Tuesday, November 27, 2012

oh, no!!! not Cody!!

Nooo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o! Cody Belew is toast! At least on The Voice, he is. I'm so sad. He was eliminated tonight from the Top Ten. He and Dez Duron are done. I would have sent Melanie Martinez or Terry McDermott instead.

Well, at least some of my other favorites are still in the running. I'd like to see Amanda Brown take the top spot. She is phenomenal. And Trevin Hunte and Nicholas David are my other two faves who are still left on the show. Cassadee Pope is good, too...but I'm just not as in to her voice as I am the other singers.

I know, I know. Cody will go places, and The Voice was a vehicle for him to get exposure.  But Cody! I loved his sass, and the confidence that he put into his performances. I was hooked when he sang Jolene, the song Dolly Parton made famous. His part starts at 1:40, if you want to get right to it. What an incredible performance. I'll be waiting for his CD to come out!!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving shout-outs

Oh, fiddle! The big weekend is over, and the Thanksgiving holiday is past. Back to work tomorrow. I have lots of things to be thankful for, though.

I'm thankful for new grandbabies on the way. And seeing the moms go through the discomfort of pregnancy makes me so thankful that I'm done with having kids! Maybe some people breeze through pregnancy without a twinge--I was not one of them!

I'm thankful to have a house to live in that keeps the cold weather at bay. It's not the house of my dreams, but it provides a roof over our heads, and that's more than many people have right now.

I'm thankful that I can continue to take classes in things that interest me. Right now I'm taking sign language and learning how to communicate better with Deshawn, our grandbaby who was born hard of hearing. It's challenging, but fun.

I'm very thankful to have gotten to see so many of the kids this weekend, especially Miss Erica, who was home from college! This is the first time she's been gone so long, and although I've gotten used to my quiet house, it was really nice to see her for a very short visit. She did make the rounds between some of the siblings' houses as well, so I had to snag her for a couple of car rides to get some time with her.

I'm thankful that even though DeeDee and Aaron were traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday and spent a few days with his family, that they made it home safe and sound.

We had Thanksgiving at John's new house. Since the kids have all grown up, we do potluck dinners when we get together. Not everyone was there, so we didn't have all the traditional favorites because no one picked up the slack and made the stuff Dee usually makes, but Phyl made the turkey and dressing, John and his bride made the ham, the greens, a veggie casserole (thanks, Jessica!), and banana cream pie, and Gail and Cory contributed mashed potatoes for a CROWD! They were perfect! Oh, I know I'm going to forget somebody...umm, Robert and Jamie brought buns, Cindy brought her yummy mac and cheese, Mel brought her fabulous layered pumpkin pie, which disappeared in nothing flat...and the kids brought the noise! LOL.

It's so much different being at a gathering like that without having little kids of my own to keep tabs on. I can watch them or not, tune in to the adult conversations, or tune out and listen to the little jukebox in my head play a couple of tunes. It's really quite pleasant! I'm thankful that I can just wander around and visit--it's great!

My mom was wrong. THESE are the golden years! I am loving being an empty nester, and even when the kids are home, they are grown independent adults whose company I thoroughly enjoy.  How much better can it get?

Monday, November 12, 2012

something in the water down in Texas?

Oh, my gosh...this is fascinating. Did you hear about the people who have petitioned the government to secede from the United States? Apparently people have done this for the last couple of elections--when Bush was elected in 2004 and when Obama was elected for the first time.

According to the article from Yahoo, it's mostly symbolic, but it just cracks me up for some reason.

Here's what Peter Morrison, treasurer of the Hardin County (Texas) Republican Party wrote:

"We must contest every single inch of ground and delay the baby-murdering, tax-raising socialists at every opportunity. But in due time, the maggots will have eaten every morsel of flesh off of the rotting corpse of the Republic, and therein lies our opportunity... Why should Vermont and Texas live under the same government? Let each go her own way in peace, sign a free trade agreement among the states and we can avoid this gut-wrenching spectacle every four years."
Good heavens! This man is a tad bit irate.  I should send him a box of Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer tea.  It sounds like he could use some of it infused right into his vein.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

oh, Ellen!

Is this a case of "be careful what you ask for"?  I wonder whose idea it was at Bic to ask Ellen to do a commercial for these.  What was he thinking? Ellen, you're a riot.  I love you.  That is all.

Friday, October 12, 2012

sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Does anyone remember that song Signs, by the Five Man Electrical Band? 

That is what was going through my head when I got out of my sign language class last night.  Signs, signs, everywhere a sign...I'm starting to think about sign language all day long, translating sentences into ASL grammar in my head, and my hands just do the signs all on their own when I know them.  It's pretty cool.

