Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Almost Skipping Christmas

One of these years I will get up the nerve to really skip Christmas. Maybe use the time to do some good deeds or something. But we all have to start somewhere right? So, this year I have come to this executive decision. No Christmas decorating. Actually, to say that I came to it might be stretching the truth a little bit. More like it was forced on me. Here is the scenario. After roughly two weeks of dodging and shifting Christmas boxes to make way for more urgent callings I have come to my senses and realized: one, these things are never going to make it out of the box, and two, Christmas is only a week away. Less than that if I count our Christmas with my husbands family. So back up to the attic they go. It's like a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It makes the after-Christmas clean so much easier to face as well. Now, before you go all bonkers on me, yes, we did get the tree up and decorated. So that's nice.

Now what do I do with all this time I just freed up? I know, Top Ten Christmas song list. Off the top of my head these are my top ten favorite Christmas songs with accompanying comments and if you are lucky, a link. I'm pretty sure they should be on your list too. And, in case you were wondering it does matter who the artist is. Very important.

Here they are in no particular order.

1. Ave Maria, Pavarotti - Maybe not technically a "Christmas" song but it's close enough for jazz. I like the Shubert version and it is heavenly when he sings it with the Vienna boys choir.

2. Little Drummer Boy, David Bowie and Bing Crosby - Oh brother. I remember seeing this as a kid and thinking, "Huh??" It was just cheesy enough to become a classic. Now David Bowie is the old one. Maybe he should do a remake with ummmm, Lil Wayne?

3. Still Still Still, Mannheim Steamroller - Of all the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas songs of all time this one, from A Fresh Aire Christmas, is my very favorite. The best way to listen to it is in a rocking chair (holding a small child or baby is optional) in a room lit only by candles or Christmas tree lights and a light snow falling outside. A fire in the fireplace is nice too but technically you shouldn't have a live tree in the same room as the fire. Then voila, for three minutes and forty three seconds you will be transported.

4. Wizards in Winter, Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Seriously, you should wake up to this every morning between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

5. The Christmas Song, Nat King Cole - It's not Christmas till I hear this song.

6. Santa Baby, Eartha Kitt - this song has been covered by EVERYone, and their dog too. Eartha Kitt is the only one really worth listening to. Also, be careful who you listen to this song with. It has magical superpowers on a certain gender.

7. Christmas Time is Here, Vince Guaraldi Trio - Again, not Christmas till I hear, or see, this song.

8. More, Bobby Darrin - Ok, this one for sure, is not a Christmas Song, but Kohl's used it several years ago in their Christmas ad campaign and I haven't been able to shake it. Love it baby. Grab a hairbrush and sing along. You'll be glad you did.

9. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Barenaked Ladies with Sarah McLachlan - Barenaked for the Holidays is a fantastic album. I recommend the whole thing but this song in particular will dazzle you.

10 Last but not least is a little ditty called The Abominable O Holy Night. I don't know who sings this but there is a story behind it somewhere, a very strange and weird story. This is a song that has to be heard to be believed and I'm just twisted enough to give you the link. Scroll down and press play. Enjoy

So, probably I've missed a few. If you think I've made some glaring errors make me a Christmas mix and send it my way.

And if I don't see you before 2009, Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Participate in the National Day of Listening

This is what I plan on doing the day after Thanksgiving. I'm going to interview my mom. I'm pretty jazzed about what Storycorps is doing here because I believe in the power of listening. Listening could save the world but it is an endangered species. Check it out and find a loved one to interview.

Shout out to my favorite listener!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My Favorite New Buzzword

Self Awareness.

The story of my life. And all this time I though it was low self esteem.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I'm blogging again from the mobile device. I'm lucky if I can get near a computer these days, what with all the so called "homework" going on around here. It's possible we are spending entirely too much time in front of the Glowing Screen. Please forgive the typos. Blame my fat thumbs.

I can hear the cold outside. It's the kind of day here that makes me want to turn over in bed and bury myself for another couple of hours. Or better yet, stay all day and read a book. No such luck with a five year old. Or a dog, for that matter. And if I sit downstairs and try to remain quiet for any length of time (let's pretend I'm doing my bible study or something) I hear the beat of bongo drums on the roof of the house. Squirrels. I don't know what they're doing up there or what the fuss is all about, the walnuts and tomatoes are long gone. Maybe they are fortifying their nests against a frozen wasteland of a winter.The only time they make more noise is when they're all trying to make babies in the spring. Maybe we should look to the squirrels and get out from behind these Glowing Screens. Fortify our nests and such.

Right after I update my facebook status.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Square Pegs and Round Holes

Remember my dissatisfaction at the perceived deficiencies I found with my parent of teen bible class? Well, I was delivered from that class into our new children's wing to work in the Art room with the first through fourth grade. Whether this calling is divine or merely circumstantial remains to be seen, but it is a joy and a challenge.

