Thursday, October 30, 2008


Every now and then, Kayla and I have girls night.

Surprisingly, our Girls Night almost always takes place at the mall.

I know. Who'd have thought?

Tonight she is getting her hair cut so I suggested we eat at her favorite Chinese place in the tiny little food court after her hair appointment. She was all over that idea like what on rice.

Get it? Chines food...white on rice...?


I really look forward to our girls nights. Girls night always includes:



-the latest news from her busy teenage life

-accessory shopping

-my staring at her precious smile and wondering how we got to this point so quickly.

-her telling me that NO that top is not too young for me or NO those jeans don't make my butt look like a barn, when I try on clothes.

How sweet is that?

I think tonight she will come home with a new pair of fall shoes. I had no idea how dire her wardrobe was until the other morning, when the temperature was about 38 degrees, and I saw her walk to Blake's car in her winter coat and flip flops.

Flip Flops. On a morning when they had to scrape windows.

The poor girl is so low on proper clothing that her wretched mother had not bought her any shoes to cover her precious feet in the harsh Mid Western Winters.

And if you believe that, you might also believe that I haven't eaten any of the Halloween candy I bought last week for our tiny trick or treaters.


The bad news is she is still wearing flip flops to school. The good news is, she can suffer frost bite on her toes while wearing at least 12 different Old Navy colors.

And, really, isn't that what it's all about, the color of your flip flops? Not like say, oh, the need to actually put on socks when we have to run the furnace in the morning.

Of course, how she is going to wear those flip flops when her toes have to be amputated due to frost bite is beyond me, but I won't give her nightmares by delving into that.


I've gently mentioned over the last few weeks that it is time to put the flip flops into hibernation and choose a different shoe that covers her toes. Truth be told, she's 14. She knows when she's cold and when she needs to bundle up, but still the offer is there to pick up some new shoes that cover her whole foot, or at least the front half of her foot and can be worn with socks. Some that don't look like they've been through six months of snow, ice, salt and sub-zero wind chills.

Kind of like the skin on my face, but that's a different post.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Sarah Palin has had some interviews which were, in her own words "Less than successful." She was stymied by some of the questions. She was caught off guard. She was simply unprepared. Whether the interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric were designed to make her look foolish or not, she did not perform well with them.

Politics not withstanding, I think the Gibson interview was out of line simply because of Charlie Gibson's demeanor. The way he sat nearly knee-to-knee with her, peering down at her over his bi-focals was, to me, an obvious attempt to make her feel and seem inferior. He reminded me of the very pompous guidance counselor we suffered in high school. That being said, she didn't have the knowledge necessary to answer the questions well, regardless of the rude way in which she was treated.

Governor Palin also floundered with Katie Couric and has admitted that interview didn't go well.

But here's the thing.

Every difficult question asked received some kind of answer. She struggled; she hemmed and hawed; she zigged and zagged, but she tried to put an answer out there.

She stood and fought til the end.

Unlike Senator Biden who evidently has decided that when he receives a question he doesn't like he gets to attack the interviewer by asking "Is that a real question?" "I don't know who's writing your questions for you." "Is this a joke?" and then decline to answer the question all together.

Come on Senator Biden, give us an answer. If you're uncomfortable with the question, at least put up a fight. Don't bury the question in insults against your interviewer. And then don't send a scathing note to the network saying they will no longer have the privilege of your company or that of anybody in your camp. Don't take your ball and go home, when the game on the playground doesn't go your way. After all shouldn't the rules be the same for both teams?

Help us set an example for our young people, Senator Biden. Help us teach them that when you are sent to do a difficult job, like represent your campaign in a television interview, that you do your best to represent said campaign and muddle through even when it's hard. Help us teach them that, whether you can believe it or not, not everybody in this world is going to fall at your feet in admiration and, when we run across those who do not want to coddle us, we must still be respectful and eloquent in getting our message out.

Because isn't that what campaigning is all about - answering the tough questions? And really, if you are firm in your belief of all that your campaign is representing, why was it a tough question? Why not simply say, "Really, Americans need to understand that Senator Obama's finance/tax package is not a Socialist ideal because...." and then explain it to us. Some of us may actually want to hear another explanation on this. Some of us really want to look at these issues in an objective manner; and every chance to hear from both sides on such issues is beneficial to us.