I can't wait until I know it really well.  I want to converse with my g-babyboy who is hard of hearing.  He's learning sign in school, so he'll be way ahead of me, I'm sure.  It's okay...he can laugh at me.  As long as he talks to me, too.  I'm so excited to surprise him with it.  There it goes again...my fingers wanted to bust out with the "excited" and the "surprise" "him" signs.  I know these are only baby steps, and I'm sure it looks pretty unpolished to anyone who signs on a daily basis.  But that's okay.  Everyone has to be new at something at one point.

Why aren't we comfortable with being new at things when we get older?  When we're kids we just have fun with it.  Figure it out like a puzzle.  Like today when kids learn new video games, it's almost like they've always known how to play them, and if you're not a video game fan, it can be so confusing.  But I think video games are like other software programs.  Some skills and techniques carry over from one to the next, and if you try something that works in another game, you could get lucky and have it work in the new game.  

A lot of sign language seems to be intuitive, and you kind of act out the word or description as well.  The ones that are hard to remember are the ones that look alike.  "Brother" and "confident" look alike to me still.  Those kinds of words are the ones I have to focus on.  And the question words...I still get those confused sometimes.  The who, what, where, why and how signs...just have to keep practicing.  Practice makes perfect.  (Thanks, mom.  I hear ya still!)

But just for fun, from way way back, I wanted to post the Signs song, too, if you haven't heard it yet.  I know, sounds crazy, but maybe there's a good reason.  (Like maybe because you're not old?  Ha!)

Enjoy the signs.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

what are the odds...

This tickles my funny bone, big time.

Type in the words Completely Wrong.

Press Enter to search.

Friday, October 5, 2012

happy Friday!

It's Friday...and we're headed full steam ahead into the weekend!  Every weekend seems to fly by so quickly that there's never enough time for all the fun I want to have.  I left work early today to get my teeth cleaned.  As my boss would say, "tooth-hurty" is the best time of day for a dentist appointment!  But I was there at two.  Sorry, dude.  Maybe next time.  Haha!

I have to get the basics done today, of course, so that the rest of the weekend dI can fly by the seat of my pants and not worry about that stuff...you know, vacuuming, laundry, catching up on the dishes, cleaning my bedroom, and straightening out the studio so I can work without being distracted. 

I have some crafting plans--I have a couple of projects I want to draft out.  I usually try to find a project that I can do in a weekend and save it for the first weekend of deer season.  The guys are gone hunting, and my time  is my own...time to play in the craft room, or the studio, as I like to call it.  I have an idea, but I need to work through the design and make sure I have everything I need before then.  It's less than a month away, peeps!  And movin' fast!!

There's room for my honey to do his oil  painting in there, and I carved out a corner for all my scrapbook supplies.  It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy just to step in there and shut the door.  Private time to myself was such a rarity when the kids were small, and leaving craft supplies out where they could reach them  was a recipe for disaster.  It just wasn't worth the trouble it would create!  But now, I have my own little corner of heaven.  In fact, I'm sitting in here now, savoring the quiet. 

I also have a stack of books about three feet high that I want to read--when is that ever NOT the case??    And there are a few more at the library waiting for me to pick them up.  Why is it that my reserved books seem to show up all together in big batches?  One  of those mysteries, like why the washing machine eats one out of each pair of socks I have?  I've solved that one, though.  I buy all my socks the same!  All black, all matching, and all from the same store, so no matter which ones I find, they match!  Problem solved!  Now about those library books...haha!!

Most of the ones I have waiting for me are cookbooks about African food and Indian food right now.  I'm looking for new vegetarian meals that taste good and are good for  me.  I don't want to get bored with my food, so I'm always open to new cuisines.

Here is a little sample of what I have out right now. I better get crackin' so I have time for it all!

I love to cook from scratch, so this book is really fun to read.  How about making your own graham crackers? She think you should make your own hot dog buns, guacamole, and yogurt, you should probably buy your hamburger buns, potato chips, and rice pudding. Why? I don't know yet.  I haven't read far enough!  As a matter of fact, I like my own rice pudding better than any store bought one that I've tried.  So it's her opinion, but you can't argue with it if you don't know what it says.  I gotta read!!

And this one is the life story about a local biker, and the person who helped him put his story down  on paper is Mary Gardner, a seventy-year-old writer, who connected with Deadeye (the biker) through some research she was doing on Harley mechanics for a book she was writing.  If that doesn't sound like interesting research!

And this one hooked me from the minute I read about it:

"SoulSpace is about more than how we decorate our homes; it’s about how we care for ourselves. It guides us into a deeper understanding of more than mere home decoration: it teaches us how to create a home that provides not only for our physical comfort but for our emotional comfort too.

In SoulSpace, Xorin reminds us that what all of us yearn for, deep in our hearts, is the experience of home. And when the place we live in is a reflection of our spirit, then we can more easily experience our home within. If all of that sounds wonderful but you have no idea how to do it, then read on."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

mushrooms and more...