So here is my dilemma. I found the cutest craft. It is a stuffed pumpkin which is perfect for this time of year. But. The deal with these crafts is, they must apply (more or less) to the story they are teaching that week. Thus, the challenge. The Story this week is about King Solomon. So, pumpkin - King Solomon. How do I make the connection? It is making my feeble brain hurt. If only I had, what is it called....oh yes, some wisdom.

Here is a link to the craft site 'cause I know you are going to want one for your very own.

And a picture.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Morning After

I'm owning it. I voted for Obama.

Ok, so this is a different feeling. I have been the democrat depressed that the republican won. I have been the right wing conservative republican depressed that the democrat won. Now I find myself in the position of being a right leaning Christian who voted for Obama. Yeah, I'm happy that he won but I probably would have been nearly as happy had McCain taken it. But, now I find myself feeling the weight of those who would question my beliefs and make assumptions about my decision, including some of my own family. To that I say, cool. Question away. Assume away. Been there and done that. I know what I believe and I'm at peace with it. Not everyone has to agree with me. Call me flip flopper, wishy washy, whatever, I see it as growth, with a healthy dose of cynacism.

I don't think the next four years will be as glorious as some believe nor as dire as many are predicting this morning. Probably it will just be a lot of hard work and very tough decision making while the political machine chugs along as slowly as it ever did. The dems didn't get their filibuster proof majority and that's something isn't it?

So, if you are depressed this morning, I know the feeling. But take heart, this too shall pass. It may take four to eight years but as certain as death and taxes it will pass. Then it will be your turn again.

There is One who is in control and He will work through whomever is leading our country. Should we believe that or not?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Halloween Classics

Did you catch The Great Pumpkin on TV Tuesday night? We have it on DVD but there is just something special about having to wait an entire year to see those holiday specials on TV, with commercials and everything. Is there anything better than Charlie Brown?

A new(ish) classic, Nightmare Before Christmas is the DVD we tend to watch over and over this time of year. I can't get the songs out of my head till after Christmas. Unfortunately I am not allowed to sing "Kidnap the Sandy Claws". According to the five-year-old I don't do it justice. Everyone's a critic.

Candy Corn = evil. Do you have any? Could I

Tonight we carve pumpkins and if anyone is ambitious we will roast some seeds.

Have a safe and Happy All Hallows Eve Everyone and to my Catholic friends and family, Happy All Saints Day!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fall Fell Full

Your mission today, should you choose to accept it, is to go out side and find a wooded area. It doesn't have to be heavily wooded just a few trees is fine. Then stand there, or sit if that is more convenient. And listen.

I prescribe at least one half an hour, or the full hour if you're ambitious, but I understand how busy you are so even if you can only manage a few minutes it will be worth your time.

Thank you and have a nice day.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

my new toy

I am now blogging with my birthday precious. Cough cough. Sorry, I don't know where that came from. Anyway I'm keeping it short because it's quite difficult to do this with my big fat fingers. Ok, maybe my fingers aren't that fat but these keys are teeny tiny.

Say hello to my new itouch!

Thank you honey!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Yay! History was made yesterday!

Ok. Moving on.

My oldest started college two weeks ago. On the second day of classes he wondered out loud why I wasn't there to take his picture on his first day of college like I was for his first day of Kindergarten. Seriously. You think that the things you do don't matter, or worse, humiliate your children and then they surprise you by the things that do matter to them. It happens to me all the time, and it's always, every time, a surprise.

I was there to photograph my youngest's first day of Kindergarten. Very few things, if any, are embarrassing to the five-year-old. But I would rather have had a camera later in the week to get a photo of the day my college student came with me to pick up the Kindergartner. Our walk to pick him up was like a walk through thirteen years of time lapse photography. You see, the five-year-old goes to the same school that the rest of my children attended. The college student started Kindergarten there thirteen years ago. Tree's have come and gone, residents have grown up and moved, teachers have retired and some have passed. The biggest difference, though, is the tree in front of the kindergarten door. When the college student started kindergarten there that tree was just about as tall as he is now. Today it towers over the school providing excellent shade for those of us waiting to pick up half day students in the noon day sun. We were quite the trio walking home, me with my oldest and youngest. Sometimes it blows my mind. Since I had no camera, I will leave you now with this fine artists rendering of the sentimental scene. Enjoy.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Being Green

Life is all fun and games in Kindergarten. Every morning I wake the five-year-old up and ask him what day it is. He responds with a color. "It's yellow day" or, "It's blue day" Meaning that is the color of shirt they are supposed to wear to class that day. Today when I woke him up his answer was, "It's green day!" So, after dropping him off at school I sang to myself all the way home:
"I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don't know where it goes
But it's home to me and I walk alone"

and so on.

It's funny if you think about it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympic Updates

Beach Volleyball:
How about that beach volleyball huh? Who knew I cared so much. I kept waking up my husband with my nervous spasms every time they missed a point and thank goodness they won or I would have never gotten to sleep.

