Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bloggers Anonymous


My name is Shalee, and I am a blogger.

I’ve been an unofficial blogger forever, but an official one for over a few weeks now. I am addicted to thinking about blogs. I can’t help it. I wake up and I think, “What am I going to blog about today?”

Either that or Must. Have. Coffee.

But the blog thought is absolutely next.

Something will happen during the day and I think, “Now that is something to blog about!”

I remember times of family, friends, situations, jokes, movies, books, and I know I want to write about them. I hear a funny situation and think, “Can I use that in a blog?”

I go to bed with thoughts of blogs rolling around my brain. I try to control it, but I am afraid it is taking over me. Kind of like the Invasion of the Body Snatchers thing, but only instead of an alien, I’ve got this blog demon inside of me, dying to get out. Maybe I should rename myself Legion, for there are many…

Nothing is sacred. If it’s blog worthy, it will be written down or at least slightly composed in my head.

Yep, I’m a blogger. It could be a problem, but for now, I’ve got it under control. If I find myself getting carried away, or if you do, let me know.

I’ll blog a 12 Step Program – Bloggers Anonymous.

Hey, I may even find out that I am not the only one with these symptoms. It’s good to know that there are others suffering like me in this world. Maybe we can have our own BA Meetings, with really good appetizers and wine.

Just don’t be surprised if it shows up on my blog sometime…

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Let's Do the Time Warp Again!

One of my favorite things to do is to read. I love getting into a new book, wondering where it will go, how long it will take to get there and what kind of drugs the author took while writing the book. Well, not for every book, but sometimes you wonder…

My favorite fiction, bar none, is by a relatively new author, Audrey Niffenegger, the genius who penned Time Traveler’s Wife. This book is the best book ever written. It is captivating, humorous, enticing, thought-provoking, sweet, suspenseful and hopeful all at the same time. I could write a review detailing the greatness of this work of art, but I’ve found that David Abrams has already done it, so I let him do all the work. Click on the link to get a quick overview of the story and why it is so worth your time.

Let’s Do the Time Warp Again

I will give you a straight out warning here and now: Have a FULL Kleenex box beside you and pick a time to read when you will have no interruptions. You will not want to put it down, especially when you are close to the end. Truly you will care about Henry and Claire by the end of the book. When I read the book in record time (hey, I have 2 kids, worked full time and am active in way too many things and I still read the book in a day. I really could not put it down!), I was still thinking about it months after reading it. THAT is a mark of great literature – a book about which you cannot quit thinking.

It’s an “owner.” You know what I mean; something that is so good, you must have it on your shelf so that when you are ready to look at it again, you will have it on hand. I’ve got my autographed copy highlighted in a spotlight in the living room and every time someone walks by it emits a mystical aura along with beautiful cathedral-like a cappella music (think Vienna Boys Choir), enticing me to pick it up and enjoy it again… for a third time. Okay all that is in my head, but I feel as if I have found the holy grail of literature.

I worked at Barnes and Nobles when the book was released. I read it the day it was shelved. By the next day, I was recommending it to everyone who came into the store and showed an interest in fiction. Not one person returned to tell me that they didn’t care for it. As a matter of fact, they usually came back to talk about it and to find out what else I recommended.

Oh, that reminds me of a true story:

In 2004, Mr. Right surprised me with a trip to Eureka Springs for my birthday. While waiting for a table at a romantic little Italian bistro, three couples came into the sitting room also. I kept looking at one of the girls, thinking that I’d seen her somewhere before. We started talking to them to pass the time, asking all the general stuff: how long have you been here, where are you from, what do you do.

It turned out that they were also from Kansas City. I regale to the one girl that she looked familiar to me and I had been trying to place where I had seen her. She replied that she felt the same familiarity. She asked where I worked. When I said Barnes and Noble, her jaw dropped. She turned to her friends, pointed to me, and yelled, “This is the girl I was talking about on the way down here!”

Now this statement could be taken as a good thing or a bad thing. Seeing as it was my birthday, I was hoping for good.

She had been talking to her friends about how she had met someone at B & N who knew her stuff, who had great recommendations and who handed her the best book she had ever read. Then she turned to me and asked what else I had to recommend. Of course I had an immediate list to rattle off to her because reading was my thang. All three girls were all jotting down the titles by the time we were called to be seated.

Call me vain, but that was one of the best birthday presents God has ever given me. I still smile about it.

So, read it and tell me what you think. I’d love to know your thoughts too.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Chiefs Day!

