Thursday, April 30, 2009

if it's fast, and it's food, they know me there

so today . . . the cashier at 7-11 recognized me. i'm not sure this is a good thing.

i eat out. a lot. i have a kitchen, but i mainly use it for storage, because i have lots of kitchen things. i love love love plates and glassware and silverware. and containers and cookie cutters and mugs. i rarely use any of them. well, that's not totally true--we do use the sandwich plates and knives quite a bit, but i'm not sure i have EVER made cookies with a cookie cutter--and yet i have a bunch. and every time they are selling wolfgang puck cookware or "greenpans" on shopping tv, i start thinking maybe i should get some. even though i mostly use my cookware to boil eggs--and actually that would be rollie boiling the eggs, because he eats them for breakfast.

here's the thing about a kitchen. it is only in the house to give you a place to work. there is nothing entertaining about it, unless you have a tv in there. you have to put your food away, which, btw, means you had to go to the grocery store to get some. then, if you want to prepare a meal, you have to get your food out. you have to thaw it and chop it and slice it and mix it and season it and finally cook it. this takes hours!! then you eat it. this takes minutes. then you have to clean up all the pots and pans and utensils and plates and glasses and put them away. and find containers for the leftovers. and find room in the refrigerator for the leftovers. and this takes hours. do you see the problem?

i love to eat, but i do not love to cook or shop for groceries. and since our family has always been small, we have been able to eat out maybe more than some people. but now that diandra is all grown up, i pretty much only cook if my parents are coming (and even then, we will eat pizza and subway a few times) or on thanksgiving (unless we decide to be renegades and eat at jack-in-the-box.)

soooo, we are on a first name basis with the employees at many of our fast food establishments. they know what we like, and sometimes start ringing it up and preparing it before we even order. a few weeks ago, we changed our usual order at rubio's from chicken taquitos and a chicken quesadilla (which we have been ordering several times a week for the last two years) to two chicken burritos. the employees are having some difficulty adjusting. the cashier has to look at the register to see how much we owe. the guys in the kitchen question the order, because they have seen us come in and know what we like. and now they are all a little skittish, probably wondering, "will they change it again? will they go back to their old favorite? will they try something new? will only ONE of them try something new? how long will this new favorite last? should we start fixing it now? or wait to see?"

this does have it's disadvantages--before, when they knew what we were going to order, the cooks would start making it when they saw us walk in the door. so by the time we paid, our food was ready. now we have to wait, just like everyone else, because they never know anymore . . .

do you remember years and years ago, when wendy's was a new franchise and only served hamburgers? they had someone watching the cars come into the parking lot who would yell back to the kitchen how many people were in each car. and then the cooks would guess how many burgers would be ordered and throw them on the grill. so by the time you got out of the car and into the store to buy your lunch, the burgers were done and ready to be fixed however you ordered them. ah, those were the days . . . but i digress.

anyway, several weeks ago, i saw one of the servers from subway (another one of our favorite places) at target. she looked familiar, but i couldn't quite place her. of course she looked different without her uniform and HAT, and her daughter was with her, but she recognized me! (of course, i never wear a hat, and my daughter is usually with me at subway. and target.) she came up and started talking to me like we were old friends. and i guess we kind of were, as i talked to her face to face more often in most weeks than i talk to my friends. so we chatted for a few minutes and then moved on. it was kind of cool. if rollie or i go in alone, she always asks about the other one. she can tell from our order if we are meeting diandra or not. she can tell from our order if we are dieting (salads and no cookies) or not (sandwiches and cookies!!!) she probably knows more about us than our neighbors!

today at 7-11 when i walked up to the cash register with my gigantic soda, the cashier said, "no brownies today?" how did she know i was thinking brownie thoughts? i was, of course, planning to get brownies--i just hadn't decided how many yet. so i grabbed four and said, "yes, i'll take these. they are the best! i've been telling all my friends how good they are." she looked at me with hope in her eyes. oh great! now she will probably order them in cases. and then for some inexplicable reason, i will suddenly start to crave ice cream. the kind they have at el pollo loco . . .

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

wednesday bonus blog: being sick sucks

so today . . . i've been thinking about the swine flu.

i don't watch the news or read the newspaper, because frankly, it is just all too depressing. so the only news i get is when someone says to me, "did you hear about . . . ?" to which i usually reply, "no." and then they will tell me. i figure this way i hear about the news that the people around me think is important, and i don't worry about the rest of it--if something major happens, i am confident that someone i know will tell me about it. this is how i learned about the swine flu.

one of the teachers at my school just returned from mexico. her grandfather died a couple of weeks ago, and so she travelled down there to be with her family. while she was there, the swine flu break-out was reported. her family decided to come home a little early, but had a hard time getting an earlier flight out. and by the time they got to the airport, everyone was wearing surgical masks. she said it was a little unsettling. and then she arrived home early only to be told to stay home for two more days--just in case she had been exposed.

i understand taking precautions. someone asked what we were doing to address the possible encroachment of this sickness in our school. apparently the health department recommends washing hands often and for at least three minutes each time. "do you realize," i said to our director, "that since we have only one sink and 15 children, it is going to take us 45 minutes for every child in our classroom to wash their hands for 3 minutes each JUST ONE TIME?!" that is what i SAID. this is what i was THINKING "good grief! all we will do all day is have kids stand in line to wash their hands. maybe we should just all take a week off, and let them stay at home where their exposure would be more limited." someone suggested using hand sanitizer, but we were told that it wasn't strong enough to kill these germs. so maybe the best i can hope for is that the dreaded virus will get lost on it's way to destroy us . . .

anyway, in response to the swine flu epidemic, i am posting a blog about being sick. actually, i wrote a couple of sick blogs, but this was the first. it was originally posted on february 8, 2008, which happened to be a friday.

ok, so rollie has been sick for most of three weeks. he got sick suddenly and was sick for a week. then he felt a bit better, so of course, being a man, he went back to work. he worked for a few days, and then got sick again. he has been down this time for 10 days! now i am not complaining about him being sick, because he is NOT one of those whiny crybaby sick boys that some of you may be familiar with. he still takes a shower every morning and shaves and brushes his teeth no matter how sick he is. and all he requires of me is to bring him food once in a while. so again i am not complaining about him being sick.

now go with me to my job--a kindergarten classroom. you would think that parents would keep their precious darlings home when they have a sneeze or a sniffle--but NOOOOO. mom and dad need to go to work, and OF COURSE the kids want to come to school (because they love me--even when i yell) so they come and blow their tiny noses and cough amazingly huge coughs, and then they touch things that i am also forced to touch, like pencils and staplers and zipper pulls.

the result of all of this exposure to GERMS is that i am sick. and it is supposed to be a beautiful weekend. and i can't breathe. and my nose is so sore. and nothing tastes good. and my head hurts. and it sucks.

whine whine whine

last week i was downstairs (watching something vitally important, like american idol) when rollie called to me from upstairs. he was headed for bed and was watching the news (he is one of my sources) and they were talking about the swine flu. he said they had quarantined a family in texas. and as he is telling me about it, he gets this faraway look in his eyes and says, "wow--wouldn't it be great to be quarantined?! you would get to stay home for several days, rest and recuperate, people would bring you food and no one would bother you . . . "

yeah, he is wishing for the swine flu--i think he needs a vacation . . .

