Saturday, February 28, 2009

gem show revisited

so today . . . i went back to the gem show. it was fun to be there yesterday with rollie, but when i'm with someone else, i look at things differently than when i am alone. i notice things that are unusual or that i think they will find interesting, but i move through pretty quickly and don't really get to spend the time i want just looking at things. so today i went back by myself to wander about alone.

(photo disclaimer--i know these photos are not very clear, but there was a "no photos" sign at the gate, so i had to sneak these pictures with my phone--i should be a spy!)

as i entered the gate, i was handed a fabric shopping bag. i thought, "how nice," and put it over my shoulder. but as i walked up and down the aisles, i knew why they gave me that bag. it was just begging to be filled up!as i said yesterday, gem shows are different now than they used to be. this show had lots and lots of finished jewelry, ranging from inexpensive silver rings to very expensive gold and gemstone pieces. at this booth, i saw a little girl, who was about 5, choosing a ring to take home. this vendor had tiny little silver rings with stones in them for just a few dollars. she looked and looked, finally making her choice, and then bounced up to the cash register to hand over her money so she could head home with her treasure. and then there were the beads . . . they were everywhere . . . rows and rows of them. there were beads made from every stone i know, and some that were new to me--and they came in all shapes and sizes. there were pearls dyed in every color of the rainbow--large pearls, small pearls, coin pearls, baroque pearls, button pearls, and mabe' pearls. there were faceted gemstone beads and swarovsky crystals (which, btw, were blinding!) it was amazing and overwhelming all at once, but i managed to choose a few strands to bring home.

another thing i noticed was how often organic materials were used. as i said, there were miles and miles of pearls. and many different kinds of shells. this is the coolest thing i found--although i was very tempted by the pendants and bracelets made out of spotted shells . . .the best thing that happened to me occurred right before i left. i had been looking at moonstones all day, but they were just too expensive for me--i was on a limited budget. but on my way out, i found a silver ring with a nice sized moonstone for only $10. i was so excited, until i found out that the vendor couldn't process debit cards, and i only had $8 in cash. he kindly took my $8, and i left with an empty wallet and a cool moonstone ring. (i tried to take a picture, but it just didn't capture the luminescence of the stone.)

but my favorite moment of the day happened at a real rock booth. this little area was different from the rest of the show. the tables were covered in black cloth with natural crystals on display. there was a boy about 11 or 12 looking at the rocks. he picked up a piece of iron pyrite and handed it to the owner of the booth. when he found out he could own that excellent rock for only $4, he was ecstatic! it's been a long time since i've seen a kid so excited about a rock--even a very cool rock like iron pyrite!

rock shows seem to be in the process of being taken over by people looking for finished materials to use in jewelry making. and that's ok, i guess--there were a lot of pretty things to look at. but i like that sometimes, rock shows are still about kids (and maybe some grown-ups) getting excited about rocks.

Friday, February 27, 2009

rocks, rocks everywhere . . .

so today . . . rollie and i went to the gem faire out at the orange county fairgrounds. this event lands at the fairground three times a year, i think. it has been a long time since we have gone, but i had tickets for free admission, and we had time, so off we went . . .

i LOVE rock shows. my dad is a "rock hound," and i remember going to rock shows with him when i was a kid. the venues weren't as big as they are now, but every single booth was stuffed with rocks--REAL ones--not glass beads or carved bone or silver charms and chains, but ROCKS! and these were not all cut and polished and set into jewelry--these rocks were raw and just waiting for US to cut and polish them and set them into jewelry. and we did. my dad would use his big rock saw (that had belonged to HIS grandfather, who shared his love for rocks) to cut the chunks into slabs. then i would look at piece after piece to find just the right one to cut into just the right shape, and then smooth and polish it so my dad could make it into a ring. i loved rings . . .

when we would go on vacation--the drive back to visit relatives in iowa--my dad didn't stop for much besides gas and food. but if we saw a good rock shop along the way, we could usually convince him that it was time to stretch our legs and check it out. and again, many times we returned to the car with a new rock in our possession.

one christmas, there was a huge box under the tree with my name on it. but the puzzling thing was that it was from my little brother. this box was big, and heavy, and it rattled. i was pretty sure it wasn't little shaped and scented soaps. it was too mysterious! on christmas morning i opened it without a clue about it's contents, and found . . . a bunch of gravel and crumpled up newspaper. it was pretty disappointing, because i had high hopes for what might be in that box (even if it was from my little brother.) and then, he pointed out the tiny wrapped bundle taped to one corner of the box. i opened it up, and there was a silver ring in the shape of a dragon, clutching a piece of polished sheen obsidian! it was a ring design i had fallen in love with, but hadn't been able to buy. and there it was, complete with a beautiful stone, in disguise, and under the tree just for me.

and then there were the rock tables. i don't know how many rock tables my dad made, but i wanted one so badly! so he said i could make a small one. he gave me some rocks to sort through and drew a circle the size of my little table so i could lay out the design. i picked the prettiest rocks, but what i really wanted was tiger's eye and i couldn't find any. when we started my table, my dad poured the resin into the form, carefully followed my "rock layout," added the crushed glass, and poured in more resin. we waited the requisite 10 days (i think) that seemed like forever for the table to dry. when the time came to pop it out of it's form, a miracle had occurred--there was a piece of tiger's eye in my little table after all!
several years after we were married, rollie bought me a beautiful amethyst ring for my birthday. we have a good friend who is a jeweler, and he and rollie had tracked down a lovely lilac colored stone cut in a very unique way and set it into a ring. it quickly became my favorite piece of jewelery, and my love for rocks began to take on a different look as rollie started collecting gemstones for me to wear.