Photo: Me and Mr. Right (He has hat head! Ha Ha Ha!)

Yesterday Mr. Right and I attended the Chiefs game against the New England Patriots. What a blast! We have some very generous friends, Larry and Rosemary, who treated us to the game. I loved the entire event all over again.

(We had attended one game with them last year on Halloween. It was the Chiefs vs the Colts. I went mainly to watch Peyton Manning because that boy can play! It was an added bonus that the Chiefs won that game. I thought for sure they were going to get slaughtered, but they managed to keep the lead by the end of the game. They did not, however, manage to do that for half of the 2004 season. So seeing a winning game was really exciting.)

The nice thing about going with Season Ticket holders was that they know how to do it right. Larry and Rosemary arrived to pick us up at 8:45 AM for a noon game. They were decked out to show their support. Chiefs hats, Chief’ gloves, Chiefs sweatshirts, Chiefs jackets, Chiefs travel cups, Chiefs blankets… They probably had on Chiefs underwear, but I didn’t try to find out. The car had two Chiefs flags flying from the windows and decals on the side. Their license plate was even in on the support (WINCHFS).

We climbed into the SUV and listened to the pre-game radio show, read the sports section about the two teams and discussed who would what today. This was serious. We were ALL about the Chiefs today.

We arrived about 9:15 AM and that was when the real festivities began. An entire parking lot of tailgaters emerged from every car, truck, van, or SUV. Tables came out laden with every type of food imaginable. Beer, wines, drinks and sodas were flowing freely at that hour in the morning. The grills were grilling, the smokers were smoking (appliances and people), the tents were covering and the flags were waving 20 feet above the vehicles. It was an art that most of these people had down to a science.

And everybody knew each other. You could hear the reunions down the lot.

“Hey, how have you been?”
“Is that a new grill for you?”
“Nice t-shirt.”
“How is your mother doing?”
“Get on over here and give me a big old hug. I haven’t seen you since last week!”

(I kid you not.)

I bet they have their own handshake, but since we have only gone once before, we don’t get to know it yet. Humph, it gives me something to look forward.

Let me just say that Larry cooks a mean steak. It was fabulous! Juicy and tender, the flavoring was just right. The veggies were wonderful and the rolls were hot. And the brownies made the meal complete! Couldn’t beat it at any fine restaurant!

We had to hustle in at 11 AM because the pre-game warm ups began. We watched them do their things: running, throwing, victory dancing, etc. It was cool to see what happened before the game.

I found out that one of the Chiefs players – Kennison, I think - goes to select a few kids during warm-up to bring them on the field. They join him on the field among all the activities and he talks to them about school, drugs, life. Several of the other players come over and shake their hands and talk with them for a few minutes as they break away from warm-ups. It was a really encouraging process to watch. And the kids loved it.

Oh yeah… We had a great time during the game. We watched some touchdowns, field goals, sacks, all sorts of plays. Everytime the Chiefs scored, the announcers play some fight song and the entire stadium shouts (at the right time) "We're gonna beat the tar out of you! You! You! You! You!" We got to sing that a lot yesterday. The group around us was a lot of fun, save one guy who needed to eat a bar of soap (He's the one picking his nose in the picture). Some parents gave him some mean looks and he calmed down after that. We were all high-fiving, yelling and celebrating when great plays were made. We stood most of the game and not one person complained, even when the rain came down. (Lucky for us, Rosemary had handed us some new Chiefs ponchos, so we stayed dry.) Not one complaint about the rain was heard and no one left. We all wanted to cheer the Chiefs on to their victory. We had a real Kum-By-Ah moment for us all.

I loved going to the game and having that experience. I reminded Rosemary that the Chiefs had won every game that we came to. She said she’d check the schedule for next year to see which one we need to help them win.

Ahhh, it’s nice to be part of the team.


Friday, November 25, 2005

Two Turkeys

Six years ago, I made two turkeys. One I popped into the oven. The other came out of the oven.

I started making the first turkey at 5 AM. I was awake most of the night, so I might as well have gotten the turkey out of the way. I cleaned, dried, buttered and spiced that turkey, finishing it by tying the drumsticks to each other and stringing the wings close to the bird. After plopping that turkey into the roasting pan, it was ready to go. This turkey was taken over to the grandparents' house and popped into the 250º oven at 7 AM, and a few hours later it was a succulent, juicy hit at the Thanksgiving table.

