Friday, July 31, 2009

blogging for fun or profit

so today . . . i spent quite a bit of time online checking out other people's blogs. there are a few blogs that i follow, but mostly they are written by people i know. today i discovered that there are a lot of women out there writing about their days, just like i am. well, not just like i am. everyone has their own set of circumstances and their own way of writing about those circumstances. some of them sucked me in right away and made me want to read more. some just didn't interest me at all--they weren't bad, i just didn't find any connection and so i lost interest quickly.

i did find out some interesting things.

this quest started with diandra's new blog design. she found someone who would very quickly, and for a reasonable price, redo her blog and wanted me to check it out. so i did. diandra's blog turned out great, and the more i looked at other blogs designed by leslie, the more i wanted her to redo mine. so after school starts (and my paychecks resume) my blog will have a new look (i've even already chosen the palette!) unless i win the contest she is running right now--then it might be sooner. maybe i will even see if diandra can take a few pictures for me . . .

then i found a site where women who blog can register their blog with an organization called blogher. they have over 18,000 users! i was stunned!! i know there are a lot of people out there writing, but i had no idea how many! and if that many are registered, think about the number of women who are writing, like me, just for fun. i think it is primarily a networking site, but it has a lot of other elements as well. it looks like a wealth of information for anyone who is serious about blogging--i just had time to take a quick look, but i will check it out further another day.

i also noticed that some of the blogs i was reading were posting about the same things--there was one day when several people posted their wedding pics. and then i discovered why. there is a site that posts a topic every tuesday for people to blog about. the idea is, you blog about their topic (for example, your wedding) on tuesday and then add your blog address to what becomes a very long list of other people who have also blogged about the week's topic. it is called a blog hop. besides being fun, it serves a couple of other purposes--it gives you something to write about, it lets the people who read your blog find out a bit more about you, it adds some variety to your subject matter (it would never occur to me to post pictures of my wedding dress,) and if you participate, it gives you something in common with other bloggers that you can comment about. because that is where the fun is.

as i cruised all these sites i realized that a person could spend a lot of time in the blogosphere. really. between writing a blog, keeping up with other blogs that are of interest, networking with other bloggers, participating in contests, commenting on blogs, finding pictures or artwork to use, serious blogging could easily be a full time job!

i blog primarily for fun. if i had a "mission statement" it would be to share the stuff that happens to me in such a way that it makes you laugh or think. i'm not doing it to make money (thus, no ads) although i really admire these people who have looked at what is happening online and found a way to capitalize on it. so while the voice of my blog will remain unchanged (because it is my voice,) i did get some ideas today that i might try out. i hope you like it.

and if you do, leave a comment. because believe it or not, reading your comments is one of the best parts of my day!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

i did choose just one husband . . .

so today . . . we went to rubio's for lunch. again.

rubio's is rollie's current favorite place to eat. he would eat there twice a day, every day if he could. we eat there a lot, because when we are getting ready to go out, he will say to me, "so, where do you want to go to eat?" and i will say, "i have no preference--you choose," or "i'll be happy anywhere i can get a huge soda," or the ever popular, "it doesn't make any difference to me as long as i don't have to make the decision." and so we go to rubio's.

decision-making is not my strong suit . . .

we eat out a lot, and menus pose a problem for me--they are full of choices. but at the places we eat more frequently, i usually know what i am going to have before we even get there. at jack-in-the-box i have a sourdough jack. at subway i have tuna on whole wheat with lots of lettuce. at mcdonald's i have cinnamon melts (we only go there for breakfast.) at red lobster and olive garden i have the salmon. at sizzler i have steak and malibu chicken. and at black angus i have the teriyaki steak. (ok, we don't eat at black angus often, but on the few occasions we do eat there, i know i am going to have the teriyaki steak!) i don't even need to look at the menus. but if we go someplace unfamiliar, i am always the last one to decide what i want to eat . .

i hate to make decisions. sometimes my email inbox is 5 or 6 pages long--not because i haven't been keeping up with my reading, but because i can't decide what to do with it. should i forward it? who should i forward it to? should i save it? delete it--no wait, i can't delete it, i might need it someday . . . maybe i should go to that website and buy the advertised item, but i don't have time right now,so let's just save it for later . . . that looks interesting, but is it true? i should ask someone about it or check it out on snopes, but again, i don't have time right now . . . this is what goes through my head when i read my email each day.

when i got my new computer, i didn't bookmark any sites for several days. the bookmarking feature is dangerous for me. on my old computer i had hundreds of sites bookmarked. i bookmark anything i think looks interesting, or that i don't have time to read immediately, or that i can't afford to purchase right away. if i am researching a new purchase (usually something electronic) i will bookmark every review i read, every place i find it for sale (because of course i want the best price,) and every comparison chart. and once it is on my bookmark list, it is pretty much there for life, because i can't decide what to keep and what to delete--you never know when i might need to refer to something . . .

this is a large part of why it is taking me so long to finish up cleaning out the scary room. i am swamped with decisions--what to keep? what to throw away? what to give to charity? what to box up and save? what to sell on ebay? what will diandra want? (she saved the yearbooks . . . ) it would be so much easier if i could just choose what i wanted to keep and throw the rest of it out! but i can't do that--i can't throw away perfectly good stuff just because i don't want it anymore . . .

maybe it would help if i would quit shopping in multiples. because when i am shopping, if i find something i really like, i will often buy the same thing in different colors. i have read that it can sometimes be a good idea to do that--buy one in black and one in a color. i do it because i can't make up my mind about what color to buy. i don't really have a favorite color--i like them all. recently i found a dress in my favorite store on clearance. and then i had a coupon to use. and by the time all the discounts had been taken, it cost me $7.50 instead of the original $30! i should have said, "woohoo," picked a color, and saved myself $22.50! instead i bought three dresses in different colors. because i couldn't choose--well, i guess i did choose, because i didn't buy it in all 7 colors (that would have just been too much!) but i couldn't pick just one.

recently we went to the new yogurtland store. this is a wonderful and awful place. they probably have at least 20 different kinds of frozen yogurt and probably that many toppings as well. it is both heaven and hell for me! there are so many choices . . . and yet, since i fill my own bowl i can have all 20 flavors if i like, so i really don't have to make a decision. but i do, because i have to pay by the weight of my delicious frozen treat . . . and then eat it all!

. . . so we ended up at rubio's for lunch once again. and that is ok with me, because they do have big sodas there and i don't have to look at the menu--i know what i want--all american taco on a whole wheat tortilla with no fresca. that is my current favorite. although, today they told me they will only have that on the menu for a few more days, which means that the next time we go to rubio's, i will have to choose something different to eat.

maybe we could just start going to jack-in-the-box . . .

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

at least i don't have to go hunting

so today . . . i wasn't going to write a blog. it is wednesday, which as you know, is my official day off from blogging. and nothing extraordinarily funny happened to me today.

i did finally fold the laundry. yes, the laundry that i washed last friday night and saturday morning before we left for fishfest. i got kind of busy after that, and so the laundry remained in the laundry basket, out in the hot garage, waiting to come in. today it got to come in. and get folded. and actually put away into the drawers.

i also went to the grocery store, and you know how i love to do that! rollie called and asked if i wanted to go out for lunch today, and of course i said yes. he was going to come pick me up, but i said NO! and just had him meet me at rubio's. that got me out of the house in my own car, which is the first step to getting to the grocery store. (there is something about being home for the summer that makes it sooo hard for me to go do the stuff i need to do. i just want to stay put. at home.) so we had a nice lunch, sat outside at the town center enjoying the view (there are lots of palm trees there,) and the sound of the water from the fountain, and then i headed off to buy food.

but first, i stopped at walmart. how could i not? it is at the town center and i had to drive right by it and my car just parked. so i got out, went in, checked the list i keep in my phone of things i need to get at walmart, and bought mini chocolate covered donuts.

i don't know what it is about those crazy donuts, but i cannot seem to resist them. i don't crave them to the point of making a special trip to buy them, but if i walk past them in the store, i get them. and then i take them home and eat them all myself. (rollie won't eat them, and i hide them from diandra . . . i know, what kind of a mom am i? i'll tell you--i am the kind of mom that is trying desperately to save my daughter from my addictions!!) as i walked to the car with my "catch of the day," i realized i had a problem. i had chocolate covered mini donuts. and if i went to the grocery store, those donuts were going to sit in the trunk of my car and the chocolate coating was going to get all melty and they would stick together and that would not be good. so i did the only thing i could do. i went home. without buying groceries.

