Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Orleans

Today Hannah asked me about New Orleans and how the rebuilding efforts are going. In the conversation, she learned that I never felt a lot of fondness for New Orleans. I told her it seemed dirty and dark to me. Not understanding "dirty and dark," she wanted more details. Unsure how to say it, I said it just seemed like there was a lot of bad things happening there.

Hannah replied, "Do you mean the people there say lots of swears?"


Friday, December 29, 2006

Saddam is dead

Saddam Hussein is dead. That is sobering. My world is so clean and tidy.

Right after my last post I went to read the news and saw that his execution had been carried out. Sometimes I feel like such a jerk for my flippant sense of humor. Like I said, my world is clean and tidy and it's easy to forget how people in other places live.

I don't know what to say except, pray for peace in the Middle East.



One of my girls has a friend I'm not particularly fond of. Actually, I don't like her. That's much more honest. My daughter isn't all that fond of her either, yet Bertha (aka the friend) considers my daughter her BFF. (That's "best friend forever" for those of you who don't have adolescent daughters.)

Bertha is possessive, controlling, rude, and cruel. Although she likes one of my daughters, she's mean to the other two. I could write an extended essay on why I don't like Bertha, but that would belabor the point.

I can take a lot of abuse if it's directed toward me. But my mothering psyche is less regenerate. Tonight my kids, in a less-than-gentle way, drove that home. I only vaguely remember saying this horrible thing, so I can only guess that at the time I was mildly seething because Bertha had mistreated at least 2, maybe 3, of my daughters.

As the girls and I were baking cookies tonight, they were talking about Bertha and the things she says and does that so offends them. I tried to refocus them a couple times. This of course is hard for me because I am quite confident I dislike Bertha more than any of my girls. My efforts to refocus the conversation were futile, so I said, "You know girls, we shouldn't be so hard on Bertha...," blah, blah, blah.

Hannah reminded me of the phrase I'd forgotten. Accusingly she challenged, "Mom, you're the one who said she may be the anti-Christ."

Labels: ,


Today Hannah spent a couple hours at a friend's house. When she came home, she told me Kelly listens to bad music. I asked what kind of bad music and she said, "hey baby, I'm overdue for you." Her eyes spoke loads of disapproval.

I asked her what the song meant and Hannah expertly said, "Hello Mom? She needs to go to the hospital to have her baby."


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Why is it?

Have you ever noticed these things in the movies?

--All grocery shopping bags contain at least one stick of French bread.
--It's easy for anyone to land a plane, providing there is someone in the control tower to talk you down.
--The ventilation system of any building is a perfect hiding place. No one will ever think of looking for you in there and you can travel to any other part of the building without difficulty.
--The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window of any building in Paris.
--People on TV never finish their drinks.
--A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.
--During all police investigations, it will be necessary to visit a strip club at least once.
--Mothers routinely cook eggs, bacon and waffles for their family every morning, even though the husband and children never have time to eat them.
--Any person waking from a nightmare will sit bolt upright and pant.
--Even when driving down a perfectly straight road, it is necessary to turn the steering wheel vigorously from left to right every few moments.
--If a phone line is broken, communication can be restored by frantically beating the cradle and saying, "Hello?, Hello?"
--Most people keep a scrapbook of newspaper cutting - especially if any of their family or friends has died in a strange boating accident.
--During a very emotional confrontation, instead of facing the person you are speaking to, it is customary to stand behind them and talk to their back.
--Dogs always know who's bad and will naturally bark at them.
--If there is a deranged killer on the loose, this will coincide with a thunderstorm that has brought down all the power and phone lines in the vicinity.
--It is always possible to park directly outside the building you are visiting.
--Guns are like disposable razers - if you run out of bullets, just throw the gun away. You can always buy a new one.
--A detective can only solve a case once he has been suspended from duty.


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My New Toy

I am a bad girl. I say stupid stuff to be funny all the time, and sometimes it backfires in ways that are less than pleasant. Happened today, a prime example.

I got a virtual spa for Christmas and have been living in the lap of luxury for a couple days. I sit in my leather recliner with my new body length massager and smile as the massaging waves move from my neck to my calves. I do not mean to sound erotic, but more than a couple jokes have been made about this new "toy." I also have a new fountain. So I lay on my massager, smiling and listening to my fountain, basking in the peaceful, feel-good experience. Within the confines of my own house, I have affectionately dubbed my massager, my vibrator. This was met with chuckles from my husband and mother-in-law, but my kids didn't get the joke, thankfully.

Today I was enjoying my massaging paradise, listening to my fountain gurgle, smiling as the sun cast its warm favor on my face when the dogs began to bark, alerting me that someone was approaching. I stretched upright and see all the tell-tell signs that approaching visitor was a solicitor. Solicitors annoy me. I maintain if I want to give money to a cause, I'll happily give it, and in which case I will seek out said cause without making them come to my door catching me with no money at my least convenient moment.

