Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Difference Between Men and Women

Let’s say a guy named Roger is attracted to a woman named Elaine. He asks her out to a movie. She accepts and they have a pretty good time.

A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.

One evening when they’re driving home, a thought occurs to Elaine, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud, "Do you realize that, as of tonight, we’ve been seeing each other for exactly six months?"

Silence. To Elaine, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself, Geez, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he’s been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I’m trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn’t want; or isn’t sure of.

And Roger is thinking, Gosh. Six months.

And Elaine is thinking, But, hey, I’m not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I’d have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily toward… I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

And Roger is thinking:…so that means it was…let’s see…February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer’s, which means…lemme check the odometer…Whoa? I am way overdue for an oil change here.

And Elaine is thinking: He’s upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I’m reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed – even before I sensed it – that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that’s it. That’s why he’s so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He’s afraid of being rejected.

And Roger is thinking: And I’m gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don’t care what those morons say, it’s still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It’s 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.

And Elaine is thinking: He’s angry. And I don’t blame him. I’d be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can’t help the way I feel. I’m just not sure.

And Roger is thinking: They’ll probably say it’s only a 90- day warranty. That’s exactly what they’re gonna say, the scumballs.

And Elaine is thinking: maybe I’m just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I’m sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.

And Roger is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I’ll give them a warranty. I’ll take their warranty and stick it right up their….

"Roger," Elaine says aloud.

"What?" says Roger, startled.

"Please don’t torture yourself like this," she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. "Maybe I should never have…Oh, I feel so…" She breaks down, sobbing.

"What?" says Roger.

"I’m such a fool," Elaine sobs. "I mean, I know there’s no knight. I really know that. It’s silly. There’s no knight, and there’s no horse."

"There’s no horse?" says Roger.

"You think I’m a fool, don’t you?" Elaine says.

"No!" says Roger, glad to finally know the correct answer.

"It’s just that…It’s that I…I need some time," Elaine says.

There's a pause while Roger, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work. "Yes," he says.

Elaine, deeply moved, touches his hand. "Oh, Roger, do you really feel that way?" she says.

"What way?" says Roger.

"That way about time," says Elaine.

"Oh," says Roger. "Yes."

Elaine turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks. "Thank you, Roger," she says.

"Thank you," says Roger.

Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn, whereas when Roger gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Czechoslovakians he never heard of.

A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it’s better if he doesn’t think about it.

The next day Elaine will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification. They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it either.

Meanwhile, Roger, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Elaine’s, will pause just before serving, frown, and say, "Norm, did Elaine ever own a horse?"


I've shared before how my kids use the word "roody" for a person who is rude. (Up to today I thought the spelling was rudy, but I've been corrected).

Two nights this week, Deborah's best friend has slept over. This morning this sign was hanging on her bedroom door:



Maid Service

I have been less than energetic for about a year now. Okay, so maybe a year is a stretch, but a good couple weeks isn't. Today, as the house was in need of attention, I hired my sweet Rachael to clean it. She was quite elated with the job (actually it was the pay) and quickly sub-contracted her little sisters to help her.

For a few moments I entertained thoughts of grandeur and wealth before remembering the little servants were my offspring. But even after that realization, I continued to permit the illusion to continue.

Gordon came home and found me on the sofa enjoying a Francine Rivers novel as the girls busied themselves around me. Rachael quickly announced to her dad that I was paying her to clean the house and she had hired the sisters to help. I was feeling more than a tad self-conscious having been caught reclined and reading a novel as the girls hustled and bustled around me.

Looking at me, Gordon shrugged his shoulders and said, "well if you can't afford maids, I guess you can grow 'em."

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Watch to the end. You'll be impressed.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Elephant; An Amazing Story

A young man was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from college. While he was walking through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air.
The elephant seemed distressed so the man approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot. There was a large thorn deeply embedded in the bottom of the foot.

As carefully and as gently as he could, he worked the thorn out with his hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man and with a rather stern look on its face, stared at him. For a good ten minutes the man stood frozen - thinking of nothing else but being trampled.

Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned and walked away. The man never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty years later the man was walking through the zoo with his teenage son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to where they were standing at the rail. The large bull elephant stared at him and lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times, all the while staring at the man. The man couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant. After a while the elephant trumpeted loudly; then it continued to stare at him.

The man summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder.

Suddenly the elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of the man's legs and swung him wildly back and forth along the railing, severely injuring him.

Probably wasn't the same elephant

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Last night the girls and I (I being pretty critical here) tidied the house. It was less than pleasant as I had several things to do and wanted them done quickly so I could move on to more interesting things.

It was lovely weather and Deborah didn't want to leave her bicycle for 5 minutes to put away some of her earlier messes. She groaned and complained that I wanted to ruin her spring break by making her work all the time.

During this quick tidy session, Rachael came across my Sudoku book and asked why I hadn't been working on Sudoku puzzles. I told her I'd given up Sudoku for Lent. Deborah overheard this and asked what Lent is and what Sudoku had to do with it.

Rachael, being the eldest and wisest, gave Deborah a hasty run-down on Lent. After hearing that you give up or abstain from something for Lent, Deborah looked thoughtful for a moment or two and then said, "Well I think we should give up house-cleaning for Lent."


Monday, March 26, 2007

Still Waters

About Hannah, I've always said, "still waters run deep." She is my dichotomy child. She's my loudest, she's my quietest. She's my silliest, and my most serious. She is pure delight.

This week is spring break and the weather is near heavenly. It's warm and sunny and in Alberta, this time of year is invigorating.

Tonight Hannah disappeared for awhile. I looked out the door and found her on the front porch staring up at the sky. I grabbed a throw and went to join her. Together we enjoyed the wonderful evening looking at the moon and the stars enjoying the breeze against our faces. I asked her what she was thinking and she said, "God." When I probed she said, "Does the breeze ever remind you of His Spirit?"

For the next hour, she and I swapped stories about times when we felt close to God or received answers to our prayers.

It was a glorious first spring evening under the stars.


A - Z

Another stolen idea from Jones

A - Animals. I love them.
B - Bran Flakes, my new vice.
C - My maiden initial
D - Dogs, Lucy and Bear
E - Elaine, a friend I had lunch with
F - Forsythias, I miss forsythias.
G - Gordo, my Babo. I appreciate him.
H - Heaven, won't that be nice!
I - Indifferent, my emotion of late
J - Johnny Cash, he's been on my mind.
K - Kathleen is Hannah's middle name. When she was 6 weeks old we met a vicious Kathleen and Gordon hasn't liked the name since.
L - Lacy our cat, may she rest in peace.
M - Mena, my home town
N - New medicines, I'm sleeping too much because of them.
O - Orangutan, I have got a good orangutan story but I'm too embarrassed to tell it.
P - Paint, what color shall we paint the living room?
Q - Quilts, I love quilts.
R - Rivalry, two of my girls are really into it.
S - Sewing. I cut out a camo skirt for Rachael today.
T - Trust in the Lord Valerie. Trust in the Lord.
U - Unmotivated, I'm looking forward to it passing.
V- Vegetable Stew, it's for supper.
W - Weary, I feel a little weary.
X - Xcess weight? Nuh, uh. Not here!
Y - Youth Group, "Amazing Race" was Friday
Z - Zimbabwe. I saw an East Indian doctor last week and he asked if my accent was Zimbabwe.

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Happy Birthday Stephanie

22 years ago today, Stephanie Elise bounded into our world making me and many others much richer. I'm thankful. She was my world, my life.

She's no longer a precocious child, but rather a woman who will experience the joys of motherhood for her herself this year.

We are a million miles apart, but a day doesn't pass when I don't think of her and pray for her.

Stephanie, I hope this year is your best ever. Be blessed. Happy Birthday.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

A New Look

Welcome to the new Meanderings. As you can see, I have a new look. I don't like it all that much, but I had to get rid of that big blank spot. I couldn't fix it, so I got a whole new template. When one is susceptible to emotional breakdowns, one must eliminate unnecessary stresses. hehehe

Which reminds me.... Back when I still lived in Mena, the newspaper changed their look by changing their font. It was the cover story. How's that for news? Now I'm following their lead. This post is about nothing but changing my looks. Sorry.