Again, political affiliation aside, I worry about what an Obama administration means to our freedom to question our leaders, if this and other incidents (attacking Joe the Plumber?) are any indication of what happens if one were to ask the wrong thing. How will we be able to depend on our press to keep us informed of our leaders, to help with the checks and balances of our governmental branches, if journalists are frozen out for bringing up a touchy subject?

Senator Biden, you have many years of experience in government. You probably are more qualified than Sarah Palin to take on the job of the presidency should your running mate be elected. But you, sir, seem to run from a fight. At least Governor Palin stayed the course. At least she was able to come out of her fight, battle scarred though she was, and say she hung in there until the end. She didn't attack her interviewers simply because she was caught unprepared.

You, on the other hand, were intimidated by the tough question and so decided to attack the messenger. You decided you were above the kind of journalistic hardball you expect your opponent to play.

You may be better qualified, but this is one case, Senator Biden, in which you were bested by a girl.

Friday, October 24, 2008


So we're about to make some very exciting changes to our house. We've tried for months to find somebody to help us make this change and finally we found somebody that would actually show up and meet with us about this project.

We're getting a new backdoor.

I know. How exciting is that?

Our old back door was leaking and it caused the sub flooring in the kitchen to get wet and there is actually a hole in the sub flooring beneath our kitchen linoleum. Thankfully it's right up against the wall so it's a no-traffic area. Because that would be really bad to have a guest fall through our kitchen floor. Unless it was one of my in-laws.

Oh stop, I'm kidding.

So we found this really nice young man who has a new baby and was recently laid off from his job with a home remodeling company. Not only is he going to install our new door, but he's going to rip up part of the kitchen floor and replace the sub flooring. Then another nice young man is going to come in and replace our whole kitchen floor. We're going with hardwood.

Please don't tell me hardwood is a mistake. Somebody else has already told me that and I really don't want to hear it. We have hardwood in the dining room and I like the idea that the rooms will flow together nicely if we put the same floor in the kitchen.

It's funny how a small job turns into a bigger job or rather several more small jobs. Once I learned how willing and friendly our door guy is and how capable he seemed, I decided to push my luck and ask him if he would be able and willing to replace the interior trim around the same kitchen door he is replacing. And he said sure. Then I decided to ask him if he could replace the interior trim around our front door and he said sure. Then I asked him if he happened to paint, because we've been wanting to paint our red front door and sidelights white and he said that he doesn't paint but that he knows a guy who would do a great job.

Then he left a door catalog for me. A door catalog is not quite as exciting as say...oh...a Talbot's catalog but it's still shopping. Anyway, I knew I wanted something quite simple - one with a window halfway up instead of the full view kind we have now. I picked out three for him to price for us. Then he said I could get any of those doors with a built-in blind.

And I saw sunbeams descend from heaven and blue birds hovering around him and placing a wreath of wild flowers around his head. I think I heard "Bippity Boppity Boo" somewhere in the background.

A built in blind!!!

Oh my heavens. I want it.

Our kitchen door is in the middle of a three sided bay window on the east side of our house. We get lots of sunshine from that bay window most mornings. And I don't like it. I'm very sensitive to light and I don't like all that sunny cheer first thing in the morning.

Perhaps I am a vampire?

So then I asked him to price out all those doors with and without the built in blinds.


I called Paul to tell him everything I had learned and everything I had asked door guy to fix. I'm sure I could hear him roll his eyes, and I have a feeling he's moving all of our money to a secret account right now. And because I can never leave well enough alone, I said "I've been thinking..." which never bodes well for him. "I've been thinking. While we are having the hardwood put down in the kitchen, might we go ahead and put hardwood in the half bath? After all, it's right off the little hall that's also hardwood and it's so tiny it surely wouldn't be that much more. Perhaps they can use scraps. That would really make things flow nicely, if we went ahead and laid hardwood in there too. You know, continuity in floor coverings."

Because floor continuity is a hot issue right now.

And he said we could see how much it all cost and decide on that when floor guy arrives. But he wasn't totally opposed to the idea.