Usain Bolt:
Are you kidding me? I think he's a computer animation. No way anyone that big is that fast. And speaking of computers....

Our Computer Overlords:
From the opening ceremony to the detection of 100th of a second margins. Could the Olympics even be held without computers. I loved the green line that marked the world record time in swimming. I wish they could use it for track.

The parents are killing me. It's not like I'm not emotional enough between hormones and the beginning of school. With every victory they cut to the parents in the stands then I pretty much lose it.

Mark Spitz:
He's still looking good! I kinda miss the mustache though.

I will be sad when the games are over. Then, slowly all the names and accomplishments will fade from my memory . Till 2012 rolls the highlight reels. I can't wait. But for now? On to the next event. I am starting the countdown to the season premier of Heroes

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Got Faith?

I'm on pins and needles here wondering who our presumptive nominees are going to choose for their VP's. Not that it will really matter. Unless one of them chooses Michael Phelps, which has the added benefit of another Olympics in four years. Just in time for the next election cycle.

Meanwhile, I've got a question. My husband and I have a friend who is suffering great hardships. As a result this person is also struggling greatly with questions of faith. The same faith that used to be a defining characteristic in their life. It is troubling to watch, but understandable. My husband struggles with knowing what to say to this person and wanting to say the very thing that will "fix" them. I encourage him to just keep being there. It's not like we have all the answers. We do know the One with all the answers though, and I guess we'll have to trust that He will make them known. But, back to my question. If faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see, what determines who will and who will not keep the faith? Time and time again I see people of great faith travel through tragic circumstances and maintain their faith. Then there are those who are, instead, consumed by the circumstances. I absolutely cannot judge those who lose faith since I have not walked in their shoes. I suspect my question is rhetorical but my fearful nature desires an answer because, you know, what if? What if. Part of me wonders if it has to do with why we believe in the first place. Which leads me back to my other over-arching question, which is; why do you believe?

Gotta go ponder.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Multiple Choice

Ah...I can breathe. Summer has successfully been completed and brains have been re-engaged. Well, except for mine that is. I suppose when I have a few days to think about it I will be sad and lonely. No. I don't think so. I'll let you know if that changes though. So now that I have enough time to write something other than a status update on Facebook I thought I'd make up a little quiz.
That reminds me of a joke my mom once told me. A certain teacher enjoyed giving his class short quizzes. He called them his quizzies. One day he told the class that they would be taking a series of short tests. He called them his ( fill in the blank...)

Oh my, that one made me laugh. Almost as much as the one about the moth balls. What was the deal with my mom?

Ok enough of that here is the quiz. It's multiple choice, don't you love multiple choice?

Question #1. What is that smell??
A. the dog
B. the laundry
C. the garbage accumulated after cleaning the fridge and freezer
D. teenagers
E. all of the above

Question #2. How does one get rid of the smell?
A. Clean
B. leave the house
C. thermonuclear device
D. make the teenagers clean
E. bribe the trash man to make an early pick up

Question #3. The Lucky Guess Method?
A. a method to aid in helping your high school freshman with honors geometry
B. how to determine which day your child absolutely needs gym shoes for P.E.
C. how to determine where said shoes might be hidden
D. how to break a gold medal tie between two Olympic gymnasts
E. A & D
F. B & C

Question #4. What is the best way to spend two hours of free time a day M-Th?
A. Coffee with Shalee
B. Yoga.
C. Working out my middle aged body to Dara Torres like proportions.
D. Lord of the Rings marathon.
E. spiritual and emotional nourishment
F. naps

Here is the answer key:
#1. E and a few other unmentionables as well.
#2. I can't decide on this one, it's a toss up.
#3. Most assuredly E.
#4. Watch for me in the 2012 Olympics.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

21 years!

When my husband and I started dating we were young and in college. At one point in time, during that intense, passionate, infatuation stage of the relationship, I was working on an intense, passionate study of Marc Chagall for one of my classes. What timing! To this day I cannot see a Marc Chagall painting or print without getting all hot and bothered. Where you might see violin playing goats, giant chickens and random floating people I see the translation of true passion and romance.

Imagine a man who would contort himself like this just for you.

My husband, without much provocation, is still able to manage it. I am not gifted with fancy enough prose to express my affection for my husband, but I am gifted with the physical presence of my husband. For that I am eternally grateful.

Our marriage is now old enough to drink alcohol. Happy anniversary beloved! XXOO.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I'm Living in a Paper Jungle

Remember the book "Holes" by Louis Sachar. It was also a MAJOR MOTION PICTURE. Well, the plot involved adolescent boys at a camp for delinquents who dug holes to build their character. Miles and miles and miles of holes. I am working on my own novel. The plot involves a middle aged housewife with no discernible system of organizing the reams of paper that flow through the average household. I'm going to call it "Piles". I'd say, look for it at a bookstore near you, but the manuscript has already become one with the the schoolwork, rabies certificates, bank statements, and doodles.

