Sunday, December 31, 2006

White Birthday

I didn't get my White Christmas, but Iowa came through for my birthday. So happy. I didn't even change out of my church clothes before I started to play.

My kids are out in it right now. That means we'll have hot chocolate and then I will get to open birthday presents. Or maybe I should say present. My hubby loves my birthday so he tends to give me all my gifts early, but he usually holds one back for the big day. He also tells me I am pretty everyday, so I really don't need any presents, because that is a biggie every day of the year.

I usually get breakfast in bed, but I had to be at church earlier than everyone else, so they took me out to lunch instead. Then tonight we get to do the New Year's Eve thing with friends. So, with the snow, it's a practically perfect day.

Friday, December 29, 2006

I switched

I have finally succumbed after months of invitations from blogger to switch to the new version. It was a nail biter, let me tell ya.

So far, nothing seems amiss. But let me know if there is something not quite right.

Up next... Resolutions. To resolve or not to resolve. That is the question.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

A whole new dimension

Tattling has been taken to the nth degree.

My children received digital cameras for Christmas.

There is now visual proof of all wrong doings, mess-makings, nose-pickings, cookie sneakings... what have you.

One child is more apt to 'tell'. She is thisclose to having her camera confiscated.

Also, I have never seen more unflattering pictures of myself than I have these last few days. It ain't pretty. I have banned all pictures of mommy unless I am 'ready'! Ready means lipstick on, hair fluffed, clothing pulled down over my belly. I mean, really. No one wants to see that.

My children love to jump out at me when they think they can make me jump. Now they do it with a flash.

Here's hoping the fascination wears off soon.

So, what did you get for Christmas?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Merry Christmas

and Happy New Year!

See you next week!

Monday, December 18, 2006

If you care...

Ozzy shoulda won.

That's all I have to say about that.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I've learned that...

even the best cat cannot be trusted.

I should rearrange the Christmas ornaments when the kids aren't looking so as to not hurt their feelings.

butternut squash is DE-lish! Love it. Can't believe I've gone thirty-ahem, cough, cough, years without it.

I will never buy metallic gift wrap again. Pretty, but tape doesn't stick. I keep accusing the kids of peeking.

it is possible to bake without tasting. A new skill I hope to employ throughout the season of baking.

freezing the bananas makes a better smoothie.

being a morning person is easier than I thought it could be.

exercise isn't so terrible.

I really do prefer a white Christmas. Where is my snow?

I can only push down my slobby tendencies so long before they emerge and force me to leave piles around my home.

working a very part time job and being home, even in an empty house, is a good thing for me.

I'm nicer when I don't eat sugar.

choosing presents gets harder every year.

Thats all for now. What have you learned lately?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Vetoed for the Christmas card

Yesterday was the official picture taking day for the family Christmas card. I was hoping to get out main street lights in there, but these just didn't work. So, you get to see the bloopers! Aren't the backs of my kids' heads cute?

We usually take about 50 pictures to get one suitable one. This street is much prettier with snow but we haven't had a big snowfall yet. It's also way prettier in real life.

Back to work for me. I hope to get the cards out before Christmas actually arrives.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Save the Snowman

Here's a hangman like word game you might enjoy. There's some funny stuff over there!

Have fun!

Stories and Worship

Found an interesting book project. You may want to head over to Story and Worship to see what it's about.

Jeff Barker, the author, is asking "What does story have to do with worhsip?" He would like feedback on his stories and comments about your own experiences with story in worship.

Here's a quote:

“What does story have to do with worship?” How would you answer that question? Think of Bible story, history, personal narrative, parable and other stories.

But think also of the structure of story itself.

Regarding the structure of story as a shaping influence for an entire worship service, Tim Wright, one of the pastors at Community Church of Joy, has called it “story-driven worship.” At my home church, we sometimes call it “story-formed worship.” Norma de Waal Malefyt, of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, suggests that we think of worship style as a novel rather than a magazine.

I particularly liked this story.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Once upon a time...

Happily ever after.

We've been married 19 years, today.

Happy anniversary to us!

Monday, December 04, 2006

My Worlds Collide

There are some days when I am up and at 'em. The picture of productivity. The busy bee who gets the job done in no time flat and keeps on ticking. I LOVE it when I am this person.

I love it when people pop over on these days. They discreetly look around and and ask, "Wow, is your house always this clean?" I laugh and tell them they got me on a good day. You never know what you'll get on a surprise visit to my house.

Other days, I feel tender. I need to take care of myself. I may take a long shower and put my pajamas back on. I'll make tea and read or watch an old movie. Maybe bake something or fold some towels, but that's really the limit to what I will do on what I call a 'bless my little heart' day.

Today, I really, really want that soft, easy day. I want to wrap up in my blankie and not move. I feel fine, I'm not sad. In fact, I feel pretty up beat today (except that I had a dental cleaning and no one likes those.)

Unfortunately, I am still cleaning up from the cookies, I have two days of dishes and about 80 gazillion loads of laundry, two bathrooms to clean and I really need to start thinking about Christmas. My list is long today. It is calling my name and I don't want to answer.

So, what will I do? Ignore it all and take my lazy day? Suck it up and get to work?

I'll let you know when I decide.

Friday, December 01, 2006

More cookies

It's fund raiser time at our middle school. We were asked to bring cookies. Lots of 'em.

A rainbow of frosting. Cream cheese. Yum.

Aren't they so beautiful? I don't want anyone to eat them.