Oh, dear sweet youngest child,

You will never be so glad to be eating dinner elsewhere as you will be when you hear what we're having tonight.   Ready for this??  drumroll, please... it's...Mushroom Gravy and Mashed Potatoes! Yup. That's it.  I found a great recipe for the gravy I want to try.  No meat whatsoever involved.

Oh, and a salad, and homemade bread. I guess you wouldn't mind that part.

There is something vaguely rebellious about not eating meat.  People try to figure out why in the world I would want to give up meat.  Some of them think it's not quite normal, and they don't know what to say.  I say, Power to the Piglets!  Or something like that.  Heehee!!  It's not changing the world, but it's changing my world.  When I screw up and accidentally eat something with meat, I feel bad.  I am the only one I'm letting down when I do that.  No one else cares.  Just me.  It's interesting.  But now that I've made you almost tune out, I'll move on.

Last night was uneventful. I went to sign language class - fun, drove home-not much fun, checked my facebook to catch up with friends-fun, did a little homework-sorta fun, and went to bed-sleep is very fun!  But I bet your night was more fun.

Nothing is new. Oh, wait! I take it back. Robert and Jamie are ENGAGED!!! That's new and exciting. Aw, they are so cute together. I have a picture of them together that is sooo adorable. And it doesn't hurt that I love the shade of green of the sweater that Jamie is wearing.

♥ this!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

what are you, hearing??

CJ Jones is hilarious. Here's a funny clip with him from a movie we watched in my sign language class.  Short and sweet. 

Watching videos where people are signing helps me remember words. I love the sign for automatic window in here. Watch for it.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

news from home

So my youngest is away at college, and is looking for news from home.

Well, let me share my night with you, chickie.  I stopped at the post office on the way home to mail a card, and then I sat in traffic on the way home.  I got home, took in the mail, cleaned out my car, and went in the house.  I started making dinner, fed the cats, fed the dog, fed myself a lovely lentil stew that even you would like--no mushrooms, no tofu, no soybean stuff...just a little yummy vegetable stew.  I'll freeze some and heat it up for you next time you're home so you don't feel left out, okay?

I know, I know, you'd rather have chocolate chip cookies.  Psshhh!  Cookies are overrated.  It's never to early to start watching the foods that make your triglycerides go up!  

You're not buying it, are you?  But see?  That's what happens when you're not here.  We eat boring food and do boring things.  Well, I don't think they're boring, but I'm sure you would.

I took the trash out to the road, washed some dishes, and now I just got done checking out facebook.  I had to get up to chase Tucker (the big black cat) away from Cooper (the little weinie dog--you know, just in case you forgot who they all were after you left!) when he was eating.  Tucker has figured out that he can just loom over Coopie when he's eating and Cooper will eventually make space for him and share his food.  Tucker has a one-track mind:  his stomach.  It's all about the food, baby.  So I have to keep an eye on Tucker when Cooper is having his dinner.

Then Cory came over for about three minutes to pick up some mail, and now Phylbie is watching a little Sanford & Sons.   Not much new news, is there?  Life is rather dull with you gone, chickie.  No one to harass me or stir things up just because.  There's no one shouting from the bedroom...going "Mom!  Mom!"  and when I come to the door to see what you want, there you are, giving me puppy eyes and asking me to make you food.  The door stays closed, and the room is quiet.  It's pathetic.

I'm going to catch up on The Voice since I missed it last night.  I thought I better go to my sign language class and not skip.  Besides, that class is pretty fun. Most nights we play games to practice signing instead of just sitting there.  I still don't feel like I can put a sentence together unless it's one of the ones we did in class, but I guess I hafta be patient.  Practice, practice practice!

I go to bed early and have no one to hassle in the morning about getting up out of bed.  Phyl gets up on his own, and I just get up, make breakfast, make my lunch and go to work.  The excitement never ends!  See what you have to look forward to when you're done with school and ready to go out into the real world and work at your job?  I'm pretty sure, though, that you will bring the fun with you wherever you go.  It's one of your gifts.

Is it summer yet?  You need to come back home for the summer and work with me again! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

sea salt takes on a new flavor

I have a confession to make. 

I am a food blog junkie.  I'm forever on the hunt for new recipes, and recently on Tony Lantz's blog, I found this post about a dairy free spinach dip in a bread bowl.  It looks amazing, and I am putting it on my next week's menu.  I can make a meal out of something like that. 

One of the ingredients in this recipe is a sea salt and herb mixture.  It is made with sea salt from Brittany layered with organic herbs grown on a farm in Nova Scotia...I tracked some down.  I'm going to buy some, and I'm so excited to try it.  If you think about it, it's like having a little bit of those places with you as you cook.  Knowing the story behind it makes it more fun to use, if you ask me!

