Tuesday, December 14, 2010

All Wrapped Up!

Baby it's cold outside here in the lovely state of Michigan! Subzero wind chills, a blanket of snow, and bright blue skies makes this lady wish she had more than a fluffy cat and a greyhound to cuddle this afternoon. As I write this I could really stand to be wrapped up in a blanket, but that does not allow for very efficient typing. Here is where a Snuggie may come in most useful. Really being wrapped in a blanket is not my focus, wrapping presents is my deal today. I love a pretty wrapped gift. Ribbons & bows, lovely paper, nice corners, just the right amount of tape on the box of wonderment. However, lovely wrapping of gifts is a generation skipping talent in my family. My mother can wrap anything, and make it look wonderful. A kitchen broom could be transformed by her advanced wrapping prowess. Large or small, that glorious woman can wrap them all. I struggle to even care if I have a box for an item. I have wrapped countless shirts by rolling them in paper and tying ribbon on each end like a tootsie roll. No shirt box, means roll it up for me. My mother would never, NEVER, roll a shirt and present it as tootsie roll, EVER.

As I mentioned this a generation skipping talent, and the next generation of super-wrapper is my very own daughter. Yesterday school was closed because of snow and I put the present wrapping prodigy to work. She wrapped gifts of all sizes and shapes with ease. Every now and then she would call for more tape, a specific type of paper or ribbon, or her "special scissors". I would oblige her wishes, as to not upset the gift artist at work. I brought her snacks and beverages, so she could keep up her strength. At one point I felt I may have been taking advantage of her when I almost made her wrap one of her own presents that was in a nondescript shirt box. Something stopped me, it may have been my conscience, but more likely my belief that she would peek in the box and spoil a perfectly good Christmas surprise.

Do I miss not having the gift wrapping gene? Not really. I am blessed to born into a time where gift bags are the norm, and can easily be purchased at the card store. However, if I could enjoy wrapping like my mother and daughter seem to, it sure would make this time of year more fun. Happy wrapping my little elves!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Five for Friday

Five fast and furious findings from this week...

  1. Doctors offices can leave you on hold forever and you will take it because you feel awful. Any other place you would hang up or be an real pain in the a** when the person finally picks up the line. However, you are sick and desperate, they know it and take advantage of your weakened condition. It is not right, it just is.
  2. Real, measurable snow has fallen in my neighborhood. I have a very happy six year old. The dog now spins out when she corners, just like a fast car. Unlike a fast car, she just gets up and keeps on tearing around doing her "hot laps". Then she comes in the house and promptly falls asleep.
  3. How many presents have I wrapped? Exactly zero. Which strangely enough is the same amount of cookies I have made, and outside lights I have strung. I am three ghost visits away from being Ebenezer Scrooge. I need holiday spirit in a bottle, perhaps a Shiraz will do it.
  4. I am suppose to go to a show tonight because I am married to a rock star (that sidelines as an engineer). Unfortunately, I am currently in a very claustrophobic mood, so the thought of standing in a crowd makes me have heart palpitations. However, I fully plan on rallying and going. If you see me there and I am antsy, it is not you it is me. I have my quirks and they come and go in waves.
  5. I cheated on my hairdresser yesterday. I was in need of a haircut, really just a trim of the bad ends so I went to the local beauty school and got a $10 student cut. That is one quarter of what I generally pay my regular stylist. This has all been justified by my fervent belief that since it was just a trim and not a full cut & style change, my real stylist can forgive me. She is a mother of two and I am sure that she also feels the budget tighten this time of year. I do not like to stray from my set budget, but I also to not like having split ends. Its all about choices.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wicked Wednesday

Instead of being snarky everyday of December, I am only being wicked on Wednesday. My passion of alliteration makes this a good fit. Today I am taking aim at holiday songs that drive me nuts. I say "holiday" because few, if any of the songs I despise actually have much to do with the true meaning of Christmas. However, these songs seem to permeate the air in the shopping malls, department stores, and even Home Depot and Lowes (I hoped for sanctuary at a home improvement store...alas, none to be given). If I never here the following songs again, it will be too soon.

  1. Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney and Wings. The back beat, the tune, the whole thing makes my jaw tighten. The mood is never right for this song. I say this as a person that loves The Beatles, and Paul. This song just sucks.
  2. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. The little girl voice, the words, pretty much everything about this songs gives me the creeps. I get that it supposed to be daddy dressed as Santa, and that disturbs me even more. If my spouse gets in a Santa suit and even looks like he is going to kiss me, there will be trouble.
  3. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. Just awful. Enough said.
  4. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas. WHY??? Hippos are huge, poor tempered beasts that will charge and kill you. Also, the annoying kid singing (again).
  5. Jingle Cats and Jingle Dogs. I lump them together because both are simply wretched. I see my dog and cat actually cringe when they hear these songs. It must be the animal equivalant of the American Idol audition where the tone deaf person is belting out Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You. I cringe, and cry for that person's pride. Clearly, animal cruelty. I am sure several animals were injured or killed in the making of those two songs.
  6. Holly Jolly Christmas. I do not like Burl Ives.
  7. Santa's Beard. The Beach Boys. To much repetion, to contrived, gets stuck in my head and that is never good. The Beach Boys should have stuck to surfing and car songs.

Those are the major offenders in my world. Thank you for indulging my wicked rant. May your holiday be free of songs that make you miserable. Just be thankful it is only for 4-6 weeks of each year.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Seasonal Disorder Disorder

We have all heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Attention Deficit Disorder, (ADD) and a variety of other disorders that have snappy letters to represent them. I am going to introduce you to my disorder, Seasonal Disorder Disorder (SDD). It is not listed in the DSM IV (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), so do not bother checking your copy. SDD is a very special affliction that only lasts about four weeks, and it typically starts the day after Thanksgiving and all symptoms disappear on December 24, strangely right after the mall closes. The symptoms of SDD may include the following...
  1. Sweating and/or severe shakes when more that three catalogs appear in the mailbox at one time.
  2. Stomach cramps when seeing a carton of egg nog.
  3. The urge to actually deck someone when the song "Deck the Halls" comes on the radio.
  4. Hives when coming within 10 feet of a Christmas sweater.
  5. Avoidance of all friends and relatives that have been done with their holiday shopping since the day after Thanksgiving.
  6. The urges to, or fantasies about stabbing inflatable lawn decorations.
Somehow, while the rest of the world boasts of how well their shopping, decorating, and party planning is going, I being a slow spin and work my way to a full whirling dervish by the week before Christmas. I have a friend that has four children and she creates a spreadsheet to keep track of the gifts for her kids. A spreadsheet is not technology that is out of my reach. I can make a spreadsheet, and I have half as many children as she. However, my SDD does not allow me to use technology to make my gift tracking easy. SDD requires me to write things on slips of paper and place the papers in a pouch in my purse. At some point during the holiday season SDD robs me sleep so I sit in the middle of the living room at 2 am sorting pieces of paper into stacks that represent the people receiving the gift. My SDD has not found a planner or any other organization tool that can tame it. The only comfort is knowing that somehow it all works out by December 24th.

As much I sincerely believe that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, and not about decorations, gifts, and the other secular things, every year I become frenzied and disorderly. I have prayed about being better. I have learned to lock myself away, or take a walk, or read a book when I get frenzied instead of taking it out on my family. If you suffer from SDD, you are not alone. Many highly competent, intelligent people suffer along with you. We may never be able to fully find the tools and stability to manage this hectic season. Alas, Christmas will come, and all will be right with the world. Lets just hope we are not too dizzy from all the whirl of activity to enjoy the important things.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Six for Saturday

This was suppose to be a "Five for Friday" post, but I got busy and Friday is quickly edging on Saturday. God willing, I have six musings, rants, or takes that are worthwhile. If not sorry, its the holidays, cut a girl some slack. So with my glass of red full, lets hit this...
  1. Confession is good for the soul, here is my confession. Cleaning for company is the only way my house gets super clean. Yes, I regularly clean bathrooms, the kitchen, vacuum, and dust, however, I shirk my "heavy cleaning" duties unless we have company coming. Then I pull out all the stops and move furniture and down to the nitty grity. Perhaps I need to entertain weekly? Maybe that can be a "possible resolution".
  2. I am giving up sugar after the New Year. January 2nd to exact. My birthday is the 1st so I am not ruining that day, getting older, and constant football is punishment enough. The reason I am quitting the sweet stuff is to try to tame my sweet tooth and to see if I can do it. Hopefully health benefits will follow that will make it worth all the suffering. However, I am not calling this a New Year's resolution, because I decided to do this back on October. I just chose a start date that would allow me to enjoy dark chocolate peppermint bark...a holiday must. Yes, I do have my priorities.
  3. Christmas shopping. UGH. I formerly liked shopping. Going to the mall and just browsing the shops was fun and even a bit relaxing. Somewhere along the way I discovered that ordering things online is far simpler. The mall makes me manic, it is just too much or everyting. I still shop, from the comfort of my own home. The only store I still truly like to visit in person is a bookstore. I can spend hours in a bookstore, especially if there is a coffee bar.
  4. The first snow fall has hit the area. Granted, it can only be called flurries, no real accumulation. Snow is a delightful thing for me. I grew up in an place that had lots of lake effect snow from Lake Michigan. Sledding, shovelling, and making snow forts are some of my favorite things. Hopefully, we will get a good dumping of snow soon. I am in a minority being an adult that loves snow, but hey, I am what I am. What do you expect from Baby New Year?
  5. Neck tattoos. Ouch and more ouch. I am pretty okay with tattoos, below the neck. Lately I have seen more and more face and neck tats. It used to be that just face piercings that gave me the willies, but now I must add face and neck tattoos. Maybe I will get a tattoo in 2011? That is not really a resolution, or even a good idea unless it is significant and below the neck.
  6. Harry Potter 7 (aka The Deathly Hallows). Rocked the house. I am a Potterhead. We caught this bit of cinematic and CGI wonderfulness over the Thanksgiving holiday. Loved the books, and now the movies are finally keeping up with the books. The first couple movies in the Potter series were lacking, but it is evolving. I am very excited to see the conclusion in July 2011. I am also sad to see the conclusion because this book series is truly magical for readers bothyoung and old.

