Friday, December 23, 2011

Feelings


Forgive me please. I know that it's been a long while. Shall I make a New Year's resolution to write more frequently? Maybe. Maybe not. I don't like making promises - even to myself - that I'm pretty sure I won't be able to keep. All I'm comfortable pledging at this point, is the sincere desire to TRY.

In the meantime, allow me a share a mysterious event. Before I begin, I'm going to have to toss in another apology because the set up for this is going to be overwhelming sticky sweet. Ordinarily, I wouldn't share this type of thing at all because, well, nobody wants to see it. I'm sorry. Just bear with me...and try not to puke or anything.



The above is a note that I placed on my hubby's side of bathroom counter-top a few months ago. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Get over it. The fact that I sometimes do gushy things like that really isn't the point. The interesting stuff is what happened to the note. You see it just stayed on the counter for a long while. I suppose that my sweet hubby couldn't bring himself to just throw it away. Or maybe he just never got around to tossing it.
Certainly I wasn't about to get rid of it!
So it just stayed there.
Oh, I'd move it around when I wiped the counter down, but otherwise, it remained in place. Earlier this week, I noticed a slight change in the note.

A slight modification...




Now, I should point out here (for those who are unaware) that my husband's name is NOT Ama. In fact, there isn't anyone by the name of Ama living in this house (that I know of anyway.) There IS a certain 7 year old named Anna in our family. It also just so happens that our Anna loves finding new and creative ways of expressing her feelings, but when I showed her the note, she refused to take credit for the alteration.

So now I'm puzzled. Who is Ama and why is she/he mad? I guess this is just one of those mysteries in life that will never be answered.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Letting it all Hang Out

School is almost here again. This morning I realized that since we will be busy nearly every other day of this week, today was our best chance at getting back to school clothes shopping done. The fact that it was predicted to rain all day didn't matter. Why shouldn't we shop in the rain? It's not like any of us were going to actually enjoy the experience anyway. Well, except for Anna. She LOVES to shop. Rain, sun, sleet or hail, give her money, she'll find a sale! I'm beginning to question if she is really my child.

Each of my three girls needed certain items. Anna, the barefoot queen of the crew, outgrew her shoes over the summer. Danielle, the artist, pretty much destroyed, with paint, most of her uniform pants last school year. Emily, the very moody 15 year old, needed uniform shirts...and something else.

My son Derek, doesn't really need any back to school clothes this year. His shoes still fit fine and since he is enrolled in a virtual public school, he won't have to wear uniforms. So lucky Derek, did not HAVE to go shopping. Unfortunately his dad had a doctor's appointment and his grandparents were unavailable. Leaving a 10 year old adhd boy home all alone for several hours wasn't an option to me. That meant that he had to come along with the girls. No problem. He brought along his DSi.

At Academy, Little Miss Picky finally settled on a new pair of Sketchers and Emily found uniform shirts. We were on a roll! No pants for Danielle though. Oh well, we on to the next stop. Old Navy was a bust. We headed to Stage. Again nothing - but the saleslady did offer to have the brand and size that my daughter wanted shipped from another store. Great! So now all we had left was Emily's...something else. For THAT we headed to the mall. I almost decided to tell Emily that we would come back for that particular item another day, but she was in such a (rare) good mood that I just couldn't. You have to understand, getting Emily to agree to a shopping trip is just slightly more difficult than it would be to train a rock to sit up and beg for a treat.

The mall parking lot was surprising full for a mid afternoon Monday. We had to park a good distance away from an entrance and then dash through the rain to the doors. It was only after we got inside that I realized that Derek left his DSi behind in the car. I did not want to run back to the car in the mess that the sky was dropping, but I also knew that he was going to need a serious distraction for our next shopping stop. Thinking quickly, I handed him my iPhone and told him that he could play one of the games on it.

There are a decent number of games apps on my phone, including a couple of educational games that I put on there just for him. Naturally he wasn't interested in those. Nope, he had discovered Hanging With Friends earlier this week and was hooked. The first time I let him play the game, I worried about the words he might send, but he surprised me with some well thought out choices. Assured that his eyes would stay mostly on the screen, we walked into a store that I ordinarily would not bring my 10 year old son into. While my fifteen year old tried on...something...my son busied himself with figuring out words that friends left for me and then creating words to send back to them. All was fine.

Until...

Derek started giggling. He was rather pleased with himself for using a five point letter in a triple letter spot. He turned the phone toward me so that I (and the saleslady next to me) could see his brilliant word choice. That's when I discovered that it is not actually possible to drop dead from mortification.

Right there, in the middle of Victoria Secret, my son sent the word NAKED to...not one of my sisters or cousins (who probably would have laughed), not to one of mommy friends (who would have instantly understood)...not even to my MOM (ok, I have no idea of how she would have reacted.) Nope. My son, playing MY game, sent the word NAKED to my high school boyfriend.



:::sigh::: I guess I should be proud that he earned enough points to fill my bonus meter, right?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - The Crystal Cave

Teaser Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current reading
2. Open to a random page
3. Share two (2) sentences from that page
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE ANY SPOILERS
5. Share the author and title, too, so other TT participants can add it to their TBR lists if they like your teaser.


"Like a drunkard who, as long as there is no wine to be had, thinks himself cured of his craving, I had thought myself cured of the thirst for silence and solitude. But from the first morning of waking on Bryn Myrddin, I knew that this was not merely a refuge, it was my place."




The Crystal Cave (Book one of the Merlin Trilogy) by Mary Stewart

Sunday, June 19, 2011

An Eight Cow Wife

Have you heard the story about the eight cow wife? I'll paraphrase it here for those who haven't.

Once upon a time there was a girl. She wasn't a beautiful girl. She wasn't even a pretty girl. At least, she didn't believe that she was. Her self view was reflected in the way she presented herself to the world. She slumped her shoulders when she walked and hung her head whenever she thought someone might be looking in her direction. There was, however, one young man who saw what she didn't. He loved her.

Now in the fishing village where they lived, brides were purchased with cows. Yes, I said cows. It seems ridiculous to me but that's probably because I don't like cows very much. Don't ask me why I don't like cows. Or why my dislike of cows apparently bothers me more than the fact that the fictional dads were selling their daughters... I've gotten far enough off track already. Ahem. So for whatever the reason, cows were the currency for wife shopping on this island. A pretty girl was generally worth two or three cows. An extraordinary girl could earn her father four or even five cows.

The young man in our story offered eight cows to the father of his beloved. EIGHT! It was unheard of! Especially for a girl that no one else in the village felt was worth more than one.

Later, a traveler visited the island and heard all about the foolish transaction the young man had made. It turned out that the traveler had business with the same young man. While they discussed whatever business they had, the young man's wife came in to serve refreshments. The traveler was amazed. She couldn't be the same girl that he'd heard about in the village! The woman before him was striking. The grace and poise that she carried herself radiated accomplishment and dignity. When he questioned the young man about it, the groom replied that he paid eight cows because he wanted an eight cow wife.

The story implies that the respect that you show someone will, in turn, help that person gain self respect. I believe that to be true. Not always of course. There are some people who suck in every ounce of respect you offer and still continue to wallow in shallowness. But this isn't about them. This is about a young man who helped put a broken girl back together.

My self esteem had bottomed out by the time I met my husband, but even so he was able to see something in me that I couldn't. Over time, his love and patience has helped me become the person I am today - someone who knows with every fiber of her being that she is loved. As a father, he has taught our children, by example, that relationships should be based on mutual respect. He has shown that a husband and wife should value each other. He has given them a stable home life that they are able to grow, learn and thrive in.