it isn't like there is no food in the house. there is, but it all requires cooking--all of our instant food was pretty much gone. but i thought maybe we could live on raw broccoli, hard boiled eggs, and cucumbers for another day or two . . .

and then i got a text message from someone at my school. each teacher was getting $50 to spend for classroom materials this year, but they needed to be ordered right away and could i come look at the catalog? ok. so i was going to be out in my car again~

i drove to the school, perused the catalog and made my choices--do you know how hard it is to spend only $50 in an educational materials catalog?!? oh my goodness! but i finally did, after which i headed off to the grocery store.

it didn't take me long to fill my cart. we tend to like to eat the same things over and over again, so usually i can go through the store on autopilot. and it turned out to be a great time to be in the store--there wasn't even a line at the cash register!

so we have food again. we are not going to starve. or be forced to become vegetarians. i mean, i have learned to eat broccoli, but sometimes a girl just needs tuna fish! oh yeah, and dark chocolate m&m's!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

what is the expiration date on a yearbook anyway?

so today . . . my yearbooks are sitting by the back door waiting to go into the recycle bin. they have been sitting there for several days now. today i finally put the junior high yearbooks in, but the others are still sitting there by the door. waiting.

i am going to get rid of them. i am. i can't remember the last time i looked at those books. they do not serve any purpose in my life. they take up most of a bookshelf that could be put to better use. i do not anticipate looking at them in the future. so i am going to get rid of them. really.

i've also bagged up the children's videos. it makes me sad, because we have some wonderful videos that diandra watched when she was little. but we don't even have a vhs player anymore. so the video tapes sit on the shelf collecting dust. i have thought about buying a machine that would let me record them onto dvds, but i'm not sure how cost effective that would be. and then rollie said that really, by the time we have grandchildren who might be interested in watching them, dvds might have gone the way of vhs tapes. so i guess i will give the videos to our preschool (they use them on rainy days or friday afternoons.) at least then some children will get to enjoy the stories--until their vhs player breaks . . .

i'm feeling a little melancholy tonight. it's late, and i am tired of dealing with all this stuff.

i don't know why it is so hard to let go of stuff. i guess i form sentimental attachments easily. sometimes i think about how much money i spent on something, and it seems like such a waste to get rid of it. sometimes i think i might need it again someday. sometimes i think about who gave it to me, and how they will feel if they find out it is gone.

but it is good to let go. letting go clears my mind and makes room for other things--not other tangible things--it would really be a waste of my time to do all this cleaning out only to fill the empty spaces up again. but it does make my mind feel clearer. it is easier to handle my life when there isn't quite so much to handle.

so the yearbooks are on their way out. so are the children's video tapes. and any luggage without wheels. and clothes that are too big or too small or that i have had for more than 5 years. i'm decluttering. ruthlessly. kind of . . .

Monday, July 27, 2009

timing is everything . . .

so today . . . i am horrified!

yesterday, just as i was about to start leading worship--i mean really ready to start, we were on the stage, the boys were ready to play and i had just opened my mouth to begin--when diandra came running up to tell me something. she was trying to be discreet and was helped by the fact that it was dark except for the stage lighting. but the problem was, she was talking quietly. and you know my hearing. i said "what?" twice, before i heard her say, "the alarm is going off at the house and i have to go check it out."


of all the times for our security alarm to go off, sunday morning is the absolute worst time. all three of us are busy at church, which makes it hard for the alarm company to contact us, because we have our phones on silent, if they are even within reach. and it isn't like we can just drop what we are doing and leave! but it is also the very best time for someone to burgle our house, because if they have been "casing the joint," they know that there is no one in the house from about 8:45 a.m. until we get home from lunch at about 1:00 every single sunday.

before we moved in several years ago, this house was robbed two or three times. we live in a really nice neighborhood in probably the safest part of the los angeles metropolitan area. we don't have gangs. we don't have graffiti. we don't have homeless people. we DO have lots and lots of police officers. so it really isn't the smartest place for a burglar to strike. (maybe they think in such a nice part of town, there will be lots of good stuff to take . . . ) however, since we have moved in, no one has tried to break in--at least that we know of. i think it is the presence of our two vicious dogs--they are pretty loud, and mia can look like she will eat you if you cross her.

anyway, the alarm company finally reached someone on the church staff who came and got diandra--because she was the only one of us not on stage at that particular moment (rollie was playing his bass with the band in the sanctuary.) that is when she came and told me she was leaving, so that i could cover for her. she had the sense to take ernie (the guy who got the message) with her, and off they went.

when they got here, they were met by several police officers. diandra came in and turned off the alarm, and they discovered that one of the sensors had fallen off one of the doors . . .


we had been dealing with that dumb sensor all weekend. rollie had tried hot glue--that didn't hold. i tried tacky--it still fell off. so saturday, rollie stuck it on with that double-sided foam tape. we thought for sure that would stay put. i mean, have you ever tried to get that off of a surface?!? it is impossible! and really, if i had thought about it, i would not have set the alarm that morning until we were sure that it would hold. but i didn't think about it, so i had set the alarm and gone off to church . . .

and that is all i knew. until today.

today it was hot again, so when rollie got home from work this afternoon, we just sort of collapsed in front of the fan (because the only guy who can work the magic that is needed on our a/c is out of town!) we were just hanging out, and the dogs were fighting over us, and rollie started talking to milo who was trying to lick rollie's nose off his face. "yes," he said, "you are so vicious." ( i soon found out that this was sarcasm.) "when those police officers came in the house, you just went right over and sat on their feet."

wait a minute. what? the police officers came into the house? WHAT????

so rollie said, well, yes they had to come in first and clear the house. WHAT?!?!?! YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT POLICE OFFICERS CAME INTO THE HOUSE? AND WENT INTO EVERY ROOM?? AND CHECKED THE CLOSETS AND THE SHOWER??????

now i am horrified.

remember when your mom used to tell you to wear clean underwear in case you were ever in an accident and had to go to the hospital? maybe she should have saved her breath and instead said don't go to church while you are in the process of cleaning out the scary room.

yes, remember what i am doing?

the only room in the house that currently looks neat and clean is--you guessed it--the man room. every other room in the house is somehow involved in the scary room project. so now the whole house is scary. this is a temporary state--there is a charity coming to pick stuff up next tuesday--but still, those police officers didn't know that.

they looked around and asked diandra if she could tell if anything was missing. and she (my darling precious daughter) looked around and said, no, she couldn't tell.

just kill me now.

my mom talks about how she hates it when my dad is working in the garage, because he leaves the garage door up and all the neighbors can see inside (remember i get my pack-ratiness from my dad--his garage is full of stuff.) she says she thinks they might think the whole house looks like that. i always say to her, "oh no. everybody's garage has stuff in it. it is not a reflection of the rest of your house. don't worry about it." but now i know how she feels. my house does not always look like this, but those police officers don't know that. every time they drive by (and they drive by often enough) they are going to see the inside of my house as it was yesterday.

i'm thinking of staging another alarm malfunction in a couple of weeks when everything is cleaned up. maybe even on a sunday morning. what are the odds that those same police officers would respond . . . ?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

mother's day in july???

so today . . . i got my mother's day present.

i know mother's day was two months ago, but the event was today!

today i got to spend the day with my daughter in the hot sun listening to LOUD music by some amazing musicians. it's called fishfest. i'll tell you why on monday (no blog tomorrow, probably,) but tonight it is very late, and i have to get up early tomorrow to go to church and and play some loud music of my own with some future amazing musicians. and tonight, i still have to decide what we are going to play. so i need to stop blogging, write tomorrow's set, and go to bed!

but since it is such a short blog tonight, i thought i should at least give you a picture.yep! that's us. and that's the stage. we were pretty darned close!

it was a wonderful day, and i have a bunch of pictures and video that i want to post, but it isn't going to happen tonight . . .