I get solicitors frequently and I abhor the exercise. I am nice, I am not one of those horrible people that scream and slam doors in the faces of solicitors. I do however, get annoyed with them. So much so, I have a NO SOLICITING sign on my front door. It gets no respect. They still ring my doorbell unapologetically.

My girls are somewhat savvy in getting rid of solicitors with a little admonition. Today when the dogs started their howling, Rachael came to the living room to look out the window to see who was approaching. I let out my ever so frequent and predictable, "Tell them no thank you and that you mother is unavailable." In the past, this has served me well.

I closed my eyes to try to recapture the massage salon mood, trying to block out the small talk at the front door. Hearing Rachael politely say, "I'm sorry but we're not interested," was when my smile returned. She very capably was handling the situation. I knew they would be on the merry way, and I was proud of my Rachael for her ability to send them on in kindness.

I drew my breath in exasperation when I heard the young gentleman ask her if her mother was home. Knowing this makes Rachael uncomfortable when pressed like this, I waited to see if she needed me to "rescue" her from the pushy solicitor.

With stoic reserve Rachael said, "I'm sorry she isn't available. She's on her vibrator."

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Christian Affair?

If you read this blog, you may have already deduced that I grew up in a Christian fundamentalist home. (Recently I heard someone say that radical Christian fundamentalism is no less dangerous than radical Islamic fundamentalism. I've been chewing on that and I've decided I agree.)

To share a story that reveals some of the fundamentalism still flowing through the bloodlines, I want to share a line from my niece. Mind you, it was all a joke, but it's a joke only someone with fundamentalist exposure would make.

We learned about a person we know who was having an affair. It was a sad story, and we were all deeply sobered by it. But we, as dysfunctional as it may be, sooth our pain with laughter. As we learned the few sordid details that were told, we were all on brief downers.

My niece Misty knew just how to bring us out of the funk that had descended. "You know it's not even like he's having an affair with a good Christian girl. Think about it. If they get married they will be unequally yoked."

Labels: , , ,

Boxing Day

Today is Boxing Day. Every country settled by the English, except the US, celebrates Boxing Day. I had never heard of Boxing Day till I met Gordon. But now I recognize it nearly with as much celebratory gusto as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Boxing Day originated in England and some say it was the day that servants were given off. They worked Christmas Day, but were given a boxed gift from their employers on the day after Christmas. Hence the name, Boxing Day.

Another theory is that it's the day that people gave boxed gifts to those who had served them throughout the year; postal workers, milk men, porters, etc.

The tried and true facts, I really don't know. But Boxing Day, December 26, is a holiday up here.

Today we had our big Christmas meal. Gordon's mother joined us. It's been a really good day. We think we are onto a Christmas rhythm that we want to remember for the future. It's been one of the most relaxing, deeply fulfilling Christmases I can remember. Blissfully low key, yet totally satisfying.

I did a serious no-no though. Unknowingly, I dealt my family grief. Here's how. I have never ever bought Stove Top Stuffing. But I've been served Stove Top quite a few times and have grown accustomed to it and even kind of like it. I always make cornbread dressing, all from scratch. I didn't realize till today that my family is committed to the Southern style of dressing.

The trouble started when the kids came from the pantry wanting to know why we had Stove Top boxes. I told them they were on sale 50% off and I thought, Heck, why not. No one will care and it will make my day lots easier. The groaned like I told them we drinking strychnine for cocktails.

Later Gordon was on the phone to our friends in Calgary who are coming to Edmonton tomorrow. Gordon was telling them we would eat leftovers tomorrow. "Valerie makes this cornbread dressing like you wouldn't believe..."

At this point, much too late to start the cornbread dressing, I realized, Oh shoot, it really does matter to my family. So with shame, I served my Stove Top Stuffing. I really felt like a cheater. The time and effort saved were not worth it.

As we hashed all this over at the table, I remembered a conversation I had with my family when I was in Arkansas recently. We were discussing dressing and how it comes in two versions: Yankee and Southern. We discussed our tastes, all of us, being from the South, agreed that Southern dressing is the only way to go. I however told them I had had some good Yankee (Northern) dressing.

My brother mockingly rebuked me for my lack of loyalty. He sighed and said, "Valerie, there was a war fought for this cause."

(Just in case you don't get it, he was joking that the Civil War was about Northern versus Southern Dressing.)

Labels: , , ,

3 Lovely Ladies

Happy Holidays from our home to yours.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, December 25, 2006

Cold and Christmasy

Merry Christmas! We have had a wonderful wonderful day. It's been fun and relaxing. I hope your's has been as well.

Gordon and I have commented several times today about our girls being great gift givers. They obviously studied their subjects before buying gifts and gave every one gifts they will enjoy. This is saying a lot in this household. When Rachael, Hannah, and Deborah were much younger, they were selfish Christmas shoppers. Their unspoken motto was, "It's all about me." For example, once Deborah got Gordon pink lip gloss, Hannah got him red nail polish, and Rachael got him a pink tape dispenser. They were clearly hoping he would pass his treasures on to them. No longer! We've come a long way baby. It's been a fun, yet relaxing day.