So on this Father's Day I want to say Thank You to my wonderful husband!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Heaven

The sun was drowned.
Its ashes fell down
Smothering all of her world
Unable to smile
Unable to frown
Emotions were quietly furled

Dreaming had ceased
Hopes had been fleeced
Emptiness weighted her crown
Steep was the cost
Her path had been lost
She dared not to dream she’d be found

Pathetic, isn’t it?
I don’t mean the flow. I kinda like that. It’s the gloominess that makes me cringe. There is another verse, but it doesn’t fit quite right yet. I’ll finish it… eventually. The event that inspired the beginning of this particular poem took place over 20 years ago, so I figure that it shouldn’t take more than 20 more years to find the ending.

Reconnecting with someone from my past (isn’t Facebook fabulous?) and having the memories of that dark period brought back anew inspired those verses. I worked on it for a bit then put it aside and forgot about it for a while. It simply wasn't a place that was relevant to my current life.

What made me think about it again was a conversation with my son. He wondered if people in heaven are able to visit other places. I could tell from his tone that he was bothered. If you’ve read my post Life With Derek you know that this is the child who, at age three, told me that he was in heaven before he was born and that he actually got to choose our family. He doesn’t remember telling me that but it’s not something I’ll ever forget. Now that he is older and has heard what other’s think about and teach about heaven, he is worried that it might be kind of dull.

There was a time when I had the same worry.

Trying to explain everything that factored into my getting to the place expressed in that poem would take far, far too long. Instead I’m going to assign an experiment. Yes, today I’ve writing an interactive blog!!! Come on…play along. It’s easy. Grab a small piece of paper – receipt size will do but make sure that it’s something that you don’t mind ripping apart. Now grab both ends of the paper with each hand and pull. What happened? Nothing? Good. Now, cut a small slit in the top middle of the paper and pull again. HA! I told you to use a paper that you didn’t mind ripping!!!

Paper isn’t the strongest substance on earth, but it is usually able to withstand a little pulling – until you cut a slit in it. Give it a bit of a start and it rips completely apart.
The beginning of this tale is a bit like that.
There came a point in my life when a cut that should have been small enough to heal with time, opened the way for a greater tear. Hurts that had been pushed aside for a long time began to overwhelm me.

I wanted nothing more than to stop the pain. And that’s what I got.
Nothing.

The “nothing” came in the form of a bottle of little white pills that my doctor prescribed. The hurt and sadness faded, but so did everything else. With no joy, love or happiness of any kind left, I saw no point in existing. There is no doubt in my mind that if I had not been given such a strong foundation of faith in childhood, I would have ended my life at that point.

But faith did not save me in the way you might assume. What halted me was the fear that my only afterlife choices were 1) everlasting pain in hell or 2) everlasting boredom in heaven. I didn’t want to be on earth any longer, but neither afterworld option appealed to me either. Now this is where my non-believing friends would point out the third option of simply ceasing to exist. That’s exactly what I wanted, but the problem was that I simply couldn’t be positive that it would occur. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not much of a risk taker. I needed to know more before making a decision (because in my mind, it was a very rational thing that I was considering) so I turned to a theologian.

I also stopped taking those little white pills.

The priest counseled me well.
The effects of the antidepressants wore off.
Life did not magically become wonderful – but it did become bearable.
After a few more stumbles, I met someone who helped me put myself back together.
(I’ll write more about him in my next post.)

Fast-forward twenty + years to me trying to explain what I now believe about heaven to my son. Since I haven't been there yet, beliefs were all I was able to share. There have been books written by people who claim that they have visited heaven and then returned here, but I can't say that I fully believe any of those ones that I've read. Actually I couldn't even finish the last one I started. His description was just too...boring. Naturally that wasn't what I wanted to express to my son.

Being wrapped in the tangible love of the Creator might sound amazing to many of us, but I can see how the idea might be lost on a 10 year old boy. Reconnecting with the souls of those I’m apart from now fills me with a longing that I can barely contain, but Derek’s friends are still a phone call away.

What did put a spark in his eyes was the thought of our spirits being able to fly.
Exploring the universe and discovering wonders that we aren’t able to even dream about now all sounded good too.

Was it wrong to liken eternity to the powers of a superhero? Perhaps - but at least it isn't boring.

Disclaimer!
Medications have come a long way in 20 years. My personal experience with a particular antidepressant that is probably no longer even on the market should not dissuade anyone else from following a doctor’s advice.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Waking Up

My eyes kept involuntarily closing. I didn't want them closed. The Bishop was speaking and I was both interested and impressed with the message he was delivering to my daughter's Confirmation class. And yet...my eyes keep closing. Each time I that became aware of the fact that they were closed, I would force them open only to be shocked at how bright the world around me was.

It's not like I was falling asleep. I mean, sure I was tired, but I've been tired for a long while now. Fighting fatigue has become a daily struggle. I'm not exactly sure of how to explain it, but it's not the same thing as being sleepy. Every night I get sleepy and I fall asleep. That's normal. The ever present fatigue was not. There came a point when I told my husband that I sort of felt as though I was floating back and forth between two worlds. That didn't really fit though because it wasn't that I could truly sense another world, I just knew that I wasn't completely here in this one. I wanted to be here, but try as I might, no amount of will power would tear away the heavy veil of exhaustion that had draped itself around me.

Back in March, I confessed my lack of energy during my annual GYN appointment. I wondered if it was a normal part of peri-menopause, which I suspect (wishful thinking?) I've begun. At that point the tiredness was only just starting to slowly descend on me and while I didn't want to make a big deal over it, I felt it was at least worth mentioning. He noted that it had been more than a few years since my last blood work up told me to schedule a lab visit. The lab work showed that I had a vitamin D deficiency. That surprised me because, well, this is the South. You can't avoid the sun here. What's more, I'd been spending more time outside than usual. Lots more time. Still, when the nurse read off the list of symptoms that can occur with vitamin D deficiency, I had to admit that I was experiencing nearly every one. I remember that I actually teared up with relief. There was a real reason for the way I was feeling! It wasn't in my head after all!

Remember - that was back in March. It's June now. Despite taking the prescribed vit. D supplements faithfully, everything kept getting worse. Part of me considered making an appointment with our family doctor, but the idea of telling a physician that I'm in his office for no other reason then that I'm TIRED just seemed silly.

Ahem...well....actually, I did do that once - more than a decade ago. The doctor walked in and I sheepishly admitted that the only reason I was there was because I was tired. That was it. Just tired. His quick response was that I should start antidepressants. I vehemently refused. My intense reaction to his suggestion was due to a past experience. The first (and last time) a doctor put me on antidepressants was...horrid. I'll write more about THAT in my next post.

Once the doctor saw that I wasn't going to happily accept the sample bag of mood altering drugs he offered, he decided to run a few tests. Lo and behold, it turned out that I really was sick. I had mono. He cautioned me about drinking after others and in return I informed him that I'm fanatical about not drinking after anyone (something that I've hopefully instilled in my children.) So where could I have gotten mono? Then I remembered. There was that one time, about a month before my sole symptom appeared, that I DID drink after someone.

A lot of someones.
In Church.
I've never taken the wine at Eucharist since.

Speaking of Church, I guess that I should get back to my daughter's confirmation. There I was, sitting in the pew, unable to keep my eyes open for longer than a few minutes at a time. As I listened to the service, a feeling of needing help began to fill me. Would anyone sense that I was slowly fading away? Please God, I prayed, send healing in whatever way You choose.

Then it happened. Near the end of the service, the Bishop informed the congregation that he had spoken to the class about God's gifts and then he invited those of us who wanted healing to come into the aisle so that the newly confirmed could "lay hands" on us while we prayed. I've since found out that this is something that the Bishop does at all Confirmation ceremonies, but since I haven't been to one since my own (a gazillion years ago) I didn't know that. All I knew was that I asked God to send healing and suddenly I was being asked to accept it.

Let me point out here that I'm NOT a "come to the altar" kinda person.
Doing that type of thing would mean that other people would be LOOKING at me. :::shudder::: No, no, no. I couldn't do that. But I did anyway. How could I pray for something and then just turn it away?