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


so today . . . i wanted to share some funny stories from school. sometimes the kids say something that makes me laugh, but it isn't enough for a whole blog. so when that happens, i make a note and save it. i was looking at those little bits of paper today, and i think i have enough to share. i was going to share little bits from several children, but after i got done with joshua's, i decided to save the others for another day. so here we go . . .

joshua: i've always wanted to bite someone's nose.
me: why?
joshua: i just think it would be fun! (and then he started staring at my nose . . . i backed slowly away from the boy . . . )

joshua: i have a lot of friends.
me: really? how many?
joshua: five. (at first, i thought FIVE?!?!? clearly i have not done my job teaching this child about the size of numbers. i mean, when he said he had a lot of friends, i was thinking he would say a thousand million or something like that. and then he said five--like he really knew who they were. and i guess most of us would be pretty fortunate if we could say we had five friends--and feel like it was a lot!)

here are some random joshua remarks:

i think i have a dog nose. i can smell really good! (ok, that makes sense to me--dogs have a good sense of smell, and apparently so does joshua.)

these are not people ears--they are monkey ears. (sometimes there are just no words . . . )

i wish i was a house so i wouldn't go to sleep. (huh?)

yesterday i ate sushi. (ok, these are not words i ever thought i would hear coming out of a five year old's mouth! i don't know, i guess i just think of sushi as a kind of hip "look how cool i am" young adult eating out food--not as actual asian cuisine. but it is. and when your students are asian, i guess it isn't weird. but it still seems odd to me to hear them say it just like i would say, "yesterday i had a hamburger . . . " )

we have been learning a song to perform for our graduation program, and we have been working pretty hard on the choreography. the kids really like the song, and i will hear them singing it on the playground, at rest time, and even in the bathroom (over the noise of the fan!) one afternoon joshua had been singing away in the bathroom at the top of his lungs. and when he came out, he said to me, "i can feel you dancing in my head."
"oh?" i said, "and how does that feel?"
he thought for a minute and then said, "kind of tickly."

today joshua said: do you know about aquaman?
me: yes, kind of.
joshua: he is a man. but how can he breathe underwater?
me: hmmm. i don't know. what do you think?
joshua: maybe he is part fish. i wish i was a fish.
me: (with my usual response) really? why?
joshua: because i would live underwater.
me: yes?
joshua: and then i wouldn't have to do my homework--because the paper would get all wet.
somehow, he had gotten a drip of water on his paper, and discovered that he couldn't write on that part of it, so i guess he was thinking if the whole paper was wet . . .

lately, my two boys have started complaining after rest time about not feeling good. i think this stems from the fact that we have been sending a lot of kids home sick. it usually goes this way--a child complains they don't feel good, we take their temperature, if they have a temperature, they get to lay on a cot with a blanket until mommy or daddy comes to take them home. to a five year old, this can look like a pretty good deal. (actually, it looks like a pretty good deal to their teacher too, but my mommy and daddy are too far away to come get me--i could lay on the cot with a blanket though . . . )

anyway, one afternoon, this is the conversation that occurred while we were working in our science books . . .
jonathan: i don't feel good.
me: well . . . (and before i can say any more than that, joshua jumps in.)
joshua: we still have to suck it up, and do our work
i am a little shocked! so i say, "joshua! where did you hear that?!?"
and he says, "you say it all the time!"
i do?!?!? now i am really shocked! oh man, i think, i don't remember ever saying that but apparently i have. so i tell him that maybe he shouldn't say that anymore, because it doesn't sound very nice, thinking "oh gosh! i sure hope he doesn't go home and say that to his mother!"
then he says, "what does it mean?" so i explain that it means be tough, don't give up--see, it is a GOOD thing, it was just an unfortuate choice of words.
then jonathan says, "but i still don't feel very good!"
and joshua replies, "stop your whining!"
"joshua!!" i say.
"well," he says, "you say that too!"
and, i admit it, i do. maybe i should just stop talking until joshua goes to first grade . . .

Monday, April 27, 2009

warning!! girlie blog!

so today . . . has been a collection of horrors! and most of them have revolved around my new nail polish.

you see, it is spring now--heralded by the arrival of easter and warmer temperatures. it is time to get out the shorts and sandals and put the sweaters and boots out of sight. and for me, it is also time to put away the really dark nail polish and lighten up a bit.

nail polish is a pretty cheap indulgence, and a new color can enhance my mood in a positive direction. the problem this time was, i got the craving for a new nail color after 9:00 p.m. when both sephora and ulta were closed. this reduced me to shopping at target as they are open until 10:00 p.m.--which also limited my choices. however, i did manage to find a pretty springtime color and headed home feeling happy.

until this morning . . .

to my horror, after just one day, the bright pink nail polish was chipped on several of my nails! and i don't mean tiny little chips either--i mean great big hunks of it missing. and because of the way i plan my mornings (ok, maybe "plan" isn't exactly the right word--maybe "race through" would be more accurate,) there was no time for repair work. so i threw the bottle of defective polish into my bag and headed out the door.

some people might be able to move throughout their day without giving this another thought. i am not one of those people. i knew this was going to affect my whole day . . .

it was a busy morning--no time for repairs. so i just tried to tuck the chipped fingernails out of sight as much as possible and watched the clock and waited until my lunch break. and waited. and waited.

story time rolled around, and i began to read. but as i am holding the book (which i had to do with unclutched fingers) i can see the big, chipped nails. and then, when i point at something in one of the pictures with my left index finger, which is the worst one, i immediately recoil--from my own hand! not good not good not good . . .

ok, i can keep my hands in my pockets during recess, and i have to wear serving gloves at lunch time, so if i can just get through that, then i can do the repair work . . . but i have not taken into account the deterioration of the manicure. by now, more than half the fingernails are affected and in a major way.

so, at recess i am holding my phone (because, guess what? i don't HAVE pockets today) and i am texting diandra about my sad state of affairs. she is my precious, loving daughter. she will feel my pain. i even send her a photo (which none of you will ever see) because in all her 24 years, she has never seen my nails look this bad, and i want her to know what i am up against. a few seconds later, i receive a picture back--from her dad. (remember the wonderful blog i wrote about him yesterday? i take it all back!) there he is, mocking the claw-like pose of my hand with his own clean and trimmed nails, while smiling faces (including my precious offspring, who i labored for 28 hours to bring into this world!!!) leer at me in the background. ok, i'm thinking, diandra is toast . . . that picture was for her eyes only! the three of us exchange text messages--they think theirs are funny. i do not, and my return messages reflect that.

finally it is my lunch time. BUT since i was in such a rush this morning, i did not bring food to school with me, which means a trip to a fast food establishment. which means the repair work must be put off yet again, as i only have half an hour for lunch.

i pull into the drive through at chick-fil-a and order. as i approach the window and pull out my wallet, i realize that the window is on the left side of me--MY WORST HAND. it's ok, i tell myself. i live in a large metropolitan area. what are the odds that i will see the people at this window ever again.

"hey, there's the lady in my miata!" these are the words that greet me from the young man waiting to give me my food and take my money. yes, we have talked several times before. he covets my car, and so he always remembers me. but i am thinking, "oh no! oh no! oh no!" as he hands me my food. i put my hand underneath the bag as i reel it in, so as to hide the offending nails. this is a little bit of a risky move, in that if the bag is unbalanced it could fall to the ground. but i am willing to take that risk as long as it keeps my horrible nails hidden. so far, so good.

and then, it is time to pay. i take my atm card out of my wallet, only to discover that there is no way to hand it to him without exposing the chips. i panic just a moment, and then sandwich the card between my fingers, turn my hand over so the palm is up (hoping i look casual) and flip it out the window. he takes the card with no problem. but when he hands me back my receipt and atm card, i am busted. there is no way to take it without displaying the disgraceful chipped polish. so i snatch my card as quickly as i can, say thank you, and zoom-zoom out of there.

i just know the next time i see him at the window, he will greet me with the words, "hey, it's the lady with the horribly chipped bright pink nail polish! i can't believe you have the guts to come here again!"

the rest of my afternoon is uneventful, because it is just me and jonathan--and my embarassing fingernails. and jonathan is too involved in his own stuff to notice. either that, or it just looks normal to him. because, you know, some people do walk around with big hunks chipped out of their nail polish, and it apparently doesn't bother them.

but for me, i couldn't take it. i felt unsettled all day. i raced home and headed for the nail polish remover! and heaved a big sigh of relief.

and then diandra said, "hey mom! want to go to the beauty supply store with me? you could get some nail polish . . . "

my family. they are funny, funny people . . .