Labels: , , ,

To Remember

Let us remember that the Christmas heart is a giving heart, a wide open heart that thinks of others first. The birth of the baby Jesus stands as the most significant event in all history, because it has meant the pouring into a sick world of the healing medicine of love which has transformed all manner of hearts for almost two thousand years... Underneath all the bulging bundles is this beating Christmas heart. -- George Matthew Adams

Merry Christmas Loved Ones!!

Labels: ,

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Let the Festivities Begin

I have to admit, I've been kind of blue this wonderful season. I usually get into the festivities; decorating, baking, guests, blah, blah, blah. But this year has been kind of bah hum bug. I kept trying to get excited, but I never quite accomplished it.

Tonight at the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, the Christmas spirit awakened in my soul. I don't know why it waited so long, but I could hardly wait to share the joy with my family.

After the service we came home and did "the stocking thing" that we do every year on Christmas Eve. It was so fun, as usual, seeing the joy on every one's face as they opened their stockings. I loved it.

I am the family stocking stuffer; I presume most moms are. It's the one time of year I absolutely love being the martyr. I feel so good when everyone realizes I didn't get anything in my stocking. It's such a special time. "Aaawwhh, poor Mom. I'm so sorry," the kids lament.

Gordon does his annual speech: "Honey I am so sorry. I didn't grow up with stockings, so I didn't remember to put stuff in yours. It just didn't cross my mind."

I reply as usual: "Really, don't worry about it. It's that sick martyrdom thing. I love it that you all feel sorry about forgetting me. It's worth far more than gifts in my stocking."

I know this means I'm one sick puppy, but I really love my empty stocking. For a few brief moments out of the year, I have them all eating out of my hands. It's such a powerful feeling.

Well everyone is gathering downstairs to eat junk food and watch the Grinch. I must get down there.

Merry Christmas Everyone.


A Christmas Story, by Hannah

To perceive Christmas through its wrapping becomes more difficult every year. -- E. B. White

Is it everywhere or just the pagan city I live in? Christmas is soooo not a religious thing anymore. I have seen no front yard nativity scenes anywhere. None. Zero. Zilch. It was this way last year too and I told Gordon I wanted to have one made for our yard, but I never did. I wish I had carried through with that. Perhaps that should become one of my New Year's Resolutions. Yes, I think I'll include that. Surely I can pull that off if I try hard enough.

Last night I found a report that Hannah had to write for school about a true Christmas story at her house. It amused me. I didn't know this story had happened. It sounds just like my girls, but it surprised me still. I will write it out just like it reads in her story.

"I was 5 years old and it was 3:00 am Christmas morning and I was awake. I was very exited about Christmas and was eager to open preasents. I had been awake since 2:00 am. The rest of the family was in bed. I snuck out of bed and went to wake up Rachael. When I got to her room, she was already awake. "Rachael", I wispered so nobody would hear. Rachael answered, "Yes." "Are you exited about the preasence" I asked. "Yes" she said "lets go see." "ok" I said. We tiptoed to the living room and looked under the tree. There were so many presents. I took one of the presents under the tree that had my name on it and said, "I am going to open it if you won't tell. I won't tell if you open one of yours!" Ok I won't tell" she answered "and I'll take one too." She grabbed a present for herself and tor the rapping off, so did I. I had a book called The haunch Back of Notor Dam. "Cool" i said. Rachael had a pair of socks. They were green with red dots on them, "there so cute" rachael squeeled. The sock were cute. "Lets hid our things under the sofa so mom and dad won't see them" I said. "OK" Rachael said. "I wonder when everybody is going to wake up," Rachael asked. "I do not know" I replied. We went to look at the clock. It was 3:30. "They're not goin to be awake for a long time" Rachael said grimely. She looked at me and said, "Well see you later, I'm going to bed. are you?" "Yup, good night." Rachael went to her bed and I went to mine. I got all snuggled and warmed up and had a good night's sleep."

Did you smile when you read that? I did.

Christmas. A time for love, goodwill, peace on earth, lies, deception, and various mendacities.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Deborah and Air Miles

Last night Deborah was musing about living with Meme if Gordon and I died. In the end she concluded she wouldn't be able to live there, "Because if you died, you wouldn't be around to give me your air miles."

She obviously knows that air miles are needed for us to get to Arkansas. :)



Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. -- Calvin Coolidge

Labels: ,

Monday, December 18, 2006


When I was growing up, my family was kind of rigid and uptight in matters relating to anatomy and bodily functions. I vowed (and carried out successfully) that I would create a much different environment in my grown-up home.

Some have asked what we called "those" things. Those who ask that clearly don't understand what I mean. We didn't talk about those things, therefore we didn't have to name anything.
We did however make references to elimination. "Use it," was short for use the bathroom. So when we needed to "go," we said, "I need to use it." That said it all.

