Friday, January 30, 2009

I'm Being Interviewed!

Ronnica over at Ignorant Historian was interviewed by another blogger recently. She in turn is interviewing others, including me. Here is how it works: Five questions are given to the person being interviewed. The person doing the interview picks the questions. I think Ronnica did a fine job of picking questions for me, so without further ado I will dive in and give my answers.

1. Did you always homeschool your children? How has it changed through the years?

Yes, as a matter of fact, I began homeschooling when our oldest was in kindergarten. In the intervening 23 years I have noticed changes in the homeschooling movement, and that includes even within our own homeschool. I have also noticed some new trends in the movement that disturb me but I will not get on my soapbox about those today.

Some important things have not changed in my homeschool, though. Our purpose for existing remains the same and is twofold:

  1. We feel that Deuteronomy 6:7 tells us as parents that we are to talk to our children about our faith and teach them about our God at all times. We feel it is easier to do this if those children are actually with us at all times.
  2. We feel that Proverbs 22:6 tells us to train our children in the way they should go. I believe it was Chuck Swindoll who compared this to nurturing a tree to grow toward a certain individualized bent. So if you have a bonsai you prune and tie to make it grow the way it should. If you have a topiary you have a whole different game plan. In other words, the goal is to really get to know the child and adapt an education plan to the child instead of adapting the child to an education plan. (And my children are going to start pointing fingers at each other stating, "You were the bonsai!")

Our goals have not changed, either. I happen to believe in OBE (Outcome Based Education) just not as the government states it. (For the uninitiated "outcome" is just a big word for results.)

Here are the outcomes that we wished to see as a result of homeschooling our children:

  1. The student should exhibit a heart that is ready to serve God in whatever capacity the Lord desires. This is a training camp for the Lord's army.
  2. Once the student reaches the age where he or she can be gainfully employed, he or she should exhibit such strengths of character as honesty, integrity, submission, and common courtesy (otherwise known as "a good work ethic") that the boss wishes he could hire dozens more like him or her.
  3. The student should have developed enough skills to be a life-long learner. Education doesn't end at graduation so the ability to think reasonably and to find information should be encouraged. There is no way for any teacher to teach any child everything in 13 years that the student is going to need throughout his/her life. Children should be taught to access the resources available to them.
  4. The student should exhibit the ability to adequately read and write, and have sufficient math skills to get along in the world. This, however, is the least important goal of them all, but is the one that the government OBE objectives place as a top priority. My school has a 100% literacy rate but if I do not develop points 1, 2, and 3 in my students then I fail my purpose for homeschooling no matter what their respective IQ's might turn out to be.
Some things have changed for the good through the years. One is the fact that there is a whole lot more support than there used to be. People still think we're "odd" but we're not almost-unheard-of anymore.

Another good change is that homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. When we moved to TN in 1985 it had only recently become legal to homeschool there.

There is also a wealth of curriculum choices today that didn't exist in those early years. Most of the curriculum we used was of necessity adapted from that used by Christian and public schools. Since I believe in tailoring the education to the child I think it is a positive development to have so many options.

There are also many options in sporting and recreation open to homeschoolers that weren't available in the past. This obviously is because of the increase of people homeschooling as it takes sheer numbers to be able to put together sports teams. This is very important to boys like my son (the Bear). In our early years we participated in group roller skating parties and activities in the park for games and recreation, but my older girls did not have team activities available to them through the homeschooling arena.

2. I saw you had an Austen thing on your sidebar...what's your favorite of her books (or movies, if you're more of a watcher)?

My favorite Jane Austen book is "Sense and Sensibility." I also like the movie starring Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, and Kate Winslet. I believe Austen's works were categorized as comedies just because of the happy endings. I happen to like happy endings.

3. What your favorite snack?

Wow, I really had to think about this one more than the previous two questions because I'm really into snacking. :) I think my favorite snack is whole-grain tortilla chips with anything. I dip mine in hummus, salsa, nacho cheese, or that great party dip that is made with Velveeta and salsa.

4. You've gotten a lot of snow you like winter, or are you more of a summer gal?

I like snow. I also like floating around in the swimming pool in the summertime. The bottom line is that I like all 4 seasons. What I don't like is extreme cold or heat. I don't think I could live much farther north than I do now unless it was in an area blessed by gulf streams, and I already know how I fare further south having lived in TN for 14 years. Let's just say that I missed the snow when I lived there, but I loved the extended spring and fall seasons. The summers were hard on me, though, because I am a hot-natured person. In the months of July and August I couldn't breathe and had to stay in the house the whole time. I didn't like that.

5. What's your least favorite chore/task that you do simply because it has to be done?

Dishes. I love to cook and bake but I hate cleaning up the mess. I never had a dishwasher until this house so I have become majorly spoiled. It worked fine until recently. Since all the plumbers are doing other stuff like fixing peoples' broken water mains these days I'll probably be washing and drying my own for quite awhile longer. I just think it's ironic that this would happen soon after the last daughter married. And don't suggest that the Bear help. His idea of doing dishes is breaking some so that there will be fewer to wash next time.

That's the end of my day of being interviewed. If any you, my readers, would like to be interviewed it is very simple. Just drop me a comment stating that you would like to participate and I will compose 5 questions and send them to you. You will answer on your own blog and will link back to me stating that I am the one who interviewed you. (If you are experiencing writer's block this is a great way to automatically get a blog post. The downside is that you must trust me to come up with the questions.)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

One For the Baby Book

It was destined to happen and it finally did. That's the Bear's perspective anyway as he has anxiously been awaiting this milestone in his life. His voice cracked.

My baby is growing up. :(

I didn't actually hear it. Here I am a stay-at-home mom and I missed it! That's like not witnessing my child's first steps.

So how do I know about this milestone? He proudly told me. And he didn't sound any different when he said it either. I then asked if he might just have a cold - it is the season for it, you know - and he looked insulted. I guess that's like getting excited about finally seeing your baby's first tooth peeking through the gums only to have someone respond, "I think it's just a piece of rice cereal stuck there."

Perhaps soon when someone phones the house and the Bear answers the caller might mistakenly query, "Pastor Dad?" instead of "Karabeth?" (or the one that used to really perturb him, "Princess?") the way they do now. Then won't some of us be happy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

If Nothing Else, It's Beautiful

I'm guessing that yesterday's 4 inches has now become today's 12 inches or so with about 1/2 inch of ice sandwiched between the layers. Shoveling today was a lot harder than yesterday. I took a bit of a break to take some pictures of the beauty around me.

The holly bush in the front:

The pine trees that are usually standing upright:

The lamppost with an icicle big enough to be used as a weapon:

The picnic table where nobody is picnicking today, not even the squirrels:

The dogwood tree with the buds that hold promise that spring will arrive someday:

Lilac bush "under glass:"

Some very dangerous deck steps:

And finally, The Revenge of Pepper, who once again was forced to stay inside while everyone else "had fun." Ha!:

Posted by Picasa

Snow Photo Collage

This is a collage of all my snow photos. I think you can click on it to see a full-screen version and use your directional buttons to pan across or up and down.
Okay, we're under a Level 3 weather emergency and we cannot leave the house so it seemed like a good day to play with photo software. On a normal Wednesday I'd be at work. :D
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

All Quiet on the Homefront

It's safe to return now. Volcano Karabeth was just blowing off some steam yesterday and has returned to normal.