Friday, July 24, 2009

i guess it has to be red!

so today . . . i decided i want the red bathtub.

it costs two and a half times as much as the white bathtub, and works in exactly the same way, but i want the red one.

it isn't for me. it is for penelope. penelope is my new virtual pet. she is way better than my previous virtual pets, in that she actually does stuff and i can interact with her. she lives in a cute house next to our other virtual friends and within walking distance of several virtual stores. she eats, sleeps, runs, dances, watches tv, runs races (although we are terrible at that and i don't do it very often, because i can't stand the look on her little face when i crash her into a hurdle and she falls . . . you know, i'm not very athletic!) and as of today, she can even go fishing! here she is sitting in her yard.i finally got a new room in the virtual house that my virtual pet lives in on facebook. i've been working for several days for that room--visiting people, playing games with my pet, 'buying' stuff--all to earn points so i would have enough to level up and get another room.

i leveled up, all right. and got a 'better' ball for my trouble instead of another room. ok, work, work, work again. this time i got a 'better' frisbee. woohoo~ work, work, work again, because surely this time i will get a room. surely they will not just give me a 'better' version of something i already have (which, btw, i can't find anything better about--it just looks different!) and guess what i got? a 'better jump rope!' so i stopped working, because it just seemed pointless.

so i went back to playing the game just for fun. i had all the trophies i was going to get for a while. my pet had clothes to wear and chairs to sit on and a bed for sleeping. she even started growing vegetables (which has it's own set of frustrations.) and then i leveled up. and got a room! this time when i said WOOHOO, i meant it!

i already had a sitting room/bedroom, a trophy room, a sun room with plants, and a room that i just liked the color of, so a decision had to be made about this new room. i was vacillating between bathroom and kitchen/dining room. most of the kitchen items were kind of expensive (remember, we are talking about virtual money here, but still . . . ) and did my pet really need a bathroom?

but then one day i was virtually visiting another friend who had a bathroom, and the most amazing thing happened--her pet vaulted over the side of the bathtub (here's penelope doing it,) and took a shower! the water came on and soap bubbles appeared, the pet smiled and giggled, and the cleanliness gauge shot to the top. it was so cute! so that made my decision for me--i needed a bathroom!

i was feeling pretty good, because i had this great stone floor that i hadn't used in any of the other rooms that would be just perfect for a bathroom. so i went 'shopping' for fixtures and found that the white bathtub was 1000 coins, and the red bathtub was 2500 coins. as i said, they are exactly the same, except for the color. i am guessing they operate in the same way, although i don't have any personal experience with the red one.

at this point, i had about 800 coins--not enough for either bathtub. so i started looking at what i had that i could sell and got up to about 1600 coins. and that is when my trouble began. because that was enough for the white tub, but i didn't buy it. i played around a bit more, gave it some more thought, changed the color of the walls, tried to talk myself into the white tub, and finally realized that i wanted the red bathtub--and if i settled for the white one just because it's what i could get now, every time i looked at it i would be thinking about the red one.

patience is not one of my virtues.

it takes a long time to earn 1000 coins in this game, and that is how many more i needed for the tub of my dreams. but i did not want to have to wait, so i started looking at options . . .

the easiest thing to do would be to buy some coins. you can do this. in fact, i spent a whole blog recently renouncing the spending of real money to buy something that doesn't really exist. and then i talked to diandra . . .

she said, "you know, it costs at least $10 to go see a movie, and what do you get for that? you sit in a big dark room and are entertained for a couple of hours. and then you go home, and you have nothing to show for the money you spent. BUT if you spend that same $10 for coins for the game, think how long you would enjoy spending those coins and playing with the stuff you got . . . so maybe it isn't such a bad idea after all."


but no, even though, following her logic, i could now probably justify doing that, it still felt a little bit like cheating to me. for this tub, i needed to earn the coins. what i wish is that i could spend the "money" i have made playing farm town--i have 1.4 million coins on that game and have pretty much run out of stuff to spend it on . . .

ok--so i bought a couple of mystery boxes, thinking i could resell the items and make some money. but that didn't work out too well either. so i went fishing--i caught one fish, and a broken pot, a piece of seaweed, and an old boot. let's just say that i lost money on that one too.

my last hope is my vegetable garden. if i let my vegetables grow to the large size (which takes a lot of patience, which you may remember is not my strong suit) and sell them, i might have enough to get the bright and shiny red bathtub. so that is what i decide to do. but it is taking those crazy vegetables a LONG time to grow. i check them almost every hour and there is no change. i have been watching them for a couple of days now, and they haven't grown at all! my patience is about to run out.

let's see, where did i leave my debit card . . .

Thursday, July 23, 2009

letting go and hanging on . . .

so today . . . i continued working on cleaning out the extra bedroom (formerly known as the scary room and soon to be known as the office.) it is coming along really well. the rest of the house is suffering, but there is always next week to deal with that.

as you know, i have a hard time getting rid of stuff. which is why i am constantly cleaning stuff out. but each time i go through a closet or drawer, i am able to let go of one or two more things. it would be a much more efficient use of my time to just be ruthless the first time, but apparently i am incapable of doing that. so, i have to do it again and again, each time letting go of a little more . . .

when diandra was about five, we used to go out for sunday brunch after church. we typically let her choose what she wanted to eat, and one day she ordered pancakes. she liked pancakes, so it seemed like a good choice. until the pancakes came. the chef had very cleverly fashioned diandra's pancake into the shape of a teddy bear for her. she was delighted, until we tried to get her to eat it. she resisted. she said no. she cried. she did not want to eat that pancake, because it looked like a teddy bear and how could she eat a teddy bear--it's feelings would be hurt and it would cease to exist and it would be all her fault. duh!

i am kind of like that with my stuff. even if i don't use it anymore, there are memories attached. and if i get rid of it, i am afraid that the memories will be gone as well. today, one of my tasks was cleaning out the drawers of the sewing desk--a minefield of memories.

the sewing desk is staying. it was custom made for my mom by a friend and it is a great work space. it has drawers and a large work surface, so it will be perfect for the work diandra and i will be doing in this room. my mom gave me this desk many years ago, and i immediately filled up the drawers with all my sewing stuff. i was in heaven!

i used to sew a lot. in fact, before diandra was born, i made most of my own clothes, and i was pretty good at it. but when we became a family of three, i found i didn't have time for sewing anymore. the last time i started "getting rid of stuff," i finally got rid of the tiny little patterns for ruffly dresses that i bought to sew up for my new baby girl--24 years ago--which never quite got assembled. cut out of darling fabric? yes. stitched into something wearable? not quite . . .

every time i clean stuff out, i get rid of a few more things. this time, i finally let go of the last of my patterns.i know i will never sew anything from these patterns again. but i did once. i can remember shopping for the fabrics i used. i remember how the clothes fit and which ones i liked the best. i am even still kind of attached to the one pattern that i thought would be so cute, even though i never got to use it. and so i have kept these patterns--i guess in case i ever decide to use them again . . .

but i won't, and it is just time to say good-bye.

the last time i cleaned things out, i got rid of most of my fabric. but i have this small pile of christmas fabric that i just can't part with. still. someday when i am old and retired, maybe i will make something out of it. so i tucked it away in the back of the bottom drawer, where it will lay, probably until the next time i clean out the sewing desk.

i let go of probably 50 packages of bias tape (in every color of the rainbow,) and several zippers. i got rid of odds and ends of elastic and a big bag of buttons--ok, i didn't actually get rid of the buttons. i am going to take them to school for the kids to use. but at least they aren't in the sewing desk anymore . . . i finally said goodbye to the brown and white fuzzy fabric scraps that i always thought would be good for something.

and then i opened a small box that used to hold greeting cards--a long, long time ago. before i even opened it, i knew it had belonged to my grandma peabody.grandma peabody was my dad's mother, and she was everyone's favorite grandma. when we went to visit grandma peabody, the world revolved around us. she would have our favorite food to eat. she would play games or watch tv or make stuff with us. and once in a while, we would get to go to payless to get supplies for our projects and maybe a little surprise as well. she didn't spoil us with stuff, but she certainly spoiled us with attention.

grandma peabody could make something out of anything, but her gift was sewing. when i was young, i had the best dressed barbies of anyone. my barbies had flannel nightgowns and fuzzy bathrobes as well as beaded evening gowns and slips! yes, my barbies had undergarments! my barbies wore pants, when all you could buy in the store were skirts. they had cardigan sweaters and blouses. she even made knee-high boots for them! and my skipper and skooter dolls? (barbie's little sister and cousin, in case you didn't know) they had matching wardrobes. if skipper had red and white pajamas, so did skooter--she just made two of everything.

when diandra got her first barbie, it came complete with a brand new wardrobe, custom made by grandma peabody. i still had all the clothes she had made for me, but she wanted to make clothes especially for diandra. and when diandra had cabbage patch kids, grandma made clothes for them too. she even made clothes for the american girls which were just as nice as the ones in the catalog.

today, i found the box with the barbie patterns in it. and as i dug further into the box, i found these . . .these are pattern pieces for some type of doll clothing that grandma made out of her church bulletin. and i have no doubt that when she finished cutting and sewing up these tiny garments, they fit the doll they were intended for perfectly. because grandma and her sewing machine were pretty amazing.

i know i will never make doll clothes from these patterns. i knew this even before i took them out and looked at how small they were. but i also knew that i was keeping them. because even though i will never use them, and diandra probably won't either (although grandma did teach her how to sew and we do have her sewing machine, so she may surprise me,) these tiny pieces of tissue paper connect me to her. i will never forget my grandma, but i also can't let go of this piece of her. at least not now.

the office is starting to look pretty good. the rest of the house is not. i am getting rid of a lot, but not everything. some things, even though they are not useful, are important to keep. and that is what i am figuring out . . .

and then there are these shoes.
i took them out of a box, but didn't quite know what to do with them. i kept tripping over them all day. they probably should have gone in the "getting rid of it" pile, but i kind of like them. so i put them on and they are pretty comfortable . . . maybe i will hang onto them for a little while longer . . .