Now, I'm not going to pretend that a rush of energy came upon me as they prayed. In fact, I really didn't feel much different at all that night except for the new faith that I would get better. Eventually. And I am. At least I think I am.

The past couple of weeks have been far better than the two months before them. Perhaps that's due to the new exercise routine that I started a little less than a month ago. Then again, it's possible that the whole exhaustion episode has actually been a recurrence of mono (from what I've read, apparently the Epstein-Barr virus can reactive even years after the initial infection) and that the reason I'm feeling better now is simply because it's run it's course.

That's logical, right?

Regardless of what laws of nature have been at work, I feel that the faith that I will continue to "wake up" is playing a big role as well. I believe that my desperate prayer was heard and therefore my body has responded to that belief.

Have you ever felt a change in your life that you attributed to prayer?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - Atlas Shrugged

"Love is blind, they say; sex is impervious to reason and mocks the power of all philosophers. But, in fact, a man's sexual choice is the result and the sum of his fundamental convictions. Tell me what a man finds sexually attractive and I will tell you his entire philosophy of life. Show me the woman he sleeps with and I will tell you his valuation of himself..."

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Okay, so I'm a rebel. I didn't follow the rules (below) this week. I'm not currently reading Atlas Shrugged, but it is on my shelf and I was reading it not so very long ago. This particular quote was in my Facebook feed today and it just felt like the right one to share. I feel there is truth here.

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Voice

There was a time when I was a very into American Idol. The good part - NOT the audition phase. If I wanted to hear BAD singing, I'd just tape myself. I still like American Idol, but the past couple of seasons have been kinda blah. No Daughtry, no Cook, not even a Kris Allen. This year ended up with two country singers in the finale. I was pleased to read, on my Facebook wall, that Scotty won, but wasn't interested enough to actually turn on my TV and watch it myself.

Now there is a new singing show that has captured my attention. The Voice. It won me over right from the start mostly because every single person that we were shown auditioning could actually SING. I liked some better than others of course, but none of them hurt my ears - or my eyes - or my delicate sensibilities. Maybe it's just me, but when I see someone stuffed into a much too tight, sequined mini skirt, making offensive gestures and lacing speech with obscenities, I just want to turn that mess off. That is not entertaining to me.

Thankfully, The Voice had none of that. Each contestant started singing with the four "coaches" (Christina Aguilera, CeLo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton) facing away from the stage. Judging by voice alone, the coaches would press a button that would turn their chair around if they wanted the contestant on their team. After gathering eight contestants each, the judges then pit two contestants against one another in the Battle Rounds. That left each team with four members each.

Team Christina
Lily Elise - Her battle round was very UNimpressive. She was LOUD, but not good. The girl she sang against (Cherie Oakley) was far, far better.
Frenchie Davis - talented? Sure. Not my cup of tea, but she has a decent fan following.
Beverly McClellan - She is described as a soulful rock singer. I find that she sounds a bit like Melissa Etheridge, but not quite as smooth.
Raquel Castro - Pretty girl. Nice big voice. Too pop for me, but she'll do well.

Team Cee Lo
Tori and Taylor - both girls are cute as a button. I really loved the singer that they battled against (Kelsey Ray) but they blend so well together that it will be interesting to see how far they get in the competition.
Curtis Grimes - For some reason, his name says superstar to me. Country superstar. I don't follow country much (okay, not at all) but he does have the kind of voice that will carry him far in that genre.
Nakia - very interesting voice.
Vicci Martinez - She was one of my favorite auditions. Her battle round was probably the best of all. Can't wait to see what she does later.

Team Adam
Jeff Jenkins - a fan favorite. I like him, but am not blown away yet.
Devon Barley - I like him and am glad that he is still on the show, but part of me thinks that the girl (Rebecca Lowbe) he battled against was just a bit better.
Casey Weston- interesting quality to her voice. Cee Lo said that she reminds him of a young Stevie Nicks. I agree.
Javier Colon - Amazing singer. At this point, the competition is his to lose. He is in my top three. Actually my top two. Can't wait to hear more from him.

Team Blake
Patrick Thomas - a country singer. That's all I have to say about that. :)
Dia Frampton - her voice has a pure quality to it that makes me smile.
Xenia - she opens her mouth and my heart listens. I hope she gets over her stage shyness by the live shows.
Jared Blake - This guy is at the top of my list right now. Love his tone. I want MORE!

So...are you watching?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Balancing a Pear

I'm a pear.

No, not this kind of pear...

I'm talking about this kind of pear...



Smallish top...not so smallish bottom.

While I mostly accept my natural shape as a fact of life, there have been moments when I wished that I was a bit less pear and a bit more hourglass. Now, in my youth, that wish had nothing at all to do with my shoulders/arms. Having toothpick slender arms was a good thing. That sentiment changed a bit earlier this year when I was trying to find a dress to wear to my sister's wedding. I've already confessed somewhere in this blog that I really, strongly dislike shopping. Trying on clothes is torturous. I think that part of the reason I have such trouble with clothes shopping has to do with my pear status. If an article fits me perfectly on top, it won't look right on the bottom... and vice-versa. Sleeveless items are the absolute worst. I love the way that they look on other people. I love the way that they look on hangers. On ME??? Not so much. Still, for some reason I was bound and determined to find a perfect, sleeveless dress for the wedding. I did find one that I really liked, but not before sorting through some major regrets over not paying much attention to upper body work outs during that six months that I actually belonged to a gym...more than a year ago. You know, cause if I had, then maybe I'd have decent shoulders now. Or not. Whatever.

Gym time aside, when you consider that I spent years upon years carrying one child or another, it should follow that I have decent strength in my arms. Nope. My puny arms are as weak as they look. I think that's because my arms didn't really carry the children all that much. My hips did. My arms were merely security straps.

So now I'm wondering. If I actually put forth effort into working out my shoulders, will it make a difference? I have no desire to become "buff" or as my young fitness guru cousin puts it - "swole." I'd just like to balance my shape out a bit.

My official goal is to lose 10 pounds while gaining shoulders that look decent in sleeveless tops. I can do this! I even have a plan. After 2-4 weeks of home cardio/weights and yoga (to build up my endurance), I will join the kickboxing class that I currently bring my daughters to three times a week. I could just jump right into the class now, but I know myself and after a couple of FAIL sessions, I'll want to give up completely. Giving up is not an option! This will happen. And when it does, I might even post a pic of the cute sleeveless top that I'll get to reward myself. Maybe I'll even post a pic of me wearing said cute sleeveless top. Or maybe not. One step at a time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - May 17th

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
Share the title and author

The last time I participated in this I was re-reading Jane Eyre. I don't know how many times I've read that novel over the years. Sometimes having a faulty memory is awesome. I get to enjoy great works over and over again!!! This week is another favorite that I find myself turning to over and over again: To Killing a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee.

Here are my teaser lines:

"It's not necessary to tell all you know. It's not ladylike - in the second place, folks don't like to have somebody around knowin' more than they do."

Monday, May 16, 2011

AKKK Muppets!!!

Roger from A Screed in Time wants to know which Muppet is my favorite. The very question may give me nightmares, but that isn't Roger's fault. He couldn't have possibly known that Muppets creep me out.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm all alone in my phobia. I on
ce confessed to my fellow blogging friend, Que, from Dad by Trade that I wasn't particularly fond of Muppets. He didn't take it very well. For a short time I worried about the status of our friendship. Luckily for me, he decided to overlook my oddity.

Skipping this particular Fun Monday would have been taking the easy way out. I like easy. The problem is that I skipped last Monday. I also procrastinated too long with my Friday Tea Time Tales. That's too much skipping. It's time to knuckle down and face my fear! It might help if I recite the Litany Against Fear first. Bear with me please.


I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain

Okay. I'm ready.
(BTW, you get major points if you already knew the Litany Against Fear.)

Who is my favorite Muppet? My very first thought was to pick Angel puppet...