when we were at the rock show today, looking at all those rocks in different colors and designs, i said to rollie, "you know, when God was creating the earth, He could have just made all the rocks the same--gray or blue or white--but He didn't. He used all these vibrant colors in all these different designs and forms, and then scattered them all over the world." when i think about it, the details of creation astound me. really. once, my goal was to collect one of each kind of rock and gemstone known to exist, but now i think that is an unattainable goal. new rocks are being discovered all the time--i can't keep up!

i love rocks. i feel all happy when i am looking at rocks. when i was little, i'm sure it was partly because of the connection i felt with my dad and his love for rocks, and i think that is probably still a part of it. i have a lot of good rock-related memories of my childhood. rollie continues to indulge my love for rocks--today, by going to the rock show with me and looking at rocks until his eyes were probably rolling back in his head. after we had walked up each and every aisle in the show, i said, "ok, we can go now." but he said, "no, we need to buy something to prove you were here!" because he knows that besides looking at all those beautiful stones, part of the fun of a rock shop is choosing something to take home to remind you of the fun you had looking at all those rocks . . .

Thursday, February 26, 2009

table talk

so today . . . i was sitting at a table with my two little kindergarten boys. they were working on an art project and talking to each other. i was doing some computer stuff, so while i heard their voices, i wasn't really tuned in to what they were saying. as i sat there, staring at the computer, i realized how tired i was. "i'm tired!" i said. and joshua said, "of us?"

i just sat there for a minute. and then i laughed and said, "no! not of you!"

they do talk a lot. and it is easy to just let their voices just sort of flow around me and not really listen to what they are saying. and sometimes i do that, because as i said, they talk ALL THE TIME. it's language development run amok. but i find that when i am listening to them, they just crack me up! they are the sweetest little boys. they complete their work carefully. they usually make good choices. they hug me for no reason. and yet, they draw pictures of tyrannasaurus rex and great white sharks with bloody teeth. i guess that's a boy thing--diandra drew rainbows!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

let this be a warning to all you health nuts

so today . . . i ate a whole wheat hot dog bun. i will never do it again.

for the last few years, we have been making some changes in the way we eat. we eat less sugar and more vegetables. we don't eat french fries (unless it is a special occasion!) we eat more chicken and fish and less hamburger . . . i even eat broccoli.

and we eat whole grain products instead of white. i have discovered that you can find bread in almost any form made with whole grains--not just sliced bread, but also english muffins, bagels, rolls, pasta (although i still haven't found whole grain lasagne noodles,) and pita bread. so when i found whole grain hot dog buns, i thought, "yeah!" i mean, i eat quesadillas made with whole grain tortillas, pizza with whole grain crust, and steel cut oatmeal (the kind that takes 40 minutes to cook.) so i thought whole grain hot dog buns were going to be great--another win in the carb war. but i was wrong. tonight i ate one, and trust me, it isn't a win.

when it comes to hot dog buns, that is apparently where i draw the line on whole grains. it is just not right. really, who are we kidding?!? if i wanted to eat something good for me, would i even be eating a hot dog? NO! hot dogs are fun food. you eat them at ball games or the zoo or the swap meet (or at costco--yum!) if you want something healthy to eat, you order a veggie burger or (horror!) a tofu burger--or at least chicken. there are just some foods that should be left alone, like bar-b-que potato chips or fruit loops or croissants.

so the next time i decide to eat a hot dog, i am just going to eat it slowly and enjoy every (bad for me) bite. i won't do it too often, but when i do, it will include a squishy white bun . . . and maybe even french fries or bar-b-que chips . . .

Monday, February 23, 2009

no brain, no title . . .

so today . . . i woke up with a killer headache! maybe it was the result of all that crankiness yesterday--i don't know, but it was pretty awful. i drugged myself and dragged myself off to school. thankfully i only live about a mile from where i work, so there wasn't much driving involved. it was pretty quiet when i arrived, but as the kids started filling the room, the noise level rose. it was my turn to do music, and i thought music time might kill me--all that noise and jumping around! but ms. martha said she would do it for me. i agreed to do chapel for her tomorrow in return. (i would have probably given her my car if she had asked! i'm glad she didn't think of that . . . )

so i got through the morning. but by the end of it, i was just kind of coasting with the noise of the children swirling around me. as we were serving lunch, ms. joy asked me about how i was feeling.

you know how sometimes adults talk over the heads of children thinking that the kids are probably too involved in their own stuff to be listening? well, believe me, they are listening! when i replied to joy that all the noise was just a cacophony in my head, one of the children looked up at me and said, "there's coffee in your head?" it made me laugh, even though the laughing made my head hurt even more . . .

i think i need some sunshine. this weather is about to do me in . . .