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

a break for chocolate cake

so today . . . i am blogging from del taco. i needed chocolate cake.

i've been on vacation most of the summer, which means i have pretty much been eating whatever i want--ice cream, french fries, potato chips, and of course, mini chocolate covered donuts.

but now i am home, and it is time to go back to eating healthy food and avoiding the bad stuff. this is easier said than done. knowing my inability to deny myself, i did not buy any of the forbidden foods when i went grocery shopping. i bought salad mix, broccoli, fruit, nuts, and dry roasted endamame (which is a decent substitute for chips, sometimes . . . ) chicken breasts, whole wheat tortillas, and soy milk. see how good i was!

when i eat only healthy food, i find that i don't really crave the other stuff. i can even occasionally have a small bag of chips or a brownie without going into shock. but when i have been living on the dark side (foodwise) it is awfully hard to come back into the light . . .

this week it has been especially hard, because i have been trapped at home, chained to the scary room. so i am forced to eat what is already in the house--and you know what that is! the problem is that i have been craving brownies and i don't have any and it is too hot to go to 7-11 to get some. so i tried to assuage my craving with dark chocolate m&m's (the one chocolate treat i eat with abandon--dark chocolate is good for you, you know.) but it didn't work. the m&m's were too mushy, because the house is hot.

i was complaining about this to rollie, who offered this advice--"try this," he said. "first, suck the candy coating off the m&m's. then take a drink of ice cold water and let it flow over the m&ms in your mouth. that makes them nice and firm, and then you can chew them up!" i have not tried this yet. but apparently there is a downside. he continued--"the only problem is, it is hard to stop eating them this way. usually they are sweet enough that a handful is plenty. but when you alternate eating the m&m's with drinking ice cold water, you can eat an awful lot before you feel satisfied."

this is surprising advice from my husband, who is the most self-disciplined person on the planet. i guess we all have our weaknesses . . .

so when he said he had band rehearsal at 6:00 (meaning we couldn't go out for dinner, which is our routine on wednesday nights) i graciously said, "oh, i will take you to the church and then come back later. that way we will only have one car out tonight." don't i sound selfless and caring? you know me--don't be fooled! because what i was THINKING was, "yes! i will take him to the church and then go back to del taco for chocolate cake!!!"

and that is pretty much what i did.

and since i knew it wouldn't take me long to inhale their cake (the best chocolate cake, by the way,) i brought my computer along to blog.

btw--i tried rollie's suggestion about the m&m's . . . it didn't work for me.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

sidetracked by george clooney and brad pitt

so today . . . i did not leave the house. not once.

i would like to say it was because i was just so busy cleaning up the mess i made yesterday. but sadly, it was mostly inertia. i woke up kind of late, probably subconsciously avoiding my task for today. rollie was working at home, and there is just something about him being at home that keeps me from getting anything done--even when we are in separate rooms!

but i had a job to do today. i thought it would be easy--put a movie on the tv, and the time would just fly by as i sorted things out. usually watching tv while i work helps to keep me on task. but not today. today i kind of got absorbed in the movie, and the work suffered.

it started innocently enough. we do not currently have a dvd player connected to our family room tv. we do have tivo, and that typically stores plenty of shows for us to watch when we have free time. but it is summer--rerun season. and since we don't have cable, our poor tivo is having a hard time finding anything of interest to record. so my choices were pretty limited. until i remembered that we can access our netflix account from our tivo! (isn't technology great?!?!!) so i went online and added a bunch of movies to our list of "instant access" movies. and then i got down to business . . .

well, the business of watching a movie . . . i chose to begin with ocean's eleven. i've seen this movie 3 times, but not recently. i LOVE this genre of story--the caper adventure! so i loaded it up and pushed play. it is a two hour movie, and i admit that i watched more than i worked. but it is such a good story! rollie came downstairs as i was just finishing it up. i was telling him about the movie, when realized that after watching it 4 times now, i still didn't really understand how they had pulled off the caper. every time i watch it, i try to catch all the details, but apparently i miss some. because at the end of the movie they get away with the money, but i'm never sure how they got out of the casino with all that cash . . . after talking about it, i decided i should just watch it again, right away. then i would remember the parts that i didn't get the first time and could pay more attention.

so i did. i watched it again. and in the interests of finally understanding how the whole caper worked, i just watched the movie--no sorting while i watched . . . and it worked! at the end of my second viewing, i went, "oohhhh!" and now i get it. finally.

but, my sorting suffered. i made a little progress, but i think i am now behind schedule. i find that i am not nearly as ruthless as i want to be. in my mind i am able to get rid of almost everything, but when i am holding something in my hand, it does not move easily into the "get rid of it" pile. and i hardly put anything in the trash today.


i have to get serious! really serious!!

so now i am on to plan c. tomorrow, i am going to ignore the stuff i have dragged out. truthfully i could probably throw it all away and not miss any of it, but i'm not quite ready to do that. so tomorrow, i am going to tackle the stuff still in the room--the things in the closet and the drawers. there is no tivo or dvd player in that room, but shopping tv is having jewelry shows on all day long!!

now, if i can just have rollie hide my debit card for the day, i should be golden . . .

Monday, July 20, 2009

it isn't summer vacation until i have cleaned out a room . . .

so today . . . my summer really began.

as i have mentioned before, i usually spend quite a bit of my summer taking care of big household tasks--all those things that can't be completed in half an hour (which is about how much energy i have left, after working all day, to spend on household tasks.) even though my summer is already half over, i really haven't been home much. we went to orlando and then to portland right after school was out. when i arrived home from that trip, i spent the next few days unpacking (which i HATE to do,) catching up on the laundry (and there was a lot of laundry after having been gone so much,) and dreading this week.

i was dreading this week, because it is the week i have chosen to tackle the scary room.

this is not my first attempt at getting this room under control. it is an on-going battle. the combination of my indecisiveness, my pack rat-ism, and the lack of storage space in our house conspires against me. it is not a job for the feint of heart.

a few months ago, i decided that i could find the floor in this room if i just dealt with tiny chunks of it at a time. my plan was to go in every day and work for an hour after school--just one hour a day--and then on saturday, maybe i would give it two hours. the whole job was so overwhelming that i thought if i just tackled a little bit at a time, maybe i could do it. it was a good plan, in theory, but something was lacking in the implementation--mostly it was hauling myself upstairs to face the mess after a long day of work. i had a hard time getting past the couch . . . and if i did make it upstairs, i couldn't put anything away, because there was no place to put anything. so i would drag some stuff out into the hallway, look at the clock and realize my hour was almost up, and then put everything back in . . . it was a major catch 22! so i gave up, closed the door, and ignored it. well, except for when i opened the door, tossed something else in, and then slammed the door quickly shut again . . .

but we need that room! diandra's photography is keeping her busier than ever and she needs help keeping up with all the paperwork and dvds and filing, and that is the only space we have to use.

so i decided this was the week to do it. diandra left for teen camp this morning and won't be back until friday. my goal is to get the room cleaned out and set up as our office by the time she gets home. this meant i needed a plan. clearly. because how many times have i tried to clean out that room only to give up and close the door. this time that is not an option, so i needed a plan.

i decided to try something i have never done before. i took my car out of the garage (it was not happy, but we all have to make sacrifices) and parked it on the street. my plan consisted of carrying EVERYTHING out of the room, down the stairs, and into the garage. i had high hopes of this working, because instead of trying to put everything away (in a room where there really isn't room for everything,) i would be making decisions about what to put back IN the clean, empty room. i thought it was a great plan! i could picture success in my head! i was actually kind of excited to do it.

and then i went into the garage . . .

it was HOT in there. i knew it would be, because every summer when i clean out the garage (you would think once would be enough, but i seem to have to do it again every summer,) it is really hot in there. i usually just open up the garage door, blast my music into the neighborhood, drink gallons of iced tea, and sweat. there is really no other way to do it.