The second turkey took a little longer. A lot more care and consideration went into this baby bird. This was going to be a slow roasted deal. I was going to know and nurture this turkey from the beginning. I fed it some good veggies and some cookie dough and anything else that sounded good at the time. I gave it a nice warm house in which to live and I made sure that it never went without. That turkey kept getting bigger, getting to a very desirable, plump weight. It was going to turn out to be the best, most loved turkey ever made.

After baking it for 8 ½ months in some special juices, this turkey decided it was done. After some careful maneuvering, this turkey came out pink, perfect... and loud. This turkey turned out to be a wonderful, beautiful hit in the hospital.

My son was born on Thanksgiving Day. So you see… I made two wonderful turkeys that day. I only got to have the second one; the doctors wouldn’t let me have any of the first.

Happy Birthday, Jadon! You still are my favorite turkey!


I'm beginning to spend a lot on Christmas... (to the tune of Silver Bells)

I got up with Mr. Right at 4:15 AM to do a little early bird shopping the day after Thanksgiving. I should have set the coffee up for an early brew time, but it slipped my mind in all the excitement (from the thought of getting to crawl into bed). It should be a sin to have to get up that early and not have coffee. That's why Mr. Right was driving. His eyes were more opened than mine.

I'm glad we got to Super Walmart when we did. There was a cue forming around the electronics department as we walked in at 4:25 AM. I guess others had the same thing in mind as us.

There is something about getting out early with others that early in the morning that leads to great bonding moments. Bed heads, early morning breath, three-inch glasses rather than invisible contacts... Seeing others in such a state made us all part of the same club. We all saw each others' worst state, and yet, we laughed, talked and helped each other out. You can make some pretty good friends at 4 something in the morning...

After exchanging email addresses and promising to keep in touch, we made it through the 5 AM rush to get our kids' Christmas presents. Not a bad ordeal at all... completing most Christmas shopping before December... Priceless... except for the no coffee part. That still sucked.

We tried to find a place with good coffee afterwards, but since we were in a town that you would miss if you blinked while driving through it, we couldn't find anything. Going back to bed was probably a wiser move on out part. So we did.

I can always make coffee at a more reasonable hour...


Thursday, November 24, 2005

We Will Be Eating Turkey Long into 2006...

I love going to my in-laws for any holiday. I am guaranteed to have more dishes than is humanly possible to eat from which to select my plate of food. My mother-in-awe can never decide what to make, so we make everything. If you can't find something to eat on the over-burdened tables, then you don't deserve to eat!

This pics don't even include the stuffing, rolls, dressing and green bean casserole that we brought out later!

The middle photo is every daughter-in-law's dream. My mother-in-awe is bowing to my cooking expertise. Ahhh, life can't get better than this!

We should have invited the entire town over to eat with us. We would only have had two days of left overs, then.

Despite my jiving, we had an awesome feast. Boy, am I thankful that I know how to eat and have such wonderful people with whom to share this holiday.


Count Your Many Blessings... (I love that song.)

I cannot thank God enough for all the gifts he gives to me. His blessings are endless and His love is immeasurable. But I shall attempt to name a few.

I have a husband who loves me know matter how many mistakes I make and, trust me, there are many. As an extra bonus, he brings me coffee in bed almost every morning. That, coupled with the fact that he does the vacuuming, are reasons enough to never complain about him again (but I know I will).

I have a family that actually enjoys being together. My daughter offers the sweetest smiles, and my son teaches me to play with zest and zeal. They both are the best reasons to wake up in the morning (besides the coffee). They both have taught me the art of snuggling. I hope they will never outgrow it).

My job is fun. I love going there and feeling needed, helpful and challenged. My boss is one of a kind (meant in a good way!) and my coworkers are a blast, those in the office and those across the country. Plus, the coffee is really good.

My friends are constantly teaching me patience, kindness and goodness. It's great to have friends who are willing to be honest and open. I vent and they don't hold it against me. Plus they have great taste in drinks and they love to eat like us! It's always good to have several things in common.

I love that our church is real. Most of our friends are from church, so it is great to have that same direction in life. Our preacher leads us to think about how we can get into a greater, deeper relationship with God and how we can think about others more than of ourselves. (Sad to say that I often need that constant reminder!) Our elders are helpful and wise, yet they are not afraid to say that they don't know the correct answer or that they have made a mistake. That is one of the things I love about our church... We are all humans, trying to make it along as best as we can, waiting to join our Maker at the end of the journey.

