Sunday, December 26, 2010

a year in pictures

How fun is this? I made a photobook in Shutterfly. It took a little longer than I thought, and I realized I have a picture in there twice. Some of the template captions are a little goofy, too, I realized (after the fact!), but for a first time, not so bad! I think it's pretty cool.

Click here to view this photo book larger

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

i got another can of that...

Did Tucker ever put the dogs in their place the other morning! Yes, we got the new dog, and yes, he's as cute as a bug's ear. But that's another story.

We were in the bathroom getting ready and I could hear the dogs scritch-scratching around on the floor kinda fast, so I suppose they were chasing the cats. Well, all of a sudden by the bathroom door, I hear this squealing and yelping. It’s Turbo, the new dog.

So Papa Bear whips the door open to let him in, and then the next thing you hear is Cooper, the other dog, yelping like he’s dying. Papa Bear jumps up and yells at them all to cut it out.

Tucker, the black cat, who is really like the alpha male in the house (other than Papa Bear), had come after Cooper, bit him, and them whomped on him with his front paw. He just looked mad. Just mad. He had his “It’s not funny anymore!” look on his face, and he was standing there glaring, like, “I got some more tail-whup if you wanna see…”

It’s like having kids back in the house! Fighting, crying, and high drama. Cooper and Turbo were cowering in the bathroom just shaking.

I told you there would be spats with cats. Wish I woulda had it on camera.

Friday, December 3, 2010

softie is as softie does

I think I have a sticker posted across my forehead that everyone but me can see. It says , "I am a sap, a major softie", or perhaps it simply says "sucker!" I get a call from not one, but two of my kids the other day telling me about someone who is trying to find a new home for their little mini dachshund. What am I?! The queen of unwanted dachshunds?

I keep hearing this song in my head, sung to the tune of Na Na Na Na Boo, Boo. "Mama is a softie! Mama is a softieeee!" And I can't say much, because it's true.

We just adopted a new mini-dachshund, our mister Cooper, this last summer right after we had our little AugieDoggie put down, after we swore up and down we were having no new pets. After I firmly told Erica she couldn't have a dragon. And after I told Gail she couldn't have a dog while she was in college because she wouldn't be there to take care of it.

And now, I've spent a couple weeks fighting off Erica about her wish to get a puppy. She was obsessed with getting a Great Pyrenees/American bulldog mix puppy. Are you kidding me? Do you know how much that thing would EAT? No. No. No. Although when I looked at his picture, it was very tempting because he was so cute and cuddly looking. But no. One has to be strong about these things.

But I digress. Back to said little mini dachshund looking for a new home. We are going to look at him on Saturday. Do you hear the "take him home" hidden in that phrase, "going to look at him"? Oh, I am scared. Very scared we are going to end up with another dog because I'm already on this train.

I keep trying to tell myself that two dogs are more than twice as much work as one. One dog is perfect for us. One little eight-inch-tall dachshund already takes up a third of our bed all by himself. With two of them, where will that leave me? Last night, Cooper nearly pushed me over the edge of the bed because he was behind me, pushing on my back with his short little legs, and in my sleep-fogged brain, I thought he was being squished. Now my shoulder is stiff and sore from trying to balance on the edge of the mattress for half the night. And he was sprawled out with plenty of space, trust me. A veritable abundance of wide-open bed for that one.

We can handle one dog, but what about two? It's like bringing home another child. There will be tantrums, and puppy rivalry, and spats with the cats. Are we up for this? I have to wonder. But his cuteness is sucking me in, convincing me that he will be a wonderful little dog for us, thereby confirming the truth of the sticker on my forehead.


Friday, November 12, 2010

tantalizing toes

Little ChiChi and Papa play a game when ChiChi comes over for the day. Every single time, Papa asks ChiChi if he can have one of his pinky-toes. He wants to make pinky-toe soup, and says he just loves to nibble on delicious pinky-toes.

Well, ChiChi is having none of it, of course. He's pretty attached to his little pinky-toes. So they wrestle and laugh and play about this on a daily basis.

Yesterday was something else. ChiChi was having himself a little fit when Papa came into the room. He started right in about the pinky-toes, asking ChiChi about if he was going to give up the pinky-toes.

ChiChi had his little crabby look on his face, but he stopped what he was doing. He walked over to the chair and sat down. He stuck out one foot, and slowly, deliberately, looking at Papa the entire time, pushed one shoe off his heel with the toe of the other foot. He let it slide slowly off his foot, finally dropping it to the floor. Clunk. He got the tiniest grin on his face. Then, just as slowly, he pushed the shoe off his other foot, letting that one follow the first one onto the floor. Clunk.

Then he tiptoed over to the loveseat, just a little closer to Papa, and ever so slowly, pinched the top edge of his sock and started wiggling it off his foot. He stopped when it was halfway off, and with his sock dangling off his toes, gave it a little wiggle with his foot. I was falling off the couch by this time, hysterical with laughter. He didn't crack anything more than that little smirky grin as he finished pushing the sock completely off his foot. He wiggled his toes gleefully in the air, much to Papa's and my amusement, letting loose with a little cackling giggle. Just the sound of that can make me laugh.

ChiChi followed suit with the other sock, inching it off bit by bit, teasing, tantalizing Papa with his wiggly little toes. So stinkin' funny! Papa sat up straight, and immediately! ChiChi whipped his feet underneath his butt and sat down firmly, finally cracking a full-out grin.

Papa said, "I can smell those delicious pinky-toes. They smell soooooo good!"

ChiChi stared at him, then pulled one of his feet out and put his toes up to his nose. "Aaacckk!" he choked. "They are so stinky. They are DIS-GUST-ING. Pee-YEW!"

Wow, that kid is entertaining!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

small comforts

It's been an unseasonably warm November so far, but I think that's all about to change. The weather people are predicting we'll get our first snow tomorrow night. It's time, I guess. Time to close things up for the season. Papa got the yard cleaned up, and even though I didn't get to help very much with that, there's something so very satisfying about that. All neat, tidied up, ready for the snow.

I took a couple days off recently when Papa went deer hunting up north with a couple of the boys. I planned to get some deep cleaning done and rearrange the nest a little bit. What are the odds of getting sick right at the time when I had already planned some time off??? I had about as much energy as a slug! Needless to say, I didn't get much accomplished.

Today, though, I had the day off for Veteran's Day, and I had a little bit more energy. I'm starting to feel a little better. So I did a few little things around the house today. First thing this morning, I made a fresh pot of coffee - there's nothing like Caribou's Costa Rica blend.

It's my honey's fault I've gotten so picky about my coffee. Coffee as fresh as possible, check. Grind it right before you brew, check. Use fresh filtered cold water, check. Grind it only so long, and no longer, pausing in the middle to keep it from overheating, check. Pour it into the cup right away, and put the rest into a thermos to keep it from cooking on the warmer plate, check. Sip, and savor, check check.

Little ChiChi man got to spend the day with me, so I knew I'd be at home most of the day. I made some fresh apple crisp and, some of Ina Garten's ginger cookies. They were okay, but I wish I would have made Karen's Dragon Snaps instead. I just didn't have enough molasses for both. But the surely smelled like fall in here today!

We took little Cooper for a walk down the street, and ChiChi and Cooper both loved it. Cooper got to bark and be all protective and bristly when a neighbor dog woofed at us to stay away. He's so funny. Here he is, all eight inches tall of him, and he's growling and scuffing his feet in the dirt like there's no tomorrow. He thinks he's a pit bull, I swear!

I made Shrimp Creole with rice for dinner, and now the dishes are nearly done and the kitchen's cleaned up. I just have to wash out my new Teavana teamaker. I got it from freecycle. For free, of course. I love, love, love freecycle! But have you seen those teamakers? You put your loose tea into the container, pour your boiling water in, and let it brew. When you're ready, you place it onto your cup, and the tea dispenses from the bottom of the container. I'm going to make some spiced plum tea to sip as I do my homework for class. Yumm!!