Cheers! Have a great weekend. This was a one glass post, so I am heading off for a refill.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Am Not Doing It

Thanksgiving is just days away. I am very excited about seeing my family, eating yummy food, maybe catching a movie, watching the Lions lose, and having some down time. Notice that nowhere did I mention going shopping for amazing deals on Black Friday. I refuse to do it. I will not stand in line. No deal is good enough for me to climb out of my nice warm bed, stand in line, just for a chance for a well priced item. I have never even tried to get "the deals". My mother never did. My sister does not either. We are not line people. Standing in line reminds me of communist Russia. I recall seeing pictures of people in communist block countries standing in line for necessities. Clearly, waiting in line for extended periods of time did nothing good for communist governments. So this led me to think what I am willing to wait in line for, without complaining. The list is short and sweet.

  1. I will wait in line to ride pretty much any rollercoaster. I love rollercoasters. They make me terrified and happy all at the same time. The bigger the better. I do not even mind the slightly sick and disoriented feeling that happens after the ride is over. Rollercoasters, worth the wait.
  2. I will wait in line for most Disneyland and Walt Disney World attractions. The exceptions being Its A Small World (can't handle the music) and a few other Fantasyland attractions. Disney is amazing. It is a place that makes you want to comeback the moment you leave. It is very special.
  3. I will wait in line at the Secretary of State's office. I am the designated "waiter" for the family. The only reason I do not mind waiting is because I do not want to pay for a ticket for not having the proper tags on the vehicles. Not because I love driving, because I do not like to drive, but that is a post for another day.
  4. I will wait in line at the grocery, but only if there is only one or two people ahead of me. I get really antsy if I am the fourth or fifth person in line. I have left the store when my only option is to be sixth in line or worse. No joke, it causes anxiety. Generally, this is not an issue.

Waiting in line is just not something I do. Not much makes it worthwhile for me. I wish you all luck with your Black Friday sales and I hope you get the deals you are wanting. Perhaps I can muster some Cyber Monday spirit and get some deals from the comfort of my living room.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

5 for Friday

Here are my five snippets from the week.

  1. The cold has returned to the great state of Michigan. Gloves and heavy jackets are becoming the usual. I wish I were a little kid so I could justify buying a new coat every year. I like winter jackets. They are so warm and cozy. However, I have not outgrown a coat in many moons. I guess I should be glad about it, but I really just want to buy a new coat for me every time I get a new coat for the kids. My winter wear is in good shape and classically styled...so I will be warm and happy with what I have.

  2. Do your kids look up when you tell them to go find their shoes? Lately, I have said, "Go put your shoes and coat on we are going NOW". I walk in the back room to find a young boy in a jacket looking up at the ceiling saying, "I can't find my shoes". I am not sure if this is a phase, or if I should put a shoe rack on the ceiling, but it is going make me nuts. I calmly point out the floor is a more likely place to find shoes. Then suddenly the shoes are found, on the floor. Not on the shoe rack, because only a silly fool would put their shoes on a neat rack. It may just be the tipping point issues that gets me in the straitjacket in the very quiet place. Perhaps I have a hidden gift for basket weaving.
  3. Dinner is overrated. Yes, I like sitting around the table with my family hearing about the happenings at school and work. However, I am over making this meal. I will continue to make dinner, but I need some divine intervention to make me enjoy the cooking arts.
  4. Have you ever noticed just when you are fed up with your hair you suddenly get complements on the style or color or both? I am at that point, and now my most trusted friends have made comments that they really like the length and color. Now I have the dilemma of getting it cut against their advice. Will anyone rebel and never speak to me again? Probably not. Perhaps I will send an e-mail thanking them for liking my hair (split ends and all) and let them know I am cutting it against friend advice, and I will take responsibility for any bad results.
  5. I am very excited about Thanksgiving this year. I have made a point of listing at least one thing I am grateful for everyday in November. I have listed one thing as my facebook status, and also recorded things in a journal. This activity has made me I am pretty blessed. I already knew that, but the abundance of good people and things in my life is just crazy. Crazy good stuff. I hope that you have an abundance of good stuff in your life. I am even grateful for the annoying stuff, like vacuuming up pet fur. The pets bring so much joy to the whole family they are worth the extra cleaning. Count you blessings, I guarantee you will lose count before you are even close to done counting.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's Not That Gross...yes it is

Lately I catch myself doing something, generally something unpleasant, and think, "Wow, twenty years ago I would have NEVER done this". I am talking about mundane, but gross things like cleaning the hair and gunk out of a slow drain, picking up dog feces in the backyard and on walks (as cars drive by and see me picking up dog feces), cleaning up the hairballs the cat horks up weekly, and the gross list of tasks goes on. My life has turned into a real life Dirty Jobs, minus Mike Rowe's witty commentary and assistance. The thing that really got me thinking about this devolution into grossness that is my life, is seeing a truck for a business called "Doody Calls". This sole purpose of this company is to come to your yard and scoop the poop and cart it away. I mentioned to my husband that such a business seems silly, because why pay money for something you can do yourself. Then I started thinking, twenty years ago I would have thought that was a brilliant idea and a much needed service. Apparently, I used to be a princess or something, and now I am proudly a self-sufficient, no nonsense person with a very large capacity for grossness. Perhaps I should be ashamed of my lack of squeamishness. I can hear my grandmother from the beyond saying, "Now Allie, that is not very ladylike". My paternal grandmother was the epitome of ladylike. She did not scoop the poop (she also did not have a dog), or clean the drains. She had help for those things. I would feel bad having someone come in and clean up my messes, and after my dog. Sure, I know when I am outmatched and I need to call a plumber or other professional. However, for the day to day gross, but necessary tasks, I am the hero. The iron willed, strong stomached hero who can vanquish vomit, defeat drains, and execute excrement. We all have our super powers, mine are just super gross.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"It Will Get Better"

I am fully in support of all the celebrities, politicians, and media personalities getting behind the statement, It Will Get Better. I am one who often thinks that the media focuses on the wrong things, but this time the media has latched on to a good, no, a GREAT message. This seems to mostly be focused at teens that are struggling with bullying because of their sexuality or what others assume their sexual orientation may be. Sadly, some of these teens and young adults find that committing suicide is the solution to their problems. Sadly, they will never know that it will get better. First of all I will put it out there, I do not think sexual orientation is a choice. I firmly believe that a person is born gay, straight, or bisexual. Since I do not think a "choice" of sexual orientation is ever made, I also believe that whatever you are is perfectly okay. Society has not fully caught up with my way of thinking. It has gotten better, but not good enough. I know that many disagree with my belief that you are born a particular sexual orientation. I have argued with these people...at length. My question to the "sexual preference is a choice" people is: When did you decide to be heterosexual? It is always heterosexuals who seem to be of the bend that "a choice" was made. I am heterosexual, and I will tell you I never made a choice about it. I just like dudes. No real explanation why, that is just what does it for me in intimate situations. No choice, just the way I am wired.

Anyway, I love the message, "it will get better". I recall being a teen and often feeling distraught over squabbles with a boyfriend, or friends that were being "meanies", or numerous other issues that happen when you are a teen. It was a dramatic time. It was a confusing time. Thankfully, it was a moment in time, and it got better. Truth be told, being a teenager really is quite awful. If you can endure age 12-18, you can do anything. People are mean. Hormones are garbage. It is a very hard time. Whether you are gay, straight, or uncertain. It gets better. The media people are not full of it, it will all get better. Strangely at some point during my first year of college so many of my insecurities and self-conscious issues fell away. There was some moment that I realized all I am, good, bad and indifferent, added up to one pretty awesome person. I also realized that everyone does not have to love me or approve of me. Suddenly, my life got better. The distance from high school drama, made so many things better. Perfect? No. Still have not hit on the "perfect life" yet. It all gets better. Life gets sweeter with time.

I want all teenagers to know whether they are straight, gay, popular, the loner, the nerd, or whatever label that have been assigned that it gets better. High School is just a moment. Endure it. It will make you stronger. Yes, it can suck pretty bad. However, we all have a higher purpose and it is not necessarily to be prom kings and queens. It is okay to be different. I personally only like really unique people that see the world in cool and different ways. No, being unique is not easy in high school, but it will get better. You will find your place in the world. You will find a community. You will find your peeps. Then you will find your wings. Don't give up.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sweet Puppy Doggers

This is my little Ninja. Her name is tough. She is as sweet and gentle as they come. She is into her second week with us and seems to like us. This dog is either awake and doing something or asleep. She like long walks, treats, and duck duck. I am secretly waiting for the day when the squeaker goes out on duck duck.