A Story by Hannah

This morning I found this story that Hannah wrote last year. I'm posting it for my "record."

There once was a man named Michael Jordon - a very tall person. He had just gotten everything ready for camping. Michael hadn't been camping for 3 years because of the past fight with Big Foot. He remembered the bulging eyes, fat nose, big ears, and enormous feet. He winced.

He jumped into the car and said, "well it's time to go." He drove out of the driveway saying, "here we go."

Michael was a few miles from the camp when a huge monster jumped out from behind some bushes and shook the car violently. "Ahhhhhh," screamed Michael.

He jumped out of the car to see what was happening and he saw a huge dent in his new Mercedes. "Great," he yelled. It was new and so was all the camping gear. He jumped at the monster and recognized the face instantly. "Big Foot," he yelled in surprise. He grabbed the ears and pulled them. Big Foot sat still just frowning. He pushed him off. Then he jumped and charged. Michael grabbed his neck and shook it hard. Michael slapped Big Foot's hand and he pulled it away. Big Foot yelled, "Ahhhhhhhh." So did Michael. He was surprised that Big Foot could yell.

Big Foot jumped off the car and ran into the forest screaming.

Michael Jordan had a great time camping.

The End.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Does anyone know why I have this huge blank spot?
13 Things
(How's that for generalizing?)

1. When I get in my neighborhood, I always unbuckle my seatbelt (except if my kids are with me, then I set a good example). Once I turn down my street, I feel very uncomfortable belted in.

2. Whenever I get behind a big truck, or for some reason I'm particularly noticing a truck, I pray for my brother. (He's a trucker.) Because of this habit, I pray for him often, especially his safety.
3. It's a good thing he's not a sailor as I don't see many ships around town.

4. We are giving our house a minor makeover which it's badly in need of. Gordon and I aren't seeing eye to eye on paint colors.

5. Most people call Gordon Gord except those who know him through me. They call him Gordon, because that's what I call him.

6. My pet name for him - and I only say it at home - is Noogie-Boy.

7. I recently watched a few country music videos and heard the following songs which I thought were touching or cute. When you see the videos, you'll know which ones were touching and which were cute. The only thing I don't like about this video is that the bride and groom look like they're barely past puberty. Also the singer says "eltz" instead of else.

8. This song makes me smile, but the video I don't really like. I like watching the boys staring into the sun. And I love Clay Walker's smile. FYI, when I was filmed in the red and white 2 piece, I didn't know they would put it in a video for the world to see. I'm so embarrassed.

9. Kind of sweet and cute.

10. Very very poignant.

11. If you watch these videos, I'm interested in your feedback.

12. My dad reminds me of Johnny Cash.

13. Because I like Johnny Cash, here's another video. It was made in the early 90's during the Gulf War. I remember watching it then, sure we were in the last battle.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Deborah's Note to God

Deborah recently got caught in some lies. To compensate and try to earn leniency from her parents, she wrote this elaborate letter to God. I suppose she was trying to write a brilliantly theological note in hopes of escaping discipline. I'm not sure how sorry she was, but I thought her letter to God was pretty clever for such a young one.

Her letter didn't keep her from being disciplined.

Her letter reads:

My prayer to God and Jesus

Dear god i'm sorry for breaking 1 of the 10 commandmints. I no you died on the cross for my sins. And it breaks your heart for me to do it again. I pray that you will forgive. I pray my relashenship will grow closer to you and I pray for you to put your gardein angels around us and bless us all and Jesus name amen.

Then she drew a picture of a cross and two hearts and wrote "I love my Lord"


Ben Franklin Said

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write something worth the reading or do things worth the writing. ~Benjamin Franklin


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Motherhood Guilt

I just listened to Focus on the Family. The guest was a lady who wrote a book called something like Motherhood Guilt - The Gift That Keeps on Giving. I was amused by the title. Dr Dobson said that as a parent, if you don't feel some guilt you must be a psychopath.

I am NOT a psychopath.


