Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween, The Beginning of the Fattening Season

Tonight is finally trick-or-treat and fortunately the forecast isn't looking too cold or too wet, so we should be in good shape. Michael is being a scary skull face vampire kinda dude-simple mask put with his vampire cape from a couple years ago. I admire my friends who come up with all these super creative costume ideas. That seems to be where my creativity bottoms out. And Michael doesn't seem to care too much about what he's dressed as, all that matters is the candy bounty dragged in at the end of the night. Oh sugar and calorie I don't welcome you...

'Tis only the beginning of the fattening season. The mountain of carb-ridden junk he'll haul in tonight will haunt me until it's gone, so November is the one month Michael can eat candy for breakfast. Please! The sooner it's devoured, the safer it will be for me to be in the kitchen. Take some to school! Share with the other kids! Just get it out of my house! I tend to start pitching a few pieces every day. He's never noticed. A handful here, another handful there, tossed into the garbage helps keep it from adhering to my hips.

Then Thanksgiving. Why do Americans have a problem with gluttony and overweightness? We glory in these ridiculous high-fat, high-calorie holidays! Turkey, an ordinarily healthy entree, becomes not so healthy slathered in rich, creamy gravy, and saddled up beside a heap of savory stuffing and it's carb-laden cousin mashed potatoes. Oh and don't forget the dinner rolls. Really? Do we seriously need six or seven servings of starches in a single meal? And the desserts! Pumpkin or sweet potato pie, buried under swollen dollops of whipped cream. Or pumpkin rolls, pumpkin cheesecake, sugary sweet deliciousness headed straight for the muffin top tummy roll...

All this just in time to start baking for Christmas. Cookies and candies, quick breads and brittle. I do my best to give away almost all of the baked goods I make every year to family, friends, and neighbors. I love the baking, the house filled with the scent of warm cinnamony goodness, but I don't love the thought of spending the rest of winter trying to burn it all off again on the treadmill, squeezing into already tightening jeans...Ugh! The battle of temptation vs. will power begins.

I got a rock...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

God Speaks

I've changed my routine a little this week, making myself stay up later than I usually do so I could attend Bible study the other night at my friend's house. Those who know me know I'm a stickler for my routine and I fight change tooth and nail. But I felt the Spirit's nudging me to make the effort to stay up, it would be worth it for me to make it to the Bible study, so I complied. I slept in a little and made myself stay up later. And I invited another friend to come with me, thinking that would encourage me all the more to go Thursday night.

I don't do a lot of socializing. I prefer the peaceful solitude of my home. Probably because I feel in control here. To be perfectly honest, the outside world scares me. Anything could happen out there--anything, and my mind plays out ridiculous worst case scenarios, so I prefer staying home. I feel safe here. I can keep my family safe here. Not so out there. Anything could happen. I don't like it out there. I don't know if I have slight agoraphobia, but the more I stay home, the happier I am. It's hard to budge me out of my safe little shell.

But I convinced myself this Bible study would be good. I could really use some time with girlfriends, time away from parenting and crazy puppies, dishes piled in the sink waiting washing, time to be just me, just His, enmeshed in His Word. Now, if that's not worthy enough to get me out of the house, truly nothing is.

Just past seven, Missy pulled up out front. I tugged on my jacket, kissed my guys, patted puppy heads, grabbed my purse and whisked out the door into the dark, chilly night. As a reward for simply making it out of the house, we stopped for a coffee at Sheetz then headed to Diane's, chatting about our weeks and weather, the possibility of snow over the weekend. We got a little lost because in my shorthand scribbling of directions, I somehow missed writing down the actual street name. Fortunately for cell phones, we managed to find our way. Whew! Another friend, Lori, joined us, tea steeped and prayers offered, we began.

October is not a good month for me anymore. Missing my dad steals my joy away. God blessed me with a patient, loving husband who bears beside me through the storming, grief lashing out in anger, wanting back what I can no longer have-his hand, his hugs, his smile, his eyes laughing. I dread the coming of his birthday, the remembering, the missing, the ten days 'til his passing, three more when he was placed underground, cold, forever gone. Three years hasn't made it any easier. The missing still hurts.

A few months ago I had read "90 Minutes in Heaven" by Don Piper, his after death experience when he actually walked in heaven before being prayed back to life on earth. When my dad first passed, I wondered in my heart if he had actually gone to heaven, or if he had to wait until the Second Coming, when everyone living and deceased will be raised. My pastor assured me his spirit would be in heaven, still a silent doubt yet lingered. Then reading Don's account gave me more reassurance that Dad would have gone on to heaven and that he's there waiting for the rest of us to join him in glory. Even still, the missing hurts.

Well, as we chatted through our study Thursday night, Lori, who works in the hospital ER, told us a story of one of her patients that week. An elderly gentleman who had also experienced death after a heart attack before being resuscitated, shared with her his peace, no longer fearing death because he had already once 'gone over'. His wife had also already 'gone over' and he was looking forward to going back to be with her again. That gave me such peace. Daddy'd gone over. He was happy. I will see him again.

God spoke to my hurting heart and told me exactly what I needed to hear that night. He helped me let go of some of the pain I've wrapped so tight around me. Then He showered snow on my early Saturday morning, softly loving me with what gives me the sweetest simple joy. I am blessed. Thank you, Abba. Thank you for always loving me.

First snow

My pretty tree with frosting

Costume contest at bowling

Meeting of demented, er, demonic minds...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

First Snow

As I opened the back door, sweater wrapped tight around me against the cold, to let Sweet Pea and Tucker outside this morning, I heard it in the dark-the soft whisper of snowflakes as they pattered the leaf littered lawn. My heart danced and a smile creased my sleepy face as I said a prayer of thanks to God for this precious early morning gift. It's snowing! I keep peeking out the front window to watch it falling in the light of the street lamp, joy singing silently inside me as the branches are slowly covered in lacey white, then lawns disappearing, roofs of cars glistening reflections, diamonds fallen from the sky to sparkle softly, humbly here on earth.

Snow makes me feel like a little girl again, conjuring memories of childhood sled rides, snowball fights, bread bags slid inside boots to keep feet dry, cocoa and hot soup, Christmas magic, school cancellations, icicle popsicles, catching snowflakes on tongue, laying, laughing, making snow angels, watching the swirling white dance falling softly all around...

I want to wake Michael, let him see the morning magic. He shares my snow love--it's still new to him. He's spent most of his life down south, the land of Heat Miser's no snow no matter how cold it would get. This! This is joy! But I let him sleep...the snow is still softly sifting down and laying in the yards, the trees. He'll see when he gets up and his heart will sing with mine-beautiful snow!

Thank you Abba, Heavenly Father, for this treasured morning gift! Simple happiness lights in my heart of Your glory, Your grace, reflecting in this beauty...Praise the Lord! My heart sings, "Praise the Lord!"

Friday, October 28, 2011


You took me in and raised me,
As the daughter you’d never have.
You loved me when the one who had me couldn’t,
And gave my heart a home.
You kissed my boo-boos,
And dried my teary eyes.
You read me bedtime stories,
And gave me piggy back rides.

