Monday, February 25, 2008


So I went to Wal-Mart today. Just to get a "few" items.

I didn't do too badly today, actually. I did, however, buy a ginormous container of coffee creamer because I knew we were about out. And this morning, I watched my husband put 6 teaspoons of creamer in his travel mug. SIX!!! So I said "Did you SERIOUSLY just put SIX spoons of creamer in your coffee? SIX?"

But I digress.

I also bought these new little snack thingys called "Morning Minis." Just another quaker oatmeal snack, but oatmeal is a good snack and I love it, so I picked up the peanut butter variety, 'cause my husband likes peanut butter.

And I'm thoughtful like that.

On my way out of the parking lot, I opened a pack of the Peanut Butter Oatmeal Minis to try them out. You know? To make sure they were good enough for my husband. I decided they were pretty good, so I finished the pack on my way to Hobby Lobby because it really was my snack time; the time at which, at home, I would be eating a cup of yogurt or some fresh fruit.

I "needed" to go to Hobby Lobby because their 12x12 paper is on sale - 5/1.00. And that's like...let's see...carry the one...that's like...well, that's a lot percent off!! Also, their candles are 50% off and I love their Butterscotch Sundae candles.

But I digress again (re-digress?)

Anyway, on my way to Hobby Lobby, I get to the last Peanut Butter Granola Bite thingy and I drop it on the floor of the van. I hate that.

So I immediately start counting backwards from 10, because everybody knows once food hits the ground you have ten seconds to retrieve it so you can consume it without fear of all sorts of horrible things happening to your digestive tract. Except, according to my brother the Master Sergeant, Army brats get 20 seconds.....

And the pressure of finding that Peanut Butter Granola Bite, before reaching the end of my countdown, was enormous.

Because, dang!

They're pretty good!!

And I failed. I did not find that nugget of food before counting off ten seconds. I did, however, notice that the floor of my van, on the driver's side, is astoundingly clean. I had to wonder for a moment if I was driving to Hobby Lobby in the wrong van. Until I glanced into the back floorboards and noticed the same crunched up Doritos, 2 water bottles, a Gatorade bottle, and a single powder blue fuzzy glove that have been there most of volleyball season. Whew!! What a relief. I was in my own mobile pigsty after all.

But no matter how many times I tried to lean over and scan the floorboard, while driving, I could not find my peanut butter granola bite. And I couldn't feel around with my feet, because that would crush it and besides, that would just be unsanitary. I mean, it's one thing to eat a piece of food off the floor of my van, but to eat one that's been touched by the bottom of my shoe...?

I think not.

Finally, at the last stoplight before entering Hobby Lobby's parking lot, I unbuckled my seatbelt and leaned WAAAAAAY forward and felt around under the seat.

And found my food!!! (Cue Hallelujah chorus here)

I gave it a quick once over and popped it in my mouth. So, I had counted to ten about 12 times?
It was worth it. And I probably have about 12 hours before the first wave of nausea hits.

And on another Hobby Lobby note: I spent $8.77, and felt pretty smug because the lady in front of me had just spent $219.00. TWO. HUNDRED. NINETEEN. DOLLARS!!!

But I bet she doesn't eat dirty food.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


I have another confession to make.

And you really must keep this to yourself because what I'm about to tell you would be considered heresy in these here parts.

See, I love winter.

This is a VERY unpopular opinion to have in central Illinois. It would be like walking into Hillary Clinton's campaign headquarters and yelling "Georga Dubya rocks!"

But I can't help it. I love winter.

I love the snow. I love drinking hot cocoa and hot coffee while the wind howls and the snow swirls outside. I love having our whole family contained at home on a snowy winter night. I love the challenge of finding things to do inside for days on end; although, the older I get, the more of a homebody I become and I see it as less of a challenge with each passing year. I love the comaraderie that comes from sharing "tales of survival" with our neighbors after we've all made it through the most recent snow storm. I love reading The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder every year since I was in the fourth grade. I love looking out my back window and seeing 5 or 6 neighbor kids trudging through our yard on their way to our back hill to sled. I love how they look like multi-colored, walking marshmallows in their snow suits, mittens, hats, and scarves. I love that I no longer have to bundle my kids up for them to go outside in the winter. I love the pure silence that encompasses the world in the early morning hours after a night of snowfall. I love opening my pantry and freezer and seeing that we are well stocked and ready for whatever the weather may bring.

I love winter, and sometimes I think I don't want it to end.