Monday, March 19, 2007

African Baby Song

I read this today and thought it was kind of cool. I have no idea if it's true though.

There is a tribe in East Africa in which the art of true intimacy, (I would call it bonding), is fostered even before birth. In this tribe, the birth date of a child is not counted from the day of its physical birth nor even the day of conception, as in other village cultures. For this tribe the birth date comes the first time the child is a thought in its mother's mind. Aware of her intention to conceive a child with a particular father, the mother then goes off to sit alone under a tree. There she sits and listens until she can hear the song of the child that she hopes to conceive. Once she has heard it, she returns to her village and teaches it to the father so that they can sing it together as they make love, inviting the child to join them. After the child is conceived, she sings it to the baby in her womb. Then she teaches it to the old women and midwives of the village, so that throughout the labor and at the miraculous moment of birth itself, the child is greeted with its song. After the birth, all the villagers learn the song of their new member and sing it to the child when it falls or hurts itself. It is sung in times of triumph, or in rituals and initiations. The song becomes a part of the marriage ceremony when the child is grown, and at the end of life, his or her loved ones will gather around the deathbed and sing this song for the last time.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

House for Sale

Over the past 2 weeks, we've toyed with selling our house. We've decided against it.

Thinking about selling, I recollected and laughed over and over about when Kent and I lived on Hastey Street. You may remember the story of the carpenter, I think I called him Ralph in my previous story, that we hired to re-do our master bathroom. It wasn't a good experience. Ralph was very very poor at carpentry.

I had a friend named Carolyn who was an absolute hoot. We had so much fun together, although we only hung out at school and work. Generally we didn't see each other away from those two settings. But once I invited Carolyn over to swim.

We had just put the house on the market and the new For Sale sign stood beside the road.

When Carolyn pulled up, I think I met her outside where she promptly began asking why we were selling and things like that. As we started inside, I changed our course from front door to back door because something was wrong with the front door. (I can't recall what was wrong, but within minutes of arriving at my house, I non-chalantly pointed out two things that we had to avoid because they didn't work properly. I wish I could remember what they were as it would make this tale more interesting, but I cannot.)

That very morning incompetent Ralph had wrapped up his work in the bathroom. It was a horrible disappointment. I was still reeling and took her to see the reason for my disappointment. After I showed it to her, I suggested she just stay there to change into her swimsuit. Therefore she was the first user of the new, horribly-re-done-by-an-incompetent-carpenter, bathroom.

She closed the door and then noticed there was no toilet paper. She tried to re-open the door, but couldn't. It was too tight. (More of Ralph's handiwork.) You needed to body-shove it open and she wasn't comfortable with that. She yelled at me and I returned with toilet paper. I forcefully jerked the door open to hand her the toilet paper. I left, shutting the tight door behind me.

Carolyn used the toilet and stripped off all her clothes to put on her swimsuit at the same time. Then she made the grave mistake of flushing the newly installed toilet. Need I remind you it was installed by an incompetent carpenter? Terrible noises erupted. Noises I couldn't identify, except Carolyn's yelling. "VALERIEEEE! VALERIEEE!"

I ran into the bedroom, forced the bathroom door open and there was Carolyn, naked, straddling the toilet trying to shut off the water supply to the toilet. The water pressure in the tank had dislodged the tank lid when she flushed and water was forcefully shooting straight up.

As anyone might have been, Carolyn was discombobulated by the whole ordeal. I squeezed into the tight fit with her and we managed to get the water supply turned off. As I'm turning the valve, Carolyn, wet with toilet water, naked, and shaken, yelled, "NO WONDER YOU WANT TO SELL THIS HOUSE!! IT'S FALLING APART!!"

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Minty Fresh Toilet

"All out of your regular toilet bowl cleaner? Try pouring 1/4 cup alcohol-based mouthwash into the bowl. Let it stand in the water for 1/2 hour, then swish with a toilet brush before flushing. The mouthwash will disinfect germs as it leaves your toilet bowl sparkling and clean."

I read this nifty trick this morning and considered running out that very moment to buy mouthwash to clean my toilets. NOT! Isn't mouthwash way more expensive than toilet bowl cleaner? Why in the world would someone do this? I'm a junkie for household hints, but this one's ridiculous.