So, I'm going to make the spinach dip this next week, but I'll make it again after I get my Sea Salt and Herbs.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

food I'd rather not think about

So, I get this phone call from my honey yesterday at work. He says, “I hope you don’t get sick.” Long silence.

I’m like, “What do you mean?”

He says, “You know how I made homemade Vietnamese egg rolls last night?

I go, “Yeah…”

He says, “Well, I was cleaning out the oil from the deep fryer because we’ve used it a couple times, and I couldn’t see down into the bottom. But when I dumped the last bit of it out, there was a deep fried MOUSE in the bottom!”

Even longer silence. Mentally I’m gagging. Eeww! Gak! Wishing I could throw up but I can’t.

I said, “I could have gone my whole entire life without hearing that!”

I don’t know if it got in there before or after he cooked the egg rolls, or even how it got in there, unless it crawled in after he cooked when it was sitting on the counter cooling, and I’m sure it just drowned and couldn’t get out. The hot oil could have cooked it. But the oil did pop a little bit when we were heating it up to cook the egg rolls, which was weird because it usually doesn’t pop until you put something in it.

I think I’ve had enough fried food for a good long while.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

crazy good calzones!

I get so excited when one of my veggie dishes turns out well that I'm like a little kid!  I made vegan calzones!

We've made these Italian sausage calzones for years, and they are one of my favorite meals.  Well, you know that sausage part doesn't go well with my new commitment to eat only foods without a face, and without a mother or a father.

So I had the calzones on the menu for everyone else, and I was feeling kind of sad and left out, until I thought of veganizing the recipe.  I could make some seitan sausage and use that along with some Daiya mozzarella cheese to make some vegan calzones.

I wouldn't say these calzones are very quick unless you prep the sausage onion pepper mixture the night before, or if there are two of you getting the meal ready, but they are easy and quite delicious.  They are originally from one of those little Pillsbury cookbooks that they sell near the cash registers.  I'm a sucker for those.  

I whipped up a batch of the seitan Italian sausages that I found here on Susan Voisin's blog, FatFree Vegan Kitchen.  I added a little extra fennel and black pepper to give it that definite sausage-y taste that I love.  You mix it, roll it into little sausage shapes and roll it up in tin foil packets.

Then you steam it and it looks like this.

I sauteed a little onion and green pepper in a bit of olive oil, added some of the cut up sausage, and mixed it all with some of the Daiya cheese.  Then I used that for the filling in my calzones. That Daiya cheese is some cool stuff.  It's made out of the same plant that tapioca comes from.  And when it melts, all I can say is, Oh My.

So I baked a separate batch of them after everyone else's were done, and I'm telling you, they made me giggle!  They were that good!  My heart is happy tonight!  Well my stomach is, too, but mostly my heart because my food isn't making me sad.  And it's good for me.  I'll take my leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  How much better does it get?

Here's the recipe, and the only things I changed for my vegan ones tonight are the things I mentioned above.  Give them a try--either way!  I've posted this before, but I'll post it again to save you the search if you want it.

Cheesy Sausage Calzones recipe

Source: Pillsbury Crescents Biscuits & More - March 2004

1 pound bulk Italian pork sausage
2/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 (8 biscuits) can Pillsbury Grands
4 ounces (1 cup) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups tomato pasta sauce, heated (I like to use jarred pizza sauce)

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

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

Separate dough into 5 biscuits. On ungreased large cookie sheet, press each biscuit to form 6-inch round. I cut the sides of a large baggie open, spray the insides of it with cooking spray, put the biscuit in between them and roll it out with a rolling pin.

Top half of each biscuit round with sausage mixture and cheese to within 1/2 inch of edge. It takes a couple of tablespoons. Fold dough over filling; press edges firmly with fork to seal.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm calzones with warm pasta sauce for dipping.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

vegan is where my heart is

This year, I've been changing my eating habits over to a mostly vegan diet.

Every year when I go in for my physical, they weigh me and they run those diagnostic tests where they check my cholesterol, my blood sugar, etc.  I have been keeping track over the last several years to see if any of the changes I've tried would improve my test results.  Less sugar, less fried foods, more oatmeal (I ate oatmeal almost every day for breakfast for the last two years) and on and on.  Nothing really changed very significantly.

I decided to make the shift to a mostly vegan diet for multiple reasons.  The main reason is that I have such a hard time justifying eating meat when I know how cruelly animals in our food chain can be treated, all the way from when they are born until the day they are slaughtered.  It's hard for me to participate in the process.  I used to shop in the meat department and deliberately not think about where the meat in the neat little packages came from.  I can't do that anymore. It was easier to make the shift than to live with the angst.