but i had a plan. so i moved my car out into the street and left it there in the blazing sun, exposed to careless skateboarders, bike riders not watching where they are going, and teenaged drivers talking on their cell phones while singing with their ipods. i said a little prayer, and went back inside. i went upstairs and opened the door to the scary room. and just stood there.

where to begin? i decided to just start carrying stuff out. the first few things i brought out were items i knew i was going to donate to charity, so i put them in a pile in the living room to deal with later. then there were odds and ends of luggage and bags we use to pack in when we travel, so that was next, and they ended up in a pile in a corner of the family room. i made a stack of pictures, a stack of magazines, a pile of photo frames, and a huge mound of miscellaneous stuff i shoud probably just throw away without even looking at--because, really, i haven't used anything in that room in months! i could probably just trash it all and not miss any of it! but that isn't the way i do things . . . i found that as i was emptying the upstairs room, i was also sorting. and nothing was going into the garage.

when rollie came home for lunch, he laughed and said, "it's a good thing you moved your car outside--i can see how you need all that room for ONE SHOE BOX." yes, after working all morning there were several piles of stuff in the living room and family room, but just one shoe box in the garage.

well it was hot in the garage. and the floor is kind of dusty. and it was too hot to sweep the floor. so i found that i didn't really want to put anything in the garage.

so now i am working on plan b. i have removed most of the loose stuff and put it in piles downstairs. i brought the shoe box back in the house and put my car back in the garage (it is happy--i can tell!) i almost filled our huge recycle bin. when i go into the "not-so-scary anymore" room, i can see the floor and sit on the daybed again. progress was made.

and tomorrow, i am going to spend the day watching movies on tv while i sort through all the stuff that is now taking over the family room and the living room.

really, i am making progress . . .

Saturday, July 18, 2009

kind of heavy thoughts--you might want to skip it today . . .

so today . . . i went to a funeral. this is my fourth funeral in three months, and the first one that made me cry.

my uncle passed away a few months ago. it was sudden and unexpected. i got a plane ticket, took a few days off work, and headed north to be with my family. his family did a great job of putting together a service that celebrated who he was, and they did it in a very short time. but i didn't cry. in my defense, i don't cry a lot. but this would be a time when you would think i might, and yet, i didn't. everything happened at such a whirlwind pace, that maybe it didn't really seem real to me that he was gone. and since i live so far away and only see him a couple of times a year, even though my brain knows he is gone, my heart hasn't quite grasped it yet. i can still kind of pretend that he is at home painting or tying fishing flies or going to garage sales . . .

the second funeral was just a couple of weeks later. it was for a very old lady at our church. she was not one of those grumpy, cranky old people that we all encounter occasionally. she was kind and sweet, and never complained about her physical issues--and she had plenty she could have complained about! so her death wasn't completely unexpected. she was ready to go, she knew where she was headed, and she was at peace with it. and while we will miss her, we know that it must be a relief for her to be in a place where she feels no pain and her body works like it is supposed to again. (i'm talking about heaven here, in case you didn't know . . . ) but it was awfully close to uncle jim's funeral. and while i didn't actually cry, it was just too close. i went, but i didn't let myself really participate. finally i just left and wandered around the church offices, waiting for it to be over.

the third funeral was for an older man who had been recently diagnosed with cancer. thankfully, he didn't have to battle it for too long. he lived his life in service to God, and his funeral was a send-off fit for, well, maybe the pope! his children and grandchildren loved him fiercely and were so proud of all he had accomplished, and they wanted us all to know that and remember it! they had quite a bit of time to plan the service, and they made the most of it. again, no tears for me, but i smiled several times at how this family was honoring the life of their dad. and they did it in such a way that it drew them closer together, which would have made their dad very proud too.

but today's funeral was different. today's funeral was for a 44 year old woman who had decided, for whatever reasons, that she was done living. i didn't know her. i've met her sister and parents, but i don't really know them. and yet as i sat there and saw a family that was going to forever have to live with the knowledge that their mom/daughter/sister had chosen to leave them, i cried. finally i cried. i don't know what her life was like. i don't know why she felt she couldn't cope with it any longer. i don't know why she decided to end her own life. but she left people behind who loved her and cared about her, and who will have to figure out how to continue on with their lives without her.

i'm sorry for the gloomy tone of today's blog. usually i try to write something that will make you laugh. but today, i just couldn't. today i feel very, very sad. whenever i go to a funeral, it gets me to thinking about my own mortality. when you go to one funeral every two or three years, it isn't too bad--i think about it for a day or two, and then life gets back to normal. but in the last few months, with all these funerals, i have been thinking about it a lot. i've been thinking about what the service should be like (you should take care of yourselves so you can outlive me, because you will want to be at my funeral!) i've been thinking about who gets what (which is pretty easy, since i only have one daughter!) i've been wondering if will there be ANY good pictures to use (because there will be no viewing, believe me!) but lately i've been thinking about what people will say about me when i'm gone. i try not to worry too much about what people say about me now, while i am alive. but when i'm gone, what will people remember about me?

a couple of years ago, one of our teachers lost her father. we went to the funeral, and later that week, another one of the teachers brought me a piece of notebook paper, all folded up. she said the funeral had started her thinking about how we never get to hear our own eulogies, because if there is a eulogy written about us, we are dead already. so she had decided to write eulogies for each of us, just to let us know how we had affected her life. it was so interesting to read what she had written about me. some of the things were things i kind of expected she would write, but there were a lot surprises in it as well. it was enlightening to see myself through her eyes . . .

but here's what i hope--i hope that when i am gone, people will remember my character and my personality and how i made them feel (which i hope will be good.) i hope that maybe i will have made a difference in someone's life. i hope people are not reduced to saying things like, "she had nice hair," or "she wasn't a bad driver," or "she sure knew how to accessorize," or the dreaded, "i never saw her without her nails done!"

it's easy to get into a rut and just kind of coast through life. i'm kind of doing that right now. but today's funeral made me realize that i need to get my act together. i don't want my life to overwhelm me. i don't want to hide from people--i want them to know who i am, really, not just let them think they know me. i want to be a positive voice in other people's lives. i want to live a long, long time.

i think i may need some vitamins . . . :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

better to be hot?!?

so today . . . it was hot. really hot, like 100 degrees hot.

i know, i spent most of last week complaining about being cold--well, maybe not to YOU, because i didn't blog much while i was on vacation. but believe me, my mom and daughter heard plenty of complaining about the freezing cold (hey, when you live in socal, 65 degrees IS freezing cold.) i knew it would be warm when we got home, but this is ridiculous! and yet i kind of feel like i can't complain about it, because at least i'm not cold . . .

yesterday, i didn't complain about the heat. but today is another story. yesterday i was glad not to be cold. today i was thinking maybe the cold wasn't all that bad . . .

in this kind of heat, keeping cool becomes the focus of the day. it starts the night before when i open up the sliding glass doors downstairs. the air cools off fairly early, but we have no wind to blow the cool air through the house, and i can't leave the doors open when i go to bed, because of burglars. really. i mean, i have never actually SEEN a burglar in our neighborhood, but they are out there. i think they are just afraid of our dogs. but once our dogs go to sleep, they are totally useless as watchdogs. in fact, one night the alarm did go off. rollie leapt out of bed, grabbed something to use as a weapon and cautiously started downstairs. diandra ran out of her room and stood watch in the upstairs hallway. i slept through it all. and when rollie came back to bed, he said the dogs were both under the covers. so you see, we have to close up the house at night when we go to bed. or there might be burglars. and that means i have to stay up late enough to cool the house down.

thankfully i can farm . . . or blog.

then, the next morning we have to monitor the outdoor temperature, and close the upstairs windows as soon as it starts to warm up and turn the air conditioner back on. the indoor temperature slowly climbs all day long, and so we move slower and slower. the dogs turn into furry puddles on the floor. the level in the iced tea jar gets lower and lower. and not much is accomplished.

(this does not bode well for my plans for next week--i have a huge job scheduled, which will require lots of time in the garage. and if it is this hot, i fear i may not be too productive.)

anyway, today our plan was to go to the movies in the afternoon. movie theaters are notoriously cold--usually i take my polar fleece blanket when i go, even in the summer--and we thought it might be a good way to beat the heat. but when it came time to go, i just couldn't face going outside. instead, i opted to sit on the couch with a cold drink and watch tivo. i am so much fun!

one of the things i love about living here is our moderate weather. it is usually like the baby bear's porridge--not too hot, not too cold. but we do have a few days of extreme weather to deal with, and today was one of those days.

it was hot, but we made it through the day. rollie braved the heat to bring home pizza. we watched two episodes of "i survived a japanese gameshow"--majide--which is always good for a laugh or two. copious amounts of liquid were consumed. and when it just got too hot, we sat in front of the fan.

and then rollie said, "maybe when i have time off in august, we should go to las vegas for a few days." las vegas in AUGUST?!?! doesn't he know las vegas is in the DESERT?!?!? which is HOT in august?!? i mean like FRY AN EGG ON THE SIDEWALK HOT??? i'm afraid that when he ventured out to get pizza, the heat got to him. either that, or i didn't complain about the heat nearly enough . . .