Sunday, April 26, 2009

bananas and cheese? or soda and brownies . . .

so today . . . i figured it out.

yesterday's blog has been bugging me. i mean really--i'm a grown up, and i still need rewards and bribery?!? why?!?!?

as i was sitting at a red light on my way home from church today, i was thinking about it. why? why? why? the car behind me honked it's horn, and i looked in the rearview mirror expecting to see a rude gesture. instead i saw a cute guy in a lava orange mazda speed mx-5 smiling at me.

and then it came to me--it's rollie. he spoils me.

we were really young when we got married--probably too young to be making the very important decision about the kind of person we were going to spend the next 50 years with. and yet we did it. we were both still in college, we lived in a basement apartment, and managed to get through each month on rollie's part-time salary. it's a good thing we liked kraft macaroni and cheese . . .

and it's a good thing that rollie is such a good guy! i really lucked out! i would like to think that i was just smart enough to look around and choose the guy i knew would grow into the perfect husband for me. but the truth is, at 20 years old neither of us knew what kind of people we would become. we could have been miserable . . .

but we are not--largely because rollie works at making my life better. he rarely says, "no, i don't think we can do that." his response is usually, "yes, go ahead."

and he spoils me.

did you read the blogs about my car? he wanted me to have a car that i would love, that would be fun to drive--not just something that would get me from point a to point b. he brings me lunch at school every tuesday--and i only get half an hour for lunch, so he spends more time getting the food and bringing it to me than we actually spend eating together--but he does it every week. he drives me back and forth to school on fridays, because that is the day that the gardeners maintain the grounds, and they blow yard debris all over the place, which would get my car all dirty. he brings me breakfast from mcdonald's sometimes, or brownies and soda, or flowers--not for any reason, but just because he is thinking about me, and he knows it will make me smile. he tolerates the puppies on the bed--no small sacrifice when there are two of them! he arranges his schedule in the mornings to accomodate me hitting the snooze button 6 times before i drag myself into the shower, so that we will both have hot water.

so i blame him for my need for rewards.

because here is what happens: one morning he will bring me breakfast at school. he knows that i have hit the snooze button 8 times instead of the usual 6, which means i didn't have time to grab a bagel before i left. so i will be sitting at school, drinking green tea, thinking about how tomorrow i really need to keep better track of that snooze button. and then he will magically appear with a soda and cinnamon melts or a sausage egg mcmuffin! and i will be totally surprised! the first time. but then a few days later, i will be sitting there with my tea and he won't come. so i never know when it is going to happen, but i sort of think it could happen every day. of course it doesn't, but you never know . . . and so i am rewarded for making it to work on time--even if it is without breakfast.

if i am feeling cranky or tired or overwhelmed in the afternoon, there is a part of me that thinks he will just show up with a soda and brownies--because he did it once. and then it happened a few more times. so now i think it could happen every afternoon. it doesn't, but some days it does . . . and on those days i feel rewarded for "hanging in there."

for a couple of years, every morning he wrote me a different original poem on the bathroom mirror with a small bar of soap. sometimes they were funny or silly, sometimes they were romantic, but they always somehow managed to say"i love you." and thus, i was rewarded for getting out of bed . . .

he puts the clean dishes away in the morning, kind of rewarding me for doing the dishes the night before, because now i don't have to face a dish drainer full of dishes saying, "put me away," as i am rushing around the kitchen trying to get a bagel in a baggie . . .

you may be saying to yourself, "these are not rewards--these are just a husband expressing his love," and you would be right. except my brain seems to be very cause and effect oriented, so it sees these things as rewards. think about monkeys doing tasks for bananas or rats navigating a maze for a piece of cheese. it isn't about the task, it is about the reward.

i am even finding this to be true with my blogging. i love to blog--once i get an idea, the actual writing can be a lot of fun. and at first that was enough. but now, i find that i need feedback, comments, as my reward. i need to know that somebody read it and had a thought. (and btw, i screen the comments before i post them, so if you read a less than complimentary comment, don't worry about it too much--i have already read it and decided to post it.) a few days ago i noticed that i had a new follower, and i was like, "YESSS!!!" it was so exciting to me that someone i didn't know was interested in reading what i was writing. (of course, now i will probably find out that it is somebody i know, but until then i will revel in the possibilities . . . )

so the mystery is solved. it's rollie's fault.

and although i'm not a monkey or a rat, i do like bananas and cheese!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

double, double, toil, and trouble . . .

so today . . . i spent most of the day working on cleaning out the scary room with all the stuff. and now i feel cranky.

you guys don't want to hear about my day--seriously. it mostly consisted of hauling stuff out and sorting it and deciding what to do with it. i kept hoping i would find SOMETHING, some treasure, that i had been looking for but thought i had lost. i can't think of anything that falls into that category right now, and yet i am sure i would have known it if i had seen it. but i didn't. so i am cranky.

i need rewards. i wish i was enough of a grown-up to say that i just do stuff because it needs to be done, or because it will help someone else, or because i will get some satisfaction out of a job well done, but it would be a lie. i need a prize, a treasure, a reward.

i'm not sure why this is. my parents didn't pay me for my good grades (which is too bad, because except for the "C" i got in p.e. in the sixth grade--don't ask--i got really, really good grades.) they didn't have to bribe me to behave, because i was an almost perfect child (i would have been perfect, except i had to deal with a little brother!) they didn't buy me something every time we went to the store, and i didn't throw a temper tantrum every time i didn't get what i wanted. so i don't know why as an adult i need rewards. but i do.

when i go to costco to stock up on tillamook cheddar cheese and frozen chicken breasts and wheat thins and broccoli, i also put something fun in my cart as a reward for braving the crowds and lines--a dvd or a top or some office supplies (no better reward than post-it notes and pens!)

after i do the laundry and get it all folded and put away, i sometimes sit down and eat jello with cool whip or some dark chocolate or maybe even ice cream.

vacuuming (my most hated of all household tasks!!) might result in dinner at jack-in-the-box or chick-fil-a.

but usually the reward is as simple as sitting down with a snack and watching a movie or settling down in the recliner with my book. my point is this: i am not motivated by a task well done--i am motivated by what is waiting for me at the end.

that is not to say that i don't feel some satisfaction when i complete a task. i love my house when everything is in it's place and is all dusted and vacuumed--i just don't like getting it there. i love tiny little plants looking all perky in newly turned soil--i just don't like weeding it after the planting is done. i love looking at bags full of stuff to donate to charity--i just don't like going through all the drawers and closets and cupboards and making all those decisions about what to keep and what to give away. i love to make lists and then mark stuff off as i complete it--i just don't like looking at the list at the end of the day and seeing how much is left to do. so although i do enjoy the result of my labor, i also need the promise of something wonderful to get me going . . .

but here's the problem with being motivated by rewards--as an adult, i don't HAVE to complete a task to get the reward. i can just decide to spend the whole day in bed with my book, regardless of if i get the yard work done. i can go to target and get a dvd WITHOUT having to brave the traffic and crowds and lines at costco. and i can watch tv in almost every room in my house--with a remote--without putting any laundry away.

as an adult, i have the power. i am in charge, both of tasks and rewards.

so maybe for now i will just close the door to the scary room--it will all still be there the next time i go in. i think i have done enough for one day. where's that ice cream . . . ?

Friday, April 24, 2009

decisions, decisions, decisions . . .

so today . . . i've started cleaning out the extra bedroom. this is not nearly as easy as it sounds. i thought about taking a picture so you could all see what i am up against, but then i decided against it--some things are just too personal to share, and the state of that room is one of them.

we live in a house with four bedrooms. there are only three of us, and two of us share a room, so you would think we would have plenty of space. but we don't. and here is why . . .

first of all, we live in southern california. for some reason the houses in socal do not have a lot of storage space. oh, they may have a three car garage, but the closets are small, the stairways are open (thus, no 'under the stairs' storage space,) and did i mention that the closets are small? they have no basements and no usable storage space in what they call an 'attic.' and while many houses do have three car garages, there is no way you could actually get three cars in there, because that is also where the washer and dryer are, and the hot water heater, and the christmas decorations, and the baby high chair (just in case you ever need it for grandchildren,) and the sports gear (remember, i have a chris evert tennis raquet and a raquetball raquet! and bowling balls--surprise!!) so where do you put everything?!?

we moved here from oregon, where they know how to build houses for people who have stuff--big closets, built-in storage in any nook or cranny that can be enclosed, and if that isn't enough, there is always room in the backyard for a storage shed. of course, that is because they don't have a swimming pool in the back yard . . . and their houses don't cost the same as a small country, so they can afford to have a lot of stuff.

you see, this is my problem--i moved from oregon, with all my stuff, to california, with no place to put it . . .

at first it was ok. rollie and i had a room, diandra had a room, i had a room for my huge craft desk and supplies, and we still had an extra bedroom for guests (which is good, because we live pretty close to mickey mouse and his crew.)

then diandra moved out . . .

. . . and rollie decided maybe he should have a room in which to keep his stuff. he works at home at least one day a week, so it made sense to turn diandra's unused bedroom into an office for him--then he wouldn't have to work at the kitchen table any longer. we call it "the man room." we moved his grandfather's antique desk in there, got a leather rocker/recliner, a sound system, and of course, a big tv. (you may have noticed that only one out of four of those items is work related . . . ) he is a much happier camper now that he has his own space. and it worked out well, because i still had a room for my enormous craft desk and supplies, and we still had an extra bedroom for guests . . .