One unseen blessing that I want to talk about is the loss of Mr. Right's job. God really knew what He was doing when He pulled that one away from us, not even a full month after we moved into our new house. Not only did I feel a sense of peace about God's working in our lives, it gave me a deep appreciation for my friends. God, through our friends, took great care of us. We never went without a thing. Some angel with skin on paid our brand new mortgage bills, we had many a good meals with our dear friends and our prayer life became as active and fulfilling as possible.

I know this blog is a serious one. Don't worry. I'll get back to goofy really soon. But I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge to God that I realize He is good and and my cup is running over and spilling onto the floor. It's one mess that I am going to leave alone.

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Over the River and Through the Woods... Part II

Our kids travel well. They usually play well, either independently or together, and they only try to kill each other once or twice in a travel time. None this time. Bonus.

Even though, I don't like the kids to watch very much TV (see a previous blog), I don't know what we did before the portable dvd player. The kids are allowed to watch a movie once a day on a trip. This time it was The Incredibles. Put that puppy in the player borrowed from John (Thank you, John!), put on some earphones and let the silence begin. (Well, except when the kids had to say something to us and they yelled their thoughts to us because, if they have a sound going on in their ears, it has to be going on in ours.) Time flew and before we knew it, we made it to Grammavon's house. Later than we planned, thanks to McDonald's fiasco, but safe and sound. Well... as sound as can be expected for us. Yeah!

Mr. Right's family is the best. I love all of my in-laws on every side conceivable. I am very blessed to have a wonderful extended family. (No, I'm not saying any of this because they might read it; I really mean it! That goes for you too, Gina!) Mr. Right's brother and his wife, with their kids, were already there and his sister flew in the day before, so they were all waiting for us slowpokes to arrive.

Our kids were so excited to see their cousins. (I mean we only live 3 hours from each other, but we only manage to see each other 3 to 4 times a year. I know, I know, there is something wrong with that picture, but as soon as they make a Photoshop for Life, I'll see if I can't crop that part of our picture for the better.)

Anyway, they were pumped to see them and of course they had to play for a while. They all get along so well. It is so amazing that they always pick up where they left off and go with it. I wish adults could get along like that!

We finally all made it to bed (way too late!) It is good to be all together once again.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Over the River and Through the Woods... Part I

To Grammavon's house we go.

Yes, we were among the millions who traveled on the most trafficed holiday of the year. (And yes, we will be among the most stuffed today and we will be among the throngs of the crazy 4:30 AM shoppers, trying to get a great deal at Walmart. Hey, I'm always up anyway, I might as well get Mr. Right out of bed too so that we can get some of the shopping out of the way since the kids will be snug in their beds at the grandparent's house! But that will surely be another blog.) Boy, did it look like it was the heaviest traveled day of the year. The gas pump lines were at least 2 deep at most of the stations we passed. There were lots of drivers, but I think the idiot drivers took another road because we had nary an almost accident.

Our journey, usually a four hour jaunt, was, overall, a very pleasant adventure. The kids were good to each other. The girl read to her brother, coaching him to read a sight word every so often. (I think she would make a great teacher, someday.) The boy shared his crayons with his sister. They only had a few "looks from Mom" during the entire trip. Everything was going fine... until we stopped for a "quick" bite to eat.

Our stop turned everything into a bit longer trip thanks to the fine folks at McDonald's.

McD's is not usually our first choice, but, being that it is known for being fast and easily accessible, it quickly moved to the top of the list.

What luck! We walked into MickeyD's and there was NO line! Woo hoo! I'll have a number 3, extra onions, two happy meals, and that rib meal please. Oh look, we got in before the rush. (About 20 people walked in right after us.) We step aside with the happy look of people who happen to be in the right place at the right time. (Nee Ner Nee Ner Nee Ner)

We watched the order of the person behind us get filled and released. Then the next order was completed. What was going on?

"Umm, excuse me, but we ordered before them. Will we be getting our food soon?" Mr. Right inquired.

"Oh yes, sir. It will be right up," said an evil liarhead in a uniform.

Two more orders inside off. Not ours. 25 drive thru orders have zoom-zoomed off.

"Umm, sir, could we have our order filled? And these burgers have been sitting here in the open for 10 minutes. Could we have fresh ones?" Mr. Right, unlike me, is all grace and understanding. Me - I'm sitting with the kids wondering if they had to go dig up some potatoes for the fries. The kids were happily twirling in their seats. They are so easily amused.

"Yes, sir. We were off track for a minute, but we are caught up now. Your order is next," replied the manager.

I look at Mr. Right. He shrugged his shoulders indicating that all is not right in the world, but barring making the food himself, we will have to wait patiently.