But then one day, in late February or early March, I walk outside and there is a subtle difference in the air. The wind is still blowing, but it doesn't bite my cheeks. There is a softness to the air that wasn't there the day before. Maybe I'll spot a lone tulip that has poked its head up and is waiting patiently in the snow for its day to shine. There is something in the air that is telling us that our winter efforts will be rewarded with sunshine and warm breezes. There is something that is telling us to be patient, that it is just around the corner - the renewal we call spring. And then I realize that I am, after all, ready for winter to end.

And I will have to make yet another confession, though this one is not so controversial.

I love spring.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Anybody care to take a guess where I heard that quote?


Could it be the Secret Service?


Harvard Medical School?

Yale Law School?

Army? Navy? Air Force? Marines?

That would be No. No. No. No. No no no no.

I heard this highly thought provoking statement on "The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders."

Now, I realize to make a point about this I have to make another confession about watching trashy television. So here it is. One day after exhausting myself ignoring the laundry and pretending the bathrooms were clean enough, I sat and flipped channels for a couple of minutes. And lo and behold, on CMT, was this show about becoming a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader. And, like most trashy television, it mesmerized me and I couldn't stop watching these poor young girls who have made it their life goals to become a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader. I wanted to grab my daughter and sit her down beside me and say "This is what you SHOULD NOT aspire to be. This is what a shallow and superficial life looks like."

I do realize that some of these young women are "working" at this job while they go to school. And I realize that these young women do some worthy work. They visit our troops. They perform for charity. I realize all of that and I commend them for it.

But aren't there other ways to do worthy work without squeezing your pom pons into a micro-uniform and dancing on a football field to basically sell sex?

If these girls want to dance, could they not attend a performing arts school and aspire to become a dance teacher, and perform in community theaters?

Here's what got me. One of the directors/choreographers, while talking about one girl said "Boy, she's big isn't she? She has a stomach on her." OK. The poor girl about whom they were talking was probably 5' 8" and weighed 135 pounds. She had a gorgeous figure. If somebody said that about me, and I looked that good, she'd be picking my rings out of her teeth.

And these are WOMEN BEING THIS HARD ON OTHER YOUNG WOMEN. I just wanted to scream through the television screen to these young women and tell them "Go home! Put on some clothes and go to school. You're beautiful the way you are."

And then, as the directors were making another very difficult decision about which of these girls to cut, one of them said "The thing is, our standards are so high, they are nearly unattainable."


Are you kidding me? Uh, ladies? You're not training them for NASA, or medical school. You're not training them to protect our president. You're not training them to teach our children one day.

You're training them to smile big and kick big. And by the time they're 27 years old, they'll be considered washed up and they'll all hate themselves because they've spent the previous few years being told to lose five pounds and flatten their stomachs when they already look great and are in better shape than most people. Oh, and they won't remember what a brownie tastes like. And then they'll raise their daughters to be the same way, and we will have a whole new generation of girls with their very special definition of "high standards."

I think I will stick with instilling mediocre standards in my daughter - like four years of college and a job that requires her to be fully clothed.

Friday, February 15, 2008


So, I've been reading over my posts about my school history and here's the thing.

It's boring. I was a boring kid. So until I find a way to present it in a way that makes it sound better than it was (without falsifying anything, of course) - my school years will be put on hold.

Becaue I believe in presenting only the best to my ones of readers.

So now on to my own mental self diagnosis.

I am pretty sure I'm schizophrenic. Before we had children I worked with real-live schizophrenics so I know whereof I speak (whereof I speak??)

My schizophrenia manifests itself when I am cleaning house. See, I can't seem to stay on one house-cleaning task until it's done.

You know how "they" say things like "while you are cleaning, when you come across things that need to be taken to another room, put them in a pile and return them in one trip; so you will save yourself many trips out of the room you are cleaning." You know how they say that?

Well, I can't do that. I can't let things pile up becaue then I don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything in that room; so I take things where they belong as I come across them. Plus, it's a little bit of exericse, especially if it involves the stairs, if I make several trips. The problem with this schizophrenic approach is that I get distracted in the room to which I'm returning things, which usually leads to another distraction, and so on and so on.

Here's an example.