...but I don't think he is a bona fide Muppet. If some of you are thinking "she gets freaked out by Muppets, but a vampire puppet is okay?!?" that's okay. The truth is that Smile Time is, by far, my least favorite Angel episode ever. Even so, I'll
take my least favorite episode of Angel over The Muppet Show anytime!

To be fair, I don't think that all Muppets are spooky. I kinda like the Swedish Chef dude. And Count Von Count is fabulous. Kermit is way cool because he is green. Plus he sings one of my favorite songs (I prefer Kenny Loggins singing this song, but I think that Kermit sang it first.)



But of all the Muppets out there, I will have to go with the one that I liked best as a child. Super Grover!!!

He is, after all, a super hero.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fun Monday - Let's Get Personal

Remember when I said that I'd share a more personal post soon? Well, Roger from A Screed in Time left me without an excuse to continue procrastinating. Our task this week is to write about our summer plans. Hey, that's what I wanted to write about anyway!

Winning!

No, no, no...not the kind of winning that gets doused in tiger blood and infused with Adonis DNA. I mean the killing two birds with one stone kind of winning. Not that I actually want to kill two birds at all. Unless, of course, I was residing in a post-apocalyptic cave and my family was hungry (cause the rationing might be kinda harsh) and a couple of birds wandered in...and there happened to be a stone in my hand. Note that I didn't say that I WOULD kill them, only that I'd want to. Luckily for the birds, I throw like a girl. A girl who can't throw. I have to make that distinction because I know that there are lots of girls who CAN throw. I just don't happen to be one.

Where was I? Oh yeah, summer. A quick glance at the calendar tells me that we only have 18 school days left. WHOOHOOO!!! I love giving my alarm clock a vacation. As for a vacation for the rest of us, I'm really glad that we were able to go to Disney over the Mardi Gras break because with gas prices the way they are now, I don't expect us to be taking any kind of trip this summer. We were hoping to have an above ground pool installed, but it looks like that is being put on hold again for yet another year. Right now the wonderful therapists at Physical Therapy are getting our pool money. That's okay. Having a hubby who can walk is worth it!

So...since we won't be taking any trips and we won't be getting a pool, what WILL I be doing this summer? Oh, I have plans. Big plans. My life is about to change and I have to make preparations for that change. I'm going to have do some serious organization to fit this change into our lives. I'm even going to have to dedicate a special spot in my house for this change.

No.

This has nothing to do with a baby carriage. It's okay if your mind went there.

When I first announced to my friends that I had big news about a life change, most of them assumed that I was pregnant again. To be honest, that reaction surprised me. After all, when it comes to my reproduction system, I think, at 43, that I'm closer to that OTHER change then I am to expecting another bundle of joy. I think that I'm even looking forward to it.

The preparations that I am going to be making this summer will actually be for the upcoming school year. The space that I'm going to be setting aside will be filled with school books and supplies. My big change is that, beginning next school year, I'm going to be homeschooling my son!

Let's hope that the summer is long enough for me to prepare!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Tea Time Tales - Be Careful What You Wish For

In Good Company gave us an interesting task this week! My quest was to discover what would happen if the fated shoe fit one of Cinderella's stepsisters.


The King is mad decided Drusilla. First he summons us to a last minute, poorly planned ball so that he can parade us like cattle before is spoilt son. Now he declares that the dufus must marry whichever maiden fits a found slipper! Simply mad! And if the King is mad, can the prince be much better? Drusilla knew better than to voice her thoughts aloud. To whom would she entrust them? Mother didn't care about the mental status of the royal family. That they were royal was all that mattered.

Marguerite followed her mother's opinion in all matters. Sometimes Drusilla wondered if her sister was capable of having an independent thought at all. She supposed that such mindlessness must be a desired trait for a crowned princess. Let the slipper fit her, prayed Drusilla. Her heart fell as the Duke lifted the velvet lined chest to reveal it's content. Even from the distance she peered, it was plain that the slipper was sized better for her own foot than that of her sister. Such a tiny footwear would never stretch enough to fit Marguerite. Of course that did not stop the girl from clapping her hands and gleefully squealing "That's MY lost slipper! It's been found!"

The Duke stood unconvinced. "Please be so kind as to remain seated whilst a fitting is attempted," he stiffly requested. As the Page tried in vain to force the slight slipper on Marguerite's foot, an idea flew swept over Drusilla. Cindy! The worthless ward had been caught often enough play acting in Drusilla's shoe keep. Their sizes were near enough. How just would it be for the King to find that his decree would force a union of monarchy successor to the orphaned servant girl!

"M'Lord must surely be parched. Mother, should I see to refreshments?" she offered.

The Countess looked positively stricken, but there was no acceptable way to object.

"A most excellent idea" exclaimed the Duke, reaching to steady the ornate medallion that had begun to swing as he leaned forward to inspect the fitting progress, or lack thereof. Not shoe, but bondage thought Drusilla as she quickly exited. After seeking out Cinderella and explaining the situation, she was surprised to hear the ungrateful brat exclaim "But I don't want to marry the Prince either!!! His palms were sticky and his breath, putrid!"

"Think of the elevation..." began Drusilla before the implication of the protest hit her. "Hold on. You've met the Prince?"

Cindy's hands flew to her mouth. "Oh no. I promised the old woman that I wouldn't speak of it."

"What old woman?"

"The one who sent me to the ball."

Drusilla appraised the figure before her. Yes. How could she not have seen it the night before? But then again, who would have? What clue would have allowed anyone to imagine that it was the
cinder girl in a ball gown! This is my avoidance - if only I can convince her to come forward.

"Oh Ella dear, what a compliment it is that his hands grew moist with anxiety as he drew close! Do not fear his palms will remain so always. Once he feels secure in your good opinion, his nerves will calm. As for the halitosis, one must blame the abundance of garlic in the menu. As princess you can command that the item be banished from the castle. Princess Ella! What a miracle is before you! Seize the chance."

Confusion clouded the girl's face as Drusilla's hopes faded. "I don't know." she whispered. "It seems too much."

"Then remain in our service if you haven't the courage to grasp opportunity when it throws itself at you. Bring out the wine and hurry about it. The Duke is waiting." Drusilla turned to storm out of the room when one final thought occurred to her. "Have you the remaining slipper?"

"In my pocket."

"Keep it hidden and when I am Crowned I shall rescue you from this servitude," she sneered. "I feel perhaps that you would fair better on a pig farm." Leaving the girl to mull the threat, she returned to the receiving room to find Marguerite in tears, her mother distraught and the Duke impatient.

"Forgive my delay your grace. The beverages should be just a moment more."

"That is all well enough, but let us get to the business at hand - or foot, I should say. If you would - " he gestured toward the seat. Obediently, Drusilla sat and extended her foot for the Page. A moment later, the slipper was in place. A whoop of elation that escaped the Page went unrebuked. The Duke rubbed his eyes and bent closer to confirm the fit. Just then, Cinderella brought in the service tray and, glaring at Drusilla, set it down loudly.

"I will not tend swine!" she declared, sticking out her foot to display the slipper's match.

"You stole that!" exclaimed the Countess. "How often must I punish you for
looting through my daughters belongings?"

The Duke sank into a chair, overcome. Drusilla almost felt sorry for him. Almost.

"Mother, it is true that our sweet Ella has a penchant for dressing up in the finery you have graciously afforded me, so your mistake is understandable. Nonetheless, I cannot pretend to claim that the slippers as my own. I fear that I would burn in hell eternally if I did not reveal that they do indeed belong to the late Count's daughter. Surely you would not wish such a fate for me?"

The coldness that shots out from her mother's eyes pierced deeply into Drusilla's core. "No, my child. I would not wish that fate for you."

To the Duke the Countess requested "Take this charge from me. She is gladly given over to the court."

Then leveling her gaze at her daughter once more she proclaimed. "It took great character to make such a choice, however, such character is wasted here. I feel perhaps that you would fair better in a nunnery."


