Thursday, January 31, 2008

Snow Cows

My poor little Louisiana cows. They've never seen snow before and don't really know what to do with themselves. No cavorting or mooing or even grazing (there's grass under there somewhere). You'd think they'd at least be happy to get outside!

Look how silent and forlorn Bessie is. It's almost as though they're praying. Or plotting. Like they are waiting for the moment they're back in their kitchen. I wonder what they're planning? Whatever it is, I hope they take it on someone else. Highly unlikely they will, though.

Until I write again ...

Flea

E is for .. Dangit! What's It For Again?

Hey y'all! I'm running behind today. A friend's daughter went to the emergency room last night about 8 and I hung out with her (and my homework), then went back to her house to sleep on the couch (her hunny out of town and two kids alone), so I'm just getting up and moving. And the snow is just coming in, so I have to grocery shop (out of EVERYTHING). I wrote this yesterday, then never got back to it. And I'll be out to y'all's blogs later, in case you see here that you won and wonder why I didn't tell you! I'm just mean that way.

Woohoo! I won another major award! Seriously, I'm running out of mantle space, people. But I'm not complaining. I feel loved.

Kidzmama, at Not a Spare Minute, has given me the E for Excellence award! I like to think of it as the E for Everyone award. Because I'm like that - I'm for everyone.

Lessee ... I'm supposed to pass this on to ten deserving bloggers. Think, think, think. Oh! I know! Dlyn at Dlynz Blog! I just love her photography. :) Hmm ... and Poltzie, at Keeping up with the Poltzes. She makes killer Polish food (or so she SAYS - and I believe her), so maybe if I award her this she'll send me a pierogie or something. Jan, over at Bold & Free, who has fantastic giveaways. Which I never win. But I don't hold that against her. It would probably help if I entered some of them, huh? Maybe if I give her this award I won't have to enter to win? Yeah, I don't think so.

To KellyJean, over at Laughing Always Helps, because she needs an award right now. Love you, KellyJean. And to Keri, at Stripey Cat Production. I just love her blog. And it looks like the Burgh Baby's Mom doesn't have an award! She REALLY needs one, since her toddler is already showing signs of teenage-hood.

I could have sworn that Karen, over at the Rocking Pony, already had one, but I can't find it anywhere! Y'all go over and read the post about the exploding diaper. Ew! Then there's Daisy, at Compost Happens, one of the first blogs on which I started reading and leaving comments.

Omigosh! That's nine! Oooo ... there are several more people I'd love to give this to, but I'll follow the rules and give just one more ... to Mir, at Woulda Coulda Shoulda. Can I do that? I just love her blog and find it most excellent.

Alright people, clear out. I have work to do and you're just getting in the way. Have to find a place for this award...

Until I write again ...

Flea

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Random Wednesday - Because I Can't Wait Till Friday

Fred and Bessie are obsessing about their weight again. It must be because of those pesky New Year's resolutions, no? Or maybe they want to lose weight so they're not slaughtered for the next pot roast. How can I convince them that they're not edible?

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In other news, we're supposed to get two to four inches of snow tomorrow! YAY!!! A big thank you to all of you to whom I wrote and asked that you send your snow my way. :) Way to go. Now my Little Guy can try out his new Christmas sled, the only thing he asked for this year. It's been killing him that he hasn't been able to use it.

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And whose idea was it to make teenagers? I swear, if they came out as teenagers 1) it would hurt SOOOO much more 2) no one would ever have kids 3) did I mention how much that would hurt? Two of my newborns were over 10 pounds and THAT was too much. Burgh Baby's Mom posted about her darling toddler who communicates like a teenager. Like MY teenager. Me: So how was your day? Teen: I don't want to talk about it. Me: Will you want to talk about it later? Teen: Maybe. Grr.

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Is it just me, or is anyone else out there near the end of their first masters class and procrastinating? Just me? Okay, then I need to get back to my homework.

Until I write again ...

Flea

P.S. If you're new to Bessie and Fred, check out the side bar for links to the back story. :) I'm thinking of giving them their own blog.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What, Me? Quirky? Nooooo

Here are the rules.
(1) Link to the person that tagged you.
(2) Post the rules on your blog.
(3) Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.

(4) Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
(5) Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

So Dlyn has tagged me for another meme. I'm guessing she knows how much I love these things. :P And what better one than six quirky things? See, if I were quirky, this would make for an interesting post, but since I'm NOT ...

Alright already. Here.

1. I blow on my hands and fingers when I'm nervous. My husband makes fun of me for it, or he'll use it as a cue that something's wrong and I'm not clued in. It's because my palms and fingers sweat when I'm nervous. They do! Stop it!

2. My son thinks it's strange that I talk to the dogs (65 pound Australian shepherds) like they're babies. Everyone does this with their dogs, right?.

3. I don't like TV. There. I said it. I'll tolerate it for awhile. I'll even get into a series, like CSI, but I'll usually lose interest half a season in and stop watching again. I just don't see the sense in TV when I have good books and good blogs.

4. When I speak to family my southern accent comes out. Strong sometimes.

5. I like snakes. But you already knew that, didn't you? When I was in high school, attending summer camp in the woods of eastern Mississippi, one of the counselors caught a large rat snake and I asked to hold it. And fell in LOVE. When I was in college I had a little garter snake that I'd let curl around my neck all the time. I'd take walks around campus and it would move to the top of my head, where it would bask in the warmth of the winter sun. I attended a Christian school, so this was particularly fun for me when a tourist would stop me to ask questions. Eventually the snake would poke it's head up to look around and the tourist would slowly back away.

6. When I shower, or dress, or brush my teeth, I do everything in the same order every time. Or I'll forget a step. Or just forget what I'm doing. I'm told that's an ADD thing, so I don't lose track of myself, or I'd never get clean or dressed.

Now go on! Leave be alone! Oh, and I tag Mayberry Magpie , Tanya the Art Butcher, The Color of Home, and Confessions of a Karate Mom. It's not six. Deal with it.

Until I write again ...

Flea

A Short Story

Our library system has a creative writing contest every year and my Hunny brought home the application for it this last Saturday. He dropped it in my lap and said, "Here. Do it." So I opened it up and looked for the deadline. This Thursday. Hokay. I can do that.

So that's what I've been busy with the last few days. I've totally neglected homework and housework, the kids, my husband, meals. Just been writing. It's a lot harder than it looks. Especially when faced with a short deadline and no ideas. I haven't done it very well, but I'm entering anyway, just to say I did it. Motivation for next year.

There are four categories: Adult short story, Children's short story, Essay, and Poetry. I don't do poetry. I think I proved that over at Wonderful World of Wieners, with Hallie's haiku contest (which I entered ten or fifteen times). I just don't GET poetry - all that imagery, the abstract concepts. I'm a concrete girl in a concrete world. Give me a story that means something. That I can understand.



I know that I've said it here before, but C.S. Lewis' The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Narnia) is my all time favorite book. That's the kind of imagery I can sink my teeth into. It's a real story with real characters, with morals, and lots of crying on my part. I probably should have just written a different version of Eustace's tale of becoming and unbecoming a dragon, but I didn't think of that till just now (Doh!). I connect with Eustace in this book, the frustration he feels of not fitting in, thinking he knows everything in the beginning, that everyone else is wrong about everything. He's extremely concrete and can't see the world around him - the reality of it - because his brain tells him it can't be real. He's arrogant. Scared. He can't connect with the people who care for him because he can only see himself and his crisis.