Reading this reminded me of something from years ago. My friend Cathy bought a high dollar toilet cleaner and bragged and bragged about how great it was. I was talked into purchasing some of too. Where did she send me to buy this toilet bowl cleaner? The health food store. Everything at a health food store is expensive, and this was no exception. $19 (and this was 20 years ago). "But it only takes a squirt," she kept saying.

Health food stores make me nervous. They smell healthy in a dangerous sort of way. There are all kinds of things that I don't recognize, and it seems there's an oil for every kind of sexually transmitted disease, and that makes me paranoid that I might catch something while browsing through the soy beans and alfalfa sprouts.

At the health food store I was greeted by a nice lady who smelled weird. She wore dark black glasses with holes all over the lenses. The lenses weren't made of glass or see-through plastic. They were solid black plastic. I was puzzled by her glasses. As if she read my mind, she told me the glasses were going to help her eyesight by strengthening the eye muscles. "It takes some getting use to, but you eventually learn to see through all these little holes."

I got caught up in the store and all the "cures" it held that I forgot to ask the lady where the toilet cleaner was. I walked up and down the aisles studying the shelf goods and feeling healthier just by breathing in those spicy unidentifiable scents. I looked at prices too and that convinced me that I'd keep shopping at a regular store. I however felt like a pagan not buying something that made it look like I cared about my health. I picked up a cookbook - not your run-of-the-mill Good Housekeeping cookbook. (That evening I made a really boring potato soup and a carrot salad. Last time I used that cookbook as I recall.)

A near crippled man with sunken cheeks started toward me. He appeared to need this health food stuff a bit more than me. He was about 50 pounds underweight and he couldn't walk upright. I was taken aback when he asked if he could help me. I asked if he worked there. The "may I help you find something" should have been evidence enough of that, but this gentleman didn't look well enough to be working. However, he did work there, so I asked where the cleaning supplies were. He said they didn't carry cleaning supplies. I told him my friend had bought some toilet bowl cleaner there. At that, his eyes lit up. He knew what I was talking about. He shuffled (looked like painfully) back to the employees only section and came back holding a bottle just like Cathy's.

He came close to me like he had a secret to tell and asked if I knew how to use it. I took it from him and glanced at the bottle to see if there were directions. As I was doing that he whispered, "put a tablespoon in a glass of water and drink it first thing in the morning and do it again at bedtime."

I hesitated, then asked, "isn't this toilet cleaner?" He answered, "well we have to label it as toilet cleaner to get it into the country, but it's a body cleanser."

I took the stuff and let the crippled man and the woman with holey black glasses assume I was getting it to drink, but I never did. I used it to clean the toilet.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Potbelly Pig

Recently we had guests who were telling about their neighbor's intentions of getting a Vietnamese Potbelly Pig. I personally think that anyone who wants to have a pet pig in the house is a bit demented, but that's just my take on the subject. If someone wants a pet pig in the house, more power to them. I'll stick to dogs.

As my friend talked about this potbelly pig that might soon become her neighbor, I was reminded of my brief, but interesting, exposure to potbelly pigs. The girls, Gordon, and I were at a petting zoo. Because of my and the girls interest in petting zoos, we have been to quite a few. At this particular one, there were a couple potbelly pigs.

My city husband and kids didn't know I was familiar with pigs, so I was quite pleased when I had opportunity to show them a few of my piggy tricks.

I told them I knew how to make the pig go to sleep standing up and make him have a sleep-induced fall over. I always love to impress my kids and this was one of my moments in the sun.

I knelt down beside the pig and he and I got acquainted while I stroked him. Soon I was scratching the underside of his belly and telling them to watch closely. In no time, Mr Potbelly Pig was swaying back and forth with his eyes closed. Then, just as I predicted, he fell over. My family was awed by my hypnotic prowess.

I continued to rub his belly as my family stood mesmerized. Soon something began to emerge from Mr Potbelly's lower belly. We were all mildly horrified, as it looked like nothing we'd ever seen. I don't know quite how to say this, but Mr Potbelly's private part was out and it was shaped just like a cork screw. It looked like a black uncooked spiral noodle. Very gross and nasty looking, to say the least.