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Teaser Tuesday - Jane Eyre

First let me promise that I'll hopefully get a more personal blog entry up soon. Now on to Teaser Tuesday.

MizB of Should Be Reading is our host. Anyone can play.
Simply:

-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
-BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
-Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Here is my entry for this week:

"Besides, since happiness is irrevocably denied me, I have a right to get pleasure out of life: and I will get it, cost what it may."

"Then you will degenerate still more, sir."

Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fun Monday - holed up

Yay, it's still Monday! I didn't miss it after all! My internet (and phone service) were down for a while, but hopefully that's all been fixed now.

As per A Screed in Time: This week's challenge is going to be about a post-apocalyptic world. Doesn't that sound like fun? Anyway, here is the deal... You knew that the end was coming and prepared yourself for it. In one scenario, you have fashioned a cave into a home for yourself, safe from all the bad stuff on the outside, and you have stocked enough supplies to last for a minimum of twenty years figuring that would be as long as it would take for the bad stuff to clear. In scenario number two, you have acquired a fifty foot boat, yacht if you'd like, and have prepared it in the same manner. The cave has a natural stream flowing through it, and the boat has a desalination device on board, so water will not be a problem. Your challenge is to pick one of the scenarios and explain why you chose one over the other. See how easy that is? By the way - you cannot bring the boat ashore and you are not able to come out of your cave.

My first thought upon reading this was "I wonder if the last part of the Earth Children series was ever finished?" Lo and behold...It IS! What does that have to do with my choice? Well, even though I wasn't very impressed the last few books in the series, there was a time when I was quite enamored with Ayla's tale and that feeling renewed itself in me when I considered whether I'd prefer to spend 20 years in a cave vs a yacht. So I was all prepared to pick the cave. Then I remembered that I currently have a vitamin D deficiency. Yeah, yeah, I know - that's just the latest fad that doctors are freaking out about. Still, the blood work said I was deficient so who am I to argue? Obviously I need sunlight. And I do love water. I guess I have to pick the yacht. Except that I don't want to! Yes, I love water, but I can't get past the constant motion that I would have to endure on the boat. Motion is good...but all the time??? No. I need my moments of still.

Now it's time for me to admit that I think that I cheated. You see, I've already read what Roger wrote. Maybe that's cheating. I don't know. Maybe not. I don't usually read the other posts before I write my own, but tonight I did. And I'm glad that I did because Roger reminded me that I could use the running stream in the cave to produce electricity! With electricity, I can run sun lamps. Whew! Back into the cave I go.

Somebody let me know when I can come back out, okay?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tea Time Tales - Hayley Black

Trying my hand at "Tea Time Tales."

On Tuesday, In Good Company gives out certain prompts to use in creating a short work to be posted by Friday.


This week's gossip:

Who: Hayley Black
What: camera, discovery, snoop, letter
Where: graveyard
First Line: This isn't where she wanted to be.

So here goes:

This isn't where she wanted to be. The discovery of newly begun construction at the cemetery near her apartment had driven Hayley Black to return to her hometown graveyard for the mausolea shot she needed to complete the client's wall collection.

"Shouldn't there be a representation of death to balance the life shown here?" It was more directive than query. He didn't give specifics. He didn't have to. She would get the shot today and have it on his wall before the weekend. The detour was nothing more than a few extra dollars of fuel cost.

Or was it? This was her first visit to the site since Victoria's funeral. The memory of her childhood neighbor brought a soft smile to her face as she slipped through the line of oaks and made her way to the rows of family vault tombs. Victoria was more than just the elderly next door neighbor who kept an eye on her after school. Victoria had been her confidant and comforter. She was the person Hayley turned to when she needed advice. They'd sit for hours on the back porch swing, sipping freshly squeezed lemonade and talking about anything that popped into their heads. When Hayley was younger, Victoria would let her snoop around the spare room in the attic, searching through boxes of yesteryear's toys. As a teen, Hayley borrowed book after book from her neighbor's impressive home library. When her high school boyfriend left for an out of state university, Victoria listened patiently to the whining and then, with an air of sympathy, showed her a letter that her husband sent while he was off fighting in the war. The treasure box that held the letter was stuffed tightly with many more just like it. "Wherever I am, my heart is with you" was that line that touched Hayley the most that day. Victoria's husband had not returned from the war. After Victoria's death, Hayley comforted herself with the idea that her dear friend was finally back in her beloved's embrace.

The view she sought through her camera grew blurry, but there wasn't anything wrong with the lens. Wiping her wet eyes, she tried again. After capturing the shot, she packed away her equipment then began walking slowly back to her car, stopping to kneel briefly at the the grave of her friend.

No, this wasn't where she wanted to be, but part of her was glad that she'd returned.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fun Monday - Bible Favorite

For this week's Fun Monday, Roger from A Screed in Time asked: "...with us going through Holy week, why not go with a little religion, makes sense, right? So this week, I am looking for one of three answers (gotta give you choices). Please share with the group one of the following; your favorite book in the Bible, your favorite character in the Bible, or your favorite biblically based movie."

Now you might think that with me being a lover of the written word, I would automatically pick the book category. Not so fast! I'm not sure that I can pick a "favorite" book in the Bible. I'll admit that I will turn to the New Testament more often than I do to the Old. In the NT, I prefer reading the Gospels. Of the Gospels...well, there I'm stuck. How do I choose between the accounts?

Favorite character? Again that's a toughie, but this time it's not because I can't make a choice. It's because my choice is more than a "character" to me. He is my Creator.

Moving on to movies. The first one that came to my mind was the one I saw most recently.

One Night with the King


Then there is the one I grew up watching year after year.

The Ten Commandments


But if I have to pick a very favorite, it's going to have to be the one that not only has an all star cast, including Patrick Stewart (Oh Captain, My Captain!), but is also chock full of amazing songs that I enjoy listening to over and over.

So, :::drum roll please::: here a clip of my favorite song in my favorite Biblically based movie.

The Prince of Egypt

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teasers:

"He watches milk pool in tiny droplets where the straw disappears through her puckered lips until he can't watch anymore, and he has to watch her eyes again. She watches him watch her, no expression at all, until the carton begins to gurgle."

~pg. 26, "Light Always Changes" by Levi Montgomery

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fun Monday

Roger from A Screed in Time is hosting Fun Monday this month. What is Fun Monday? To be honest, I'm not exactly sure, but it looks interesting. Last week Roger gave us this challenge: "For this week I would like you to answer one of the following questions (yes, I am giving you a choice); If you could pick any ten years over again, without changing them, which ten years would you choose and why? These years do not have to be consecutive years, but there should be ten, okay? Your second choice is, explain the wonders of living in orbit over the moon, or any planet of your choosing (not Earth) for ten years, describe what you think life would be like and if so inclined, describe the planet."

The problem with picking out years to relive is that I don’t think I am strong enough to resist trying to change things. The fact that I love my life now and feel extraordinary loved and blessed should be pull enough to help me resist the urge, but I know myself and well, I just don’t think I could handle the temptation. So going back in time just isn’t an option for me! Right about now you are thinking, “Wait, you wouldn’t really be going back in time silly. You are just supposed to write about it.” My response to that is “Apparently you are still unaware of how powerful my writing can really be!”

Yeah. Right.

Um...anyway. Since I decided against writing about my past, I was left with the task of writing about 10 years of orbiting around another planet. At first I relished the idea of writing about ten Rhonia years. It’s been weeks (months?) since I’ve allowed myself to become immersed in my fictional world and I am missing it. The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized that I am simply not ready to share MY Rhonia with the rest of this world quite yet. In fact, I may need another 10 years before I am ready for that. So since I couldn’t complete either parts of the challenge there is nothing left for me but to apologize for skipping the first week. Forgive me?