. . . and then diandra moved back in.

we were delighted to have her back, of course. our household is a lot more fun when she is in it. but she needed a room. we couldn't take "the man room" away from rollie--that would have just been cruel, and my craft room has this HUGE work table/desk in it that would be hard to move, so the solution seemed to be to give her the guest room. we moved furniture in and out, she bought bedding and accessories in brown and pink, put her stuff in the closet and drawers, and soon she had her own space again.

which was great, unless you wanted to come stay with us. because now we have no guest room.

the truth is, we don't have all that many visitors, but it is nice to be able to say to people, "yes, come and stay with us" if they are going to be in the area. so this is a problem that needs a solution . . .

and the only room with any flexibility is my craft room. i call it my craft room, because that is it's purpose, but it has actually become the room where i put anything that i don't have a place for, or anything i don't have time to deal with right now, or anything i think i might get rid of but i'm not sure about yet. yeah, you can probably kind of imagine what it looks like . . . i went in today to start the process of clearing it out and found christmas ribbons, empty boxes (remember, they are not trash--they are free containers!) magazines i haven't had time to read, cute picture frames that won't fit in the drawer where i keep cute picture frames, bags i pack in when i travel, christmas cards people sent to me (the pictures are so pretty,) clothes that won't fit in my closet, clothes i am getting rid of (maybe,) empty shopping bags (which are great to put the stuff in that i am getting rid of,) not to mention the odds and ends that have been tossed in there because i can't decide what to do with them, but i'm pretty sure the stuff is too good to throw away . . .

so i have my work cut out for me. i am determined to get it done, because last week we had to tell some friends that were visiting that we had no place for them to sleep. and rollie's parents are coming for their first visit here, and are planning to stay in a motel (which i'm sure is preferable to sleeping in our recliners, but still . . . )

i was going to be ruthless! the first thing i carried off were some pillow forms that i have probably had for over 10 years. i bought them to cover with fabric and use on some antique oak chairs in my kitchen. but then we moved into a house where there was no room for the chairs, so they now live with my brother and sister-in-law. and yet the uncovered foam chair pads are still in my craft room. waiting to be covered. to sit on chairs that i no longer have.

i carried those pillow forms downstairs and stacked them in the living room! wow! it felt great! finally i was getting rid of stuff i have been hanging onto for years! i put some of the magazines in the recycle bin, i made a stack of empty bags to hold all the stuff i was going to get rid of, and i stacked the empty boxes in the corner, because i may need them to organize the stuff i decide to keep . . .

then i found the t-shirt from our vacation to cozumel. i hated to get rid of that--it had been such a fun trip! and then i thought, "it would make a great pillow for the family room. maybe i could use one of those pillow forms . . ."

as i said, it isn't as easy as it sounds . . .

Thursday, April 23, 2009

vanity, vanity, all is vanity . . .

so today . . . i came to the realization that i may be just a tiny bit vain--at least, i hope just a tiny bit~

i think i am like most people, in that i try to look as good as i can. i take showers. i straighten or curl my hair, depending on the occasion. i use skin care products with antioxidants, plant polyphenols, vitamins a, b, c, and only jennifer flavin stallone knows what else. and if that isn't enough, i buy cute shoes! i am not under the impression that i am traffic-stoppingly beautiful, but i do my best to maximize the ordinary looks God gave me.

and i try not to leave the house looking dorky.

this is much easier when diandra lives in my house. i don't always agree with her opinion of my outfit, but i find that she is usually right. which is always a little surprising for me, because from the time she was 11 or 12 until she was almost 16, all she would wear were jeans and white t-shirts, with an occasional black one thrown in for variety. i tried to get her interested in something with a little more style or color, but she was having none of it! i seriously thought that i was going to have to wait and hope for a granddaughter to share my love of all things sparkly.

i'm not sure just exactly when it happened, but now the girl has more dresses than i do, borrows my jewelry, and always looks beautiful--even when she isn't trying. and she has an amazing sense of style.thank goodness she wasn't home when i got ready to walk the dogs! i changed out of my cute work clothes into my nice jeans and a top, put on my walking shoes, harnessed mia up, and put my ipod in my pocket. today was the day i was going to try using the new $3 headphones that i bought at big lots over the weekend. you may remember the problem i have with ear buds, so i thought i would try a regular (and cheap) set of headphones. i plugged them into the ipod, put them on, and immediately realized the sound was not even in the same ballpark as the bose ones my mom gave me. which, of course, was no surprise--$3 no-name headphones up against bose?!?! but at least, i thought, they would stay in place as i walked the dogs.

as i headed toward the door (and the dog jumping up and dancing about waiting to feel the snap of the leash,) i happened to see myself in the hall mirror. and i came to an abrupt halt. i had apparently purchased a very dorky-looking set of headphones. nonononono, i thought. i am not going out of the house in these!

typically when i walk the dogs, i don't see anyone--certainly not anyone i know! but at that moment in the hallway, it didn't matter, i just knew i wasn't going anywhere in those headphones. so i looked for the temporary ones i've been using that hook over my ears, and headed out the door. as i was trying to adjust them so that the huge earbuds would dangle close enough to my ears that i could hear the music if i turned the volume WAY up, it occurred to me that i had left a perfectly good pair of headphones lying on my kitchen table. and why? because i thought they looked dorky.

"i am vain," i thought. why does it matter if the headphones look dorky if they work for me? why do i care? wouldn't it be better to wear the headphones and be able to actually hear the music? i mean, it isn't like the rest of me is looking all that cool--i am, after all, walking the dogs!

so now i must deal with this newly discovered flaw--as if there aren't already enough! maybe i am more vain than i think . . . remember the sunglasses? maybe i should post a photo of the offending headgear to start me down the path of dealing with my issues. maybe i could overcome my mild vanity and be ok with them after all. i thought it was worth a try . . .

so i retrieved the headphones from the table where they had been flung, put them on, and grabbed the camera. and then i passed the mirror . . .

nope. not happening.

maybe i can rig up some sort of over-the-ear hooks out of pipe cleaners or paper clips to hold those bose earbuds in place . . . i think it is worth a try . . .

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

wednesday bonus blog: "black is beautiful!"

so today . . . is the end of the story of my quest for a new car. actually, it was a very short quest. when you no longer need a back seat, and you get the chance to drive the coolest looking car on the road, and you live in the land of perpetual sunshine, and it is a convertible, and it goes zoom zoom, it shouldn't take too long to make a decision. even if it is black.

the following blog was originally posted just two days after last week's. i told you it was a short quest!

so yesterday i got online to look at cars. i had already read the reviews on the mazda and was amazed at it's performance. i knew i wanted an MX-5, so now it was just a matter of finding the right one. well, even in this metropolitan area there were very few to choose from. i was looking for one that was just a year or two old. i found one i liked, but you never know . . . there might be a better one out there. so after i did some checking around i went back to it, and it was sold! i found another one i was interested in and called about it, and it was gone as well. when i happened across the black one i had already test driven, the online price was $1000 less than was listed on the lot, and i started to worry that soon it might not be available either. so i went back and drove it again. i took it out on the freeway, took some corners really fast, and accelerated quickly from a red light or two. (i think the salesman was relieved when i headed back!) and by the time we returned to the lot, i was in love! it was so wonderful to drive!!! and the more i looked at it, the cooler the black looked. (a word about the color--they did have a brand new red one which i considered, but the red was so bright and was just flat--no sparkle. it made the car look like a toy and was a little too "look at me! i'm having a mid-life crisis!") so i took a deep breath and said, "let's get it." after another hour filling out paper work and waiting, i drove off with my new black car.

driving to work this morning was so much fun, i almost wished i lived further away! and for those of you who are worrying about how i will transport grandchildren without a backseat, don't worry about it. i have a plan . . .

after driving "the batmobile" for a year and a half now, i can say it is the best car ever! it gets better performance reviews than both the bmw z4 and the porsche boxter! it will go as fast as i want it to go, can stop on a dime, and corners like it is attached to the road. not that i drive that way . . . but it's nice to know i could.

and it may be shallow, but driving that car makes me feel happy! (i can't explain it, but when i get in my car, i suddenly feel like i am one of the "cool" kids--even though i have no idea how that would actually feel.) no matter what my day is like, when i see that car waiting for me in
the parking lot i can't help but smile--all the way home! AND you can never have a bad hair day--you just have to adjust your standards.and as for the color? well, it does take some maintenance to keep it shining and beautiful, but it's worth it. as i said, it is the coolest looking car on the road!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

an early posting--when will YOU read it . . . ?

so today . . . i am starting my blog early, due to my quest for more sleep. but american idol is on tonight, and even though i tivo it, i kind of prefer to watch it live. so i am going to be up until 10:00 anyway . . . but that isn't true every night, so i am trying to start a new habit--early blogging.

this change will be good for my friend "al," because even though he stays up to watch leno every night, he turns his computer on about 10:00 and starts nagging me about "where is 'so today . . . ?' it is already almost tomorrow. maybe you should call it 'so yesterday . . . '" it's a good thing we are friends or he would really annoy me. then again, obnoxious boys can be a lot of fun--as long as i don't have to be married to them!! i picked a nice guy to live with. (see, i told you i was smart!)

this change in time shouldn't matter to my friends sherry or jess. i know that jess stays up until 2 or 3 a.m. i know this, because she has posted on facebook quite often at that time. and looking at sherry's comments shows me that she reads my blog at all different times of the day and night.

diandra and rollie and rollie's mom read whenever they are on the computer and have time, but usually during the day. so again, posting at 8 or 9 p.m. shouldn't make a difference in their routine.