You’d draw with me,
Laugh with me,
Encourage me,
Teach me,
Dance with me,
Hold me close and love me.
The years they flew,
And so I grew.
Went off to find my way.
But no matter what,
I always knew,
You’d save me any day.
Three years now,
That you’ve been gone,
I miss you every day.
Your laugh, your smile,
The silly things you’d say.
You taught me best,
How to love and give,
To those who need it most.
The material things don’t matter,
But the ones in your heart hold close.
I love you Daddy, with all my heart, forever.
I’ll always be your little girl…

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Trying New Things

I know I'm running late today--way late. I can't believe it's almost two...But, I've been making myself sleep later the past couple of days hoping in turn that I'll be able to stay up a little longer at night. Halloween doth approacheth and I want to be able to trek around the neighborhood with Michael and the Pea Bee in tow, gathering all sorts of treats and yummies. And a friend is also having a Bible study at her house tonight, which doesn't start until 7:30, normally my heading to bed time...not at all my heading out into the world time! But, I really need some time out with friends doing something I would enjoy myself, not just family stuff. Bill gets to go hang with his buddies for Steeler games, sometimes he just takes his bike out for a ride just to escape a while--sort of like I did this weekend. Usually he's not as peeved as I was, but he's better at getting out and blowing off steam and socializing than I am, which I think probably makes him better able to manage his moods. I always stay in. I always keep my feelings in. Until I can't handle it anymore and I need to explode. So maybe a little time out with friends once in a while will help me not feel so cooped up and not so frustrated all the time. It's at least worth a little rearranging of the sleep schedule...and the rest of my day schedule...I'm so anal about my routine! But my weights were still waiting for me after I dropped Michael off at the bus, and the Zumba dvd's were next in line. Quick shower and a dash through the rain to Walmart and Aldis, home in time for birdie playtime while my potato baked for lunch. Finished up my daily chores and I still even have time to blog well before Bug will be home from school. It's all good and I'm really looking forward to time out tonight with friends--I need a little pick me up to shake off some of my recent grumbly gloomies.

But there's more new things on the trying block today. The nutrition guide that came along with my Zumba set suggested using protein powder in a couple of their recipes. I've never used protein powder, but I do know from tracking my food on Spark People, that most days my protein intake is seriously low. So, I thought, why not give it a shot? I ogled all the different protein powders in the diet and nutrition aisle at Walmart, trying to figure out which was the best buy. They all come in ridiculously huge jars and range in price from $15-$30, depending on the brand you choose. I picked one of the lower price range brands-I'm a confessed tight wad--what if I didn't like the stuff? Then I'm stuck with this huge bottle of yuck and out thirty bucks?? Yeah, not gonna happen. But the one I did end up choosing actually had less calories and grams of sugar than some of the more expensive brands and a higher amount of protein per serving--and isn't that the point? The protein without all the sugar and calories? So, I was admittedly paranoid, thinking less sugar could potentially mean less tasty...I could still be wasting $17 on a huge jar of junk...As soon as I got home and put all the groceries away, I had to whip up a glass of the protein shake to see what I'd gotten myself into. Good news-it was actually really good! Whew! Sigh of relief...another bullet dodged. I don't know what sort of difference this stuff might make in trying to lose weight but I'll be sure to let you know any positive progress!

Another little goodie I came across in this morning's devotions was a monthly habit tracking chart. I've been bothered lately by the fact that, once again, I am accomplishing nothing. I've been really good about blogging every day, but that's still not earning me a paycheck. I need to work on something publishable. I also need to work on getting through my computer training books. I could list a gazillion other need to do's that loom over my head every day, but those seem to be the two most pressing points for now. So, I tried to find where or how to download this habit checklist, but the website post is from 2007. You're supposed to sign up for their email list but I'm thinking this could be hopeless waiting for a response from a four year old posting...Instead, I've tried to configure my own new habit list in Excel (those computer training books haven't been a total loss after all!) I'll post a picture of their sample to give you an idea...maybe someone else might want to track some new habits out there as well?

Here's the link to the site for anyone willing to try waiting with me for an email with the actual link to the habit chart: You never know, right? Starting new habits are the first baby steps to progress!

These are just a couple shots from our street, final fall glory:

This tree is so much prettier in person-at least the little Halloween decorations are cute!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

World Vision

The weekend I went to the Women of Faith conference, I took advantage of an opportunity presented there by World Vision to sponsor a child in need. My child is a beautiful little nine year old boy named Kiran who lives in an area ravished by HIV and AIDS in India. I was drawn to his photo by his deep, dark brown eyes-they just captivated me and I knew he was meant to be my child. I filled out the sponsor card and brought his folder home with me that weekend. A couple weeks later, I received my sponsorship kit, which included more information about Kiran and his family, a pamphlet about living conditions in India, and suggestions of ways to pray for Kiran, writing letters, simple gifts to send and information about how my sponsorship will change and benefit his life and his community.

I went online to the World Vision website this morning to send Kiran an email. I thought that would reach him quicker than a handwritten letter and I wanted to let him know how excited I was to be his sponsor, fill him in our little family and promised to send him pictures of all of us soon. While I was on their website, I discovered there are hundreds of other ways aside from monthly sponsorships to help out children in need all over the world, even here in the United States. I was amazed at all the programs World Vision sponsors. There are individual programs, group, youth, church and family type programs, corporate sponsorships. They offer tutoring and after school programs here in the States, emergency disaster relief programs, there's even a Knit For Kids program where you can download a simple pattern to knit or crochet a sweater for a child. There are so many ways to help, I hope this will encourage some of you to find a way to open your heart to help a child in need today.

The World Vision web address is Please take some time to look and prayerfully consider how you can have a positive impact on a child's life in need.
My Kiran

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Back in the Game

I'm trying to get myself back on track diet and fitness wise here and it's not going as smoothly as I'd like. I feel old...that's not a good feeling. I had trouble breathing a couple weeks back during my morning runs and I tired before I could made it through my whole route. Plus lately it's seemed I would always end up with the worst headaches after a long run, so I tried to cut back a little on my distance to see if that would help curb the pain. Then I slipped and broke my toe the other week and I hadn't been able to get a shoe on my foot, forget trying to run. So I had a couple lazy weeks and it started to show. It doesn't take much. It's not all bad. My fat jeans are still loose but my happy skinny jeans are a little more snug than I'd like, and there's more roll overflowing the waist than I want to see.

So what's an old fat bat like me supposed to do? Zumba! Only in the confines of my basement where skinnier, younger eyes can't see what happens when you turn forty and are trying to get back in shape after gaining as many pounds as years...I ate my way through losing my dad to cancer a few years back, my only comfort response that kept me from going back to smoking myself--which no one wants to do while watching a loved one battle lung cancer. Food saw me through the year he fought. Sadly, we both lost. Dad passed away ten days after his birthday that year, October 28th. We buried him on Halloween. And I wonder why I can't enjoy the holiday so much any more...October used to be my favorite month, now I spend the second half of the month moping, heart aching, still seeking comfort and solace in food.