The kids let out horrified screams and ran away. Gordon and I stared, perplexed and speechless. Gordon got his wits back before me. Thoughtfully and slowly he articulated, "That gives a whole new meaning to screwing around."

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Eventful Evening at WalMart

My life has been enormously boring and mundane of late. Yawn. My writing has mirrored my life; stale, stagnate, ready for something new. Nothing comes to mind to tell, but I wanted to alert you all that I am alive and well - if boring and mundane are well.

Gordon had a course all weekend so the girls and I stayed home from church. That was the second time for us to do that recently. Since our last church experience, we have had such a hard time "entering in" to the church scene. We found a wonderful church, but there seems to be an insurmountable wall between us presently and us feeling like we have a church home. It has been discouraging, no fault of the church at all. There's just something wrong with us.

Both weekends that Gordon had courses, the girls and I had a worship service at home. Both services left me feeling so good. I can see how people get lured into "worshiping at home" rather than being part of a church family. Anyway, I don't plan to stay out of church. We will "beat" this lethargy that is keeping us distant from the church scene.

I just thought of a story to tell. When it happened, Gordon told me not to blog it. But now that some time has lapsed, I can.

To keep this a little simpler and so I don't have to tell so many needless details, let's call the store WalMart. There were some enormous sales going on so I took the girls to shop for some clothes. As WalMart is, it seemed a safe enough environment, right? Rachael wanted to look at shoes, Deborah and Hannah clothes, I was across the aisle in women's clothes and could see all of them. Have we not all done this? No big deal, eh?

So I start meandering over to the shoe department, going through the purses on my way. I could still see all the girls. (Mind you, before this experience, I wouldn't have had a problem with letting them out of eye sight if they were together and the store felt safe like WalMart.) As I'm looking at purses, Rachael gets really close to me and says, "Mama that guy is following me and he's giving me the creeps." I didn't immediately look for the guy, I said, "Just stay with me." It didn't cross my mind that he was really following her. I honestly figured he was just a creepy guy and I figured "just stay with me" solved that feeling.

I start making my way back toward the children's section where Deborah and Hannah were. They were still in my eye-sight. Rachael got caught up looking at the purses. When I got to the clothes department, Hannah gets near me and whispers, "Mama, that guy over there is giving me the creeps." Now I realized, two kids, who haven't been together to escalate this feeling in each other, are telling me the same thing, I think there is a creep around here. I turned all ears. I asked why he was giving her the creeps and she told me he's following her and trying to get really close. I got her to point him out. I comfort her and tell her that I am right there. She said, "Mom he keeps showing me something and I think he's being dirty."

I am even more all ears now. A million things are running through my head and I'm spitting out questions a mile a second. She said it may be his penis he's showing her and he keeps getting closer and closer.

The creep is aware that I am on to him. I sized him up really well and decided I could take him on and win. I was running all kinds of scenarios through my head from asking him why he wasn't showing me his penis, to slugging him, to tackling him. I didn't know what to do. He started walking quickly toward the entrance. I decide against tackling him, but I holler at a worker to come quick. She comes and I point him out to her and say, "he flashed my daughter." She yells, "He flashed your daughter?" When I confirm that that was what I said, she pulled out a phone and called security.

I didn't know what to do, but I wasn't asked to stay or anything. The man left.

We leave and talk long and hard on the way home. He showed Rachael "something" but she thought it was a toy in his pocket. She said he squeezed it and something pink came out. I don't know what to think, but I know something horrible just happened, but I'm thinking, Is it illegal to show a young girl a toy penis, was it really a toy and not the real deal?, and a million other things.

When we got home the girls told their dad about all this. Gordon gets all the details and then tells me I should call the police and report it "just in case."

With a lot of unease, thinking this was trivial in the eyes of the police and afraid I'd get a condescending, "Lady we have real crime to deal with," I phoned.

The officer took detailed information and seemed genuinely interested. He took all my pertinent information and told me he had already dispatched someone to that WalMart since I'd been on the phone with him. Yes, while I was talking to him, he dispatched someone. I was impressed.