Today was absolutely bee-you-ti-fool. Perhaps not everyone shares my opinion since up here on the high hill snow measures over 4 inches deep but I happen to be one of those odd people - stop agreeing so wholeheartedly with me and let me finish - that likes snow. We even took the day off school.

Not only is a freshly fallen snow clean, it is bright. I used to think that it was sunshine that I craved but now I know it is light. Low light reflected on clean snow qualifies. At least it did today.

I think my adrenalin levels have returned to normal and hopefully my blood pressure, too, after yesterday's stressful events. I took today as God's gift to me in the form of a forced day of rest: my own personal sabbath, if you will. Even basketball was cancelled. Ah! God is good.

The Bear and I were on a mission early this afternoon to get the driveway shoveled before the ice storm arrived to add a glacial touch to the snow. Since we only have one shovel we decided to work in shifts. Pepper was going nuts at the front door while Bear was out there shoveling and alternately playing with his friends. She didn't know what was going on but it looked like fun and she wasn't partaking of it, hence she was upset. Once I got my layers of outwear arranged about my person I took her out where we also could be pelted by the myriad snowballs flying through the air.

Pepper was rather restless to run and I was having trouble restraining her so Bear told me to "let her loose," which I did. Now I know for certain that people are not the only ones of God's created beings who carry a grudge because that dingbat ran straight to the yard where the dogs live who started yesterday's fight. Her demeanor told us she was looking to ring the bell for Round 2. Once we retrieved our retriever we banished her to the house where she had to watch the festivities from the front door once more.

We have a double door, or so it looks. Only one side opens even though they appear identical. Both sides contain full-length glass. About a year ago I put (cheap) venetian blinds on them because Pepper, in her attempts to see out, had destroyed the nice curtains that hung there. I saw no need to buy expensive replacements for something that would obviously need replacing often over the life of the dog.

And the blinds need replacing now. As further proof of her grudge-bearing tendencies she methodically pulled them down and chewed them up while we were out shoveling. I guess she showed me!

The rest of my day was spent lying on the couch with a book in one hand, a cup of coffee in the other, and a quilt and the dog on my lap. Now I ask you. Does life get any better than that? I didn't think so.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Volcano Karabeth Is About to Erupt

This has not been a good day. A certain dog and child have just about sent me over the brink and I'm about to spew forth fire and brimstone. My blog might not be deemed lovely after this as any lemons that come my way might be used to pelt someone in lieu of making lemonade. You can recall my awards if you must. {Sob}

I cannot think of a more terrifying sound than hearing a dog attack followed closely by my son yelling. Forget the panic I felt last month at the mall when my wallet went missing. That's not even close to what I felt when I could hear the above happening outside my window.

Everyone knows from my last post that Pepper is no angel, unless you count fallen ones, but she was not the dog who caused the adrenalin to begin flowing today. She is actually the hero of this story. The Bear had taken her out for her "constitutional" which consists of walking her back and forth on her leash in the front yard until she finds the blades of grass that she wishes to bless. The ritual was interrupted by two of the neighbor's dogs who decided that Pepper and the Bear should not be allowed to grace the neighborhood with their presence.

The younger of the two attacked Pepper. A fight ensued with my son hanging on to his dog for dear life and shouting at the top of his lungs. Pepper fought valiantly even with the Bear dragging her toward the front door. By the time I arrived the fighting was taking place on my doorstep. I felt like the angels who pulled Lot in the door when the men from Sodom were harassing him. The Bear and I pulled Pepper (who had gained the upper paw by that time) inside the house and I kicked the other dog to keep it from coming in with us. The other, older dog wisely just stood there watching to see who would win. Then it ran off with the unholy terror close behind.

I called the owner's phone number and reached the man of the house. Our conversation did not go well at first. He insisted his dogs were inside. Oh yeah? You might want to check that. The last I saw them they were running down the street after a person out for a brisk walk and that walk was getting brisker by the second. And of course the usual, "My dogs would never attack anybody or anything." Well, I know the Bear was not making anything up because I'm the one who interrupted the fight. And you better be glad that it was only my dog that your dog got his teeth on and not my son. The owner did apologize once he realized that I was very angry. After all, our usual policy had been to take their dogs back home when we've seen them loose like the Bible admonished the Israelites about returning neighbors' livestock. Our neighbor knew this, I think, because a few times this same dog broke its chain and we shut it in our kennel until the owners came home.

Later I dropped the Bear off for basketball practice and since I was still a bit overwhelmed by previous events I decided not to go into the gym to chat with other mothers. I had brought a book and wanted to be alone so I went to Panera Bread to sit quietly, snack, and read.

The first few minutes were peaceful. I was in a booth and other people were sitting nearby with their laptops, books, and newspapers, pretty much doing what I was doing. Suddenly a little rubber ball came bouncing onto my table, took off in another direction, then shot back over to me and came to a stop next to my feet after bouncing against the bottom of my table a few times. It was retrieved by a 3 year old monster little boy who never even looked at me as he climbed under my table and feet.

Okay, I didn't know the boy was a monster at the time. That didn't become apparent for at least a few more seconds which was when he and his mother sat down in the booth right behind me facing another lady. The boy began kicking the back of my seat angrily and continued until his mother let him out of the booth. He then ran around the whole restaurant yelling and chasing the ball. The first 10 minutes or so he ran a circular path around the ordering area to the seating one stopping only long enough to yell, "Hey Momma!" at the top of his lungs from two booths away from her.

Mom would answer, "Hello, Precious!" and the game would continue. Once that game lost its luster he wandered to the front of the restaurant to pester the business men with laptops conducting meetings with other men with laptops. On those occasions she'd retrieve the child after he'd been gone about 5 minutes but she'd never say a word of apology to anyone. She just took it for granted that everyone in the building was helping her keep her son inside. That's the part that really worried me. I wondered how long it would be before that ball went out the door when retreating individuals left the establishment and the kid would naturally follow.

I waited long enough to see her retrieve him one more time before I left. I decided that fighting the long lines at Kroger's on a night before a heavy snow is predicted has to be more relaxing than sitting there being terrorized by an unruly toddler and his mother.

And it was.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Canine Correspondence

Dear Mom,

I hope you don't mind me calling you that. We both know you aren't really my mom but I haven't seen mine in almost two years so I barely remember her. I don't want to call you Karabeth because everyone knows that isn't your real name any more than mine is Buster Brown. I've heard you call me one of your granddogs but we both know that isn't true either so I'm not going to call you Gram. I think of myself as more like a pack co-leader with Pastor Dad and you, maybe the head co-leader, like Pastor Dad is the head pastor with two co-pastors working with him. Everyone else in the house calls you mom so that is what I've chosen to call you, too. I think we're clear.