(On a side note, once I was at my Granny's when she was encountering plumbing difficulties. I told Granny I needed to "use it." She was troubled as she didn't want me using the facilities before the plumber came. She asked me if it was my kidneys or bowels that needed to move. I was mortified that we were having this conversation. Firstly, I didn't know the difference between the two, secondly, it wasn't supposed to be discussed beyond saying, "I need to use it.")

We weren't so terribly uptight that the men in the family couldn't fart. Females however, went to private places to do that. "Fart" was a cuss word, so we called that function, "let one." For instance: "Oh gross, Daddy let one."

You would be forgiven for wondering why on earth I'm telling these things. It's because I want to tell a conversation that happened when I was in Arkansas. To appreciate it to its fullest, one must recognize "from which we've come." Believe me, the following conversation would never ever ever have happened years ago.

Because of the sensitive subject matter, (pun intended), I will give all the characters aliases to preserve their dignity. Now to the intended story:

One day quite a few of us were sitting in my mother's living room when a relative, Joni, walked in. Having recently had a colonoscopy, she was stricken with painful hemorrhoids -- not something most people cared to know. Evidently there comes a time in suffering when you just quit caring what people think. Joni had reached that point.

Having not recently seen Joni, Tommy, (remember everyone is bearing an alias in this story), quickly engaged in conversation. Innocently enough, he asked how she was doing. Well that was all she needed to open up. "Lord have mercy! Have you ever had hemorrhoids?" she blurted.

Tommy and Joni fixed eyes; clearly he was elated to meet a fellow sufferer. "I can tell you about hemorrhoids," he chimed.

"Next time anyone suggest I have a colonoscopy, I'll be quick to tell them, 'no thanks,'" she said. She quickly rose from her chair. As she headed determinedly toward the bathroom, she said apologetically, "ya'll excuse me. I've gotta go scratch."

Indeed we were aghast with the level of openness. What we didn't know was that another sufferer was about to come out of the closet.

When Joni walked back into the living room, Fred joined the conversation. Rubbing his thumb and fingers together to illustrate, he suggested that massaging the hemorrhoids with Vaseline would ease the itch.

The three of them engaged in details of their afflictions. Tommy, determined his were by far worse than any one else's, said, "I've had hemorrhoids so bad I had to wear a jock strap backwards." The grossed out family erupted into gales of laughter, knowing he was more than a bit exaggerating.

Fred was quite confident that his were still worse. "I've used enough Preparation H to slide from here to Dallas," he unashamedly confessed.

As they discussed their woes, I admit I had a little offering. Once to prepare me for surgery, I was given some medication that had the most grievous side affect. Specifically, it attempted to turn me inside out. As they bantered about who was the worst afflicted, I put in my week's worth of sorrow. I told my story, but since you know who I am, I'll refrain from the details. My problem was short-lived, but I joined with Joni in claiming if they ever tried to put me on that medication again, I'd protest.

In this 15 minute conversation, I learned a wealth of grossly funny information. Loved ones have suffered in silence for years, but finally the walls were coming down.

Fred went on to tell a well kept secret. His problem was so bad he had had surgery. He made us acutely aware that we didn't want to go that route. "I'm telling you, first time I went to the bathroom after my surgery, I swear, I thought I was crapping a freight train."

As these stories were shared, we were grossed out, yet thoroughly entertained too. There was still another sufferer about to walk into the light. Actually he didn't walk into the light, his child exposed him. He too had had hemorrhoids so badly he had had surgery. She told that Barry was so uptight and tense for his surgery that they had to bring in extra nurses to hold his butt cheeks apart. Again, the laughter erupted.

So if you're a sufferer -- they are certainly more common than I ever knew -- having heard enlightening details on the subject, I say sincerely from the bottom of my heart, I'm so glad it's you and not me.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Bah Hum Bug

I'm feeling blue. Lethargic, unmotivated, yuk, plain blue. I put up the Christmas tree early in the week and I've been melancholy since. It's my first year without Stephanie's ornaments on my tree. It's part of a tradition I started when she was a baby. Furthermore, it's a very very dumb tradition, at least that is how I'm feeling right now.

Every year each child gets a new "special ornament." Then one day in the very distant future, when said child has his or her own home and own Christmas tree, their special ornaments and the ones they've made over the years go to their home to their tree. For 21 years that has seemed so noble. Now it's a pile of pooh.

Last year I cherished Stephanie's ornaments all season, knowing full well it was my last year to have them. I boxed them with love and care when I took last year's tree down. I never mailed them. I kept them on my sewing table, neatly boxed up all year long. When I went to Arkansas last month, I hand delivered them.

I honestly didn't expect to have gross sadness over the whole ordeal. Shucks, I've had 21 years to get used to the idea. I think the problem is giving her the ornaments she made me. I look at my tree and what I see are the ornaments that aren't there. I don't really miss the store bought ornaments, but the hand made ones are the ones that are dealing me some misery. The baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes that she made at Little Lamb; the bear from kindergarten; the hand painted wreath with her picture in it. Gosh, it makes me want to cry just typing it.