Sunday, February 22, 2009


so today . . . has not been a happy day. i will just warn you that i feel cranky! i've been by myself most of the day, which is probably a good thing considering how grumpy i am. it has been cloudy today--no rain, no sun, no wind, nothing but clouds. no weather at all! and since it is sunday, i have to go to work tomorrow which means getting up early which i don't want to do. i just want to get in bed, pull up the covers, and stay there! i don't want to snap at anyone or be mean, but i feel that sort of behavior is awfully close to erupting. if i can just make it to bed without having to talk to anyone, i think i can avoid the whole being mean thing . . . so here i go, up to bed . . .

and as scarlet o'hara would say, "tomorrow is another day . . ."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

technology, my hero!

so today . . . diandra is at winter camp with 40 teens! the house seems really quiet, which is odd, because even when she is here i don't see her that much. but somehow i sense that she is gone. and i am missing her . . .

last year when she went up, she had to play in the snow in her tennis shoes and sweatshirt jacket because she didn't have any really warm clothes. but this year she is prepared, thanks to our trip to beaverton at christmas. we both had to get snow boots and waterproof coats before we went, because the weather was so bad up there. i know that she is staying nice and dry and warm in her long puffy coat and boots! at least i hope so. here is the message i saw on facebook today from her: "just flew. like literally. 15 feet in the air. and not on purpose..." as her mom, this worried me a bit. so i sent a reply saying, "you had better be OK!" to which she replied. "i'm ok. some of the boys thought it would be funny to push me down a very large hill and i got huge air and slid down without the sled. just got ice burns. but i'm ok." you see THIS is why i love technology. without cellphones and computers and the internet, we would not have had that bit of communication today. she sent the original message to facebook from her phone, i replied on my laptop to facebook, which sent the message to her phone. then she texted my phone to let me know she was ok. so through the wonders of technology i got to share a little bit in her day without having to be cold and wet and surrounded by teens!

as much as i love some of those kids, let's just say that i am glad to be sitting at home with my computer in my lap and a fire in my fireplace. and ice cream leftovers waiting in my freezer . . .

Friday, February 20, 2009

i scream, you scream . . .

so today . . . i sat down to write my blog and thought, "it's friday night--i need ice cream." i don't keep ice cream in the freezer, because that would be too easy. so if i want ice cream, i have to get in the car and go get it, which usually keeps me on the straight and narrow--but not tonight.

tonight i got in my car and headed out. the weather was beautiful today and the top was already down on the car, so i just left it down and cranked up the heat! i drove about a block and realized i needed music blaring from the stereo, but in a rare moment of organization i had put all the cds away in their compartment (which is kind of behind me.) i pulled over to the curb (just for you, mom, because i know you worry about my multi-tasking while i drive) to safely remove a cd and put it in the player. and then i continued in search of ice cream.

it was a little after 9:00 p.m., but that was no problem. within about two miles from my house i can choose dairy queen, yogurtland, or cold stone creamery to satisfy my craving. plus chic-fil-a, wienerschnitzel, and el pollo loco also serve ice cream. given all those choices, my personal favorite is the stuff at el pollo loco. i don't know what is in it (it is probably all artificial plastics) but it is so smooth and creamy . . .

since it was such a nice night, i decided to go through the drive through rather than park and go inside. i don't know what the people ahead of me ordered, but i was afraid my ice cream would be melted before i got to the window! this ice cream is soft and melts quickly, so i had to turn off the heat on the way home, but thankfully my sweatshirt kept me warm.

then for the best part--after i got home, i added dark chocolate m&m's! yum! they get so cold and crunchy when mixed into the ice cream. and the very best part? i still had valentine colored m&m's to use, and you know how i feel about those!

i only ate half of the ice cream and put the rest in the freezer for tomorrow. but then i decided i needed a photo for the blog, so i had to add m&m's to the saved portion for the picture. and once i had added the m&m's, i had no choice but to eat the rest . . .

i love friday nights!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

emus rock!

so today . . . i've been working on my digital photo files--AGAIN! it is a never ending job, although i am happy to say that i am off to a good start with my 2009 photos. they are nicely sorted, and i have ruthlessly deleted the mediocre ones. of course, i have probably only taken 20 photos this year--mostly of my valentine flowers and birthday cake--but still . . .

since my 2009 photos are under control and my 2008 photos are all organized, i have moved on to 2007. it is almost done except for the pictures of the trip rollie and diandra took to australia. let me just say right here that the folder i am working on is over 4.5 gb!! that's right, GIGABYTES! these are not just rollie & diandra's photos--they are the combined photos of everyone who went on the trip. there are multiple shots of everything! and my sorting and deleting is somewhat complicated by the fact that i didn't go on the trip, so sometimes i see a photo that looks totally random, but i think that maybe it has some meaning for them.

with such a huge volume of pictures, i have had to divide them into sub-folders and deal with each one individually. then i click through all the pictures in each folder and delete the obvious ones--the ones that are out of focus, or that have unfamiliar people in them, or when there are 14 shots from the same angle of the opera house . . . then i go back and look at each picture more closely to decide what to keep and what to delete.

today i was working on the folder from their day at steve irwin's zoo. it was one of their best days, they said, and they took plenty of pictures! so as i am clicking quickly through the pictures, i come to the emus. and i started laughing! it was such a funny series of shots. in fact, the emus sort of reminded me of someone . . .

but i'm not saying who . . .

it has been fun to work with the pictures from this trip. they had such a good time together, and you can see that in their photos. it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and i am so glad we were able to work it out so they could both go. i'm probaby going to post some more pictures from this trip in the next few weeks. with over 4 gb of photos to choose from, you know there are some really good ones . . .