As someone who sits here in this comfortable executive's chair each day watching you write your blog posts I felt it was time for me to chime in with my own two cents. Before I really begin I'd like to suggest that you get your own chair as I am mighty tired of sharing mine. One of those metal folding chairs should do you nicely. I'm not about to give up this padded leather one but it's getting a little crowded having both of us in it at the same time.

That's not really why I wanted to write you this letter, though. Actually, I have several reasons for doing so.

First, I'd like to make a progress report of my work with the Bear. I'm doing the best I can to help you train him. Perhaps it won't be much longer until he learns that he can't leave bags of trash sitting on the kitchen floor waiting to be taken out. I really think you yelling at him combined with my object lessons of breaking the bag and carrying all kinds of gross things all over the house might eventually do the trick.

He is also doing somewhat better at putting his shoes and socks away. I've lost count of how many pairs I've eaten but since he is growing so fast these days I don't think he would've worn them for much longer anyway.

He is also getting better at staying in bed at night. I do my best to keep him there by laying all of my 60 lbs. on top of him. I like that so much better than sleeping in the crate. If perchance he does go downstairs late after you're asleep I go, too, to keep an eye on him. No need to worry. He's in good hands, er, paws.

I don't think closing the baby gate at the head of the stairway is doing much good these days so you can probably dispense with it until the next grandchild needs the protection. The Bear obviously knows how to open it and since I just avoid it altogether by coming through the banister it doesn't seem like it is doing the job of keeping anyone up or down.

My second reason for writing was to thank you personally for some of the changes you've made. I really like the fact that all the pantry food was moved from the upper wall cabinets where the mice were getting into it (I know that touching the dead one in there freaked you out!) down to the bottom island cabinet where I can pry it open and help myself to the cereal and tortilla chips. If you could just teach me how to open the refrigerator so I could get my own milk and salsa I'd be all set, but it's okay if you don't. I'll eat the stuff dry and plain if necessary.

I also like the new kitchen trash can you bought. I'm sorry that I lost the lid to the old one but it was worth it just so you could buy this new one that has the foot lever. I haven't figured out how that lever works yet but I have managed to devise my own method for opening it. The mental stimulation was good for me.

Also, thanks for changing winter coats mid-season to that red wool one instead of that brown one you wore that looked suspiciously like it was made from one of my 6 siblings. I know you said that it wasn't but even so I'm one of those females who doesn't like others being identically dressed. You have options. I obviously don't.

My third reason for writing is to offer you an apology. I didn't know it was going to upset you so badly the other day when I pulled that metal can full of ground beef grease out of the trash can, carried it into the living room, and splashed some of it on your area rug. I did my best to clean up the spill. I've always thought that rug was just my own big place mat anyway.

I also want to apologize for running away yesterday to play with those two mean boxers down the road. I heard you calling me but I was busy and thought you should wait until I was done. You were smart not to come into their yard after me, though. I know they have an invisible fence but no telling if you could've made it back across before one of them tore into you. And it would've presented me with a terrible dilemma. Would I fight to protect you or would I let you get the punishment I thought you deserved for interrupting our play? Good thing we didn't need to find out. One lesson I learned was that I'll need to be more careful that the end of my leash doesn't cross the property line to the point where you can grab the end of it. I didn't much like having my fun interrupted like a preschooler who has just been told to pick up her toys and sent to bed. But still, I'm offering an apology in the hopes it gets me out of the doghouse.

I think that's it for now. I'll let you know if anything else comes to mind.

Your canine cohort,


Friday, January 23, 2009

Must Be A Mom Thing

Remember back when my mother had a root canal and didn't tell me about it until she started having problems? (See here.) Evidently my mother-in-law is just as secretive.

Yesterday I got a phone call from my sister-in-law, Aunt C., who needed to talk to her brother, Pastor Dad, right away. Since I was not home . . . guess where I was . . . right! . . . just dropped the Bear off for basketball . . . I had to track him down.

It seems that their mother was being transported to the hospital because something showed up on her CT scan.

A CT scan? Why in the world did she have a CT scan?

Because of the fainting spells.

What fainting spells?

The ones that have been happening over the last few weeks.

Last few weeks?!!!

Not only is it mind-boggling that she didn't tell her son (or anyone else for that matter) that she'd been having these spells, she didn't tell her pastor the night before at prayer meeting either. Who, yes, just happens to be none other than Pastor Dad.

Who now knows.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Snow Days

Recent weather reminded me of my childhood. Snow days were absolutely wonderful!

When I was a child we lived in the same house that my parents live in today. The backyard is flat because it is terraced out of a hillside. The yard of the neighbor to the right is uphill and the one to the left downhill.

All three yards are fenced now and full of all sorts of things like pools, trees, and flower gardens to make the outdoors more relaxing and beautiful, but when I was a child there were none of those. It was just two neighboring hills with our plateaued yard between. There was nothing but wide open spaces.

In my mind, snow seemed rare in our part of Ohio back then. Our subdivision was on the edge of civilization, unlike the busy metropolitan outskirt that it is today, so snow automatically meant a snow day because of the country roads that led to my school. Perhaps there were as many days of snow then as there are now but it doesn't seem as though we missed many days of school. My dad worked third shift during some of those years so staying home was not a problem. He was asleep until late afternoon and I had orders not to leave the house. I'd watch television or read quietly until he awoke. When he got up the fun began.

My parents bought me a large sled one year for Christmas. It is big even by modern standards. I've never seen another one like it but it soon became apparent why they bought such a large one. It was not going to be mine alone. I was small of stature and could stretch out full length on it. My dad is close to 6 feet tall and the sled easily accommodated his length, too. We'd ride double-decker down, starting at the very top of the higher neighbor's yard, shoot across our own, then down the neighboring lower hill. We'd always land just short of the trees lining the creek bed at the bottom. I'm an only child but my mother always says that she had two children.

I don't remember having special snow gear like the snow apparel that kids wear today. I just remember wearing two or three pairs of everything. Once the wetness reached my skin and hurt to the point where I couldn't take it anymore it was time to go in. It seemed like it took quite a long time to peel all the wet layers off in the entry. By that time my mom would have the hot chocolate ready (made the old fashioned way because this was in pre-microwave ovens days). It was as comforting to hold the cup as it was to drink the liquid.

I never wanted to stop sled riding until I absolutely had to do so because a snow rarely lasted more than one day. If I didn't get outside when the snow was fresh I didn't get outside to play in it at all. And there was nothing worse than being sick and made to stay inside on the day it snowed.

I still have the sled. But even though I live on a high hill there is not a good sledding hill in this neighborhood. Sledding excursions require us to load up the car with all the gear and drive to a park. The effect is not quite the same. But once I got nostalgic and took the Bear and the sled out to the park for a spin. We had a good time but didn't stay there long. Somehow, I don't remember it being quite so exhausting pulling that sled back up to the top of the hill when I was a child.

I don't know how dad did it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Got Lemons? Make Lemonade!

Another Award!