Another reason is that I want to see if and how it will make me healthier.  Basically, I want to see how it will affect my weight and my blood level readings that I've been watching, and if I'll feel better. I know that I'll be taking in less cholesterol and probably fewer calories because I'm cutting out meat and dairy products.  So when I go back in for my physical, which I typically do early in the year, I'm anticipating significant changes for the better, but the proof will be in the pudding, as they say.

I'm not expecting perfection out of myself, and if I do eat an egg here, or have some dairy there, it's not going to be the end of the world.  Progress is my perfection.  I'm going to be a conscious eater. I can't claim the title of vegan right now, but awareness is the first step for me. Just like when you go on a spending diet, or a food diet, the first thing you do is document what you are currently doing so you know what has to change. This change has been a long time coming, and now I'm wondering why it took me so long!  My sinus issues have cleared up, and my pet allergies seldom bother me either.   Another thing I've already noticed is that with not consuming dairy products, I have gotten my sense of smell back.  For the first time in years, I can smell again, which means I can taste again!  Like all the time!  This is a novelty for me.

As far as the food goes, I try to add a few new standbys to my go-to foods every week...you know, the things I can put together in a hurry when time is short and I'm hungry.  I have no shortage of new ideas, though, because there are so many great vegan food  bloggers out there that I feel like a hummingbird, swooping from one to the next, printing out the dishes that pique my interest and bookmarking the rest. And out of the recipes I've tried...most of them I will make again.  Some of the ones I've tried have been outstanding, like hitting a home run with the bases loaded!  LOL. And others, well, let's just say I'll have to tweak them before I make them again.  I'm still looking for a mac and "cheese" recipe that I like.  I've tried a couple and haven't liked them at all.

On the positive side, I've eaten a wider variety of meals since I started this.  Vegetables are so versatile.  I've made spaghetti (squash) and beetballs with a delicious tomato sauce to go on top.  I'm learning a whole new vocabulary of meal making, new staples and standbys, and oh, yes.  I'm becoming familiar with the many faces of tofu!  LOL.  I love the stuff!  Yes, I think some of my kids think I've lost my ever-lovin' mind, but that's okay.  I'm happy.

But I'll leave you with this thought from James Cromwell:
“So-called farms today treat animals like so many boxes in a warehouse, chopping off portions of beaks and tails and genitals with no painkillers at all, inflicting third-degree burns repeatedly by branding cows, ripping out the teeth of pigs, and just a horrible catalog of abuses that, if done to dogs or cats, would be illegal on grounds of animal cruelty.”

I just can't be a part of that.

Monday, July 2, 2012

spiders! ewww!

It was pretty hot and humid in our neck of the woods yesterday.  I stayed inside most of the day, looking at vegan recipes online, putting groceries away, cleaning up the kitchen, and making some food for today so we can eat a little earlier in the evening.  I got all the dishes done, and by the time bedtime rolled around, I was exhausted.  I brushed my teeth and fell into bed.  That's where things got interesting.  *holding up my sarcasm sign*

So, I'm just on the verge of falling asleep, when from under the covers, I feel this definite tickle on my arm like something just ran across it. I repeat, UNDER THE COVERS, I felt this. There was something under the covers with me.

I completely FREAK out! I leap up out of bed and I’m brushing my arm frantically. Poor Phyl. I’m probably nearly giving him a heart attack because he is asleep already—he flies up out of bed, too. He can’t see anything because it’s dark. “What?? WHAT!! What’s the matter??”

I’m shrieking, “A BUG!! A BUG!! A bug just ran across my arm! Sh*t!! Where is it??” I’m flinging my covers all over to try and see the bed in the dark. (Real logical, right? Like I’m going to see something.)

Phyl, after taking a second to realize that no, we are not under attack from crazed space aliens, staggers over to the switch and turns on the light, and after a second, he goes, “There!” and points at the wall. A very speedy black spider was running like crazy across the wall. My heart almost pounded out of my chest.

I’m screaming and looking for something to kill it with, and he says, “Kill it with your hand!” I smashed it and screamed again cuz I was afraid that either a) I didn’t get it and it fell on the floor somewhere, or b) that I did and I got spider guts on me. It was awful. I finally see it on the side of the mattress, and can’t tell if it is sitting there waiting to crawl on me again, or if it is dead and is stuck to the mattress with its gross little spidey guts.

Phyl hands me a Kleenex to grab it with, and of course, I drop the Kleenex. It falls way over by the wall, and in order to pick it up, I have to practically be eyeball to eyeball with said spider. What a predicament! Shoulda just asked for another Kleenex. Hello. 

Fortunately, the spider is dead. Unfortunately, I feel like his smashed guts are sending out little spider signals to all the other spiders in the room, telling them to come and crawl on me.  You know how when you kill a yellow jacket, all of a sudden, they bombard you from everywhere because when you kill the first one, it releases something that alerts all the other ones?  Like that, only for spiders.