The topic for this week's Fun Monday is Bugs Bunny vs Mikey Mouse. This is an easy one. I grew up watching Bugs Bunny, but it wasn’t because I really LIKED Bugs. He was pretty much the only game in town back then. If there were weekly Mickey Mouse cartoons, I didn’t know about them. To me, Mickey wasn’t a TV character. Mickey was the host of Disney World! Is there a more magical place on earth? I think not.

My Anna disagrees. Oh, don't let this smiling face fool you.

Or this one.

She did have tons of fun at parks, but apparently the awful trip home was enough to tarnish the whole Disney experience for her. So much so that around the midway point in the drive she declared that "next time we want to go to Disney World, we should just stay at the beach hotel instead!" <-referring to our previous vacations at Orange Beach, AL, a mere four hour drive from our home. The rest of the gang readily agreed and I have to admit that my heart sank a little hearing them voice their preference for the beach over Disney.

When I was growing up, my family did not take vacation trips. I am the oldest of seven children and while my parents both worked hard to feed, clothe and educate us, luxuries like family vacations just weren't an option. At least not all together. My grandparents, OTOH, did travel often and nearly every summer, they would bring along several grandchildren with them. When I was 13 or 14, I was lucky enough to accompany them to Disney World the year Epcot first opened. The wonder of that trip will never leave me.

Even if you take theme parks out of the equation, I'm still going to have to choose Mickey over Bugs. The Bugs Bunny cartoons are filled with wisecracks, tricks and insults. I've never been a big fan of that. Yeah, yeah, it's funny...but it's also kinda mean. Tune in to an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and you'll find interactive education! Come on...I'm a preschool teacher. Of COURSE I'm going to prefer that over "What's up doc?"

Sorry Bugs, while I total respect your rap abilities, I'm sticking with the Mouse.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Gotta get a new idea

I'm sorry that I've been away. There was just so much procrastination to do that it overwhelmed me. Thankfully I seem to be caught up with it...for now anyway. Maybe. Actually my past week was fairly full. I've been subbing for a wonderful teacher who is on maternity leave. Getting back into "teacher" mood was an easy gear switch, but that's probably only because I know that this is a temporary position.

Life at home has had a few bumps...and bruises...and swelling. Most of it in hubby's knee. Doesn't this look fun?

The same day my husband received that lovely accessory, my son received two shots for a horrid ear infection. Of my four children, only one of them doesn't really mind shots. Derek isn't that one. To lessen the sting (read:bribe) we promised him ice cream. I think that was when hubby realized that if getting a couple of measly shots warranted a treat as wonderful as ice cream, then having to wear a leg immobilizer for an indefinite period time should be worth an even bigger indulgence. So he ordered an iPad 2.

I'm not upset that he made that purchase. After all, he is the main provider for this family. And besides it was paid for with the money that Uncle Sam just recently gave back to us after so kindly holding it, interest free, throughout last year. The thing is, after 20 years of never knowing what to give my guy for birthdays or Christmas, I FINALLY had a great birthday gift lined up for him. I knew what he wanted and I had set the funds aside to get it.

:::sigh::: Although his birthday isn't until September, it may take another 20 years for me to come up with another idea as awesome as that was.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Freaky Friday

I have some silly dreams.

In one particularly wacky dream, my mom asked me to purchase a ticket to The Louvre – which, for some odd reason, was located on a yacht in New York City. I was going to have to fly to New York to get the tickets and ordinarily that would pose a problem considering how I feel about flying (I'm not afraid of being in an airplane high above the earth. It’s the idea of being fondled by some icky TSA agent that terrifies me.) For some reason, in the dream, I forgot all about my fear and readily agreed to the task. A few minutes later my boss (who looked very much like my former director) walked into the room and told me that I had to go to Europe as well as New York. Please don't ask me why a preschool teacher would have to jet off to Europe for her job. These things can't be questioned!

Because it was only going to be a simple day trip, I knew that I would only need one carry on bag. I first seriously considered a brown paper grocery bag, but then decided that my son’s backpack would be a better choice. What to put IN the bag was a little more challenging. The only item that seemed to make sense was a breast pump. After all, you never know when you might meet a starving baby as you are traveling. Never mind that lactation was halted here almost 5 years ago. Somehow, someway I was going to nourish a starving infant!

Only after packing was complete, did I realize that I should find out what my boss wanted me to pick up for her in NYC and Europe. I grabbed a pen and an old receipt to scribble on and then asked for specific instructions. In reply she began singing a nursery rhyme- one that I wasn’t familiar with. I tried my best to write the words of the song, but the pen kept going out.

That’s all I remember. What would Freud say about such a dream? Are there any hidden meanings in there? Naw, I don’t think so. It was just silly.

I have had dreams that were more than a succession of nonsense images without purpose. There were several dreams that were, beyond doubt, screaming signs. After experiencing the consequences of ignoring the forewarnings, I eventually learned to pay heed to those types of dreams. Thankfully they are rare.

Then there have been a smattering of dreams that gave just enough of a glimpse of future events to thoroughly freak me out. The following is a recent example.

One Friday night, not very long ago, I did something colossally stupid. I flipped on my alarm clock. I guess it was just force of habit. Saturday morning, I was roused from a very nice nonsense dream when the alarm did its job and yelled at me. Annoyed, I turned it off. I was determined to go back to sleep, but my bladder demanded that I get out of bed for a little bit first. Then before getting all snuggly again, I took a moment to check my email (oh yeah, I do love my iPhone now that I’ve learned how to use it!!!) There wasn’t anything of interest in either my email or facebook, so I put the phone back on the nightstand and let myself drift off to sleep again. That’s when it happened. I dreamed that I was standing near my closet, with my phone in my hand. In the dream, I noticed that there was a new email from a friend in my inbox. I read the email and smiled.

That’s it. That was all there was to the dream. Nothing special, right?

At 7:30ish, I woke a second time, grabbed my phone from the nightstand and went about my morning routine. With the dream still fresh in my head, I clicked open my email. Sure enough, there was a new one waiting for me…from the same friend that I dreamed had sent me an email. My hand shook ever so slightly as I opened the message and read nearly the exact same wording that I’d already read in my dream.

Cue twilight zone music. <- I was going to insert a video of the theme music right there, but it totally creeped me out. Sorry, you will just have to hum it to yourself instead.

So, does this mean that I’m officially psychic? Or was that dream as random as the one where my mom asked me to get tickets for the New York Louvre on a Yacht?

I don't suppose it matters. Getting mystical previews of emails won't help make the world a better place. OTOH, I can't see how it would hurt anyone either. So let's try an experiment. After I post this, I will go to off to dreamland. After you read this, leave a comment. That will cause an email to be sent to my inbox. If I dream about the email before I actually get online to open it, I'll let you know!

If I dream about feeding starving infants...I'll schedule a mammogram.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Throwback Thursday

It's been a while since I've writing much of anything. Since I don't want to leave my poor blog space too unattended for too long... here is bit of musing that I concocted a while back.

Not the shoes that I wear
Not the style of my hair
Not the tears that I hide
Not the leaps that I’ve tried
More than this…I’m undefined.

Not the pigment in my skin
Not the shape that I am in
Not the careless phrase I say
Not the compliment I pay
More than this…I’m undefined.

Not the foods I consume
Not the contents of my room
Not the lessons that I choose
Not the battles that I lose
More than this…I’m undefined.

Not my path with all its turns
Not the way my heart still yearns
Not achievements, not defeats
Not the goals I strive to meet
More than this…I’m undefined.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pick a Day - Any Day

One of the MommyBloggers that I follow asked that we post our day – Start to Finish.

Okay, I think I can handle this. At least I thought I could until I heard my mom's voice in my head warning me not to put so much information on the web. Soooo...in an effort to confuse any potential stalkers, I've decided to change actual times to vague references.