Monday, October 25, 2010


The title pretty much says it, I am not a big fan of Halloween. Yes, I dress up the kids, carve pumpkins, decorate the house (a little) and buy candy for the trick or treaters, but I do so grudgingly. Today I was at an appointment and the office manager asked me what I dressing up as for Halloween. WHAT? It was a medical appointment, she had my chart, she knows my exact age, and still asked me what I was going to be for Halloween. Even more odd (to me) is this person seemed shocked when I said, "Not planning on dressing up". I do not care that many adults do dress up and participate fully in the festivities, but please respect that some people have never really been that keen on dressing up. It is not strange that I do not like dressing up as some character. If I could just dress up in a chic cocktail dress with fancy hair and make-up, I would. However, this would just be Allie dressed up for a special occasion. It would also look very silly as a I walk my kids door to door begging candy. I love to dress up, just not as a character. Did not like it as a kid either. Call me defective, but I just am not into it.

Halloween also annoys me because of all the candy. The kids seem very happy to collect tons of candy, count it, sort it, and trade it. I am then saddled with the task of slowly throwing it away in increments so small that it will not be noticed. Everyday, grabbing handfuls, making sure that some really precious treat is not accidentally tossed. No way in hell are the kids going to eat all that candy, and neither is my spouse (much to his dismay). Sure, they love to trick or treat, but honestly I look forward to the time they are no longer interested. I am sick of my deceptive candy removal tactics. It makes me feel sneaky and cheap, but their teeth will thank me later.

I apologize for no joyful post about the fun costumes and excitement about sweet treats. I can't love everything. However, I am starting my countdown to Thanksgiving. That is a holiday I really love. Family, food, thankfulness, and football, that is the recipe for a great holiday. Truth be told I really just enjoy the football for background noise for my Thanksgiving turkey induced nap. I will suffer through Halloween on my excited march to Thanksgiving Thursday.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

5 Random Thoughts

Once again I find that I have ignored my responsibilities as a blogger by not posting enough. Here is the deal, sometimes I just have little random musings that do not seem like "real" posts. I have in my mind that a post has to have a certain length and represent a clear line of thought. Lately my thoughts have been brief and all over that map. So here are some of my random musings from the past week. Maybe all strung together it may seem like a real post.
  1. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Yes, I have been sucked back into this silliness. These ladies faces do not move. Each looks a bit more plastic than the one before. I am pretty glad that my friends do not look like these gals. I like to make people laugh and I am pretty sure that the cast of this show can only give give vapid, pleasant looks. Please stop me if I ever say I am getting botox or other injected facial fillers. Just give my a blank plastic stare to remind me why. Thanks in advance.
  2. I have a new favorite pair of shoes!!! They are leopard with big gaudy clear jewels. Sounds tacky, looks awesome. These shoes make an outfit. Leopard goes with nothing, so it goes with everything. I declare these shoes my fall fashion statement. I am only making one statement per season. Generally I do it with a purse, but perhaps footwear will be my new way to express my inner fashionista.
  3. The new dog. Ninja is really getting along well with the family. It is nice to be adored and appreciated. The cat is lovely, but not into worshiping her family. Retired racers are a very laid back bunch. She is happy to go for walks, play, eat, and sleep. Which is good because we are good at all of those things too. Greyhounds may be a thin breed, but they are very food motivated. I have never seem a dog run to full food dish as fast as she does.
  4. I re-discovered Chicken Shwarma sandwiches. I went to lunch with my mom last week and had this taste treat. How I had forgotten about chicken shwarma, I do not know. I am glad to have it back on my culinary map. The downside of shwarma is the extreme amount of garlic. Yes, it is a taste treat, but I feel like I need to apologize to everyone who encounters me for the rest of the day. It is a couples food, so if you and your beloved have it together the garlic is a non-issue.
  5. Poltergeist. The movie. I watched it a week ago. I think I saw it back in the early to mid-1980's and I was scared then. It still freaks me out. The clown is the worst. The TV people...eek!!! The most disturbing thing is my daughter watched it and thought it was "no big deal". WHAT? She must have inherited the bravery gene from my husband. I have a triple dose of the "chicken sh**" gene. I will stick with Nightmare Before Christmas. I think that movie is scary, but it is animated, so its not real.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New Addition

No this is not a complaint about a new math program at the kids school, where the homework is impossible for even an engineer. Don't put that past me I will complain about homework, especially of it causes tears in our house. I have a new addition to the family. She is a retired racing Greyhound. I swore up and down that I was done with rescuing unwanted or abandon dogs. My last two dogs were slightly unstable. However, this dog is perhaps the most serene animal I have every encountered. She likes people (thank goodness), she listens, and she shows a lot of promise is the training department. Ninja (that is what we are calling her), seems to enjoy learning about retirement living in a house. She needs to learn about household living. Vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, kid's toys, cats, pretty much everything is new to her. I feel like I have a very agreeable alien living me. It all surprises her, yet she is not scared. Here is the best thing, she loves to sleep. Outside she can zip around as fast as I have ever seen a dog run, but she gets in the house and she is on her dog bed, sleeping before I can get my coat off. It is an exciting new journey for us as we learn about Greyhounds. One new thing is they must wear coats when it is cold. That is fun and new. I will keep you posted on Ninja's adjustment to family life. Maybe she has a little stinker in her and she is just showing us the good stuff right now? Only time will tell.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mining for Trouble

I do not know about you, but I have been pretty enthralled with the Chilean miners' rescue efforts. In August when the 33 men were trapped I honestly did not believe this event would have a happy ending. Thankfully, I was wrong. Each man pulled from the depths was a miracle to me. What an amazing engineering story, as well as a human interest story. Personally, I am starting to wish it focused more on the engineering and drilling side and less on the human interest side. Particularly the media focus on the tangled love lives of some of the 33 miners. It started with the man who had a wife and a girlfriend waiting for him at the surface. The wife, according to the news reports, left the site before this player emerged from the ground. I know that life is complicated and things happen, but I truly struggle with not judging this man and the girlfriend harshly. I wish such reports from the media never were mentioned. The pain and perhaps embarrassment that it causes the wife and other family members must be awful. Now there are other "mistresses" of other miners coming forward to share the spotlight. Why? I am not sure. Who wants to gain 15 minutes of fame for sleeping with a married man? Right now I am about to go off on a tangent about Tiger Woods and how he brought this "dirty mistress" situation to a whole new level. However, I will not because I may just puke on my keyboard if I do.

My point is that the media is taking an event that has so many positive messages and stories of personal triumph, and making it cheap and icky. The man who had one too many ladies waiting for him, was apparently the underground pseudo-doctor when they were trapped. I am sure that each man in the mine had a function that aided in the survival of the group. Why can't that be the focus of the media and not the very human, moral shortcomings of these men that occurred above ground in their private lives? I am sick of the tawdry side of the story always being the lead on the news. Can I change this? I guess I could stop watching and reading the news, but that would just make me uninformed. Ignorance is suppose to be bliss. Right? Anyway, I still believe it is a miracle that all of these men could be saved from such a disaster. Hopefully, each will take this second chance and make a positive contribution to his community. This very strong example of getting a second chance makes me want make the most of each day. I do not need to personally be buried alive for 70 days to take away that valuable lesson.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I like to procrastinate. Right now I should be outside raking leaves and cleaning up the yard, but instead I am writing about why I am avoiding it. See how that works? Pretty silly really. The yard will get cleaned up, I just need the right motivation. Generally that motivation is the leaf sucking truck two streets over. Then the situation is urgent and the consequences very real. The thought of leaves choking the life out of my already sketchy lawn does motivate me, just not yet. Sure right now the weather is sunny and warm. Ideal for yard work, right? NO. Ideal for a walk around the neighborhood or reading a book outside or a bike ride. Not for being productive in the out of doors. I need cold, maybe a bit of rain, the wind whipping at me. Then, and only then, do I want to take up my rake and brandish my pruners to make the yard ready for winter. Yes, that is ridiculous, but that is how procrastination works. It makes you push things to the limit of acceptability and still get things done.

Procrastination is my friend. It works for me and has for more years than I care to admit. Somehow the pressure of a very real, imminent deadline makes me feel alive. All through college I put off writing papers until the last minute. Sure I would do research and make outlines, but the actual paper was nothing until 24 to 48 hours before it was due. Packing for vacations is always the night before or the morning of departure. I know people who plan out all the things they need to bring and have their bags packed days before departure. This doesn't work for me. Sure, I am excited to go, but why do I want to walk around a packed suitcase for days prior to going? I don't. I like the pressure of getting all together, right under the wire. Perhaps I am crazy for embarrassing procrastination. Perhaps someday procrastinating will bite me in the a**. Until that happens, I will be walking past all the people doing yard work, enjoying my day. The pressure will get to me. It will get done. In my own time.

Monday, October 11, 2010

In My Opinion...