I need to mop the kitchen floor, so I fill my bucket and get out my mop. I put all the chairs on the table and all the barstools on the counter. Then I notice there are some tennis shoes lying on the kitchen floor that belong upstairs. On my way upstairs I notice a stack of towels that belong in the master bath. So I grab the towels too. I drop the tennis shoes in the appropriate bedroom and then head to the master bath to put the towels away. While in the bathroom, I notice that I haven't put away my curling iron from the morning so I grab that and put it away. While putting the curling iron away, I notice the sink needs to be wiped out, so I grab the cleanser and wipe my sink. While I'm at it, I wipe Paul's sink, and then decide I might as well wipe out the tub. While wiping out the tub, I notice we are out of liquid soap, so I grab the empty bottle to throw it away, then notice the bathroom garbage needs to be emptied, so I grab a garbage bag and empty the bathroom garbage. Then I open the cabinet to get more soap to put on the tub and notice there are plenty of bottles of lotion in there. So I grab a bottle of lotion to stick in my daughter's room. I open the door to her room and realize she has some laundry that needs to be done. So I grab the laundry and head to the laundry room, which is off the kitchen. I pass the mop water and throw in the laundry. Only there's a load that needs to go to the dryer; and a load that is already in the dryer that needs to be folded. So I get all the laundry sorted and bring out the load to fold. There is no place to fold it since there are chairs on every surface in the kitchen. So I head to the dining room.
You all know what kinds of things end up in my dining room. So I fold the clothes and then set about returning various and sundry items to their proper place from the dining room.
Which leads me to find even more tasks that I have to get done.
Then I realize I'm hungry, so I head to the kitchen to grab some lunch only to find a bucket of cold mop water waiting for me. I look at the clock and say "Oh, I started this two hours ago" while slapping my forehead with my palm.
Then I pretty much repeat the process in a variation of the same theme.

It's a good thing my husband has never said anything even close to "What did you do all day?" Because the best I could probably come up with would be a very tentative "um....I put my curling iron away...."

See, housework can be very tiring and confusing and you must be at your physical and MENTAL best before you tackle it.

That's why there are many days I choose not to take the risk.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Navy blue, to be exact.

We've been invited to the retirement ceremony (reception following) for a lifetime Navy man.
His title, according to the invitation, is Damage Controlman Chief Petty Officer Mark A. O____.

We are touched to have been included on this guest list; and we certainly look forward to witnessing this ceremony.

But I have no clue what to get this man for a gift.

He is one of my son's wrestling coaches - on a volunteer basis.
He is a volunteer fire fighter, and former EMT.
He is the father of my son's best friend.

Trying to decide what to get a man who has served his country for all of his adult life, serves his community, and gives his time to coach teenage boys is quite a task. But there's more to this man that makes ANY gift seem absolutely and totally...well....just NOT ENOUGH.

See, he saved my son's life one night.

Now, my husband probably thinks I overstate this and; to protect my son's privacy I won't go into details, but I feel ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN he saved my son's life or, at the very least, saved us from a very tragic outcome.

And when I think of what I can do for this man now, my head starts to ache, my throat swells up, and I get a tightness in my chest that makes it hard for me to breathe, because the emotion of what he has meant to my family, especially to my son, is too much for me to contain.

What do I get this man to honor him during this proud and awe-inspiring phase of his life? What do I get him that says "Thanks for serving our country. Thanks for working with these kids every day on the sport they love. Thanks for serving our community like you do."?

What can I possibly give him that says "Thank you for saving my son.....?"

If I thought cutting off my arm would be an adequate "thank you," then I'd cut it off. I've said it a few times to my family...."I'd cut off my arm for that man and his family..."

For the rest of my life, there will be room in my home and in my life for this man and his family, no matter what, no matter when. For the rest of my life I will remember his sacrifice and compassion. For the rest of my life I will feel that lump in my throat when I think of what he did for us.

Yes, I have put similar words in a letter to him and his wife, hoping to convey these words that simply seem impossible to convey. But, there are times when it would just be easier to open our hearts and let somebody read what is written upon it.

And so I am feeling (navy) blue today because I am at a loss. Some ideas are starting to trickle in, but nothing, NOTHING, seems adequate.

Any suggestions?

Monday, February 11, 2008


As captivating as my school history is sure to be to my ONES of readers, I am taking a break from writing about it to whine.

That's right, I'm going to whine.

Because, you see, I feel like poo. In fact, I've felt like poo since Christmas.

But, wait. Can I say poo on here?

My teenage son says poo all the time and it is so funny coming out of his teenage mouth:

"Dude, taste this. It tastes like poo."

"Man, that lunch today tasted like poo."

There are many worse things a teenage boy could be saying.