Thursday, July 16, 2009

too hot to cook . . . or even go out

so today . . . i ate chocolate covered donuts for dinner. don't worry, they were mini chocolate covered donuts . . .

it's summer. and at my house that means we do things a little bit differently than we do the rest of the year. even though rollie still has to get up and go to work every day, diandra and i have always looked forward to summer, because we were out of school.

when diandra was little, summer meant monitoring her lemonade stands and garage sales. it meant mornings spent at the library and afternoons spent at the city pool. it meant reading books--lots and lots of books. it meant a trip to portland to visit grandparents and the zoo, and sometimes a trip to the beach.

then she got older and summer meant giving her permission to go to the pool without me. it meant she spent afternoons with her friends, and i spent afternoons with my book, inside in the airconditioning--not at the pool. it meant staying up late and sleeping in later. it still usually meant a trip to portland to visit the grandparents, although maybe not the zoo. and then we moved to the beach, so we didn't have to visit it anymore.

now diandra is a grown-up, and she has a responsible grown-up job so she has to work in the summer. in fact, she works harder in the summer than at any other time of the year, because the kids in her youth group are out of school and have more free time. so she takes them to the beach, she goes on bike rides, they go to the movies or hang out at the town center. and so, my summers have changed as well. now i clean out the kitchen cabinets, clean out the closets, clean out the garage (do you see a pattern developing here?) i try to take care of all of the stuff that i just never seem to get to when i am teaching. it makes for a productive summer, but not always a satisfying one.

so tonight i ate mini chocolate donuts for dinner. because it is summer and diandra wasn't here for dinner, and rollie ate hours ago, and i had them, and i could. sometimes, you have to find your fun wherever you can. tomorrow maybe i will eat a salad for dinner. or maybe i will have ice cream . . .

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

need cold weather? just call me . . .

so today . . . is our last day of vacation in oregon. the weather has not been all that cooperative, but we have still had a good time just being together. and we only got rained on a couple of times!

sadly, i think i am weather cursed. when we started packing for this trip, i checked the weather forecast on my computer. it said there would be a couple of days of cloudy, possibly rainy weather, followed by 3 days of warm sunny weather, topped off by 3 more days of mostly sunny and cooler but still warmish weather.

ok. so i wore a pair of jeans and boots, and then packed shorts, tank tops, sundresses, sandals, and a couple of cardigan sweaters. remember, we were packing light! : ) i thought i was set--but diandra said, "you are only taking one pair of jeans?" diandra doesn't go anywhere without at least 3 pair of jeans! but i thought i would only need them the first couple of days, and jeans are heavy to pack, and we were packing light . . . so yes, one pair of jeans. i lived to regret that decision . . .

it was cloudy and cold every day we were here, except for one! the first two days i wore the tops and sweaters that i brought for the cool days. but then it was cold again. what is a girl to wear when all she has are shorts and tank tops and it is cold? well, she wears her jeans, again, with two of the tank tops (for body warmth at least) and one of the cardigans. and then when it is cold the next day too, she wears two different tank tops and the jeans, AGAIN, and the other cardigan. and this pattern continues all week . . .

one day diandra said to me, "man, mom, you are colorful today!" this was the day i had on the green tank top over the brown tank top with the bright pink sweater. it didn't exactly look bad, but it was kind of an unusual color combination. and had i been wearing my green and brown plaid shorts (and no pink cardigan) it would have been cute. but when you are on vacation, you have to wear what you have, even if the combination necessary to keep you from freezing looks a little odd.

every day after that, she looked at me and said, "very colorful, mom . . . " i think she was mocking me, but i was too cold to care. and yet, every day i thought that maybe the next day would be warm. i wrapped up in my polar fleece blanket underneath the covers at night, because i didn't want to turn the heat on in my room. i just knew that it was going to be hot the next day and i would be glad for the cool temperature downstairs. and every morning i woke up expecting sunshine . . . but the sun was nowhere to be seen.

when we were in orlando a couple of weeks ago, the same thing happened. it wasn't as cold, but every day was cloudy with short, unexpected bursts of rain. i had big plans for my week there. i was going to sit by the pool and read my book. i was going to walk around and take pictures of cool stuff. but it was risky to spend any time outside, because you never knew when the rain was going to fall.

we are going home tomorrow, and the weather forecast says sunny and 90 degrees! on the day that we leave. and so, the curse continues . . .

Saturday, July 11, 2009

surprise? or ambush??

so today . . . i was ambushed. by my evil twin. and her partner in crime, who is the nicest person you will ever meet. i don't know how she was sucked into the vortex, but the plan would not have worked without her.

it all started innocently enough. my friend sherry saw that we were going to be visiting my parents and thought that she might come up to see us. she farms with us and thought this would be a chance to meet my mom--who also farms.

but then wendy (my evil twin) got wind of our plans. she thought that maybe she would like to come as well . . . sherry lives just over an hour from my parents, but wendy is about four and a half hours away! that is kind of a long trip for a one day visit! so, since she wasn't coming, wendy spent friday night being pesky while we were playing farmtown.

my friend wendy is one of my favorite people, but she has perfected the art of playful obnoxiousness--although sometimes she borders on the seriously obnoxious (hey--i said borders . . . ) we have more fun when we are "bickering." she is like the annoying sister i never had (and really didn't miss!) we have pranked each other and pranked others together. and today she pulled a prank on me, and i never saw it coming.

this morning my mom and dad and diandra and i got up early and headed for the antique show. this is a huge show that usually hosts about 1000 vendors. it is nearly impossible to get through the whole show in one day, but we always try. we saw so many cool things, but were somewhat limited in our purchases since our luggage was already pretty much packed solid. diandra was looking for vintage cameras and had excellent luck in finding some, although we may have to strap them to our bodies and try to convince the airline that they are fashion accessories in order to get them home.

once we moved inside, we could smell the food vendors. there is something about the aroma of hot dogs in the warmer that gets me salivating. it soon became clear that we needed lunch--no matter what time it said on our watches. plus our legs were ready for a rest. so i lurked in the eating area, cruising for chairs. i managed to snag three AND find an empty spot at a table. when we sat down to eat, i realized that i still hadn't heard from sherry. she had thought she would arrive close to 12:00 and it was later than that, but she had my phone number so i figured if there was a problem, she would call.

after lunch we moved into the second building. diandra found more cameras. mom found perfect chairs for her kitchen, only to be told that they had just been sold! she was sad. she was more than sad. diandra found a coral bead bracelet with a chicken on it--yes a chicken--that she just had to have. and a bracelet made out of pennies.

i found nothing. well, that's not completely true. i found several rocking chairs that i liked, but they would not fit in my suitcase. i found lots of beautiful crystal pieces--vases, candlesticks--but as lovely as they were, i have no place at home to put them. i found lots and lots of sparkly rhinestone jewelry (which is usually my default purchase,) but i already have so much that i didn't really see anything unique or different. and i was halfway through the third building.

i was halfway through the third building when my phone rang. it was sherry and she had finally arrived, so i went out to find her. we were both in the same courtyard, but i couldn't see her. i finally had to call her, and then we spotted each other. we headed inside, but she kept kind of looking around. she seemed a little uneasy, but i thought it was just that the show was maybe kind of overwhelming. and then, there she was--my evil twin!

wendy had decided at the last minute to make the trip. her daughter was coming part way up anyway, so she rode with her for the first three hours and then met sherry. i was so surprised! and pleased!! i had been excited to get to see one friend, and now i got to see two!

it seems as though usually when we come up north to visit, there are always people who want to see us. but they always seem to want us to come to them. and honestly, after travelling 1000 miles to get here, we are usually just too tired of travelling to make very many connections. so this was a rare and special treat--two friends who cared enough to make the trip to see us!we laughed. we talked. we shopped. we piled into the cars along with our purchases and headed back to my mom and dad's house, where they made a delicious dinner for us. we laughed some more. we talked some more. we farmed--yes we farmed, and it was so much fun to be able to actually TALK to each other rather than use the chat box to communicate.