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

a change

so today . . . i decided not to blog on wednesdays anymore. it is the busiest day of my week. i leave home for work about 7:45 a.m. and after work and band rehearsal and dinner and bible study and sometimes checking in with the teens, i don't get home until almost 9:00 p.m. and by then i am tired--too tired to blog. i've been doing it anyway, but then i get to bed really late and that makes me extra cranky thursday morning. and nobody wants to see that!

so i am giving myself a break and taking wednesdays off. trust me, it is for the greater good!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

tivo: good or evil . . .

so today . . . i realized that i am somewhat addicted to tivo. i'm not proud of it, but there it is.

tivo entered our lives a few years ago. we had heard others talk about the wonders of tivo, but for us, recording tv shows we didn't want to miss on video tapes seemed to be working--it was a little cumbersome, but it worked.

then the day came when we were going to have to replace the old VCR, so we started checking out the whole tivo thing and decided to give it a try. we started with one in the family room.

and then the angels sang!

i am telling you, it was like magic! it practically programmed itself. there was no more waiting to fast forward four hours into a tape to watch what you had recorded at the end. no popping tapes in and out of the machine. we could pause while watching live tv if we needed to leave the room. and instead of setting it to record at a certain date and time, we just chose the shows we wanted, and it would find them and record them no matter when they were on! it was so easy! so we got one for another room. and then, of course rollie needed one in the "man room." and THEN we learned that they could "talk" to each other through our network, which meant we could watch anything any one of the tivos recorded on any of the tvs. it was wonderful!

ok, now i know there are those of you are saying, "that sounds like an awful lot of tv." and it does. but we like to watch tv at our house. (we also like to read books and listen to music and talk to each other--oh yeah, and i like to play on my computer, usually while watching tv . . . ) but we seem to have a knack for liking shows that are: 1. cancelled after one season, OR 2. on at the same time as other shows we like to watch, OR 3. are just on too late for us to watch when we have to get up for work the next day. so for us, tivo gives us the flexibility to watch the shows we like when it is convenient for us.

but back to my addiction. over the weekend we got a tv for the family room, which meant all the tvs shifted, and their tivos along with them. this would have been done without incident, except the tivo we were planning to use in the family room didn't work with the new tv. so now, i sit in the family room watching a tivoless television. i know there is no tivo, and yet i keep reaching for the remote to zip through commercials, or pause it while i go to the kitchen, or to look at the online tv guide. i mean, i have to actually watch what is being broadcast and stay in this room if i want to see a show--it won't wait for me without tivo. and the commercials . . .

(rollie says don't worry--a tivo will soon appear here in the family room. of course, he says this to me from the man room, where tivo still rules . . .)

Monday, February 16, 2009

my fiftieth post

so today . . . is my 50th blog post. wow! i am kind of impressed with myself . . .

most days i really enjoy writing, but there are those days where i get started late, or i can't think of anything to write about, or i am just too tired to think about writing. and then i think about how i feel when i go to check the blogs i read and there aren't any new posts--it is disappointing, and i feel a little bit like, "well what am i going to do now? i had planned to spend the next five minutes reading about diandra's teens, or looking at jasmine's lovely photos, or catching up on what is happening with my other friends and family, but there's nothing new to read." i know that the bloggers i follow don't write every day, but still, when NONE of them have a new blog, i miss it. so i try to write something every day.

it is fun to put down my thoughts. but i have discovered that i also really enjoy reading the comments on my blogs--even my friend wendy's comment of "you're pathetic," which is what she says since i can't see her rolling her eyes at my insights. (don't worry about my feelings--it's how she shows love!) my blogs tell you what i think, and your comments let me know what you think. and it tells me that people are reading.

i spent a good part of my rainy saturday this weekend catching up on the blog of a friend of mine. she lives in seattle and loves to garden and knit and cook, and she raises a lot of her own food. we were best friends when we were kids, but as adults our lives are very different from each other. yet i found her blog to be interesting reading, and it helped me to get to know who she has become. as i read her blog, i found myself thinking of what a nice life she has created. at first i just read the entries, but after reading a few months of blogs, i found myself commenting--i couldn't just read, i wanted to respond. i think that is a sign of a good blog. a good blog makes you think about something, and you want to let the writer in on what you are thinking.

so since this is my 50th blog, if you have never left a comment before i am going to ask you to leave one. i am curious about who is reading and what you think.

and as for my friend lisa, your blog gave me a cozy afternoon of reading in front of the fire while the uncharacteristic rain pounded outside. i hope you got my comments. and keep on blogging!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

happy birthday to meee!

so today . . . is my birthday!

when i got up, rollie had already gone to the church. but he left me one of those cards that plays music (it got my head boppin') and my third bag of dark chocolate m&m's (no wonder there was only one bag left at target the other day.)

then, just before i left for church, diandra came down to wish me happy birthday. and while hugging me she said, "i'm glad you are one year older and not dead!" she is finally embracing my birthday motto of "it's better than being dead!"

one friend brought me flowers, and another brought me a very chocolatey cake--yum yum.
some of the teens threatened to sing happy birthday to me during church, but thankfully they apparently believed my threats of banning them from the band if that were to happen. then one of them asked me how old i was, and i said i was old enough not to have to count anymore!

my mom and dad called me. rollie took me to lunch, and diandra took me to the mall.

i received many happy birthday wishes on facebook. i know facebook isn't a real place, but the people who inhabit it are real and they remembered that today was my birthday. (ok, maybe they didn't remember, but facebook reminded them. it still counts!)

as i get older, my birthdays are not such a big deal. it doesn't matter what we do. it doesn't matter how old i am. it doesn't matter if there is cake (although it's nice when there is!) even the presents, which i still love, are not as important to the day as they used to be. what matters most to me is being with my family and knowing that there are people who care. and today that happened. i had a great birthday . . .

and here is a comic that was in the paper, today on my birthday. i hope you can read it, because it made all of us laugh right out loud! (the dad alligator has an accent--thus six becomes seex.)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

i got the best one!

so today . . . is valentine's day, and i really wanted to blog about my favorite guy, my husband rollie. but i am having a difficult time "using my words" to say what i want to say. i wanted this to be a very special blog, choosing just the right words so that you would all understand just how wonderful he is. but my creativity is not flowing . . .

so in the absence of clever thoughts, i am just going to make a list of some of his best qualities. please understand that this list is not comprehensive--it just lists the things that are on my mind today . . .