What a stupid mistake. Now I realize the one's made for me should have stayed with me. The ones I bought for her should have been the ones to go to her.

As I told my sister all this, she consoled me by saying, "I could have told you that was stupid." And sure enough, that was stupid.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bursting Light

For a year I've been reading the Bible in the New Living Translation and enjoying it. Yesterday I read Psalm 112. Verse 4 reads, "When darkness overtakes the godly, light will come bursting in."

That's a beautiful word picture, don't you think.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Q: Why did the cowboy get himself a Dachshund?

A: Because someone told him, "Get along little doggie."

Labels: ,

Monday, December 11, 2006

Lifestyle Change

Well something good is cooking. Hummm. Poor analogy, at least in this context. I'm going to lose weight. Yes, simple as that, I've started a "lifestyle change." Diets are so out of style. Lifestyle change is where it's happening.

I've been on a waiting list to get into a program called Weight Wise. My first appointment was last Friday and it was amazing. I left full of hope and inspiration. The good vibes are still there. My appointment was 1 1/2 hours long and I met with an RN and a dietitian. They were very helpful. Now I keep going back, they'll talk sweet to me, and presto, I'm thin.

Seriously, I was so encouraged and I've not been encouraged in this department in years. The first thing I had to do is buy a pedometer to measure my activity. I'm supposed to walk 10,000 steps a day. Today I put on 15,000 steps and am so pleased with myself. You readers may do that every day of the week, but it's part of my new "lifestyle."

Secondly I eat "right" and write it all down so they can brag on my "lifestyle changes." I thrive on affirmation and since they are paid to affirm me (and offer me gentle assistance when needed) this should be a piece of cake. Oops, another bad analogy.

So if you're out there in the Alberta region and you have a lot of extra weight, check with your doctor about this program. It's great. I'm so excited.

On a side note, yet still connected, a friend who happens to be overweight herself, asked me if I really planned to tell the truth when I wrote down what I've eaten. I told her, that yes of course I planned to play by the rules. She belied her own weakness by asking, "what if you eat 3 candy bars?"

She told me she'd not admit all the overeating she does. She said she would tell them she had a boiled egg and half a grapefruit for breakfast. Mid morning 2 baby carrots. For lunch a tossed salad with romaine lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, with a sprinkling of sunflower seeds. No dressing of course. And finally, for supper, broiled cod, 4 brussel spouts, a small serving of cauliflower, and a fresh pineapple ring for desert. I laughed.

All that reminds me of a story from years ago. Somewhere, for some reason that I cannot recall, my brother-in-law Herbie was asked to tell what he had for breakfast. He casually recounted the picture on the side of a cereal box, listing them all: Special K, half a grapefruit, a slice of toast, and a glass of orange juice.

My mom was amazed that he had that kind of a breakfasts. "You really had that for breakfast?" she asked.

He answered her more honestly than he'd answered the other person. "Why no," he said, "I had a Ding Dong and a Pepsi."


Billy and Marriage

When asked his secret of love, being married fifty-four years to the same person, Billy Graham said, "Ruth and I are happily incompatible."

Happily incompatible. I like that.

Labels: ,

Saturday, December 09, 2006


I have a new great-nephew. He belongs to Mindi, and Mindi belongs to my brother Michael.

Baby's name is Ezra.

When I was in Arkansas, Mindi and Dustin were still undecided about the name Ezra. Michael mockingly derided it. "My grandson deserves the name of a major prophet, not a mere minor," he claimed.

He makes me smile.

Labels: , ,

Gordon Quips Again

Yesterday Gordon and I were in the bedroom together. He was distracted on the computer, I stood beside him "instructing" him on something. Getting no response from him, I threatened, "If you don't pay some attention to me, I'm gonna give you the dreaded silent treatment."

He countered, "No, not the silent treatment. I can't bear it when you're quiet."

Labels: , ,

A Christopher Moment

Yesterday we recalled and laughed about an incident from years ago. I'm guessing Christopher was around 7.

He made a summer friend named Aimee. She wasn't a very cute girl and was very much a tomboy. They played nearly daily.

After playing steadily for weeks, Christopher overheard someone remark about Aimee not being very pretty. Someone said, "poor thing, she can't help how she looks."

Christopher was very shocked. With great animation in his face he said, "SHE?? You mean he's a girl?"


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Rachael Has A Job

Rachael started a paper route today. She has 85 houses that she delivers to 3 times a week. I admire this child. She is responsible and hard working.

Gordon and I both went with her for her first time today. He and I have very different ideas on how to navigate said paper route. My oh my, I thought it might turn into a fight, but Gordon's humor deflected my annoyance.

As he parked in the middle of the street to read the map that told which houses get the paper, I always announced when a car was coming -- much to his chagrin, I might add. Once he parked in the middle of the street on a curve. I thought I saw car lights, but because we were on a curve, I saw nothing in my mirror.