Doesn't that look homey? There is just something so satisfying about Christmas baking.

Here's the best part. I put my name on a list to bake for other people and THEY PAID ME! Need some baking done? I'm for hire.

Here's a tip for your cut outs. Instead of rolling them out with flour, use powdered sugar. That way your cookies don't taste like paste, as cut outs are wont to do.

Now I need to settle down and get some Christmas gifts made. Anyone have any good ideas for a small, simple, quick, inexpensive favor to give to people I appreciate or have affection for? Let me know!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Anti-NaNo

Go check out the six-word memoir contest. Now this might be do-able! Read the sidebar when you pop over. The one by 'Margaret Atwood' is classic.

If you play, leave your memoir in my comments. I'm going to be mulling mine over today. Hmm. Maybe not as easy as I expected. Contest ends on Christmas Day.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Did you know that whipped cream has less than one carb, 0 grams of trans fat and is only 15 measly calories for about two tablespoons?

Some people think they are being so noble, eschewing the whip, taking the non-fat milk. But really, after your barista just pumped in 4 oz. of your flavor of choice, at 70 calories per pump no less, are you really being that noble?

So often, my hand is poised above your steaming cup of joe, trigger finger at the ready. I ask, "whip?" And you let me down.

JUST TAKE THE WHIPPED CREAM! It's really the most fun part of making your coffee!

A cozy day

Yesterday was fabulous.

I got up and did the gym thing, came home and made the kids real hot chocolate on the stove. Whip cream, sprinkles, the works.

Got the kids off to school. I got a ton of chores done in a short amount of time. (Even did the kitchen floor!)

Took my shower, and as I had nowhere to go and a completely blank calendar, I put on fresh pajamas and left the make up off my face. Yummy.

Had lunch with the hubby, watched The Bell's of St. Mary on dvd. I made a homemade pizza for dinner, which wasn't a big hit, but that's okay. Made cut out cookies.

Cleaned up the kitchen. Put away laundry. Brushed my teeth and read in bed until I was ready for sleep.

It was practically perfect and just what I needed.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The voices in my head

I like to read your blogs! It's like a little surprise every morning. (Or afternoon or evening!)

Some of you are like clockwork. A little ray of sunshine with a morning cup of chocolate. (You know who you are. I appreciate your consistency.)

Some of you I have to wait, but mostly it's worth it. I will check in everyday, and take a quick peek at the photo or title, and either groan and say, yay! A new post.

Some of you post several times a day, so if I miss a day or two, I will have eight or nine posts to catch up on and that is fun too.

Each of your blogs sound different in my head. If I have a real life friend who is from your area of the country, then that is what you sound like.

bobbie was easy. She recently posted a talk that she gave in her community, and I think what I made up was pretty close to what I heard. Very full of emotion and care and a desire to really communicate with you.

My Okie blogger sounds like my friend Tammy, who is also an Okie via somewhere else in the South, so she may sound a tad more twangy in my head than she might be in person. Who knows, perhaps we'll see oneday.

All the Northeastern seaboard people pretty much sound the same to me. You are all broads. You are full-throated and a teensy bit nasal-y, dawling. You have a good laugh. All but blackbird who for some reason sounds British-lite to me. Must be because she spells things like crappe and shoppe and colour. She writes with good allocution.

Sarah Louise is a little hip-hop mixed in with the dawling, n'at.

The Aussies all sound like Nicole Kidman. I hope that's a compliment. I like it, anyway. I don't know any Australians in person, so it's the best I got.

Lissa is like a morning DJ. Erin is like a calm and soothing yoga instructor. Kathryn sounds like me, because I'm from where she is, but I know she's not native. Mair sounds like honey, whatever that would sound like.

All you crafty bloggers sound a little home and garden TV-ish. Put together and stylish. The booky blogs are a combination of the northeastern and the quiet, friendly librarian who takes the trouble to pop an altoid to cover her coffee breath. I like her.

Some of you are new to me. You have your voices, but I am just discovering them.

I keep blogging because of you. I'm not as consistent, but I feel like you have invited me into your world so I ought to return the favor. You know, the whole hospitality thing. Of course, you serve me wonderful full course meals and I give you grilled cheese with tomato soup. But that's yummy sometimes, too!

So, thank you for the hour or so that I spend with you everyday. My world has increased because of what you write and show me with your pictures.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

May your day be blessed and filled with love and warmth.

Happy Thanksgiving all you bloggy friends!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006




Monday, November 20, 2006

Half way through

I saw Stephen King on a talk show of some sort, talking about his new 'love story'. It sounded like he really liked what he wrote and was excited for the book to be out. I adore a love story and was happy to hear he had something that I might like. I've read some of his books, the less scary ones and of course, I've read 'On Writing', which is great.

Well, Lisey's Story is not exactly what I expected. There's love, but I wouldn't really call it a love story. And IT'S SCARY! And a tad weird. But I think I like it. I'm pretty sure I like it. He's got a way with words. It made me stay up late last night anyway.

I do think there has been a little misrepresentation about the nature of this story. I think he just wanted to get the chicks to buy it.

Have you read it yet? Are you going to? Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A milestone

My son, the sweetest boy ever, has finally learned how to take a vitamin that isn't chewy or in the shape of a gummy animal.

It is a proud day.

There was much gagging and dribbling and general upheaval. Simultaneous tears and laughter. Spewing of water.

He seemed to think it might help to put his whole hand in there along with the vitamin.