Halfway through the journey the Dawn Treader limps into harbor at a strange island, battered by a recent storm, stores depleted. Eustace, who doesn't believe they're anywhere but our world, wanders inland to escape work and connecting with the others. He stumbles on a dragon, just dead, and doesn't even know what it is. Without spoiling it with details, I'll just tell you that he becomes a dragon. He also begins to see himself as the others see him - aloof, spoiled, bratty, selfish. He begins, for the first time, to feel lonely, disconnected, to long for the companionship of the others. He wants to belong. And he does everything he can to help out, to participate, but he can never really connect, and he despairs for the future because he knows that as a dragon he can't travel any further with the group and is facing a solitary life.

At this point in the book I start crying because I know what's coming next. He comes face to face with Aslan. He has no idea who He is and only finds out later in the telling to the others, which makes me cry. Don't know why. Aslan tells Eustace to follow Him and leads him to a large, bubbling well, which strikes Eustace as refreshing, and the lion tells him to undress. Eustace realizes that his skin is rather snakelike, so Aslan must mean for him to peel it off, like a snake would shed, so he does this and goes to the well to bathe.

On looking down as he's stepping in, Eustace sees that he still has the dragon's body, so he peels off another layer of skin. Then another. Then knows that it's no good. Then the lion says, "You will have to let me undress you." Eustace was terribly afraid of His claws, but let himself be undressed. I'll let him tell it:

"The very first tear He made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when He began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I've ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off, You know - if you've ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh, but it is such fun to see it coming away.

"... He peeled the beastly stuff right off - just as I thought I'd done it myself the other three times, only they hadn't hurt - and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly looking than the others had been. And there I was as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been."

After that, Aslan catches Eustace up in His paws - velvety soft now - and drops him in the water. It really is refreshing.

Why does this story touch me so? I feel that isolation at times, living in my world, but just outside of it, feeling odd, seeing only my crisis. More than that, every time life comes to a head and I'm face to face with my own ugliness - the ways I hurt or neglect others, petty things I say and do, my self-centered-ness - I feel like the dragon. Hard and scaly, thick skinned, unable to change. I peel off my own skin, trying to change my perspective, my words, my actions. And I look down and see my dragon-y self. I can't change myself, only the top layer. And that's not enough. I connect with Eustace.

I have to get back to life now - homework, housework, a yummy cake recipe I found at Dlyn's site (yay! a use for my pumpkin!) - and I really do want to finish my story.

Until I write again ...

Flea

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hink Pinks and Other Nonsense

So I'm winding down the evening, wondering what my next post will be, knowing I've been really busy and throwing lots of default stuff out for y'all (mea culpa!), and my inbox lights up with a new email from Mom Blogs! They asked me to post about this fun puzzle site, so I pop over and - lo and behold! - I like it. The very first link I click is Commonymns. Check it out: What do these three things have in common? A Ball - A Fish - A Cold. They can all be caught! I know, that's easy, but it's the first one and they get tougher.

Can I just tell you that when I was home schooling I was constantly searching for sites exactly like this one? And that I will definitely be using this site come summer? This rocks! Another game link is Hink Pinks. They're rhyming word riddles, such as: a bunny routine. Give up? Rabbit habit! Okay, now I just feel like a third grader. But can you imagine printing out lists of these for lulls on road trips? It would drive dad crazy, but that's the beauty of it!

Alright, alright - I really will post for real tomorrow. But this was too fun not to share.

Until I write again ...

Flea

The End is Near

Try as I might, I don't understand these cows. Last night before bed, this was the last thing I saw in my kitchen. It's like they're waiting for something. What do the cows know that I don't? Should I start packing our bags, looking for hills to head to? Maybe they just wanted to see the numbers move to 12:00. Sometimes I watch clocks just to see certain numbers. Like 12:34. I get all excited.

I've begun a Bessie and Fred list on the left, with their posts numbered, in case anyone's missed part of their saga. They're even numbered! And I'm looking into a pair of friends for them, maybe pigs, but chickens would be nice, too. As long as I don't have a rooster waking me up in the mornings - Lou waking me is all I can handle for awhile.

Until I write again ...

Flea

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Pine Wood Derby and Drag Star

Best in Show! That's my boy! My boys. Hunny and Little Guy worked so very hard on their car, both of them sanding and painting and stinking up the house. The night before the race, they spent hours painting and curing and detailing the Drag Star racer.

Their curing method was certainly interesting, and for awhile I thought it was deadly. Hunny decided the oven - MY oven - was the best way to cure the paint coats so they could get the car finished in time. I'm surprised we didn't all die in our sleep! The entire house REEKED of paint fumes all evening.

But the end results
were well worth the fumes. A pretty car. Excuse me - I almost made Little Guy cry when I said it was pretty. It's COOL. Like those action figures upstairs in the display case - they're Star Wars dolls. Action figures. Puhlease.

I'll leave you with a shot of the WINNING CAR. The prettiest car.

Until I write again ...

Flea

What I Should Be

You Should Be a Doctor

You are practical, sharp, and very intuitive.
Optimistic and energetic, you are a problem solver who doesn't get discouraged easily.
You are also quite compassionate and caring. You make people feel hopeful.
You're highly adaptable and capable. You do well with almost any curve ball life throws at you.

You do best when you:

- Are always learning new subjects
- Use your knowledge to solve problems

You would also be a good therapist or detective.
What Should You Be When You Grow Up?

I don't remember at whose blog I found this, but my own future career amused me. Can you believe it? They know me so well, just by the picture/pattern I selected!

Yesterday was the Pinewood Derby for my Little Guy, so I've been out of the loop. Will be today as well. But tomorrow I'll be back with a picture or two. Of the car, the boy and the trophy,

Until I write again ...

Flea

Friday, January 25, 2008

Papa Murphy's Pizza

How often does one get to experience something new? Last night I did. I'm not sure how well I liked it.

A few months ago a new store went in on our route to and from guitar lessons. Maybelline and I would stare at the huge banner staked on the corner and read about this food store, coming soon, hiring now. But the name of the store was in a tiny font and it took several trips back and forth to guitar to figure out what restaurant it was. I ranted about any business which was new, trying to make a name for itself, printing a sign no one could read. But we were able to make out "Papa Murphy's Pizza". Y'all ever hear of them?

This is a totally new concept for me, this Papa Murphy's. We weren't even interested, all these months since it's opened, but last night the Hunny wanted pizza (it was his free day, hence it was my free day), and we had a coupon for buy one get one from Papa M's, so I called to order. I thought things were a little weird when I asked how long our order would take and she quoted a time five minutes later, but I shook it off and ordered.

Hunny left to pick up our order, and came home with it, saying it was only eight bucks (plus the free one), so he'd picked up a tub of cookie dough. The pizza itself? Needed to be baked. Papa Murphy's sells unbaked pizzas. How weird is that? They were decent and all - better than freezer pizza from the grocery, but nowhere near as good as a chain pizza, delivered hot and fresh. I'm just ... I don't know what to say. I mean, it was cheap. Yeah. It's got that going for it. Just strange. What the heck?

Oh, and the picture? Lou the Loud. Consider it a bonus for a mediocre review. :)

Until I write again ...

Flea

Small Sacrifice - a Review

Just before Christmas I got an email from a music publicist out of Nashville. She's been working with one of my all-time favorite musicians, Twila Paris, I guess getting the word out about her latest album.

I've been a Twila fan for ... let's see ... 23 years? My freshman year of college (I was a child prodigy, for those of you who are doing the math - I started college at the age of 5), I discovered Warrior is a Child and fell madly in love. The summer after I graduated, I found Runner, a phenomenal song which reached down deep to my core and held me together at a time when I was falling apart in so many ways. I'd take Bethany's taser, the Walkman, and I'd walk the neighborhood at night, listening to Runner over and over. I wore that tape clean to death. I'll paste the lyrics to Runner at the bottom of the post. And some day I'll gather the courage to remember that summer and post about it.