1. he never forgets an important date--and even though my birthday is the day after valentine's day, in our family they are two separate celebrations
2. he is funny--ok, sometimes goofy, but i can't help but laugh anyway
3. he is smart--and clever and wise
4. he likes to read--and i don't think he ever forgets anything that he reads (see #3)
5. he loves dogs--which works out well since i don't think i can be happy without a dog in the house
6. he watches reality tv with me--and pauses it when i feel the need to discuss people's stupid choices!
7. he picks up after himself--in 30 years, i don't think i have ever had to pick up any of his stuff!
8. he is trustworthy--i know he always has my back
9. he only wears white or black socks--which makes folding the laundry much, much easier
10. he pays the bills--so i don't have to
11. he will watch girly movies--and pretends he doesn't notice if i cry (which hardly ever happens anyway)
12. he does the right thing--always, even if it is hard
13. he is generous--especially with me, but not just with me
14. he works hard
15. he is an electronics savant--i don't know how he magically fixes my electronics, i am just glad he can.
16. he brings me flowers (or diet pepsi) just because he is thinking of me
17. he washes my car--well, technically he takes it to be washed, but the result is the same. and one time when he brought it back, he had put new sunshades in the windshield that looked like the beach!
18. he always starts the day out happy--which can be really annoying to a person (who me?) who generally wakes up cranky.
19. he is cute--well, he is.
20. he loves me--always and forever, no matter what

he is a great guy, and i couldn't have chosen a better husband. happy valentine's day! now go tell your special someone what you love about them!

Friday, February 13, 2009

does the color really make a difference?

so today . . . i bought the last bag of valentine colored dark chocolate m&m's from the target by our house.

have i mentioned how much i LOVE dark chocolate m&m's? i try not to eat very much sugar any more, unless it is christmas and i am eating my mom's special o'henry bars--i will throw my own daughter under the bus if it means more o'henry bars for me--or it is my birthday and i am eating chocolate cake from hof's hut (or from my friend wendy!) i do, however, eat a lot of dark chocolate m&m's. it is the most perfect candy--and apparently good for you too!

there is something extra good about the valentine colored ones. the regular colors are fine, and the fall color mix and christmas color mix look festive. but the valentine ones are the best! they are impossible to resist! the different shades of red, pink, and white are so beautiful whether they are mixed into ice cream or sitting in a dish. of course, they don't last very long in either location! and i don'tknow why, but i think they taste better too . . . so at this time of year i always try to stock up on the valentine ones, but today our target had just one bag left.

thank goodness there are at least three other targets within about 3 miles of my house . . . hehehe!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

oh, THAT'S what the little green dot is . . .

so today . . . i was just hanging out on the internet, trying to decide what to blog about, when a little green dot appeared at the bottom of my screen. yesterday, i realized that the little green dot means that my friend wendy is online.

it took me a little while to learn this. usually i use my computer with the sound off, because i am typically also watching tv or talking to rollie or i'm at school, and i don't want the computer making noise. so i didn't hear the "ding" when wendy was trying to message me. i would eventually SEE that she had been online, but by then she would be off. she couldn't figure out why i wouldn't respond, which i could tell by reading her comments --"why isn't this thing working?!?!?!" she would say.

but yesterday, i finally saw the green light and was able to respond when she tried to talk to me. and then tonight, i saw the light and IM'd her first! i am learning . . .

when you IM someone, the conversation is a little weird, because there is a bit of a time lag. most of the time while i am responding to what she has written, she is writing something else. so you sort of end up having two parallel conversations with the same person at the same time. it's interesting. and fun.

some might ask, why not just pick up the phone and call? i think it is kind of like the difference between interacting on a social page like myspace or facebook, and writing a letter. a letter or a phone call needs an agenda, but you don't really have to have anything to say to message someone. it's just a little, "hey, how are you doing?" and then you move on. even the subject matter tends to be a little trivial and changes quickly. after all, if you had anything important to say, you would call . . .

some people bemoan the isolation of a society of people sitting at home communicating by typing messages to each other on their computers instead of getting out there and living their lives among others. i agree that it is probably not socially or emotionally healthy if all your relationships are electronic ones. but the truth is, i am finding that i am able to renew and sustain friendships with people who don't live where i do, that were all but lost to me before myspace, facebook, instant messaging, and blogs became a part of my life. if i wait until i have something important to say before i write or call anyone, it never happens. but the beauty of the internet is that sometimes just posting "hey, i was thinking about you today," can start an electronic conversation that helps connect people. (and besides, without twitter and blogs i would never know where diandra was . . . )

i wasn't going to blog tonight, because wendy and i IM'd for about 40 minutes, and i didn't have any idea of what to write about, and i was hungry. my plan was to just explain that, so at least there would be something for you guys who check my blog every day (thank you!) to read, and then i was headed for the kitchen.

but look what happens once i get started. the beauty of the internet strikes again . . .