I'm such a homebody. I love having all my creature comforts here, and be able to just stay at home and putter. I put a load of wash going and realized how comforting the scent of the fabric softener was as it rolled up out of the washer.

I don't need much to make me happy. If my family is okay, and my honey's nearby, I'm good. I'm even better if the house is clean! :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

it was a long summer's nap

It was a good thing, this break. I was hating having to write, or at least feeling like I had to write. I get no paycheck from this, no salary...I owe it nothing.

I wanted to write about the lovely, funny boy cats, Franklin and Tucker. I've had a number of cats in my time, but I think these two are my favorite cats ever.

They’re such buddies. They are brothers from the same litter, and we’ve had them for oh, I wanna say about fourteen or fifteen years. They eat together, sleep together, hunt for trouble together, sit and look out the window together, wrestle and fight together, and gang up on the dog together. They’re inseparable.

If one of them happens to get outside, which is rare, or gets shut into a bedroom, the other one will wander from room to room, mew-rowl-ing his sad call, trying to find his missing partner-in-crime.

If another animal picks on Franklin, Tucker will swoop in to the rescue and swackkity-whack-whack the offending one on the head a few times. If the critter is too big for Tucker to reach his head, he’ll bite him on the leg instead. They've got each other's back for all time.

So, I’ve been trying to put the two cats on a diet because they’re so huge. I’m just going to say this right up front: no snarky comments from the peanut gallery about me. I’ve been trying to put me on a diet, too, so just hush.

But I can tell when I’ve missed the evening feeding and the cats are feeling particularly hungry. They come hang around me wherever I happen to be and they’re so relentlessly affectionate to me. Tucker, the black cat, will jump up in my lap and get as close to my face as he can with his cold nose and tickly whiskers. If I ignore him long enough, he will gently bite me on the arm to get my attention. It always makes me laugh. Sometimes I even nudge him away a little with my elbow so he’ll bite me again! It’s so funny!

Well, I can always tell when they are feeling either particularly hungry or particularly tempted by whatever we are having for dinner. They lay around near the table, oh so nonchalantly, until everyone has moved away from the table. And since I’m a little on the lazy unambitious side after I’ve eaten, I don’t always clear the dishes away immediately. Well, Tucker is the bolder of the two when it comes to food, so he will jump right up on the table to see what is left over on the plates. Franklin will hang back and see what happens to Tucker.

We had turkey, gravy and dressing last night, and after dinner, I swear I jumped up from the computer and swatted him with a potholder to get him off the table at least six times. And he was stubborn! Usually he just ducks and jumps down from the table, but last night, he ducked just far enough to be out of reach, and sat there, squinting and leaning away from me as if to say, “Go ahead and swat me, but I’m just going back for more as soon as you’re done.”

There aren’t many things that they will dare anything for, but turkey is one of them. The only other thing I can think that they go that crazy over, strangely enough, is olives. Black olives, green olives, it doesn’t matter. Olive juice? Even better. They will morph into slavering junkies at the very whiff of anything olive.

And should they actually get a taste of them, they sway back and forth in a stupor reminiscent of a heroin high, and then burst into a frenzy of energy, fighting with each other frantically, then racing through the house from one end to the other and back again. Needless to say, I am NOT the person who gives them olives.

When I throw away the empty container of olives, they stalk me to the garbage can. I have to take the bag out and bring it outside. I’m sure the neighbors would think about calling the men in the white coats if they saw me backing out the door, holding the bag high and swinging it wildly to keep it away from them as they leap to try and claw the bag open with their grasping little paws.

Well, to get back to my story, Tucker and Franklin were determined to have some turkey last night. After I had chased the cats away from the table for the sixth time, I thought they had finally gotten the message and I could relax. I was engrossed in my Facebook pursuit again when I heard a “Clunk!”and a rustling sound in the kitchen.

My honey had cleaned up the cooking debris and he threw the turkey scraps into the garbage. I realized that the two cats had tag-teamed and worked together to tip over the garbage can, and now all I could see of them was their butts sticking out of the garbage as they scrounged for the savory little turkey scraps. I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or throw something at them. Little brats.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

a little break...

It's such a beautiful day...what to do, what to do.

I just think I'll take a tiny break...and a little cat nap.
I'll be back to blogging soon...*yawn*

Saturday, July 10, 2010

how does my garden grow?

About two weeks ago, I should have gone out into the garden to take pics of the awesome lilies. Most of the Asiatic lilies were in full bloom, and the orange ones coming up through the baby's breath was quite stunning. Here is what is left of them...I think they still look quite nice.

And how about the friendly face in this sassy orange daylily? If you click on the picture, you'll get a better view of him.

There are many other very cool flowers blooming, some of my favorites. They're like old friends coming back. So let me introduce you...

First, the hydrangeas. I got these from one of my previous bosses. A landscaper had put them into his little garden by his house, and he wasn't pleased with how they looked. They were pretty scrawny. But you know what they say about perennials: the first year, they sleep. (He gave them to me the first year he had them.) The second year, they creep. So they get a little bigger. And the third year, they LEAP! Well, these puppies have leapt--they're big, bold and beautiful!

I love my hostas. Some of the hosta blossoms are dainty, but this version has all these lovely fat blooms.

These little cuties are balloon flowers...the blossom starts out looking like a little balloon, with all the tips of the flower petals touching. Then when they're ready, they pop open into this:

Here's a little Turk's cap lily...the last one blooming in my garden. These beauties hang upside down, similar to the beautiful orange tiger lilies that grow wild up in northern Minnesota.

And one lonesome clematis. The vines fell down off the trellis, and I didn't get them back up this spring, so this one just wandered out on top of the other flowers in the bed and bloomed right where it was planted. Hmm, somewhere there's a message in that.

And how could I forget my coneflowers? They're so beautiful.

And the liatris are just getting ready to burst into bloom. A fat bumblebee was humming around, trying to find the best ones already.

How could I pick a favorite? I like so many of them. It's like trying to pick a favorite out of your kids. They're all so different, and you love each of them for who they are. It's impossible!

And speaking of my flowers reminded me of this funny little video you might enjoy. I loved it.

Friday, July 9, 2010

time just flies

Time flies when you're busy, whether you're having fun or not!

It's been two no, three weeks since I posted. Unbelievable. So we've been getting used to our new little doggie for three whole weeks.

We settled on Cooper. Little Cooper Dooper. My Coop Dawg. Super Cooper. Or just plain Coop! He answers to all of them. LOL.

He doesn't hate us anymore. In fact, he has decided that he likes to sleep with us as much as he likes sleeping with the girls. So he takes turns.

He loves to walk on the leash. He can go out the side door into the fenced area to potty, but he hardly ever does that. He only goes out there to check on the squirrels and see if he can chase them up the tree. But if we go out the door and down the driveway, he's in heaven. His little head is up, his tail is up, and his ears are back with the wind. His little legs flash like scissors switching.

He eats the tiniest little bit--he's very cute. Still have the work...making sure he gets walked and fed and such, but oh, he warms my heart. ♥ ♥

Monday, June 14, 2010

it's a sign! or is it???

Oh. my. goodness. What a weekend.

So Friday stunk. Let's just say that first. I already covered that...

Saturday morning I was supposed to be getting ready to go scrapbooking. Our good friends came over with a cute little concrete plaque that says, "Dogs leave pawprints on our hearts" because they heard about our Augie Doggie. I cried, of course.

And then when we were conversating, she says, "So, there was this ad on the bulletin board at the grocery store for a mini dachshund, free to a good home."

"Shut. Up." I told her. That was where we got Augie from--an ad on that same bulletin board. Twelve years ago. My mind went flying and I clamped down with a firm grip. NO NEW PETS, remember? Oh, yeah. We chatted some more and they left.

I got my stuff together and packed, and headed out to a grad party before I went to the scrapping thing. You know, that grocery store is right on the way to the scrapping place...did I stop to look at the ad? Well, my excuse was that I needed to pick up a couple of things for the potluck there, but yes I did. The whole time, I'm just thinking, I should whack myself in the forehead--remember the vow! Remember the vow! No new pets.