You have to know something about me before I review this album. Yes. It's something weird AGAIN. I have a strange relationship with music. I love it, but I can also live without it. At the same time, there's always a song running through my head. I absolutely hated the three or four weeks recently that our church ran a video with the song "Look at My Belly" running through it. That was stuck in my head for nearly a month. Agh! It's there again!

Anyway, it takes me awhile to warm up to an album. There have been a few which have claimed my soul at first listen, but very few. It usually takes about 20 listens to determine whether or not I truly like an album or an artist. And yes, if I really hate an artist, I know in the first 30 seconds.

So I took a couple of weeks to listen to Small Sacrifice, to get a feel for it, to let it seep in. This one has definitely grown on me. If I listen as background music, it's just Twila. Honestly, I wouldn't know which album. It is SO Twila. I love that about it. Beautiful lyrics, sweet vocals, soft music. Chick music.

The first song, We Know Love, really threw me off. I listened while working on a couple of things, not really giving it my full attention. I thought something was seriously wrong because I kept hearing Twila say, "Me no love." What the heck? Who forgot the grammar check? So I had to grab the case and look for the title. Now that I know what it says, I like the song. But maybe my youngest gets his auditory discrepancies from me?

Then my daughter swiped the CD and it was gone for nearly a week. At nearly 15, I was surprised she'd want to take my music. Since I've had it back, it's gone nearly everywhere with me and is right now playing in my laptop. I love it.

My two favorite songs are probably the title track, Small Sacrifice, and the last one, Alleluia. I love the chorus to Small Sacrifice:
It's one small sacrifice
I give You all my love
I give You all my life
A token for a prize
It never could be worth
The honor You deserve

This album is definitely a keeper. And as promised, the lyrics to Runner:

RUNNER
Courier valiant, bearing the flame
Messenger noble, sent in His name
Faster and harder, run through the night
Desperate relay, carry the light
Carry the light
Runner, when the road is long
Feel like giving in but you're hanging on
Oh runner, when the race is won
You will run into his arms
Obstacle ancient, chilling the way
Enemy wakened, stoking the fray
Still be determined, fearless and true
Lift high the standard, carry it through
Carry it through
Mindful of many waiting to run
Destined to finish what you've begun
Millions before you cheering you on
Godspeed dear runner, carry it home
Carry it home

Until I write again ...

Flea

Happy Dance

Yessss!!! I won a blog award! And I'm letting it go to my head while I do the Happy Dance (nothing like the pee pee dance. okay, all my dances are very similar, so it probably IS very much like the pee pee dance)!


Melissa-with-two-s's, over at Hope for the Hopeless, has awarded me the Bodacious Blog award! Isn't that the coolest thing ever? I thought my head was going to explode when Karen, over at The Rocking Pony, awarded me the Best Blogging Buddy award a bit ago, but now I have TWO awards. Thank you Melissa-with-two-s's and Karen!!!

And since this isn't all about me, I'm awarding the Bodacious Blog award to Kidzmama at Not a Spare Minute,
to my favorite locavore, Daisy at Compost Happens, and to Tanya T. Heart Butcher - okay, she's Tanya the Art Butcher, but that's not what I thought the first time I saw her url.

Can't I give out more? Are there rules for this? There are so many blogs I enjoy! There's Hallie's, and Lisa's, and Casdok's, and Jan's, and Mir's ... and so many more! Y'all all rock!

Breathe ... breathe ... breathe .... okay, you may all now go about your day. I have to go clear a spot on my mantle for my new award.

Until I write again ...

Flea

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Family Lunacy

I've managed to capture a photo of the elusive poser, Oatmeal Head. Believe me when I tell you folks, this was no easy feat. I have many, many blurry shots, hat over the face, hand in motion toward the camera, and back of the head shots. It is so frustrating trying to photograph this teenage boy. But I got one!

His older sister, on the other hand, was very simple to capture. Promises of internet fame lured her easy smile, her twinkling eyes, and before I knew it, I had some wonderful shots of Maybelline in her natural habitat. The dining room. Isn't that a charming look?


Not to be outdone, she snatched the camera and took pictures of her mother. I begged, pleaded, cried, all to no avail. I was do
omed to be captured on ... on ... a memory card. She got me.

The only one left to photograph, it seemed, was Little Guy. He was in rare form tonight, but I think I'll save him for another day. I fear the world can only take so much.

Until I write again ...

Flea

God's Coffee

This came in my email this morning. An old college buddy of mine occasionally sends out a Thought for the Day, which I greatly appreciate. It's usually something which is directly applicable to what I'm going through. This morning's was one of those little stories which makes the rounds, but which I hadn't yet read. I hope you don't mind that I share it. It made me smile. I've searched, and it's all over the place (my apologies to those of you who've read it before), and there seems to be no trace of the author, or I'd give credit. Enjoy.


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A group of alumni, all highly established in their respective careers, got together for a visit with their old university professor. The conversation soon turned to complaints about the endless stress of work and life in general...

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went into the kitchen and soon returned with a large pot of coffee and an eclectic assortment of cups: porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal - some plain, some expensive, some quite exquisite. Quietly he told them to help themselves to some fresh coffee..

When each of his former students had a cup of coffee in hand, the old professor quietly cleared his throat and began to patiently address the small gathering... "You may have noticed that all of the nicer looking cups were taken up first, leaving behind the plainer and cheaper ones.

While it is only natural for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is actually the source of much of your stress-related problems."

He continued..."Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In fact, the cup merely disguises or dresses up what we drink.

What each of you really wanted was coffee, not a cup, but you instinctively went for the best cups...then you began eyeing each other's cups...."

"Now consider this: Life is coffee. Jobs, money, and position in society are merely cups. They are just tools to shape and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not truly define nor change the quality of the Life we live. Often, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee that God has provided us. Enjoy your coffee!"

Until I write again ...

Flea

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

In the Night Kitchen

It never occurred to me that Bessie and Fred might be hungry. I don't know what they've been eating all this time, hanging out in In the Night Kitchen.

It looks as though they're eating some kind of ... what is that? Corn? Where on earth did they get corn? Is that feed corn? OH MY GOSH. The cows found feed corn IN MY KITCHEN! It's a wonder we haven't had mice!

Wait. Wait, no. I don't think that's feed corn. It really looks more like ... it's popcorn! Well kiss my grits. What ingenious bovines. It looks like I'm going to have to leave food out for the cows. I wonder if they prefer water or milk? And do they like their popcorn buttered?

Until I write again ...

Flea


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Little Q & A

First, let me say Thank You for playing the weird game. What fun! Who else likes liver and onions but doesn't eat them at home? I'm going to have to find some liver and onions now, thanks to Kathy.

I was visiting Keri's blog, Stripey Cat Production, and she had this questionnaire she'd swiped from someone else's blog. It looked like fun, so I thought I'd swipe it from her. Except I put my own answers in. I mean, hers were good and all, but. You know. Feel free to swipe it yourself, or answer here.

1. If your doctor told you TODAY that you were pregnant, what would you say
?
WHAT?!?! I would absolutely flip. COOL!!! Then, How on earth did this happen?

2. When was the last time you flew in a plane?
Last summer I flew to Macon, GA to attend my cousin's wedding. It was beautiful! And hot.

3. What did the last text message you sent say?
Nothing. I can't text message to save my life. All those little letters. Makes me wanna cuss like they do in the comics. !!@#$!