I asked him if there was a car and he replied. "I'm not worried about cars. If there is a car, I'll know about it a micro-second after you do."

Labels: , , ,

In the News

Interesting things that grabbed me from the paper today:

-- By 2024 NASA plans to have a base on the moon. Yes, a place where astronauts will live. Now that is way out there.... The things that are possible. Wow.

-- Queen Elizabeth's English is changing. Since becoming queen in the 1950's many of her speeches are on film. AND there are people who analyze the Queen's speech patterns (and make money from it, no less). These "researchers" can prove that her speech has changed. In the past she would have said "citae" or "dutae." Now she says city or duty. I wonder if she is watching too much American TV.

-- In Johannesburg South Africa, a prisoner Vaselined himself up really slick-like and escaped out a prison window between bars. He was apprehended later. Imagine that, sliding between prison bars.

-- I am a minority. Over 80% of married mothers are in charge of the family finances. I find that fascinating. I'm very happy to NOT carry that responsibility.

And finally, this wasn't in the news, but informative nonetheless. Bear is turning black. I purposely chose 2 dogs that matched the furniture. It is not good that he is turning black. Now I can't brag about the fur on the sofa actually blending in with it. Sigh.

Labels: ,

Christmas Is A Comin'

Isn't my sister Stacie's living room lovely? I love it. I also love the color of the walls. I wanted something like it, but Gordon vetoed.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

For Kicks

This is fun. It's a name the first thing to cross your mind sort of thing. I copied it from someone's blog, so yes, you may copy it from mine.

1. Yourself: fun and simple
2. Your partner: upright
3. Your hair: frumpy
4. Your mother: warm
5. Your father: stingy
6. Your favorite item: prayer and writing journal
7. Your dream last night: Oh it was not a good one. I was infected by a disease by a doctor from my hometown. However he wasn't the villain. This horrible lady (she was sort of like Cruella DeVille), kept hunting me down and giving me electric shocks. Poor Dr. Stephens was getting the shock treatment too. I've tried all day to analyse this dream, all to no avail.
8. Your favorite drink: Coffee in the morning, water thereafter
9. Your dream car: perhaps a Honda Odyssey; I don't dream much about cars.
10. The room you are in: bedroom
11. Your ex: Kent
12. Your fear: getting fatter and fatter
13. What you want to be in 10 years: a mother who is extremely thankful that her children turned out well and are lovers of God
14. Who you hung out with last night: my kids; after they were in bed, I worked a sudoku, then read
15. What you're not: thin
16. Muffins: coffee cake
17: One of your wish list items: I had to think here. I pretty much have everything I want, but refinishing our hardwood floors comes to mind after a few moments of thinking.
18: Time: "Teach me to number my days so I may gain a heart of wisdom."
19. The last thing you did: washed dishes
20. What you are wearing: sweatpants and a really dressy t-shirt :)
21. Your favorite weather: fall; crisp and beautiful,
22. Your favorite book: Bible
23. The last thing you ate: homemade cream of broccoli, potato, and cheese soup
24. Your life: content
25. Your mood: feisty
26. Your best friend: Stacie
27. What you're thinking about right now: Stacie
28. Your car: Villager Van
29. What you are doing at the moment: typing Bozo
30. Your summer: kind of a downer
31. Your relationship status: committed and married, of course to the same person
32. What is on your TV: perhaps a remote, perhaps nothing
33. What is the weather like: snowing, presently there's about 2 feet; it's not too cold though and for that I'm happy.
34. When was the last time you laughed: 15 minutes ago


Monday, December 04, 2006

Slinky People

"Some people are like slinkies, they are really good for nothing but they bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs."

Isn't that cute, you know, in a sort of mean way?


Canoing Mishap

First off, this is not me in this picture. However, when I saw it I was instantly reminded when something similar -- perhaps worse -- happened to me.

We were camping in Saskatchewan. We had a lovely beach. Sunsets were idyllic, somewhere between romantic and spiritual. The setting was amazing.

Gordon rented a canoe. I anticipated our family canoe trip around the lake at sunset.

Finally the sunset was upon us just as Gordon pulled the canoe to shore for us to board. After all the girls were clad in the life jackets, Gordon got them situated just so, making strides to distribute the weight proportionately. Problem 1: there ain't no way the weight distributes evenly in this family.

After the girls was seated safely, Gordon took his place. At the time I wondered why he sat before me, but now I realize it was the continuation of the aforementioned effort to distribute the weight. Reminder: there ain't no way the weight distributes evenly in this family.

With camera strapped around my neck -- important to capture this special event in photo -- I walked toward the place Gordon instructed me to take. The girls smiled lovingly; their moods were appropriately set for this spiritual moment of canoeing as a family on a calm lake at sunset. I lumbered awkwardly into the canoe. It rocked precariously. Gordon looked pensive, the girls were wide-eyed. When Gordon gave me the go-ahead, I sat down. That was problem 2. The canoe sank to the bottom of the lake and everyone leaped up yelling, "MOM."