On A High Hill was honored to receive its second award of the month and ever! Thank you very much to Karin for bestowing it upon my little piece of the blogosphere. I've been thinking long and hard about my own recipients and came up with my list before stopping by to pick up my prize.

But first, the rules:
  1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
  2. Nominate at least 10 who show great Attitude and/or Gratitude.
  3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
  4. Let them know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
  5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received this award.

*Note: I added the commentary because I am a very talkative person. You are not required to add all the verbage about "reasons" after the names of your submissions like I did below. Thought I'd better clarify that.

In accordance with the rules I nominate the following people and for the following reasons*:

  1. Pen to Paper, Spirit to Soul. I know you'll think this is a "gotcha" thing since you stopped by my blog to comment just yesterday, but actually the reason I picked you was because I enjoyed your story that you submitted for Wednesday's Walk, which should be pretty obvious by the size of the comment I left. In other words, you were on my list even before you stopped by to visit me.
  2. Cheapsk8mom. Not only is she one savvy bargain hunter who has helped me save "beaucoup" money (that's a lot for all you non-Frenchy types, and that's about the limit of what I remember from 3 years of high school French class) but she does it in a humorous way, too. I love the droll comments that she makes when telling us which coupons to use or freebies to pursue. Not only can she make blog "lemonade" but she probably knows where to get the lemons at a bargain price!
  3. Ronnica. I was introduced to her blog through . . uh, well, now that I'm thinking about it I'm not sure how I found Ronnica's blog. I've got a couple of "best of" or once a week submission places that I frequent and I think Ronnica was found through one of those. Anyway, she's a spunky Kansas girl who now lives down near my own Lulu, and from what I've read she seems to like it just about as well and that ain't sayin' much. But even if she is stuck in NC she has a pretty good attitude about the whole thing.
  4. Lynette Kraft. Reading this lady's blog brought tears to my eyes. Her testimony of the goodness of God in the face of horrible grief makes me ashamed for having ever complained about anything. God is so good! And Lynette makes sure we all realize that. She's the inspiration behind "Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane."
  5. Allyson. I've known Allyson since the day she was born. Literally. I was so happy when she found me through the blog. We moved from Allyson's neck of the woods almost 10 years ago and although I am glad to be back near the home folks, I miss the friends I left behind in TN. I'm very pleased with the young woman that she has become. Her extended family was a big part of our ministry and not all of them attended our church. (Her uncle was our mailman for 14 years.) Besides, she posts pictures for me so that I can see the family!
  6. Amy. This is my niece, or actually Pastor Dad's niece, but since Pastor Dad and I are "one" that makes Amy my niece, too. She's new to the blogging community, as am I, but just the fact that she blogs in order to share her pregnancy with us is a great encouragement. Also, the last week has not been an easy one for her as she almost lost her wonderful daddy. The Lord spared him, for which we are grateful. Through it all, Amy kept that beautiful pregnant glow on her face and hope in her heart that her daddy would live to see this expected grandchild. (Keep praying. He still has an uphill climb ahead of him.)
  7. Donna. Her return to the blogosphere has been welcomed by many, including me. I think expecting her first grandchild might've had something to do with it. It's hard not to tell the whole world how happy you are when you are as happy as Donna is about the expected June arrival of little Colton. Welcome back, Donna! And here's your first award for the new blog. I like all the encouragement "off blog" as well.
  8. Kelly. She was tired of her old blog so she started a new one dedicated to writing letters somewhat anonymously. It appeals to me for some reason. I think it was because I started my blog as a means of talking to myself in a manner allowed by society. If others read it, fine. If not, that's fine, too. Putting the words on the page in a way that makes God and self satisfied is a concept I like. And since Kelly seems like one of the family, it is only fitting that we encourage each other. I'm not sure if this is your first award for the new blog or not, Kel. Just go with it either way. :)
  9. Karen. Well, of course! I enjoyed reading her witty blog for quite awhile before I decided to match wits with her and start my own blog. This is dangerous, I know, since I've been matching wits with Karen for almost 28 years now and have not always come out the winner. But I'm a big girl, and so is she, so I think we can both take it. We're fine with that. (Aren't we Karen?)
  10. Lulu. Things have changed a lot since I watched that rental moving truck pull out of our driveway headed across country to Dan's first assigned post as a married couple. Through Lou's blog I've watched her tackle dogs, the house, and the Air Force! Way to go, girl!
  11. The Princess. Okay, she doesn't actually have a blog. Karen and I were telling her the other night that we're tempted to start a phantom one because she needs one. The only problem with the Princess starting a blog on her own is that then she'd be free to tell her side of every story. I'm not sure we want that. :) But if she ever starts blogging she'll have her first award waiting for her. After all, I can't think of any better examples of people who took lemons and made lemonade than the Princess and her husband.

Monday, January 19, 2009

If You Need Directions Contact MomMom

Pastor Dad and I talked of getting a GPS. The only problem, besides money, is that we have two cars. Buying one would present a dilemma.

Should it go in Pastor Dad's car? He is the one who occasionally needs help trying to find peoples' addresses while out making visits.

Or should it go in my car? I'm the one driving the Bear all over creation in the name of basketball.

Since Pastor Dad is the one who requested one for Christmas he should rightly be able to lay claim to it. But since I didn't buy him one it is obvious that I didn't pay attention to anything he said when he started listing things. Well, that's not exactly true, but we won't go into that now. I think he liked the gifts he did receive even if I've forgotten what they were just a mere four weeks later. That doesn't mean that he's forgotten. Think quickly, honey. A quiz is obviously coming.

My main reason for not purchasing a GPS for his car is that we've had a fairly reliable system installed for years that works for peanuts - er peanut butter. See previous post.

While others drive around talking to things called On Star, Garmin, and TomTom, my family just calls MomMom. They know she's fairly reliable. And since she's usually at the computer she's fairly quick, too.

The MomMom system has been tested in recent weeks by both Pastor Dad and the Princess. Here is how it works:

Caller: Hey! Are you sitting at the computer?

Lovely female voice:

  • Yes. (If so. This is the default mode.)
  • No, but I can get there in a hurry. (If not.)

Caller: Look up the address and directions to {fill in the blank} for me.

Lovely female voice: Hold while I check or Google for the address and phone number. Then I'll check either Mapquest or Expedia maps to find its exact location. In the meantime, please tell me where you are so that I can give you directions.

This system works so well that I know of only 2 people who cannot use it. One is the Bear who is still too young to drive but counting the months (28) until he can. He will surely use this system himself once the coveted driver's license is obtained, unless he is a stubborn male who refuses to ask directions of anyone, particularly the woman with the lovely female voice.

And the other person who cannot use it is me, the lovely female voice. Doesn't that automatically mean that my car should receive the GPS installation should we ever get around to buying one? I'm just saying.

I mean, I talk to myself a lot but usually only when I'm alone or writing this blog, neither of which is particularly helpful when driving to unknown places for away games in obscure locations. While I have talked to myself in those situations (I'm not alone, obviously, but essentially so when the Bear is sleeping in the passenger seat) and lost I've usually said things like, "Stay calm! You're bound to run out of corn fields eventually. There must be a major street somewhere within the next 50 miles or so that will take you back to civilization."