Fifteen minutes since we have placed our order, our food is finally ready. If it had been Cracker Barrel or Chick-fil-A, it would have been worth the wait. But a quarter pounder was not worth it. The fries, maybe.

The kids were so happy about their happy meals. They twirled their hearts out on the "cool" seats. The toys were something new to play with in the car. They laughed at each other.

I can learn a lot from my kids. Just find something else to do until you get what you wanted.

I smiled at them and realized that had we been able to get out fifteen minutes earlier, I would have missed these smiles. Life is good after all.


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Pieces of Life through the Eyes of a Nine Year Old

A real conversation this past week:

Daughter: How old do you have to be to drive?

Dad: You have to be 16 to drive, but you have to pass two tests to get your license, a written exam and a driving test.

Daughter: And then they give you a car.

Dad: What? No, you don’t get a car. You just get your license. They don’t give you a car.

Daughter: Yes, they do. But you have to do very, very well on your test.

Hmmm… I wonder how in the next seven years I can convince the DMV that she needs to be right…


Monday, November 21, 2005

Pippi Strikes Again!

Your son is up to something.”

(These were never good words to hear. The emphasis was on “your,” which was never a good sign, especially when you were sitting in a bath, unable to stop anything he was about to do.)

“Why do you say that?” I asked Mr. Right.

“Well, he’s just snuck up and shut our bedroom door.”

Mr. Right was right. Our son, indeed, was up to something. Come to find out, it wasn’t just our son; our daughter was in on it, too.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

“Umm, Dad,” our daughter said, “you, uh, need to, uh, take a shower.” (Mr. Right smelled fine to me.)

“What? Why do you want me to take a shower?” replied Mr. Right.

“Umm, because, umm” (pause while thinking) “because you’re, uh, stinky. (Giggling ensued.) Yep, you need to take a shower because you are stinky,” answered the girl.

Discussion followed between Mr. Right and daughter. Mr. Right and I rolled our eyes. They were definitely up to something.

I got out and attempted to find out what was really going on while Mr. Right hid out in the bedroom.

“Mom! You can’t be out here. You are supposed to be in the bath!” declared the daughter.

“But I’m not stinky, so I can come out. What are you doing?” said I.

Daughter stared at me, thought about whether or not I could be entrusted with their secret, smiled and then replied, “Okay, but you can’t tell Dad! Come into my room.”

I walked into her room to find my son drawing “the Master Plan.” (To what, I had yet to determine, but he immediately declared that he was the captain. To which daughter emphatically retorted that she was the captain. To which Mom responded that they could both be the captain so knock it off! It actually worked.)

The Master Plan” consisted of a door, some objects placed on top of the door, and a dad to walk through the door, thereby pulling a fast one on said dad when he opened the door.

Not a bad plan, all in all. I now was glad that they pick their dad on whom to pull this trick.

My daughter said, “I thought about using my books at first, but that might hurt when they fall. So I am just going to use this art supplies instead.” (Art supplies were fine, but container holding said supplies would hurt like the dickens if it fell on proposed dad’s head. I could see it was time to place the children under my tutelage on the art of pranking.)

While the five year old was still drawing what could be the most detailed prank plan ever known to man, I, like any great teacher, guided my daughter through the finer points of booby-trapping the door. I placed everything on top, told her how it would work and asked her to step back to taste the fruits of our labor. She must have missed the part where I said step back and watch because she went straight to the door and opened it to go to get the water spray bottle to spray at her dad when he walked into the trap.

At least she now knew it would work.

After repeating the process all over again (with a stronger emphasis on stepping back, sitting on the bed and not going anywhere near the door), she and her brother, who was still drawing the plans of how everything should be done, called to their dad to come into the room.

Plan worked great. Items fell on dad. Dad looked surprised. Kids laughed their heads off at all their ingenuity (with a slight nod to mom) and talked about the look on dad’s face. A good time was had by all.

As I was leaving the room, the boy, whispering as only a five year old can (which meant that our neighbor down the street heard every word), said, “Dad, now let’s play a trick on Mom!”

Mom, with visions of an evening of mischief in the works, suddenly realized where all this unexpected form of play had came from… They just pulled a Pippi Longstocking trick (except she used paint, thank goodness we didn’t have any of that around)! And I helped!

And some idiot said kids weren’t influenced by what they saw on TV.

I was planning on introducing them to Home Alone this year… I may rethink that one now… Miracle on 34th Street might work,except the girl wishes for a baby sibling, and I don’t even want to start them on that road…


Friday, November 18, 2005


Have you ever had a dream where, as you are dreaming it, you know it would make a good movie?