Visual aids were necessary.

Eventually, after many tries and a few soggy vitamins, the helpful minerals and nutrients went down the right way and my son is further down the path toward manhood. Woo hoo.

I'm a little embarrassed that I got the camera out. But it really was funny.

Young Bakers

Yesterday there were twelve little girls in my house. We baked. We made a huge mess and had lots of fun. I will, however, be picking dough out of my carpet for some time to come.

Each girl got to cream her own butter, add all her own ingredients and crack her own egg. Some of them cracked their first egg. I was honored!

These girls are in a group that take turns meeting at each other's homes to learn a new craft or skill every month. Last month we dyed our own fabric with fresh flowers and made a fall-ish wall hanging. This month was baking. We are excited to see what the next months bring.

I could tell these girls felt special. It really is amazing to see how much fun a little butter and sugar can be, and how much joy it can produce in a life. Not to mention, real milk chocolate chips. Yum. The most amazing part is that I only ate one cookie! A feat in and of itself.

When everyone had their dough finished, I passed around the secret ingredient. They all vigorously shaked in extra doses of LOVE. You can't bake without it.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A delicious book, gobbled whole

Claudia Mair (rhymes with fire) Burney's debut novel is a winner. It is a read in one sitting, neglect the chores, serve sandwhiches for dinner, type of book.

Murder, Mayhem and a Fine Man is part mystery, part romance, part chick-lit. Amanda Bell Brown is a heroine to love. She flirts with the man of her dreams, and promptly pukes on him, when they visit a crime scene that is vaguely familiar to her. All this while wearing a knock-out dress, high heels and a whole lot of attitude. I like her!

The story goes on to unravel not only the secrets of what appears to be a religious suicide, but the painful past of Bell's youth. There is a huge 'Don't go in there!' moment, but this is where Bell gets to do some serious business of facing her history and while making sure there is a future for girls who are in a place she has been.

This is a fast-paced, fun read. I like that the main characters have struggles, that they aren't perfect, that they actually have physical attraction to each other. They sin and they have to take care of it with God. So many 'Christian' books have such perfect little characters that they don't resemble anyone I personally know. Bell, Jazz, (the fine man) and Carly (Bell's sassy sister) have conversations like the people I know, although they have them while eating quality chocolate and wearing much better clothes than any of my friends have!

I can't wait to see what Mair has in store for us next. In the mean time, I will keep reading her blog, which is an open, raw, painfully at times honest journal of her real life, her walk and love of Jesus. She can really lay it out there and doesn't pull any punches. Be prepared to be moved and changed by her words when you visit there.

Friday, November 10, 2006

A pocketful of posies

Just look at these cute little pups. So adorable.

I would like to share with you, my internet buddies, a new find. Posie gets cozy is a new favorite crafty site. I just love, love, love it.

Everything over there is unique and feminine. Lots of floral, vintage, antique-y type stuff. She takes things from the Goodwill and turns them into really cool stuff. I don't think she is selling them anymore, but she had some bags made from striped sweaters that were super cute.

The blog always has tons of photos. Alicia's house looks like a place to stop and have a cup of tea with a friend. So homey and warm. When at the blog, click on the posie button to see the website. Alicia will be updating it this Monday with lots of new stuff to buy. If you have any Christmas money to spend, this would be a great place to visit. So much more satisfying than going to the mall.

I am always so impressed with people in the cottage arts industry. They get to make stuff all day, they never seem to run out of ideas, and every idea is more clever than the one before. When I find a site that doesn't look like the same old bazaar stuff that I've seen for the last 20 years, I know I've found a true artist. I'm sure it gets old or boring sometimes, but I still think it's a great business.

Go visit Posie and her rosy little things and see if you aren't charmed.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My first recipe post

I'm surprised it took me this long. I'm not the best or the worst cook in the world, but I can hold my own. Fall does something to me though and I become this super baker. Cookies, pie, cake, breads, especially breads. I'm already planning my Christmas cookies.

Here is a wonderful, easy Pumpkin Spice Bread that can be done in loaves, a bundt cake or a lot of little mini-loaves to give away as gifts. I have made it for dessert for company and for a snack to go with coffee, and both times it was all gone, so that's saying something. I put a little cream cheese frosting glaze, but you don't have to. It also has A LOT of sugar in it, so next time I'm going to decrease and see what that does, but for now, I'll give it to you as I know it.

3 Cups sugar
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 oz.) solid pumpin (or bake your own pumpkin)
1 tsp. baking soda
1tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. pumpkin pie seasoning
(or you can use cloves and all spice, but it makes the bread a lot more powerful. Smells great, but kind of potent to taste, I think. I never really learned to like cloves.)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 Cup water

Combine sugar, oil, eggs. Add pumpkin and mix well. Combine dry ingredients and add to pumpkin mixture, alternating it with the water. Pour into greased loaf pan, bundt pans, whatever. Bake at 350 for 60 - 65 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes then cool on a wire rack.

For a drizzle topping, melt a big spoonful of cream cheese and half a cube or butter or margarine, add a little milk, and a cap full of vanilla, then shake in powdered sugar until you get the consistency you like. I probably used 1/2 - 3/4 of cup.

Give it a try and tell me how you like it. Happy baking and nesting and any other cozy fall thing you are doing.

Monday, November 06, 2006


These young lovers are my mom and dad. I'm so glad I have this photo.