And I looked at that ad, wrote down the number and called to see if he was still available. Why, why do I do that??? Arghh!

Well, he was still there, but I said I had to talk to my husband first.

I'm kicking myself all the way to the scrap place. Why??

My honey calls me when I'm there. "Did you just get there? What took you so long?"

"Well," I said, "I stopped at the grocery store to get a few things."

"What store?" he says. I told him. And he said, "Oh. Did you look at that ad?"

Sheepishly, "Yeaaahhh."

"He's kinda cute, isn't he?" he chuckles.

"WHAAAAAAT??!?" I almost dropped the phone. "You went and looked at it, too?"

"Yeah," he says. "I called them to see if he's still there, but no one answered."

It was my turn to chuckle. I waited until I couldn't stand it. "He is available. I called them, too! But they are going to be gone tonight."

The next day we called them, set up a time and went to see him. He hated us. He wouldn't stop barking at us for about fifteen or twenty minutes.

But I just kept thinking about how many things were talking to me. Were they coincidences? The ad was at the same store, in the same spot on the same bulletin board, and they said they were getting rid of him for the same reason--they want to get a bigger dog. Our friend saw that ad the day after we lost our best little buddy, and she told us about it. A dachshund. Crazy. A sign? Or a test? We weren't sure.

But an hour later, we walked out of there--WITH a new dog. WHAT JUST HAPPENED??!! I think the shock from Friday may have affected our brains and common sense.

Well, in for a penny, in for a pound. I'm going to try to enjoy the ride.

He doesn't really answer to his name, so we might change it. I am going to put a little poll on the sidebar and you can put in your two cents worth if you want, just for fun. :)

Oh, and he only likes the girls. I think he still hates us. He whined ALL NIGHT because we wouldn't let him go in and sleep with the girls. What is that?? I got NO SLEEP. Zero. Zip. Nada. I finally gave up and got up and cleaned the kitchen in the middle of the night. I wasn't getting any sleep anyway, but now my signal's fading fast, folks. I need a recharge desperately. Like having a new baby in the house or something. Gak! Thanks heavens my honey is making dinner.

Here is a picture of him. He's a short haired red brindle. He has a reddish coat with the black stripey looking markings. He is half the size of the cats! LOL. I am a sap.

Friday, June 11, 2010

the silence is deafening

We had to put our beloved Augie Doggie to sleep today, and I miss him so much already! He had such a good heart, and he was so smart. He loved and lived with abandon, throwing himself into whatever he did with everything he had, holding nothing back.

I keep waiting to hear the scritchy-scratch of little Augie Doggie's nails on the floor as he comes out to see what I have to eat. I swat a fly, and wait to laugh at him barking at me because he can't stand it when I hit anything, not even myself. I wait to hear his little huffing and puffing next to me when he has to go outside...nope. No lovely little doggie noises. It's too quiet. And the TV is too loud. It jangles my nerves.

He was one of a kind with his gentle spirit. He always got so worried when I cried, and he'd lick my hand and nuzzle me until I'd start to laugh. Today when we were in the vet's office waiting for the vet to come in and I was crying, he sat on the floor and gave me that quizzical look. I bent down to pet him, and he started licking me. It was too much...made my heart hurt more.

I still remember when we got him, how scared he was of everyone. He shook like a leaf when any strangers would come near. In fact when we went to look at him at the people's house who had him, it took a half hour to get him to crawl across the floor to me to let me pet him, shivering every step of the way. My heart melted for him. There was no way we could have left him there. We were destined to have him.

It took my honey two months to get Augie to trust him where he wouldn't be scared every time he was around him. But after that, they were best buds. Inseparable.

Augie didn't like any kind of fighting, wrestling, or loud voices. If the kids would wrestle, he would run into the room, barking at the top of his lungs, as if to say, "Stop! Stop! That's ENOUGH!" If they didn't stop, he'd pinch them. Barely grab them with his teeth, and pinch! He didn't mess around with that. When Luvvy was over visiting the kids once when they were smaller, she chased one of them when they were teasing her, and Augie jumped up and bit her right in the butt. We still chuckle about that. Well, she probably doesn't, but we still tease her about it.

Or when John would come in to the bedroom to say goodnight, Augie would always, without fail, bark at him. He did not like anyone coming in the room at bedtime. So one night, John kind of lunged at him to make him quiet down, but it backfired. Augie jumped up, bit the crotch of John's jeans and hung there, swinging. We laughed, and laughed! John, however, saw no humor in it whatsover. Augie Doggie Doo was small, but he was feisty and would have protected us with his life.

He would be waiting outside our bedroom door for someone to let him in, and when they did, he'd run in the room, turn around, and bark like crazy at them. Too funny!

My poor baby.

I think I've posted before about when he was paralyzed. Little dachshunds are prone to that. He was running around playing Keep-Away with a sock, his usual game, but when he tried to jump up against the couch, he fell to the floor shrieking. He couldn't move his back legs. The pet emergency room suggested steroids or surgery. We took him home, unable to pay those kinds of fees.

We thought about putting him down then, but my boss suggested taking him to an animal chiropractor. That seemed more within our reach, and this awesome chiropractor got him walking again. That got him by for quite a while, but he lost a little of his zip when that happened. It took a little out of him. Even though when we'd take him in for an adjustment, he'd get his happy face on and be good for a while, it didn't last forever.

I think he may have developed arthritis, or maybe his back was getting worse, but lately he couldn't get around very well anymore, and he didn't have very good control of his bodily functions. Sometimes he would be just standing there and all of a sudden without warning, he'd start to pee. Then he'd get freaked out and start running toward the door. Which meant of course, that I'd have a cover-the-whole-floor wandering zig-zag trail to clean up instead of just a puddle. Arghh!

And he didn't do so well on the steps anymore, either. Yesterday he didn't realize he was pooping on the top step outside and he tried to go down the stairs. He fell over, bumped down the stairs, and landed on his side on the ground. It's like he wasn't even aware. I know, I know. That's probably a little more graphic than you wanted to read. I hope you're not eating your breakfast or something! Blghh.

This wasn't what we wanted to do, but we felt like we really had to. It's the hardest thing about owning a dog. Seriously. If you're going to do right by the dog, the day will probably come. My honey and I looked at each other after it was over, and we both said, "No more dogs. We don't want to do this again." It's too stinkin' hard.

Here's the picture of him I put on my very first blog post:

And here is one of the last pictures we have of him, sitting outside in the sun, soaking up the rays. You can see that his front legs still look strong, but his back legs were somewhat atrophied, and he didn't have full use of them anymore. But his sweetness still shines through. He's like the Velveteen Rabbit. Loved so much he wore out. The hair on his ears was starting to fall out, and he had another patch on his tail.

Farewell, my baby. Happy travels, chasing the rabbits through the Great Back Yard of beyond. Bark like crazy. Scratch anything you want to, because you can again. You're free, honey. I love you.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

another great must-read

Camille Weller has arrived as the first African-American attending in the trauma service of the Medical College of Virginia. Never mind that the locker rooms are labeled "doctors" and "nurses" rather than "men" and "women" or that her dark skin communicates "incapable" to many of her white male colleagues in the OR. Camille has battled prejudices her entire career, but those battles were small spats compared to what she faces now.

When a colleague discovers a lump in her breast, she believes Dr. Camille Weller is the best doctor for her. Together, they decide on a course of treatment that bucks the established medical system, keeping Camille firmly in the crosshairs of male surgeons already riddled with skepticism and suspicion.

Her success as a surgeon is jeopardized further when dark whispers from her childhood in Africa plague Camille's thoughts. Bewildering panic attacks instill fear in a surgeon bent on maintaining the control, pace, and direction of her own life. Unable to shake the flashes of memory, Camille is forced to face a past she has not acknowledged since the death of her father on an African mission field. Who was he? Who was she? And why would either of those answers affect her present? (excerpt from back cover).