Have you ever noticed that some people's opinions matter more than others? In particular when a person compliments clothing choices. There are people who can tell me they like my outfit or a particular item I am wearing, and I say "thank you" politely, but I do not feel particularly uplifted by their kind words. Then there are those who can pay me a fashion compliment and it makes me feel like a million bucks. I do not get dressed, do my hair & make-up with the though of getting praised for my fashion prowess in mind, if it happens that is nice. I do however think of my stylish friends and I do not want to bring down the whole aesthetic of the group. As an example, if preparing for a "girls night out" I do take extra care with make-up and outfit selection. Not at all because I am trying to impress the gentlemen that may be out and about. No, I like most other women, dress to impress the other ladies I am out with. The secret is out. Women very seldom dress to impress men (because really most men have very limited fashion sense). Women dress to impress their well dressed women friends and acquaintances. The only caveat to the "men's opinions do not count" rule, is if a gay man is handing out fashion praise...that is the gold standard. Think if Carson Kressley came up and told you how nice your outfit was, or how beautifully accessorized you are today. That, my friend is high praise, from an authority on what looks good. No spouse or boyfriend can hold a candle to that kind compliment. I wish my spouse had a passion for fashion and could accessorize and style me so I always looked fabulous, but that will not happen. So I will continue rely on the compliments and direction from my trusted lady friends. Their opinions just count more.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Lunchtime Loner

I have found since both kids are in school all day the loneliest thing is lunch. Generally, I have a my morning plan and my afternoon plan. Lunchtime, I try to be at home and grab some sensible food. It is the quietest meal of the day. Yoda (the cat) does not even wake up to join me. I do not like to turn on the television in case I get sucked into something that interests me more than my afternoon plan. Many days watching a leaf blow across the lawn is more interesting than my afternoon plan. The quiet, uninterrupted meal is an odd thing for me. I do not have to get up and refill water or milk for anyone. I do not have to cut food for anyone, except myself. I do not have to listen to anyone chew with their mouth open. It is a bit lonely and dull.

The rest of my day I may or may not have people around me depending on what I am doing. When decluttering closets and the basement I am alone and it does not bother me one bit. In fact I enjoy the solitude. The time to focus on a task or to let my mind wander comfortably while doing a more mundane task is very freeing. I get a lot of thinking done when people are not around asking questions and requesting my assistance. Often I come up with ideas for this blog or another topic I want to write about privately in one of my journals. I toy with idea of a memoir...and then laugh at myself for toying with idea of a memoir. Perhaps I am lucky that the only time I only feel lonely throughout the whole day is at lunch. Maybe is a good thing to feel a longing for my family, then perhaps I am more excited or prepared for the chaos that ensues when they all arrive home.

How do you feel about solitude? Is there any particular time or situation that you feel lonely? Here is to hoping you have the correct balance of solitude and chaos in your life.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Am Beautiful

Okay, as you look at the title please do not judge me as a vapid, vainglorious, woman. I am using this as my topic today because I saw an event on Facebook for "I Am Beautiful" day. I checked out the event page to see what it is about. The idea is that on October 6, 2010 people on Facebook should set their status as "I am beautiful". It is about embracing ourselves and accepting ourselves as the beautiful, unique creations we each are. I am totally on board with that. I also feel like being an advocate for celebrating beauty. Only in the past ten or twelve years have actually come to accept that I am beautiful. Honestly. I have always known I was intelligent, and I have generally liked myself. However, I never really believed that I was physically attractive. I knew I was not unsightly or hideous, but pretty? That took a good 25 years to accept. The turning point for me was realizing that what is inside matters vastly more than what is on the outside. At that point I started seeing everyone different. It was a "light bulb" moment. It is as if I look more at a person's heart or character or whatever you may call that internal quality. The content of a person's heart lights their outer appearance for me now. It also lights how I see myself. When I am being caring, giving, and striving to make a difference (even if it is for one person) then suddenly when I look in the mirror I see a "glow" that comes from within. Conversely, when I am being self-centered or critical, I see the darkness. Thus, as a slightly vainglorious women, I try to live a life of giving, caring, and appreciating. So I can be beautiful.

Hopefully the rest of you figured out the whole beauty thing sooner than I did. 25 years is a long time to feel not beautiful. If not then think about it. Each of us is beautiful, and no one can take that from us. Time can not steal your beauty. Cosmetics can not give you beauty you do not already have. Its all about letting your heart light shine.

Go forth and be beautiful!

Monday, October 4, 2010


I was just working on a different post. It is a work in progress, I will share it when I feel it is just right. I began thinking it is not a Monday type post. Monday is a day that needs levity. The kind that can only come from a hot cup of coffee in a mug with something quirky written on it. I love coffee mugs. I can spend a long time in gift shops just reading funny mugs. I have learned that I can not buy very cute mug I see. Just like I can't buy every cute shoe just because it comes in a size 10...tempting as it may be. Anyway, back to my friend coffee. I think I should just list my favorite things about coffee...
  1. Coffee is hot and Michigan is generally cold, so that is natural match.
  2. Coffee can be served over ice during the three months when Michigan is hot.
  3. Coffee is a non-offensive social beverage. Most people can tolerate coffee in its caffeinated or decaffeinated form or go for a hot chocolate or tea option at a coffee house. So you have an option for your non-boozing friends.
  4. You can add booze to coffee. I am both sides of the coin person. A nice Irish Coffee or Mexican Coffee is a welcome end of day beverage.
  5. Coffee is an all day drink. You can not sip on gin & tonics all day without some pretty harsh judgement, not to mention impairing your own judgement.
  6. Juan Valdez and his donkey (or should I say, burro). Just a classic coffee commercial.
  7. Fun coffee mugs (already covered that one)
  8. The stimulant effect of caffeine. Never underestimate the importance of being awake and alert (even hyper-alert)
  9. The smell of coffee. Not only does it say, "Good Morning, my love". Coffee beans are a great deodorizer for refrigerator, and other areas of the house. I have put coffee beans in stinky shoes. It works.
  10. My ladies coffee group. These ladies completely rock. It is super cheap therapy and a lot of fun. So I will give coffee credit for this group, but we might meet up over other beverages too.

Tip back a steaming mug or two, and make your own list of reasons of why coffee is king!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Word, It's Wednesday

Today I may be giving you a completely made up word. It is on that gets used in our home, but I am pretty sure it is not real, but it is real fun. I looked in the dictionary...no luck. I did not invent this word, maybe my daughter did or my perhaps my son. Anyway, I use it and I like it. If you want to make new words, please do. It is fun.

kerplopsy- (ker-PLOP-see) adv. and adj. Behaving in a floppy, slightly disoriented manner. (noun) Also the physical state of health when one is disinterested in going to school, but not the pediatrician.

Mom, I told him to pick up all the toys and he got kerplopsy, and now he is hiding under the couch!

I can not make it to school today. I have kerplopsy. I need some orange juice.
Note: The spellcheck does not recognize "kerplopsy", nor does the medical community.

Monday, September 27, 2010


This past weekend was my sister Betsy's wedding. She married her longtime beau, Chris. I was honored to be the officiant. It was amazing. I practiced the ceremony so many times. I had it down, it flowed. I thought, I can deliver this in a professional manner. I only wrote my "reflections" about the couple a few days prior to the ceremony, because I kept changing what I wanted to include. I could have stood up and talked for hours about how special Betsy is to me and how much Chris is an awesome addition to our family. Good thing I finally found some brief words, because I had tears streaming down my face the whole time. You can not imagine how hard it is to read when your eyes keep tearing up. I am also glad I wrote it all down, because I may have become a blathering fool if I just the "the moment" move my words. Not really very professional, but very heartfelt...and I am okay with that, and hopefully the 100-some guests were too.

If I never do another wedding, that is okay with me because this one was so special and meaningful. However, if I do officiate more weddings, I am pretty sure any others will be easier and my nervousness will be less (I always get a bit nervous in front of crowds). Betsy and Chris have been together for 11 years. Some might wonder why were they not married long ago? I know sometimes I wondered that too. The thing with those two is they are committed to each other and whether married or not they will be together. The way my brother-in-law (that is fun to write) looks at my sister says it all. He adores her, and she adores him. The "look" has been in Chris's eyes for years, ever since I was introduced to him. He knows she is a special lady. Together they are superstars. Their nephews and nieces think they are the "funnest people in the world". Their friends contributed to the the wedding toast about how caring, fun, and supportive they are as individuals and as a couple. I wish them both so much happiness and joy for the rest of their lives. I love you Betsy & Chris. (and I would not mind a niece or nephew either)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Word, It's Wednesday

Yes, I am back with a word. Sorry. I blame the month of September for my skimpy amount of posts. Soon I shall have tamed the beast that is the 2010-11 school year. God willing.
jejune- (jih-JUNE) adjective. Thoughts and actions that are not well thought out or fully formed; a poor performance or inferior work
My jejune quilt making left with me with scraps of fabric, bloodied fingers, and a profound dislike of fabric arts.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Stinky Situation

This year I have changed up some of my professional volunteering jobs. I have stepped back in some areas and added some new interests. That is the beauty of being a professional volunteer. You make your job. I tend to set a one year commitment, minimum. I do this so I have discipline and structure. Volunteering is unpaid, and flexible, but highly valued by the organizations that depend on reliable volunteers to get projects done. Schools are one place that really rely consistent and dedicated volunteers. I have kids in two different schools (because of the 5 year age gap). I try to give equal time to both schools, because I do not need one kid saying I prefer one over the other. Maybe I do, but that changes from day to day. I recall, as a child, saying to my mother, "You like Adam and Betsy better than me!". This was her reply: "No. I dislike you all, equally, right now". That is some solid parenting I received, and look how I turned out. I love my mom, she is a tell it like is lady and she does it with a smile.