I gained a good forty pounds that year. But I didn't smoke!! Small favors. I got tired of trying to suck in my gut enough to zip my size fourteen jeans. Fourteen, too close to sixteen. The only time I was heavier than that was when I was pregnant with Michael and it took me a good year to lose that weight, aided mostly by not having much time to sit still or eat while comforting a screaming colicky baby then morphed into non-stop toddler...I had no such help this time around--I was completely on my own to lose the unwanted extra pounds.

I joined Spark People, a free online weight loss program--the best weight loss program in my book! I followed their nutrition plans to a T, disciplined myself to drinking only water, and jumped on the fitness program, alternating strength training with cardio every other day. I started out with a step aerobic video, which didn't seem to burn enough fat so I convinced hubby to buy me an elliptical. I sweat my way through episode after episode of America's Next Top Model every morning (I dvr'd the weekly marathons), and the pounds slowly came off. Then a friend from Spark People had started training for a 5k turkey trot and would post her daily runs online. I began to think about trying running myself. Why not? I even found a race to sign up for at the end of that summer, better motivation to stick to the program and see if I could actually run the whole race.

I completed the training program and absolutely fell in love with running. The weight had really come off and I had even made it to a size smaller than what I wore in high school! The morning of the race came, Bill and Michael tagged along to be my cheer section, and off we went. It was a much steeper course than I had been used to, but I was determined not to walk, I wanted to finish the entire course running. And I did. I had never been so proud of myself in my entire life...I still wear that race shirt with such a feeling of happiness and self-satisfaction. I never thought in a million years I'd be a runner, let alone finish a race. It's really a great feeling.

Maybe that's part of what's contributing to my October gloomies. I'm not running as well as I used to. I'm far from giving up, though. I ran a couple miles on the treadmill yesterday morning and plan to take Tucker out for a few good runs before the weather turns too bitter to bear. But I'm also giving this Zumba a good shake. The music and moves are a lot of fun, it doesn't feel at all like exercise and you don't want to stop when the routines are done. I find myself moving to the music in my head throughout the day (more calories burning!!) There's even a little nutrition plan that comes with the DVD set--and I'm a sucker for new recipes! So, if I can keep my head out of the pantry, I may just find my way back to looser jeans once again. And maybe fit for further runs come spring...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunday Drive

I ran away for a little bit yesterday. Angry and frustrated, I just needed to escape for a bit so I hopped in my car and hit the road, snagging a skinny caramel mocha at McDonald's on the way. Where to go? I'm not much of a driver and tend to get panicky when I don't know where I'm at, but mocha in hand, I headed up Route 8. Had no idea where that would take me, but why not?

I hoped to see some pretty leaves but we're a little late in the season for that. Still, it was an easy drive through some beautiful rolling farm county. Black and white cows lazing in the afternoon sun dotted a hillside. Bare tree branches poked through browning golden and orange hanging on leaves, too stubborn to give up the ghost and just fall. I drove through an adorable quiet little town called Harrisville--just the kinda place I'd love to live. A simple slice of sweet Americana, it reminded me somewhat of the tiny town of New Bremen that we lived in for a few years in Ohio. The streets were all flat and straight, cute houses and quaint shops lined Main Street. A couple riding bikes darted across the street in front of me as they were leaving the Family Tradition Restaurant. A beautiful day for a bike ride. I continued heading north.

Eventually I ended up in Venango County and I had to slow down as a small flock of wild turkey crossed the road ahead of me. Thoughts of turning around and heading back home entered my mind. My caramel mocha was long gone, I hadn't brought anything else to drink and I was getting a little thirsty. Plus it'd be about time to start dinner by the time I'd make it home again. I found a spot to turn around and headed south, retracing my route and watching it all play back in reverse. Cows spotted the hillside on the opposite side of the road, still lazing in sunshine, enjoying one more warm, beautiful day before the chill of winter would soon come sneaking in.

Home once more, I tossed the load of wash I had abandoned when I left into the dryer. Wagging tail dogs waited to greet me at the top of the basement stairs, happy that the food person was home in time to dish out dinner. I called dibs on the TV so I could watch a few favorite Halloween movies and husband retreated to watch the football game on the set downstairs. Heated the oven to roast turkey tenderloins for dinner, mashed sweet potatoes with garlic and parmesan, covered and baked twice while the tenderloins finished. Boiled wax beans frozen from an earlier garden harvest.

Laundry folded during a commercial break. Dinners served and dishes washed. Bathtime. Bedtime. Quietly reading under covers. Lights turned off, prayers said, pups snuggled, sleep welcomed.

Houseworks Holiday Plan


Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Charles Shultz Jog Down Memory Lane

This morning's writing prompt is a quote from Charles Schulz: “Life is like a ten-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.” It's a great quote to ponder, so very true for all of us. But thinking about Charles Schulz made me instead head down memory lane, thinking about growing up and reading the Sunday comics with my dad. We went to church every Sunday. Unless you were at death's door, missing church simply was not an option. Oh, and we got all gussied up in our Sunday best-a dress for me, shirts with ties for my brothers, and super shiny shoes that you dare not scuff. We sat perfectly quiet and still through each service so as not to tempt the great wrath of Mom-children were to be seen and not heard, period. Trust me, you didn't cross Mom or you didn't sit, comfortably at least, for days...

Home from church, clothes quickly changed, lunch was always-ALWAYS-soup and a sandwich, my favorite of which was tomato and grilled cheese. I'm a dipper and all the better with dill pickles, soggy buttery bread and melty cheese dripping and drenched in steaming hot, creamy tomato soup, slurping up every last drop...which typically entailed lectures on how unlady-like I behaved. Still haven't quite grasped full lady-likeness even after all these years. I prefer a little roughness around the edges, it makes us who we are and not carbon copies of what someone else's standard states that we ought to be.

After lunch was the best. Table cleared, dishes washed and put away, we'd spend a good portion of the afternoon with the Sunday paper, sharing--never fighting, no!--the funnies. Sitting on Dad's lap, his favorite was Prince Valiant, mine for sure was Peanuts. I loved Snoopy! Others near the top were Beetle Bailey, Family Circus (my favorite of those were the ones that simply showed the crazy maze of footsteps of one of the kid's misadventures), Andy Capp, Hagar the Horrible and Blondie-I was so envious of those sandwiches Dagwood would create! Sometimes we'd break out the scrap paper pad and a couple pencils and draw together. I loved drawing with my dad-he always encouraged my art. Then, if it wasn't football season, he would most likely nap and, weather permitting, my brothers and I would be shooed outside for some sunshine and fresh air with the rest of the neighborhood kids. Simple pleasures make up the sweetest memories.

And Charles Shultz has blessed us with more great family traditions that I look forward to every year about this time: It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and A Charlie Brown Christmas. I even bought them on DVD to share with Michael. He's not as excited about them as I am, the nostalgia seems lost on this generation. No matter--I'll pop them in the DVD player and watch them myself several times over through the holidays. We'll just have to make our own traditions and memories that he'll cherish years later when he has his own kids and seasons turn, holidays jog reflections, reminiscing.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon with good friends at a pumpkin patch. The cold, rainy and grey weather finally took the day off and we were blessed with gorgeous warm sunshine and a brilliant blue sky with just a few light lofty clouds over the farm. Myriad games scattered through the yard and outbuildings; a barn with horses, a donkey and llama, a few goats, pigs and bunnies to pet, a wooden cow to 'milk' (no, not with the tail! So sweet!) Four different mazes to wind patiently through, two in pitch black dark! Pumpkins painted, prizes and candy, warm drinks by a fire, face painting and hair spray colors and glitter, wrestling and Checkers, slappy hand wars in the back seat of the van on the way back home. Such a beautiful day, happy memories made. I hope this is what he looks back on in years to come when he takes his little ones to a pumpkin patch to play on a sunny fall day...