My Thoughts:

The cover first caught my eye, and I realized as I read the book, that the cover image is a metaphor for Camille's experience. She is silenced. She's trying to prove herself in a world that is out of her element, but she is not heard or seen for who she really is or what she can do. She has to prove herself in every way possible. Added on top of this layer of the story is her own personal journey back to her childhood, to try to figure out what the meaning is of her vaguely sinister snippets of memories that keep popping up.

This book kept me turning the page, trying to guess what was going to happen next. I never quite got it right, and finally, I had to peek. I had to. Hold your tomatoes...I finished the book, and it was still a good story. I just couldn't stand the suspense. My dad used to always say he started in the middle of the book and read both ways. Maybe it's a family tradition. LOL. I don't watch movies the "right" way, either...I walk out of the room if it gets too suspenseful, and come back when I can handle it again. It's the little kid in me.

But the big kid in me loves this book! Thanks to Glass Road PR for providing the book. I'm already re-gifting it. I've loaned it out to a fellow reader. It's too good to sit on the shelf. I gotta keep it moving. :) Cheers for a great book.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

meet Cynthia

Cynthia Ruchti, the author of They Almost Always Come Home, writes stories of “hope that glows in the dark.” She writes and produces The Heartbeat of the Home, a syndicated drama/devotional radio broadcast, and is editor for the ministry’s Backyard Friends magazine. She also serves as current president of American Christian Fiction Writers. Cynthia married her childhood sweetheart, who tells his own tales of wilderness adventures.
ere, Cynthia answers some questions about her new book:

1. How would you describe your book?

The tagline for the book is “She’d leave her husband…if she could find him.” When Libby’s husband Greg doesn’t return from a two-week canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness, the authorities write off his disappearance as an unhappy husband’s escape from an oatmeal marriage and mind-numbing career. Their marriage might have survived if their daughter Lacey hadn’t died and if Greg hadn’t been responsible.

Libby enlists the aid of her wilderness-savvy father-in-law and her faith-walking best friend to help her search for clues to her husband’s disappearance. What the trio discovers in the wilderness search upends Libby’s assumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith. It’s my prayer that this fictional adventure story and emotional journey will reveal its own hope-laden clues for those struggling to survive or longing to exit what they believe are uninspiring marriages. How can a woman survive a season or a lifetime when she finds it difficult to like the man she loves?

2. How were you different as a writer and as a person when you finished writing They Almost Always Come Home?

This book changed me in a profound way. It forced me to take a more honest look at myself and my reactions to crises so I could write Libby’s character with authenticity. Libby is a composite of many women. I haven’t experienced what she did, but I identify with some of her struggles and longings, as I hope my readers will. I see my friends in her eyes and know that her tears aren’t hers alone. Her shining moments feed my courage. Libby speaks for me and for many others when she discovers that she is stronger than she realized and weaker than she wanted to admit. Writing her story was a journey for the author as much as for the character.

3. What did you feel the tug on your heart to become a writer?

My journey toward a lifetime of writing began by reading books that stirred me, changed me, convinced me that imagination is a gift from an imaginative Creator. As a child, I read when I should have been sleeping…and still do. I couldn’t wait for the BookMobile (library on wheels) to pull up in front of the post office in our small town and open its arms to me. Somewhere between the pages of a book, my heart warmed to the idea that one day I too might tell stories that made readers stay up past their bedtimes.

4. What books line your bookshelves?

My bookshelves—don’t ask how many!—hold a wide variety of genres. The collection expands faster than a good yeast dough. I’m a mood reader, grabbing a light comedy one day and a literarily rich work the next. Although I appreciate well-written nonfiction, I gravitate toward an emotionally engaging contemporary women’s fiction story.

Something Extra From the Author's Heart:

Ten years ago, my husband almost didn’t come home. His canoe adventure with our son Matt soured on Day Two when Bill grew violently ill from what we presume was either pancreatitis or a gall bladder attack. He’s an insulin-dependent diabetic, so any grave illness is a threat. One in the middle of the Canadian wilderness is morgue material.

With no satellite phone with which to call for help, Matt took turns caring for his father and watching the shore for other canoeists happening past their hastily constructed campsite. The few other canoes were headed deeper into the remote areas of the park, not on their way out. None had a satellite phone. And none of them were doctors.

As my husband grew sicker, his diabetes went nuclear. He couldn’t eat, yet needed insulin because his liver thought it should help out by dumping vast quantities of sugar into his system. Even in a hospital setting, the situation would have been difficult to control, and the nearest hospital was light years away across vast stretches of water and woodland, through peopleless, roadless wilderness.

Our son stretched a yellow tarp across the rocks on shore and wrote S.O.S. with charcoal from a dead fire. He scratched out countless notes on pieces of notebook paper torn from their trip journal: Send rescue! My dad is deathly ill. Read the rest of the story at the KCWC blog!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

what if he didn't come home?

Sweet giveaway drawing for comments--read on!

ABOUT THE BOOK They Almost Always Come Home:

At the foundation of each relationship resides the need to know love can survive even when feelings fade. In Cynthia Ruchti’s debut novel, They Almost Always Come Home, readers feel the desperation of this foundational yearning in a marriage clearly pulling loose from its moorings. Compounded by other issues—an unrewarding career and mismatched dreams—it’s enough to drive a man into the arms of the Canadian wilderness.

When Greg Holden doesn’t return home from a wilderness canoe trip, his wife Libby wrestles with survivor guilt, a new layer of grief, and the belief that she was supposed to know how to fix her marriage. She planned to leave him—but how can she leave a man who’s no longer there? He was supposed to go fishing, not missing.

Libby has to find him before she can discover how their marriage ends. She plunges into the wilderness on an adventurous and risky manhunt, unsure what she will do if she finds him…or if she doesn’t. She expects to meet hardship, discomfort, and danger in the wilderness. She doesn’t expect to face the stark reality of her spiritual longing and a faint, but steady pulse that promises hope for reviving her marriage. If Greg’s still alive.

They Almost Always Come Home provides a glimpse into common, however uncomfortable, marital conflicts. Cynthia weaves a page-turning story, suspense building scene by scene. Her characters mirror ordinary people, living real-to-life situations, allowing readers to relate and sort through a myriad of emotions and life decisions. If fiction can contain adventure, riveting self-awareness, and romance all between the same covers, this is the book!

Look for two more posts this week about this book, and on Friday June 11, I'll draw one name from everyone who leaves a comment. I'll submit the name for the giveaway to the promoter--they are giving away some cool stuff:

North Pak 20 inch cinch sack (in lime green)
Day Runner journal
Canoe Brand wild rice
Canada's brand blueberry jam
Coleman 60-piece mini first aid kit
Wood canoe/paddle shelf ornament
Six original photography notecards from video trailer
"Hope" hanging ornament
Mini Coleman "lantern" prayer reminder.

All you have to do is comment on one of my posts about the book this week, and you're in the drawing!

Monday, June 7, 2010

a cautionary tale

Rain, wooden steps, and old Crocs don't mix very well. I'm just sayin'.

The other day I let our little Augie doggie out the side door to do his thing, you know, and after a few minutes, I went and checked on him. When he's not moving too well, he'll sit at the bottom of the little porch we have on the side of the house where the fenced-in area is, and he'll wait for me to carry him up the stairs. When he's feeling spry, he'll climb up the steps himself.

So on this rainy day, after I let him out, I went to look for him. There he was, waiting at the bottom of the steps. I went out to get him. Now the steps are a little weathered, and when it's rainy, they get a little slick. Just a little. And when I wear my Crocs long enough, they get pretty smooth on the bottom. When they get wet, they get a little slick, too.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure you know where this is going, but I'll tell ya anyway.

I did okay on the deck, and on the first two steps. On the third step down, I was thinking it was going okay, and the next thing I knew, whoop! My foot slipped on that last darn step and down I went. My backside hit first and then my back.