4. What features do you find most attractive in the preferred sex?
Definitely a tight rear end. Yeah. Of course, I'm a product of the eighties, when Mel Gibson and Arnold had butt shots in nearly every movie.

5. What is a goal you would like to accomplish in the near future?
The NEAR future? Lose another 20 pounds.

6. Shoe size?
Eleven. Psh. Don't get me started.

7. Been to Mexico?
No. Never been out of the country or west of Santa Fe.

8. When is the last time you had a massage?
Never. I don't like touching very much. Sensitive skin. Touch me wrong and I holler. My poor Hunny.

9. What was the last TV show you watched? I can't remember. I'm trying to remember the last time I watched TV. I think it was Saturday Night Live while at the hotel at Christmas.

10. What are your plans for the weekend?
Hunny and Little Guy have a Pinewood Derby for Cub Scouts Saturday. Other than that? Homework.

11. If your significant other asked you to marry them TODAY what would you say?
I would say a definite yes. :) Maybe twice yes. I'd want a real honeymoon this time, though.

12. What is in the back seat of your car right now?
I have no idea.I think there's a small plate and probably someone's socks.

13. What were you doing at 8 am this morning?
Seeing the last child off on the bus, then hopping in the shower!

14. If you could marry any celebrity today who would it be?
I don't think I could marry a celebrity. If I HAD to ... nope, couldn't do it. (But if I HAD to, it might be Mel Gibson, without all his issues - rowr!)

15. Have you ever been to a strip club?
No. never been to a club either. Quite content to never go to one, either.

16. What is the best ice cream flavor?
It's a toss up between Ben n Jerry's Chubby Hubby and Godiva's Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Truffle. Mmmmmm.

..17. What is the last sporting event you watched
I watched several football games last year right after we moved to Tulsa. Very exciting. Or so I'm told.

18. Ever go camping?
Yes! We last went camping for fall break and had a great time! We love to camp. There is just nothing like camp coffee on the Coleman stove.

19. Last phone call?
My Hunny, from work. He says he lost eight pounds this week, the first week of The Biggest Loser at work. Yay!

20. Are you allergic to anything?
Once upon a time I was allergic to poison ivy. Now I'm allergic to exercise.

21. What is one thing you have learned about life recently?
I really don't know very much. There's a WHOLE LOT to learn, and I'll never know it all, or even a fraction. So I need to listen more and speak less. Except here, of course. :)

22. What do you do at work?
I substitute teach occasionally, but for now I'm a mom and a student.

23. What is your mom's name?
Mary. Kathleen.

24. Ever cried for no reason?
When I cry, it's usually for no good reason. I don't like to cry.

.25. Can you do the Crank Dat dance?.
The what?

26. What is your favorite color to wear?
Earth tones. Mustard, rust, greens. All time favorite is probably butter yellow, though.

27. What is the longest plane ride you have ever been on?
Probably central Louisiana to Santa Fe, when I was a kid.

28. What is the longest road trip you have ever taken?
There have been three long ones: Driving from D.C. to Chicago to Tulsa then back the same way all in one weekend, for my brother's graduation (with sister); Virginia to Louisiana to Tulsa to Orlando to Virginia, with Hunny, two babies and our dog, in two weeks; Orlando to Louisiana to Tulsa to Tupelo to Atlanta to Orlando in two weeks - no Hunny this time, just me and three kids. I LOVE me a road trip! And good books on CD!

29. What are your turn-offs?
Eating noises. Seriously. Close your mouth when you eat.

30. What was your last alcoholic beverage?
A hard cider.

31. What are you craving right now?
Popcorn. Excuse me ...

Something Weird About Me

I like ironing. There. I said it. I love it. I want to marry ironing. I'd want to have its babies, but that's a little much. And a little scary. Ow.

See my Rowenta? It was an anniversary gift years ago, since my Hunny knows how much ironing means to me. And because I'd cracked the steam well on all my other irons. As a sometimes heirloom seamstress, the iron is my lifeline to beauty and perfection.

A little starch, a smocked dress in a nice cotton batiste, cotton setting and full steam - I'm ready to go. There is just nothing like finishing a little pink batiste dress, with shell buttons and tatted trim, then starching and pressing it till it's almost transparent. Mm.

I was ironing this afternoon - a great big stack, just the way I like it - thinking I probably needed to starch Hunny's cotton dress shirts. But it's one thing to starch little cotton dresses and another thing entirely to starch a dress shirt. When there's a huge stack of shirts. Starch does ugly things to my iron. It makes ugly black smudges on the plate. It leaves flakes on the rest of the shirts. I'm sure I'm doing something wrong, but I just don't care for starch when ironing the family laundry. So I left the starch in the closet.

So now you know something weird about me. Care to share something weird about yourself? You know you're weird. I know you're weird.

Until I write again ...

Flea

No Apology Will Ever Be Enough

I confess. I made a pot roast yesterday. I'm a selfish, unthinking clod. Thoughtless. Cruel. What was I thinking?

I stumbled into the kitchen this morning, weary from a night of revelry, partying with the carnivores, to find Fred and Bessie like this. It broke my heart. It reminded me of Jill and Eustace in the giants' castle, in the kitchen, discovering the cookbook. And the recipe for Man. From The Silver Chair (Narnia)

I'm so sorry Bessie and Fred. Is there anything I can do? Anything? To make it up to you? Poor, poor bovines.

Until I write again ...

Flea

Monday, January 21, 2008

Shh! Can You Smell That?

Look at my boys in the kitchen! Yesterday, while I lounged on the couch, recovering from Cloverfield and my motion sickness, my Hunny and Little Guy made dinner. Hunny here is shaking a marinade, while Little Guy expresses how pleased he is to work side by side with dad doing manly food prep. Aren't they a handsome pair? They prepared a turkey breast, cooked in a most manly fashion, in the rotisserie oven.

The Hunny reminded me how happy I was to have the rotisserie. I love it so much that it has been sitting way up high, collecting dust, since we moved. When Hunny initially ordered it for me as a surprise, he was in the middle of remodeling my kitchen in Florida and had sat up one too many nights watching Ron Popeil infomercials while painting cabinets, inhaling paint fumes. I came home, after a week at a sewing conference, to a beautiful new kitchen and the news that I would soon be the proud owner of a rotisserie. Woohoo!

Days of waiting turned in to weeks. At the six week mark I called the company and asked if my shipment had been lost, blown up, maybe eaten by velociraptors (I don't know where they make these things). They told me that they only ship when they get enough orders to make a new batch, so mine would be a bit. I told them, very kindly but firmly, to cancel my order and refund my money. They then countered with a 10% discount. Sold!

At the next six week point I called back. Where's my freakin' rotisserie? I calmly asked. About to be shipped - really, was the response. Okay, definitely cancel my order and give me back my money now. Grr. But! They were going to give me another 10% discount! AND they'd throw in all kinds of extras! Like a five year warranty! Alright, alright, I'll do it. Just send me the danged rotisserie oven already.

I really do like the oven. But now that I have a smaller kitchen and much less counter space, there's no place to put the darn thing. And for me, out of sight is out of mind. Fortunately the Hunny remembered it existed and asked where it was. Well, I know exactly where everything is. I just forget we actually HAVE things if I can't see them.

I gotta tell ya, that turkey breast was to die for. He rubbed it with a little olive oil and applied a little poultry rub. It was tender, moist and delicious. We all dove in for seconds. Mmmmm. And the Little Guy loved it the most, In fact, as he was going up the stairs lasts night to bed, he said, "Thanks for asking me to cook with you, Dad." Now how sweet is that? I think I'm going to let my guys cook more often.

Until I write again ...