Anyway, I have felt like poo, on and off, since Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, I started feeling bad and just assumed it was stress, because I was entering into the time when we would be spending many hours with extended family. Enough said. And I have come to realize that stress, for me, manifests itself with physical pain very much like the body aches that accompany the flu.

Miraculously I started feeling better on Christmas night, as we returned from our parents' houses, then started feeling bad again the next weekend as more family started pouring into our home. See? Stress. But the "stress" kind of sick is usually just kind of an achey-all-over-and-I-need-to-go-to-sleep feeling.

Then, I got sick the weekend of January 5th. I know the date because that is when Paul and Kayla went on a ski trip; and Blake was going to be gone much of the weekend watching a wrestling tournament. I had many wonderful things planned for myself to pass the time. I was going to organize the stamp room. I was going to go to Hobby Lobby. I was going to make a batch of cookies.

But instead, I lay abed (lay abed? where did that come from?) with chills and nausea and body aches. This time I decided I had the legitimate flu, which really made me mad, because I had had the legitimate flu SHOT. You're not supposed to get the flu, if you have the flu SHOT. If I had been strong enough I would have filed a complaint.

Then the last weekend in January I got sick again - chills, nausea and body aches. It was either another bout of the flu, or food poisoning. I missed dinner at my mom's house which did not earn me any points, but again all I could do was LAY ABED and feel extremely sorry for myself and wonder what on earth was causing me to be sick all the time.

Then last night - guess what.

I started feeling sick again. It always starts the same - with this horrible bloated feeling in my stomach, not quite nauseaous but like I need to belch. And belch and belch and belch. I know, it's not a pretty picture, but I'm just tellin' it like it is. Except I can't belch. And then I know I'm going to spend the next day or two feeling lousy, with nausea, body aches, fatigue....

And pair that with what is not a pleasant time of the month for me anyway, and I just want to LAY ABED and moan "why me? why me?" Again, I'm just tellin' it like it is.

My poor husband called me this afternoon to see how I was doing and I started crying. I had felt it in the back of my throat all day, and then I heard his voice and I turned into a seven year old and said "I'm f-f-f-fine," and I couldn't stop the tears.

Because, COME. ON.

This is getting ridiculous. I am now at the point where I'm trying to decide if I need to go see my doctor and see what is going on with me. Is it just a fluke, and I really am catching every bug out there? Is it psychosomatic and I really AM losing my mind? But I really do feel lousy. All I've had to eat today are a few crackers and some tylenol. NOTHING even sounds good. That right there should be a red flag for anybody who knows me. AND I cancelled my hair appointment today, so my hair looks like poo.

And poor Kayla. I had to take something to her at school today and I'm surprised the poor child could hide her horror when she saw me. There I was in the same sweats I had slept in, no make up, hair plastered to my head under my furry faux leopard hat - because it's like TWELVE degrees here and I do not want to add an earache to all my other ailments.

I always tell our kids that they need to represent our family well, especially at school, and then I show up looking poo.

My poor children.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


I have been admiring the new clock on my wall; albeit a little sheepishly. Oh, the lengths of embarrassment I will face to achieve The Look in my house. But achieve it I did.

I am a little hesitant to post right now because I feel tremendous pressure about the contents of my blog. See, a friend of mine told me the other day that she really enjoys my blog and that it brightens her morning when she reads it. And suddenly I felt a heaviness about me, when I realized the responsibility I face in making somebody's day a little brighter.

I mean do any of you realize the pressure one faces when one is responsible for the emotional upswing of hundreds...I mean tens....okay ONES of people (ones??) It is EX. HAUST. ING.

But I will soldier on.

So back to my school history. We left off at sixth grade so we are now entering into the school years in which my daughter finds herself now....Junior High.