So the first thing through my head...what did I break? I moved a little...nope, I'm good. Then I realized I had my white capris on. Formerly white capris, I should say. I was afraid to look. They had green and black streaks from the bottom to the top. Grrr. I should never wear white.

So amid moaning and groaning, and maybe a curse word or two, I gingerly turned over so I could crawl up the stairs. I know, I know. Pathetic, but I didn't want to stand up. I was too sore. Augie doggie was standing there looking at me with this quizzical look, and then he just clambered up the stairs like nobody's business! Seriously! He couldn't have climbed up just a little sooner?

All I have to say is it's a good thing I have all that padding. I didn't break a thing! I have a huge purplish bruise for a battle scar, and I injured my pride and dignity a little, but hey! That mends pretty quickly.

The moral of my story? That's the best part: don't wear old Crocs. Buy new ones!!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

too many lists, not enough time!

How does it happen that the items on the to-do list stack up so much faster than I can get them done? When do I just start chucking them out the window before they are even done?

I go in streaks, you know. Sometimes I take care of the high priority things like cruising on Facebook and checking out blogs, and sometimes I sleep. But then the boring jobs pile up until I can't stand it anymore, and then I have to stay up and do them.

Like this weekend coming up, I have a long weekend. I've tried telling myself that I need to relax, and just chill, and maybe get some of that summer reading done. I just don't see that happening. There are just too many things I want to get done.

I bought some bookshelves and a cabinet on an online auction--my new obsession--and I'm rearranging things in my bedroom to make room for the bookshelves. I need a place to keep all the books on my to-read list. The bookshelves are more heavy duty than they appeared on the auction website, which is great! They also appear to have a couple of places where I could add another shelf in there, which would be even better. I have a stack of books waiting to go onto them--I can get my closet cleaned out again and put my new shredder to good use, too. The paper that builds up waiting to be shredded is being fruitful and multiplying in the closet as I write--I promise you it is. Every time I look in there, more paper! Gak. I have nightmares occasionally about being smothered in a huge pile of paper. I wonder what that means.

In spite of my obsession and fascination with organization and sorting, I still collect paper in every nook and cranny in this house. Actually, it is actually the bits of information that I want to save. I am an information junkie. I don't know if there's any hope at all. I think it's an incurable disease. Oh, well. It could be much worse. I'm not sure how, but I'll have to think about it. In the meantime, I'll collect my books and bits on my bedroom bookshelf, and smile as I fall asleep, dreaming about a lovely organized life.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

no more school, no more books... more teacher's dirty looks! School's out, for the summer!!

No, just kidding. Those days are long past. I'm a teacher's pet, now, not the slacker kid who gets comments on her report card, like, "She would be an excellent student, if she would just quit procrastinating!" Well, I can't lie. I do procrastinate, but even if I am down to the wire, I still pull it together. It's just more stressful that way. LOL.

It's actually really fun to be back in school. I always say that I get a little nervous if I'm not learning something new on a regular basis. I think I might want to take sign language after I get done taking my CNET classes. If my honey and I could take it together, how much more fun would that be?! Yes!

I got to take some writing classes just for fun, and a watercolor painting class, too. Now that was some serious fun. (Yes, I know that's an oxymoron...but not really, because I don't mean it that way. Hush up, little voice, and stop picking at me.)

And this is where my girls, if they were reading this, would roll their eyes at me. Aaahahaha!

What will I do with a whole summer full of free evenings??? It delights me to even consider the thought. Read, read, and read some more! I'll post a list of books I want to get through this summer a little later this week.

What fun things do you have planned this summer?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

so nice to be a mom

I'm blessed with laughter, love, family, friends and flowers this Mother's Day. It was an amazing day, and I had a great time. People came over for burgers on the grill and stayed to visit and laugh and talk. They they all disappeared again in a flurry, and now the house is quiet again. I'm sitting here totally content, although I should really be studying for my final in my computer networking class.

Dalorian cracked me up today. He had a little bit of a tummy ache, and I asked him if he wanted a bucket in case he threw up--I knew he threw up yesterday morning, so I thought maybe he was feeling sick again. So he's carrying this bucket around under his chin everywhere, and telling everyone he's trying to throw up. He's wearing it like it's a necklace or something.

And you know how little kids get tired of stuff like that pretty quickly? Not him. He took it everywhere with him. Finally, he was laying on the couch on his tummy, with his feet going up the back of the couch, and his head hanging over the edge of the couch with the bucket right underneath his face. He's four, so he fits that way on the couch.

Jayden, his little brother, is sticking his face next to Dal, trying to figure out what is so fascinating in that bucket. He's the "Me, Too" boy. He doesn't say a lot yet, but he sure doesn't want to be left out. Finally, he climbed up on top of Dal, laid over his back, and was still trying to get a bird's eye view of what Dal was looking at in the bucket. He started sliding forward, and was pushing Dal down into the bucket. Dal was yelling, "Hey! Hey! Get offa me! I'm falling in the bucket!"

He is such a ham.

And then DeeDee yelled, "No, wait!" when Aaron tried to rescue them because she wanted to get a picture first. She ought to be a news photographer. Wait! Don't pull him out of that well, yet. Let me get my picture first. LOL. (Love you, DeeDee!) Kids are great.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

it falls under "noneya"

So a couple of weeks ago, I found a creepy crawly little woodtick embedded halfway into the back of my knee, and I did exactly what they say NOT to do. I pulled it out.

If you think about it, what is anyone going to do when they find a bug with its jaws buried into them up to its shoulders??? I ask you. Who is going to stay reasonable and logical and think, "Hmmmm. I need to find some petroleum jelly and dab it on this tick to see if it will back itself out of my flesh." Right...

If bugs creep you out like they do me, even if you stay calm on the outside, your mind is going to be screaming and making you dance, "GET IT OUT!! GET IT OUT!! NOWWWW!!"

When I pulled it out, there was a huge chunk of my skin still sticking to its front end, so I assumed that there was no head remaining in my leg. I figured I was in the clear. I stuck the tick on a piece of tape, folded it over so it couldn't crawl away anywhere to regroup and bite someone else, and threw the nasty little thing away.

Fast forward to this week, when my honey said to me, "What is wrong with the back of your leg??" And I looked...only to see a huge red blotch where the tick had been. The first thing that flashed into my head was LYME DISEASE!!! We've been finding ticks everywhere lately. It's early for them, but everything is early this spring.

My honey said, "You'd better get in to the doctor. Like now. Like don't go to work this morning, do not pass GO, do not collect $200, just GO." And rolling my eyes, off I went.

Well, the things I learned. I should not have thrown that tick away, first of all. Stick it in an envelope, and write "doctor" on it, he says.

[This guy, by the way, was the one I said I'd never go to again, because when I went in to ask why my ankles were so swollen at the end of every day, he said it was basically because I'm fat. And if I would just get out and do some exercise and lose some weight, it would solve the problem.] He is a genius at stating the obvious, AND of speaking to me like I'm some halfwit.

And then he says, "Well it takes two weeks for your body to develop antibodies to Lyme Disease. It doesn't sound like it's been two weeks yet, but we're going to do a blood test anyway." And surprise, it came back negative. Do you think that he could have decided to wait a week and have me come back in for a blood test instead of doing one that we pretty much already knew the results of? So now, I should watch for symptoms, and if I have any, they will retest. And mind you, he explained it three times, and printed out the information as well. I don't mind if they explain it thoroughly, but shouldn't it at least make sense??

But the medical assistant who did the initial check of blood pressure, pulse, etc., was lacking in the personality department as well. Everything she asked was in the same deadpan tone of voice. I wonder if that in itself didn't make the questions she asked all the more disconcerting.

In fact, they ask some of the most personal questions I've ever heard, and if you think about it, some of them fall completely under "noneya". Do you feel safe in your environment? "Noneya." "Noneya?" "Yeah, noneya. Noneya business." Do you think that if someone were having issues around not feeling safe at home, they would feel safe admitting that to some couldn't-care-less MA asking a bunch of routine questions? I think I understand the idea behind their questioning, but I still don't see that as a place where I would feel safe confiding my problems.