I think every kid deserves to know that their parents loved each other.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Shaken and Stirred

Straight Up is the newest offering by one of my favorite contemporary authors, Lisa Samson. Not only does she write good books, she gets the best covers!

This book is written from the perspective of two incredibly talented women, Georgia and Fairly, who are not close, but are tied together through family and circumstance. They are living lives and making choices from fear and grief and stubborness. Their decisions take them places that are scary, stupid and very harmful.

Frankly, their stories scared the hell out of me. I am taking a good, hard look at some of the things I struggle with and wonder if I am taking myself away from what my best life on earth could be.

Although Georgia and Fairly go to some dark places, they are loved through them by a caring uncle, a husband who finally steps up, a gracious woman who feeds them well (be prepared to crave fried chicken!) and an extended group of interesting characters that serve each other with love and kindness, becoming family to one another.

There is a side story that really tugged at my heart. It's the story of a young girl who is either being neglected or having the kind of attention dumped on her that no one wants. Her family can't love her the way they are supposed to, but people are placed in her life who care for her in very fundamental and hands on ways. Again, making me aware that I need to be available for someone who may need me to be that for them.

Lisa's books always feel like they are filled with people I know. People who struggle with the same things my friends struggle with. The characters have conversations that seem so familiar to me. She touches on things that I have a tendency to avoid until they are problems and I am forced to deal with them. Her books make you aware of the world and how important your place in it is.

So, thank you, once again Lisa, for a beautiful, grace-filled book. I loved it.

Please click on Author Intrusion on my sidebar to visit Lisa's blog and to order your own copy of this tremendous book.


I love this month. Lissa listed her top reasons why she loves it on her blog and when I commented I got inspired to make my own list. I love lists, too. Here goes, in no particular order.

My first daughter was born in November.

Sweater weather.

Housework seems to be easier and I'm a little more joyful about it.

Everything is cool and fresh and clear.

There could be snow!

(Gratuitous picture of Scout, the wonder dog)

Baking, muffins, banana bread, pumpkin spice cake, cream cheese frosting...

Thanksgiving and all that it entails.

Pink cheeks and mittens.

Hot chocolate, hot tea, warm friendship circles. We have more company.

I tend to get out all my hobbies. Knitting, scrapbooking, quilting. You name it and I'll dig it out in November.

I get a little more creative. I dress a little better. I write letters. I move furniture.

No more lawn mowing!

Candles. Lots and lots of candles.

Anyone else?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

You Are a Little Scary
You've got a nice edge to you. Use it.
How Scary Are You?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Marigold Path Grid Blog: My dad

For more grid blog links, go here
Photo by Adam Walker Cleaveland

I do not think I properly grieved the death of my dad. I still ache and tears come easily when I think of him and what his life should have been, what my life should have been.

My dad was 41 years old when he died. I was 15.

It was an afternoon in the summer of 1984. My dad had begun a health kick. Exercising, eating better. He had adult onset diabetes and heart trouble that he didn’t know about. He asked me to go jogging, but I didn’t want to. I was watching a show, but when I saw him head out by himself he seemed lonely, so I jumped up and ran to catch up with him. He gave me a big smile and we headed off to the track.

We always had good times together. He was an excellent dad, very comfortable to be around, easy and laid back. We chatted in the car and he probably let me drive. He was teaching me a stick shift, but we took the automatic. Weird, the things I remember.

We got to the track, stretched a little and started off. We did a few laps, and sang together while we ran. We didn’t go long before we decided to sit down. There was a log or an old telephone pole that we sat on. We were talking about something funny and then he just slumped over.

I thought he was joking. I nudged him, told him to cut it out, then saw that his forehead was all skinned up and he was bleeding and throwing up. I started screaming and waved some people over who started CPR right away. These people told me later that they had just taken a CPR class the week before. While they pumped and breathed, I ran across the street to call 911.

Ambulances came and took him away. I don’t remember much about him being loaded up, but I remember watching the man who gave my dad CPR lean over and spit out my dad’s vomit. That man put me in his car and followed the ambulance because they wouldn’t let me ride with them.

I called Michael (who would be my husband someday) to go get my mom. Telling him not to let her drive, but to go get her and bring her to the hospital, but not really knowing what hospital I was in. I sat in a plastic chair waiting for someone to tell me what was happening.

My family arrived and we were ushered into a small room where we were told in harsh and brusque terms that my dad didn’t make it. That, in fact, he was dead before he was even loaded up in the ambulance. I watched him die and didn’t know it.

It was terrible, and it is still terrible. I cannot make meaning of it, and cannot think of one good thing that came of it. Maybe God can, but I can’t.

So, that is the bad stuff. Now, let me tell you some good stuff.

My dad was a TV and video game lover. Our evenings would revolve around the A-team and trips to the arcade. I never saw anyone who could beat him at pac-man. He had all the ghost routes memorized and I’m sure that had he been born a generation later, he would have been an amazing computer software designer.

He was balding, but never did the comb over. He was strictly a ‘slick-back’ kind of guy. He had a unique way of nudging his glasses up on his nose. He never did the finger on the bridge push, but grasped the whole outside lens with forefinger and thumb, little pinky extended. It doesn’t matter what a man looks like, but if he uses that mannerism, he always looks like my dad to me.

My earliest recollection of my dad is him combing tangles out of my hair. When he hit a snag, he would pull a mickey mouse out of his pocket and tell me it was a rat he got out of my hair.