Flea

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Cloverfield Review

That is the LAST time I let the Hunny recommend a movie. Cloverfield was actually a pretty good movie. What I saw of it. And I think I actually only SAW about eight minutes of it total. I heard it all - does that count?

We were set to see a movie today with my brother and his lovely wife, and we'd been thinking for awhile about what we wanted to see. The Hunny, this morning, asked if he and my brother could see Cloverfield while sister-in-law and I saw something else. What? It's a Godzilla flick. Well, that wasn't very nice. Or fun. But Hunny was just throwing it out, not actually having any hope.

I was a bad girl this morning and skipped church. I had a migraine, okay? They're hormonal, and I caught it before it got really bad, but I wanted to take it easy. When I turned on my computer, my homepage had a link to a review of Cloverfield. Curious, I clicked and found that they gave it three and a half out of four stars. I scanned the reviews and thought, "Sure, why not?" Then I emailed brother and wife the review and waited. Sure enough, they were both interested.

So we head out to see Cloverfield. Honest to Pete, about three minutes in I had to close my eyes. I can handle kids barfing, dogs having diarrhea, sour milk, lots of different smells and clean up operations. I have a cast iron stomach that way. Even when brother and I were in high school and the baby brother would eat hot dogs then upchuck everywhere, I'd be the one cleaning it up. Not a problem. Motion sickness? That's a whole 'nother ball game.

The entire movie was shot with a hand held camcorder, or at least made to look that way. It was EXTREMELY well done. Think Blair Witch Project. The special effects were seamless; the movie was very believable. I was truly impressed with how real this movie seemed. I was sucked into their lives, found myself being attached to the guy behind the camera, even though he was a total loser. Like reality TV taken to another level. Wow.

Now think Tilt A Whirl combined with roller coaster. Then ride them for an hour and a half straight. After having 12 hot dogs and six Mountain Dews. Yeah. Like that. I wanted to SMACK the guy holding the camera. Geez! My kids could hold it more steady, and this was before the action started! Honestly, I had my eyes closed for most of the movie, once I knew what everyone looked like.

Over all, Cloverfield was a very good movie. I suppose I'd give it three and a half stars as well, even though it wasn't what I expected. And watching while fighting migraine nausea probably wasn't a good idea. But the characters were people we've all met in real life, y'know? They freaked out about the way I would have. It really could have been a home movie. But with giant creatures destroying Manhattan.




Until I write again ...

Flea

Maybe She's Born With It ...

Here we have my favorite picture of my daughter, Maybelline. Isn't she beautiful? I just love that look in her eyes. It's the whole, "What are you doing taking my picture? I'm an artist. Leave me in peace. Grrr." look.

I gotta tell, ya, I always wanted boys. I wanted six boys, in fact. Can I also tell you that I'm pretty sure I'm glad I only have two boys? But I didn't know what to do with myself when I had a girl. Girls are so ... girly. And Maybelline is no exception to that, though you can't tell from the picture. She was my party princess child, loving her fancy dresses and sparkly sunglasses. She talked her brothers into having Polish tea parties, where they'd all dress up in their Christmas or Easter clothes and have tea parties on blankets on the floor, raising their pinkies and talking in really bad British accents. My MIL is Polish, so, well, I have no idea why they were Polish tea parties.

When she was eight, I gave Maybelline a real tea party for her birthday. All the little girls showed up in fancy dresses, hats and white gloves. We used the good china and silver, had tiny ├ęclairs and sugar cubes for the tea. Even grapes on a grape platter with silver scissors. She was in heaven.

When she was five I ordered the gosh awfullest ugly fabric online for a dress. It was a silver sheer fabric with giant fuschia and periwinkle abstract flowers all over it. The dress itself was fuschia satin and the sheer was an overlay. Puffy sleeves, full skirt, sparkly pink sunglasses and antique white gloves. She was in heaven.

When she was three she wore a pearl necklace I picked up at an antique shop in Jacksonville. It was the tiniest pearl necklace I'd ever seen and it fit her perfectly. I think she wore it for about a year, never taking it off, before it broke.

Fast forward to 14. She loves her guitar. That sparkly party girl is still in there. She's just fighting with it to find her identity. I LOVE that she's taken to the guitar like a duck to water, that she is looking for herself so hard, trying to figure out where she's separate from her brothers and parents. Mostly, it seems, where she's separate from me. And I read that that's totally normal and good for a teen girl. It's just weird. I don't know if it helps or hurts that she and I are so different in our personalities and interests. I suppose if we were a lot alike we'd be fighting all the time. But because we're so different, I don't always know how to talk to her. Or she to me. I think parenting is just hard any way you slice it.

But parenting is well worth any aggravation or difficulty. In fact, I find myself thinking that I can't afford to look at it as aggravating or difficult. I have to look at it as investing in something bigger than me. Something so worth my time that it's more of a joy to get down and dirty. Of course, I only look at it that way occasionally. Not when the schoolwork, jackets and shoes are all over the house AGAIN.

Until I write again ...

Flea

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Experimenting With My Calorie Intake

I've performed an experiment, since I'm in the early stages with this Daily Plate thing. Oh, and our group is The Good Flea's group. If you sign up, just shoot me a note and I'll invite you to join. :) Where was I? Oh! The experiment.

I had to take Little Guy to a skate birthday pa
rty today, so I had plenty of time on my hands while I waited. I wound up at the Burger King across the street and almost bought myself a decaf coffee and called it quits. Then I thought, since I've been so good all two days of being a Daily Plate member, maybe I'd play around with my calorie intake and see what would it would look like.

I stood and looked at their menu a long time. Everything just looked so heavy and greasy, so I ordered the Whopper Jr. meal, thinking it was the smallest thing short of a kids' meal. That came with a Whopper Jr. with cheese, whi
ch was rather small (but filled me up), a medium fry and a medium drink. I swapped out the drink for their cup a Joe and had some decaf. I refilled that once and used 4 half and half total.

So I plug in all of my food at Daily Plate, thinking maybe I'd go over my calorie allowance (I'm plugged in to lose a pound and a half a week). Considering I'd had a small breakfast, barely putting a dent in the intake, I still have a considerable amount of calories left. Well, the meal did consume about half of my daily calories. But the really shocking thing was going fro
m having almost no fat in today's intake, to having nearly 46% of my intake as fat. WOW. That is so wrong.

No, this blog isn't going to turn into Flea's ramblings on her diet. Ew. I just found this interesting. And I had to tell SOMEONE that I was a bad girl today and had BK.

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In other news, Oatmeal Head is taking Art now as a seventh grade elective. He's never taken art classes before, even though my family is very artistic (see my mom's website), so he has only been drawing very "first grade" types of things his entire life. Now that he's taken Art for two whole weeks, I can show you of what he is capable. It's not Rembrandt, but I was pretty pleased with his first attempts. Whadda ya think? I hope you can see it.

Until I write again ...

Flea

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Healthier Life

It's Random Friday! Where nothing I say is connected to anything else I say! Where the Adderall XR is ignored in favor of the raging ADD! Where ... hey! Something shiny!

Okay, before I get to the new thing we're trying, I have to post a haiku, in honor Wonderful World of Wieners and Hallie's contest. Don't anybody else enter! I want to win! I don't think posting a haiku on my blog will count as an entry, but here goes (oh, just so you know, I hate haikus, and I can't ever see the imagery in poetry, which is why I love limericks, but this is for a good cause, so hush! And this isn't a haiku about Hallie anyway):

Blogging is so droll
All the best people visit
Making the time fly

See what I mean? I can't understand poetry, much less write it.