Anyway, back to my latest volunteering issue. I am volunteering in the library at my oldest child's school for a few hours in the afternoon each week. Last Thursday was my first day in the library. I love books, reading, and libraries so I thought this was a great opportunity for me. Here is what I did not bargain for, BO. That is right "body odor". My eldest is in 6th grade, and has excellent hygiene because of solid parenting (a.k.a. nagging) and the invention of deodorant. Unfortunately, not every 6th grader is blessed to have a parent so dedicated to good hygiene. I am aware that these kids are at an awkward age in life. I would not go through puberty again for a million dollars. It is freaky. Your body betrays you in so many ways; hairs grow in odd places, skin breakouts, boobs, growth spurts, and body odor. Yes, growing up stinks. Literally, if you do not bathe often and apply deodorant. Fully understanding what these wonderful kids are going through, I know I should be sensitive. However, all I can think about is; how can I get these kids to not wreak? I have a very low tolerance for stink. In fact, at one point during my library time, I went to restroom to make sure I was not stinky (I was not). I have a paranoia about smelling bad, and also about wearing too much perfume. I like to smell neutral, a good pleasant neutral smell. That is what I want for these 6th graders, a nice neutral smell. How I can accomplish this is my new mission. Yes, I want them to enjoy library time, and I want to suggest good books for them, and somehow by the end of the school year I want them all to not smell bad. Is that a vain project? Perhaps. Will it make the world a better place? Probably not. Will it increase my joy in volunteering? Absolutely.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Sorry about no words on Wednesday for two weeks now. Back to school is kicking my rear. I need to find a rhythm, lose my "to do" list, and get back to writing! I write this as I am eating a quick lunch before my volunteer session at the older one's school. Time management is not my strong point. September is my least favorite month because it points out this flaw...repeatedly. I hope to wrangle all the activities and commitments into a sensible schedule. This year my writing is going to get slotted as well, or it won't happen. I have proven that already. So put yourself on your list, calendar, or whatever method you use to make sense of time. Whatever it is that you are passionate about, pencil, NO PEN, it in so you can step back from the frantic pace and have some "you time". I know you deserve it and we are all better people when we nuture ourselves.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Thing About Monday...

It is not so much that I hate Monday. Really it is the Sunday Night Blues that make Monday seem so awful. Sunday, around 7 pm I get a melancholy feeling. Never can I place a particular cause to my melancholy, but it has always been there, since the beginning of time. I will add the the "beginning of time" for me was circa 1978, when I started kindergarten. I always liked school as a child. I have pretty much always been more of a morning person, than a night owl. So really there has never been a legitimate cause for my Sunday night sulk. However, just like the "Fridays are awesome" mentality, "Mondays are for s**t" is indoctrinated into our systems. It is as if society wants us to set aside one day of the week to be crabby and disgruntled, yet get a free pass for our grumpiness. Poor Monday. So we prepare for wretched Monday, by getting the Sunday Night Blues. Instead of enjoying our families, 60 Minutes, Ice Road Truckers, or the football game, we sit and sulk because tomorrow we have to go to work, go to school, or get back to whatever we abandon Friday at 5 pm. The funny thing is even when Monday is a holiday (like it was a week ago for Labor Day), I still get the Sunday Night Blues. Perhaps scientists should conduct a research study of this phenomenon. I will certainly volunteer my head for their brain mapping electrodes. Well, I will volunteer my head as long as I do not have to cut my hair. Perhaps until a definitive scientific study is completed, the results confirmed, and a Nobel Peace Prize given to the amazing minds that have solved the Sunday Nights Blues / Monday Morning Blows problem, can we put to rest the maligning of Monday. Until then, complain away, drink more coffee, enjoy your free pass to be grumpy, and pray for a cure...for Monday.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fine Line Friday

"There is a fine line between clever and stupid." Nigel, from This Is Spinal Tap
This movie line is one of my favorites, because it is so true. This Is Spinal Tap is a great movie, not Oscar worthy, but a fun film to check out if you love music and laughter (and who does not?). Anyway, there is loads of truth in the statement above. In truth, a fine line is what separates many things in life. The fine line is what makes or breaks an experience. Last night while I was laying in bed, listening to my sinuses fill, I thought of some "fine line" situations. Here is a short list...
  • There is a fine line between appropriate information and too much information. Case and point, my sinus filling comment. That was gross and too much information. The person that says, "I was sick over the weekend", and the person that says, "I had diarrhea all weekend". Both statements are brief, convey an illness, and an assumed bad weekend, but only one makes the listener want to run for the hills.
  • There is a fine line between hot coffee and "just right" temperature coffee. First, lets establish that I take my coffee black, so no cold liquids hit my coffee. The first sip of black coffee from home or from a coffee shop is always tongue scorching hot. Which is how coffee gets properly brewed, thus necessary. So coffee must sit for a proper amount of time to reach its "just right" temperature. Unfortunately, this "just right" temp can easily be missed if one gets a phone call, a needy child, or any variety of interruption. If I had a nickle for every cold cup of coffee I have consumed, I would be a millionaire.
  • There is a fine line between being a cat lover and a crazy cat person. The difference here is one cat. Cat lovers can have up to two cats. The third cat puts you in the crazy cat person category. This is especially apparent if you are a single woman, thus making you the crazy cat lady. This is a fine line because cats are small, and most households could hold several cats. It would be fairly easy to take in every stray cat that shows up. However, my belief (and fear) that I could become a crazy cat person keeps the feline population here to only one.

So there are a few fine line situations. I will keep looking for them and periodically posting them. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy Happy, Joy Joy

Here is a quickie about only good things...
  • School (finally) started today.
  • All parties are pleased with the teacher placements.
  • No one complained that I forgot to pack a snack today.
  • Everyone is going to school ALL DAY tomorrow.
  • The after school activity calendar has not given me heart palpitations this year (yet).
  • I can share shoes with my daughter.

So that is it, all good stuff. I said it would be a quickie...hope it was good for you too.

Happy New School Year!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

No...I'm Not Joking

The burden of being a person with a quick wit and a cute comeback for pretty much everything is that no one takes you all that seriously. Somehow everything "the witty one" says is a joke or a punchline. Well, on occasion "the witty one" is serious. Okay, truth be told I am almost always serious, I just know how to phrase things so others will laugh. Its called diffusing the situation with humor, and I am a real hoot at funerals. As I was saying, being witty is a burden. I am currently in the midst of writing the wedding ceremony for my beloved sister, Betsy, and her wonderful husband-to-be Chris. I was honored when they asked me to officiate their marriage. I am a strong believer in the institution of marriage, even though I am pretty unconventional in many ways, I embrace marriage and hold it very dear. In order to officiate I had to become an ordained minister. I am pretty busy with the kids, house, the husband, and professional volunteering (my inability to say "no" keeps me going). Fitting in a trip to a seminary to become an ordained minister was not going to happen. I turned to the next best option, The Universal Life Church, on the Internet. Yes, one cold January night I sat down and got myself ordained. It was a pretty simple process. I had no idea that it was one of the funniest things I had ever done. It seems almost everyone that hears I am an ordained minster laughs. This group includes the pastors at my own church, my friends' spouses, my financial advisor, my son's teacher, and a few grocery store clerks. Yes, I have a wallet card with my credentials that I gladly show to people to prove I am a minister. No, I do not plan to start my own church, I like the church I attend just fine. My becoming a minister was out of love for my sister and not wanting some stranger to perform her wedding ceremony. Perhaps if I possessed a more reserved manner and was soft spoken, people would not feel like everything I do is a joke. Honestly, 95.8% of my daily life is void of humor. Which is why I try to see the humor in everything. There are far more unlikely candidates for ministry. Being a practicing Lutheran, a volunteer at my church, a member of a Bible Study group, and an occasional deliverer of the Children's Sermon makes me seem pretty qualified to be a minister. No, I do possess volumes of knowledge about theology. No, I can not names the books of the Bible in order. However, just because I am "the witty one" does not mean I am the irreverent one too. Well, sometimes I am irreverent, but that is because I am painfully honest and direct. So I declare, I am a minister, and NO, it is not a joke. I will not be doing a 15 minute monologue at the wedding ceremony, even if you beg. The reception, however, is another story altogether.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Word...It's Wenesday

Today's word is one that I can not personally identify with, but it does describe a few of my very close loved ones.

laconic- (luh-KON-ik) adjective. Being a person of few words; expressing oneself with an economy of words.

Nick may be laconic, but what he does say is generally delivered in clever and witty manner.
***I have tried to be laconic. It just does not work for me.