My dad was the most artistic and creative person I have ever met. He always had a hobby going. When macrame was big, he created doll house sized plant hangers that looked just like the real thing. He painted with oils, did jig saw work on wood, baked striped Christmas cookies and thumbprints with jam. The supplies in our garage could have kept us busy for years.

He built a hot dog stand. He wanted to quit his job and sell hot dogs for a living, but when he saw the panic in my mom’s eyes, kept his job as an accountant. He was a good husband. A good example of what I should look for in my own man, when the time came.

He thought it was fun to load the family up and take us somewhere on the spur of the moment. Sometimes it would be a drive and an ice cream cone, or a visit to a new restaurant. Other times, it was to sit in line at the gas tanks so we could have the extra family time while we waited out the gas crunch in the 70’s.

Dad loved God and was faithful in our church. He had a meaningful spiritual life that was a evident to people who watched him. He didn’t just say that he loved God, it was obvious in the way that he lived his life that it was real for him.

My dad was generous, often giving people money in such creative ways that they didn’t feel bad about accepting it. One time, he put five dollar bills in balloons and filled them with helium. When someone was in need, he noticed and did what he could.

I am convinced that he would have been the best grandfather to ever live.

I miss him and I miss what life would have been with him. I feel like our family would have skipped over some of the troubles we’ve had if we would have had his insight and wisdom on matters. He was a discerning, practical man with good common sense, while still being whimsical, fun and spontaneous.

Even though I feel it would have been better to have him here with us longer, I do see God’s provision in his death. There were family and friends and church people who rallied around us. There were people who knew what to do and how to administer CPR at the time of dad’s death. My dad didn't die alone because I wanted to watch TV. I don't think I could have handled that.

I met the man I would marry at a young age. Michael got to know and love my dad, and my dad knew and loved Michael. He even gave his blessing on our marriage before I even had a clue that Michael had his eye on me. Which is a story for another day.

Even so, I still think it would have been better had he lived. Maybe not... who really knows. There are always what ifs, and could have beens. But it is still so raw for me. There is still healing that needs to be done in my heart and I’m not quite sure how that is supposed to happen. I believe that there is a purpose to everything that happens in our lives. And really, even though I feel a tad cheated, my life has been blessed. God has always taken care of me and I know that the things that happen, even the bad stuff, will be good stuff in the end.

I think telling the story of my dad‘s death is a good jumping off point for the work that needs to be done in my heart. I think just getting the facts out, even though it doesn’t read like the poignant story of healing I someday wish it will be, is good.

Well, if you made it to the end, thanks for sticking around. I know this was long and I thank you for reading my story.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Nuthin' much

Random thoughts and sights...

I saw the UPS guy and the Fed-Ex guy eating lunch together in a restaurant yesterday.

I love clean sheet day!! If I weren't so lazy, everyday would be clean sheet day.

The new Apple scented air freshener from Febreeze is very nice and autumny.

My 3rd grade daughter is singing full blast with head phones on and doesn't realize how very adorable she is just now.

My piano bench is dusty. I will take care of that in just a bit.

I walked on the treadmill for 68 minutes today. A Cary Grant movie was on, but I don 't know how it ends because I had to move on.

I found a dress for my daughter to wear to 'Knights and Ladies' day at school. It is black and filmy with an gold band under the bodice that looks positively medieval. $4.97 on the bargain rack! We rolled her hair in curls and she looked very beautiful.

The fan in my bathroom needs to be fixed.

I need to mop.

I am proscrastinating the mopping and the dusting and the....

I have kept a to-do list all week, and has made my days go much better. I will continue the trend.

We are having friends to dinner tomorrow.

This concludes the putting off of chores. Have a wonderful day!

UPDATED: I have mopped and vacuumed and made corn muffins. My house is delicious and cozy and warm. What a happy feeling.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I love books

I love to read. I love a good story. I don’t even mind a bad one. Rarely do I put a book aside; I always have hope that a poor book will turn around, that the author might suddenly learn to create an interesting sentence. Even when they don’t, I keep plugging along. Sheesh, they got the thing published and that is a feat in and of itself. Right?

After much reading of blogs, I have found that most people will quit a book if it’s uninteresting, bad or just bugs them. This is very intimidating news for someone like me, who has ‘aspirations’. I think I read too many book blogs. I'm getting a complex. Some readers can deconstruct a book, tell you the theme, recommend it or pan it. Me? I either like it or don’t, chalk it up to personal taste and move on.

Once, I thought I would like to review books as a living, or become an editor. Now, I realize that these professions aren’t just about reading for enjoyment. They are about telling people why to like something, why it’s worthy of acquisition, why not to waste time on it. I’m not sure I’m cut out for that. I would have to change my approach to books, and I don’t know if I’m willing to do that.

So, now that I’m thinking of getting on the writing train, I wonder what kind of book will I write. Will I have a book good enough to be published? Or worse, will I have a bad book that gets published? Will readers put up with my learning curve? I have a feeling I’m asking these questions as a way to procrastinate the actual writing of my book, which makes the questions silly, eh?

I’ll just have to keep writing the thing and ask these questions later.

In other news, I just received two books in the mail to review on my blog. I already know I’ll like them both. One is by someone who hasn’t had a book I haven’t liked yet. The other is a newbie, but if her book is anything like her blog, I know it’ll be a winner. I will, however, endeavor to tell you why I like them and maybe even try to find, as Frank McCourt says, ‘the deeper meaning’.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Some signs from our vacation.

Burgerville! The best place for a hamburger and milk shake. If you live in the Northwest, you are so lucky!