Fifteen minutes later my doorbell rang and there were two police officers at the door. I started apologizing telling them I didn't mean to mislead them, nothing had happened that warranted them coming to my house, blah, blah, blah. He said, "Please understand, to us what happened is very serious. This man is a predator. We don't know what he has done, is planning to do, perhaps abduction,....." Abduction hadn't crossed my mind.

The officers took down everything we remembered. Since I'd sized him up really well to see if I could tackle him, I had a very good description. He said they had 2 units at WalMart viewing the security tapes and looking for him in case he returned. He seemed confident that with the good security WalMart has, the description we had, and the quick reporting of it, they would identify him.

He told me the incident warranted a 911 call and not to hesitate next time. Tackle him, slug him, pound him, whatever it took.

They offered us the police counseling services - counselors who work with children who've been molested. What was a big deal for us 10 minutes earlier was now a BIG deal. We didn't feel the girls needed professional counselling, but I appreciated the offer.

They left and Hannah said, "well I feel a little freaked out." We were able to laugh about it.

It provided incredible lessons for my young girls. We talked and talked and prayed. We talked about the little girls who might not have a mom nearby, what might have happened to them, and many other scenarios like that.

Later when I tucked Hannah in, she asked, "Mama, do you think maybe God led us to WalMart so that could happen to us as a way of protecting other little girls?" I told her she was very wise and it may have all been orchestrated by God.

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From Mindi (I couldn't resist)

Costco/Sam's Club ALERT!!!

I don't how many of you shop at Sam's Club or Costco, but this may be useful to know. I became a victim of a clever scam while out Shopping. This happened to me and it could happen to you!!

Here's how the scam works:

Two seriously good-looking 23-year-old well-built guys come over to your car as you are packing your shopping in the trunk.

They both are shirtless and start wiping your windshield with a rag and Windex, with their highly-defined chest muscles and rock-hard abs exposed. It's impossible not to look.

When you thank them and offer them a tip, they say 'No' and instead ask you for a ride to another Sam's Club or Costco. You agree and they get In the back seat. On the way, they start talking dirty about what they want to do to you. Then one of them climbs over into the front seat and begins kissing your neck and begs you to pull over so he can make love to you!!

While this is going on the other guy steals your purse!!

I had my purse stolen last Tuesday, Wednesday, twice on Thursday, again on Saturday, and also yesterday and most likely Tomorrow. I have a few more old purses in my closet that I can dig out for next week!

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

traffic circle part 2

Notice how the yellow lane can pull in front of the red lane. This is the part that gets me.
The idea behind a traffic circle, (this is written by someone who is just guessing. Please don't forget that), is to keep traffic flowing. There are no stop signs or traffic lights. 4 or 5 roads intersect and everyone keeps going. The outside lane yields to the inside lane.
People say it makes perfect sense and stuff like that. I guess maybe there is some merit to that, but I've seen many "near misses" so that alone tells me it's not perfectly clear.
In my story earlier, I got in the inside lane (yellow) and went round and round trying to get the nerve to get out.

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Traffic Circle

Rachael and Deborah had orthodontist appointments this morning. I chose a sunny window to sit and think profound thoughts. The profound thoughts alluded me, but I enjoyed a reminder of the past.

From the forth floor window, I looked down at the traffic circle below. That vantage point was one I'd never had -- looking down on the dreaded traffic circle.

Before moving to this fine city, I'd never encountered a traffic circle. Aside from this one close to my house, all the others in the city still cause me mild anxiety. I have friends who will drive blocks out of their way to avoid a round-a-bout. I joke that when I'm driving through a traffic circle, I close my eyes, accelerate, and hope for the best.

This morning as I looked down on the traffic circle, I remembered one of my earliest traffic circle experiences. I was taking my foster daughter, Angel, to the dentist; a dentist in this same complex.

I approached the traffic circle with significant trepidation. Gordon had prepped me on traffic circle protocol; the inside lane always has the right of way. This detail still baffles me. Obeying directions, I chose the inside lane. It didn't work for me. I kept driving around the traffic circle like it was an automobile merry-go-round. The third time past her dentist's office, 8-year-old Angel astutely asked, "What are you doing?"