“I write down everything I want to remember. That way, instead of spending a lot of time trying to remember what it is I wrote down, I spend the time looking for the paper I wrote it down on.” - Beryl Pfizer

Friday, June 27, 2008


My inner child is a nerdy thirteen year old fanboy.

Last night I was badly in need of escape. Being, in fact, a forty four year old married woman my fantasy is that my husband would immediately recognize my need and meet it with plane tickets to Hawaii or something of that sort. But, also being a realist I settled for the next best thing. I made arrangements so that we could sneak out to an early, cheap showing of The Incredible Hulk. Thank you AMC for $5.00 movies. It was, well, incredible. More incredible is the fact that there are at least three comic book/super hero inspired movies left to see this summer. I love Popcorn Season.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Bible Class

What's the point?

I remember a time in my life when bible class seemed so important. Anymore it just feels like navel-gazing. Unless we take some time to actually do what it (the Bible) says what is the point. We spent forty five minutes in class this Sunday discussing some verse or other and at the end gave up five minutes for prayer requests. Five minutes. Covering subjects as diverse as cancer, missionaries, kidney transplant and aging parents, to name a few. Five minutes. Something feels broken. It's frustrating to do something as ineffective as mentioning this in a blog but what else can be done?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

MNPLS or bust

I'm in Minneapolis for the week. With a herd of teens. Pray for us.

Friday, June 13, 2008

RIP Tim Russert

How will we make it through this year's election cycle?

I always enjoyed watching Tim Russert discuss the news but I grew to adore him during the 2000 election night roller coaster. Him and his white board. He seemed to me to be an insider, someone who knew and understood the players and the process in Washington and yet he remained cheerful and idealistic. And so I believed there was hope for the nation.

By all the accounts I am hearing he was a deeply faithful man. I am happy about for that. I will miss his point of view.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Prodigal's Brother

That's me. Even though I'm a girl. Which technically makes me the Prodigal's sister. Plus there are three or four prodigals in my family. So that, for those of you keeping score, makes me the prodigals' sister.

Still, better that than the actual prodigal. It's just, I think it would be nice if the Prodigals could learn from their mistakes.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Grieving for a friend

Sometimes life is incomprehensible. Incomprehensibly bad. Like I just don't get why some things happen.

Maybe some day the things that are so tragic here on earth will not seem so bad. Eternal perspective. But meanwhile - it just stinks.

I like Rich Mullins song Hard To Get,
All I really need to know
Is if You who live in eternity
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in time
We can't see what's ahead
And we can not get free of what we've left behind
Well the whole song is good and kind of states how I feel.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I may have some free time coming to me. Who knows if these things will really work out. But I'd like to do some playing around here. Normally I save the playing for my facebook profile but I decided I'd like to mess around some here. Look for changes. Or not.

I found a funky slide show thingy so I'm going to try it out on this post. Voila

Monday, June 2, 2008

Calm after the storm

Everyone is gone for the week.

It's just me and the Five Year Old. Watching our weekly Spongebob marathon. No drama. No Conflict. No Explosions.

I'm bored.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

That's no atomic explosion

Can you hear the screaming in my head? All in all I'm pretty glad that this week is ending. Or is Sunday just the beginning? God help me.

Daughters. Oh sure, when things are good they are all puppy dogs and unicorns. But one false step and boom. Nuclear disaster. Fine, I can handle being the bad guy, truthfully, I kind of relish the challenge. What I could do without is the best friend's mom talking the big talk but caving at the first hint of conflict. Oh the Drama. Honestly, how are we going to get our daughters through life unmolested, unpregnant, with their self esteem in tact unless we back each other up?

I think there is some rule about not blogging during an emotional crisis but bear with me please. It is possible that the whole thing will blow over tomorrow. Till then somebody needs to write this stuff into the baby books so parents can have a clue about what they are in for. Yes that baby is cute now but the day is coming when he/she will take leave of their adorable little mind.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Giving Tree

I need to get more original with my blog titles, I know.

But check this out.This is one of many trees from my childhood. It stands in my parents neighbor's back yard. This is a photo from last fall.

A silent witness, this tree stood vigil over careless youth and tumultuous teen angst. Every fall our neighborhood mob would strip our yards of their leaves and deposit them behind this tree then swing to dizzying heights and fling ourselves onto the pile. Eventually a parent would realize what we were doing and come to spoil our fun. No doubt this same tree nurtured many a generation before ours and stood long enough for my own children to swing from it's limbs. Till last Saturday.

Here is a shot from the same side as the first photo. The perspective is a little funky. My Dad is not that small.

Then on Sunday the second half came down.

Thankfully no one was hurt and there was amazingly little property damage. But we are all mourning the loss of our big friend.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Neverending Story

I remember, roughly eighteen years ago, waking up in a panic, springing from the bed and into my firstborn baby's room. I had been asleep for six hours and I was certain the outcome would be tragic. Once inside his room I watched silently, intently for the telltale sign, the raising and lowering of his chest to indicate that he was alive and breathing. He was. Instant relief. Could it be? He had defied all the baby books and actually slept through the night at something like six weeks old. This scenario would repeat itself for a week or so before I could relax and accept that it wasn't a sign of impending doom but just the way he was.