I lost all presence of mind. I sat there waiting for the canoe to buoy, to rise back to the surface. Of course at this point the canoe is not just burdened with me, it is also holding a hefty amount of lake water. As the kids yelled at me, I regained presence of mind and realized the boat was not going to rise to the surface.

Again I lumbered awkwardly, this time out of the boat, now fully aware of what had just happened. Gordon tipped the canoe over to empty the water and then the family reloaded the canoe and went for a ride in the sunset. I took pictures from the shore.

Labels: , , ,

One way to stay young

My friend Joan shared this. One way to stay young: Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.


Hannah's Wacky Humor

I don't really think Hannah has a wacky sense of humor. I actually think she has a grand one. It seems to me that her humor is quite well developed for a 10-year-old. She tickles me to no end.

I have warned the kids repeatedly not to let Bear have any chocolate. Knowing chocolate can be deadly to a dog, I'm a bit paranoid that a six pound dog might succumb to death quickly from a small amount of chocolate. The girls are well aware of this paranoia I carry and they are equally responsible not to give Bear chocolate.

Tonight when Deborah came home from Brownies, she came bearing treats. Hannah got a small amount of chocolate candy. Bear quickly joined her on the sofa and practically performed a gymnastic show in hopes of piece of candy. We watched his antics a few moments as Hannah fought to bring her little critter into line. He would not calm down. He continued to jump and whine and beg. Hannah said, as if speaking for Bear, "Oh but it's to die for."

Moments later he bounded up on the arm of the sofa and was standing less than a foot from my face. This time he was trying to get a bite of Rachael's cookie. He let out a little fart right in my face as he whined. Just as I let out a groan of yuckness, Hannah chimed just like the sailors on Moby Dick, "There he blows."

Labels: ,

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Gordon Sings Joyfully

Today was the first Sunday of Advent and the first Sunday to sing Christmas carols. Gordon loves Christmas carols and always belts them out louder and more fervently than every one else.
Our opening hymn was Joy to the World -- a personal favorite of Gordon's. As usual, his powerful baritone voice rose above all the others.

Between verses one and two, the musicians played an instrumental interlude. Gordon of course was caught up in singing his heart out. The whole church waited for the usual direction as to when to begin singing. Everyone but Gordon. As the interlude began and all voices hushed, Gordon belted out, "Joy to," before realizing it was an instrumental moment. Chuckles abounded around us, the girls and me chuckling the most. Not easily embarrassed, Gordon smiled and shrugged his shoulders.

By this time, the interlude was finished, -- or so Gordon thought. Once again when it sounded as though the new stanza was beginning, Gordon rose to the occasion of leading out. Clearly, with much worshipful gusto his voice rang out, "Joy to," before he realized again that this too was part of the interlude.

This time the girls and I moved beyond chuckles to all out laughing. Gordon is the only person I know who could do this without being humiliated. But again he smiled and shrugged his shoulders. After that he waited for others to start singing before he opened his mouth.

I, for one, was thankful.

Labels: , , ,


Today was Communion Sunday. After communion there is always a benevolent offering taken to help people in the community that are in need.

Behind me sat an elderly woman and her upper middled-aged son. As the offering plate made its way towards us, I heard the lady scrambling in her purse for her offering. Then I heard the son say, "Don't put that $20 in there. Give it to my benevolent fund."

I resisted the urge to turn around to see where the $20 ended up.

Another churchy chuckle.


To Lie or Not To Lie

Yesterday I found myself in a precarious situation - a place where telling the truth was going to hurt someone badly, also a place I couldn't think of a way to tell the truth diplomatically. I felt cornered.

I ran my delimma past Gordon, my very honest, upright husband. As soon as I finished telling him my problem, he said, "Lie."

Taken aback that he would advise such a thing, I asked what he thought I should say.

He responded, "I don't know. You're the liar."

PS As I thought more about it, I'm happy to report that I came up with a diplomatic truth. I did not lie. I am not a liar.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Happy Birthday Diane

Today is my sister Diane's birthday. She is the oldest of my siblings, 8 years older than me. Diane married Herbie right out of high school, the summer before I started 4th grade. They moved away shortly thereafter. Fortunately for me, they moved back when I was in high school. After I married, she and I became best friends. As the years rolled by, we got closer and closer. Finally we were so close and so similar that I wondered if it were possible to be any closer. We thought so much alike that when she phoned me from Canada in the summer of 1992 and said, "Guess what? I met your husband last night," I took her seriously. Sure enough, 4 months later Gordon came to Arkansas and we hit it off. Diane got that ball rolling on her very own.

My best memories from living in Arkansas as an adult have Diane in them. We talked about almost every thing and laughed at nearly anything.