Next time I run into problems maybe I'll call my own MomMom and start out by saying, "Hey! Are you sitting at the computer?"

Seems to be a top-rated system by those who use it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Gasp! Not Peanut butter!

What's up with all these salmonella food recalls in recent years? First it was certain brands of dog food that some owners fed them thereby unintentionally shortening the lives of their beloved pets.

Then it was spinach. The ten people who bought it had to return their bags to the store. :) Actually I like spinach but let's keep that our little secret, shall we? I hadn't bought any at the time of the outbreak so our household wasn't effected. Well, our household would not have been effected anyway. Only I would've been. But I usually eat mine out of a can like my hero, Popeye.

Then there was the tomato and jalapeno pepper problems of last summer which did effect us tremendously. The Bear and I practically live off of salsa and tortilla chips in the summer. We especially like to eat it after I've made it fresh. That obviously didn't happen. It also put a real cramp in eating blt sandwiches. B and l just aren't the same without their comrade t.

This latest salmonella outbreak is in another class entirely. Peanut butter is something that I eat a little of almost every day. If they sold peanut butter in a gallon jar I would probably buy it as I am not the only person living here who eats it.

I just happen to be very creative with my peanut butter consumption. Got a clean spoon handy? No other equipment or preparation required.

Is there a lonely banana looking for a soul mate? Have I ever got a peanut butter marriage in mind!

My favorite way to eat it is as a peanut butter sandwich. Ho-hum you say? Then it is obvious you've never indulged in one of my sandwiches. Mine has more pizazz than your run-of-the mill pb&j. I make it with peanut butter sandwiched between two halves of a Hershey's chocolate bar. Bread is so yesterday's news! I'm not sure there's any more sugar in this concoction than one made with bread and jelly. I also manage to cover both lunch and dessert in one serving.

I still make the Bear eat the ho-hum type with bread as the bookends. It isn't that I'm concerned so much with his junk food intake or anything like that. It is just that to do otherwise would mean sharing part of my Hershey bar stash with him. And that ain't happenin'!

The recent problem may never be of any consequence to us personally. The things under suspicion now - like peanut butter crackers - usually are not in the house. The only time I see them is when Pastor Dad, the Bear, and my dad go golfing and only then because my dad takes them along to stave off hunger on the course. Since there isn't any family golf going on at this time of the year a problem isn't likely to occur. I'm sure the pb cracker shortage will be history by the time my guys hit the course in the springtime.

After we heard of the recall Pastor Dad asked me if the peanut butter we have on the shelf might be a part. Well, if it is I'd be a goner by now. See half-empty jar for verification.

All joking aside, if you suspect a problem, take the product back to the store or throw it away. Stay on top of the names of the products being recalled. We can joke about my peculiar food preferences but salmonella poisoning and a contaminated food source is not humorous. If you think you've ingested contaminated food get help immediately. I want you to be hanging around on my hill for a long time to come.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

$5 Printable Sears Coupon

I don't normally post this kind of thing as I leave the bargain hunting and telling to my new friends who have blogs specifically designed for this, which is exactly why they are my new friends. I just had to brag about share with you what a wonderful deal I found at Sears last night when shopping for clothes for the Bear, though. (Yeah, some of the Christmas stuff is getting too small already. Le sigh.)

Go here to print off the Sears coupon. It is good for $5 off of a purchase totaling $30 or more of in store merchandise including sale and clearance items.

Read the exclusions carefully. Exclusions include Land's End and Levi brands and some things that didn't interest me at the time. Since I was shopping specifically for blue jeans and casual shirts for the Bear I had to avoid those brands and shop for either Canyon River Blues or U.S. Polo Assn. clothing.

My main problem was that there was a lot of summer stock clearanced out that would've made my purchase even more spectacular but with the way the Bear is growing there is NO WAY I am going to purchase warm season clothing now. It wouldn't be a deal if it becomes a total waste of money.

My second problem was that things were ringing up lower than the sale and clearance tag prices so I had to keep running back to the tables and finding more items to get my purchase up to $30. Everyone say, "Aw, poor baby," in unison now. I might add that I was in the store late in the evening and had a very understanding cashier so no one was inconvienced by this.

Here is what I got for the Bear to wear for the next month. Sad, but probably true:
  1. U.S. Polo Association blue jeans. Normally $36.00, marked down to $17.99, rang up at $12.59.
  2. Canyon River Blues long sleeve crew neck shirt. Normally $16.00, marked down to $7.99, rang up at $5.59
  3. Ditto the above, only different color.
  4. A Polo long sleeve shirt on clearance. Don't have the normal price in front of me, or the marked down price. Receipt says it is on clearance and then it rang up at $8.39. Bear is wearing this at the moment and I don't know where he put the tag when he took it off. And I do hope he took it off before he left the house.
On top of this, I used the coupon so before taxes I paid $27.16. These purchases were also eligible for the KidVantage program, which isn't much use to me these days with the way the Bear is growing, but was a money saver in days gone by when the Bear wore the knees out of every pair of pants before he'd outgrown them.
*Note: If the coupon bar code doesn't scan tell the cashier to type the coupon numbers in manually. Don't take "I don't think your purchases are eligible" for an answer if you are not trying to cheat. I wasn't. The cashier was the one who pointed this tidbit of information out to me as she happily typed in the numbers.

    My Funny Face Charade

    Of course I took the quiz. I'm a sucker for these silly things.

    P.S. Read that first bullet point under "How to Get Along with Me" very carefully. It describes me to.a."t." Actually, all of them under that heading are pretty on the mark but that one especially so. A favorite movie line I quote often is, "Are you askin' or are you tellin'?" I won't comment on the qualities found under the other headings except the part about "feel[ing] one with the universe." Ha!

    * * * * *

    Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

    You Are an Audrey!


    You are an Audrey -- "I am at peace"

    Audreys are receptive, good-natured, and supportive. They seek union with others and the world around them.

    How to Get Along with Me

    • * If you want me to do something, how you ask is important. I especially don't like expectations or pressure
    • * I like to listen and to be of service, but don't take advantage of this
    • * Listen until I finish speaking, even though I meander a bit
    • * Give me time to finish things and make decisions. It's OK to nudge me gently and nonjudgmentally
    • * Ask me questions to help me get clear
    • * Tell me when you like how I look. I'm not averse to flattery
    • * Hug me, show physical affection. It opens me up to my feelings
    • * I like a good discussion but not a confrontation
    • * Let me know you like what I've done or said
    • * Laugh with me and share in my enjoyment of life

    What I Like About Being an Audrey
    • * being nonjudgmental and accepting
    • * caring for and being concerned about others
    • * being able to relax and have a good time
    • * knowing that most people enjoy my company; I'm easy to be around
    • * my ability to see many different sides of an issue and to be a good mediator and facilitator
    • * my heightened awareness of sensations, aesthetics, and the here and now
    • * being able to go with the flow and feel one with the universe

    What's Hard About Being an Audrey
    • * being judged and misunderstood for being placid and/or indecisive
    • * being critical of myself for lacking initiative and discipline
    • * being too sensitive to criticism; taking every raised eyebrow and twitch of the mouth personally
    • * being confused about what I really want
    • * caring too much about what others will think of me
    • * not being listened to or taken seriously

    Audreys as Children Often
    • * feel ignored and that their wants, opinions, and feelings are unimportant
    • * tune out a lot, especially when others argue
    • * are "good" children: deny anger or keep it to themselves

    Audreys as Parents
    • * are supportive, kind, and warm
    • * are sometimes overly permissive or nondirective

    Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz at

    Friday, January 16, 2009

    A Babe Magnet

    Remember when I heard that earning a black belt made a guy a "babe magnet?" See here. (Yeah, sorry that the video is gone. I haven't been able to fix that problem yet. One thing at a time.)