Seventh Grade - By seventh grade I had really settled in with a nice group of friends in our new town. I had started new friendships over the summer and, to this day, maintain contact with one of the girls who was my best friend through junior high and high school. Her name is Nicki.
I loved school. Seventh grade, for the most part, was the beginning of what would be a wonderful school career for me. I loved everything about school from the time I started seventh grade until I graduated high school. Looking back, I know it was because my home life was dysfunctional and chaotic, but that's another post.
I tried out for the volleyball team but didnt' make it. So I, along with a girl name Janie, decided we'd be scorekeepers and managers. That was the beginning of another perfect friendship that lasted all the way through high school. Janie was FUNNY and we just cracked each other up all the time.
At that time, our junior high was 7th, 8th, and 9th grades. My brother was in 9th grade, and my other brother and sister were in 10th (no, they're not twins....long story). The second semester of my seventh grade year, they closed down our junior high building. It was finally condemned by the state because the fine people of our hometown continually voted against a referendum to give us a new school. As a side note, it was about TWENTY years later that the town finally approved a new school and that was only because somebody actually set fire to the old building and it burned to the ground.
Anyway, so the junior high students had no school building for the last semester of my seventh grade year, while the city worked to get it up to state code. So they put us on split shifts with the high schoolers. The high school students went to school from 7:30 a.m. until noon; and the junior high students went from 12:30 until 5 p.m - in the same building. If we had track practice or anything, it was held at 10:30 in the morning - BEFORE SCHOOL.
This was a wonderful set up for my one brother and me, because we got to sleep in and sit around all morning watching "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" and "Gomer Pyle, USMC." It was a great set up for my older siblings because they had the whole afternoon to do homework and to watch "General Hospital" and "The Mike Douglas Show."
I don't think it was a very good set up for my mom, having four teenagers on two different schedules. I cannot imagine how she juggled that....

Eighth Grade - In eighth grade we got to go back to our old building which had been made new. Although only half of it was made new; the other half was closed down. It was a HUGE building so that wasn't a problem. In eighth grade I ran track and was in student council, both of which I had done in Seventh grade. I also competed in a literary contest, in which I memorized a 'one person play' kind of thing. I played a nervous mother who was in the audience of a literary contest, watching her daughter participate. It was a "humorous piece" and I got first place so I guess I had the knack for it.
In eighth grade, two friends and I were given the privilege of running copies on the mimeograph machine in the teachers' work room. Remember those? They left the paper kind of wet, and the ink was purple, and you always smelled it when you were handed your paper?

Did anyone else smell it to get a whiff of the wet ink?

Anyway, we were MIMEOGRAPHING these papers and the machine got jammed, and all the paper literally became airborne as it came off the roller and started flying into the air. And it quickly picked up speed! We were slack jawed and helpless. I do not know how we fixed it, but when it was finally over there were literally hundreds, and I do mean hundreds, of papers on the floor, on the work tables, on the storage cabinets. It was like an adolescent Lucy and Ethel (plus a friend) had been set loose in the teachers' work room.

And it smelled like wet ink.

Ninth Grade - husband just said "boy you're writing a long one today..." so maybe I should post High school tomorrow?

Should I? Shall we take a vote?

All those in favor of my stopping now, please raise your hand....

Wow, that's a lot of hands.....

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Before you read this post, go down and read the previous post first.

Did you read it? Are you done?

I'm having a hard time concentrating because my husband is doubled over laughing at me right now.

Here's why.

I showed him the clock. I was explaining to him, how the stupid clock manufacturers screwed it into the box and I couldn't get it out of the box, and if HE couldn't get it out, I was taking it back and demanding a full refund and....

He simply turned the little plastic thingy around one of the screws and pulled it out....

Then he almost became too weak with laughter to do the others, so I meekly and with as much dignity as I could muster, unscrewed the other two BY HAND, and pulled the clock out of the box. But I had tried to turn those littley plastic thingies ealier and it just seemed like they kept turning and turning and turning with no success (said in a high pitched whiney voice).

Can somebody tell me WHY there were screws in there in the first place?

And can somebody tell me HOW to get this husband of mine to stop laughing at me?


Can somebody please tell me WHY, when I go out in the mild sleet and freezing temperatures to have my daughter's cell phone serviced for the THIRD time in SEVEN months, that the "Service Personnel" merely call the warranty department for me and hand me the phone; thereby leaving me to have to take the phone apart and read them a microscopic 21-digit number, describe to them the color of the "little rubber dot there to determine if there's water damage," and then tell them "what color the battery prongs are to determine if there is corrosion...," confirm our billing address and last four digits of our social security number, only to be told that they will send us a replacement phone; and that while the phone itself will be new, the software within it has been reprogrammed, and that if they determine the phone is indeed damaged, and it was our fault, they will put the charge on our bill; leaving me to wonder if I will be receiving part of the service guy's paycheck for doing his job for him today? And while you're at it could you tell me if that is the longest run-on sentence you've ever come across?

Could somebody please tell me why these people are allowed to call themselves "Service Personnel" and why these companies are allowed to call these places of business "Service Centers?"

Thank you A T & T. You were absolutely NO help whatsoever to me today. And when our contract is up, you're history.