we had started out to have fun today, and we did. and having two of my friends show up (one unexpectedly) just increased the fun!

thanks you guys! it was great!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

vacation = too tired to blog

so today . . . i am still on vacation and funny stuff is happening. we are laughing a lot. the problem is, i am so tired at night that it is hard for me to blog it. we have done a little bit of shopping. we went garage saling. we watched a movie. we went to the bread store. i signed up for twitter (@jewelielynn). we looked at new glasses for my mom. we ate sandwiches and barbeque chips and mini chocolate donuts (well, mostly i ate the donuts.) and we signed my mom up for a phone plan with unlimited text messaging and internet access. then we convinced her to buy the coolest phone ever! (and no, it isn't an iphone. puh-lease!! it is way cooler than that!) and then we signed her up for twitter. tomorrow we are going to the antique show, which has over 1000 vendors! we are going to be tired when we get home!! but i will try to save enough brain power to write a blog. diandra is coming too, so there may even be pictures . . .

vacations--don't you love 'em?!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

next time, ask . . .

so today . . . i tried to dry my hair with a bathroom wall heater.

i thought i had done such a good job of packing "lightly" this time. i had limited the number of shoes i brought. i didn't bring a bulky bathrobe or slippers. i wore my boots and jacket onto the plane. i didn't even bring shampoo, because i knew my mom would have some! my goal was to get my suitcase zipped up without having to unzip the 3" extension--in case i needed that on the way home. (which i probably will, since i'm sure we will go shopping at some point. in fact, today i bought a dvd . . . ) i felt so proud when i managed to get that suitcase zipped up!

and then diandra said, "do you have room for these two books?" well, what's a mom to say? i was just glad she was bringing books along, so i shoved them in as well. "ta-da!" i thought. "i did it!!"

it felt so good not to have to wrestle a huge, heavy bag through the airport terminal. i just smiled when my dad did NOT say, "WHAT HAVE YOU GOT IN HERE?!?!?!" when he hefted my bag into his car trunk. and i could have carried it downstairs to my room all by myself, if he had let me. i was feeling pretty good . . .

. . . and then, this morning i took a shower.

when i take a shower at my mom's, i always spend a few minutes after i get out standing in front of the electric wall heater. you see, their downstairs bathroom doesn't have an exhaust fan--it has a heater. and when you get out of the shower, it feels sooooo warm and good.

i was enjoying the heat and combing out my wet hair, when it hit me--i did not bring my hair dryer. no wonder i was able to fit everything into my suitcase. no wonder i managed to cram diandra's books in. no wonder i didn't have to unzip the extension. i had left my hair dryer at home . . .

what to do, what to do . . . i do not have the easiest hair to work with and when it air dries, it is even more difficult. i was contemplating my predicament when i felt the warm air from the wall heater blow gently against my legs. hmmm, i thought. warm, blowing air-that's all a hair dryer is, really. so i sat on the furry bathroom rug, put my head close to the heater, and fluffed my hair.

it didn't really work. but at least it didn't catch on fire.

it had seemed like a good idea. i mean, i knew it wouldn't be as powerful as my 1800 watt hair dryer that i LEFT AT HOME, but it thought it would be better than nothing.

it wasn't.

so i got dressed, went upstairs, and told diandra i had left my hair dryer at home. i knew she hadn't brought one either, and so i braced myself for what i was sure was coming next.

"that's ok," she said. "i'll just use grams'."

what?!? "grams doesn't have a hair dryer," i said. my mom's hair is curly and a hair dryer would turn her into an instant frizz-ball.

"i have a hair dryer," she said. "i just don't use it very often."

ok. so i guess the next time i shower, i will be able to dry my hair without a fire extinguisher near by.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

so today . . . was a traveling day. it was the day we left for what is becoming our annual summer visit to my mom and dad's house.

it started early this morning--not ridiculously early, but since i didn't get to bed until WELL after midnight, it was early enough.

when i made our plane reservations a month ago, we were not able to get seat assignments for today's flight. this has never happened to me before, so i was just a tiny bit concerned. i am haunted by the picture of a family of five--dad, mom, and three small children--standing at the boarding gate at 10:30 p.m. in seattle, carry-on luggage in hand, waiting to see if they were going to be allowed to board the plane. they were apparently flying stand-by, and so they were standing by (hahaha) hoping to get to orlando. this is what i saw in our future, especially considering my recent run of bad luck concerning airplanes . . . so my plan was to get there EARLY and get a seat.

we were early all right--2 1/2 hours early. if you remember the last time i flew without rollie, you know that this is not my usual modus operandi, but i had already cleaned house and packed, and i wanted to get on that plane! i did NOT want to hear anyone say, "i'm sorry, but all the seats are full. we will have to reschedule you." for some reason, i thought that the earlier we got there, the better our chances were of making that flight . . .

diandra and i checked our bags (there was NO line--but again, it was early and we flew out of long beach--yay!) and received our boarding passes. i was so relieved that we had boarding passes! so i looked to see where we would be sitting, and saw a blank space. "excuse me," i very politely said to the guy who had just taken our bags and handed over the passes, "but we need seat assignments." he looked at me like i was speaking russian, so i said, " the seat assignment is blank." he grabbed the boarding passes and looked at them, ready to point out to me where our seat assignments were, and probably thinking, "is this what my whole day is going to be like? moronic passengers who can't even find their seat numbers on their boarding passes??" but he did a double take, realized that we did need help, and started pounding the keys on his computer. (he was kind of cranky and it was only 8:00 a.m.--i hate to think what he was going to be like by noon!) after a few minutes he handed the passes back and said, "you will have to talk to the person at your gate to get seats."

ok, now i am starting to panic just a little bit. but they have already taken our money, so surely they will get us on the plane! surely i didn't vacuum for nothing!!

we breezed through security (again, long beach, YAY!) because there was no line. we found our gate (not hard in long beach--there are only three,) and settled down to wait for someone to show up who could get us on that plane!

two hours later, we got seat assignments in row 18. pretty good, i thought. until we got on the plane and realized that row 18 was the last row in the plane. really, the very last row. there was nothing behind those seats but the tail of the airplane. oh yes, and the one bathroom for the whole plane was conveniently located right across the aisle from us. did i mention that it was a small plane? only two seats on each side of the aisle?? for people who don't fly a lot and who have some claustrophobia issues, this was not ideal. i had my head between my knees trying to cram my carry-on bag under the seat in front of me, when an angel dressed in flight attendant clothes said, "would you two like to move up to the exit row?" "YES!!" i nearly screamed. "i mean, yes, thank you. that would be wonderful," i said in a more normal tone. she helped us move our things up 5 rows, and suddenly our legs could unfold, we could reach our bags under the seats in front of us without banging our heads on the seat backs, and we didn't have to endure people constantly watching us while they waited for the bathroom.

we made it to portland. and so did our bags. my mom and dad picked us up, listened to our tale of woe, and took us home. we ate lunch (which always tastes better when you are at your mom's house!) and started our vacation . . .

we are going to have a great week!

Monday, July 6, 2009

"i'm leeeeeavin' on a jet plane . . . "

so today . . . it is nearly midnight, and i am still up. i am still up, because tomorrow i am leaving for vacation. and if you read my blog the day i left for orlando, you know what that means . . .

actually, i was doing pretty well. i had a reasonable, doable list to complete today. if i got up kind of early. and if i stayed busy all day. and if i didn't do any farming (i lost 3 fields of pumpkins yesterday, so today i am in mourning . . . ) in fact, if i stayed off of facebook totally. and if i got my packing done early (while i still had a brain.) this was a lot of ifs, but i really thought i could do it.

the one thing i did not factor in, was attending a two and a half hour funeral today. it was a wonderful tribute to a man who had affected a lot of people during his 80 years, but it was somewhat longer than i had planned on. actually, quite a bit longer. and then rollie wanted to go out to lunch. and then i had a few errands to do. so i ended up trying to accomplish my whole day's list in just a few hours.

maybe impossible, but i was willing to give it a try. so i came home, changed my clothes and started packing.

i forgot to mention that diandra is going on this trip with me. when diandra and i travel, this is what usually happens--we start talking about the trip several days early. then we make a few trips to the store to get a stuff for the trip. (i got this idea from my friend lisa. several years ago, she and her husband were making a trip, i think to disneyland, and on the weekends leading up to the trip, they would do little things to get ready. the one that sticks in my mind is when they went to buy sunglasses--that's all, just sunglasses. but it built excitement for the trip, as well as getting them ready to go. so now, when i am going on a trip, i try to do the same thing.) but then we rarely start packing until 10:00 the night before. and then it takes us HOURS to get it done, because we are so tired by then, we can't make a decision about what to take and what to leave. so finally we just throw as much as we can fit into our suitcases and hope for the best. this results in very heavy suitcases, multiple suitcases, and nothing that goes with anything in any of the suitcases! it is a terrible system . . .