You know - the one where you can tell that it would be a really fabulous romantic comedy if it were made.

You see the girl, but you don’t know who she is yet, so you can tell that that part is still open. But you realize midway through a scene that is pretty funny (you know it’s funny because you are laughing subconsciously as it plays out in your mind) that the lead is either Ashton Kutcher or Joaquin Phoenix. But then you realize that the part is absolutely meant for Joaquin because he fits it perfectly, like his characters in Signs or The Village (and from what I hear, 8 MM - but everyone says it’s a horrible movie that I really don’t want to see so I haven’t, so I will just have to take their word for it) who are funny in a very subtle, charming way. Anyway, you see it from beginning to end and know it is going to be a hit because it is really very good.

Then you wake up feeling light and happy, holding on to it, trying to remember all the details of the dream so that you can tell others about it, but the thoughts fly away as you focus on making coffee.

You haven’t?

Oh, ummm…. Neither have I.


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Let us eat cake!

I want to go back to when it was hip to have hips. The extra pounds you had meant that you were healthy and wealthy. Big bones used as an excuse for weight had never been invented because it wasn’t necessary. Eating and drinking was actually an enjoyable social occasion, followed by a game of whisk or charades or an impromptu dance. That must have been the life. Eating dessert in public without any thoughts of how many laps around the block it will take to take that piece off…

I want never to have heard, “Once past the lips, forever on the hips.”

I don’t know what happened along to way. When did being anorexic become fashionable? Why do countless magazines, books or movies portray only the thin as anything acceptable? Who are they to deem me worthy of acceptance due to weight, finances or style? And why do we let them control our ideas of beauty?

(If those money, style and perfection are the true characteristics of worthiness, then I am in sooo much trouble. I don’t even want to mention my unruly hair or my tolerance of shopping…)

But those mysterious “theys” don’t know me. They don’t look for things that are really important. The really loving, caring, intellectual, funny me is a jewel in the crown of life, no matter what my shape, size, color or clothing happen to be that day. (I’m having such a Stuart Smalley moment: “I good enough, smart enough and dog gone-it, people like me.” Give myself a hug.)

I’m not being conceited. I’m being real.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying I’m into gluttony or excessive laziness. I know exercise needs to be an important part of my life. I have the need to look and to feel my best, too.

But I also just want to be free to relax with who I am, to enjoy a moment of chocolate heaven today without thoughts of pounds tomorrow. Just as I want my friends to realize how precious they are without being twigs. Not everyone was created to be a size 2.

And that is okay. Say it out loud: I do not need to be a two. I do not need to be a two. I do not... (repeat as necessary).

So as we head into this Thanksgiving holiday and the next one that should not be mentioned out loud yet (see previous blog), let’s make a toast to us, every bit of us. Let’s eat, drink and be merry in how God created us. Let’s be thankful that we have blessings to enjoy. May we give abundantly to others in need and then take pleasure in what we have left. Go for a walk or do a couple extra sit ups if it makes you feel better, but I hope you also will choose also to relish the good things that God gives us, especially ourselves.

Seize the day and pass the rolls, I say! I’m digging in… I want a full life as well as a full stomach.
Oh, those mash potatoes are so creamy!


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Attention: We've misplaced our calendar. Christmas will begin... now.

Is it my imagination or is the Christmas season starting earlier and earlier every year?

It was at the beginning of September when I saw my first Christmas aisle in a retail store. I don’t think the candy for Halloween was offloaded from the trucks yet. But there, in the middle of the store in front of God and everybody, was a full aisle of Christmas decorations waiting to be bought.

For goodness sakes people! For all that is good and right in the world, can we at least have the opportunities to steal our fill of our kid’s Halloween candy first and then be thankful that we aren’t the Pilgrims before we break out the stockings and the garland? It’s not even the middle of November and I saw a gigantic, fully-lit Christmas tree in the window of a house.

That is so wrong on so many levels.

One of the radio stations here is already playing around the clock Christmas music. You can’t imagine how many different renditions of We Wish You a Merry Christmas need to be left unsung. At least before Thanksgiving…

I did hear a Christmas song by Michael Bublé the other day, though. Now that voice could get me into the spirit of things…

Photo: Last year's pic! Come on, I wouldn't do it this early!


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Thanks for the Memories...

Why is it that most people think it would be good to revisit their childhood? It’s that great “back when I was a kid” when about which I am referring.