I saw a sign in my coffee shop that says "All unattended children will be given a free espresso and a puppy". That'll teach 'em.

I'm not sure what this guy has against elephant ears, but his feelings are strong enough for a sign.

Now, if I were like my internet friend, Shanna, I would segue into how these signs are representitive of something in my life and draw some kind of meaningful conclusion. She recently paralleled Battlestar Galactica with her writing life. That's something.

But me? I got nothing. Not yet, anyway. If I get an epiphany, I'll be sure to let you know.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I've got a brand new bag

A while back I discovered a blog called Biscotti Togs, written by Erin. The day I found her she had the cutest, little messenger bag posted and I wanted it. I wrote right away, but it had already been snatched up.

Erin said not to worry. She would whip another one right up. Not only that, but I made some requests about pockets and size, and she said I could have whatever I wanted. So, a custom bag was born. She even found a zipper that matched this crazy orangey-red fabric. I love it! Pretty shiny.

I told Erin my bag had to be able to fit my Steno, a water, my camera, wallet and all those items I have to carry around for kids. Right now it even has two library books in it. It is so roomy. I want to move in.
It is so warm looking and fall-ish. I've gotten complements already, and it's only been in use for a few hours.

So, if you need a brand new, custom bag, pop on over to Erin's shop. Visit her blog archives to see all the cool things she has made. She will even tell you the story behind the vintage or unique fabric from which your bag is made.
Thank you so much, Erin. You are a gem and I'm glad you are my new bloggy friend.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A good mommy

I got this picture off one of those internet chain letters that I get all the time. The kind if you don't forward then you really are a horrible friend and all your friends will leave you and you will be left an empty shell to die alone... you know the ones I'm talking about.

Well, normally I delete them all, (I'm risky that way) but I thought this was precious. What a sweet example of selfless motherhood.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Alright, already

From the time that school started, I have had two goals:

1) To get the rooms of this house in shape, closets organized, drawers de-junked, clothes gone through, clutter abolished.

2) To continue on past chapter three of the book I am trying to write.

I have done neither. However, my mail is trying to get me off my duff and get me going. Freaky, or what?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Knitting 101

Here is my first completed project from my class. A bufonda and a gorra de lana. Not sure if I spelled that right, but that's scarf and hat in Spanish.

Here is my little sweetums modeling for me. I hope she doesn't lose the set on the playground. The scarf is wrapped twice so it's longer than it looks. The hat only took an afternoon. I was so pleasantly surprised.

Next up, Irish wrist warmers and then maybe something a little more challenging or at least larger. One lady has finished a whole sweater and is at least half way finished on a second.

Even though I don't understand everything said, I am at least getting some of the gist of the conversation before it is translated into English. Regardless of language, this is a comfortable place to spend a couple of hours on a Wednesday morning.

Our Instruments

It's Show and Tell Thursday, so here are my musical instruments. Some of which are not actually used to create any music, but to hold various odds and ends of a boy's life. I think that is a Santa hat on the floor. Time for a mommy overhaul in that room, I think.

This keyboard belongs to the number one girl. She likes the Seahawks. She is good and uses her instrument regularly. She sings along with her playing and makes me very happy.

The guitar and the piano belong to me. The guitar gets more use. I use it to make up songs for my kids that make them blush with glee as their names are immortalized forever. Or for as long as the song lasts.

The piano has not had it's fall makeover yet and it's summer do is looking a little sad. I did find some painted pumpkins to quick put on there, but they will not be staying. I have gourds and leaves in mind. Our cat also likes that piano so we tied a little toy on the knob for her to bat around. Classy!

Below is a little 1/2 sized violin that my 3rd grader is learning on. It is only a rental as she will most likely outgrow it by the end of this year and need a 3/4 size. We will purchase a 4/4 when her arms are long enough. She is so adorable and I wish she was home so I could snap a photo of her holding. Her posture and technique are something to behold. {{{Beaming!}}} She has a little alarm clock on the handle to help her to remember to be on time for her lesson, provided during Social Studies time, every fifth day, at her school.

We also have three trombones in their cases that are not pictured. One from hubby's high school and college days. (He had a partial scholarship!) And two purchased for middle school band that have been soundly rejected. Thus, the violin rental.

Also not shown are various and sundry items, such as recorders, kazoos and other noise makers.

Wow, I didn't realize how musical we were. Thanks, Suse!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Go Here

Go read Reason #63. I promise, You. Will. Laugh! Then, write Heather a nice, encouraging note. Motherhood Rocks!

My first meme

I've never done a meme, never been 'tagged', don't know what meme means and wouldn't know how to go about 'tagging' someone else (does it involve a can of spray paint?). But, this one from Sarah Louise, via some of her friends, looked a little different than the norm, so I'm gonna do it. I just might learn a little bit about my own self.

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, find line 4. Write down what it says. "al.le.giance (e le'jens), n. loyalty to a government, sovereign, person, group or cause." The Random House Webster's Dictionary.

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can...what do you touch first? My tea, extra milk, two splenda's.

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV? Half of Boston Legal, before I fell asleep.

4. Without looking, what time is it? 2:06 pm

5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time? 2:10 pm

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear? Our dogs barking.

7. When did you last go outside? It's early out day from the elementary school. Went to pick up my girls. Very fall-ish and beautiful.