BUT . . .

this might be a bit of a challenge for my mom and my friend wendy. you see, they both read in the morning, but are up late enough to catch even a 9 p.m. posting. so they are going to have to decide whether to read at night or wait until the morning.

and as for the rest of you . . . assuming there are others who read . . . i don't know who you are, so i can't even make a guess about how this momentous decision will affect you . . .

this is only even an issue, because i have established the pattern of posting at about the same time every day. if i was like every other blogger i am aware of, i would not even be addressing this, because it would not be an issue. nobody else is as, let's say consistent, in their blogging habits as me. but since i am, i've established a certain expectation from those of you who read . . .

as i've mentioned, i read several blogs. i don't check them first thing in the morning, because the people i follow probably go to bed before i do (except diandra, but she is not a late night blogger.) sometimes i will check them late in the morning, sometimes i check them mid-afternoon, but usually i don't check them until i sit down in the evening ready to write mine. it sort of gets me in the mood to write when i read other blogs.

one thing i have noticed is that ALL of the other bloggers write at all different times of the day. NO ONE but me writes at about the same time every day. maybe it is my mild "ocd," maybe it is just my routine, maybe it is the fact that i am easily distracted and so it can take me several hours to actually finish. but i always blog at night and try to post between 10 and 11 p.m. i've tried to blog during the day, even thinking i could do the actual writing during the day and still post it late so as to preserve the synchronicity of my posting (how's THAT for vocabulary!) but i find that i am not so entertaining during the day. hmmmm. i wonder what that means . . . i need to think about that . . .

probably, i have given this a whole lot more thought than any of the people i have mentioned. they will just read it when they catch it. i am sure they are not running around with their heads in their hands saying "oh dear oh dear oh dear! what will i do? when will i read? now i will have to rearrange my whole life because julie is posting her blog AN HOUR EARLY!"

maybe this blogging thing is going to my head . . .

Monday, April 20, 2009

living healthy

so today . . . it was HOT!!!! i left the top up and turned on the a/c! that's how hot it was . . .

it would have been a good day to stay inside, but i had a doctor appointment scheduled for today. and i have waited two months for this appointment, so i took off school early, braved the heat, hit the freeway, and landed at kaiser.

today was a follow up visit to talk about some blood test results. i have been feeling fatigued lately, and i thought the answer to the problem might be in those tests. i got good news and bad news. the good news is that according to all my tests, i am perfectly healthy! the bad news is, uh, i feel fatigued. so those blood tests may say i am fine, but i am not. i'm tired. i just wanted her to give me a pill to fix it!! i mean, i already take vitamins and calcium and iron and intestinal medication, so what is one more pill?!?

apparently, not an option.

she said i probably need more sleep (like i have time for THAT.) she said i need to keep walking the dogs and wait for the endorphins to kick in (apparently i have lazy endorphins!!) she said cut down the amount of caffeine i ingest (which means cut way back on the pepsi one and tea--what am i going to drink?!?!?) she said it's possible that i have sleep apnea and she will order that test for me (my question is, if i have sleep apnea, is there a pill for that?) and THEN she finally said, "or we could probably treat your symptoms with an anti-depressant." YESSS!! FINALLY!! A PILL!!!

but first, i have to jump through all these other hoops. increase the amount of time i sleep, keep exercising, stop drinking caffeine, sleep with some sort of apparatus attached to see if i breathe while i sleep . . . i think she thinks if i do all of that stuff, i will feel better. i think i will be exhausted! and cranky!!!

but ok, if that is what i have to do, i will do it. i guess.

now i AM depressed! do you think if i told her that, it would make a difference?

probably not. she is a pretty good doctor . . .

maybe i will just go to target with diandra--i'm never too tired for that!

this living healthy stuff is going to kill me!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

caution!! venting ahead!

so today . . . it was HOT!!! it was too hot to drive with the top down on my car, but i did it anyway--i just prayed for green lights . . .

today i am wondering about my people skills. i tend to think i am pretty good with people, even cranky or mean ones. i'm perpetually nice (except on facebook--i can be a little sassy on there.) i don't steal parking spaces or cut the line or complain about bad service. i respect the rights of others, usually even if it interferes with mine. i give other people the benefit of the doubt. i don't mock kooky ideas--well, at least not out loud. i try to get along. but sometimes it costs me.

. . . maybe if i wasn't in charge of anything--if i just sat back, did my little part and let everyone else do theirs. that would make my life soooo much easier.

unfortunately that is not a choice i can make right now. i've agreed to be a part of something that puts me in a position of leadership. most of the time i am ok with that, but today i just wanted to be part of the wallpaper--one of the people taking directions, not the one giving them.

today it was like i was on a different planet or out in left field all by myself. i could not communicate effectively. i tried explanations, i tried stories, i tried sharing something personal to illustrate my point. and it was all for nothing. they just didn't get it. i was very frustrated! and yet i couldn't ACT frustrated, because i was dealing with people i spend time with and care about. so throwing a temper tantrum, or walking out, or saying, "i don't care what you think, we are going to do it MY way because it is the RIGHT way!!!" really were not options.

i am a smart person--smart enough to realize that i may not always be right, or that my way may not be the only way. but not being able to get people to at least understand what i am trying to say makes me want to scream! you don't have to agree with me (although i like it better if you do!) but at least acknowledge that you get what i am trying to say--or that you are TRYING to get what i am trying to say--before i fly across the room and throttle you . . ! AAGGGHHHH!!!!!!

ok, i got that out of my system.

. . . maybe it's the heat . . .

Saturday, April 18, 2009

i'm NOT a pack rat--i'm a COLLECTOR!

so today . . . is saturday--my most difficult day to blog.

you would think it would be easy. i don't have to work, so i have time to go do something fun which should give me something interesting to blog about. and maybe someday that will be true. but right now, when i am working all week and feel like everything about my life (except my ipod :) ) is disorganized, saturday is the day i use to try to keep from getting further behind. right now, i am just sort of trying to keep my head above water until summer.

when summer comes, i am cleaning out cupboards and closets and the garage and getting rid of stuff. we have accumulated an LOT during the course of our lives, and it has finally reached the point where it is making me crazy!!

i blame my parents.

i come from a long line of pack rats--on my dad's side. we can't seem to help it. i look at an empty box, especially if it is strong and has a lid, and i don't see trash--i see a potential container for something. i buy scrapbooking paper whenever it is on sale, even though i probably already own more than i will ever use--considering i haven't actually done any scrapbooking in the last three years! i have hundreds of books, because (if you read my blog yesterday you will know) i love books! i'll bet i have 15-20 coats--and i live in southern california! i have fabric i will never stitch, cross stitch patterns i will never follow, and picture frames purchased on sale that i don't have room to display but that i like too much to give away! and still i prowl around target looking for cool picture frames. i probably have five working cell phones that i no longer use, but i keep them because you never know when i might need a temporary replacement--even though i have insurance on my current phone! and all these things that i will never use take up space and clutter up my mind . . .