I've been planning to paint that half bath and redecorate. How simple it would be if I didn't have to protect the vinyl flooring while I'm painting. I already have the fabric for the curtain so it's a project that's been planned for quite a while. Really, it is.

It's so simple. You have a guy come and give you an estimate for a new back door and by the time he leaves you have a new bathroom.

See? How lucky is my husband to have such a logical wife?

Monday, October 20, 2008


After a long dry spell, something has happened that is so utterly ridiculous and outrageous that I cannot keep quiet about it.

Unfortunately I can't get the link to work so just use Google and you can read more about Chick Edwards.

Mr. Edwards is a residential developer in Kennewick, Washington who also happens to be the only member of his neighborhood's homeowners association. Seems ole' Chick, when he sells his properties, makes the homeowners sign covenants stating they will landscape within a certain amount of time. That's pretty standard.

We've signed that kind of covenant, but on the first one we never planted one tiny little sapling in five years and nobody came after us.

That's because we hadn't bought our property from Chick, who had threatened to sue a property owner for not landscaping in the prescribed time. What was this "clown" doing that prevented him from landscaping his lot?

Um....FIGHTING A WAR IN KUWAIT!! After he moved in, his reserve unit was called up and he had to leave. His pregnant wife and young son moved to another state to be with family. The nerve of these people!

Well, that's not good enough for Mr. Edwards. He doesn't give a (beep) where the guy is, he darn well better put in some grass and plant some marigolds. And he's really mad that this "clown" gets to be off doing whatever he wants and the lawn isn't being landscaped.


Because, evidently, this young soldier and his pregnant wife, are just so selfish worrying about his personal safety, the birth of a baby and raising their young son that they can't be bothered with urgent matters like laying sod and planting some marigolds.

Thankfully some very kind co-workers, friends and community volunteers stepped in and picked up the slack. They landscaped the lawn for this young couple who seem to have their priorities all wrong. The volunteers followed the soldier's request and put a big flag pole in the yard - a flag pole big enough that Chick Edwards can see it from his house. Something tells me that Chick won't like that flagpole. Something tells me we all know where Chick can put that flag pole.

I have used a search engine and found Mr. Edwards' address. THAAAAAT'S RIIIIGHT! I'm writing him a letter to say "Shame on you..." and other profound things. There are a few things I'd like to ask him.

Um...Mr. Edwards? Chick? Where's the anger coming from, buddy? Don't you think you might be going a little over the top with the landscape thing? Is there something else that's got you riled up and you are taking it out on this young man and his pregnant wife who are just trying to raise their family while at the same time making an extreme sacrifice for our country? Really, we want to know. Because reasonable people like me really can't understand your completely ridiculous reaction over a lack of rosebushes in a yard that is no longer yours. Where does this insecurity come from? Is it your name? Are you insecure because you are named after a small fuzzy barnyard baby that shows up in Easter baskets? Are you unhappy because your name is a slang term for girl?

Whatever it is that is driving you over the edge with this landscape thing, you might want to resolve it because I think you are running yourself out of business. Seriously, who do you think wants to do business with a man who is so narrow minded that he cannot find his way to cut some slack to a young man who has been deployed to serve in Kuwait? And didn't your attorney tell you that you are not allowed to bring a law suit against a person serving in a combat zone? Perhaps you'd like to hop on over to Kuwait and speak to this nice young man in person? I think there are some of us who would be willing to buy your ticket - one way of course.

And this Homeowners Association? You're the only member. Does that mean you're the president? How exciting it must have been when you were elected by you.

Oh, and Mr. Edwards? I think you made a serious mistake in calling this service man a clown. A clown? Really, he's a clown that is off doing whatever he wants? If you don't have a platoon of veterans swarming down on your property right now it is only because they have better judgment and restraint than you do.

You, sir, are the clown. And I think you've just stuck one of your big ole' floppy clown feet in your mouth.

Perhaps it's time you remove it and apologize.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


During my kids' elementary years, I was very involved at the school. I worked with the kids on math tubs. I helped in the classroom during state testing. I provided food for teacher's luncheons. I helped with the book fair and the art fair. I worked in the reading lab. I helped with every class party. I took the dog in to visit their classes every year until, thankfully, the principal put a ban on pet visits. I went on every field trip.