8. What are you wearing? New-to-me courdoroys from the thrift shop, t-shirt, cardigan, flip-flops and a smile.

9. When did you last laugh? With friends at knitting class.

10. Seen anything weird lately? I cleaned out the fridge the other day, so what does that say?

11. What did you dream last night? I don't remember last nights dream.

12. What's on the walls of the room you're in? My cork board full of pictures, writing guidelines, quotes, doo-dads from the kids, etc. The usual suspects.

13. What do you think of this survey? I'm having fun. It's my first meme, you know.

14. What's the last film you saw? Hollywoodland. Eh.

15. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy? A house on some property and a nice vacation.

16. Tell me something about you that I don't know. I am a sign-language interpreter, but as there is a very low deaf population where I live, I haven't worked in this field for a while. I hope I don't get too rusty.

17. If you could change one thing about the world, what would you change? Hate.

18. Do you like to dance? I like to embarrass my children with all my happenin' moves.

19. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her? We named her after family members. I think if I had to do it over again, I would have a theme, like maybe give everyone a flower name, or something.

20. Boy? I wouldn't change his name. His name fits him.

21. Would you ever consider living abroad? I would live in Vancouver, B.C, but don't think that counts as abroad. If I did live somewhere, I would want to be fluent in the language before I went.

Okay... I feel like a more official member of the blogging world now. And all it took was the amount of time to drink a cup of tea. So, since I don't know the real protocol, consider yourself tagged.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

My kids a poet

** This is a poem my 8th grade daughter has written for her English assignment. Since I have a photo illustration and am bursting with pride, I thought I would share it. Don't tell! P.S. I get to go see her read it aloud at school today. :)

I am in the Pacific Ocean
Alone with my quiet thoughts
Ankle deep, I stand in the foamy, cool ocean water
The waves roll in and I see the sun dip into the ocean
The mighty waves crash onto the sandy beach
I breath in the refreshing ocean air
I taste the salt of the sea on my lips
The cool breeze blows my hair, the sun warms my face, and I feel the churning ocean water tugging at my feet
My soul is at peace
I am on the sandy beach

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bits from our trip home this summer

Taken from the top of the Space Needle.

Long Beach, WA

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

How do you like my tat?

Kathryn from Daring Young Mom sent out bloggy tattoos that she got from her trip to Blogher. Here's mine. It says 'Blog This'. I'm feeling so tough!

I had to include the flip-flop photo, though, because just a few short weeks ago I had a pedicure with flowers painted on the toes and my feet looked oh, so cute. They were summer feet.

Summer is over. Please don't look too closely! Usually, I just stop painting my toes and by the time summer rolls around again I chip off the remnants of last years polish and start over again. This year, I actually took the polish off so my feet will be able to breathe comfortably all winter long, under their socks, slippers and boots.

My feet are the only part of my body that will miss summer. The rest of me is ready for fall and winter. I like sweaters and jeans and to be covered from head to ankles. My feet will continue to be as free as possible until they are too chilly to bare. Blackbird had some very cute Mary Janes posted that I may be interested in.

Pop on over to visit Kathryn. She will have a bunch of tattooed mommas on her site shortly. Meanwhile, my kids have informed me that I am not a 'tattoo person' and have recommended that I find the baby oil. Party poopers.

Chickens and such

Before I had kids, if you asked me "Guess what?", my answer would've been... Chicken Butt!

I loved saying that. I guess 14 years ago it was unique and funny and clever and witty and not as stupid as it sounds now?? Maybe?

Then I had a sweet, little ball of pink fluff who, in no time flat, became repeat to my 'peat'. When your toddler says chicken butt a hundred times a day it ceases to become amusing. When they say it to every stranger and teach it to every kid in the nursery it becomes downright embarrassing.

Not as embarrassing as my old neighbor, whose son would scream the 'sh' version of chicken manure any time a pre-school worker would try to change his diaper or in any way try to rein him in. Then, my little problem just became amusing again. Misery loves company.

Anyway, knowing how stupid I used to sound, and how much trouble those two little words caused in my world, why do I want to purchase this absurd shirt?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The joys and trials of small town life

I love my little, rural town. I really do. And sometimes I just want to go somewhere big, traffic and all, and be anonymous again.

I love that I can let my older kids walk a few blocks and go to the library by themselves. I can send them to the store for milk, or bread or whatever, and know that they'll be back inside of seven minutes.

On the up-side, other moms know my kids. I feel like my kids are watched over and cared for when I'm not being the over-proctective hawk that big town living has bred into me.

On the down-side, other moms know my kids. We are new here. We don't always 'get' the strange ways of this town. We buck the system a little bit, and ruffle feathers. Not that we didn't do that before, it's just that here, we are noticed.

We run into people we know everywhere. It's a good thing. I love seeing a friend at the grocery store and having a chat. If you want someone to hang out with, you just show up on a door step. Or someone shows up at yours. It's nice.

Of course, there are the times when you see someone you sort of recognize, can't quite place, and realize it's the doctor who just did your pelvic exam. I miss the days when I didn't run into the person who sees my inner most parts on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. Yes, I know. Doctors are people, too.

Same goes for teachers. I love seeing my little girls' teachers out and about. However, when you see the teacher you've had a problem with, the one you had to have a 'discussion' with, all over town and can see on teachers face that they think you are a terrible parent and should have never questioned their judgment... well, I could go on and on. I don't like it.

I don't like that I can smell cows. I REALLY don't like when the wind changes and I smell hogs instead. Gag.