it isn't entirely my dad's fault, though. my mother is a world class collector! i mean, she is amazing! if she chooses to collect something, she will eventually have it all. and she has an amazing knack for finding the missing pieces. over the years, she has collected lots of things--dishes, dolls, gone with the wind memorbilia, mary englebreit collectibles, christmas ornaments . . . but to me, her most famous and impressive collecting feat was the 101 dalmatians toys from the mcdonald's happy meals. when they first came out--about 15 years ago--you could buy the whole set for about $100--but not my mom! she found a poster that showed pictures of the collection of toys and proceeded to scout out yard sales and good will stores and swap meets until she found all 101 toys!! it took several months (and probably ended up costing more than $100) but i remember when she found the last few--it was so exciting!

when you are a collector, your collection brings you joy, but many times the fun comes from the hunt! and when you find that last missing piece to the collection, then it is over . . . and it is kind of sad. i love the hunt! it is fun to scour yard sales, scrounge through the good will, and seek out new thrift stores looking for treasure. and so my collections grow--glassware, jewelry, christmas ornaments, antique rhinestones . . .

anyway, the result of all this pack-ratting and collecting is lots of stuff. everywhere.

i have a hard time getting rid of the things i already have (see paragraph #5) partly because i enjoy them, and partly because of the memories they hold. i have a lot of books about princess diana and the royal family--books i will probably never read, but my mom and i kind of collected them together, so it is hard for me to let them go. and yearbooks--i have yearbooks from when i was in jr. high school! do i ever look at them? no. does anyone else? no. then why are they taking up valuable space? because maybe someday i might want them for something . . ? and i haven't actually sewn fabric together to make anything in probably 15 years--yet i have drawers full of fabric . . .

a few years ago my mom gave me the best gift, and she doesn't even know it. she started getting rid of her stuff. as i remember it, the mary englebreit things were among the first to go. she had dishes and dolls and all things mary englebreit. the colors were bright and the designs were cheerful and the stuff was cute. and she was getting rid of it! i had been with her when she had bought some of it, and i remembered how much she liked it and how excited she got when she found a particularly elusive piece ON SALE! but she had enjoyed it for several years, and she was getting tired of the "clutter" as she said (although i thought it was all very artfully displayed.) she kept a few of her favorite pieces, but most of them found new homes. and that was just the beginning . . .

somehow seeing her do that gave me permission to do it too. not that i NEED her permission. but watching her go through that process and the freedom she seemed to feel as she started to clear things out, made me think, "ok, i can do this." so i have been working on it. i have a LONG way to go, and i need to get a lot more ruthless. but i know that i am going to feel so much better when i am done.

so here's what i think--jewelry is forever, electronics keep me entertained, and photos remind me of all the fun i would otherwise forget. other than that, the rest of the stuff can go. well, except for my skechers. and some of my books. oh, and all my charles wysocki puzzles . . .

uh oh . . . houston, we have a problem . . .

Friday, April 17, 2009

reading is FUNdamental

so today . . . i've spent the afternoon reading blogs.

i love to read! i always have. both of my parents are teachers and avid readers. my dad would rather read a book than watch tv, and my mom would rather read than do almost anything else (except maybe eat gummy bears!) we grew up surrounded by books. one of my favorite memories as a child was going to the library every week in the summer and bringing home stacks of books to read and then lying in the hammock in the backyard reading them. i started reading mysteries when i was in second or third grade. remember the encyclopedia brown stories? i could never guess "who dunnit?" but i loved to try.

when diandra was born, i couldn't help but have hopes and dreams for her future. and of all the things i wanted for her, near the top of the list was that she would love to read. we started reading to her long before she could talk. i knew "goodnight, moon" by heart. and she learned to read early--not because her preschool teacher mom taught her to, but because she looked at books and listened to them so much that she started learning the words by sight. i was so relieved! yes, i thought, i have raised a reader!

and then she entered the fifth grade . . .

fifth grade, by all accounts, was a terrible year for her. school issues, social issues, independence issues all collided to make it "the year we would all like to forget." but it was also the year she stopped reading for fun. she would still read for school, but if it wasn't assigned by her teacher, she wasn't reading it. this was devastating to her reader mom! i just couldn't imagine that my child didn't want to go to the library with me in the summer and check out armloads of books and then sit in the swing in the backyard and read them. and while many of her issues from that year resolved themselves in the years to come, this one did not.

i have to say, i still do not like it one little bit that she won't go to the library and get a book to read. i don't think she even has a library card! and yet, i envision her reading while she has lunch (like i do,)reading to relax (like i do,) reading before she goes to sleep (like i used to, until i got a laptop--because now instead of reading a book at night, i write my blog and read my email and read the blogs that i stalk and read messages from my friends on facebook, and read . . . )

and there it is!

you see, she does read--she just doesn't read books from the library. she reads magazines, she reads lots of blogs, she reads facebook, she reads THOUSANDS of text messages, she reads her Bible. and she writes two blogs. when i think about it, she reads a lot--she just doesn't read books from the library.

i guess as times and technologies change, so does the way we interact with our world. one of the teachers at school uploads books and reads them on her iphone. the assistant pastor at our church has something called a kindle, which is apparently like a pocket-sized computer screen onto which he can upload books and read them. there are a seemingly unlimited number of different magazines from which to choose. and if it's research you need, everything is just a click away on google.

i still read books when i am eating lunch. and during my summer vacation, sometimes i will read a whole book in one day (instead of all the other stuff i should be doing.) but i find that i spend a lot of time on the internet now, stalking blogs or researching the latest techno gadget that my mom is looking at or bookmarking stuff that i will never buy. and i guess that i have to recognize that as reading time even though no books are involved.

i love my computer and the internet and technology. but for me, nothing will ever replace that feeling i get when i go to the library, check out a stack of books, and head for the backyard . . . it's probably similar to the one diandra gets when she sees her favorite blogger has posted another entry or a new magazine has hit the newsstand . . .

Thursday, April 16, 2009

squishing--good or bad . . . ?

so today . . . while i was walking milo, i started thinking about things that go "squish" and why sometimes that is a good thing and sometimes it is not.

as i have mentioned before, in our neighborhood, the city has planted a different variety of tree on each street. one street has some kind of fir or pine tree and one street has trees with really fragrant flowers. other than that, i cannot identify the trees. but one street has these trees that drop a sort of round berry-like thing. the "berries" are dark red, and when you step on them, they go "splot!" and kind of disintegrate. they make a terrible mess on the sidewalk, but you can't avoid stepping on them if you walk on the sidewalk under the tree, because it drops so many of them that they are unavoidable. for which i am glad, because it is very satisfying to step on them and feel them go "splot!" and if it only dropped a few, i would feel like i should walk around them, because somebody (probably the gardener) has to clean them up.

the difference between a "splot" and a "squish" is that a squish is really wet, and a splot is much drier (and therefore easier to sweep up!) sadly, you have no say over the kind of tree that is planted by the road in front of your house, because the city decides. i guess if you knew the house you were considering buying had the messy berries on it, you could look for a house on another street, but what if you are looking when the tree doesn't have any berries? you would get a terrible surprise in the spring--unless you like stepping on them, in which case it would be a wonderful surprise!

anyway, as i was stepping on berries today and enjoying the satisfying feel of the "splot!' i also noticed a few snails on the sidewalk. i don't see snails too often when i am walking in our neighborhood, but there are a lot of them at the church. snails kind of creep me out--i'm not sure why--but the idea of stepping on a snail and feeling that slippery "squish" is NOT appealing to me at all! don't misunderstand me--i am not a fan of snails, but they have a very thin shell and a lot of squishy snail inside! so i very carefully step around the snails. i don't think i have ever actually squished a snail before, but i can just imagine what it would be like. in fact, i think if i ever accidentally step on one, like in the dark or when i am carrying too many things and can't see where my feet are going, i might have to throw away the shoes (unless i am wearing a pair of my skechers, which i love too much) because i would think about how horrible that squish felt every time i wore the murderous footwear . . .

then there are blueberries . . . the squishiest fruit ever! i am not a fan of blueberries. i know they are good for you with all those antioxidants they have, but i am just going to have to take my chances with broccoli. i don't even know what blueberries taste like, because when i bite one, i am overwhelmed by the suspense of when the pressure of my teeth on the skin will result in the disgusting burst of blueberry, that i can't even think about the taste! they might be delicious, but i will never know--because they squish. i have learned to eat grapes, even though they share some characteristics with the blueberry, but only because their squish factor is much lower--they don't actually EXPLODE in your mouth.

in contrast, consider cream puffs--you know, the ones you can buy frozen at costco in a huge tub?!? even though they are firm on the outside and soft on the inside, they don't "squish"--they "ooze!" well, that is, if you can wait for them to thaw before you eat them (they are pretty good frozen, says the girl with no patience or self-control . . . ) the inside of a cream puff is just smooth and creamy and sweet, and it sort of rolls around the inside of your mouth while you savor the deliciousness of it.

and junior mints. everyone knows (i hope) that you don't BITE into a junior mint. you pop it in and sort of moosh it into the roof of your mouth with your tongue. this cracks the chocolate "shell" on the outside and lets the soft, sweet mint sort of ooze out. again, firm outer shell with soft creamy inside, but no squishing happening.

so i guess, actually, squishing is not a good thing. splots are fine and oozing is good, but squishing is generally disgusting and should probably be avoided.

unless you like blueberries . . .