Monday, August 30, 2010

No More Plastic Cups

This summer I had lunch with some friends from high school and along with being a delightful way to spend an afternoon, I also became inspired. My friend, Molly, has three kids that are all out of the toddler phase, not in college and out of the house, but at the nice age of reason & understanding (ages 5-12, as I see it). She has done something that is truly genius. She has rid her house of all plastic cups. No sippy cups, no little plastic cups from restaurants, none of it...NO PLASTIC CUPS. She simply, and confidently, stated; "They are not babies. They can drink out of glasses like people." Why do I find this so brilliant? It is because each time I open one particular cupboard in my kitchen I am bombarded (and sometimes actually physically assaulted) by plastic cups. None, that I have actually purchased, just the crap from restaurants, ball games, and birthday party favors. Really, just a pile of rubbish. I too am at the stage where my kids are reasonable, and fully capable of handling glassware. I however am a chicken, and I fear that ridding the house of the plastic cups will somehow bring on a plague of clumsiness, and stitches from stepping on broken glass. However, I strive, by Molly's brave example, to have a more grown up house. There are some nice things around this place that have been cast aside and put in storage since kids came into the picture. It is time to un-baby proof the joint. I can have exposed electrical outlets now. I do not need cabinet locks, okay I never had them because I found them to be too difficult to operate. The old baby gates that are in storage need to just leave this house. I am going glass. That is right, no more unnecessary safety measures. We are living on the edge. I am reclaiming my former decorative style. No longer shall I look at objects of art as possible choking hazards. Thanks to Molly I know that I can start living an adult life again. Yes, I am still a parent with responsibilities to keep my kids safe, but now I am a parent of children that have the good sense to not eat, lick, or stick their fingers in everything they see. And drink out of glasses made of glass. That alone will make for a great week. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Word...It's Wednesday

This week I give you a little gem. If you can not use this word on a daily basis, you need to rethink your worldview.
minutiae- (mih-NOO-shuh) noun. Small, trifling matters that one encounters on an average day.
We could not being to cover the major agenda items during the meeting because the committee was more interested in discussing the minutiae of office politics.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Get Back to School Already!!!

One of my favorite things as a child was going "back to school" shopping. I loved getting the supplies, the new sneakers, the clothes, the haircut...pretty much the whole deal was great with me. As a parent of two kids, I do not share this lovely feeling anymore. Maybe its because my kids are not as gung-ho about all the running around and shopping. They both love the trip for school supplies, so I have that going for me. Otherwise, one hates haircuts, the other does not like to try on clothing, both have shoe issues (they have their mother's big feet). In short there are abundant complaints and much foot dragging. No one wants to wait while the other picks out clothes. Then the ugly clothing suggestions happen. Somehow, my kids have the ability to seek out the most hideous looking shirt and then say, "You would look GREAT in this". Naturally in a really snippy tone that suggests their sibling is equally as hideous looking as the garment. Mind you, both are quite pleasing to the eye (maybe I am biased). I do not recall giving my mother this treatment. I did not heckle my siblings and cause scenes in the store, at least I do not think I did. Mind you, we are no where close to being "fully stocked and ready", but we must continue to fight the good fight for school readiness.
The bigger issue right now is the kids just need to get back to school. I am officially done with summer. We have wrung out all the fun we possibly can from the Summer 2010. Now we are left with a few more weeks of summer break and a general state of aggravation and annoyance with each other. I am sick of nagging, they are sick of hearing me nag. No one wants to be near anyone. Yet we are forced to go store to store getting the necessities for school. My mistake was having kids of two different genders, five years apart. There are not many stores that accommodate both of their clothing preferences and my budget preferences. If they insist upon growing, I insist upon not spending a fortune. Seeing as there is no way to change the gender and age issues, I am forced to vent to you about my back to school problems. This is becoming a solid argument for year around school. If they go to school all year, then there is no "back to school" push for new clothes and shoes. It would be like work clothes, you get new things as the old wear out. I never thought I would support the school all year movement, but the length of the summer break and the crazy-making back to school shopping have me seriously considering the some of the advantages of going to school all year. Maybe once school starts and things settle back into a routine I will change my mind. Until next year when the back to school push starts once again.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Word...It's Wednesday

FYI- Still not caught up on life after the vacation and bridal shower. However, my problems with organization should not keep you from building a better vocabulary. So here we go...
petulant- (PET-chew-lant) adj. Describes someone who sulks, complains, or whines because he or she is acting immaturely or is ill-tempered.
I had to sever all ties with Simon since he seemed unable to control his petulant pouting.
Note to readers...unless I post a picture I generally make up names for my sentences. I do not know a petulant Simon or anyone named Simon. Please never take offense if I use your name. I am not really thinking of you, unless it is something glowing and fabulous, then of course its you. Happy Wednesday!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Catching Up...

So...sorry for the lack of posts of late. Vacations and a party girl life style have cut me off from the cyber world. Now after two weeks of fun, fun, fun, I have to get back to reality. The harsh reality of dinner prep, laundry, yard, cleaning, (and repeat) is upon me. I am actually blogging as a way to put off the yard that is getting pretty ragged looking. Catching up is the worst. I often wish there was a special service that could come in and do all the detail stuff (groceries, laundry, yard) until I feel up to taking it all back. I am not sure I would take any of it back, and then I would be a fancy lady with "help". Sadly, I am not a person cut out to have "help" come in and touch my things. So I am catching up on everything and putting away the vacation state of mind for awhile. I will get back to observing the world and commenting upon it as soon as I can see the floor in front of my washer and dryer...and find the cat.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Word...It's Wednesday

Today's word starts with my favorite letter of the alphabet, Q. Yes, I like the letter Q. I am not sure most people have a favorite letter, but I do. I like the sound of Q, or should I say "Qu", since Q is always with "u", well in most cases. Anyway...enjoy.

quintessential- Adjective. The most perfect or typical example of its category or kind.

Betsy's dog Ollie is the quintessential yellow Labrador Retriever.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


I get songs stuck in my head all the time. Almost daily. A few years ago I heard someone call the song stuck in their head an "earworm". I immediately latched onto this term. It is pretty gross sounding, but having a song, especially an annoying song, stuck in one's head is pretty disturbing too. Fortunately, I seem to get a good mix of good songs and fewer annoying songs. This week will be an exception. It is Vacation Bible School week. A week full of songs about good things like trust, love, caring, discipleship, and sharing. A week full of songs that are very repetitious, and these songs get stuck and become earworms on steroids. I should feel bad about complaining these virtue extolling songs, but I do not because ever since I played the VBS CD to get familiar with the songs, the theme song "wormed" me. So for a few days I have found myself singing "It's a Baobab, It's a Baobab Blast....". I will not give you all the lyrics, but those are the sticky ones. Even the kids roll their eyes at me as I try to sing it out of my head. By the way, "singing it out" does not work with VBS songs, it just makes you do the hand motions and dance steps. So as much as I love VBS and doing the science activities with the kids, the songs haunt me. I know I will have a great time this week, I just hope that the songs will quit "worming" me. I wish you all an earworm-free week.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Even I Say, WOW!

Today marks 15 years of marriage for my husband and I. So I am summarily ignoring my rule of keeping him out of the blog, for this one day. Being married is a big part of who I am and he was crazy enough to want to spend his life with me. Sorry Nick, for better or worse, today you are in This Particular Brand of Crazy.
Being married is not easy, but it is worth the effort. 15 years is a pretty good chunk of time, even I say "WOW, that is pretty good". Up until this point I have thought, "Any fool can be married for (fill in # ) years". This year I have decided I am impressed. So you ask (or maybe you don't)...What is the secret? What great relationship advice can you dole out? Well, here it is.
  1. Nobody is always right, and nobody is always wrong.
  2. Saying sorry doesn't mean that you are admitting being wrong, it means your admitting to being a jerk, and that is okay. Jerks should be sorry and admit it, so they can go back to being decent people.
  3. Being a couple is the priority. Raising kids is important, but the kids will leave when they are 18. Make sure your spouse does not want to leave with them.
  4. Love and Like are not always co-existent. I know that there have been days we do not like each other, but we always love each other.
  5. Laugh. Pretty much everything in a relationship is fair game after a certain point. We are at that point, and it is awesome.
  6. You do not have to do everything together. Separate interests keep life interesting.
  7. You do need to do some things together. Otherwise you are roommates and co-parents (if you have kids)
  8. You can go to bed mad, just don't make a habit of it.
  9. Compromise means nobody is happy with the outcome. Give and Take means only one person is miserable at a time. I prefer Give & Take. It works in my favor half the time.
  10. "Love keeps no record" (that is Biblical). Get over the past arguments, score keeping, and other destructive behaviors. A couple is a team, do not sabotage your teammate.