“I want to go back to my tree climbing days.”
“Dodge ball was the greatest game invented!”
“I wish I could relive my high school days.”
“______ was the greatest movie. Why don’t they make them like that anymore?”

What we forget is all the trials involved with everything we can remember. For example:

We forget that we were scraped by all the tree bark and we broke our arm when we fell out of the tree.

We fail to remember all the black eyes and bruises that we acquired when the bully who kept aiming at our heads, trying to prove that he really could launch a rocket with his own two hands.

We pass over all the pimples, complex calculus homework, worries about dates/friends, stupid rivalries and insecurities that we suffered in the halls of that school.

Movies are never the same as when we first saw them. Take this weekend’s movie for example – Pippi Longstocking.

I remember loving all the parts with candy and cake and pies. That girl could eat anything and not get sick. She rode a horse (how cool is that!) and was as strong as 10 men put together. She never had a parent there to boss her around. It is a child’s dream fantasy.

I rented the movie because I wanted my kids to have the same fun experience.

What I found out was that my memory isn’t as good as I thought it was. (There Paul; I said it out loud – so to speak.)

Did you know that the entire movie is DUBBED? I don’t remember the words not matching the lips. Did you know that every adult is portrayed as an idiot? Did you know that Pippi was a terribly wasteful person who has no idea how to conserve a thing, i.e., money, food, etc?

Did you know that she is the biggest BRAT in the world? She had no respect for anyone. She really did do what she wanted with no thought of others, consequences be darned! And she chose to be with two friends rather than to be with the father who loved and adored her, even though she was whining about being away from her Papa the entire movie.

Mr. Right and I were rolling our eyes the entire time, believing our kids to be bored out of their gourds. We offered another movie, thinking they shouldn’t have to suffer through it because we had misconstrued memories. (They refused the offer and watched the entire 90 waste-of-time minutes.)

We made our apologies afterwards, stating that the movie wasn’t the way we remembered it to be. They just stared at us blankly, trying to figure out what we were talking about.

The next day the kids were no where to be found. I went downstairs to the basement and there they were, watching it again and laughing at all the mischief occurring throughout the film. They loved it.

I guess they need to have their own memories to remember incorrectly too.

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Monday, November 14, 2005

This bud's for you (or martini in Kathee's case, or tequila in Stephanie's case, or Starbucks in Leisa's case, or...)

What do I do, you ask? (I know you didn’t, but humor me, would you? I’ve got to start somewhere). I am an Executive Assistant at a title company. It’s amazing how glamorous a title company… isn’t. But fortunately, I don’t do the title work. I do the work that my boss needs me to do so that he can do his job. And that is a whole different ballgame.

I had never been an Executive Assistant before now. I had no idea what would be involved in this position. I have determined that sometimes ignorance is bliss, though. Being an EA means that you can’t be ignorant anymore; it means that you need to be a jack-of-all-trades to do this job well. You have to be ready for anything, ANYTHING! be it planning a meeting, arranging travel and lodging for 21 people who may or may not want a smoking/non-smoking king-size/double, bar/mini-bar room; picking up lunch for my boss; creating a document in a program you have never heard of before and having it ready lickety split; driving to and from a place three different times in one day really does shoot holes in any worthwhile time you had to do anything else; that real men do eat salad; and/or handling an offensive caller with grace and tact can avoid a lawsuit in the future. It probably would be useful in this job to learn rocket science, but I have to leave something for next week.

I have also discovered that I love this job. And I have mainly learned that it’s best not to go it alone.

So now I salute those who have helped me through the trials of doing this job.

I have several mentors at my company who are guiding me on this quirky path. Kathee, a.k.a. She-Who-Knows-Everything, has taught me that if you don’t know the answer, make one up quite confidently and most anyone will believe you. Stephanie, a.k.a. the Report Queen, has taught me that it is good to laugh – mostly at others expense. Barb, a.k.a. California Girl, reminds me that you don’t have to be in the same town or even state to find a kindred spirit. Leisa, my in-house cohort, is a great example of how it is worth coming into work if there is coffee in sight. And Tony, my boss, makes me rethink everything I’ve learned so far and wonder if I shouldn’t be serving fries at MickeyDs.

And Dianne (no I wouldn’t forget you!) reminds me that I need to get back to work. She is such a mom… Yes Ma’am.