So then, for the next hour and a half, I can’t sleep. Every tickle the blanket makes feels like another bug on me. I want to stay covered up so nothing can crawl on me, but then I’m dying of heat and thinking something is still under the covers with me.  So I flip the covers off, but then I feel like I'm sending out a beacon to any bugs in the room - *meep. meep.  come crawl on me.  meep. meep*  I can't take it.  So I cover up again.  Back and forth.  All night.

It was horrible. It must have been snuggled up under my covers with its speedy little spidey legs. Oh, gross. It creeps me out every time I think about it. So disgusting. Gah! And then I DREAMED about spiders. I did not rest well last night.

I asked Erica this morning if my screaming and pounding on the wall woke her up, and she said didn’t hear a thing. Lucky her. She also informed me that according to something she read online, you are never farther than three feet from a spider. Waahh!! Please oh please, maybe that’s not true. You can’t believe everything you read. It can’t be true.

And what about that statistic that says everyone eats at least a few spiders in their sleep? Yuk. I don’t buy that one at all. No way. I would so know if something crawled on my face. That is just some sadistic creep saying that to gross all of us spider freakies out.

So, how didjy’all sleep last night?

Monday, April 30, 2012

a little wedding fun

DeeDee had her heart set on having the wedding party do a line dance at her wedding. Here's a little snippet of the fun we had on Saturday! I love that no one was perfect, but everyone had a great time! I love our family.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

to stay home -- or not... reflections on raising children

I did not always stay at home with my children. I worked part time most of my life until all of them were in school. We each make our choices for a variety of reasons. I can't tell anyone else the best choice for them, because we all have different needs and different situations. I can only share my view from this side of the street.

Many women struggle with choosing between staying at home with their children and working outside the home. I have done both, and I know I made the choice to work because I needed that money to take care of them. In a way, I was glad to get out, too, to get a break from the many responsibilities I had, and sometimes just to be able to have a conversation with another adult.

If I had realized then what I know today, though, I think I would have looked for another way to try to stay home with them more. Now that they are not small anymore, I realize how much each of us, both mother and children, missed out on.

The years do go by quickly. No matter how interminably long the days can seem when you are taking care of small children, they meld and become one short moment in time, and suddenly they are gone, and there are no do-overs. We cannot go back and make up the lost time. We cannot call the minutes back to give them that last bit of advice or experience those precious moments that happen serendipitously when we are together.

I suddenly see that I don't know everything about them anymore. They are moving on, and they share what they choose to. They begin to make their own paths, and build lives of their own, as they need to do.

If I had known, though, that the last time I spent a late night with my daughter, sitting up talking about anything and everything...if I had known that it would be our last time before she moved and began to attend to the details of her own life, I would have savored it, I would have cherished it more.

If I had known that my son was not going to live in town nearby, that he was going to get married and move away, if I had known that, I would have been completely present with him the last time he was home, instead of being so distracted with the many tasks I was trying to complete that day. I would have looked into his eyes and listened to his heart. I would have absorbed all of his essence that I could.

If I knew that my son wasn't coming back when he moved "for the summer," instead of letting my mind travel so I wouldn't cry when he left, I would have let the tears fall down. I would have hugged him more tightly. If I had only known it was the last time he would live here for such a long time...

I am grateful that I have children who, in spite of my inadequacies, still love me fiercely and allow me to pester them with my requests for some of their time. They have turned out to be wonderful friends for me. Although my choices have not always been wise, and sometimes have caused them pain, they have still forgiven me. They (and my sweet husband) are the best things that have ever happened to me.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

what girls need (and don't need)

My favorite quote of the day:

"Girls don't need a father who makes all their choices for them. They need a father who teaches them how to, over time, make wise choices for themselves.

"Girls don't need to sit around yearning for brave, clever, caring, skillful husbands. They need to learn to be brave, clever, caring, and skillful themselves."

Preach it!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

spring, or something like it

It's been so warm the last week that I can't stand it. I really don't know if I'm ready to have to use the air conditioning in order to sleep in the middle of March. I am not so sure that it's a good thing to have to find my summer pajamas already just because I am sweating too much in my thicker winter pjs.

This time of year is when I am still programmed to keep the shovel by the front door in case we have a surprise snowfall in the middle of the night. I still want to keep the space heater accessible in our bedroom since our room is always the coldest room when the frigid wind rattles and shakes the windows.

This is the week that we usually get dumped on with snow. The only snow in our yard is in a picture I took three weeks ago. Three weeks ago to the day from today, I was snowed in, stuck in my own driveway. The kids stayed home and made snowmen in the yard. We were bundled up to our noses with snowpants, scarves, and mittens.