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

the power of a doctor's words

so today . . . i found out i don't have skin cancer--woohoo! a few weeks ago, my doctor said, "i think you should see a dermatologist about a couple of moles on your back." those are words to strike fear into your heart! i can't even really see the moles because of their position on my back, so i can't say how long they have been there or if they have changed. i was not a wealth of helpful information. and here in california, it is not uncommon to hear of people you know having skin cancers removed. most of the time it turns out not to be a big deal, but it can be serious. so when a doctor says i need to see a dermatologist, i get a little worried. and when she says "as soon as possible," i get a little more worried. when the nurse took my blood pressure today and said it was a bit high, i thought, "well, yeah--i might have skin cancer!" i may have overreacted a little, but not knowing can be nerve wracking--at least for me. so when the dermatologist came in, took one look, and said that they were just ordinary old moles, i was sooo relieved! i always assume the worst--i always think i am going to die--but not today!!!

that nurse should take my blood pressure now!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

no, i'm not related to kevin bacon

so today . . . i was on facebook. i know, i know, i spend way too much time online, but there it is.

anyway, i was on facebook, and i had three requests for an application about relatives. normally i don't like to add new applications because they tend to clutter up my page. but this request came from my daughter, one of my nieces, and another very cool guy who i kind of think of as a nephew, but he is really the son of my cousin, so i don't know what that makes him to me, but we act like he is diandra's cousin so i think of him like a nephew . . .

ANYWAY, the idea is this-- i mark the people on my contact list who are relatives, and then send the app on to those people. and then they do the same. as this continues, we each theoretically end up finding people we didn't even know we were related to--think "six degrees of separation" only with people you are related to, and not kevin bacon. since i love the people who asked me to do this, i did it--even though i had to add an app.

it only took a few seconds to go through my list and mark my relatives, but something interesting happened as i did that. i found myself starting to mark people that are not related to me! now, i have a wonderful family--i wouldn't trade them for any other group of people. but i guess i've also been blessed with some very good friends. some are people who have gone through difficult circumstances with me. some are people i have known for a long time. some are people who are like me in so many ways that it is hard to believe we are NOT related. and with some, there is just an unexplainable connection--it's like our brains are networked.

i needed to see that. sometimes i feel like an island in the middle of a huge ocean, and it was good to be reminded that i'm not. i have bridges to lots of other islands. most of these islands don't live where i live, but thank goodness for bridges (like the internet!) i was never someone who had a lot of friends, but i AM someone who has some awesome friends! and i am so thankful for that!!

so thank you, to you guys who are my friends. it's good to know you are out there. i love you!

and to diandra, holly, and james--thanks for bugging me with the new app! i love you guys too!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

you can get what you wish for?!?

so today . . . at recess as i scanned the gym (because we can't go outside, because it's been raining and raining and raining) my eyes stopped when i saw this.amid all the chaos that is "recess in the gym," there sat joshua. joshua is a delightful little boy who always has a ready smile and loves to give hugs. he is also busy, busy, busy, so this was an especially unusual sight. as i walked closer, i heard him saying, "ommmmmm." when i got to him, he opened his eyes and smiled that big smile. and then i said . . .

"joshua, what are you doing?"
"i'm wishing."
"really. where did you learn to do that."
"on tv."
"oh, you saw people on tv doing this."
"what else did they do?"
"just this." now i am thinking, definitely not must see tv!
"and what did they say?"
"they said . . . " and then he closed his eyes and assumed the position, and said "ommmm."
"what do you think they were doing?"
"they were wishing."
"really. did they get what they wished for?"
big smile. "yes."

five year olds . . . they just crack me up!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

i can't even think of a title!

so today . . . i've started writing this blog several different ways, and nothings sounds all that interesting. i mean i could write about how hectic the day was. or how james and walter helped me with a computer problem. or how daniel said he was going to put music on my ipod, but didn't. or how mia took a nap with me. or how i croaked while leading worship this morning (yeah, kind of embarassing--especially on a day when the drums weren't there to cover for me!) or how it is COLD today, or how i want ice cream from el pollo loco (but it's too cold to go out and get it--although, if i turned the heater on in the car, my feet would be toasty warm in no time at all!) or how i hate sunday nights because it means tomorrow is monday and that means i have to go back to work. but nothing is working . . .

Saturday, February 7, 2009

the sweater is green

so today . . . i drove through a HUGE puddle! i mean HUGE! fortunately i was in the suv, but the water splashed up over the windshield and i couldn't see at all--even with the windshield wipers going. because there is so much concrete, the rain collects very quickly in the low spots on the roads creating enormous puddles. man, if i had been in my little car, i might have disappeared totally . . . i am telling you, it POURED rain last night! and it was oregon rain, not this softly falling lightweight stuff that they think is rain down here. but then a few hours later the sun came out, and by the time i poked my head out and headed to rubio's, the roads were dry.

on thursday, it was funny because the kids felt a few drops of rain at recess and they were running around yelling, "it's raining! it's raining!" like they were going to die. i was trying to get them to enjoy being out in it--it was just barely sprinkling--but they were acting like they wouldn't survive the torrential downpour. i guess when it only rains five days out of the year, any little sprinkle seems like a big deal . . .

and then this morning, before i was even out of bed (ok, it was about 9:00) there was a huge flash of lightening--you didn't even have to be outside to see it--it looked like a bright camera flash inside the house. it was followed by a LOUD boom of thunder which continued rolling for 10 or 12 seconds. mia dove under the covers and cowered by my feet before the thunder was even done making noise! milo looked around, and then resumed trying to lick my face off.

tomorrow is supposed to be a bit nicer, and then some more rain is reported to be heading our way. i don't mind the occasional day or two of the wet stuff, but it forces us to keep the kids inside to play for several days. i am sure our playground is completely covered by water and it takes so long to evaporate . . .

but at least i can finally wear the new sweater i got for christmas . . .