Fast forward eighteen years.

It's graduation night and our new graduate is attending an all night party. It's sponsored by the school so I'm not worried. But. At five in the morning the dog wakes me to take him out and I am hit again by that familiar feeling from long ago. Panic. Did he make it home? Well, yes. On the way downstairs I ran into him in the kitchen. Instant relief.

Honestly, they have no clue about the roller coaster ride they take us on, these kids. And if they did they would just roll their eyes and wonder what the big deal is. I miss those carefree days. But I do love a good roller coaster ride.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Whomp.....and just like that...'s summer.

I know because we went to the pool today. I crammed my chubby white body into my mommy swimsuit and made the trek. Once our five year old saw the pool was open it was only a matter of time. He is quite the motivator. Thankfully the eighteen year old tagged along so he had a playmate and I was able to take my sweet time getting used to the frigid water. It took me an hour and fifteen minutes to inch myself into the deep end. Then I did five laps and beached myself to soak up the sun and humidity that has dropped on us like a wet blanket. No sense in overdoing it.

Yay for summer.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

celebratory after-game bragging post???

For you Jules.

In fact I cut and pasted your comment.

Here it is.

Yay Jayhawks!!!!!!!!!

Booooooooo talking head sports guys. (That goes for you radio commentators too.)

Note to KU: please offer Bill Self enough money to stay so we don't have to start the revenge cycle all over again. And while you're at it how about a little hand out for my kid?

Monday, April 7, 2008

De Ja Vu

I am in a pretty dark mood lately but I am taking a break from all that to eat caramel corn and cheer for the Jayhawks in tonights NCAA final.

It's almost like 1988 all over again. Except it's a different team. And a different coach. And I'm twenty years older. Second thought, it's not very much like 1988, but hey, the t-shirt still fits!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Our New Normal

I guess this is an update.

I've reached an uneasy truce with the family crisis that occurred a couple months back. Thankfully the problem seems to have been caught quickly and, with professional help, behaviors are changing. Here is what I hate about the whole thing. I'm afraid I will never be able to relax again. I'm afraid that as soon as I let my guard down something will flare up again. It's an uneasy state to live in but not a tragic one. In relation to what other families are dealing with it could even be considered a blessing. Not that the thing itself is good but it's a thing with a solution. The blessing is the positive changes that are able to be made. It's just, I've realized that I resist change. Even positive change. I consider it a good sign, though, that I was able to face it, be honest about it and get the help that was needed. I guess that what parenting boils down to.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Yadda yadda

Remember the Seinfeld episode where they yadda yadda sex? I'm there. Not my own. Certainly not. But, in films, in books, in music, even political commentary, could I please get a yadda here and there in place of the thrusting, moaning and general all around vulgar language. Yes we are all grown up and it's a fact of life and people do have casual sex and use vulgar language. It's not even particularly shocking or edgy any more. In fact, I'm just.......bored. Isn't it out of our culture's system yet? Can't we get back to where a good story is enough? A good story using elevated, even poetic, language? No? It's got to be out there somewhere, literature, music, or film that doesn't depict honest love by forcing me to experience the mechanics of reproduction. Here is how I recognize such a beast: I imagine watching, reading or listening with my children or with my parents. If I can keep from cringing, that's it. Can someone tell me where it is?

Thursday, March 20, 2008


The Cranes were a bust.

Here is the story (or non-story) of the Cranes. I ended up asking my dad to go with me. To my surprise he said yes. I shouldn't have been surprised because it makes sense, he grew up in the area, and enjoys a good road trip. That's the nature of our relationship, though. Uncertainty. Well, we ended up turning around. We were traveling from Lincoln NE to the Grand Island area and turned around in York. Roughly half way. There was rain and falling temps added to the darkness which makes my dad nervous these days. By myself I would have pressed on and maybe ended up in a ditch, or worse. So I choose to believe that he saved my life by going with me. And don't even think about me asking to drive for him. If my dad can't do it no one can. Well, in his opinion.

Next year. Or the next, God willing. That's what's great about the cranes. They'll always be there.

This incident demonstrates a theme in my life right now though that I think I need to meditate on sooner or later. The theme is turn around. It keeps coming back to me in various forms. I think God is trying to tell me something. But what.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Multiple Choice

Which gets better results:

A. Parenting teens.

B. Banging your head against the wall.

The boys are off on their camping adventure. In the car, on the way to drop them off we had this interesting exchange:

Me: Where are your gloves?
Eighteen-Year-Old: I didn't pack any.
Me: You are going to die of frostbite.
EYO: (looking incredulous) We didn't need them last year.
Me: Sixteen years (combined) of Scouting.......wasted.
Sixteen-Year-Old: But mom, we didn't need them them last year.