Last week, we set high temperature records several days in a row. The birds are all back, the grass is turning green, and the ice is out on the lakes around here. The willow trees are budding out with leaves in that delightful shade of green that we only see in the early spring. The chickadees are everywhere, little harbingers of spring fever. It's craziness! It makes me want to clean out the garden. I get fooled every year with that one. We think it's worth a chance to get it ready, and then whoosh! Another snowstorm will arrive. Just you wait and see.

Monday, February 20, 2012

dear freecycle giver,

Have you used freecycle yet? I love it. The focus is on keeping perfectly good items out of the landfills, and passing them on to people who can use them instead. Furniture, kitchen tools, appliances, you name it, you can find it on freecycle.

It's a great way to get useful stuff out of your house--people just come and pick it up and it's gone! Out of your hair!

You can also post a need or a want, for example if your coffeepot goes kaput, you could put a post on freecycle and see if anyone has one they are not using and would be willing to get rid of.

I usually scout through the offers to see if there is anything I see that is on my wish list. Contacting the offer-er can be tricky because they may receive many requests for the item. The sooner, the better, and it's best to be polite and not sound too demanding or say things that would make the offer-er leery. No creepers wanted on freecycle.

However, sometimes you are successful, and sometimes things go sadly astray and you may not even know why. Occasionally, I have had a reply saying I may have the item, but the person suddenly declines to reply or send their address. You have to write those ones off. Stalking them via email and making veiled threats will definitely not help matters, and could get you in very hot water. You may have a surprise visit from your local sheriff should you go that route!

This is how I have responded when that happens:

Dear freecycle giver,

I've decided that you must have either been a) hit by a bus or b) you gave the ....carpet... to someone else and didn't want to say so, or c) decided to change your mind and keep it. That's fine...I've given up on it. I'm done. It would really have been okay if you would have just said so.

You're probably a nice person, so I've decided the reason must be the first option. I hope you have a speedy recovery from your bus accident.

Best wishes,

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

a recommendation

This is a particularly fascinating read for me. You may have read in some of my older posts that I grew up in an extremely conservative, not very well-known branch of an Apostolic Lutheran church that originated in Finland. I have since left the church, and am very happy with my choice, but every once in a while, something trips my trigger and I am sucked back into looking at it all again. I learn something new about myself, and find a different way to look at certain things every time this happens.

Well, it's happening again. A gentleman who was also a member of the same church has published this book that examines many of the same questions I had when I was leaving, and many many more. He is more thorough and much less haphazard with his research than my random scribblings. I don't know if I would call it a memoir or a church history...some of each, I guess.

I am inching my way through this, and what I'm loving about it is that although it is a wonderful historical resource, this inquiry into his faith is not dry at all. It has life, and humor, and displays his very likeable human self throughout the whole piece.

An Examination of the Pearl is available here where there are links to read it for free. It is also available on Smashwords here or on Amazon for only 99 cents. Smashwords offers you several options: you can download a pdf when you purchase, or you can choose a mobile e-version if you have a Kindle or another e-reader. His intent is not to make money from this, but to share what he has experienced and learned. It's well worth the time.

It's nicely done, with links built in so you can go to the parts you are most interested in first, or if you're a methodical person, you could read straight through. I'm reading it straight through because I don't want to miss anything.

The thing I find refreshing is that it's not written in the form of a Bette Davis bashing free-for-all. Here's this guy who is trying to keep his faith, but has these niggling "what about this" questions clawing at him, and he's just trying to make sense out of it all. Boy, can I relate.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Only temporarily, I was missing in action! You know that old saying, "Of all the things I've lost, the one I miss the most is my mind"? Well, I think menopause does the same thing as pregnancy used to do. I am as spacey as Marvin Martian's little cousin. I was checking out the settings on the new interface that showed up on blogger, and didn't switch them back to what they originally were. Yikes!

I'm spending a quiet night at home--loving it!--babysitting Mr X and cleaning up the house. It got let go all week this week when classes started, and now it is crazy messy! So I have a little ragtime music going, little man is playing with his toys, and I have some dishes waiting for me in the sink! I'm simply going to enjoy the process of sprucing up my nest, slow dancing with the vacuum, splish splashing in the sink, scrub-a-dub-dubbing the crud off my tub, and when I get up in the morning, it's gonna be a great day! I love when my house is clean.

I have a book by Rob Bell waiting for me, and I'll put the coffee on, put my feet up, and enjoy the day.

Here's a great song to vacuum by...ya just hafta crank it up so you can hear it over the noise of it all. Yes, I know it's not ragtime, but you have to break it up a little with some variety. I listen to Scot Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag and the dishes get done in double-time!