So, that is what I have learned from 15 years of wedded bliss. Not all easy lessons, but worthwhile. I can honestly say that today I am more in love with Nick than I was 15 years ago. Yes, that sounds sappy, but it is 100% true.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Recommended Reading

I love to read and I love to recommend books to people. I love to have books recommended to me. Sometimes I am a little disturbed when someone says, "You would love this book. It reminds me of you". Then I read it and it has murderers, affairs, cults, and crazy stuff going on. So helpful hint...just say, "I think you would like this book" and leave out how the crazy stuff somehow reminds you of me. It is not helpful to my self esteem. I would not tell you that a book about a hooker with a heart of gold reminds me of you. Anyway, since I am a blogger and I have these pages that I can attach to the blog and I have been working on book list of my favorite authors and books. The trouble I am running into is making a list, versus giving a little synopsis of each book. I have my genre categories set, but how much should I tell about each book? Should I give a mood rating? Example, read this if you want a funny book look or read this if you want to read a book about some pretty disturbed people ( Who starts a book looking for that stuff?). Honestly, I have been going to this yet unpublished page, adding books and I am still unsure of what else to say about the books. When someone recommends a book to you do you need reasons for reading the book? Do you just take the recommendation based on the person doing the recommending ? Personally, any book my mother recommends, I read. She is an avid reader of many genres. I also do not read something if she says its not good. My mom is my book authority. I have recommended books to her as well and recently lent her a book that she loved. I was so proud that she found this book as wonderful as I did. It somehow validated my book recommending credibility. So readers, please let me know do you prefer book lists, or book lists with reasons for reading? This will help me get this book page off the ground.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Accidental Twi-hard

I never meant to fall in love with vampires and shape-shifting wolves from the Pacific Northwest, but it happened and now I am what is commonly know as a Twi-hard. As a woman of a ceratin age it seems silly to enjoy a book series created for people a few decades younger than I am. It all started innocently enough with checking out Twilight at the library a few years ago. I had heard some buzz about a book series for teens about kindly vampires. As an educator and parent is not rare for me to read "kiddie lit", its part of my job. A person can not recommend reading for young people if they do not know what they are recommending. Then my sister let me borrow her copies of the rest of the series. And now I shamefully admit I purchased the entire hardcover set from my favorite warehouse store. It was not suppose to go down like that, honestly. This is not the first young fiction series I have fallen in love with, and it will not be the last. I am a complete Potter-head as well (those who know me personally get the complete funny in that one). Back to the Twilight Saga. My issue with the whole franchise has been the movies, the acting is pretty bad and the movies have not done the books justice, until Eclipse. I recently braved the cost of the cinema to go see Eclipse with my young Twi-hard. I planned to be disappointed, and to eat movie popcorn with more calories and fat than I care to speak of. Alas, perhaps because my expectations were low, I ended up actually liking the movie (and the popcorn, which never disappoints). Then it occurred to me that Eclipse is probably the best book in the series. Not that the others were bad, but this book happened to develop the minor characters more fully than the previous two books. Now, instead of just having one handsome vampire to love, there is his whole family, and their back stories. The werewolves even have a folklore based back story and become more central to the whole story. Suddenly, the whole saga is less about lovesick teens and more about how people living on the fringe of society can get along. That is right, I found deeper social meaning in a Twilight movie. By the way, I tried to have a deeper meaning conversation with my young Twi-hard, lets just say she was there for the handsome vampires and werewolves. However, I no long have shame in my Twilight loving game.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Poking Bears

I love fun little colloquial phrases. One of my favorites is "Don't poke the bear". First of all it evokes a fun picture in my mind of a person sneaking behind a sleeping bear with stick to give the bear a poke. The picture in my mind is funny because I am never the person that I picture poking the bear. In reality, there are many figurative bears in my life, and I do poke them on occasion. The "bear" can sometimes be a particularly difficult person, or a situation in your life. Really it is a matter of knowing your "bear" and how to manage the "bears" in your life. It is true that sometimes it is not worth the trouble it will cause to poke some bears. Other times it is a necessary evil to poke some bears or things will not change and the bear will continue to be an obstacle in your life. So let us all assess the bears in our life and the challenges that may come from poking one or two of them. Sure the bear may growl and show its teeth, it may even chase you for awhile, but you have your stick. Or maybe the bear is scared, tired, and it will just run into a cave. You will never know until you poke the bear. Good luck with your bear management.

Friday, July 23, 2010

This Not That

I am a sucker for the "Eat This Not That" books and articles. Sadly, I often find that I am often living in the "not that" camp. I try to reform and make better choices, but frankly I would rather not eat that go for some of the "eat this" choices. Fear not, this is a post about my neurotic eating or not eating. It is about life. Really in life is it ever so simple that it is a "this" or "that" choice? Sure some things are that simple, but most are more complex. I often envy people that see the world in black and white, good or bad, yes or no. It would be nice to have binary brain that processes things so efficiently. I am more of a shades of grey, nothing is all good or bad, and a "maybe" kind of gal. However, I really do not think I am completely indecisive, just unwilling to quickly categorize things and put them in a box. Which may explain why the top of my dresser is a cluttered mess (or I just fall victim to the "flat surface trap"). The "this not that" people of the world certainly have more time to live life. However, I am not sure how much enjoyment is gained living in a world where it is either "this" or "that". The over-thinkers spend a lot of time doing analysis of the shades of grey. Sometimes the beauty in life is in the shadings, not being one thing or another, but somewhere on the continuum. I will never know what it is like to be a binary thinker. I suppose it is helpful in many situations in life, and in certain career fields. Being a shades of grey person I can appreciate the clean and linear thinking people of the world, I just can not be one. Where are you? Are you "this not that" or "shades of grey"? And how ironic is it that I have left you with a choice of "this or that"?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Word...Its Wednesday

Welcome to Wednesday. Half way to the weekend. Hump Day. Whatever you call it, in a few days it is Friday and we all love the heck out of Friday. However, today I need to put a new word in your vocabulary. So you, my intelligent reader, can sound eloquent and confuse those around you. I have been doing it for 30-some years, and I need company. Its lonely at the top of the vocabulary food chain. No, it is not, but smug superiority gets old. Remember the rule: use it three times correctly, in a sentence and its yours!!!
Halcyon- (HAL-see-on) adjective. Calm, peaceful, carefree, prosperous.
Recalling my youth, I fondly long for the halcyon days of the summer of 1991.
Wishing you many halcyon days this summer.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Rummaging Through

One of the best things about the church I attend is the yearly rummage sale that benefits the youth activities. I can honestly say I have not attended even one of the actual rummage sales over the years. Only this year do I have a child old enough to being to benefit from the proceeds of the sale. So why do I think the rummage sale is a great feature of the church? Frankly, I like it because it motivates me to purge, purge, purge all the "stuff". When the pastor announces that the congregation can start bringing their items for the rummage sale, I get a giddy little fire in my belly and I start making a mental plan of attack on the "stuff". I really do not even hear the benediction because the manic urge to purge is going full force. AMEN, lets clean house.

This year while I was surrounded by children's books and toys, figuring out what was broken, too old, too young, or too ridiculous; I realized that for a family that has never gone to New Orleans we have a lot of Mardi Gras beads. Yup, strings and strings of Mardi Gras beads. Never been to the Big Easy, its on the list of places to go, pretty close to the top, but I already have the beads. So you might think she is going to tell us she boxed those up for the rummage sale. NO, she did not. Many things are making there way out of the house, but the Mardi Gras beads just kept getting placed around my neck. I looked like a very popular lady by the time the toy purge was complete. Now I am wondering how the heck do we have so many beads. Do people hand these out at birthday parties? When I go out do have so much fun I do not recall getting cheap beads? Do lost socks morph into Mardi Gras beads? And most of all why am I hanging on to all of the beads? I was so filled with the Holy Spirit of purging, but not for these silly plastic beads. Certainly once the mystery of how the beads got here is solved I may be able to release them, but until then I have some craft ideas (which likely will not happen) or perhaps the beads will become my new personal fashion statement (also pretty unlikely).

Do you have any items is your home that no matter how useless you just can not part with it? And if you can explain my attachment to Mardi Gras beads to me, there is a fancy coffee drink in it for you. Unti then, I figure some Mardi Gras beads will not land me a feature spot on Hoarders. It is my goal in life to stay off that particular reality show.

Friday, July 16, 2010

One Good Thing

Have you ever had a really bad day, or series of bad days? The kind where you wonder if anything is ever going to go right again? EVER. It seems like days like this cluster together and suck the joy out of the day and sometimes whole weeks. Then one good thing happens. Often it is something quite small and silly that can snap the bad streak, or something loud and scary. A thunderstorm that brings a cold front that makes everything more bearable. Who is generally glad about thunderstorms? I guess I am, because it makes you realize even loud scary things can have a cool, calming effect. I have found that often in reflecting upon these "dark days/weeks" that I overlooked several good things that could have ended the "badness". So on this very hot and humid Friday, don't overlook the good things that are happening. They may be small, quiet things or big, loud things. Either way, be open to letting them be your one good thing.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