And society expects them to listen to me when I tell them to cover "other" parts of their body.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Compare and Contrast

I'm still undecided on my spring break options but I've been spending some time in front of the Crane Cam. There is a lot of noise, a lot of eating and a lot of mating dances going on. So I thought to myself, this is not entirely unlike any given gathering of our youth group at church. Except the plumage is more colorful. On the teens.

Monday, March 10, 2008

What To Do

At some vague unspecified time in the near future I have a choice set before me. My entire family, save the Four-Year-Old, is leaving me to travel to unknown corners of the earth for fun and frivolity while I sit at home pondering my choices. Choice number one: stay home and rip up tile and remove wallpaper from the bathroom in anticipation of a redo. Someday. Choice number two: take off myself to central Nebraska to commune with the Sandhill Cranes in the midst of their migration, and attempt to get a photo or two hundred.

Surprisingly my husband chooses choice number one. I'm taken aback that he would leave me home with such a destructive directive at my disposal. (how's that for alliteration)

I'm leaning towards choice number two. You may wonder what's so great about spending time in the company of a multitude of birds at time when most choose the company of a multitude of sun worshipers. Well, if you have to ask you wouldn't understand. Plus, I can't afford to go to the beach.

The easy choice is to destroy the bathroom. Traveling gets more complicated: childcare, weather, sleep-deprivation are factored into the decision. However travel is ultimately the more satisfying choice.

Hmm, Stay tuned.

To be continued....

Monday, March 3, 2008

Zoo Two

This weekend I saw this animal in my back yard. Can anyone tell me what it is?

Ha! I kid.

Actually, we made another trip to the Zoo this weekend. This time My hubby and daughter came along. We weren't the only ones who had that idea on a beautiful pre-spring day either, because the parking lot was filled to overflowing. It was great to see so many people there. Not all the animals were out but the one's that were, were really out, if you know what I mean. Both the exotic:

And the not so exotic.
So, if you live anywhere near KC visit the zoo on one of our upcoming fine spring days. Yes, I know, Omaha has the zoo to end all zoos but ours is getting better, and, if you buy a membership you can get into the Omaha zoo at half price. And that's not all. You also get a workout because, oh my, is it a long way around the African section.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Brain Dump

I'll be as brief as possible but I've got a lot to get off my mind. Warning, may be temperamental.

I'm a quiet person. People often feel the need to point this out to me through this brilliant observation, "You are so quiet" Oh really? I hadn't noticed. I am often tempted to counter with this equally brilliant observation, "That's because you never shut up." Sheesh, learn to listen people. (present company excepted. I'm sure you are all good listeners.)

Springtime is here. I'm calling it. A sure sign is the fact that my children have become bottomless pits. The annual spring growth spurt has arrived and we cannot keep enough food in the house. The Eighteen-Year-Old may even manage to squeak out another fraction of an inch before it's all said and done. The Sixteen-Year-Old looks down at me from a greater height every day. My daughter is still coming to terms with the fact that she has no choice in the height department, however, she is still shorter than me. And the Four-Year-Old? The Four-Year-Old is officially out of the 0-5T department and into the boys. Tear.

Higher Edjookayshun costs too stinking much. We make too much to qualify for assistance but not enough to pay with out a loan. And, our kid is smart enough to make great grades but not enough for schools to throw money at him. Hello debt, sorry Dave Ramsey.

Finally, when, for the love of Horned Rim Glasses, is Heroes going to be back?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

R.I.P. William F. Buckley

Last night I turned on Charlie Rose and observed that he was doing a retrospective of William F. Buckley interviews. Uh Oh, I thought, he must have died. I sent the Sixteen-Year-Old to google it for me and sure enough.

I will miss him. I loved to watch him talk. Honestly most of what he said sailed right over my head but watching him speak: his mannerisms, his inflections, his insanely brilliant vocabulary, fascinated me. So here's to a bastion of conservatism in a time when significant change seems afoot. We've lost a thoughtful speaker, writer and conversationalist and are left in a world where feeling now trumps everything and entertainment is what passes for news. Sigh. I think I'll make a trip to the library for one of his books before I start to forget.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Happy Holidays

In my efforts to shed my house of unwanted pounds we are tackling the Four-Year-Old's room today. So guess what? It's like Christmas all over again. Heaven forbid that anything land in the give away pile. Doing so immediately bestows favorite toy status upon the previously forgotten plaything. I'm going to employ some video game distraction maneuvers. Hey, don't judge, it's all for the greater good.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Some More About Belief

Can a person really believe without facing challenges to that belief? I understand childlike faith but can it be maintained if no one or no thing ever challenges it?