And then, "Are you still having periods?" Noneya. [What in the world does that have to do with a tick bite?] And ditto for the question, "Are you sexually active?" Excuse me? Does the tick care? Really. Do you care? No. It's just a question on a list they tell you to ask. Why? So you can update my record. For whose convenience? Will your clinic rise or fall on the details of what stage I'm at in menopause? Will it matter if I don't answer a question that anyone else wouldn't even think of asking me? Good grief, Charlie Brown!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

bells will be ringing...

Wedding bells, that is. Our Johnny will be getting married on Saturday!!! We've been cooking, and baking, and buying food for the groom's dinner tomorrow. I have a small lull here, and then I'm going to bed. I hope I get a little time for homework tomorrow somewhere. LOL. Maybe it'll have to be Sunday.

I was so tired this morning, and I was going to take a nap on my lunch hour. But I spent almost the entire time working on my to-do list. And I'm not even really responsible for that much. We are putting on the dinner, and then we have to show up on Saturday. That doesn't even cover any of the other details that Jessica has been managing quite capably. She is a peach! They are so cute together.

So I took off work tomorrow, and I'm quite excited that I get to sleep in a little, and then I get to do fun stuff to get ready. I think we'll have about 40 people there. That's a nice-sized crowd. Most of the family will make it to the groom's dinner, but two people are working second shift, and Will and his family won't be able to come.

Speaking of Will, he started his new job already, and it seems to be going fine. Thank you, God! The babies are all healthy (as far as I know), spring has sprung, and I think it's going to be a bee-a-you-tiful day tomorrow. I'm praying for good weather for Saturday. Stay tuned for pictures. :)

Hey, didja notice that even though I added a picture, my font didn't shrink and squish all together? Do ya love it?? I've been trying to figure this out forever.

I found the answer on Blogger Help: After you add in your picture or video, put
p style="text-indent:0" in brackets at the beginning of your text, and /p in brackets at the end of your post. By brackets, I mean these things: <> It should work like a snap.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

small octopus, big coconut shell

Love this quote: "We were blown away," said biologist Mark Norman of discovering the octopus behavior off Indonesia. "It was hard not to laugh underwater and flood your [scuba] mask."

Friday, April 2, 2010

adventures from the office

Okay, today should have been April Fool's Day. Nothing funny happened to me yesterday at all. Nothing.

But today? They're stacked up on top of each other.

To start the day, Xavier came over with his mother, as he does on Fridays, and to his delight, discovered that Gail was home for the day. They played a couple rousing innings of baseball in the living room, after which X informed me that he got a home run. In my little living room.

Then he was in a stubborn mood, and didn't want to eat breakfast. He only wanted to watch dinosaur videos. "I don't want bweakfatt. I only want dinosaur 'bee-ohs'. I want to watch them. I NEED to!" Gail, of course, wasn't having that, and after a long negotiation, he agreed to eat breakfast if he could watch one video. He's fascinated with them still.

I had to leave while he was still in his mood, so I kissed him on his head, ignored his complaint about lack of said videos, and headed out the door.

It's Good Friday today, and lots of people have taken the day off. I commented to a coworker about how quiet it was around here. "Yes, it is quiet," she agreed, but then pointed at herself. "Except for all the voices in my head." I CRACKED up laughing, thinking she was kidding, but she just kind of smiled at me in a funny way. Awkward...well, then. I decided it was a good time to get back to my desk.

I was cruising along, getting things done, and decided to turn on some tunes. I like a little music while I work, so I use Grooveshark, which is perfect for me. I don't need to download anything or put in CD's, I can pick the music I's great. I can pick out my songs, x out of it, and the next day, I can reload the same songs I had the day before. I just plug in my earbuds to the speakers so it doesn't disturb anyone.

I went fishing for my earbuds in my purse and couldn't find them. I started taking everything out because everything I want is invariably on the bottom of the purse. If only you could have seen the look on my face when I pulled out a ziplock sandwich baggie with two slices of fresh mozzarella cheese in it. Seriously. I know I put those in the fridge yesterday when I was done with them. I swear. I have no idea what they were doing in my purse. Doing a little traveling and sightseeing, perhaps, à la The Borrowers?

I looked at them, debated with myself for a minute wondering if they were still good, but then I decided I wouldn't chance it. I dropped the watery, warm cheese into the trash, and kept looking for my earbuds. I got all the way to the bottom (and that's a looong way) and still, no earbuds. What the heck!?

Finally I thought to look in the little zippered pouch that I keep my doodads in (chapstick, fingernail clippers, etc), and, Voilà! There they were. I plugged them in, stuck the one earpiece in my ear, and an hour later...realized I still had not turned on any music. This whole age 50 memory thing is not all it's cracked up to be. At least I was not rocking to the (invisible) beat.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

it's a grateful kinda day

So much good news! Baby Staci is doing well, and she will probably get to go home very soon. No more oxygen...she's breathing on her own. The only tube she had left was for some nutrition, but she's eating better I'm betting they'll spring her soon!

And God has to have a sense of humor. Who else would provide a job through a service person who had to come out to the house to fix a well?? The son who was living between two worlds? (Well, between two states, anyway.) Yeah, that one. The one you prayed for? Yeah. God is amazing. He has a job offer near home that he can afford to take. If it all checks out, the family will all be living in the same state again! And fortunately it will be the one I live in. :) Hooray!!!

Baby Skyler, the other newborn who was admitted to the hospital with RSV is now RSV-free and home again! So much to be thankful for. I appreciate all y'all for your support and kind words and prayers. Every one of you.

Mama Bear can sleep tonight.

Monday, March 15, 2010

random notes

It seems like everything is random lately. Little bits of flotsam and jetsam drifting aimlessly around in my little puddle of life. My life is a collection of sound bites, skimming over the surface, but never dipping too deep. It's a bit odd.

Our grandbaby is getting better, praise God! And thank you for your precious prayers. She is off oxygen for now, and I'm hoping hard it will stay that way.

Our newest grandbaby was admitted to the hospital the night before last guessed it: RSV. Wowza. I haven't heard an update on him yet. Pray he gets over this quickly as well!

And a little more rain must fall into baby # 1's it's problems with the well. Pray they're not expensive to repair.

It was daylight savings weekend--we sprang ahead. Only I haven't felt very springy all day. More like exhausted. So why am I still up blogging? Because I can't stand not to. I miss it so. But the time change was difficult to adjust to this time around. I don't like it, as my friend Amy's nephew Max would say. He didn't say no. He said, "I don't like it." My new motto. But it's like I'm missing an electrical connection or something. I need to charge up and plug into my blog. :)

On the bright side, I checked out two delightful books from the library: Journal Spilling: Mixed Media Techniques for Free Expression, and Creative Time and Space: Making Room for Making Art. Those titles are so appealing. And just look at the beautiful covers.

I'm inspired to find ways to make time and make space to make art. That creative bug is dancing around me frantically, trying to get me to follow it. If I wait until I have "enough time", I'll be waiting forever and I'll never get to make art.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

a tribute to Hero's Tribute

Wowza! What a great book.

I'm talking about Hero's Tribute, by Graham Garrison. This is not the usual type of book that I would read, because it first struck me as either a war story or a rah-rah patriotic type of book. Not that those are bad. I just usually choose to read other things.

But the plotline intrigued me. Why would anyone want to get a complete stranger to write their eulogy, and specifically ask them to dig deep to find everything, to tell an unbiased story. I would want people to think the best of me, and to remember the good things about me. I would NOT go out of my way to ask them to dig the skeletons out of my closet, that's for sure.

But Michael Gavin is not an ordinary man. Well, he is, but he isn't.

The first Wes Watkins heard of Michael Gavin, local hero, was after Gavin had passed away from a tenacious case of cancer. Wes was a small town reporter, and when he received the request written by a dying Gavin asking Wes to write Gavin's eulogy, he was baffled.