Way too early: My alarm clock gets all annoyed at me for daring to still be asleep at such a magical time in the morning. I reach over the Queen (who is obviously going to keep sneaking into our bed until she is 32 years old) and press the glorious button that makes it SHUT UP! Then I sleepwalk my way over to wake Danielle and Emily – who each have their own alarm clocks, but won’t get up without their mommy singing to them first. Okay, I don’t always sing. In fact, I rarely sing. I usually just speak the first words “Rise and shine!” In reply, they grunt.

For the next 15ish minutes: Bathroom stuff. You don’t really want details of that, do you? I didn’t think so. After I’m properly spackled (not really…I actually don’t like heavy make up at all, but a girl does need mascara to face the day!) I turn on my computer and let it do its morning wake up routine while I fix my breakfast.

Lets take a half hour here: Sludge time! Into my blender goes a spoonful of flax seed, two spoonfuls of rolled oats, a sprinkle of fennel seed, a smidgen of cayenne and a dash of cinnamon. The top is put on and I let it pulverize while I retrieve the frozen fruit (well, I also add a lil bit of frozen broccoli but we can pretend that is a fruit right?), yogurt and fruit juices from the refrigerator. I blend all of that together and then sip on the resulting sludge (which actually doesn’t taste all that bad) while I check my email/facebook/blogs…and my farm. Yes, I confess that I have a virtual farm. It sucks my time and rewards me with fake plants. I don’t understand why I play. I just do.

Now that I'm actually awake: I try to rouse Derek and Anna. A few minutes later, I wake them up again. Danielle and Emily go to the front of the driveway with their granny(or sometimes gramps) to catch the bus. Let me just stop right here for a second and say THANK YOU Granny and Gramps!!! You are the best!

We're running out of time! Let's move it!: Lately Derek has been eating Frosted Chocolate Mini Wheats for breakfast. The fact that he has something that he actually likes to eat makes the morning much less frustrating now. I think that I need to send a thank you letter to Kellogg’s. After the kidlets are dressed and fed, we either walk to the front of the driveway to wait for the bus...or drive there. The weather decides that for us. Yes, I know that humans are capable of standing outside in temps that fall below 60 degrees, but WHY? Okay, okay, 60 isn’t too terrible IF there isn’t a wind. Yeah...I’m a wimp. Oh, another shout out here: We have a terrific bus driver. I know when my children get on the bus, they are in good hands.

Me time: Freedom! For the past 17 years I either had a child at home to take care of or a job to go off to (and of course there was work and school for the decade before that.) Don’t get me wrong. Those were all amazing years. I’m enormously grateful that I was able to stay home to raise my children. I loved teaching preschoolers. It’s just that now, I finally have ME time. Who wouldn’t be happy about that? So... how do I spend ME time?

Most mornings I wash the breakfast dishes right after the kids are on the bus. Then, if I’m subbing, I leave for the preschool. If I’m not subbing, I start cleaning the clutter that my adorable brood have strewn all over the house. I wipe down the table and the counters, sweep the floor, throw on a load of laundry, tidy the bathrooms, maybe even vacuum. No, no, no...I don’t do all of that in a nice timely order like what I’ve listed. That would make too much sense. In reality I’ll start clearing off the table and then after bringing a forgotten cup to the sink or a napkin to the trash, (umm...hold on a sec. Can someone please tell how I am able to teach 3 year olds to clean up after snack time, but can’t seem to teach my own children that basic skill?) I grab the broom and start sweeping around the island, and then I notice a dish towel so I lean the broom against the counter and bring the dish towel to the laundry room and since I’m right there near the computer, I check email/FB/blogs/Farmville for a sec. Or maybe a bit longer than that. Then I remember to go start the water for my tea. While I’m waiting for it to steam on the stove, I’ll remember to either finish sweeping, clearing the table or washing the cup from the table – and the spoon that was under the couch. No, I don’t know why the spoon was under the couch. I stop asking those questions long ago. Then once the tea is properly brewed, I have the perfect excuse to go back to the computer and sit while I sip. By then, the washer is done so I put that batch into the dryer and start a new batch.

Exciting life, no?

Sometimes I’ll have errands to run. Sometimes my hubby is home. I love that he has days off in the middle of week. ‘Nuff said.

Two by two my babies come home: The high schoolers arrive first. Without fail, Danielle drops everything she is carrying onto the table. Emily usually makes it to the couch before unloading. I remind them to pick it all up. Sometimes they listen. Sometimes I remind them again...louder. If I don’t already have something simmering on the stove at this point, I start cooking. Once that is started I tell one of the girls to keep an eye on it and then walk up to the road (or drive – again depending on the weather) to get the younger two off of the bus. They either come back to the house with me, or stop off at their grandparents. Either way, homework must be done right away. It would be nice to let them have some time off for a bit first, but experience has shown us that putting it off doesn’t work well. If our school boundary lines are moved next year, home work may just drive me over the edge since the extra bus time will put Derek getting home with his ADHD meds wearing off.

The rest of the day: Three evenings a week I bring a child or two to CCD class and then I sit in carline for an hour. That’s when I’m supposed to write. It’s not going so well. :::sigh:::

At home we all get ready for bed. I don’t read to my younger two as often as I used to read to my older two and I’m starting to feel awful about that so that is something that is about to change. Most nights, I come back to the computer and wait for everyone to fall asleep before I climb into bed myself. Although she is slowly getting better about going to sleep on her own, occasionally Anna will climb on my lap to fall asleep. Once she is sleeping deeply enough that I can move without waking her, I put her in her own bed. Finally I get to drift off to dreamland. Before I know it, my alarm clock is whining at me again.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Liar, Liar - Pants on Fire

This is my first response blog post. When I read It's Time for A Voice of Reason, I knew that I wanted to follow up on the subject. Let me state right away that I’m not responding in an effort to dispute what he has written. In fact, I think he makes more than a few valid points. I particularly agree with his position regarding those who search for dishonesty being bound to find it. I also fully concur with his assessment of where constant badgering and nagging will often lead.

What I’m unsure of is how common that type of behavior actually is. Maybe that is something that goes on in most households. Maybe it’s rare. Oddly enough, being a woman does not give me instant access and understanding of the behaviors of all other women. Where it does occur, I wonder if I should allow for the possibility of a sad history behind the Lie Seeker’s quest. It’s possible that she’s been given more than enough reason to be suspicious of his every move. Then again, maybe she is just a control freak. Regardless of the reason, two wrongs never make a right…right?

The thing is... When I think of dishonesty my mind doesn’t jump right to relationships. Has my husband ever lied to me? :::shrugs::: Possibly. Okay, okay, probably. Even so, it’s not something I ever really think about. We are fairly in sync on most issues – including lying. I simply have no need to suspect every word out of his mouth – therefore, I don’t. The children, however, are a separate case entirely.

Kids lie. At least mine do. It drives me bonkers. I see it as a failure on my part. Why haven’t I taught them better? I’ve tried my very best to set a good example in this particular area by being honest with them. When wrongdoing is discovered, I explain that coming forward with the truth will ease the consequence. On the flip side, if all I get are lies, punishments double. The hope is that eventually they will equate lying with losing.

It's taking a while to sink in.

Sunday evening, when it was time for my two youngest to turn in their DSi’s, my son told me that he couldn’t find his – despite the fact that he had it in his hand only 20 minutes before. That’s a trick that he has used in the past. I’ve caught on – even in my old age. I explained the rules again, just so that we were extra clear. If the game systems aren’t turned in on time, they stay locked up for longer. If he truly misplaced his game, then all he had to do was turn it in the moment he did find it. BUT if he was just hiding it somewhere so that he could sneak in a few minutes of extra game play or if he found it and choose to play with it instead of turning it in right away, then he would lose his game playing privileges for a week.

Can you guess which option he chose? Yep, the DSi is currently locked up for a week. When he is “bored” this weekend and wishing he had the game, I’ll have to ask “Was it worth it?”

