Wednesday, December 31, 2008

so today . . . is new year's eve. i had a kind of funny blog percolating about my nightmare at the grocery store today, but i need a certain irritated energy to write about what happened, and since then i have had a great dinner (which i did not have to prepare) and watched a cute movie. so i'm feeling a bit calmer now, and it just isn't coming to me. i guess i'll have to write something else.

2008 was a roller coaster year for me. i had some really wonderful times (like our anniversary cruise, a visit from an out of town friend, a road trip with diandra, getting used to my "new" car,) some not so wonderful times (rollie's broken finger and subsequent surgeries, wondering if i would have a job in september as my class size decreased, ongoing health issues,) and some really terrible times (i'm not even going to list them!) really, i guess that is just the way life is most of the time--some good, some bad, a lot of just "normal." it just seemed this year like we were living in extremes--really, really good or really, really bad. but i hope that when we look back on 2008, what we will remember is how we were together through it all, how we helped each other to laugh and to cry and to keep going (because there were times when we wanted to leave it all and move to australia!) i have the BEST family! my mom and dad, who are still going strong in their seventies--my husband who surprises me by bringing a soda to me at work, AND THEN gives me a brownie too, AND THEN tells me he just took my car to be washed AND waxed, and all on his day off--my daughter who has the most beautiful smile in the world, and is one of the smartest, bravest, funniest people i know. i hope 2009 is going to be a better year for all of us!

Monday, December 29, 2008

sunshine rocks!!

so today . . . i drove to lunch with the top down on my car. without the heat on. at the end of december! and no coat. i am still smiling . . .

Sunday, December 28, 2008

cal-trans driver or angel?

so today . . . we left ashland at about 2:30 a.m. we knew we might hit snow and ice in the mountains (and we did) so we thought if we left really early at least the traffic would be light (and it was!) so our plan was a good one--until 4 a.m. when rollie awakened me suddenly and said, "we have a problem!" i could tell by the urgency in his voice that we were in trouble. i opened my eyes and saw that it was still dark and the road was covered in snow and ice, and we were coasting to a stop as far off the side of the road as we could get (there wasn't much of a shoulder because of the snow that had been plowed off.) fortunately there wasn't much traffic. unfortunately we were 40 miles from the nearest town, our car wouldn't go into gear, and did i mention it was 4:00 in the morning?! so while rollie was trying to think what could be wrong and what to do about it and if we should call AAA, and i was thinking, "oh great! major car repair in a small, isolated town which will undoubtably be expensive and take several days," our daughter says from the back seat, "i think we should pray!" so we did. and about two minutes later a cal-trans truck pulled up beside us AT 4:00 IN THE MORNING!! rollie told the driver what our problem was, and he suggested that we check to make sure the 4 wheel drive hadn't partially disengaged. when we checked that, we found that our problem was solved! and when we pulled back onto the road, we found ourselves right behind a snowplow/gravel truck, which we were able to follow for the next several miles until the roads were once again clear. coincidence? i suppose it is possible. but the odds of a cal-trans truck pulling up behind us at just the time we needed help at 4 a.m. on a remote stretch of road seems pretty slim to me.

in our family we pray, because we believe that God hears us and cares about us and has the power to make a difference in our lives. and there have been many, many times over the years when God has clearly answered our prayers. but not like this! this was one of those times when i know God intervened. we had a plan, but it would have been expensive and time-consuming and, as it tur
ns out, unneccessary.

i am so thankful for my family--my husband who was carefully driving us home in terrible conditions and had the wisdom to say, "let's leave early," and my daughter who still has faith even though her life has taken some unexpected and difficult turns. our trip home could have been very different, but thanks to God's intervention we made it home safe and sound and are back to enjoying the california sunshine!

***this is the kind of snow we battled all week long!***

Saturday, December 27, 2008

all potato chips are not created equal

so today . . . was a travel day. we are on our way home to what we hope will be dry and sunny southern california from the currently snowy and wet oregon. after being on the road for a few hours we stopped for gas. now, when we are traveling by car, we don't just stop for gas--we stop for gas and bathrooms and food. that way we don't have to make intermediate stops, and we get to our destination sooner! but this means that sometimes we have to get food AT the gas station/mini-mart/bathroom which kind of limits our choices. since our stop was between lunch and dinner, i chose diet coke and BBQ lays potato chips. as i was eating my chips, i noticed that i was not eating them in a random way--i was looking in the bag and CHOOSING which chip to eat next. and i realized that all the chips in the bag are not created equal. there are three different kinds of chips. the worst ones are the ones that are all folded up. you know the ones i mean. there is no way to eat them without spilling crumbs on yourself, unless you just stick the whole thing into your mouth at once. i hate it when i put my hand in the potato chip bag and that is the kind of potato chip that comes out, because decisions must be made on how to eat it! then there are the large wavy chips. these are not so bad if they have a lot of flavoring on them, but many times they just have mostly salt. i don't know why this is. i mean all the chips ostensibly go through the same process, so why do some have lots of flavoring spices and some have mostly salt? the other problem with the large wavy chips is that they are too big to put in your mouth all at once. and lots of times they have air bubbles in them (and how exactly does a potato chip get an air bubble?!?) so when you bite into them, they crumble all over you! and that brings me to the last kind of chip--the very best kind of chip. this is the small, round, flat chip that is COVERED in seasoning! you know when you pull this chip out of the bag that you are in for a treat. you can pop them into your mouth easily and the taste is perfect, no matter what flavor you have chosen. if frito lay could figure out a way to make every chip the small round perfect kind, i am sure their stock would soar!!

interestingly enough, i find that this is not an issue with doritos. every corn chip is pretty much the same.