This turned out to be one of those books that kept romancing me the whole time I was reading it. I kept thinking about it. I carried it in the car with me, as I often do when I want to finish a book. I read at stoplights. I read for a couple of minutes after I park the car. I read when I'm waiting for Erica to be done at get the gist.

Usually I have one eye on the light as I read, waiting for it to change, but I got so engrossed in the story that the person in the car behind me had to honk at least a few times before I realized the turn light was green! And I wasn't the first car in line. Yikes. I may have to rethink this reading at stoplights. LOL.

I'm not going to tell you what Wes found out, but I will tell you that warts and all, I think I would have liked Michael Gavin. And I think you'll like him, too. But the best part of the story was the puzzle of getting to know him through Wes's investigative endeavors.

I can hardly wait for the next Graham Garrison novel. I hope he has many more stories to share. If you're interested in reading more about Garrison and his writing, just click here to go to his site.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I hate when the babies are sick...

Three (or four) of my grandbabies are sick with RSV...they're part of the family of six kids...and one of the sick ones is the new baby. She is in the hospital on oxygen and a nebulizer, and may have to be put on an IV if she doesn't start eating a little better. Poor baby. The other ones who are sick are home but on meds. That is such yucky stuff for the little ones.

Please, will you pray, and ask that the children recover quickly, and pray for the parents, too. There's health stuff going on, and job stuff going on...they've been hanging on by just their fingernails for a while, and they just need to see some daylight already!

Thank you so much!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

saturday happenin's

It's been kind of a blah day. I didn't sleep in very late because I had to go pick up Erica from her friends' house. Now she's gone again. She's 17. I guess she thinks she has a life of her own or something.

Gail was home from the dorm for a couple of days, but she had to go back today, so it's getting pretty quiet on the home front. The rest of the kids are out celebrating Mel's birthday. She's a quarter of a century old...just a little spring chickadee compared to me. Half a century is a LOT older. Twice as old. But guess what! I don't feel old at all. That's wonderful.

Let's see...what else did we do today? My honey made pork steaks on the grill--delicious as always. And now, I have dishes to do and a counter or two to clean off. I've been cleaning the kitchen cupboards out. It's getting to the point where I can't fit the things in there that I use all the time, but the stuff that is in there never gets used. So it's time to purge some stuff out and make a donation run.

I just don't need all that stuff, you know? I try to look at it all and just think...what would I want out of all this if I were furnishing a new kitchen in a new home for myself, and what would I want to get rid of if I knew someone else could use it and would appreciate it.

I also have Other People's Stuff. Better not donate that disposable dish or pan you still have because so-and-so left it here at the last potluck. They would be mad if I got rid of their stuff. I'm afraid that as soon as I screw up my courage to ditch the thing, they'll come looking for it. So it sits there...I guess until the statute of limitations runs out. If they leave it here for a year, they lose all rights. Don't you think? 'Specially if I forget whose it is.

I'm not very good at delivering stuff to people like that. I get sidetracked long before I gather it all together to go make a run. It gets scattered all over the house and before you know it, it's buried deep in some closet, along with the good intentions I had for delivering it.

Tupperware is a big hook for me. I find it very difficult to part with ANY Tupperware. Not even a little scoop, or a little bowl with no cover. Because of having sold it (many moons ago), I appreciate the "value" of it. But if it's taking up real estate in my cupboard and I'm not using it, there's really not much value there, is there?

Or how about other random disposable storage containers. All different sizes and shapes and covers who knows where? Why, oh why do I save them and put myself through the wild goose cover chase?

And then there are some things that I still have because either I always wanted them (even if I never use them), or I'm afraid if I gave them up, other people would snatch them up and think they got a deal, and then I'd feel like I missed a good opportunity to have something valuable. Is that crazy or what?

I just need a big "undecided" box to put this stuff into, and the box magically empties itself into the garbage dumpster. No indecision, no worry. No guilt, no clutter. Just drop and go, blissfully oblivious.

Yeah, right. :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Crystal Bowersox rox my sox off!!

Last night I had class, but I had American Idol set to record, as I usually do, just in case I miss it or in case someone is TALKING to me when the show is on. Sometimes people actually CALL me during AI, NOT on a commercial! I know! I have to be very patient with these people. (LOL. You know who you are...)

But I got home from class, and both the TV and the satellite box were OFF. I stayed calm, but inside I was freaking out!! If you imagine an addict going into withdrawal, plug my face in there. Now imagine my delirious face when I turned it on to check, and the WHOLE SHOW had been recorded. YES!

So by the time I started watching it, the show was over, obviously. In fact, the two hour block for voting was almost over. I watched Crystal Bowersox do a Creedence Clearwater Revival song, and started calling in to vote right then. Now I don't usually vote in the early eliminations because I don't get attached very fast. But THAT was...words fail me. I'm going to steal someone else's was bomb! Ridiculous! I'd buy her music now if it all sounded like that. I voted until the time ran out on voting.

*deep breath* Okay, I'm better now that I got that off my mind. But I think I'll actually vote this season, as long as she stays on the show. I don't even think I voted for Adam Lambert last season, even though I was rooting for him to win. In retrospect, I'm glad that Kris Allen won, though. I just thought Adam was fantastically talented. Adam will still be a success musically, but I think that overall, Kris is probably more representative of the music I like to listen to.

I didn't get to see all the guys night from this week yet, but I'll probably catch that tonight. Where was I Tuesday? I can't even remember. Oh. Doing dishes and picking up Erica from practice.

And tonight? Erica's game is not a home game after all, so, a little grocery shopping, and trying to fit in Yes Man with Jim Carrey. Anyone seen it? Whaddya think?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

so much like me it's scary

One morning recently I went in to wake up Erica before I left for work. “Erica,” I said. “It’s time to get up. I have to go to work, and your ride is going to be coming to get you soon. You need to get up. Do you have everything you need for school today?”

She sits up, stretching and yawning. “No,” she says.

“Well, what do you need?” I ask.

“That is just not nice,” she says. “Not nice at all.”

“What?? What are you talking about?” I ask.

“That is just not nice!” She’s shaking her head and looking around.

“What did I say that wasn’t nice? I said it’s time to get up, that your ride would be coming, and I asked you if you have everything you need.”

“Oh." She thinks for a minute. "That’s right,” she says. And she turns over and pulls her covers back up to her chin. The next minute, she's out like a light.

I did things like that to my dad SO many times.

Dad, now I understand that long-suffering look on your face. And all that time, I thought you were just coming in my room to bug me. I WAS kind of a jerk to you, wasn't I? And you were so patient with me. I'm so sorry! :(

Friday, February 19, 2010

a long lost friend

I had an experience this week that was like no other. I reconnected with an old friend over the internet, someone I knew from childhood--my best friend when I was young. Wow! And as we chatted back and forth over email, the memories started coming back slowly, and then faster and faster.

I was happy and sad by turn, happy because I could tell him how important our friendship had been, and sad because I feel we've missed so much in between. We both moved away from my hometown, and it's been 35 years since we talked. There's so much we don't know about each other, now--the things he's been through, the things I've been much to say.

And the little things we remembered--stuff about each others' houses, about the things we did together, and how much fun we's like finding something valuable you didn't even know was gone. It's like a piece of a puzzle going into place, like a piece of me was missing, and now it's back in its rightful spot.

Cheers to you, Mike, and here's to many years of staying in touch, now!

I absolutely love the internet!! What a great way to go into a weekend.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

winter wonderland

The last few nights have been extremely foggy here, which makes for some interesting pictures. If I had been up at 6:30 this morning, I would have gotten the beautiful pink sky behind the fog, which takes my breath away every morning when I'm driving to work. However, I slept in today, so you got the middle of the day shots.

Do you feel deprived? You should.

I'm disappointed in myself, but not enough to get up early. I'm so not a morning person.

And if you look carefully, you can see the chickadee on the left side of the trunk. He was flirting, playing hide-and-seek with me.

Friday, January 22, 2010

happy dance!

Yay! It’s Friday! Fun plans for the weekend anyone?