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Where was I? Mmm ... sipping my morning coffee. Sending the last child off to school. Eating a Pop Tart. No! No Pop Tarts! Let me show you why. The Hunny joined a group at work recently - actually, he signed up for a contest - called the Biggest Loser. Yes, like the TV show. He's the only man in the group, making the whole contest quite unfair, if you ask me, since men just drop weight when they set their minds to it. But there's money involved, so unfair works for me.

Hunny came home after entering the contest to tell me that the Girls at work (I just love it when he talks about the Girls. He's worked in education forever and I don't get jealous. It reminds me of the movie Mr. Mom, and they're his little poker and beer group, complaining about the housework. The Girls.) had found this fantastic website which tracks everything you eat. It's called The Daily Plate, and when registering you tell it all kinds of crazy things, like your height and weight, your average activity every day, what you want to be when you grow up. More importantly, you tell it how much weight you want to lose every week and it tells you how many calories you can eat every day. Then it keeps track of them and tells you when you've gone over.

To help it determine your daily calorie intake, you click on My Plate (top right corner) and type what you ate into the Search box. For instance, I just typed in "coffee non-dairy creamer," and it came up with a big list. I clicked on the first one and it took me to a page that describes what I clicked. Yep, that's what I had, so I clicked "I ate this." Today. And for breakfast. No, no Pop Tart. It also has every brand and restaurant known to mankind. The Hunny was typing in his Panera chopices while he was eating them. How cool is that?!

What's also cool (I didn't get into this at first. I'm REALLY SLOW that way.) is the little pie chart on the right that indicates how much of your daily diet is carb, protein and fat. Ouch. And there's a water glass for your water intake. This is an extremely cool tool.

This first few days of playing the game (this is more like a game than anything right now), I plan to just eat like I usually do and see what my diet looks like. Yesterday I didn't do so hot with protein, which is no surprise. I'm a carb fanatic. Between Pop Tarts and Ramen, I have a lock on the carbs. But I don't seem to be getting enough calories. The Adderall XR has stolen my appetite, meaning I've lost about 25 pounds since last summer. But I NEED to start exercising and eating right.

The other really neat thing about this site is that there are groups. You can join a group or choose to remain private. No one but you will ever see your profile. OR (and here's the potential fun) you could join me! My husband has a fun group to belong to, and he's invited me in, but I feel rather out of place with all those career women. Anyone care to join me? Let's start our own group! Or just try it out for a day or two first. I'm not saying that any of you need to lose weight or anything ... actually, you could join just to maintain, see what your eating habits look like on a pie chart (admit it - you've always wanted to know).

So there's the "big thing" I was waiting till today to reveal. I hate diets and weight loss programs. This isn't either. I'm starting to get just a little bit excited about it. Go check it out! And if you join my group, you can see what I eat. I know, that's not an incentive. At least you don't have to WATCH me eat. But that's a subject for a heebie jeebie post.

Until I write again ...

Flea

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Stay Tuned

Today's a busy day. Doctor visit. Volunteer in fourth grade. Maybelline to guitar. Make dinner. Women's function at church tonight (no idea what it is, I'm just going - can I get an amen?). Chris teaches tonight. All to say, I'll be gone all day, so this is it.

BUT ... a hint of tomorrow! In addition to my new Random Friday, I'll be introducing something the Hunny and I are trying. We didn't make resolutions, but we are tackling our health this year, especially our weight. He found a tool to help, and I'm going to show you what it is! It is way cool. And way scary. But I think you'll like it. And I hope it's not too addictive. So stay tuned!

Until I write again ...

Flea

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bessie and Fred are at it again. This time they think they're in an action/adventure flick. I know I need to explain this one, so here goes ...

First, a new poser has entered the fray, one who's upping the posing
ante. It seems that the cows have spotted a white egret on the toaster and have decided that he is competition for their fame, so they have to take him out. It looks like they're using a birthday candle as a missile launcher, propped on Fred's back, with Bessie taking aim. They've barricaded themselves using the salt, pepper and medicine bottles, in case anyone tries to stop them. As a member of the objective press (and I use the term objective quite loosely), I merely shoot pictures.

That, or they are, along the lines that Marguerite has suggested, stepping up the protest. Maybe they're ready to serve egret for
lunch? Silly cows.

P.S. I added the second picture hoping you could better see the missile launching attempt.

Until I write again ...

Flea

The Heebie Jeebies

THIS IS NOT A MEME!!!

I feel better now. :) I was reading Lisa's most recent post over at Confessions of a Karate Mom and thought, "What a great post it would be to list things that give me the heebie jeebies!" Here's the kicker: I want to hear what gives YOU the heebie jeebies, too. Please? Feel free to leave them in the comment section, or to post your own list (one day when you're in a posting funk).

I'm always amazed, reading other people's blogs, at the things we humans have in common. Things that tend to make me feel unique. And I'm reading along and think, "Oh look! Someone else is unique like me!" Yeah. So today I'm going to post things that might make you feel unique like me. :)

1. Eating sounds. I was reading a post by Mike Adamick, all about eating, and it reminded me how much I HATE The sound of eating. Ew. Eating with mouth open, sipping, slurping, chomping, smacking - most eating and drinking sounds completely gross me out. My poor kids have to deal with psycho mom when they eat, but I usually say, "Okay, it's just me, and I hate that noise, but PLEASE be quiet when you eat."

2. My hunny reminded me this morning that spiders on the ceiling totally wig me out. In Florida these humongous wolf spiders would get into the house. I wouldn't see a one till it was bedtime and I'd be laying in bed, staring at the ceiling, looking for the patterns (you know what I'm talking about), and see one. The biggest wolf spider ever known to mankind. Hovering. Just above my head. Waiting. For me to turn off the light. So it could drop on my face. And I wouldn't sleep till Hunny got the broom and killed it. Then killed it again. Ew.

3. People who mispronounce things give me the heebie jeebies. Yes, yes they do. Come on, people, say it right.

4. There are certain textures that will creep me out. Biting into a mushroom does it. Anything slimy. Or that springs back in my mouth unexpectedly. When I was a kid, sticky things. I wouldn't eat glazed donuts because they were sticky and I'd have to lick my fingers. I got over that one, though. :) Krispy Kreme - mmmmm.

5. Okay, spiders in general. When I was a kid, I was the one who'd kill all the spiders for other kids. Till one day I picked one up to move it for a frightened friend. And it bit me. I thought I was going to die. After that, all spiders scared the crap out of me. Then, when in high school, I'd mow the neighbor's lawn. We're talking south of New Orleans here. Between their trailer and the trees would be HUGE webs, at full chest level, with a banana spider smack in the middle of each. I'd push the mower at a run while ducking under the web. Finally, after months of terror, I started asking the dad to knock down the webs before I mowed. I HATE SPIDERS.

I'm sure there are others. Maybe next Wednesday? Till I run out of heebie jeebie stuff? Let's hear yours!

Until I write again ...

Flea

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Archives

Karen, over at The Rocking Pony (she makes killer kids' stuff - check her out!), has tagged me for another meme. Nobody else tag me! Till at least March! Or, you know, February. But I couldn't resist this one, cuz it's a chance to dig through my archives and come up with some of my favorite posts. All less than one year of archives. Which is a whole lot more posts than I thought it would be. So here are the rules:

Archive Meme Instructions: Go back through your archives and post the links to your five favorite blog posts that you’ve written. But there is a catch:

Link 1 must be about family.
Link 2 must be about friends.
Link 3 must be about yourself, who you are… what you’re all about.
Link 4 must be about something you love.
Link 5 can be anything you choose.

1. It's tempting to link to the recent posts about family, done right after Christmas, but I think I'll dig a little deeper and give you this, since it's about my kids. They're family, right? But I really dug this extended family post, too.