    I stand corrected. It looks like a lower ranking will work just as well.

    Thanks to Karen for sending me the photo. She gets the credit for taking it, I think, unless Prince Charming did. And thanks to Nephew J.'s wife, Jo, for alerting me to its existence. It made a beautiful February image on the calendar they gave the Bear's Mamaw (who is also Sweet Pea's great-Mamaw).

    Thursday, January 15, 2009

    A New "Do" Was Due

    I see by some of the comments to my last post that frequent visitors have noticed a change in the appearance of this blog. There have been a couple of new "do"s in my life recently (hairdo, blog re-do) and the process was the same. Just like someone wanting to change their physical appearance pores over magazines and style books I did the same in order to change the blog's appearance. If there was one thing I learned last Friday night it is that the results are just as disastrous when I try to do-it-myself on the blog template as when I attempt to cut my own hair.

    So with that in mind, here were my steps to obtaining a new hair style and a new blog template:

    1. Search
    2. Find
    3. Purchase

    And in keeping with my frugal genes: not pay a lot in the process.

    Thanks to Sharnee over at Acornglue. The girl just gave birth to twins and she still had time to work with me on this. What a woman!

    Wednesday, January 14, 2009

    Remembering Grandpa

    Last week's walk down memory lane celebrated an anniversary! This week's does likewise, but this anniversary is somewhat bittersweet for me.

    Ten days after Pastor Dad proposed, my paternal grandpa passed away, but not before he'd given me strict instructions about my obligations. A couple of days before he died he was sitting in the pew ahead of me in church on Sunday morning. Here is the almost verbatim conversation that took place prior to the worship service:

    Grandpa: So little girl, I hear that you're getting ready to "jump the fence."

    Me: Yes, I'm getting married in July. The date is already set.

    Grandpa: And the boy is a preacher. You're going to be a preacher's wife, young lady!

    Me: Yes, I know. It's all a bit terrifying.

    Grandpa: Well, you better be good to that boy! You hear me?

    Since my grandpa was quite hard of hearing and spoke loudly I'm sure everyone in the auditorium that day heard him. If I'm ever not good to that boy Pastor Dad has a host of people he can find who witnessed my promise to my grandpa. And since my grandpa died just two short days later I've been hearing the words of that conversation ever since. I'm doing my best, Grandpa, most of the time anyway.

    This picture is of my paternal grandparents on their wedding day in 1928. If he had lived, we would all have helped them celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary just a few days after my marriage to Pastor Dad.

    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

    There have been instances when something seemed like a good idea at the time but later turned out not to be. For instance, I remember many years ago when we needed to replace a car. I was pregnant with Karen and we lived far from the hospital so we bought a newer vehicle.

    Unfortunately, this was when Chrysler's electronic ignitions were junk somewhat unreliable so the car we bought that seemed like a good idea at the time turned out not to be. The Chrysler didn't like cold weather, which we have in abundance, so it left us stranded more than once. Good thing Karen was born in the spring or there might really be an interesting incident to report here concerning bad ideas.

    Lately I've been pondering more recent things that seemed like a good idea at the time but now I'm not so sure that they were. For instance:
    • Last year we enrolled the Bear in a homeschool basketball program. Their coach often had the boys scrimmage with the girls' team. Those girls towered over the boys like Amazons and could beat them soundly. The Bear was always in a bad mood whenever I picked him up from practice after his team had played the girls' team. I guess male ego, and being short for his age, didn't set too well with him.

    Now everyone is a year older and the boys - including the Bear - are taller than, as tall as, or almost as tall as, those same girls. Yes, he noticed.

    • Last year we bought the Bear a phone so that we could keep track of his whereabouts. HA! Like that is ever going to happen! The need for it became apparent when me yelling from the front door no longer brought him running home. Calls to his friends' houses also had the same result, or more accurately, the lack of result. One day we were driving in a valley between a couple of hills a few miles away from the one we live on. As we crossed a large bridge spanning a wide creek he exclaimed, "Oh! So this is where that bridge is located." It was obvious that he was traveling a lot further than the sound of my voice so a phone was added to a pocket of his cargo pants as soon as one could be arranged.

    Now he has friends (some female) to communicate with on an almost constant basis. Last night as we left the basketball games he began to text almost as soon as the door shut beside him. When I asked him "with whom" he pointed to the car driving directly ahead of us. I suggested rolling down the windows and yelling but he didn't like that idea. Besides, it was too cold. Yes, he has unlimited texting. We checked. Her mother said she does also. She checked. Good thing, too.

    Chances are if I am the one trying to reach him it still isn't likely to happen. I think my calls are being screened. My odds of success haven't risen much since I gave up yelling out the front door. The neighbors seem happier, though.

    • Remember a few months ago when I played hooky and didn't go to the far-off basketball game? See here to refresh your memory.

    Now it looks like that $5 bus trip might've cost me a whole lot more than I bargained for. Yep! The girls team was along for the ride. I expect that idea to be coming back to haunt me with interest for quite awhile.

    Sunday, January 11, 2009

    Prayers Needed for a Loved One

    Some of you know Pastor Dad's sister and her family. Karen and Lulu call their aunt "Aunt C" on their blogs. Aunt C.'s husband, Uncle B. is in ICU and needs your prayers.

    This is also the father of Nephew E. (who guest comments), Nephew J., and Amy who recently shared her pregnancy announcement with us by starting her own blog to chronicle the journey to parenthood.

    I love these people, folks, as they are not just Pastor Dad's family but my family. I'm asking you to hold Uncle B. and family up in prayer.

    Friday, January 9, 2009

    Caught in My Own "Trap"

    See this book? I got a copy of it from the library because I want to make wiser choices when it comes to what I feed myself and my family. I started reading it tonight.

    As I sat in my chair perusing the pages I suddenly became aware of what I was feeding my trap at that exact moment.

    Three pieces of fudge left over from the holidays.

    I felt like Sylvester caught by Granny with his mouth full of Tweety Bird.

    I had a hard time swallowing those last few bites. But I persevered. :D

    Thursday, January 8, 2009

    Are They Really Doing Their Own Shopping?