Friday, December 26, 2008

a shopping tradition

so today . . . we went shopping. i don't quite understand it, but that is what we always do on the day after christmas. you would think that after shopping in every spare moment for the last month, we would never want to set foot in another mall. but you would be wrong! there is just something about going out and looking for unexpected bargains and battling the crowds and standing in line for 30 minutes to buy yet another sweater . . . and getting up at 5 a.m. to do it . . . but for my daughter, my mom and i, shopping on the day after thanksgiving and christmas is about more than buying gifts for our family and friends and looking for something great at 75% off for ourselves. it is about being together. yes, we try on clothes and buy a few christmas ornaments for next year. we keep our eyes open for that great buy that we can use for gift exchanges next christmas (a $20 gift means nothing to us!! we want to find a $50 gift on SALE for $20!) diandra ALWAYS buys jeans, my mom ALWAYS clips the coupons for macy's, we ALWAYS find our best deal at j.c.penney, and most importantly, we ALWAYS eat breakfast at mcdonald's. and while we are doing all of that, we talk. we laugh. we help each other. we learn about each other. we connect.

a few years ago, i was alone on the day after thanksgiving. my mom and dad had been unable to come, and diandra and rollie were out of town. but thanksgiving night i went through all the ads by myself and made my list. and i was out of the house before the sun came up the next day. i was alone, but i still felt this pull to go to the mall. it wasn't as much fun as when my mom and diandra go with me, but i still felt kind of connected to them, even though they were far away. i was certainly thinking about them, and i knew they would be thinking about me. we are not always able to go together anymore. but this christmas, for the first time in three years, we all got to go together. and we had fun! we found some bargains, diandra got jeans, we used mom's coupons at macy's, and again, the best deal of the day was found at j.c.penney . . .

Thursday, December 25, 2008

thwarted by snow

So today . . . was christmas, one of my favorite days of the year. we always travel to oregon to spend the holidays with our families. we always drive, because that is just what we do. it is more affordable than flying and we kind of enjoy the time together in the car (all 17 hours of it!) even though some years we have been delayed in the mountains by snow and ice, we always make it. then we spend christmas eve with my extended family, christmas morning at my mom and dad's, and then christmas afternoon and evening with rollie's family. it is always the same, and we always look forward to the opportunity to see our families since we live so far away. but this year was different. the week before christmas i started getting emails from my mom about the weather. it was snowing and snowing hard! and more snow was in the forecast. for a while we thought we might not be able to make the trip at all. but we finally decided to give it a try and hit the freeway at 1:30 a.m. we arrived safely, although the last 40 miles was slow going as the roads were snow and ice covered. but we made it! and it continued to snow. it was beautiful. we took walks in the snow and took pictures of each other. we wore our new coats and hats that were purchased in anticipation of the snow. and it snowed some more. we braved the slippery roads to finish up the last few items on the christmas list and go to starbucks. we walked around the neighborhood at night to look at the lights. and it kept snowing. on christmas eve we learned that about half of my extended family was not going to be able to get to our family gathering. oh well, i thought, there is always next year. then we learned that rollie's parents were not going to be able to make it for christmas either--they had 7 feet of snow at their house! finally it stopped snowing, but it was still cold! we enjoyed christmas morning with my family, and then started up the mountain to my sister-in-law's house. we got about 3/4 of the way there and had to turn around and come back, because the snow was so heavy on the road we couldn't get through. so our christmas this year was different. we didn't get to see all of the people we love, and that was disappointing. everything was covered in snow, and while it was beautiful, we weren't able to get out and run around like we usually do. still, i'm glad we made the trip--we enjoyed the snow and got to see some of the people we love. but i hope that next year will be back to business as usual!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

i have a blog!

SO, TODAY i was cleaning out my email inbox, and i ran across an email from vistaprint (which many of you have probably also received) advertising 250 free business cards. i have received this email several times and deleted it, but this time it caught my eye because diandra had mentioned that she needed to order some business cards. so i opened it and started playing around on it and decided i needed business cards myself--well, maybe NEEDED isn't the right word--but they were free, and i thought it might be handy to have some. first, i picked a background. mine is a turquoise blue with a bright yellow sunflower on the left. and then the trouble began . . . i started filling in the information to be printed on the front of the card and realized that there wasn't that much information to include. i put my name, address, home phone number, and email on it, but the card looked kind of sparse. i don't own a business and didn't want to make the card "cute" by listing my hobbies. finally i thought maybe i could put "consultant" on it. what does that really mean anyway? just that you will tell people what you think about something, and i can do that! i thought about putting my myspace url on too, but since that is set to private, it really isn't going to do most people any good to have it. then diandra said, "you put your home address and phone number on your cards?!?!" i kind of thought that was standard information--i mean it is in the phone book (although does anyone use the phone book anymore?) she said she thought it would be better to put my cell phone number on it. but i kind of guard my cell phone number--do i really want it printed on my "business" cards? i don't know . . . i don't know . . . by now i have almost given up on business cards when diandra suggests that maybe i need a blog. then i could add my blog address instead of myspace. i already blog on myspace, and enjoy it, but it isn't accessible to everyone i know. so i decide that maybe i do need my own blog. so here it is! now i can go back and get those business cards, and maybe even post it notes and pens and rubber stamps and return address labels . . . and if you know anyone who needs a consultant, you know where to find me--right here at