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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Warning: Protective Parent in the House

I love telling people that we don’t have TV. The look of disbelief on their faces is, as MasterCard would say, priceless. They look at me with astonished disbelief and ask, “What do you do?” as if not watching TV is a sin and it must mean that I am either:

  1. Too poor to have one
  2. A throwback from some fanatical movement
  3. Crazy
  4. A protective parent
  5. Clueless (see “About Me”)
  6. _______ (fill in the blank)

What they heard was that we don’t have a TV, but that is not the same as “we don’t have TV”. Let me also clarify that we do actually own a TV; however, we don’t have cable and the appliance is shoved down in the basement in some corner, so you can guess what kind of reception we I get. (We do get a few channels but not many. We get the important ones that let me see football, but that is another blog). We also have a DVD player and a VCR, so we get to watch movies and such. We mostly don’t enjoy what is being produced for TV.

I admit to being number 4 (although I am sure that 3 and 5 apply, too, and 6 might also depending on with what you filled the blank - no bad words please). I am a protective parent, particularly in the area of TV. I want my children to stay innocent and pure for as long as possible. I want them to keep their respectful ways when they talk to us or other. I also feel that there is more to life than what someone else wants me to see on TV. They get enough bad influences in other ways, why compound it through this media as well?

I also like that my children go outside to ride their bikes; jump on the trampoline; play with other children; read or be read to; use their imaginations with all sorts of toys to play great made up games; play board games with us and each other; create arts and crafts; or sing when they think they are by themselves. They, in essence, are having a childhood, one that I hope they really treasure when they are older. Wild thoughts, I know, but it never hurts to dream.

What started me on this thought was this past Saturday I realized how blessed my husband and I are with our children.

Here is a typical Saturday at our house:

Our kids wake at the insane hour of 6 AM (ugh… they don’t know that it is a day
for sleeping in yet, but we are working on it). They get out of bed quietly and creep downstairs to play something in the basement. Around 7 AM when they can no longer stand the hunger pains because they are “starving”, they jump on our bed and we all get up to make “the Breakfast”. They usually want chocolate chip pancakes with dots (the extra batter that drops while we are pouring the pancakes out), but sometimes the adults win out with sausage gravy and biscuits or eggs and hash browns. Whatever the food, we all prepare it. We mix, beat, break and basically make a big mess together. Then we eat and talk and laugh. My daughter tries to steal sips of coffee; my son tries to figure a way to get another mouthful of food away from us. We clean up and do our morning chores to start the day. Then we are off to do whatever activity we have committed ourselves to that day. That has pretty much been the way of life for us for at least the past 5 years of Saturdays. Not often have the kids even mentioned Saturday morning cartoons. Not a bad thing all in all.

And I have found out something else: When they do watch something, usually a movie, they actually pay attention to it. It is amazing how much they enjoy or learn or laughed because they actually “get to watch TV”. It’s a nice treat.

So after reading blog, if you chose to call me anything other than number 4, I can live with that. Just do it on TV.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Let the blogging begin!

Today is monumental for me. I am actually using this blog. I don't know if I am doing it right either, but hey, feeling my way around the net has never been easy for me. I am the "if I press this button, will I be destroying the entire system of computers and nature and cause worlwide panic and famine and if that happens, will by husband be really mad or just roll his eyes at me and then everyone will know that I am a complete idiot (which is really a moot point because they already know that)" kind of computer user. So see, this is a big day for me.

I can tell you this, though. It is a complete accident that I discovered blogging. A friend of mine (yes there are those who still admit to knowing and even liking me despite my idiocy - or maybe because of it because laughter really is great medicine) sent me blog from Antique Mommy, who I have discovered is an example of who I want to be when I grow up (except for the having a child after 40 because, at 34 with two already, I don't see where I could find the energy to do it all). But that is another story for another day. I'm digressing...

Anyway, I discovered blogging and I love it. I love seeing what others are saying about their lives. I love knowing that there are others who are as confused about life as I am, others who are as passionate about things like I am [like cooking - see Twelve Two Two Fondue (another of my favorites), reading, friends - see mountaingirl, family - see Antique Mommy, getting more that five hours of sleep a night, and, but not limited to, others who like to laugh at the world and themselves - see most any blog out there]. It's that whole new world thing - cue music in head.

So you may or may not walk this path through the forest with me. If you do, I'll gladly move over and share it with you. I may even hold a branch aside so that it won't hit you in the face. However, I will not promise that it won't hit you on the backside!

Oh, and due to my lack of being computer savvy, if anyone knows how to get the astrological signs or the the fact that I am a boar (I mean, why would I publish that I am so uninteresting!) off my profile page, would you please let me know how to remove them? I would be forever in your debt or until the new year, whichever comes first.