It is my greatest hope that my children's faith will become their own but my greatest fear is the opposition that they may face. How can I reconcile this? Maybe I can't. Maybe I just have to have faith.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Recently I discovered that someone I had assumed was a believer, was, in fact, not. By believer, I mean believer in God. I was shocked by this revelation because this person is very, very active in church. I asked myself, "What is my responsibility here?" And I had no answer for myself. I think about it a lot because my family runs the gamut of belief from hellfire and brimstone to agnostic, but I have never had much success influencing anyone one way or another. If anyone has an answer feel free to enlighten me.

The fact that a person can turn from one belief to another fascinates and moves me. My own story is very anti-climatic. I always believed in God, which I attribute to my mom. My relationship with Jesus began at a later time but it was basically a move from a belief to a relationship. One of my brothers, on the other hand, had a very dramatic conversion. I once witnessed a guy become a believer while watching the northern lights. He may or may not have been drinking though, and I was only acquainted with him for that one summer so I'm not sure if that one stuck. It would have been nice if I'd been in a position to point him in a direction that would strengthen his faith, but I was seeking the very thing at that time. Now that I am in a position to do so I am very nearly as clueless as I was back then. I have ideas, but again, few results. So what is it that moves a person from non-belief to belief? I mean, I know it is the conviction of the Holy Spirit but I would love to know from people, what or who convinced them to listen. And what did that look like?

Monday, February 18, 2008

PMS and Presidents

Happy Presidents Day!

Apparently my entire family is suffering from PMS. During a uncontrollable craving for chocolate I made a pan of fudge and sat at the table while one by one the rest of my family came in and made it disappear. Granted it was only half a recipe, but still. Still. I guess I should thank them because it saved me the trouble of eating it all myself.

It being President's Day and all I'll share with you a dream I had. It's relevant, I promise. In my dream President Clinton came to my house to try and talk us in to voting for Hilary. My house was a mess, as usual, but I didn't care. Neither did President Clinton. I liked him for that. Dream Clinton was a pretty nice guy. I don't think I'll be voting for Hilary though, or changing my political affiliations for that matter, but you never know. Crazier things have happened.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Time Has Come

I need to lose some weight. I think about 500 pounds is a realistic goal. No not that kind of weight. I need to get rid of some of the crap weighing down my life. My "Stuff". George Carlin had a good bit about it wherein he called it something equally appropriate, but I intend to remain family friendly.

Seriously I think 500 pounds ought to make a pretty good start, but I really have no idea how much 500 pounds is. In an effort to make a start I let my daughter go through my mountainous stack of clean clothes and take out the things she thought I shouldn't wear anymore. When added up it came to 4.84 lbs. One hundred more stacks or so of the same size and I'm golden. I'm just so sad to give up my holey (Not holy) jammie pants.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Stupid Germs

They heard me.

I discovered a thing or two in my achy fevered state, though. The best thing is how I managed to avoid the nasty cough and congestion that has derailed every other member of my family. I'm pretty sure I owe it all to this fancy gadget. Disgusting, yes, but very effective.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

For My Kids

who cannot believe they had to go to school this morning.

I know parents have been doing this since the beginning of time but I've got to get this off my chest before my brain explodes. Doing it online ensures that I will not have to endure the eye rolling and whispered incredulity that tends to accompany my blasts from the past.

When I was your age.....
The time, January 21, 1982, the place, Minneapolis. I was attending the Minneapolis College of Art and Design at the age of eighteen, living in an apartment just south of downtown Minneapolis. Two days after a record breaking seventeen inches of snow in twenty four hours, on top of roughly eight inches of snow already on the ground, we experienced a second record breaking snow of twenty inches in twenty four hours with drifting up to ten feet. Add to that lows of negative twenty degrees or less. Real degrees, not wind chill. Awesome doesn't begin to describe it. My roommate, her boyfriend and I built a snow fort about the size of a city block. But, did they cancel classes? N. O. Not only that, but I didn't have a car so I was, indeed, walking to school in ten feet of snow.

I wasn't barefoot though. I'll give you that.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

My Husband is Hot!

103 degrees to be exact.

I don't mean to be flippant. Well, yes I do. See, in a strange, inexplicable turn of events it turns out that this time, he's the one to fall victim to the kid germs. I guess I've finally built up some immunity. Now I better shut up before the germs hear me.

Seriously, stay away from here. I'm throwing up the quarantine sign.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Happy Super Fat Tuesday

Still on fever patrol. Fortunately it gives me the excuse I need to park myself in front of the television to watch primary/caucus coverage. When I can talk the Four-year-old out of Spongebob, that is. The only way it could be better is if I could be out there primary-ing or caucusing myself. Sadly, on this side of the state line it's Democrats only today. Now for the important question. What the heck is a caucus anyway?

Monday, February 4, 2008

About the Weather

It's February fourth. It's 67 degrees outside. While the rest of my family battles real fevers of, I am fighting my own battle with Spring Fever. And I'm barely conscious.