Some pics from the day and a Charlie Brown comic to bring a smile:
Wrestling on the hayride--all wound up and ready to go!

Cool colored hair

Best buds. Why there's a leopard chaise lounge in the riding barn, I don't know...??

Tangled in the string maze

Pony, er, horse ride!

Three little ghosties who didn't want to go home!

Blogaholic Designs”=

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Good Day

Bill had his 'stent' removed yesterday (apparently I've been calling it the wrong thing and then spelling it wrong as well...shunt, stint, stent--whatever....that 'tube up his you-know-what'...) It wasn't as bad (for me, anyway) as we thought, having it taken out. I thought he'd be left in more pain again but he rebounded really well and we were off and running for the day. Finished a few errands: the Walmart and Aldi's, groceries home and put away, dropped some canned dog food off at the shelter and stopped back at the doctor's to deliver Bill's stone 'samples' since we forgot to bring them with us to his appointment (oops), and then--then! It was lunchtime and we headed to the brand new Chinese buffet that just opened next to Aldi's, the Fortune Star.

First, just walking in to the restaurant, it's visually striking and beautiful. The tables are a swirled golden faux marble and the upholstery a rich navy damask. The hanging lights are all different colors, so beautiful, and intricate Chinese wood carvings line the walls, separate booths as well as the lobby from the diningroom. Then--then! you see the buffet...Six, at least six, maybe seven, buffet tables offer up appetizers, entrees, sides, salads, American food for the kids, and desserts. Behind the buffet tables is a hibachi grill where you get to choose from an assortment of vegetables, noodles and rice, meat and seafood, then the sauce to have it grilled with to suit your taste. I had onions, peppers and brocolli, tossed with rice noodles and beef, grilled with hot sauce (and they'll make it as hot as you want!) Oh, it was so good! I think I could've eaten three platefuls of just that! Then--then! next to the grill is the sushi bar and a chef preparing fresh sushi the entire time. Sweet, fresh, clean and so delicious. I ate to my heart's content and could've stayed the entire day and ate some more and more. Everything was simply excellent! I had egg foo yung for the very first time-delicious egg and veggie pancakes! And they had other items we'd never seen before on a buffet. There were these seafood biscuits that were to die for! A scoop of seafood salad pressed into a light salty biscuit and baked to perfection-yum! Oh, and you have to try the crab rangoons dipped in their sweet and sour sauce--best I have ever eaten anywhere. Their sauce is just a bit tangier than what I've tasted at other Chinese restaurants and it made such a difference-not to mention the rangoons were simply out of this world! They offer over 200 different items on the buffet, and I think the flyer said sixty of them switch out daily, so you could never possibly be bored dining at the Fortune Star. I can't wait to take Michael there and Ashlee and Kyle while they're here for Christmas. If you're in the area, you must definitely stop and treat yourself to an incredible meal-I guarantee you won't be disappointed!

And, some of you have been curious about my new hair, all straight and red (though it doesn't seem as red to me now...) I had Bill snap a quick picture to post--here you go:

I look a little sarcastic now that I think about it--me? Sarcastic? Certainly not! Pea on the other hand...And this little link caught my attention this morning--the season surely loometh:
Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Fortunate Mistake?

Today is pay day, our favorite day every couple of weeks, and this morning as I checked the bank account, the balance was way higher than it ought to be. The heart soars for just a second, hoping--really?! Then reality hit home as I pulled up the activity statement and noticed Bill got paid not once, but twice. Clearly a clerical error but the checks are for two different amounts. One, I'm assuming, includes his quarterly bonus, but I dare not bank on that for sure until we see the actual paystub. Knowing my luck, I'd write out all the bills using the higher amount only to fall short after learning it should've been the lower amount and then have to scramble to cover the difference. How nice it would be to actually have both checks to spend--Christmas shopping would be in the bag! Not to mention the help paying for this week's kidney stone surgery. Alas, I know it's not so...and I will write out the bills this morning using the lower amount then be open for a joyous surprise if it indeed turns out that the bigger check was correct!

I'm at least hoping to have a better weekend than last week's. Bill has his stint removed today and should be back to his regular work schedule tomorrow. He's had to use a couple of his vacation days he wanted to save for Christmas while Ashlee is here visiting, but we'll just have to hog her up on the days he has remaining to be off and let her friends enjoy her company when his days run out and he has to go back to work. I really hope to make it to a pumpkin patch this weekend since we've had to skip that adventure so far this month. It's going to be a chilly day tomorrow, but I think we can bundle up and sip on some hot apple cider once we get there to keep warm. At least it's not supposed to rain (oooh, that's almost as bad as washing the car or hanging out the laundry--just asking for the skies to cloud up and pour on my parade--fingers crossed!!)

Christmas progress (this will aggravate my sister, so I have to get it in there!) I finished addressing all our cards yesterday, so they're ready to go now. I'm hoping to get a little shopping done this afternoon after Bill's doctor appointment and our belated weekly lunch date. We're heading to the new Fortune Star Chinese Buffet-can't wait to try it out! Fa la la la la, la la la la....

Tucked in Tucker

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Michael is really growing up on me. I never liked it much, losing my sweet baby, but yesterday we shared some moments that you don't typically have with younger kids. He came home from school, all excited about science class. They had talked about optical illusions and he wanted to see more. So after his homework was finished, he dug out the laptop and Googled away, looking for more eyeball teasing websites. Bill and I both love optical illusions and one of our favorite artists is MC Escher. I scooched Bug aside and and pulled up a bunch of Escher images-the stairs, the drawing hands, the lizards, and more. Michael was fascinated. Pretty cool stuff. He's been drawing more lately, a budding little artist like his mom, and who knows--maybe he'll find some inspiration in Escher's work.

Then the other day, I saw a link on Facebook from Goodreads, I think it was, asking what scary books you read for Halloween. I've pretty much given up the horror genre. Those images get in my head and I can't get them out. I walk around all scared and paranoid, locking every window and door because someone out there is planning to kill me...Every noise makes me jump. So not the remedy for a good night's sleep. Michael, on the other hand, loves some horrible, creepy stories. His favorite books for the past couple of years have been the Goosebumps series and I bought him a copy of Frankenstein a few weeks ago. If scary is what it takes to get him to read, then scary he shall have.