so this time, we decided we were going to pack before it got dark. we always pack at the same time, so we can help each other--maybe that is part of our problem . . . to begin, we sat down and had a snack. we just needed sustenance before tackling the packing. we discussed the weather in portland, and what we thought we might do while we were there, and how many pairs of shoes we thought we needed to take (diandra decided 2 and stuck with it--i ended up with 4.) then i decided i should fold laundry first, and diandra did nothing except pack her shoes--both pair. i finally got her moving in the right direction, but when i went to check on her, she was packing jewelry. "how can you pack jewelry?" i asked. "you don't even know what clothes you are taking yet."

she looked at me blankly and said, "i'm just taking it all." you see, even in the daylight our brains are not doing their jobs. we are seriously packing challenged!

we did get packed before dark. well, she did. i have all my stuff out, but the bag is not closed yet. we took a lot less than we usually do--we can even lift the bags ourselves! and i cleaned out the refrigerator, went to the store for cucumbers and nuts and raisins and tomatoes, and then cooked some chicken breasts for rollie (so he won't starve while we are gone.) i cleaned out the refrigerator, arranged his cucumbers, tomatoes, cooked chicken, and CHERRIES (his favorite) in the clean refrigerator. i did dishes. i VACUUMED!! yes people, i actually vacuumed. and now all i have left to do is finish this blog, clean the bathrooms, throw the rest of the stuff in my bags, and i am ready to go to bed! i had hoped to be done by midnight, but since it is now after midnight and i am still up, that is not going to happen.

by the time i am ready to go, i am really going to need this vacation . . .

Sunday, July 5, 2009

ho hum

so today . . . church, sleep, and farm town. that pretty much sums up my day.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

of fireworks and memories

so today . . . is the fourth of july. all the blogs i have read today are about how great it is to be an american, and what it cost others for us to be able to live the way we live today. they have been well written and inspiring. diandra's was especially good! so go read hers . . .

because for me, the fourth of july is all about the fireworks!

i remember as a kid, sometimes we would go park on marine drive out by the airport to watch the fireworks. it was magical to me! i love to feel the BOOM in my chest when they are ignited, and then the POP when they explode into colors. and i love the surprise of never knowing what each one is going to look like . . .

the summer rollie and i got engaged, it happened on the fourth of july. he was gone for the summer doing a pastor-interning sort of job, but he had come home for a week for his sister's wedding. and so, on the fourth of july, we drove out to the airport and watched the fireworks on marine drive. we had already talked about getting married, so this wasn't one of those surprise proposals, but we wanted it to be "official." so on the fourth of july, he asked me and i said yes. and let me just say, not only was it one of the best decisions i have ever made, but engagement rings sure do sparkle when illuminated by fireworks!

several years later, we had a tiny baby girl by july fourth. she was just about two weeks old. she was a very good baby, but there was one thing about being a new mom that was giving me problems. i loved that little girl, but i was starting to get discouraged. so rollie and i went to watch the fireworks--without her. my mom and dad and grandma were visiting and were delighted to have a little time of their own with our new baby girl. so once again, we found a good place to park our car, and we watched the fireworks. i cried. rollie told me it was going to be ok. and then we headed back home. and it was ok. that very brief time we spent watching fireworks and talking helped me get back on my feet as a new mom. which was really important, because MY mom was getting ready to go home and leave me all alone with this brand new tiny little human being . . .

when diandra was about 2, we decided she should do sparklers. i remembered loving sparklers when i was a kid--they were beautiful and sparkly, and they would kind of leave a trail in the air when you moved them really fast. you could "draw" or even write your name in the dark! i wanted her to have that experience too . . . and she was so cute! she was wearing her pink and white striped bathrobe and slippers, she had put pink plastic curlers in her hair (one of her favorite things to do,) and was holding joylene (her cabbage patch baby) in one hand with the sparkler in the other. we lit the sparkler and prepared for the magic to happen . . . her face lit up! i snapped pictures. and then, she almost caught herself on fire! the wind was blowing a little bit, and she was waving the sparkler around (per her mother's instructions) but she didn't seem to understand that it was sort of like fire, and she got it awfully close to her hair. thankfully i am not a total moron, and so her dad was standing nearby NOT looking at her through a camera lens. disaster was averted, and we decided that perhaps we should put the sparklers away for a year or two . . .

a few years later, we moved to southern oregon. we lived in a lovely little town and had the fun (and sometimes frustration) of being responsible for building both a new house and a new church. the property was on the edge of town, so when the sun went down, it was very dark. and every year, the people from our church would gather in the parking lot to watch the fireworks. it was the perfect spot! we would tune the radio station to the one playing patriotic music and blare it out! one year our worship band played a concert in the parking lot before the fireworks. it was so cool! i had never done anything like that before. we had all our equipment set up on a big trailer platform, people came to listen and sing along, and it was fun, fun, fun! (and loud, but that's the way i like it . . . ) and then we all ate popcorn and ice cream and watched the fireworks.

the first summer we were in southern california, our church manned a fireworks booth as a fundraiser to help kids go to camp. this was a new concept to me, but i signed up for a couple of shifts. it was an interesting experience. i had no idea how much money people would spend on fireworks! some of them probably should have been paying their rent or car payment instead. i mean, they would spend hundreds of dollars on stuff that they were just going to burn up--hopefully without anything exploding in their faces . . . and we had to have a guy onsite at all times who was armed in case someone tried to rob us! this was also the year i was introduced to snappers. i love snappers. the only fireworks i had used up close and personal were sparklers, but snappers instantly became one of my favorites! there is just something so satisfying about that POP when it hits the ground--and it has the added advantage that fire is not involved, although they are still illegal within the city limits, so it is kind of hard to really enjoy them . . .

last year on the fourth, my friend wendy was visiting. she came for a week. i was a little nervous about it, because although i really like wendy, we hadn't spent much time together outside of work. but we had been talking online quite a lot and decided it would be fun for her to visit. we went to disneyland and california adventure. we ate at rubios. we spent a day in hollywood. and on the fourth of july, we drove to the di-ho market on the edge of little india and sat in my car with the top down to watch the fireworks. it was fun to have someone ooo and aahhh with me . . .

the truth is, it doesn't have to be the fourth of july for me to get excited about lights exploding in the night sky. if i am going to an angels baseball game, i want to go on friday night, when they have fireworks after the game. if i go to disneyland, i want to stay until after 10:00 so i can see the fireworks. even if i go to sea world (which is an hour and a half away) i want to stay late for the fireworks show--and thankfully i can, because rollie will drive home while i sleep . . .

i guess i am a fireworks junkie. tonight as i was sitting in my car watching 2 different city fireworks shows, plus 3 different neighborhood shows--all from the di-ho market parking lot--i got to thinking about how lucky i am to live where i do (i love southern california!) not just because i can find a fireworks show within 15 minutes of my house on any night of the year, but also because i live in a country with unprecedented freedoms. i am thankful that i was born here, and didn't have to overcome the almost impossible obstacles that face those wanting to immigrate. i am thankful that there are still men and women today who are willing to give their lives, if necessary, so that i can continue to enjoy the freedom that i do. i am thankful that i really do live in "the land of the free and the home of the brave."

this year the fireworks exploding in the night sky reminded me of that.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

a quick blog . . .

so today . . . my internet time is limited. i slept in. i am thinking of hitting the outlet mall this afternoon. and tonight i have to get packed up, because we leave orlando early in the morning. so this may be it.

yesterday i started a blog. it wasn't very good, because i didn't have much material to work with. i pretty much spent the day, again, eating and playing on the internet. but then before i could get back to my blog, my battery died.

my battery is amazing. it will last 6-8 hours, so i kind of expect it to just run all day. since my computer is muted, i didn't get any warning beeps. it just suddenly went into hibernation. i silently screamed NOOOOOO! but to no avail. it went off. and so, no blog yesterday.

today i am blogging first. although it isn't much of a blog, since i haven't really done anything yet except get up, shower, get dressed, and eat three mini chocolate donuts. but i am going to post this anyway, because at least it is something . . .

and if i decide in favor of rejecting the mall idea this afternoon, i may write again. however, if i decide against accepting the mall idea, this will be it for today.

(you see, this is the kind of confusing language i have been listening to for the last three days. it is amazing anyone knows what is going on . . . i sure don't!)