I answered, "I'm trying to figure out how to get out of this traffic circle alive."

Angel was not impressed.

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Friday, March 02, 2007


How to clean house

1. Open a new file in your PC
2. Name it "Housework."
3. Send it to the RECYCLE BIN.
4. Empty the RECYCLE BIN.
5. Your PC will ask you, "Are you sure you want to delete Housework permanently?"
6. Calmly answer, "Yes," and press mouse button firmly......
7. Feel better? Works for me!

(Thanks Joan for the heads-up on this topic.)


Lifestyle Change Update

I just had my third visit with my nutritionist since I started my lifestyle change. I've lost six pounds since December 9. Doesn't sound too terribly impressive, does it? Now I could reason that I'm building muscle and muscle weighs more, but I figure my self control and abstinence have produced a 6 pounds loss, pure and unadulterated by bulky muscle mass.

It's not much, (especially since my goal is a bajillion pounds), but I do feel lighter -- those 6 pounds have made a difference. I did very well on my lifestyle change this week, yet I only lost one pound. At first I was disappointed, but now I'm reminding myself that one pound a week equals 52 pounds in a year. I could live with that.

I'm a few pounds shy of feeling confident enough to pose nude for a photo shoot, but I'm figuring with my continued success, I'll be ready for that in the spring of 2009.

Stay tuned for periodic updates.


Blood Pressure vs Doggie Pressure

Did you know that having a pet significantly reduces blood pressure? My humble advise: Get a dog and cuddle it every day.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Winning at Home

We listen to Christian radio in the car and the girls listen to Adventures in Odyssey every night on the Christian station. On this station there are these 2-minute clips called Winning at Home with Dan Seaborne. In these little snippets, he gives down-home advice for better family and home life. It's good stuff.

Last night when I tucked Hannah in (and did it a little too quickly), I kissed her and was about to leave her room when she shared a Winning at Home slice of advice.

"Mom, Dan Seaborne on Winning at Home said that bedtime, when you're tucking your kids in, is a good time for bonding. He said you should bring me a glass of water, sit on my bed, ask me about my day, talk to me more. He said you shouldn't be in a rush to get it over with."

Thus begins a new journey; my kids preaching at me. :-)


School Donations

This morning after the girls went to school but before I left for work, Gordon and I had a few minutes of coffee time together. I was telling him about a conversation I had yesterday that I thought pressed the boundaries of propriety.

Our kids attend a wonderful school. This school costs us $475 a month, which, in and of itself, is a financial sacrifice for us. PLUS I'm always being bombarded with fundraisers and the like. I always support these endeavors however I can. This year, however, I decided to forgo donating to the pleas for money or gifts for the upcoming annual auction.

Yesterday when school was almost over, a teacher phoned me and said something to the effect of, "I noticed you haven't sent anything for the auction. I'm about to head out and do some shopping for it and was wondering if Rachael or Hannah could come home and get a check."

I was taken aback by this, but agreed to getting a check to the school, pronto. Although I had made a conscious decision not to give to this cause, I was not prepared to actually say that in a formal sort of way to any representative of the school. I was hoping to slide my lack of donation under the radar.

The phone call from the teacher wasn't a huge deal, and given our history of supporting the fundraisers, it was reasonable for a teacher to think it was my oversight and that I really did intend to send a check. So there was no skin off my nose in that respect. I was simply unprepared to have a conversation about my intentions NOT to be involved this time and didn't expect to be so explicit. Hence I wrote a check and got it to the school within 20 minutes of the conversation.

So I'm telling Gordon all this this morning in great detail. I told him when I heard what the teacher said, I thought, "Well for goodness sakes."

I told him the same story a second time, this time altering what I thought when the teacher called to, "Well forever more."

After telling my story (twice) and using my mom's phrases of "Well for goodness sakes" and "Well forever more," I asked Gordon what he thought of what I'd just told him. Referring to my mom's phrases much more than my story, he said, "I think you're channelling your mom."

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