But something kicked up Edgar Allen Poe in the back of my mind and I thought maybe he'd like The Raven or The Tell-Tale Heart. Luckily, a dear friend had given me a copy of Poe's complete unabridged works several years back, so I took it down off the bookshelf and thumbed through it--this is a pretty hefty book! I found both stories, along with several more that'll be great to read leading up to Halloween. Last night at bedtime, we snuggled up and I read him The Raven. He loved it! I loved it--both the poem and the sharing. A favorite artist and a classic author in the same day--two things that showed me he's growing up and not such a little boy anymore. But, it felt really good to connect like that. Can't wait to read some more tonight...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Gun Rant

Every three hours a child is killed by a gun here in America. That's eight children a day, fifty-six per week. That's more than all the kids in fourth grade at Michael's school--both classrooms would be wiped out. In a week. For every child killed by a gun, four more are injured by guns. That would be the rest of the kids at  Michael's school. That's a startling statistic.

I hate guns. Vehemently. Go on and get up on your horse about rights to bear arms. Then go comfort the mother whose child accidentally shot himself and died, playing with Daddy's gun. I lost a friend that way. Or the parents of the teen who purposely killed himself with a gun because he couldn't take the bullying anymore. Or the mother of the child shot by accident on the streets in the middle of a gang war, who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. How about the families of Columbine or any other school shooting? What do you have to say to them?

I had a stalking incident this past winter while out running. A pick up truck followed me and kept circling past me several times. The driver would turn his face away when I'd look at him so I couldn't get a good look at his face and his license plate didn't match the truck he was driving when the police ran the numbers for me later. "Get a gun," I was encouraged by several people. Seriously? Me? Carry a gun? Like I could ever bring myself to shoot someone else. I can't even cope with hunters--people killing animals for sport or food--and sport is clearly wrong. If I had a gun, I would be more likely to shoot myself or some other innocent person accidentally. And to put a gun in such close proximity to my child? Not a chance.

I borrowed this from Ira Pilgrim's webpage:
"The NRA's slogan, "Guns don't kill people; people kill people," is ridiculous. The fact is that guns do kill people, and people can kill people much more easily with a gun than with a knife.

There are two things that we are all agreed upon. First is that killing innocent people is bad and should, if possible, be prevented. Second, that guns are used by people to kill people as well as game. If the NRA slogan was correct, we wouldn't have those problems if we just got rid of the people. If we put enough guns into the hands of enough people, that objective just might be achieved."

Buying, owning, carrying guns is not the answer. How many children have to die from gunfire to make this clear?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Name It

So, again, cheating today. But it's my dad's birthday today and I miss him but I don't want to go on about that here, so an easy meme I found about names from Squidoo--what a great site that is! So, okay...Playing the Name Game today:

Your name? Dawn

Your nick name? Mom (does that count?)

Do you like your name? I didn't always. I resented being named by my birthmother for the longest time--as if she had any right to bother naming me when she didn't have the least desire to keep me. My adoptive parents wanted to name me Diana but our next door neighbors had a daughter Diane, so to avoid seeming like copy cats, they left me as Dawn, which actually is cool because my dad was Don so we kinda had a special connection with our names...All his brothers had sons that were Jr's, all named after their fathers. He had me. So, yeah, I like my name now regardless of where it came from.

If you could change your name what would it be? I always liked boy sounding names for girls, like Dani or Sam--haha, Dawn....never thought of that being a boy sounding name, but I guess it is!

Mother's name (can sub father)? Donna--yeah, phone calls were a little confusing when I lived at home. Do you want Don, Dawn, or Donna??

Grandmother's name (can sub grandfather)? Mom's side was Ethel, Dad's side was Dorothy. Grandfathers were Mom's side Raymond and Dad's side August.

Children's names? Michael and Ashlee

Do they have any nick names? Michael is Bug, Bugalicious, or sometimes Michelangelo. I think Ash's mom calls her Sweetness. She's also Sissie.

Pets' names? Ruby, Sweet Pea, Tucker, Brodie, Blinkie, Skye, Crash, Burn, and Squiggie

Your pet's nick name? Ruby is Boo, Sweet Pea just gets shortened to Pea or Peaster, and Tucker is Finn (short for his middle name-McFinnigan) but Bill just calls him Idiot. The birds don't have nicknames.

Your best friend's name? Emilie

Nick name for your friend? I never gave her one...have to work on that!! Sorry Em!!

Favourite name for a boy? Michael, obviously

Favourite name for a girl? Faith

Name of your car? I didn't name my Sportage....or did I and I just can't remember?

Favorite Place Name? Home

A final little thought on names...I remember when I was growing up I was completely obsessed with the names Charles and Casey for whatever reason. Charles turned out to be a family name in my birth family and I have a younger sister, Kacey, that chances are I'll never get to know...but funny how those names penetrated my life even being apart from my birth family....That's all!

Happy 75th Birthday Daddy!! I love you!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ten Weeks 'Til Christmas

Got a holiday theme going on this week, it seems. But Christmas fast approaches, faster than most would like. And at ten weeks out is when I typically start buckling down with shopping and stocking baking and holiday dinner supplies and I usually have a much better idea of what I'm aiming for by now but it's been kinda hectic around here lately, if you've noticed in my posts, and I'm pretty much aiming in the dark at this point.

So I've given the link to Organized Christmas, my favorite holiday planning website, and I think a few of you have even gotten on board with some early preparations this year-kudos! I've gotten a chunk of my Christmas cards addressed already and have even bought some baking supplies along with a few stocking stuffers (that Michael discovered in my hiding place in the hall linen closet--the rotten stinker!! So I've had to MOVE my hiding spot and start over again...The kid is aging me!) But now I really need to commit to menus, a concise cookie list, and settle on our gift budget so I can get down to business and do the serious shopping. It's time.

So here's a little trick I came up with for an inconspicous purse pocket planner that I've done the last two years. I tried keeping a little notebook in my purse with shopping lists and suggestions, but you don't realize how often someone needs a piece of paper to scribble a note on and before you know it your Christmas list is out and exposed in someone else's eyes that shouldn't be seeing such a list if you want Christmas credit to still go to Santa. And I'm surprised my Bug is still hanging on to Santa this it's gonna be tricky trying to maintain that innocence yet at his age but I'm certainly going to try my best!

Okay! The tip: A simple piece of copy paper, 8 1/2" by 11", and you fold it into tenths. I will try to explain to you how to do that...because who folds into tenths, right? Leave it to me because I don't do anything easy!! My dad always said I was ass-backwards...still proving him right forty plus years later...I miss that man!! All right, take your sheet of copy paper and lengthwise mark off five 2 3/16" increments. I draw lines along the increment marks, makes it easier to fold. Mark the middle width at 4 1/4" and draw your divider line.Be festive: use red or green pens or markers to draw your column markers, or silver and gold metallic-whatever lights your holiday fire! You can even snazzy it up with cute Christmas stickers if that floats your boat, but don't get too carried away, you still need room to write!
Last year's planner above

This year, all ready to go!

Label each block starting at Week Ten down to Week One, and you can add the dates of each week if that helps give a little more planning perspective. Fold your paper lengthwise, then accordian style folding along each week's dividing line. Granted, it helps if you write fairly small, as I do--but this is the perfect size planner to pop in your purse or wallet and it's completely innocent looking to possible snooping eyes who shouldn't be in your purse in the first place, yet there they are!