I can run all my errands in under a half an hour, leaving me time to see a matinee if our little theater would realize that moms like movies too and start having a 1:00 show. Is that too much to ask??

I was wrong in thinking that we could talk to a parent about how their son was treating ours. I regret that day, as we made our son's life much, much harder.

I cannot tell you how much I adore our community swimming pool and all the friends we have made there.

I love my church and my pastor who knows us and seems to like us. He is accessible and because we see him all over the place, we know that he is who he is. He is the same guy at the pulpit that we see at the football games. My kids love him.

Quality of life here is high. You don't have to fight 30 minutes of traffic to get anywhere. Although I do have to drive 45 minutes to the nearest Target. A crime! There are parks, outdoor walking trails, indoor rec centers, festivals, music in the park, organized sports, unorganized sports, white Christmases, neighbors who bake for one another, and lots more.

I guess I am still getting used to a more transparent life. People see me, know me, put up with me and accept me. I used to get to choose who got to do that, but here, we are all piled up within a two mile radius and the lack of elbow space creates more 'cozy' living. Whether we want it or not.

There are still those smile and nod, everything-is-fine type of people. But now I have people who call me out, ask me why I say I'm fine when my eyes are saying something else. It's messy and not always comfortable, but very, very good.

It's not always the smooth, idealic, sailing that I once thought it would be, but it is definitely less trials, more joy.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Knitting and new friends

Today I joined a bi-lingual knitting class at my church. The lovely lady in charge spoke both English and Spanish fluently. Everyone else spoke Spanish.

Except me.

It is weird to sit in a room understand less than 5% of what is going on. I got 'verde'. I got 'muy'. I got 'something, something, something, Amy, no habla Espanol.' About five times. It is humbling to have your name connected with... here she is but she doesn't know a word your saying. Hopefully I'll be semi-conversational in a short amount of time.

Good thing I already know how to knit!

I think everyone should sit in a room and not be able to understand for awhile. It gives an appreciation to what new people to our country have to deal with. I can't imagine living with a language barrier for most of my day. A good reminder to be nice to strangers. A smile goes a long way.

Even though I was new to the group, these women were very gracious to me. They looked over my project (stupid scarf) and I looked over theirs (christening gowns with matching blankets. Hmmph). One lady worked my project for awhile. Big challenge there. They didn't laugh when I had to rip out fifteen minutes worth of work and they all asked where I bought my cool chenille yarn.

I didn't exactly fit in right away, but I think I might. They did already know each other and of course, they already had the language thing going on, but it was comfortable after the first few minutes. Some of them had brought along the most common denominator for moms.... babies! One can always ooh and aah over a toddler, no matter what the language.

Hasta later, amigas. (See! I'm getting it!)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I followed a trail to...

I just finished listening to the audio book 'Tis, by Frank McCourt. I loved that the author read his own work. His dry reading only added to the bits of humor and irony in the story.

Malachy McCourt, Frank's older brother, became an entertainer in New York, so I looked him up, and found that he has written a lot of books, is an actor, and has a column in a magazine.

On Malachy's website, I saw that his wife started something called Womanshare which looks totally cool. Women make a list of what they are good at and what they can offer other women, along with a list of what they hope another woman in the group can offer them. When you share, you get hours credited to your account which you can use to barter something from someone else. These women seem to have a wonderful community and there are testimonials of friendships and window cleanings!


Monday, August 28, 2006

Before and After

Would you look at this car? I packed for six people and it all fit in the back, without a car topper, and we didn't even lose any window space. I am amazing. My husband repeatedly thanked me as we unloaded that he didn't have to crawl on top of the van to get stuff.

On the other hand... when we got home, we weren't quite so contained. It took six days to unpack and clean up. I am still recovering.

We had a ton o' fun. But I am glad to be in my own home again.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

We're back

We are home from vacation, but need to get caught up and catch my breath. History proves that this may take me more than a couple of days. I have a few pictures to show everyone, but in the mean time, please enjoy this very cool video by OK Go!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Going on Vacation

Good-bye my bloggy friends! We are going to be spending the next two and a half weeks in a van together and eating a lot of the above. My son likes a little chicken with his ketchup.

I'm using these chicken McNuggets as my chicken post for show and tell. I don't have any real chicken stories, unless you count the rooster I saw when I was walking the dogs the other day. A rooster, all alone, in someone's front yard. It yelled at us.

I will miss you, dear friends. I look forward to reading all your wonderful and fascinating posts when I return. Hopefully, I'll have some cool things to show you when we get back.

TTFN, ta ta for now.

Monday, July 31, 2006

I gotta be free

I know those crocs are all the rage, but I just can't buy a pair. They do fall into the range of so ugly, they're cute, but for some reason they remind me of the foot version of being stuck in an elevator. These women seem to know something I don't, so eventually I'm going to give them a try. But not yet. Maybe I'll get a nice olive green or orange pair for fall.

Pictured is the way I prefer to shod myself until it's too cold to do otherwise. Don't look too close, though. I'm in desperate need of a pedicure. And some weed killer. Yikes.

On to other news. I am officially signed up for college, but I am sad. I have a ton of credits but only about 18 of them will transfer in my quest for a bachelors degree. I keep telling myself that no learning is wasted, but I wish I knew then what I know now. I will also, most likely, be the oldest student there, which is scary. Hopefully, it will mean I will be the one with the best grades. At least I know my kids can help me with my homework! :)

For now, I am off to enjoy the rest of my summer with my feet as bare as they can be. School and boots are just around the corner.