Could somebody please tell me WHY when I finally break down and buy a REALLY BIG clock for our family room, spending every last dime of my birthday money for it, I bring it home to find it is actually SCREWED INTO THE BOX, making me have to use THREE different screw drivers and a paring knife to try to get that thing out of there, only to give up and prop it on the floor, still screwed into the box, to consider taking it back to the store and getting a full refund?

Could somebody please tell me WHY the powers-that-be thought that clock was going to get stolen, so they took the precaution of screwing a 24-INCH DIAMETER clock into its box; while I carried a lipstick around the store for 2o minutes that had absolutely no packaging around it at all and would have very handily fit into my purse?

Can somebody tell me WHY I should be doing anything right now besides going to bed for a nap and wondering why I even bothered to leave the house today?

I didn't think so.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


When I think of how quickly my kids are moving through their own journey through the hallways, I find myself looking back to myself in the stages they are in now.

Thus, this post - my school history. And NO I did not attend school in a one-room scoolhouse, contrary to what my kids think. Nor did I sit in class and listen to lessons on how the earth is flat; although I slipped in right under the wire on that one.

Kindergarten - My kindergarten teacher was Miss Hall. She had long blonde hair done in a Farrah flip. We had a white bunny as a classroom pet. That's all I remember.

First Grade - My first grade teacher was Mrs. Harris. She was nice and she was BEAUTIFUL. My mom really liked her because she had taught my brother and worked very well with his learning disabilities. In first grade I went to the third grade class for reading.

Second Grade - This was an eventful year for me. That was the year a girl named Julie slapped me in the face while we were in line to come in from recess. We argued all the time. She was the kind of girl who threw horizontal tantrums, even in second grade, and bullied her parents. And slapped other children. Our mothers got together to discuss our encounter, and they spent the entire time in our driveway, in the car. I was crying in the house the whole time, because I was sure Julie's mom was beating up my mom. You know, figuring the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
After Christmas break, in second grade, my class returned to school to find out our teacher, Mrs. Best had died. Our teacher's aide became our full time teacher. Of course there were no counselers brought in to help us deal with our confusion or process our loss. Nobody offered to answer questions. We were just told she had died and that Mrs. Rinker would now be our teacher.
Second grade was also the year I won the all-school spelling bee. The last remaining speller, besides myself, was an eighth grader. And I beat her. I remember spelling the word, watching the teacher nod her head that it was correct, and then seeing and hearing the whole student body rise up from the gym floor in a huge wave of cheers.
And I collapsed into the teachers arms and cried, because I had been so nervous and was so glad it was over. But I made my mark on that little grade school by being the second grader who beat the eighth grader in spelling. The word was "mischievous."
I always say I peaked very early in life.

Third Grade - My teacher that year was Mrs. Brandt. Her daughter,Patty, was in my class, because there was only one class of each grade. Mrs. Brandt's teenage son was accidentally shot to death that year. My mom took me to their house after the funeral so she could leave food and pay her respects. And so I could talk to Patty. I remember asking my mom "What do I say to her?" As an eight year old, I had no idea how the death of a son and brother would effect that family. But now I think of them often and wonder about that impact.
Also in third grade my classmates and I sat in our chairs and listened to the fourth grade teacher scream at her students next door. And we dreaded Fourth grade.

Fourth Grade - We got the screaming teacher. That's all I remember. Ironically when Paul and I returned to the area after college and started attending church, there was the screaming teacher and her husband. She wasn't screaming in church, though.

Fifth Grade - In fifth grade I had Mrs. Foster. My aunt and uncle, who are twins and are only 8 years older than I, also had Mrs. Foster. They called her Bird Legs. I never did. In fifth grade, I started playing the clarinet. And I started wearing panty hose.

Sixth Grade - This is another pivotal year in my life. My teacher was Mr. Coppage and he was really nice. For math, Mr. Kilcullen came to our room. He was always smudged with chalk dust. Sixth grade is when I got my first and only detention - a noon detention. With most of my classmates. For our math test, covering 4 digit numbers, we were told that the comma wasn't necessary for four digit numbers, so we could put one or not. So 98% of the class, including myself, chose not to use the comma. And we got noon detentions for not using the comma. Where is the justice?
Sixth grade is the year we moved. We moved on December 2, 1978. And I hated school for the rest of the year. It is really, really hard to be the new girl at that age; although, I ultimately adjsuted much better than my siblings who were in 8th and 9th grades. My sixth grade year is why we have made such an effort to have our kids attend school in one place from kindergarten through senior year.

That's enough about me. I know. I can't believe I'm saying that.

Tomorrow - junior high and high school.

