatever, and she looked up tearfully. "Yes. Counseling!" I cracked up when I read that. That would be me, bawling away about this imaginary family in my head. That's all I'm going to say about that.

Oh, wait, I forgot. One more teaser. If you have strong opinions on the war either way, this book will challenge you to think about them. Indirectly, of course, because the story is primarily about the relationships between the various characters. Okay, that's really all.

I slept all morning on Friday because I stayed home sick from work. So I was planning on having a relaxing afternoon reading because I didn't have enough energy to do much of anything else. But I must tell you that it is very difficult to read a tearjerker novel when you have any kind of a cold or upper respiratory thing going on. I couldn't even get through five sentences without stopping to wipe my eyes so I could see. Then I'd have to blow my nose so it wouldn't run down my face. So it went like this: Lay down. Read a little bit. Sit up. Wipe my face. Blow my nose. Bury the tissue in the trash so the dog doesn't fish it out to chew on it. Find my place in the book. Lay back down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I was so exhausted by the time I got done with the book I had to take another nap.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

And a happy Mother's Day to all!

It started out slow here, but as the day went on, it seemed to pick up in intensity. We had a crazy, noisy, busy afternoon and evening here, with most of the kids coming and going sometime during the day. We grilled burgers and brats, and the grandbabies played outside, running their legs off. Things have finally settled down, and I'm ready to fall into bed.

I am absolutely certain that D-boy has gained two inches on T-boy since I last saw them. And when they were leaving, their sweetness could have left a frozen candle melted into a puddle; my heart didn't even stand a chance! "Bye, Gramma. Love you, and miss you. I'll come back soon!" This from the one who isn't even in school yet. We all said a collective "Aawww..."

I could just squeeze him! But momma, momma. How does she keep up with them? She was sick this week, too, with the same kind of thing we've all had. They must have run circles around her just to use up their little energy supply.

I was thinking about my oldest, who has a nice handful of a family as well. I wasn't the best mom when he was young . . . he was the guinea pig. The oldest ones always get the toughest job--they have to be the ones to break the parents in until we figure out what's what. Figure out what's important, and what not to sweat about. Well, I must tell you, he's doing way better than I did! It doesn't hurt that he married a sweetheart of a girl, either. They are good parents to some great kids!

I see my kids there in the trenches of parenthood, and it's tough work! I'm telling you, it's exhausting just watching them. And they are in for the duration. They're pacing themselves, day by day, doing an awesome job taking care of these little treasures. It brings back reminders of when they were all little. But I'm realizing that the joys were in the little (and not so little) things.

Listening and laughing at that funny thing they just said. A little child's amazement at losing a tooth. Their pride and joy over a new pair of shoes. I had kids who always insisted on wearing a new pair of shoes to bed the first night after they got them. Having to spray monster spray (hair spray) under the bed so a child could fall sleep unafraid. Reading that story for the sixtieth night in a row, and not being able to skip one single word. Those are the golden moments that memories are made of.

The time D-girl hit W-boy in the head with a shovel and split it open. The first time they rode that two-wheeler bike all by themselves. The sudden thunderstorm that scared one of the kids so badly that she couldn't run for the house...her legs just went up and down as she ran in place. The time W-boy drove the van through the garage door with all the kids buckled up inside. Those are the stories that the children (and the adults) will tell when they are older. Don't let them pass by unnoticed!

Mother's Day makes me reflect about lots of things. There are always a few things that I wish I could go back and do differently, but I try not to dwell on those because I can't change them. The past is exactly that: past. But when I look at the legacy of love that I see continuing, I get so excited. When one of my children shows generosity for another, my heart sings. When I see little acts of kindness happen, I'm delighted.

Sometimes I used to wonder if they just did things together because they shared the same room and had no other choice. But now when they no longer live together and still spend time together as friends, just because they want to, I rejoice. When I hear them encourage each other and willingly offer to help another one out when help is needed, I breathe easier, because I know that someday when I get to go home, they will still have someone who knows them at their best and at their worst; they will still have each other.

Isn't that a lovely Mother's Day thought?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

short hiatus in process

Taking a short break to recuperate from a bout of some bronchial virus or other. It has worn me down and wiped me out. In fact, I think it has knocked me into next week! I'll see you there. Prayers are welcomed!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

a facelift for my blog

Maggie over at Magnaniminity created this beautiful header for me, and has lots of great suggestions that I plan to implement to give my blog template a facelift. I'm so tickled. She has such a nice eye for design. Check out some of the other things she's done as well, at her site.

This will be such fun. So whaddaya think?!

who's going to go?

It's the same question again...who's going home tonight on American Idol? I thought Jordin really stepped up to the plate last night. The judges complained about her being "pitchy" on her last song--I didn't hear it. I loved both of her songs. And Malinda was the other strong one for me. I'm thinking she is going to be the one this year.

I wanted Blake to do really well--he's contemporary, he's cool, and I like his style of singing. But I thought his songs were a little weaker than usual. Lakisha is good with her vocals, but I didn't feel the connection so much. I love it when a singer makes an investment in the song...meaning that I can tell that it's real for them when they are singing it.

Waiting for tonight with bated breath...