So, using my master lists of gifts, stocking stuffers, and baking ingredients, I begin dividing everything I need into the ten weeks. Baking supplies can get tricky. I usually begin baking at week six, so I'll list whatever cookies I want to make on each of the last six weeks and plan backwards from there to be sure that I have the specific ingredients on hand by the week each certain cookie comes up. The beautiful thing about having saved last year's handy dandy list is that I can simply copy the baking order onto this year's list, as well as the weeks I need which ingredients! Brilliant! There are also notes scribbled on last year's list of gifts perhaps I wanted to buy but didn't--possible ideas for this year's shopping? And it also helps jog the memory of gifts that were great and others that weren't so great, so snafus can be avoided this year.

So there you have it: an easy, inconspicuous purse size pocket planner for the upcoming holidays. I hope you try it--or finagle a little list to suit your own needs. Everybody's a little different, so make it work best for yourself. Whatever makes getting through the holidays with a little less stress and wigging out! Now let's go shopping!!

Holiday Grand Plan

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Halloween Fizzle

I finally went down to the basement yesterday to dig out our Halloween decorations. We don't have a lot. I bought a couple new things last year but also lost my favorite piece to a trick-or-treat accident, which I can only hold myself responsible for. I had found this awesome terra cotta jack-o-lantern and kitty some years ago that I absolutely loved. Over the years and through our many moves, it endured some abuse and cracks. Bill had glued it back together for me a couple of times. Wear and tear on Halloween decorations almost adds even more character to the pieces, it becomes part of their charm.

Last October, I put out our decorations: a ghost and cauldron by the big tree out front, a giant spider climbing on our livingroom picture window, bought a new Halloween flag to hang, some orange lights to string, a few pumpkins to carve surrounded by gourds we gathered at our friends' farm, and my terra cotta jack-o-lantern and kitty propped on a corner of the front step railing, looking out over the yard to greet any visitors. It sat there all month, perfectly fine and safe. The railing is made of fairly thick lumber and the corner post is easily as thick as a railroad tie, so I wasn't a bit concerned about the jack-o-lantern taking a tumble to the concrete steps below. I was sure it would be fine on its perch. And it was, until Halloween night.

The sun slowly set and I took my Zombie Michael out trick-or-treating with Sweet Pea in tow. Sweet Pea is a fairly sociable dog and everybody loves Bassets so she gets lots of "Ooo'"s and "Oh she's so cute!!" Pats and scratches and dog families would give her treats. We even went costume shopping for her after Halloween last year and found her an adorable bumble bee costume on clearance for three bucks so we can dress her up this year. Halloween is her holiday to shine.

So off we went and made our rounds of the plan where I run: plenty of houses and little side streets in the middle. Michael really cleaned up on the candy. At the end of trick-or-treat, some folks were even dumping the remains of their candy baskets and bowls into Michael's bag so they wouldn't be left with loads of temptation the following day. Sure, I'll face all of that for you--thanks so much! Just what my fat jiggly thighs need! He was very pleased with all the goodies he got and Sweet Pea was happy to finally be heading home, her short little legs tired from our night's adventuring.

Sadly, when we did arrive home, I found my favorite jack-o-lantern kitty smashed beyond repair on the front steps. Bill had to work that night, so no one was home to greet trick-or-treaters or give out candy. I had left the lights off so the kids wouldn't bother trekking up our stairs. Still somehow, at some point of the night, the jack-o-lantern got knocked from its perch and broken. No witnesses around to let us know how it happened. No matter, it couldn't be fixed anyway. I swept up the shards the next day, and sadly pitched them in the garbage with the rest of the trash. I've tried to find something similar to replace it but haven't had any luck.

So yesterday as I was pulling out the rest of our decorations, I just felt less than enthusiastic about stringing lights and hanging the flag. I put our ghost in the tree and the giant spider climbs the wall by our front door. We need to go pumpkin shopping soon I guess. Michael picked out a shiny golden skull mask to wear with his vampire cape, so he's all set. Maybe it's just that the weather's been too cold and rainy to get to enjoy very many fall activities yet this month. The trees and leaves are breathtaking. I need a good trek through the woods to absorb some of the season's beauty to boost my enthusiasm perhaps. Who knows, I might even find a suitable replacement for my jack-o-lantern at one of the pumpkin patches around least I'll know not to perch anything on the railing this year.
Pea Bee

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Modern Convenience

Bill "accidentally" deleted my Greys Anatomy as it was taping Thursday night. Yeah sure..."accidentally"...He makes fun of me because I get so intensely involved in the show, reminding me, as he laughs, that it's not real. I don't care--I've given entirely too much of my life to watching this show, real or not, I feel personally afronted when something goes wrong in the characters' lives. I just want everybody to be happy...and for Owen to go far, far away....Still, I believe he was genuinely sorry for deleting the new episode and frantically searched for another time it would air so he could tape it again for me. Only problem, they don't re-run the current season's episodes until well after the season has finished. This isn't one of our reality shows that they air over and over again during the week, just in case you missed it or need to reschedule the taping because one can only tape two shows at any one given time and if one wishes to watch another program at the same time, you can only be taping one show to allow changing the channel to other said program and a certain somebody with a cruel, unrelenting kidney stone gets rather peeved with me if I'm taping two of my shows at the same time on a night when he could be watching one of his shows...DVR's are both blessing and curse. It's wonderful to have the convenience of recording and saving our favorite programs, especially since I am no night owl and most of my shows air well after my eight o'clock bedtime--I would miss everything if it weren't for the DVR!! But we've also had a good share of arguments over who's taping what and when and hogging up the TV so someone else can't watch what they want...not like there's not a backlog of shows already taped to watch while coinciding shows are currently recording....But, one must be considerate of the others in the household and share, share the DVR alike.

So, all that blathering said, still my Greys was gone. I believe he caught the first minute before deleting the episode into oblivion. Why he saved that minute, I don't know, so I deleted it myself while taking off some of Michael's older recordings of his shows, which needs done daily since he has the most programs recording every day. The DVR only has so many available recording hours and he takes up a pretty good chunk with his cartoons. And we dare not miss any of those!!

Fortunately for me and the rest of the sorry folks who have favorite show deleting spouses, many programs can be watched online now--free! And aires, thankfully, the newest episodes of Greys for their fans' viewing convenience along with some of their other popular programs. I was saved! You almost don't even need cable anymore if you think about it, just catch up on your shows online! And did I mention it's FREE?! Kinda makes one wonder just why one dishes out well over $100 a month for that cable bill....hmmm...Seriously, hmmm!!!

So, snuggled in bed last night (okay, evening...night isn't officially until well after I'm asleep!!) I propped the laptop on my, well, lap, and watched my Greys--with LESS commercials! I've been so spoiled by the DVR and being able to fast forward through commercials, that I can't stand to watch 'live TV' any more and having to actually sit through all those annoying ads. And it hit me this morning how lucky we are to have these conveniences so readily available! I don't think even a year ago I could've caught up online with a show like that-so quick, so simple! I'm honestly amazed at what the internet now offers...there no longer needs to be any fights over who missed what show, just watch it online. Very cool.