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

wednesday bonus blog: "but it's black!"

so today . . . the bonus blog is about the agony i went through when it was time to replace my 1994 honda civic. i loved that car! in fact, when it was new the plan was that rollie would drive it. since we lived right by the church he didn't have to drive every day, while i had to drive about 15 miles each way to work. so it seemed logical that we would continue to let the miles stack up on the older car. it was a reasoned decision, and it was my idea--in fact, i wanted to just leave the new car in the garage where it would be safe and stay pristine. but after a couple of weeks, i found i was cranky. a lot! i wanted to drive that car, but i didn't want to admit it. rollie, being the smart guy that he is, figured it out and said, "for goodness sake, drive the new car!" so i did. and every time i got in that car i felt happy! it was brand new. it was peppy. and it was purple! i loved it!but 14 years and over 200,000 miles later, it was time for a change. it was spending too much time in the shop. i kept thinking, "ok, after we get THIS fixed, my baby will be as good as new." but it wasn't. i need time to process stuff like getting a new car, so i was not really comfortable with having to make this decision so quickly. but the fact is, i could no longer count on my honda to get me where i needed to go and back again safely. the blog i am posting today shows my initial ambivilence about the situation. it was originally written on october 14, 2007 on a cloudy sunday afternoon.

OK, so today after we finally got home from rescuing my honda from the church parking lot where it had stranded me for the third time, rollie said "it's time for a new car!" now this might sound like fun to most of you, but i don't want to have to make car payments again! my precious, but old honda is paid for! and it is comfortable! and it runs just fine most of the time. and it has enough minor dings in it that i don't have to worry about where i park it or if a grocery cart crashes into it. in fact, i was kind of thinking that if someone would just run into me while i was driving THIS car, i could get a new paint job and it would be as good as new! finally i said i would think about maybe looking at another car, just to get him to stop talking about it and let me go watch something on my tivo. but that wasn't good enough for the persistant man. he insisted that we go test drive mazdas TODAY--(he knows how i procrastinate!) my brain was still kind of in shock even thinking about getting another car, and i really didn't want to go drive anything today. besides, i hate going onto a car lot, and i REALLY hate test driving cars. however, saying no apparently wasn't an option, so off we went.

i have to say, that while it wasn't a totally horrible ordeal
(the salesman did buy me a diet soda from the machine while he went back to 'run the numbers,') it had it's moments. i do not like driving a strange car, especially with a salesman riding in the passenger seat. every car feels different, and it's nerve-wracking to try to find where the gears are while someone you don't know is watching you . . . and thinking things . . .

rollie wanted me to start out by driving a miata, since his car is so much fun to drive (at least when i am not being rear-ended by a monster truck!) so i drove the only used one on the lot--a black 2006 MX-5 convertible. it is pretty nice, but it is black, and you know how i feel about cars that are black, white or silver . . . so i came home and did some investigating online and found that it is a very good car, mechanically speaking. however, it is still black . . . but it is the only one within a 300 mile radius, according to yahoo cars . . . and it only has 16,000 miles on it . . . and it has the pre-owned certified warranty . . . but it is black. so i don't know . . .

i hate to make car payments again, but it would be fun to drive. i just don't know if i can get over the blackness of it. so i am thinking of maybe going back tomorrow and seeing if they will let me drive it around a bit more. of course, i may go back tomorrow and it will be gone. how would i feel about that? i don't know. it took me months to choose a new camera, and i might still not have this laptop if rollie hadn't made me sit down, go on the internet, and choose one RIGHT NOW.
(that is referring to my last laptop--the one that recently died.) i know i need more reliable transportation, but i will have to drive this next car a long time, so i want to be sure it is the right choice. i think my head may explode . . .

next wednesday i will post the follow-up blog.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

3-D glasses and pig-boys . . .

so today . . . we didn't get much work done at school. well, we did work kind of hard this morning, but this afternoon, things just fell apart.

i don't know if the weather is to blame (it was cloudy and cool today, which weirds us out) or if it is the fact that public school is on spring vacation this week (and we wish we were too) or if it is just that joshua's goofiness finally got to jonathan and me . . .

we were sitting in the semi-darkness of the three year old classroom. the three year olds were supposed to be napping, and most of them were. i monitor this room for half an hour every afternoon while their teacher is taking her lunch break. usually i kind of enjoy it--i bring coloring or puzzles or books for the boys to play with quietly, and i finish my lunch and read a book. usually. and that's the way today started out . . . until i happened to look up from my book to see this:
i had brought the 3-D books today, so you would think i would be prepared, but it just struck me as funny, so i snapped a picture with my phone. this attention inspired more silliness . . .
joshua decided maybe he looked like a rock star . . .
and then we saw the amazing 4 armed boy . . . although you can only see 3 of his arms!
when we got back to our classroom, i managed to corral them long enough to do some science work, but joshua completed his using only one hand. his other hand was busy keeping his nose in pig position. and he pretended to be a pig all during science. he talked with a little boy's voice, but the words were those of a pig--if a pig could speak english. i probably should have gotten firm and worked my way back into being in charge. but i didn't. i definitely should have videotaped him, but i was too busy laughing. and poor jonathan . . . he works so hard to be a good student, but he was just losing it too. so i did the only thing i could do--i threw the lesson plan out the window, and we just played and goofed off the rest of the afternoon.

my students are five years old. they are small boys, and they have to spend an awful lot of time sitting at a table with a pencil and a paper. they are smart and hard-working, but they are still little boys. and today, we spent most of the afternoon enjoying that!

Monday, April 13, 2009

words: gotta love 'em!

so today . . . diandra wrote a blog on her photography site called "the biggest loser." when i read that title, i immediately thought about the reality show with that name and thought, "wait, she's not dieting." so i read the blog, and realized she was talking about contests, not losing weight. but those words--the biggest loser--brought an immediate picture to my mind. it was just the wrong picture.

that got me thinking about words. i love words, but sometimes i hate them! when words go into my brain, either written or spoken, they form a picture and it isn't always accurate. how many times have you had to say to someone, "no, that isn't what i meant. " words can be confusing . . .

. . . or wonderful. one of the contests that diandra entered (and lost) was on Jasmine Star's blog. first of all, we think jasmine is the bomb! (i hope i used that correctly--but if not, let me just say we love her!) it was a great contest. and 835 people responded--can you even imagine?!?! the challenge was to write a story in six words. diandra really wanted that prize, so all three of us worked on stories for a couple of days. we played with nouns and verbs and adjectives and adverbs until i was doing it in my sleep! i started thinking in six word sentences. and if my thought had five or seven words, i would rework it. it was a great brain exercise and lots of fun! i still do it sometimes when i am walking the dogs, or sitting in traffic, or standing in line. in fact, i was just thinking that i should start keeping a list of my six word stories . . .

. . . and words that i love. like slurpish. or conglomerate. or insightful. say them out loud and think about how they sound and how your mouth feels when you say them. puppy. languish. onomotopeaia (i'd better spell check that one.) and snarky--which btw, i invented about 10 years ago, even though now all the sports writers use it . . .

i love words, and the phrases and stories that they tell when strung together in a thoughtful and creative way. i think that is one of the reasons i blog, and why i stalk other blogs. for me, it isn't just about the content of the blog, it is also about the choice of vocabulary and the way different bloggers manipulate the language. it is about that first sentence, but more importantly, the last one. it is about drawing that picture in the reader's mind that accurately portrays what you want to say--and again, not just the content but also the feeling of it.

so, to paraphrase a famous philosopher, "i think, therefore i blog!"

oh shoot! that was only five words . . .

Sunday, April 12, 2009

easter--it isn't just for rabbits

so today . . . is Easter.