Friday, February 6, 2009

rain, rain . . .

so today . . . it rained. it is supposed to rain tomorrow too. that means i will spend most of the weekend in the house. i could go out in the rain, but since it is the weekend, i don't have to. my plan is to work on organizing my digital photos (which i am pretty sure is a project that will never be finished) and spend some serious time reading a book in front of the fire.

but i will have to go out into the rain a few times, because milo won't go out by himself if it is raining. he will sit by the doggie door until i see him and put on my shoes and coat, and get my umbrella. sometimes that is enough to get him to venture out on his own--of course i am left standing in the family room in my shoes and coat and umbrella . . . but if it is raining hard, i actually have to go out into the rain before he will brave the elements. mia doesn't like the rain either--it scares her. if she had her way, she would have spent the entire day in someone's lap.

their preferred activity on a day like this is to sleep--which is what they did most of the afternoon. now that i think about it, that was an excellent idea. maybe i should plan some time for a nap tomorrow too . . .**milo's favorite spot to sleep, if no lap is available**

**this is the best picture i have of mia sleeping. she is impossible to sneak up on, even when she is sleeping**

Thursday, February 5, 2009

north, south, east, or west?

so today . . . i had a doctor's appointment at a facility i had never driven to before. i thought it was a perfect opportunity to use my gps!

i don't use my gps very often, because i usually know how to get to where i am going. (unlike diandra who says, "i'm going out to play with my gps," and then gets purposefully lost so her gps can guide her home . . . ) i knew the general direction i needed to go, and THOUGHT i knew which freeways to use. so i started out, and very quickly discovered that my gps had a different route in mind. rollie says if you are going to use a gps you have to trust it, so i went where it told me to go. as i was headed up the on-ramp to the first freeway, i saw the "road construction ahead" sign just before i noticed that the cars were not moving very quickly. ok, i thought to myself, this is not the route for me today! i got off at the next exit and headed the other direction. my gps got busy "recalculating the route." it took about 10 minutes before "she" and i were going the same direction. i just kept heading south while she wanted me to go north. and every time i turned the "wrong" direction, she just "recalculted the route." finally she figured it out and took me where i wanted to go! it was an interesting compromise between person and machine.

electronics are wonderful, when all the planets are aligned properly. but if you goof up one command, everything can be wiped out in an instant--or skewed beyond usability.

we found this out with our first video camera. do you remember the huge ones that sat on your shoulder and recorded on full sized video tapes? well we missed out on owning one of those, but ours was still kind of bulky, even though it recorded on smaller tapes. it worked fine for a while, and then one day, for no apparent reason everything changed to japanese! suddenly we couldn't seem to do anything right, as all the settings had changed, and we couldn't read the directions to know how to reset anything! so we just stopped taking videos.

my last computer, the dear departed averatec, started trying to have a life of it's own before i retired it. for example, it refused to put the proper ending onto file names (.jpg, .doc, etc) this doesn't sound like a big deal, but it was just annoying to have to remember to do it--or worse yet, have the computer remind me to do it. it wouldn't automatically run programs. it was like when i wanted the computer to do something, it would say, "make me!" i hate sassy electronics!

but my gps and i did finally work things out. i took her choice of route home, and it was fine. although, as i neared home i did have to shut her off. she kept wanting me to turn north . . .

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

i'm an iceberg? yes, i am!

so today . . . i spent a lot of time writing something on facebook called "25 things about me." it was kind of like a blog--you were just supposed to list 25 things about yourself--stuff no one knows, or things that are unusual or special about you, and then send it to 25 people so they can do it too. the idea is sharing information about yourself and receiving information you might not know about 25 other people. i kind of put it off for a day or two. i really didn't think i could come up with 25 interesting things to say about myself. but other people's lists started showing up on my facebook page, so i decided to do it before it just looked like i had copied everyone else's ideas.

i started with my favorite colors--that was easy. and then i just kept going. i worked on it off and on all day and finished it up late this afternoon. and you know what? i could have written MORE than 25 things--i was still thinking of stuff i could have said! it was kind of fun, and the cool part is that when i got finished and read over the list, i realized that i am like an iceberg--what most people see is only a little bit of who i am. there is a whole lot of my being that is underwater (metaphorically speaking, because in reality NONE of me would EVER be under water!! well maybe just my feet . . . )

i thought about copying the whole thing here to my blog, because i did work on it all day, and the responses to it so far have been good (apparently it is making people laugh--i choose to think that is a good thing.) but it was pretty long. i did save it though, and on those days when i can't think of anything else to write, i will choose one of my 25 things and write about it. ( oooohhh, something for you to look forward to.)

**btw, it is supposed to rain tomorrow or friday. i tell you this to warn you that there may be another weather blog appearing over the weekend, because i think some of you choose to avoid those . . . although i don't know why--weather can be fascinating. just ask my dad!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

. . . sigh . . .

so today . . . i sit here in front of my computer feeling a little gloomy.

since i have started blogging, i find myself reading more blogs. there are some fabulous, awesome ones out there. i love reading what some people write and looking at the pictures that often accompany them. usually i really enjoy it, but today it has left me feeling like my blog is just kind of blah. maybe i need a more exciting and interesting life. maybe i should just make up more exciting and interesting stuff to write! maybe i need to write my blog before i read any others . . .

i don't keep up with every blog i have ever read. if it doesn't tickle my brain in some way, i stop reading it. some blogs aren't very interesting, and some are just too self-indulgent. while a blog tends to be about the life of the person who is writing it, if it is only about "what i did today," then it doesn't resonate with me. somehow it has to pull me in . . . again and again and again.