To watch this week's episode of Greys Anatomy, click here:

Friday, October 14, 2011

You Gotta Laugh

Truly yesterday was one of those days that all you can really do is laugh at the misfortune. To top it off with falling on my behind and breaking a couple toes...just the icing on the cake. I couldn't let Bill have all the fun and agony of the day--I was taught to share nicely with others. He may at least have pain killers to see him through his torture of passing the kidney stone, but they wore off around three this morning and the poor guy was really suffering again. It took a while for the next pill to kick in but he's back to sleep and snoring softly now. Looks like I'll have company again today since I don't think he should be driving to work under the influence of pain meds. As for me, my toes have slightly swollen and turned a lovely shade of dark dirty purple. No running for this girl today...Fortunately it's not my driving foot, so I can at least still get out and finish the week's errands. All is not lost!

The good news, I guess, is that kidney stones are usually passed within 48 hours, which would put us at about the halfway point. I can't imagine having to endure that amount of pain for much longer than that. It's apparently comparable to child birth, without the epidural, and well, that's just plain not fun at all! The doctor only gave him twelve pain pills so they must be fairly confident that things will move along swiftly. And after Googling images of kidney stones (that's frightening all by itself!) I have to confess, I'm more than a little curious to see what this thing is gonna look like!

I'm truly grateful for everyone's kind thoughts, prayers, and offers to pick up Michael from the bus and keep him while we waited at the hospital. It's a great comfort to have such a wonderful support system! Please continue to pray that Bill's stone passes quickly with the least amount of pain and resistance. And hopefully today will be considerably more boring than yesterday!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

One of Those Days Already

I had a good night's sleep considering Tucker wanted out around 12:30, which woke up Pea who also decided she needed out as well--you never know what's happening outside in the dark after midnight. You can't just let Tucker have all the fun and adventure by himself! You might miss something! Tucker typically is a quick pottier--he goes, he comes back in. He's a no fuss, no muss kinda guy. Plus it's getting colder out at night and he's got short fur. He's not been blessed with Ruby's thick, lush double layer coat. But Pea, on the other hand, is the typical woman... browsing... experiencing... checking for just the right spot to pee, oh...wait...not here. Maybe...over there...I think... hmmm... or.... there?? People who know Bassets know these are not fast dogs by any means or stretch of the imagination, unless there's a squirrel involved, but squirrels are not nocturnal and so night excursions are slow....lingering...regardless of temperature or weather conditions or taking into consideration that the human who let you out is standing barefoot on a ceramic tile floor freezing their hiney off and just wants to go back to bed and pillow and blanket before they're too wide awake and are now up for the rest of the day, er, night....See, Bassets sleep twenty-three and three-quarter hours out of every twenty-four hour day and have no trouble falling asleep after a chilly excursion out to the back yard. They have no trouble sleeping during an air raid or tsunami either...They're just blessed that way. Perhaps scientists should do a sleep study on Bassets in hopes of finding help for us human insomniacs who are unable to fall back asleep once our body temperature has reached the freezing point from waiting for said Bassets to get their super slow behinds back in the house already! Just a little consideration is all I'm asking for....that's not too much, is it?

Oh, so then Tucker, who started this whole fiasco in the first place...Mr. Gonna Chew Your Whole House Down whom we went toy shopping for yesterday....decides now that he's relieved himself out of doors and is feeling ALIVE! and WELL! that it's time to PLAY! with all the new TOYS Mom and Dad bought me! YAY! Look Mom! I have a BALL! It's a SQUEAKY BALL that BOUNCES down the hall and did you hear it SQUEAK?? SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK! This is around one in the morning now...and I'm just waiting for Bill to wake up cursing--and yes, that's the swear words, not just complaining or criticizing because he does not like to be woken up in the middle of the night by bouncing balls and squeaky toys or dogs jumping on his head in sheer joy of being alive at one a.m. He does not feel obliged to restrain himself from any sort of expletive at that point, so I'm the dark...and Tucker is bouncing his ball and his fifty pound self down the hall after it and squeaks it once or twice before realizing he also has a cow hoof to chew on! And Sweet Pea is not chewing on it at this time so it's safe to go reclaim his cow hoof and lay in the hall outside the bedroom doors, chewing this hoof, which is not a quiet thing to chew on at one-thirty in the morning as it knocks against the hard wood floor between chews and gnaws. So, I get up and take the cow hoof from him and put it up in bed so he'll follow. At least it will be quiet on the comforter. But a fifty pound puppy can really shake the bed when he's chewing on cow hooves. I just want to sleep but he doesn't seem interested in what I want. He has TOYS!! So I took the cow hoof and lead him out to the couch to chew and he seemed content and quiet there and didn't come back and somehow I fell back to sleep...hallelujah and amen.

Until four a.m. and the potty crew wanted back out again, or, more importantly, they wanted their morning treats. Since we have had some fat sassy pups in our home that get me lectured on weight maintenance at vet appointments, I've had to limit treats to once a day and that's always in the morning when my brain is still thinking rationally and I can remember who's had what and how many and who's not had any because the other one stole theirs and can still patiently retrieve this one's treat from that one's mouth and separate siblings until all treats have been properly consumed, which is not as easy at it sounds. Remember we have a Basset and Bassets are not fast dogs by any means or stretch of the imagination. She will HOLD her treats until everyone else has eaten THEIR treats and then tease them...Hahaha! I still have MY treat! You no idea how sinister and rotten these dogs can be with their sad, sappy, droopy eyes and jowls and ears down to their belly buttons. Okay dogs don't have belly buttons (why?? Why is that??) but if they did, Basset ears would droop to belly buttons. She is pure evil. I don't care how sweet and cute she looks. Don't ever buy a Basset and if you do, I warned you. Evilness.

All right, so we are now officially up and out and treats consumed and coffee on and partially drank and Bible read and devotionals read and Facebook scanned when I hear this moaning from the bedroom. Not a stretching, waking up, good morning again kind of moan, this is a "Can anybody hear me dying on my deathbed??" kind of moan. So I leave Facebook to go investigate and he's in serious pain. I offer to take him to the hospital. "No. I don't know. It hurts." I gathered that, hence the offer to take you to the hospital...I shake a couple Aleve from the medicine cabinet and offer a glass of water. He decides he'll wait. Tries to go back to sleep. The doctor opens at nine. I think from my Googling that he has a kidney stone. He has a history of gout and where and how he is describing the pain, I believe that's what behind his agony. So...after I get Michael on the bus, I'll be home calling the doctor and taking my love to see if they can make him feel any better...It's definitely been one of those days already and it's not even eight o'clock...*Sigh*

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Fifteen People I am Thankful for in My Life Today

Okay, I'm cheating this morning, using a journal prompt just so I don't end up on a Tucker rant for the day. He ate one of Michael's school shoes this morning. Chewed such a chunk of the sole that it was no longer wearable. I love this dog but he's wearing my patience very, very thin. Petco is on the agenda for our Wednesday Date Day to stock up a good supply of toys for him, hoping to appease his need for chewing and entertainment, indoors and out since his mouth seems find trouble wherever he goes...I'm seriously worried he'll end up eating something completely indigestible and make himself sick. He got into my yarn basket the other day and ate the box of stitch markers: little hard plastic loops used in knitting and crochet to keep track of rows or, well, stitches, hence the name stitch markers. Oh, and the little plastic box I kept them in. One of the markers got thrown up in bed last gross...