To Puppy or Not to Puppy

I love dogs. I have often claimed I was raised by retrievers (both Golden and Labrador). And I would say those dogs did a fine job. Dogs just make me smile. They are happy go lucky. They are always glad when you come home, and rarely complain about dinner. Dogs are perfect. Alas, I have been dogless for two years now. Oddly I never noticed all the responsibility of dog ownership when a dog was a part of my daily routine. No longer do I have to look at my watch and scurry home to let out a dog, before my floors paid the price. Vacations cost less because no boarding fees at the kennel are needed. No longer does the yard need "poop patrol" before mowing or having the kids play (no one misses "poop patrol"). None of these inconveniences bothered me when I had a dog. However, now as a ponder a puppy, I am thinking, "What am I thinking?". Sure the sweet smell of puppy is like heaven to me. The kids would be thrilled. We have names, okay we have so many names we may need to adopt a whole liter of puppies. Yoda, the haughty Himalayan, would be less than thrilled to have to train a new dog, but she would. House training, and poop patrol, kennel fees, and clock watching would become a part life again...and there is the rub. Talk of puppies started in February, and since then the reasons to delay began. Spring, just got away from us. Summer is just too busy with camps, vacations, upcoming wedding (Betsy's not mine, I am good in the wedded department). So October looks like the "best time" to puppy it up, but who knows what autumn will bring. It is beginning to seem like "the best time" to get a puppy does not exist. Much like "the best time" to do anything. Life is pretty good now, certainly not simple and easy, but not overwhelming. Would the benefit of a canine companionship outweigh the added responsibilities and time constraints? I do not know. Help me out, with the question: To puppy or not to puppy?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Word...Its Wednesday

I hope that this word is not one that you need to use too regularly. If you can use it often, perhaps you need to evaluate you situation and find a more lucid group friends and family to associate yourself. Oh, that its right, you can't pick family...sorry.
vacuous- (VAK-yoo-us) adjective. Devoid of emotion, intelligence, or any normal human thought processes; moronic; stupid.
The vacuous look on the waiter's face when we inquired about the wine list and the specials, made us realize we were in for a long, unpleasant dining experience.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pack A Bag

In January I purchased an inspriational flip book that I keep on the microwave in the kitchen. It is called Enjoy Life and Be Happy in 30 Seconds. Each day has an inspirational saying or an action point to help one enjoy life an be happy (supposedly in 30 seconds). This flip book mocks me, daily. Fortunately, I have an incredible sense of humor. I do not flip the page everyday. At first it was because I had not done the action step, and then because some of the action steps just make me chuckle. I have been stuck on, "Today I will...Pack a bag so I am always ready for an adventure". When this page came up about a month ago, I considered actually packing a bag. As a mother of two and the wife of one, a packed bag is really just an invitation to bolt when things get nuts (which can happen daily). So I have not packed a bag, because who needs protective services on their *rear* for child abandonment? Not me. Lately I look at the suggestion to pack a bag for an adventure as being a bit chicken. Really an adventure should be a bit of a fly by the seat of pants proposition. That is the adventure part. Just taking off with what is in your pockets, now that would be an adventure. I may not even make it to the edge of town with only what is in my pockets (especially of I am wearing yoga pants). I need a purse, yes I have a big a-- mom purse. I have small purses too, but I have a preference for a bag that could hold a severed head (not that it ever would, I am just saying that so you get a sense of proportion). Really, if a woman has a properly stocked purse, she can likely make it at least two days out of her home. Not a fabulous two days, but a survivable two days. Personally I have long held the belief that one can survive nicely with an AMEX card and some gin. Really, if you have the AMEX card the gin can be your first purchase. So all you need is an AMEX card. No, the outdoor channel has not been knocking down my door to do a documentary on my survival tactics. I do not care. I am an urban survivalist. I am not packing a bag so I am ready for any adventures, bags are for sissys. I will keep my purse (with the AMEX card) ready for adventures. Enjoy the adventure of today, whatever it may bring.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hotter than...

Hot and I are not friends. I do not care if its a dry heat or a humid heat...its all hot and it stinks. What I do like about hot is all the Hotter than _______ phrases and other heat related sayings. My favorite is the not so original, hotter than Hades, I just like it, always have.
  • My absolute least favorite is the old man in the grocery store parking lot saying, "Hot enough fer ya?". How do you answer that? When it is scorching hot I really do not want to make quippy weather talk with the elderly gentlemen of the world? No, I do not, and yes, it IS hot enough for me. The sweat river flowing down my back should indicate that I am sufficiently hot (and not in a good way). Shouldn't old people be inside on hot days? Isn't it a health hazard for the very young and the very old to be out in extreme temperatures? Hot weather also makes me so crabby that my wrath can turn on kindly old people.
  • Back to funny hot phraseology. Hot enough to fry an egg on a sidewalk. That one is good because at least once a year some TV weatherperson will try it on television. Even a non-scientist knows that generally to fry (not slowly cook) an egg the pan needs to be around 300 degrees. I am pretty sure the sidewalk does not get to 300 degrees...even on a super hot day. But that is just good fun.
  • The most annoying phrase is, "Its not so much the heat, its the humidity that bothers me". I used this one for years until I realized it is both that bother me. Anyone that still believes that the humidity is the issue needs to stick their head in a hot oven. Ovens produce a dry heat, and its also miserable. Humidity does add a certain nasty twist to a hot day. The frizzy hair, the constant sweaty feeling, and the urge to do nothing but sit in front of a fan or AC unit; does not make for a productive day. A scorching dry heat does not seem like it would be a great motivator either. I can't say that I have a lot of experience with "dry heat" being a life long Michigan girl. Let us just put the heat and humidity into the same category- the yuck category.
So what is your favorite "hot" phrase, or least favorite? How about a quick prayer for a return to the upper 70's for the rest of the summer? Stay cool.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Word...Its Wednesday

This is a fun word. I originally heard it in the move The Royal Tennenbaums. I had to look it up so I kept saying it in my head until I could get to my loyal dictionary. Sadly, it is one of those words that needs a special situation to apply it properly. Fortunately for me, I am prone to using overstatements, so I try to pull this word out at least quarterly...sometimes only at the holidays if it has been a unremarkable year.
preternatural- (pree-tur-NACH-err-uhl) adj. Describes things that are out of the norm, abnormal or unnatural. Not to be confused with supernatural, which implies forces beyond understanding.
Wilma had to call on preternatural physical and mental strength to pop her dislocated shoulder back into place so she could continue her hike out of the canyon.
Here is to hoping your day is preternaturally full of good and joyful things!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

This One Time at Church Camp...

This year I decided to try new things, well at least things that I do not normally do, even if the rest of the world does. Camping with my family is one thing I have never done. Yes, I went to summer camp as a child. I have even gone on weekend camping trips with my daughter's Girl Scout troop. However, we have never as a family gone camping. Luckily, our church has a Family Camp trip each summer over the 4th of July. Of course for years I have found reasons not to go to Family Camp, this year I had run out of excuses...so we camped. Let me tell you it takes a lot (a ton) of stuff to camp. I would list it, but the rest of you most likely have camped so you know already all the stuff. Here is what you may not know, camping with a bunch of other families from church is hilarious. I will share just a few of the observations I made while in the "wilderness".

  1. What happens at Family Camp stays at Family Camp. Its like Vegas with more trees, and less electricity...but pretty much the same amount of "adult beverages". If offered a trip to Las Vegas or another camping trip...well even this lover of modern conveniences would have a hard time picking
  2. Completely disregarding the confidentiality statement in point #1, (sorry, rules are meant to be broken). Five grown adults can amuse themselves for about and hour trying to get a dead hanging branch out of a tree. The best tools to use for such a task are a basketball and a football , and not a flip flop (in case you are ever in this situation). This activity will also be looked upon as a "public service" by the five adults, because who knows when that branch may have fallen out of the tree and caused untold harm to an unsuspecting passerby? The passersby observing this activity will look upon it as complete tomfoolery.

  3. Kids whine a lot less when they are running around filthy with other kids their age. They also sleep like the dead and do not complain about what food they are served. In other words, nature can pretty much work miracles.
  4. Cleanliness is relative when camping. I averaged a couple showers a day and some swimming and still managed to feel pretty filthy all the time. Fortunately, there is a lovely drink made from hops and barley that helps one care a bit less that there is a skim of dirt all over there legs and feet.
  5. Spending a few days disconnected from computers, TV's, and other technology is surprisingly easy. Yes, my phone was on, but was used more as a "walkie talkie" to check on the kids or find out where the fun was happening across camp. Sure I could have bought real walkie talkies, but the mobile phones worked fine. Sitting around playing cards and talking with friends is far more entertaining than any television show or movie.

Camping has gained another convert! It is a church camp miracle! That being said, please do not expect to run into me on a remote backwoods trail carrying all my gear in a back pack, and digging holes to use as a toilet. I am a Lutheran, and I would protest that.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Days All Confused

Long weekends are great in so many ways. Great for having a little get-away, or fabulous for catching up on the "to do" list projects around the house. The extra time allows us to slow down and just have some time to be lazy, and decompress. The bad thing about long weekends is the days get all confused for the next week. Today is Monday, but it feels like Sunday. Tomorrow is Tuesday, but it is going feel like Monday. Poor, pitiful, sad sack, Monday. Monday is the ugly step-sister of all the days of the week. Thus, Tuesday will be the the other ugly step-sister (yes, she is ugly too, but not as hideous as Monday). Then the rest of the week is just all discombobulated. I really get mentally off balance when do not know what day it is. Perhaps because I do not love changing the routine. Routine works for me. Having to compress my Monday things into a Tuesday (pretending to be Monday) along with my Tuesday stuff, well it makes for a busy day...and half way through it I will inevitably forget what day it is, and wonder why a reasonably intelligent person, like me, gets so flipping confused by the days of the week. So enjoy the long weekend. Live in the moment. Savor the extra time. Then brace yourself, because the rest of this week will be days all confused.