Caring for a sick Four-Year-Old is not for the faint of heart. Last night was a brand new experience for me. Night Terrors. I don't think they were authentic night terrors, though, because he did come out of it eventually. They were more like fever dreams. After a half an hour of staring at me and screaming out in fear and yelling out nonsense he managed to calm down and I spent the rest of the night with him in the recliner listening to his feverish non-sequiturs.

Which brings me to the present. I just sneaked out of the house leaving the Four-Year-Old with the also ailing Eighteen-Year-Old so I could purchase some much needed Motrin. It hit me as soon as I walked out the door. The warm breeze. The feeling of heat radiating off the concrete. The smell of the soil awakening from the deep freeze. BAM. Spring fever. Now the weatherpeople are calling for another round of snow and freezing rain tomorrow. Unfortunately there is no going back for me. I've got it bad and I won't be satisfied till the hyacinths bloom.

I blame the groundhog.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Denmark is Looking Pretty Good

Well this is turning out to be a cheery week. You've probably seen it all over the news. Depression peaks at age 44. Guess how old I am.

Here is a highly scientific graph to demonstrate.
That explains a few things. Not just about me but about my peer group in general and why we are so heavily medicated. But! isn't this just warmed over midlife crisis? Haven't we known this forever? I remember when we were all getting married and having babies and feeling as if we were the first generation to have experienced these life events. Now we're all unhappy. Alert the press! Good job news people and smart people who study these things. That was money well spent.

Monday, January 28, 2008

What Were We Thinking? Thinking Had Nothing To Do With It.

Roughly eighteen years ago someone at the hospital handed me this....

(our firstborn, aka, Cap'n Jean Luc Picard)

and sent me home without a clue.

Now, nearly two decades later, through trial and error and by the grace of God we've ended up with a mighty fine human being. He's still a work in progress, of course, but so far so good.

Henceforth the seventeen-year-old shall be referred to as the eighteen-year-old. Happy birthday my firstborn.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Inhale, Exhale, Repeat.

A couple of weeks ago our family began a new normality. The rug was pulled out from underneath me for a brief time and left me in a bit of crisis vortex for a while. What I'm trying to say is, my family is facing a difficult problem at this time. One good consequence of growing up in a constant state of semi-crisis is the knowledge that, this too shall pass. Or, if it doesn't pass, it will soon be integrated into life-as-you-know-it. So our current crisis has started to weave it's way in.

I'd like to be less vague but it is not exactly my problem to share. What I can share is how I now fight feelings of being a complete failure as a parent. I am occasionally able to put those feelings into perspective but it's a constant battle. A battle because one of the very things that I had hoped to protect my child from has now reared it's ugly evil head. Ugh. No one is in imminent danger of death, divorce or even dismemberment but this is serious stuff. Hopefully we have caught this thing early enough to keep it from becoming as destructive as it once was to me.

So why bother even saying anything about it on this blog? I don't know really. I considered several times over the last couple of weeks bagging it all up and calling it a day and taking my blogging offline. I considered moving my blog elsewhere and beginning again with a clean slate. I've actually done that a couple of times now. I'm going to hang in there (or here), though, because this thing has actually done me a lot of good in the last year. It is a creative outlet that doesn't leave a mess around the house. It's about as simple as that.

I hope to have more to share about this new normality. It may be that I can only share how I am affected by it or how God is working through these circumstances but It will not become the definition of my life. There is still a dog that needs attention, toilets to clean and a four year old who tells me my chubby tummy makes a good pillow. All is not lost.

See ya soon.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Is This Fun or What

I'm as cynical as anyone that grew up in the Watergate era but seriously, isn't this fun? A primary season where there is no foregone conclusion. People fired up by Presidential elections that ended up being decided by the Supreme Court. Two, viable, history making candidates. An evangelical not making apologies for his opinions. Wow. Fun.

At the end of this month we will have a new voter in the house. I am trying to impart wisdom to him the best I can so that he will be able to make an informed decision, not just vote based on his parents preferences. He is excited to vote but getting informed doesn't hold a great amount of interest to him. Maybe I'll ground him to his room to watch CNN, Fox and the BBC. That should even it out don't you think?

This post could just as easily have been a rant about what I think is wrong with the American system of politics but as I look at Pakistan and look at Kenya, I'm thinking, it's not so bad after all.

Monday, January 7, 2008

What I Like About Not Blogging

It means I'm actually living. Doing exciting real life tasks like...... laundry, carpet cleaning, moving piles of paper to and fro, driving hither and yon.

It's not all glamor and fame though. I actually completed that on again off again job-that would-not-die. Now that I have a little breathing space I think I'll spend some time contemplating the meaning of life, getting to know the candidates and honing my guitar hero skills.

One question about that guitar hero deal: does Slash have to contend with a four-year-old hanging on his leg begging for a jelly sandwich during his guitar solos? I think not. How about a harried mom handicap guitar hero people.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

So I Was Going to Run off and Pursue My Dream.

But that Guitar Hero audience isn't doing my self esteem any favors. So I'm just going to finish the laundry. At least it doesn't boo at me.