    So I was over at {name and link removed} recently checking out all of the freebies and coupons that were linked there. I signed up for a lot of stuff at some of the websites. I'm sure that not only will these companies be stocking our mailbox and pantry but our email inbox as well. That's okay with me. Pastor Dad might be a bit surprised when he downloads the email each morning though (I registered under his address :) ) but this will just give him more time to concentrate on fixing my coffee in the morning.

    As I was signing up at various locations I was asked to type in some personal information like name, address, and date of birth. The drop-down menus usually opened somewhere in the center of the list of years, which was good for me because I am right there in the middle anyway. But you know me. I just couldn't help checking both ends of the spectrum. What I found astonished me.

    First of all, there were some year options for the elderly that I found to border on the ridiculous. The earliest year varied from site to site but the oldest person eligible to register at one of them could be born as early as 1885! Now, I'm not up on who is the oldest person alive in the world, but assuming that there are people almost 124 years old out there somewhere am I really to believe that they are still doing their own shopping? Or that they are asking for free handouts of cleaning supplies and cereal? Or that they are even computer literate enough to be sitting there clicking on drop-down menus at all? If so, it could explain how they lived to be 124! They got quite the physical workout doing their own shopping and cleaning and the mental exercise taking computer classes at their local adult education institution.

    Second, the ages on the other end of the spectrum were just as silly. I think the latest choice was 2006. Yeah, like we've got two and three year olds surfing the net for bargains. Or like we can believe they can fill in all the required information in order to receive the freebie. ("How many times in the last year did you purchase Yummy Bummy Cereal?")

    I'll admit that I've seen kids do some pretty amazing things but I just don't think it's logical to expect someone slightly older than Sweet Pea to be helping her parents bring home the bacon via the family computer even if her parents do homeschool her and her siblings.

    Wednesday, January 7, 2009

    How It All Began

    O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:3

    Thirty-one years ago today Pastor Dad got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. In front of a restaurant full of people. When we're together and focused on each other we tend not to notice others too much.

    Since we had only met 103 days previous by my calculations, you can see that Pastor Dad is not one to waste time once he decides what he wants, or what is the Lord's will, with both things being in agreement, hopefully.

    And since we'd only been dating 84 days of that, and not exclusively either, you can see that our decision to marry was not a long, drawn out process once we made up our minds. Much prayer went into the decision, though, lest you think we're totally off our rockers. There probably isn't any way to stop you from thinking that, but we did pray about it before seeking holy matrimony both before and after we met.

    "Marry in haste and repent at leisure" is not a quote that applies. We've had to repent from time-to-time but never about our decision to marry.

    God is happy, Pastor Dad is happy, and I'm happy so I'm not sure anyone else matters. Oh, yeah, the kids seem happy, too. Sorry gals and guy. I didn't mean to forget you.

    When Nephew E, who was the only nephew or niece alive at the time, was told his uncle was marrying, everyone wanted to make sure he understood what my role would be. They asked the little 2-year-old if he knew what an aunt is. He replied, "Yes, it's one of those little bugs I squish on the sidewalk."

    Thanks for not doing that to me, Nephew E. I would've missed so much. I'm glad you have a better grasp of homonyms now, too. :)

    Thanks Pastor Dad for asking. If you asked me today I'd still say "yes" even with 20/20 hindsight. :D

    Monday, January 5, 2009

    The School of Hard Knocks

    The holidays are over so we went back to school today. In our homeschool some of the symptoms of post-holiday back-to-school blues were exhibited such as moodiness, sobbing, and the dragging of the feet to the study table. The Bear experienced similar symptoms.

    But this isn't really what I mean. No one got knocked hard in our school today, unless we count Pepper jumping with her usual exuberance. The "school" I wish to discuss is something that I was reminded of the other day while eavesdropping at a basketball game. Yeah, I'm often reintroduced to strange cliches while sitting around minding my own - and other peoples' - business.

    The conversation went something like this:

    Her: So where did you attend college?

    Him: I didn't go to college. I graduated from The School of Hard Knocks.

    I almost interrupted to tell him that he was mistaken but that seemed a bit rude, especially since I was the one doing the eavesdropping. I'm not contradicting where the man went to college or the success he has achieved in life in spite of it. I'm contradicting the part about graduating.

    I've been attending The School of Hard Knocks myself for many years now and I have concluded that the commencement ceremony will not occur until I am lying in state in the church auditorium with people around quietly humming "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead""When We All Get to Heaven." I just don't see any other way to graduate. Either that or I am a very slow learner since I seem to be repeating some of the same courses over and over again.

    And I don't think I'm the only one spending a lot of time in that school. God seems to be using many of the circumstances of life to teach lessons to my loved ones as well.

    Some may be wondering why I haven't blogged about the Princess and her household recently. Well, in my determination to keep things a bit light-hearted I have avoided mentioning them. I decided to wait until their current studies were finished so that I could bask in the lessons that the Lord taught them (and me) during the matriculation process. I'm learning. I'm learning. I often get ahead of God and then He makes me repeat classes.

    Here is the recent course description:

    Three weeks ago the Princess called me on the phone and she was crying hysterically. I thought the worst had happened to our Little Beanie Baby. Once she could talk coherently she was able to say that her hubby (previously called The Chili King, but no more) had lost his job. Oh, that's all? What a relief! You had me scared there for a minute!

    I'm really not heartless. But given the fact that the Princess was told last year that she would never be able to conceive children, and my mom and I had to answer many questions about our own health histories because the diagnosed syndrome is often genetic, the loss of a job was a much easier class to take than the one I feared we'd be attending. Further discussions with the Princess and her hubby (I hate not having a name for him) encouraged us to believe that God would provide for their little family in His own way and in His own timing. As Pastor Dad wisely reminded us, managing a chili restaurant wasn't his chosen vocation anyway, so it wasn't like he lost his dream job.

    The week before Christmas my jobless son-in-law submitted 40 applications to various places of employment. Then he took some time off to help the Princess recuperate from ill health.

    Yes, ill health.

    First came the UTI on Christmas Eve. Then came the kidney stones three days later. We tried to be there to help through it all, which means really not being able to do much of anything except feel helpless. A late-night emergency room run. Holding her while she writhed in agony. Forcing fluids down her throat. Trying to get her to eat. That sort of thing. And then seeing her little pregnant belly that promises that all courses will be repeated but with them in the parents' classes.

    The Princess seems to be feeling much better these days. And I think - hope - we've all learned our lessons well. Her hubby now not only has one new job, but two! And he has an interview with a third company soon. Bad economy? Ha! Big Eternal God!

    I'm not ready to graduate just yet, Lord, but I would like a bit of a holiday break from The School of Hard Knocks if you don't mind.

    (And I hope I passed the previous course.)

    Sunday, January 4, 2009

    Feeding The Bear

    This is a topic so near and dear to my heart, stomach, and pocketbook because I am in charge of feeding the Bear and the rest of us who live with him. In fact, I feed the Bear so much and so often that I get bored with the "same 'ol same 'ol." Anyone else out there like that?