Monday, May 7, 2007

not even 21 days yet

I just want to report a new habit--keeping track of my keys! Yippee! I have not been late anywhere, not even once, in two weeks due to not being able to find my keys. Just by chance, I came upon something that works for me. I got a new purse, a smaller one that I can carry more easily. It's too small to keep much in there, so it will never weigh the sixty-five pounds that my old larger purses used to weigh after I accumulated enough junk in them. So it will not become obsolete as did my other purses. Thanks, twin!

Then, I improvised and took a carabiner hook from a freebie promotional thing to hook onto a loop on my purse. That is now my "key place". I can hook them on easily after I take them out of the ignition, because I always have my purse with me when I drive. It just takes a few seconds, and the peace of mind it gives me is well worth the fraction of my day I spend on it. I keep my office keys on there on one of those retractable key reels so that I never even have to take it off. I can just stretch it out, unlock the door, and let it reel back in. And, I have one of those curly wrist things on it too, so if I need to take it off during the day I can wear it on my wrist. I can leave my office during the day and still get back in without having to take my purse. See? I'm a gadget girl, too!

Wanna see all this great stuff? I'm easily pleased, can you tell?

I keep each set of keys on a separate ring that I can detach from the carabiner hook, depending on which car I'm driving at the time. It's working! I am so excited. Thanks to my wonderful friends who encouraged me here! :)

Friday, May 4, 2007

oh, the ides of youth!

I can't believe my baby girl is so close to turning eighteen. It can't be! Someone must have hit the fast forward button! Quick! Press pause! Slow down. Savor. Drink in the moments. Watch her grow. Just like a beautiful flower, opening in its own time, she is blooming. She's gorgeous!

Okay, dear. I know if you're reading this, you're rolling your eyes about now. Make a note in the calendar on your phone to come back in about six or seven years to read this again. Oh, wait. I'm the one who needs the notes to remember.

When does it happen that your children stop thinking of you as the all-powerful, all-knowing parent and start thinking of you as a slightly addled, not-quite-all-there has-been? Kind of like those magical weight loss ads that have the dramatic before and after shots of the woman in a bikini--only in reverse! One minute I am the mother queen of the house, and look! Now I am the poster child for Geritol.

They start snickering when you're bringing them to high school in the morning, only you start to turn towards the middle school by accident. "Uh, Mom?" The pointing finger and the raised eyebrow say it all. When I start to laugh, I just get the junior version of "The Look." She stares as I laugh harder. "I've only been going here for three years, now, Muh-ther." Yeah, well, I think to myself, when I was driving you every day, you were still going to middle school. I was just having a flashback. And I was enjoying myself. Do you mind??

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

what is it that moves me?

My honey looked over at me tonight as I was watching the American Idol results show. "You could get a job as the "town crier" anywhere," he smiled. Very funny, dear. Why in the world do I cry over a TV show when I don't even know these people?! Well, I do feel like I know them a little by now, but actually I think it's the emotion thing.

Not only do I turn into a puddle when other people are crying, but when I see certain qualities in people, when they think more of others than they do themselves, when they display vulnerability, when they are real about their own feelings, it moves me. When I see the other competitors give a departing contestant a standing ovation with tears running down their faces, I see love and compassion in action. When I see unselfishness and friendship reign over competitiveness, I am encouraged to believe in the goodness of human nature. They melt me!

Phil handled himself with such grace and confidence and humility tonight that it just moved me to tears. When I heard him say again that his baby was more important than this show, my spirit said, "Yes!" When Chris and Blake were more concerned about their friendship than who was going on to the next round, it brought a huge smile to my face.

I think it was one of the best results shows I've seen yet. And I felt good about it. When Sanjaya got booted off, I was cheering, but I didn't feel peaceful or happy about it the same way when the show was over. :o It was just "aiight" for me that night. Tonight, on the other hand, was hot.

Okay, can you tell I've been watching AI way too long? It's probably a good thing that I don't know how to write a British accent so you can see it the way it sounds. I'd be unbearable.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

ever had to glue your socks up?

Had a conversation with a friend the other day, and she mentioned that she got a note from her daughter's school. Her daughter is not allowed to wear bobby socks to school. She must wear knee high stockings. I was a little in awe that she wasn't more upset about it. Her only comment was that she didn't see the logic in it because the knee highs don't stay up anyway.

Okay, never mind that at some of the Catholic schools, the girls can wear short skirts that expose their thighs. Is it that calves are more enticing than thighs for young gentlemen in school and they want to keep them covered? This kind of stuff makes me CRAZY! Are they trying to prevent the boys from looking at the girls? 'Cause it's a pointless exercise.

Then another girl mentioned that her friend had to glue her knee highs in place when she went to school so they wouldn't fall down. Apparently there is such a thing as glue to stick your clothing to you! Dancers and figure skaters use it to keep their costumes on; swimmers use it to keep their swimsuit from creeping up their behinds. But socks?? What's next? I was going to ask if they should consider wrapping themselves up completely, but I guess that option has already been taken.

Both of these incidents happened at private schools, which makes me okay with the fact that my kids are in public school. Not that I have anything against private schools, but if I were to send my children to one, I would want one that was more concerned about the curriculum than an iron-clad dress code. Glue her socks up, my eye!