Easter is always one of the most special days at our church, because we totally focus on and celebrate Jesus' resurrection. and today part of that celebration included baptisms.

in our church, we don't believe that anything magical happens when a person is baptized, but it serves as an outward sign of something that has happened inside a person--a person who has asked Jesus to forgive them for their sins. it is a very visual way to show someone's friends and family that they are going to be following Jesus, and that will probably mean some things will be different in how they live--at least, that is what it should mean.

today, most of the people being baptized were teens. our youth group is an amazing bunch of kids. here are a few of them~ they have problems. they have pressures. many of them come from families that have issues. but they love God, and they are growing spiritually and figuring out how to make their sometimes difficult lives work. they are not perfect and they make mistakes--sometimes big ones! but they are learning how to recover from those mistakes and move on, because they know that God loves them even when they have blown it big time! and they know this, because the pastors and leaders at our church show them God's love while helping them figure out how to take responsibility for their bad choices, deal with the consequences of those choices and how to make better choices next time.

i'm really proud of the people at my church. they aren't perfect, but they are serious about being who God created them to be. and we are all part of the process. sometimes i am the one who has made a mistake and needs help to get back on track, and sometimes i am the one who can help someone else in the wake of their bad choices. we deal with stuff, we don't hide it. we help each other and we work together to make our church a safe place. and hopefully that spills over into making our world a better place--or at least our little part of it.

in a time when a lot of churches are dying, ours is not. and it is partly because of what is happening in our youth group. so i wanted to share some pictures of the baptism service today. you will see a lot of diandra and javier, because they are the youth pastors, so they did most of the baptisms today. rollie is there too, because he is the pastor. (the lighting wasn't good, so the pictures are a little dark.)
this is diandra and rollie right before they stepped into the water. i always enjoy seeing them together, but watching them work together is really cool . . .
and then diandra was able to join us for lunch. we went to subway--no crowds! (there's the food reference for those of you who think i can't blog if i don't mention food!) it was just nice to get to spend a little time with her today. i don't get to see her very often. it's hard to believe i can miss someone who lives in my own house, but our paths rarely cross anymore--she is busy. so i enjoyed seeing her face and hearing her laugh and catching up with her just a little bit.

it was a good day.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

the pressure of being funny

so today . . . i realized that maybe i shouldn't be blogging every single day.

you all have lives and realize, i think, that some days are just mundane. you do the stuff that you do every other day, don't have any unusual encounters with anyone, nothing interesting crosses your path--you just get up, go to work, come home, do the stuff you need to do, and then go to bed. and that's ok, because you don't have to come up with something entertaining to blog about.

i have days like that too--days when i haven't laughed, days when nothing out of the ordinary has happened, days when i just want to watch tv and go to bed. but 9:00 rolls around and i think, "aagghhh! i need to blog!" so i sit down with my computer and think back over my day and try to come up with something that i think somebody will be interested in reading. some days, something will come to me after i type in those first few words, but other days i get nothing. and yet that almost blank screen is still staring at me saying, "so today . . . " and waiting for a response.

i appreciate those of you who read my blog--it wouldn't be nearly as much fun to write if no one was reading it! and i also appreciate your comments--i like hearing from you, and sometimes even responding to your comments. but i am not a professional writer--i am just throwing words out there for you to pick up if you want to. and i am not a fiction writer--i'm not making anything up here! if my day is routine, the blog probably isn't going to be all that entertaining.

this is my 100th blog. it's hard to believe i have written that much--do i really have that much to say? probably not. so i am kind of at a transition point. i don't know whether to only blog if i feel like i have something entertaining to say, or if i should continue to try to blog every day even if my entry turns out to be kind of mundane . . .

as i have considered this today, the conclusion i have come to is this--i am still going to try to write every day, because my mom looks forward to reading it each morning. she may be the only one, but even if she is, it is worth doing it, for her. i am not lucky enough to live close to my parents, so we have to keep in contact electronically. i call her sometimes, and we talk about the big stuff that is happening, but she misses all the little stuff. and sometimes the little stuff really defines who we are. i can't just call her up and say, "want to go to the mall today?" or "let's go have lunch!" because she lives 1000 miles away! so my blog is how i share my life with her. and she cares about my obsessive need to organize my music instead of letting itunes do whatever it does (even though i am sure she doesn't understand that need any more than the rest of you!) she sees my "insanity" in things (and probably wonders which part of the family tree is responsible for my issues) and then comes back the next day to see what else is going on . . .

i'm not writing a sitcom here. this is my life. sometimes it is boring. yours probably is too. some days i am GLAD it is boring, especially when i hear from a friend who has recently discovered her wonderful husband has cancer, or another one who has been fighting that battle for seven long years, or a third one who has fallen prey to the economy and is losing her home. some days you get news that turns your life upside down. and sometimes, i can't blog those things--they are just too personal or painful to share. boring isn't always bad--some days i wish for boring over the actual circumstances of my life . . . some days, maybe you do too . . .

so this is just fair warning that if you choose to continue to read my blogs (and i hope you do!) i will continue to look for something each day that will make you laugh. but you should also realize that some days just aren't funny, and i'll be blogging those too. hopefully, as i continue, the funny will far outweigh the mundane.

and because every blog is better with a picture, here is one of my favorite pictures of my very camera shy mother and me.isn't she cute? i love you mom!! i wish we could go to the mall . . .

Friday, April 10, 2009

my ocd kicks into overdrive

so today . . . i spent most of the day sitting behind my computer working on my music files. i have LOTS of music files--kid's music that i use at school, worship music that i use for church, and then just the popular stuff that i like. i mean, i had close to 10 gigabytes of music on my last computer and used three different programs to play and store it! the problem was, each program wanted each song in it's own special format. and somehow i ended up with several copies of lots of different songs, and still without a playable file on my ipod! it was a mess.

enter my new computer. instead of just copying the whole mess onto the new machine (even though it has a 160 gb hard drive) i decided to very carefully add music and keep it organized. this, of course, immobilized me for several weeks. i just had to keep listening to the same 12 songs on my ipod, over and over and over again. but the day came when i needed to add some new music (that i needed to learn) to my ipod. and so the task of organizing and transferring began.

well, i say began, but i still haven't actually added any songs to itunes yet. the problem is that i am starting with the worship music, because that is what i need to get on my ipod right away. most of what i have are music files that have been given to me by people and they have no info on them. so before i can add a song to itunes, i have to listen to it, figure out what the title might be and who i think is singing it. then i have to go online and try to confirm what i thought, and also discover the album titles, because i need the artist name, album name, track number, and song title in order to keep it all neatly organized. and that is how i have spent most of my day, because it takes a lot of time and concentration--and also a lot of listening and guessing.

everyone i talk to thinks i am insane. "just put it in itunes and don't worry about how it is stored in your computer! itunes will figure it out."

but i would know.

i would know that the information wasn't complete. i would know that there would be a lot of "unknown artist" or "unknown album" entries and it would bother me. and then later when i would try to go back and add in more complete information, itunes wouldn't be able to find it. ( itunes hates me, but it is the only program that will interface with my ipod. stupid apple . . . !)

you see, this is why nothing ever gets done!! i get hung up in little details and the big picture gets lost. i don't cook much because i haven't written out a month's worth of menus and made a shopping list so that i will only have to go to the store once and can prepare all the vegetables ahead of time and freeze the meat in meal sized packages and pre-cook everything. i don't vacuum as often as i should because i want to go through the stack of magazines and papers that sits by my chair in the family room first and besides the vacuum is upstairs so that i don't have to see it all the time, but before i can bring it down, i should really vacuum upstairs, but that would mean bringing the bathroom rugs down to shake them and maybe i should just wash them since they are going to be downstairs, but i have other laundry going so i guess i will just have to wait.

my friend wendy says i think too much--that i should just do stuff without all the thinking. she is probably right. the thinking is what immobilizes me. but when i am not thinking, i am asleep. and i find that i am not all that productive when i am sleeping.

i am determined to get some music on this ipod before the weekend is over! it is mostly out of desperation--there are some new songs i need to learn in the next couple of weeks and the best way to do that is to get them on my ipod so i can listen and learn while walking the dogs. of course, getting the music on the ipod is only part of the solution. i also have to find some headphones that will stay in my tiny little ears while i am walking but that means going to the store, and deciding which store to try first and should i try full headphones? because the earbuds won't stay in and then there are over the head ones and behind the head ones and different colors and . . .