But I said this wasn't going to be a Tucker rant, didn't I? Sorry...So. The prompt was to make a list of fifteen people I am thankful for in my life today (probably gathered that from the title, didn't ya'? Huh, huh?) So here goes, in no particular order:

1.      Bill-my love monkey

2.      Michael-my Bug monkey

3.      Ashlee-step-daughter

4.      Missy A-sister friend

5.      Jen M-sister friend

6.      Diane P-monkey sister friend

7.      Andrea & Dave-sister and hubby

8.      Scoot-favorite uncle

9.      Ron & Jen-brother and wifey, who I’d almost given up hope of ever having them in my life…so especially thankful for them

10.  Cathy-sister friend

11.  Wendy-monkey sister friend

12.  Bud & Zoe-best neighbors ever

13.  Emilie-forever sister monkey friend

14.  Matt & Hope-for helping and believing in Michael

15.  Dad-even though you’ve passed, every day you’re always in my heart, biggest and best monkey of my life. Miss you so much!

Alright, so I there's a few more than fifteen in there--gotta keep the couples together, and Matt and Hope are Michael's bowling coaches, so they gotta go together. The monkey thing comes from our Women of Faith weekend and those so labeled will understand (you kinda had to be there) Bill and Michael, just know the monkey inference is a good thing! Who are your fifteen monkeys?

And now for a few pictures...

Nap time

So good to stretch out...

Something's just wrong with this picture...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hair Fiasco

I've learned a lesson the brutally hard way. "Be content with what you have." As a woman, that's a rather difficult precept. Especially when it comes to hair. Those who have straight hair want curly hair. Those who have curly hair want it straight. I fall into the latter group. My hair has not been my friend this year. I had almost gotten there, content with my curly, wiry mop. I don't know if it was the extreme humidity of this summer, but it seemed extra frizzy to me. My hairdresser suggested it was the increasing amount of grey hair making it more difficult. Grey hair apparently has more 'texture' than, shall we say 'younger colored hair'? A little slap in the middle-aged face...*sigh*

So I opted to have a relaxer done this summer, try to tame some of that wild kinky grey. That took a good bit of the frizz out but my hair was stuck in this weird state of half curly, half straight bizarre mess. I could flat iron it for a nice straight look but that takes so long! I'm a shake and go kinda girl-I don't have time or the desire to fuss over my hair. I tried a fat curling iron for a different look, still not what I was hoping to achieve.

Now there's the catch: just what I was hoping to achieve...Perfectly tossed, gently messy, no-fuss hair. Yeah? I had the picture in my head, but how to convey that to the poor stylist charged with trying to make my mane behave? It's a hopeless cause. Truly.

So, a few months past having the relaxer done and noticing my frizz trying to return, I decided to go all out, have it chemically straightened and...hopefully...much easier hair to flat iron....It seemed like such a great idea at the time.

You trust these people who do hair. And actually, the previous woman who did the relaxer on my hair referred me to a friend of hers who was more experienced with straightening hair, so I thought I ought to be able to put my faith in her, right? Oh, to simply be content with what we have...

I made my appointment for last Wednesday, wanting to be all straight and shiny for my big weekend downtown at the WOF conference. Bill was off that day so he tagged along and waited while I committed hair suicide, then we'd go off to our Wednesday lunch date after.

New hair lady was very nice, shop spacious and cheery. She even had the Christian radio station playing and Scripture signs decorating the salon along with a couple beautiful pictures of Jesus. I felt completely at ease as I placed my confidence and my head of hair in her hands. I didn't worry when the straightening chemical started burning my scalp-I thought surely some discomfort is normal in a procedure like this. The tingling subsided as she rinsed and conditioned my newly straightened hair. I faced away from the mirror so couldn't see myself as she blew my hair dry and flat ironed it smooth and sleek. But as she swung the chair around so I could see the finished result, my heart sank into my stomach. It was so thin! And flat! I smiled half-heartedly--good girls are gracious and never rude. I thanked her, paid the bill, and slunk out of the shop, shorn and sad.

I didn't realize until the next day she had burned off a good portion of my hair. As I ran my fingertips along my scalp all I could feel were sharp stabs of stubble. More so in the front of my head but not so bad in the back. I feel almost bald, it's so thin around my face. I can't help but wonder what disaster awaits as my hair grows back in, kinky curly short chunks of hair competing with the longer straightened hair...It could be a good time to invest in some cute hats...

So, I've certainly learned my lesson to be content with the frizzy fuzz the good Lord has blessed me with. Never again will I attempt to 'fix' what He so graciously gave. There has to be a better way to tame the burly beast...

Monday, October 10, 2011


From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
~James 3:10

I bought a little travel size bottle of lavender body spray to keep in my purse. I love the smell of lavender and every now and then a quick spritz on a wrist, under the ear just refreshes. Every girl wants to smell pretty. Giving me a hug the other day, Michael caught a whiff of the new fragrance and said, "Mom, you smell like an angel!" Now you know that just melted my heart and made me go all squishy inside. Sweet words from my sweet boy is better than chocolate on any day.

Rewind a couple weeks ago...a completely different story. I was sitting on the couch watching TV and my sweet precious boy comes over, pokes me in the thigh, and asks, "Mom, why are your legs so jiggly and fat?" Heart dropped right out of my chest through the floor, laying broken and throbbing beside the treadmill below me. Really? I don't think more crushing words could have come from his mouth. I can handle the "I hate you"'s because I know he doesn't really mean them. But "Why are you so fat?" crumbles me to my very core. Especially because I've worked so hard to lose weight the past couple of years and have made it from a size 14, almost 16, back down to a much happier size 8. Still, yes, cellulite lingers on the thigh region. No matter how many miles I log running, I think I will always have that trouble spot. Most days I can deal with it. But to have that flaw dished out and handed to me from my child...yeah, that hurts.

Blessings and curses come from the same mouth. Smelling like an angel with fat jiggly thighs...Ten year olds don't really know better. But I am just as guilty of the same thing. I struggle greatly with controlling what comes out of my mouth. I want it to be all blessings, laced with grace, building up, not tearing down--but some days it comes so easily to complain, to criticize. Words tumbling out before you can jam the jaw shut. My brothers, this ought not be so...

I read a devotional a while back about this topic of controlling our speech. There was the acronym, THINK, and I wrote it down because it was a great way to remember what should come out of our mouths...if we just remember to think first. Here it is:

Are your words-

Sometimes remembering this stops me from cursing-and that doesn't simply mean swearing-it is the complaining, criticizing, crippling words that crush hearts, matter how unintentionally, the damage is done. Sometimes irreparably. We all know how much mean words can hurt us and I don't want to make anyone feel that way. And there's already so much negativity in this world, complaining only compounds the misery, drawing attention to what's wrong, pulling someone else down into the mire. Why? Why would we want to do that?

THINK before you a blessing.

Sweet Bugalicious

Beautiful fall foliage