Getting my children to think about how dishonest words and actions tend to hurt them more in the long run is a goal of mine. The world can be a very unforgiving place. I don't want them to learn the hard way that trust, once broken, it is very difficult to repair. I want them to avoid the fate of The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf. Come on, you all know the story right? The boy lies and lies until he can't find anyone who believes him anymore. My favorite rendition of that tale is in Yo, Hungry Wolf by David Vozar. It's fun to read and the children really like it, but even though they see how the little boy is no longer believed after repeated lies, I wonder if they really understand that it works that way in "real life" too. People will only give you the benefit of doubt for so long. Once you are seen as a "liar," the label sticks. Eventually even your truths will be tainted as potential falsehoods in the eyes of those you have mislead a time too often.

My children haven't reached that stage with me. I don't think they ever will. They are good kids (really! I could bore you all with how brilliant and kind and inspiring they each are, but then we'd be way off subject and well, I wander enough as it is!) I know that sometimes they lie because they don't want to disappoint us. They lie because they want to avoid getting into trouble. I understand those things. Still, I believe that is an important mark of character for a person to own up to what they've done (or haven't done) is spite of the consequences. That said...now I think that I need to reflect on what I've done. You see, before I read Spud's post, I never questioned my heavy handed attitude toward lies. Now I'm wondering...am I partly to blame? Instead of teaching them how wrong it is to lie, am I teaching them to try and lie better?

I don't have any answers yet and I'm not sure that I'll be changing that particular parenting tactic...but it is something to consider.

Friday, February 4, 2011

To have loved and lost...

Have you seen the McDonald's commercial for the Angus Chipotle BBQ Bacon burger? A guy takes a bite of his burger and drops some sauce on a napkin. Then the voice over person says..."It's better to have loved chipotle and lost some, then to never have loved chipotle at all."

Every time I hear that, I just wanna scream "NOOOOOOOOOO! Don't fall for it! You will regret it!"

To understand my intense reaction to, what may seem to you, a seemingly harmless commercial, you have to understand that I have once loved...and lost. It wasn't a simple love. It was a madly, deeply, truly kind of love. The intensity of my passion cannot be summed up into words here. I won't even try. You'll just have to imagine it for yourself.

I didn't set out to fall in love. In the beginning, I honestly didn't think anything would come of the encounter at all. It was just supposed to be a harmless indulgence. Well, maybe not completely harmless. There was some part of me that knew it was wrong on a certain level. There are always consequences for our actions. Some of the risks were already well known to me, but love? No, the risk of love didn't enter my mind. Perhaps if I had stopped to consider beforehand that there was even a chance I'd fall so deeply and so quickly, I would have walked away before the obsession began. Instead, I wandered blindly into what turned into love at first... bite.

Oh, BK Angry Whopper! Why did you do this to me? I lived most of my life without you. I should be able to live the rest of it just as easily now that you are long gone. Still your memory mocks me. In moments of weakness, I find myself longing for what can never be.

:::deep cleansing breath:::

I am strong. I will survive despite knowing that I will never again experience the pleasure of that burger again. And I've learned a great lesson from my loss. No longer will I allow myself to feel so strongly about something so temporary. My heart has been hardened. I can't - I won't allow myself to enjoy another burger as fully as I did my precious Angry Whopper, but that is a good thing. I know now that "limited time" romances are never worth the pain and regret that inevitably comes when the promotion is pulled away.

Besides...it's much healthier to get the salad anyway. :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

One Word

S.A.D.

Yes, those are my initials. It's funny because I'm usually the opposite of sad (which, as every 4 year old should know, is happy.) My motto is "if there isn't anything in your life to smile about, smile anyway so that you attract the happiness." Unfortunately smiling isn't always so easy.

S.A.D. stands for something else: Seasonal Affective Disorder.
While I don’t believe that I suffer from that particular type of depression, it is true that the gloom of winter usually finds me…well, sad. The wet blanket of clouds that hide the sun, the biting wind that chills my core and hurts my hands and the fact that illness seems to linger around my home longer during the colder months always tends to weigh me down just enough that my smile is a touch slower than it is during sunnier times. This year, we managed to avoid most illnesses until right before the Christmas break. My son missed the very last day of school before the holidays thanks to a tummy virus. Luckily the rest of us don’t usually succumb to that particular bug easily. Instead we were each treated, in varying degrees, to a nasty upper respiratory infection that came complete with fever and general body aches. It waited until Christmas Eve to hit me. I’m sure you can all imagine how wonderful Christmas is when you are shivering with fever and clenching in pain while waiting for the children to finally fall a deep sleep so that you can, um, unlock the door to let Santa in. I couldn’t turn to my wonderful hubby for help because he had to go to sleep early for work (yes, he sometimes works on Christmas. Actually the schedule seems to have him working on Christmas more often than not for some unlucky reason.) Besides, he doesn’t have much experience in… unlocking the door for Santa, so I wasn't sure he would have really have known exactly what to do even if I had been able to beg off of that particular duty, I mean, joy.

I toughed it out, waiting until all of the presents were in place before finally downing a dose of nighttime cold medicine (have I ever mentioned how really awful I have to feel before I take that kind of stuff?), soaking in the hottest water I could fill the tub with and then finally climbing into bed. The next three days are somewhat hazy. It took nearly three weeks to finally start feeling like myself again. Even today there is a tiny bit of cough that sneaks up on me at least once a day. Yeah, I know :::whine, whine, whine::: Get over it, right?

Monday evening I was sitting in a car line listening to the music from my iPhone playlist compete with the chilly rain that was pitter-pattering on the roof of my van. It was just cold enough to feel slightly uncomfortable, but the motor of my van stayed off because, well, have you noticed the price of gas lately?

Car line is my quiet time. It is when I’m supposed to be working on my book. Instead, all I really wanted was to end the day and go to sleep. I wondered "Where has inspiration gone? Is it hibernating? Will it ever return?"

Rain by Breaking Benjamin began playing and I thought "Yep…that’s what I’m feeling right now. "

But that was Monday. My mood lifted a bit as the week worn on. Yesterday as I was listening to the radio, I heard the DJ's talking about "My One Word" and I wondered...can I change my word from SAD to something more in line with what I want to be? The idea behind One Word is that rather than make the same old list of New Year Resolutions that we start with the best of intentions and then let fall away, we look at the person we want to be by the year's end, choose one word to describe that person and commit to it. Then whenever we hear, see or think of that word, we should be reminded of the direction we want to steer our lives. That sort of sounds like the "cue" word I used to use with my oldest daughter when she was much younger. I let her pick out the word and she knew that whenever I said it, she was supposed to stop and think about her words and the tone she was using. hmmm...she is 17 now and I'm thinking seriously that we need to start using cue words again. But I'm getting off subject...

When considering my "one word" what leapt to my mind first was TRUST. Of course, choosing that word wouldn't mean that I'd suddenly start trusting everyone and everything around me. If I did that, I'd have to quickly change trust to naive. No, my trust is reserved for the One that guilds my life. The thing is, deep down, I know that I do already trust in that way. Sure I need reminders every now and again, but even so, the word trust doesn't really describe how I want to change. So, which word does? What is my one word?

Well, why not the most obvious? I want to be new. I know what you are saying "Hon, you are 43. That's waaay closer to old than it is to new." Yeah, yeah, but that's not the kind of new I mean anyway. Let me explain. Right now there is a philodendron in my front yard that is looking pretty droopy thanks to the recent cold temps. This is the second year in a row that we've hit low
s that harsh. The first time it happened, last winter, I wondered if he was gone for good. Then spring came around and after I cut away the dead leaves, I was happy to see that Phil had a new stem growing, ready to replace what had been lost. By the summer's end, he was brilliant again.

That's what I want. It's time for me to cut the rotten and dead away from my life so that I can make room for the new to bloom and grow. I know that it will come in cycles. Just as my poor Phil has to take the toll of winter before re-inventing himself, I know that I'll find myself facing challenges that will shape me. For now, I'll just trust that I'll overcome the frost of life...and find myself new once more.