Oh, the anticipation.

Monday, February 04, 2008


This is my birthday week, which I actually keep forgetting. But it is, so for the next few days, I am going to post things all about me. ME, ME, ME, ME.

Oh, wait. This blog is all about me anyway.

Oh, well. More me. That's what I need. More Me. Can't we all use more Me.

So I will start by listing my quirks, 'cause that seems like a common thing to do on blogs. Notice I named this post ....MY QUIRKS PART I. That's because I'm sure once my family read this, they will want me to add a few (dozen.)

So in no particular order, here goes....

Let's see...quirks? I'm thinking...I'm thinking.... Gee I must be quirkless (quirk free?)

Right, family?

1. I have a ridiculous love of ZipLock bags, especially the gallon size ones - probably because they represent organization, and even though I'm not a very organized person, they give me a very small sense of being so.
I went into my own private little depression when Wal-Mart stopped carrying the snack size ones. Thankfully, our kids had already outgrown them, but still...

2. Ditto with paper towels. I reach for them way too often, when I should be grabbing a sponge or a dish cloth, therefore causing us to have to buy them too frequently. But that is because....

3. I can't stand to have a wet, or even damp, dish towel draped over the kitchen sink. If it is wet, even if it's been used to wipe up clean water, I toss it in the laundry. Drives my husband crazy.

4. I am afraid of thunderstorms.

5. Ditto spiders, but...

6. Now that I am a mother, I have to pretend I'm not. Except with the spiders. Now that Blake is bigger than I am, I can make him kill the bugs.

7. Whenever I crack eggs, for whatever reason, I stop and wash my hands with soap and water before continuing my work. I don't rinse them or wipe them on a towel. I wash them. And I have taught my kids to do this too.

8. I don't, however, have any problem EATING that raw egg once it's been mixed into cookie dough.

9. Even though I'm not very organized, I always know where something is - "move that lift that stack of papers...see that little envelope? It's under there." Is that a quirk or a gift?

10. All of my clothes must face the left when hanging in my closet. When I was pregnant with Kayla, I went into a hormonal snit when I noticed Paul had not hung Blake's little toddler clothes all facing to the left.

11. I must make my bed every day. Rain or shine, sleet or snow, sick or well. Ok, if I'm DEATHLY sick, I won't make it, but 99% of the time, I make my bed. If it's been a crazy day, I have been known to make my bed at 6 p.m. even though I will be crawling into it in a few hours. I know. Crazy.

12. I love all boxes, bottles, cans and jars and am always thinking of ways to use them as gifts. I have a stash of them in my craft room just waiting to be turned into decorative gift holders. I have to be sneaky about this, because if I'm not careful, Paul will grab them first and throw them in the garbage or the recyle bin. And then I say something like "Did you take that cute little bottle the caramel syrup was in...'cause I was going to put Valentine m&m's in it." And he'll say, I put it in the recyle bin." And I'll say, through clenched teeth "Ok. If I have taken the time to wash it out and set it on the sink to dry, it means I want to keep it. That was going to be a REALLY cute gift. OKAY?"
Something like that.

13. I am a grammar snob.

14. Also a water snob.

15. I love McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwiches. LOVE. THEM. Every time I eat one, as I put the last bite in my mouth, I say "Man I could eat another one of these." Once, when I was pregnant I went back and ordered a second one. It's a delicious memory.

16. I can't think of a 16....

But I'm sure I'll be back with an addendum...

Sunday, February 03, 2008


In my entire blog history - my blistory - I have left two negative comments on other blogs. I wouldn't even call them negative, more comments.

The first time was when I read a post on an issue about which I am very passionate. The author is also very passionate about this issue and our two passions didn't quite agree. I should have put more thought into my comment, but I allowed myself to shoot off at the mouth, so to speak, and fired off words that reflected my passion. The author of the blog responded and I responded yet again, this time with a note along the lines of "you are so right. I admire you're convictions."

The second time, I thought for a couple of days about my comment because I truly respect the passion with which some of these people write about certain issues. I left my comment in what I hoped was a respectfully worded manner. The author of THAT blog then proceeded to make a nasty reference to my comment in her blog - referring to it as though I had attacked her. It seems that some bloggers can rant and rave and spew venom and belittle those who have differing beliefs, but if someone dares to leave a comment that does not mesh perfectly with their own mindset then we are ignorant, lazy, and just plain unworthy to be part of the blogosphere.