2. Unfortunately I only recently have friends in Tulsa (Lisa, I think you're the only friend I mention frequently. Oh, and Candace - but I never actually blog about either of you). I must remedy this not blogging about my friends thing. So, to distract you all, here's a teeninsy post that just amuses me.

3. I think this is the absolute best post to sum up who I am and what I'm about right now, even though it was written nearly a year ago. This blog is, after all, about being at home where I am. Embracing here.

4. Something I love ... well, that would be Sudoku, of course! And again with the Sudoku... but don't be fooled by this post. The puzzle is no longer on my blog. This one is better. :)

5. And this was my very first post, addressed to my Florida friends and family. I missed them all terribly. Still do.

Time to wrap it up. Hope you enjoyed the tour. I sure did. I'm not tagging anyone, not because I don't love you all, but because we've all been meme's half to death! Feel free to do this one, though. In fact, this was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it!

Until I write again ...

Flea

Barbeque Anyone?


It seems that Fred and Bessie's counselor has advised that they take up ballroom dancing as a way to bond and learn teamwork. I think Fred resisted at first, but it looks as though he's quite taken the advice to heart. He dances quite beautifully. And it looks as though Billy Simms does the catering for the dance studio. Mmmm ... Sooner barbeque. I wonder which Bessie and Fred prefer: the pulled pork, the smoked chicken breast, the Polish sausage or the BEEF BRISKET.

Until I write again ...

Flea

It's Great to be Me .. me .. meme

Jan Parrish, over at Bold & Free (I love that name) has tagged me for a meme. I know, I know, I said I wasn't going to do anymore for awhile, but this one is short and fun. And I'm going to preface it with a "stupid" update.

My Little Guy broke his glasses. AGAIN. Snapped the bridge of the nose clean in two. Friday during school. So I made an eye appointment for this morning, upset that we'll have to wait till Friday to actually get the glasses. And I just shelled out way too much money last fall for a new pair, after he broke his new ones. Grr.

So we get to the optometrist, fill out all the paperwork, only to find that our insurance won't pay for a new exam or glasses till March, which was when he had the last exam. Double grr.

Supremely frustrated, I took him down the street to the Neighborhood Walmart Marketplace and picked out a pair of $20 reading glasses, prescription 3.00. He puts them on, loves the funky black plastic frames, and says they're the perfect lenses. His prescription is very near 3.00 (it took him a long time to learn to read partly because the print was like tiny ants on the page). So all this time I could have been buying him cheap reading glasses from WalMart?!? I know, I know, he needs his prescription. And we'll see, after a couple of days in school, whether or not these cause him problems. But REALLY. I mean. Come on. Grr.

Alrighty then! Back to the meme. A simple one, it is, with the only rule being to list reasons why it's great to be me. :)

1. Because I'm a red head.
2. I have three of the greatest kids ever.
3. My husband beats all others, hands down (yes, it IS a competition).
4. God has blessed me with health, a nice home, two cars which work and food in my pantry.
5. I am blessed with two gorgeous dogs. Oh, and Lou the Loud.
6. Because I'm in grad school!
7. Because I have lots of great friends, including this online blogging community.
8. My wonderful extended family.
9. I am a the daughter of the King, a princess!

That's all I can think of right now, but it makes me feel better. You should try it. Go ahead, give it a whirl, even if you don't have a blog. Feels good.

Until I write again ...

Flea

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Lover's Tiff

This is the most difficult stage of any relationship, isn't it? When you're so angry or frustrated with each other that you don't want to look at the other person, much less speak to them, but you can't bear to leave the room, because you love them, and you're hoping that they'll speak first so things can get fixed. I hate that. I think Bessie and Fred hate it too. I may have to step in here as a third party, do a little mediation. I think Bessie's pretty steamed with Fred, still, about that whole jumping stunt he pulled.

Of course, I'd feel a little better if I could actually talk to these two, or at least read their minds. It would help if I knew whether Fred was thinking of jumping because he was suicidal or as a cool stunt. I'm tempted to pull the whole "I'm not talking to you" thing myself. Grr.

Until I write again (or until the cows decide for me) ...

Flea

Sweet Sixteen

We had a smashing time at the ball on Friday night. No, please don't interpret that as We got smashed. It was a cash bar and we opted out. But we had a fantastic time!!

The food was good (I know I'm getting old when the food is the first thing I bring up), company at our table was interesting, but the band was GREAT. I don't know who they were - some local group - but they did a really great Prince. We stayed for several songs (a mix of 70's through 90's), but didn't dance. I'm a fart that way. Hunny kept trying to get me out on the floor, but I really enjoy watching the crowd. I was amazed when the entire dance floor was doing the Electric Slide (Hunny had to tell me what that was) in unison. It was a beautiful thing.

I enjoyed watching the older couples (see, those "older" couples are just a little older than me) dance their hearts out to the 70's stuff. And when they did Play That Funky Music, I was in heaven. Not because I really like that song, but just to watch everyone out there enjoying themselves tremendously, singing the entire time. Mmm. Just something about it.

I do not like to dance. not one bit. I love music and I love to move, but that's where it stops. But I love to watch other people enjoy themselves! Silly things, like video games - I love to watch other people play video games if they're enjoying themselves, even though I have zero interest. I don't know if that's considered voyeuristic or what. But it's an entrancing thing to see others so obviously caught up in something that fulfills them. Is that so wrong?

So yes, out 16th anniversary was wonderful. And yes, I was kissed. And no, I can't give any further details. :)

Until I write again ...

Flea

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Calling for an Attitude Interpreter

Yes, I'm posting AGAIN. I didn't take my Adderall this morning. Can you tell? For new readers, here are links to Adventures with Bessie and Fred:

1. Posers
2. Dancing Cows
3. Sad Cow
4. All is Well With Fred
5. Random Randomness
6. Nice Udder Shot

I was just cleaning the stove (somebody's gotta do it) and thinking about my kids and their chores (wishing that somebody wasn't me), and got to thinking about cleaning the kitchen when I was Maybelline's age (14). Very specifically, thinking about a kitchen incident which occurred one night when my parents went out and left me in charge. And I want to know what this means. Anyone out there an attitude interpreter?

One night my folks came home and I'd done all the dishes, loaded the dishwasher properly and scrubbed the dishes before loading them. My mom gushed about it, thanking me. My response? "Don't thank me. You get on my case every time you're gone and I don't do it, or don't do it right. Don't make such a big deal about it." Granted, I was notorious for loading the dishwasher all wrong, or leaving the dishes covered in gunk. I'm sure it was a big surprise to come home and find it done correctly. It's always a big surprise for me with my kids.

But what the heck was I thinking? I still do this kind of thing today. If someone's going to ask me to do something and I do it, nothing needs to be said. I agreed to the terms, so there ya go. Nothing extra, no thanks needed. If I go above and beyond, please let me know you noticed. If I do something because I noticed it needed doing (not likely - I don't notice much), please thank me. But don't think me for the ordinary stuff of life.

I have no idea what this means or if it matters. It just struck me as odd. I guess I was imagining coming home to a clean kitchen (without asking) last night and what my response might be. I'd probably drop dead on the spot. Like poor Fred.

Until I write again ...

Flea

Stay Tuned for Further Developments

Just a quick note to say that I received a new CD today. The person in charge of marketing sent it, asking me to give a listen and review it. Seems this is just destined to be Review Month. It's Twila Paris' new CD, Small Sacrifice, and since Twila is one of my all time favorite artists, I'm really looking forward to this review. Her Runner got me through at least one semester in college, as did Warrior is a Child.