Here’s how mine might go…I don’t actually “make” plans, because it ends up being pointless. However, here’s how my weekend might go:

Sat: going to the art store with my hubby. Ignoring the ongoing three ten year remodeling project. Sewing curtains with a friend. Sleeping in. Watching a movie, maybe. I find it difficult to sit through an entire movie without getting up and wandering around. I get nervous if I’m not doing something productive.

Sun: Getting up fairly early so I can for sure fall asleep Sunday night. No naps. Watching the Vikings-New Orleans game, definitely! I’m a late season fan. I don’t care much if I watch them during the season, but when it gets to this stage, for sure. Maybe I just don’t like to be left out of the excitement.

And what does it mean when you have been at work for an hour before you realize that your shirt is on inside out? LOL!! And either no one else noticed, or they were too polite to say so!!

Yes. A button up shirt with a collar, no less. Good grief.

Hey. I know everyone’s busy, but if you are bored, you can watch a bear hibernate. Ha! No, that’s not a joke. Actually they think she’s about to give birth, and they don’t think anyone has ever seen that before. The North American Bear Center has a video camera in a bear den and you can find it on . I heard about it on NPR this morning on my way to work.

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, January 8, 2010

so much to talk about

January 8. 2010. A week into the new year.

Do you ever have so much swirling around in your head that you don't know where to start to talk about it all?

There is nothing vaguely interesting about what is going on in my brain, but I would like to sleep tonight, you know, so I just hafta get it from my head to the page.

1. Found a cool job to apply for, but I'm a little intimidated by the job description. Oh, well. I'm going to give it a shot anyway.

2. Erica's team lost the basketball game tonight--what a bummer. They got outplayed, plain and simple. They gave it a good try, though. High school basketball is so funny to watch. Sometimes I just sit up in the top row of the bleachers and laugh the whole time. Is that bad? Like when one of the players bounces the ball right off her own foot. Or when a player on the opposing team just turns around and passes the ball to one of our players. It's just funny.

3. I can't wait to work with Joomla tomorrow.

4. I'm happy that the girls are going to get together for Pearl's birthday tomorrow night and do something fun--they're taking the babies bowling. I have lots of fun doing nothing at home if I know my kids are out having fun together. Is that weird?

5. I'm loving listening to Selah's new CD. Amy Perry rocks.

6. I hate it when I get stuck on something at work and don't get as much done as I think I should. It makes me feel unproductive.

7. I feel bad for my Augie Doggie because he has such a hard time walking. My honey thinks he should make him some of those little wheels for his back end so he can roll around instead! But what would he do with his tail to keep it from getting caught in the spokes???

Let's see, it's the 8th today, so I'll put one more thing down and make it eight.

8. No sleeping in tomorrow. I have to get up and watch Jayden--little Afro man. He is SOOO cute! So I'll make some coffee and do my laundry and eat eggs for breakfast, which I never have time to make during the week. It'll be a good day.

Wow. What a buncha random trivia.

Oh! Yummmmm-o. My honey just made some freshly squeezed orange juice. That is to. die. for. What a way to end the day.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I think the most common thing people resolve to do for the New Year is lose weight. My coworker resolved to make the people around her laugh every day. That's not so common--I don't know if I've ever heard that one before.

I have one resolution: go to bed earlier! That's it. Just go to bed earlier. Because I think that will solve a bunch of my other problems, too, like not wanting to get up when my alarm goes running around trying to get things done in a hurry in the mornings and forgetting things...being late to work--I HATE that one...feeling rushed all the time...being tired all day get the gist.

Now if I throw in a little more exercise in there, that would just be a bonus. That would help with the tiredness and the weight. But I'm going to keep it simple. If I can focus on one thing, it will be easier for me to remember.

Anyone else have a New Year's resolution that they want to share?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

saturday night's all right with me

Aw, it's Saturday night already. Today was okay, but there's only one more day of the weekend. And it's still COLD!!

I worked on the calendar I made in an Archiver's class. I had to finish up November and December, and stick on all the numbers for each of the days of the months. Boy was that tedious. It took me most of the way through Sleepless in Seattle to get it done. And then, as I was looking at the sticker sheet to find any extra little doodley doos that I could add, I noticed a lone number 11 sitting on the top of one of the sheets. Not a 31 or a 30 that would have come from the end of a month. An 11.

The sinking feeling I got was right: I missed putting in the 11 way back in July, so every month after that was a day off. Yep. I had to peel off almost 180 stickers and restick them in the new spot, one day over. Aaauuugh!! It took me to the end of the movie to finish. So I sat for almost two hours putting stickers on. And then taking them off. And sticking them on again. Bleah.

Tomorrow, though, I'm looking forward to watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. This is the house that our John got to help with. The shop he works at was responsible for putting in all the cabinets in the house. I'm excited to see the show. I doubt he'll be in it because he worked the overnight shift. They worked around the clock to get everything done. I'm pretty sure that it'll be online at after tomorrow, as well.

I think I will call it a day and go to bed...much earlier than I did last night. I was up until, oh, almost three. Yes, three A.M. I couldn't fall asleep. Maybe it didn't help to sleep in until noon on Friday, even though it was heavenly. My sleeping is all out of whack these days. I don't even dare take a nap on a Sunday afternoon, or I won't be able to fall asleep at night so I can get up and go to work on Monday morning. It stinks getting old.

Friday, January 1, 2010

happy new year!!

I love a new year. The possibilities are endless. Fresh starts, clean sweeps with a new broom...all that jazz. Turn over a new leaf...I'm thinking about what new things I want to commit to this year.

In the meantime, it's the first day of the year! And here in frosty Minnesota, the year is coming in with a crash--did you hear the mercury? It fell and landed in a heap at the bottom of the thermometer. It's supposed to be twenty below tonight. It's already minus eleven degrees right now. And the wind chill warning said it is minus 25° to minus 35°. Yikes!

It's a perfect day to stay inside, which is what I did. All day. I've been working on "The Cookbook" -- a collection of our favorite recipes that we're putting together for the kids...the ones they always call us up and ask for. That was their Christmas present this year. Only the more I worked on it, the more things I thought of to put into it.

I just couldn't get it done by Christmas, so I'm still working on it. I wanted to put in little family stories, and now I thought of scanning old pictures of the kids and adding them in there, too. It sounds almost like a scrapbook, yes? I just can't get enough of it, I guess.

However, not only did I work on the cookbook, I also got the entire refrigerator cleaned out today. Old stuff thrown away, everything taken out and washed down...yes!! It feels so good to have that done. I open the fridge and look at everything sparkling back at me, and it's like the Calgon commercial...ahhh, take me away! It relaxes me and makes me smile. LOL. Yes, I am a dork, in case you hadn't figured that out. But it's okay. I like it.

I have one more thing to accomplish today. Fix Gee's sweatpants. She got them and the elastic on the waist was too tight, so I took it out. Now I have to put them back together with just the drawstring in the waist. Putsy stuff, so I've been putting it off.

And then, tomorrow, in the afternoon, I'm going to scrapbook my Christmas cards. You know how people always send cards that have pictures of their families on them, or they send snapshots of the kids? I like to make pages with them in a Christmas album. Christmas cards make me smile, too. I don't always get them sent fact this year I didn't send any. It was too hectic with school and finals and everything. I just didn't get to it. Maybe next year. I'll plan ahead. But I'll have fun looking at the cards again.

Marge and I had fun with her cards, though. I took pictures of her and of her pets, Odie and Garfield. So I got to have my Christmas photo fun vicariously. Odie had a cute little Santa suit on, and we tied a red ribbon around Garfield's neck. Marge wore my honey's Santa hat. Here's how they turned out:

And I've been thinking...maybe...just maybe, I might start out the new year and commit to not procrastinating so much. Do you hear the commitment there? Maybe...I might...ha! Little steps, you know? We don't want to shock the system.

And then, I might try to figure out why Blogger changes the line spacing after I put a photo in. Grrr!