While I was in Arkansas recently, Diane got a hotel room with one king size bed. She, Stacie, and I stayed up talking into the early morning hours. As you may know, Diane is the only sibling that is of normal body proportions. Stacie and I quickly carved out our niche on both edges of the bed. When Diane came out of the washroom, she found Stacie and me sprawled out greedily. Diane stood at the foot of the bed, stretched out her arms about 4 inches apart. As she motioned down the center of the bed, she asked, "Is this my crevice?"

A good sport, Diane accepted her fate af sleeping between her rotund sisters. Up at the crack of dawn - she said we both snored - Diane got dressed and ready for the day. When she came out of the bathroom, she again positioned herself at the foot of the bed. The time she clapped her hands lightly and said, "Time to wake up Little Cherubs."

Diane has always been quick to laugh and see the funny side of things. This of course is one of my favorite things about her. I have a fine repertoire of Dianisms that only a person who knows her could appreciate. "By crackies," "them selfish giraffes," and many other Barney Fife expressions. (She mourned and phoned all her kids when Don Knotts died.)

Diane is smart, an inquisitive researcher, a knowledgeable Bible teacher, a loving, devoted wife and mother. She loves a challenge and doesn't shy away from hard work. She did the tile work in their new home. It is beautiful and impressive and one would never guess it wasn't done by a professional. Diane takes pride in whatever she does, always doing her best.

She has many gifts and talents, but her ability to laugh and make others laugh are my favorites. Her wisdom, gained from years and years of being a student of the Bible, is what I most respect about her. I love and respect her very much.

Diane, I hope this birthday and this year are wonderful. You bless my life in so many ways. I'm thankful to God that you're my sister. I love you. Happy Birthday.

Labels: , ,

Philippians and Thanksgiving Holiday

Philippians 1:3 "Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God."

I recently returned from visiting my family in Arkansas. My heart is tender and warm thinking about my time with these special people.

Michael and Lawana got the ball rolling getting me down there. When Michael learned that Stacie would be in Arkansas for the holidays, he phoned my dad and my mom to see if they'd join him in paying my way down. Each of them bought a ticket, allowing Rachael, Hannah and me to go. Not only did Michael and Lawana buy a ticket, they also carried most of the work and financial burden of the Thanksgiving meal. Michael made a turkey, ham, pork loin and a brisket. Lawana made vegetables, dressing, and desserts. On different days they took us out for supper. They treated us like royalty while we were there. Truly I was very touched by their kindness and generosity, over and over and over.

Stacie and her family joined us in Arkansas. They were only there for a couple days, but our time together was good. Stacie and Jimmy have 4 great kids and they are such joy to be around. They're helpful, gentle and kind. Stacie is a best friend and always great fun to be around.

Diane is another best friend. She gave me lots to laugh about and we enjoyed hours of great converation.

Christopher. I didn't have any alone time with him, but once the festivities were passed and the crowds started thinning, I saw Christopher's tender, gentle side again. How his gentleness blesses me.

Stephanie. Pretty as always, it was good to see how marriage and pregnancy are agreeing with her. She's about 7 weeks along and still feeling pretty well.

Misty, my niece. A bundle of energy and captivating personality, she entertained me for hours, making me laugh over and over.

Jeff, my nephew in "transition." He too gave me plenty to laugh about.

CJ, another nephew. I love his affection and am happy I got to see him, as I didn't see him my last visit down.

Mindi, my niece that is most like me, always warms my heart and gives me plenty to laugh about. A few days away from delivering Baby #3, she was physically lethargic, but her great personality was alive and well.

Amy another niece. Nothing about Amy ever reminded me of myself until this visit. A new mom, I saw clearly how motherhood had changed her. Baby Jocelyn altered her life much the same that Stephanie's altered mine. I loved watching her and Salomom so connected to each other and to Baby Jocelyn. I was pleased to see how motherhood and wifehood fit her so well.

Daddy. Always the tightwad, I was very blessed by his contribution to getting us down there. It was the first time in my adult life to benefit from his generosity. Thanksgiving Day was clearly a blessing to him and I loved seeing him excited and happy.

Mom and Pabob. Unfortunately they got stuck with picking us up and delivering us back to DFW. I know that was a hassle of enormous proportion, so I'm thankful they rose to the occasion. (And I promise to never fly into DFW again.) Mama worked hard cooking for our Thanksgiving meal too and it was her idea to rent the community hall. And did that ever improve the day.

On my last day there, Mama, Memaw and I were involved in a car accident. It was one of those that easily could have been much worse. I'm thankful for getting off as easily as we did. Poor Mama got the worse deal, a broken foot that has to have surgery next week. I'm sorry about her foot, but thankful to God that she and Memaw are alive.

As I read Philippians 1:3 this morning, I thought of all the above people and how they blessed us last week. I sincerely thank God for all of them and for the joy they gave me in Arkansas and give me in life just by knowing they exist.

Philippians 1:7,8 "It is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a very special place in my heart... God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus." My thoughts precisely!

Labels: , , ,