And a little jazz to play you out...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

field trip finds

Last Friday we did one of my favorite things to do. We went to Barnes & Noble on the way home from work. My hubby received a B&N gift card for Christmas from one of the kids, and wanted to go see what he could find.

I picked up the most awesome book to look at. It's called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp...she is such a talented writer.  I have often read her blog over at a holy experience, and I always leave there inspired, thinking about the ways I can slow down and simplify, and just appreciate all the little moments that connect together to create each new day instead of rushing through them to get to the next thing I have to check off my to-do list.

Have yourself some tissue handy to blow your nose if you are going to read this.  It's not sappy, it's just that real and that intense and that deep.  I'm not going to say more than that, because she writes it so much better than I could paraphrase it.  I think her writing makes me slow down, slow down to soak in her words and her thoughts, slow down to breathe and to appreciate.

I didn't even know she had a book out until I picked that up at the bookstore.  You can read the first chapter here, right on your computer screen where no one can see you cry.  Be warned.  You will want more!

It makes me want to write more.  Writing pulls things out of me that I didn't even know were there.  Does it do that to you, too?  It makes me reflective, and I gain new understanding from that process.

Just look at the cover of her book...ah, it makes me smile and feel all peaceful inside all at the same time.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

counting the days

The weekend ahead is a busy one!  Most of it has to do with family...babysitting for a few hours on Saturday, a Tupperware party on Sunday afternoon, and a dinner invite for Sunday evening.  I'm going to have to be careful with my time if I want to finish cleaning out my closet.

I started it last weekend, and cleaned a lot of junk out of it.  I did manage to find a few things that had gone missing a while ago.  It turns out that they fell down behind a bunch of other stuff and were laying innocently on the closet floor, waiting to be found.  It's almost like going shopping again when you find a shirt you haven't gotten to wear for a few months.  It feels like a new piece of clothing.  I wore the shirt today, and enjoyed every minute of it.  Especially when a co-worker asked me if I got a new top.  I laughed.  Nope, I said.  I just cleaned out the closet.  I don't know if she got it or if she just thinks I'm a bit off!  I like to keep people guessing.

Well, tomorrow is Friday, thank goodness.  I want to get to bed so I'm well rested and ready to work hard.  I have lots of things to finish up, so I wanna be in prime shape to get it all done.  I'll start out my day with a rousing rendition of Finally Friday with George Jones.  That'll do it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

good intentions

It never fails.

I always have such good intentions at the beginning of the week, and by the middle of the week, they have all flown out the window like chickens with the fox after them.

On the weekend, I get my kitchen cleaned up, things put away, cleaning done, laundry done, and resolve to keep it that way all week.

As you can see, the mess has begun again! Too much computer and not enough work, I guess. The time between getting home and going to bed flies much too quickly.

I vote for sleep tonight, and not for dishes. Tomorrow is another day.

And if I don't get them all done tomorrow, there's always...yes, you got it, there's always the weekend!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

this one was a page-turner

I just read this book tonight, Heaven is for Real, by Todd Burpo (what a name, huh? definitely unique).

My friend at work had it with her today and said her husband read it in a day. I asked if I could read it, and she sent it home with me. I promised to read it tonight and bring it back in the morning.

I wasn't sure if I would want to finish it or not, but I decided I would just bring it back in the morning whether I finished it or not. Well, I could not put it down. I finished it in just a couple of hours.

I have a new friend in my head: Colton Burpo. I am reliving the book as I think about what he said, the people he saw, and the things he described that he had no way of knowing.

It makes me think. It makes me wonder, and it makes me wish.

It makes me hear this song in my head.

Lord, open my eyes, the eyes of my heart. I really, really want to see You.

Monday, January 2, 2012

babies make the world go round

We had a bunch of the family over this afternoon. Erica will be sad she missed out on the fun. It was particularly fun to see kids/grandkids we hadn't seen for a while, and it was the first time seeing little Mr. Joshua, our youngest grand. Isn't he a sight for sore eyes? His sweet Auntie Meg is holding him.

The next oldest grandsweetie was there as well, little Mr JJ. He is so sleepy here. I think he spit up a little and mama hadn't noticed yet, but I had to get my picture first. Priorities, you know.

And Mr Wyatt was there in all his finery, with his Auntie Gail.

And then the boys had to have their wrestling match for old times' sake, but it was much less vigorous than it used to be. Thank goodness. Age has a way of sneaking up on you when you're not even looking. Hee hee! Oh, the day just flew by, and here it is bedtime, and my pillow is calling me. Well, so much for today. Tomorrow will be here soon enough!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

happy new year!

A toast! Wishing all my friends and family a happy, blessed new year.

This is one of my favorite beverages:

2 parts orange juice
2 parts Cranberry Splash Sierra Mist
1 part club soda
Lime wedge

Serve over ice.

Makes your mouth very happy!