when i find a blog i like, i kind of feel a connection to the author--even if i don't know them. i am interested in what they have to say and wonder what they will write about next. that is what keeps me checking to see if new blogs have been posted and looking forward to reading them.

that is how my mom feels about my blog. she told me she checks every night before she turns off her computer to see if i have written anything. and if i haven't posted yet, then she checks first thing the next morning. of course, she is my mom and she loves me and is interested in whatever random mundane thing i choose to write about each day. and really, she is the reason i started blogging, so i guess if she is the only one who reads it, then it is still worth my time to write it.

but recently one of the blogs i read regularly ran a contest, and there were over 800 responses! ok, she WAS giving away a fabulous prize, but i think that just encouraged people like me, who read but don't usually comment, to respond. this blogger is a wedding photographer, and i have never seen more beautiful pictures than the ones that come from her camera. but it isn't just the photos--it is also the way she writes. i had the opportunity to meet her while she photographed diandra, and i can say that what she writes seems to accurately reflects who she is--not perfect, but a lot of fun and very entertaining. (btw, the blog is and it is worth checking out!)

so i don't know. maybe it is enough for my blog to keep those of you who know me updated on what i am doing. but i have to admit that there is this tiny little part of me that wants 800 people to read what i have written. if only i could offer a fabulous prize . . .

Monday, February 2, 2009

and i am two for two . . .

so today . . . i heard back from another old friend.

she lived next door to me when i was a teenager. our families were friends. she had three younger brothers, and i had one (although there were times when he seemed like three!) our brothers played together and plotted ways to annoy us. sometimes they were the bane of our existence, but together we were stronger than any one of them (and sometimes even two of them!) our moms were friends. we spent most of our free time together. in the summer, every day at noon we would meet at one house or the other with our bologna and miracle whip sandwiches, and watch perry mason. even now, bologna sandwiches make me think of perry mason, and if i happen to hear the theme music for perry mason, i get hungry for bologna and miracle whip.

we loved to make things. we always had a project going. the most memorable one to me was when we decided to make quilts. we cut hundreds of small hexagons, which then had to be stitched together by hand because of their shape. i had my unfinished quilt and bag of hexagons until just a few years ago. i just couldn't get rid of it, even though i knew i would never finish it, because it reminded me of her.

one summer she made the trek by car with us to iowa. she visited her relatives while we visited ours, but we shared the three day trip each way. when we went to pick her up for the trip back, she had tiny tree frogs in a shoe box, AND MY MOM LET HER BRING THEM ALONG! in a shoe box. in the car. for three days. i couldn't believe it!

then the day came when her dad was transferred to the seattle area, and they had to move. we vowed that we would still be friends, but phone calls were expensive and letters became infrequent. we were able to visit each other a few times and managed to stay close for a while. she came to visit me at college (where we got tear-gassed, but that is a story for another day!) and was in my wedding. then we moved to kansas city and the distance just became too great.

our paths have crossed occasionally since then, but we haven't really been able to sustain the connection. she is the only friend i have from my childhood and teenage years, and so she knows me in a different way than anyone else. that is a rare and valuable thing, so this time i am determined that i won't lose her again.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

old friends become new friends

so today . . . i heard from an old friend, someone with whom i haven't been in contact since i was just out of college. i was so happy to hear from her!

when rollie went to seminary, we moved to kansas city, missouri--a LONG way from home. when we arrived, we found a place to live, unpacked our stuff, started looking for jobs, and rollie enrolled in school. it wasn't long before he was very, very busy with classes, homework, and his job as a school bus driver.

i was less busy. soon i had a great job working with nice people, but they were all a lot older than i was. i found i didn't have much in common with the other people in our apartment building either. and being shy, as i was, made it hard to make new friends.

but we did find a church full of friendly people. and we got to know a lot of seminary couples. if you know me very much at all, you know i wasn't fitting in really well with other "seminary wives." i was surrounded by people, but still felt alone.

then i met cyndy and judy. they were my salvation during those three years in kansas city. we didn't really have a lot in common--i was young (22) and they were older (29ish!), i was married and they were single, i was shy and quiet, and they were outgoing and friendly, i had a job and they had careers. but they were two of the most fun people i have ever been around! i'm not sure i could have become their friend if rollie hadn't helped me by also being a part of the group. he is a fun guy and he was kind of the bridge between their friendliness and wackiness and my shyness. i'm sure we had serious discussions, but what i remember most is the laughter--it seems like no matter what we did, they had fun and so did i.

when we left kansas city three years later, i was a different person. i was more confident, less fearful, more outspoken (but still shy.) and while some of that probably had to do with living so far away from home and getting three years older, i know that some of it had to do with my friends cyndy and judy. their friendship changed me, and played a part in making me who i am today--so yes, you guys, it's partly your fault!!

i am really excited that i've been able to reconnect with cyndy through the internet. (i love the internet!!) while i am sure her life hasn't all been fun (because no one's is) it sounds to me like she has met her challenges head on and blasted right through them. i knew there was something special about her back then, and it seems to me that her life shows that i was right! i think i am going to get to see her this summer, and i can hardly wait!

i have recently tried to reach two other old friends through email addresses i found. i am hoping i will hear back from them as well, because there is something unique about people who knew us at different times in our lives. the people who knew me in my 20's would find some surprises if they were to spend time with me today--i am not the same, and they wouldn't be the same either. but that is what makes it interesting . . .