They are like the playground bully who hits and kicks and terrorizes others but, when somebody fights back, turn into whimpering victims who can't understand where the anger is coming from.

I admire people who have such passion for something that they will devote nearly their entire blog to that subject. Really, I admire that a lot. I don't always agree with their opinions, but I admire the passion. What I don't admire is intolerance. Intolerance for differing opinions, WHEN STATED RESPECTFULLY. I can't stand intolerance.

There are two things about my "dissenting comments" that I'd like to point out.

First, I tried very hard NOT to attack the author. I didn't attack them as a person. I disagreed with their viewpoint, and I said so, but I didn't call them self centered, or say they favored one child over another, or call them a whiner, or tell them to buck up and deal with it. Maybe I attacked their ideas. But I didn't attack them. Big difference.

Second, I signed my comments. Well, I didn't sign my first and last name, but I left my HW, which would lead them back to my blog, where they could leave further comments for me, as could other readers. They at least had a way to identify the person who left the comment. I did not hide behind "ANONYMOUS."

Because really, what is the point of posting a nasty comment as ANONYMOUS? What do you think is going to happen to you? It's not like somebody is going to wait for you after school and give you a black eye. It's not like they can see you through the computer screen and know exactly who you are.

Or can they......?

If you have something to say, and you feel strongly about it, say it and identify yourself in some way. Give people the opportunity to respond to you. Give people the opportunity to read your blog and find out where you're coming from on things. Give people the opportunity to see what a perfect person is like. Becasue most ANONYMOUS commenters who have nasty things to say come off as though they believe themselves to be perfect; that's why they seem to think it's ok to attack the PERSON and not simply disagree with the idea.

So, come on ANONYMOUS. It's time to show your face. It's time for you to step up and identify yourself to all these people to whom you've been so mean.

We double dog dare ya.

Friday, February 01, 2008


I always wanted a formal dining room.

Even though we are not formal people. Really. We're not. But I just liked the idea of having a formal dining room. Because it seemed very traditional. And I like things that are traditional.

So we have one now. Only it's not formal either. We don't have a china cabinet or matching sideboard. We don't have silver candlesticks. We don't have a damask table cloth (what IS damask, anyway?)We do have a small little cabinet thingy that we bought on one of anniversaries. It doesn't match our table, but I like it like that.

We rarely eat in the formal dining room. We usually eat at the bar for most meals, and only use the dining room for company and then it's to spread the pizza out or line up the sandwiches.

But I have a formal dining room, and it's the first room you see when you come into the house. I would say the people who built this house must have been on drugs, but that would be us. And except for a couple of days in 1991 and again in 1994, when I was status post c-section, I have never used any mind altering substances. Neither has my husband. Now that we are raising teenagers, though, that may change...

So since the dining room is the first room you come to upon entering our house, it has become the drop off point. I set a little rug in one corner by the door so we can line our shoes up, and then I said "One pair of shoes down here per family member. I. MEAN. IT. I. AM . NOT. KIDDING." Thinking that would curtail the clutter.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

At this very moment, my dining room table is holding a backpack filled with various and sundry school items, a stack of stuff including a binder, an algebra book, and a really cool pencil pouch with groovy polka dots on it; and a canvas tote bag - black with bright pink hearts all over it - a tissue (Good Lord! We're Pigs!) and my center piece - a long narrow wooden tray with three candles in tins lined up on it. Thank goodness the candles are not lit or the house would go up in flames like well...a house afire.

At this very moment, my dining room FLOOR is holding a pair of size 13 Nike hi-tops, a pair of size 13 "stompin' boots," a pair of suede lace up boots with little pom pons on the ends of the strings, a pair of "Tuggs", which are faux Uggs from Target (our name for them, clever aren't we?), a new pair of black and pink softball cleats, a pair of plaid Rocket Dogs tennis shoes, a pair of Lands End boots that zip up the back and really aren't very comfortable but they were on clearance and they are cute, ANOTHER black tote bag with multi colored hearts and a little silver trim on it; a hooded sweatshirt, and a volleyball bag, completely full and ready for a game. Oh, and one 9-year-old yellow lab. The only things missing are the wrsestling bag and the other back pack, but I am NOT asking any questions.

Why am I letting you know all of this? Well it's not for posterity, I tell you that.

It's so when those of you who know me see me next, you'll understand why my forehead is black and blue.

That's from banging my head repeatedly against the wall while repeating to myself "This is the phase of life I'm in. This is the phase of life I'm in. This is the phase...."

That would be the kitchen wall, because it's too crowded in the dining room.