Until I write again ...

Flea

Speak

My cousin, Mary, kindly loaned me a book over Christmas. She was insistent that I read it, as it was all the rage in the teacher's lounge (her husband is a teacher). I was still struggling to catch up in Systematic Theology (still am), but she promised it would be a quick read. Even with a never-ending migraine (the kind you always wanted as a Christmas gift), it really was a quick read.



Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, begins with a high school freshman girl who has become a social outcast overnight. Something traumatic has happened, something she won't talk about, and she gradually just stops talking at all and withdraws almost completely from life. The book is written in first person, diary-like fashion. It's compelling reading and I was drawn in, trying to determine what happened to this poor girl.

It looks as though this is a first novel from this author. She speaks from her heart, partially from her own teenage experience. The passion of angst and rejection comes through strongly and I couldn't put the book down, even with a killer migraine. Yes, I liked this book. I've handed it off to my 14 year old girl, who is in the middle of other books for school (okay, Wuthering Heights is only because she wanted to. Okay, Wuthering Heights is because Bella and Edward kept quoting it in Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1)). I'll press in until she reads it, though. Speak definitely addresses the early teen audience, especially the victims of physical and emotional trauma. It's a good read for moms, since we see the main character withdraw and view her parents' response from the child's view point. They don't see the signs of a serious problem, simply addressing her behavior. I caught myself, as I read, thinking about my daughter's behavior, about who she is.

So, if you're a mother of teens or pre-teens, or the grandmother of teens or pre-teens, I recommend picking up this book, reading it first yourself, then handing it off. And please discuss the book with said child afterward. The topic is weighty. But well worth the time and your relationship with your teen.

Until I write again ...

Flea

Friday, January 11, 2008

Nice Udder Shot

Those pesky cows, at it again. The Poser was at school, and I didn't move them. It remains a mystery.

I think it's all just too much for poor Fred. The brush with death. The paparazzi. The Fritos. The coffee. He seems to have been
pushed too far. And poor Bessie doesn't seem to know what to do. Look at her, trying to talk him down. So soon after thinking she'd lost him. I feel for Bessie, really. Fred's just begging for attention.

Whatever will happen next? I didn't think there were any more ways to pose these two. Well, except for the way my hunny posed them after the kids were in bed, but I didn't get a picture of that.

Off to the ball. Until I write again ...

Flea

Random Randomness


It seems that Friday is doomed to become Random Day. Quick note to all - there's a Fred and Bessie update further down the page, for those of you who tune in just to check on their bovine status.

I should probably start with my review of a dish detergent. Dawn sent me a full sized bottle of their new foaming detergent in hopes I would like it, use it, encourage others to buy and use it, then buy more myself. I like it. Can I be done now?

Okay, okay, STOP TWISTING MY ARM! Ow. I opened the box and found, along with the bottle of foam, a thin pink piece of cardboard. At least, that's what it looked and felt like. On a chance, I submerged it in a bowl of water and it turned into a big, fat pink sponge. Lovely, absorbent, very pink. So I read the destructions and gave the sponge a SQUIRT with the Dawn. Then washed a few pots (pots are always piled up around here - don't look too closely at the crud on the edge of my stove in the picture below). The concept is that the foam lasts through an entire sink full of dishes without reloading with soap. When the sponge seems to be soap-less, just run a little water over it, give a squeeze and you're back in business. And it really works.

The catch is that it works as long as you wash dishes the way I do. I don't fill the sink with water and soap, then toss in all the dishes and wash. I wash one pot at a time, each time reloading the sponge with a little soap. And this is what the manufacturers of the Dawn Direct Foam recommend. Yay! (Don't scream)
So yes, I recommend this dish soap. I have no idea how much it costs. As you can see, my trusty sale priced Palmolive is sitting next to it, jealous and awaiting my affection. A little disgruntled that the new guy is getting so much attention.

I also recommend the fun sponge.

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Fred and Bessie, it seems are very happy that Fred is alive and well. This is how I found them this morning. I had to ask them to either knock it off or take it to the bedroom. Bad cows!

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While sewing a formal shrug this morning, I was excited to see that the directions said to finish the seams by either trimming with a pinking shear, zig-zagging or a French seam. The French seam, please. I absolutely adore French seams. As a sewist who loves to smock and construct heirloom children's garments, I live by the French seam. The trick was learning to do it RIGHT. Ask me sometime and I'll tell you the secret to a perfect, tiny French seam, 'k?

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Why on earth was I making a formal shrug? And in a cranberry bridal satin? Oo! I'm so glad you asked! My hunny works for a local university and tonight is the fancy dress ball they hold every year for graduating students! I get to pretend I'm Cinderella, except my dress is black. I wore it last year with an apple red stole, so this year I wanted to change it up a little without dishing out another $200 for a dress. I had some cranberry satin in the closet, found a pattern for a formal shrug, and went to town. The hunny even picked up a tie to match. Yay!

Then I waited till the last minute to make the shrug. This morning. It's a very simple pattern. What could go wrong? Right? It's just not right. So I'm going to play with it a little more and see if I can't make it work. Pray for me!

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What's even more exciting about the dress ball is that today - this very day! - is our 16th anniversary! Sweet sixteen and I'm going to a dance! I hope he kisses me. *blush* How many girls go to fancy dress balls on their anniversary? Me! Me!

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So I'm nearly done with this shrug (or so I thought) and am sitting down to slip stitch the cuffs into place. The matching thread was still on the machine. Covered. Put away. In the closet. On the other side of the room. What to do? What to do? I opened my fishing tackle box and dug through to find some fishing line. And a needle. Seriously. All of my immediate sewing supplies - needles, basic thread colors, scissors, measuring tape, etc. - are kept in a tackle box. The Bass Pro Shop sticker is still on the top (it really was once the hunny's tackle box). It's small, compartmentalized, perfect for portable sewing. And in it is a spool of invisible thread, which, if I didn't know any better, I'd swear it was fine gauge fishing line.

The first obstacle was threading the needle. How on earth does one thread a needle with INVISIBLE thread? One pulls out one's bifocals, that's how. Not too far into the operation, the thread knots. Untangling regular thread is one thing, but invisible thread? Ugh. It's a wonder I didn't throw the whole thing away right then and there.

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Last, but certainly not least, while reading the lovely Mir's Casual Friday post at Work It Mom!, I clicked on this link: http://www.finslippy.com/finslippy/2008/01/we-are-all-winn.html. After reading through her list of best parenting stories, then running down the comments, I felt SO much better about my own parenting skills. I was reading them aloud to my daughter (who is home sick), saying, Oh, I did this with you guys. Oh! I did this too! Oh. I did this. And this ... oh. How sad.

If you read them, you'll understand the intent of this story a little more:
When my middle, adventurous boy was first learning to ride his bike, he had a difficult time paying attention to where he was going. He's always been a wanderer - physically and mentally. But for a while there he was running into everything on his bike. Mailboxes. Trees. Cars. We'd stand and watch him ride, perplexed by his inability to just stop his bike and get off. We'd yell helpful things, like, "Don't hit that mailbox! "Look out!" "Stay away from that car!"

He finally said, over and over, "I can't stop!" The hunny didn't quite believe him, since he'd one distracted boy. So when he drove up the neighbor's driveway and ran smack into her new garage door, putting a big dent in it, the hunny was a little frustrated and dragged Boy and bike home, swearing he was never going to ride again. While the neighbor stood outside looking at her garage door, laughing hysterically. Upon further inspection, it turned out the bike's brakes were broken. Had been for awhile. Poor kid.

Okay! I'm stopping now! Until I write again ...

Flea