Well, that's not exactly true. There is one field trip for each child that I refused to go on. That was the algae field trip, where the note said something like "the parents will help the children collect samples from various bodies of water in the area; we will also visit the water sanitation district."

Which meant the parents would be wading into local streams and creeks to collect pond scum. Also, we would be fortunate enough to visit the place where all the poo goes.

Um...babies? Kids? Mommy will do a lot for you, but Mommy has no intention of doing the pond scum field trip. Take it up with your therapist.

Anyway, back to my resume. I spent two years on our Community Club board, which is probably like most PTA boards. I really liked that job but there were major personality clashes and I finally let myself be driven off. It was either that or let myself turn into a seventh grader, and I thought that wasn't a good idea.

But, I did all of these things for two reasons:

1) As a stay at home mom, I wanted to be involved and use my time to get to know the teachers and classmates of my children.

2)I couldn't say NO.

When junior high rolled around, I was needed less. I also suspect I was wanted less - at least by my children. I chipped in here and there but mostly spent my time chauffeuring the kids around in the evenings and sitting on the bleachers cheering for various middle school sports teams. This decline in my volunteer status led me to believe that by the time my children entered high school, I could sit on my duff all day and eat gourmet chocolates and read People magazine.

Ohmygosh!! Hold on a second--------

Whew! I'm back. I had fallen out of my chair for a minute laughing at my own naivete'. Sorry about that.

Now, where were we?

Oh, yeah! The carefree days of high school.


See, I have this daughter who LOVES school. She wants to be involved in lots and lots of stuff, which we have encouraged, because we want her to be well rounded and have an impressive college application. In fact,when we ask her if she really needs to do yet another activity she parrots us and says "it will look good on a college application..." I do believe she has made it her goal to take part in every activity the school offers between now and her graduation day, which is fine. It's just taken me by surprise a little bit, after the little respite we had in junior high. First there were all the homecoming activities and the accompanying nervous breakdown for her mother. And soon we will have the responsibility of working the concession stand (and scheduling other workers) at all the JV and Varsity boys' basketball games, (followed, most likely, by another nervous breakdown for her mother.) Yeah, the freshmen get to do that to earn money for their class. That will lead us to her own basketball season which will soon meld into her softball season. Not to mention student council activities and scholastic bowl competitions and any dances and parties that can be squeezed into the schedule. Thank goodness she and her fellow officers are all very diligent students. Thank goodness the other moms are hard workers and good organizers. Oh, and we mustn't forget mall time on the weekends, and I think Friday Night ice skating started last week at the local civic center. Of course, we are only busier with her than with her brother because she can't drive and, since we live 8 miles from the school, we can't very well expect her to walk to school activities, can we?

Even though her father and I walked everywhere in blinding rain, stinging sleet, and scorching sun...10 miles or more... when we were her age. And we liked it.

And then there's my son, who doesn't so much love school as TOLERATES it. But he's getting more involved too. In fact, I have to bake cookies for him for one of his club's projects on Friday. In all my born days I never thought I'd still be baking cookies for school when my child was a junior. But here I am planning a big batch of cookies so the FFA club (Future Farmers of America) can serve lunch to the farmers waiting in line to deliver their crop to the grain elevator. Because that's the way things are done in rural towns of the Midwest. That's the way we do things around these here parts.

Why is my son in FFA when he has no intention of taking up farming? Why is he in FFA when he barely knows how to order a steak, let alone whether it came from a cow or a pig?

Um...I don't know; but I suspect it has something to do with the class Agricultural Science which fulfills his science requirement; allowing him to avoid chemistry like the plague.

Plus most of his friends are in it.

But really, when you live in America's heartland, amid the farms that feed the world, it doesn't hurt to know about something that is so important in this part of the country. After all, we ARE the SOYBEAN CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.

No brag. Just fact.

So my calendar is becoming full again after a couple years of near empty pages. I'm busier than I thought I'd be in this stage of life. The days go fast; and the nights even faster. And the years? Well, they have gone by at lightning speed.

And I'm loving every minute of it.