    If so, click on my profile and ask to become part of my second blog called appropriately "Feeding the Bear." Just in case you're a fellow who doesn't want to participate in yet another one of your aunt's crazy blogs (Hi Nephew E!) I'm telling you now that it is a recipe exchange blog. Well, now that I think about it, Nephew E probably has some pretty tasty recipes featuring bear (not THE Bear). Eww!!!!

    Anyway, all doable (by me, not a hunter) submissions will be tested by my son, the Bear, and rated accordingly.

    Help me out people! I'm tired of cooking some of my old tired menu items! I need some inspiration!

    You don't need to be a blogger yourself to participate. All of you "anonymous" people are welcome to join, too*. And real names will be used at that location. I want credit for my recipes, thankyouverymuch, and think you deserve it, too.

    * If you know me well enough to have my email address but don't want to sign up for a Google account, that's fine. Just contact me via email. If you wish to sign up for a Google account, please do so. I had an account long before I had a blog. Anyone who doesn't know me personally, but knows someone who knows someone who knows me (like 6 degrees of separation) will be granted permission once I verify all 6 degrees. :) It's the price of giving up anonymity.

    Saturday, January 3, 2009

    A Teenager and Date Night

    Those of you acquainted with the Bear know that he recently let us discover that he noticed there are more girls in the world than his grandmothers, mother, sisters, aunts, nieces, cousin, and the wives of cousins (Did I forget anyone?). Therefore, you might be terribly concerned when reading the above title. Not to worry. I'm not crazy enough to allow him to have an actual date night of his own. What do you take me for? Don't answer that!

    With my years of vast experience of either being a teenager (which was long ago) or raising teenagers (which I've been doing for 14 consecutive years now - what kind of award does that get me?) you'd think I'd be wise in the ways of the teenager and his/her world. But, alas, I've never mastered their inconsistencies:

    • They don't want you to look at them, but they want you to notice the new clothes or hairstyles they are sporting.
    • They want to be independent, but they want to use your money to become that way.
    • They don't want to be seen with you, but they don't want you to go out the door without them.

    It makes my head hurt!

    Pastor Dad and I decided that we needed a bit of time alone together after a couple of hectic months (or three) so we planned an evening spent mingling among crowds of people totally unrelated to us. In other words, we planned a date. Real dinner at a real restaurant followed by some mindless entertainment. Cell phones turned off. Just peace, quiet, and the two of us amidst the throngs of humanity around us living their own lives without interrupting ours.

    The Bear caught wind of our plans and decided that he needed to go along. I have no idea why. Usually, we can't drag his body out the door unless it is for one of his basketball games, but for some reason he decided he needed to be included in the night's proceedings.

    No way!!!!!!! When it comes to "them" and "us" he is part of the "them" on such occasions. Are we clear? The Bear is not included in our date night!

    When we returned (at midnight) he was waiting up like some nervous parent who couldn't sleep. Where had we been? Who had we spoken with? What had we had to eat? I don't think my mother ever asked such detailed questions when Pastor Dad returned me home 31 years ago!

    I know there comes a point in time where the child becomes the parent, but suffice it to say that we ain't there yet. We ain't even there yet with our own parents, so I'm pretty sure we can survive a bit longer without our teenager taking control of our date night.

    And yes, Pastor Dad and I had a great evening together giggling like a couple of teenagers.

    Trashy Treasures?

    It never ceases to amaze me how the things I set out at the curb disappear. I'm not talking about being taken with the garbage. I'm talking about the things I've found totally unusable and others obviously seeing potential in them. I can't tell you how many times I've offered items on Craig's List only to have them either ignored or reserved and then left unclaimed. I've found that my curb is a much better venue for getting rid of junk in a hurry.

    A few months ago my in-laws gave away a couple of reclining swivel chairs. They asked if we wanted them for our family room. I enthusiastically exclaimed, "YES!" because the two we were replacing with theirs were coming so (ahem!) "unglued" that one of our rockers had to be propped up against the wall lest the person sitting in it flip over backward. It made for some real fun moments when we had company.

    After receiving our new-to-us chairs we set our castoffs at the curb with every intention of watching them ride off into the sunrise in a garbage truck. Were we ever surprised when said chairs disappeared a few days too early! I'm guessing the people who took them home were very shocked the first time they sat in the trick one! I'm glad they didn't sue us for any injuries sustained! :D

    The next time I wanted to get rid of something I thought about those disappearing chairs and set things out on purpose. Sure enough! One metal futon frame (with mattress!) disappeared before trash day. I was so sure someone would be stopping that I even put the zippered plastic bag full of nuts and bolts with it. But even I have limits on what I think people will take from the trash.

    So guess what disappeared now!

    Our Christmas tree! The previously living, now dead, needle-dropping fragment we left lying outside to await the garbage truck is gone. I have no clue who took it or why. Can anyone really be so desperate as to need a dead spruce?

    The thought occurred to me that perhaps they took it for its mulch value but I don't think this is so. We had perfectly good hardwood branches mounded up at the curb from mid-September until Halloween just waiting for someone to come along with the equipment to chip it. There were no takers.

    If you have anything that you need to get rid of in a hurry and don't know what else to do with it I've got the perfect place for you to put it. Evidently, we are a hot spot for obtaining trashy treasures.

    Friday, January 2, 2009

    A New Year and A New Award!

    Wow! It's a brand new year with all of its promise and I've just received my first ever blog award! Thank you! Thank you very much! I wish you could see me taking my bows. (No, I'm not worshipping the computer. I don't worship things that have a tendency to send error messages, lose requests, and move slow enough that 2010 might be here before I get this message posted. I save my worship for the Omnipotent who is the antithesis of all that.) However, I do bow now in humility while accepting the award.

    My Blog-buddy, Karin, over at
    Yesterday, Today, Forever honored me with this lovely award! What can I say? (Besides the thanks that came with taking the bows.) I am honored! That's what I can say. You know I've plenty more to say, right? I'm rarely at a loss for words. . .

    I think the teacup is beautiful. Being predominantly of English-German ancestry, each line arriving on American shores in 1880 and 1851 respectively, teacups have played a prominent part in my life, especially because of my 2nd generation English-American Grandpa and my 3rd generation German-American Grandma. Teacups are now displayed around my house as a token of my heritage - and my love for hot tea!

    I'm a real sucker for roses, too. Or any beautiful looking or smelling flower. This award is a real pick-me-up on a cold winter day.

    So, thank you, Karin, for the lovely award! I will also display it FOREVER on the sidebar and will name my own recipients forthwith.

    Here are the rules:
    1. Link to the person who gave you the award.
    2. Name seven recipients of your own. (As per Karin's instructions, it is okay if you can't come up with that many. Just try to brighten the day of as many people as you can.)

    In accordance with the rules, I am giving the award to the following people:

    Ladies, you know what to do! I think everyone whose blog I visit is absolutely lovely but I know if I name them all there will be no one left for some of you to list as your own recipients. Therefore, I'll leave it up to you five to contact the people in your blog circles, some of which overlap my own.

    Blessed New Year to one and all!