Friday, March 31, 2006

Call me Nicodemus

I’ve had so many people asking about the strings concert that I had to got to enjoy last Tuesday, I thought I might as well share the experience with everyone.

Okay, so no one asked, but it’s what I’m gonna talk about today.

For the record, my daughter started strings this year. I think all students are required to take something musical in fourth grade, and she chose the violin. Let me say here and now that I support her desire to learn the instrument. I want her to practice, practice, practice so that she will progress upward. I just want her to do it when I am not at home.

The strings gave a performance last December. It was very… long. They played at least 7 songs, just not all together at the same time. But the girl had fun and you could see the excitement in her eyes when it was all over.

Their last performance was on last Tuesday. She was so eager for the event to start. She had to be at rehearsal at 5 PM. (What were those people thinking? Some parent’s work for goodness sake! Fortunately I’ve the best boss in all employment fields; he said to go do the kid thing. Phew.) The concert wouldn’t start for another two hours, so they must have had lots and lots of practice time scheduled.

I dropped her off with all of her gear. We took the time to set everything up and to make sure that everything was going according to the desired plan.

Violin – check

Stand – check

Music – check

Snack – check

Dressed correctly (black skirt, white shirt) – check

“Okay, girl. Give me a kiss and I’ll be back for the concert.”

No check. Blank stare.

Maybe she didn’t hear me. “Honey give me a kiss. I’ve gotta go.”

Her eyes got bigger and she looked down at the bow in her hand. She then looked at everyone around her. Then she looked back at me.

Ah. I get it. No kiss in front of all the friends. She’s too big for that now.

I lean down to her ear, (really that is a stretch of a term if I ever heard one; she is almost as tall as I am.) and ask if I could give her one on the cheek. She nods ever so slightly, minutely adjusts her chin so that I can get to the cheek and looks away.

I so hate that moment. Where did my snuggle girl go? Who put this idea that affections are to be doled out little by little when in public? I want to speak to that person and set them straight! I’m not ready for that…

I give the peck and leave. I think my heart stayed there with her.

I pick up the boy and we make it to the concert in plenty of time. It is in the gym and seating is on the bleachers. We endured listened respectfully to the 4th graders as they make it through their three songs. Really it sounded pretty good. Then the 5th graders… a little better. Then the middle schoolers… much better. Then the high school strings… boy I felt like I was at a real concert. They played beautifully.

As I raise my now- bruised and numb buttocks from the wooden bleachers, we go to congratulate my daughter on her fine performance, commenting here and there about her playing and her stance and her thoughts on the night’s event. Her brother even went up to her (on his OWN mind you – big deal to me) and gave her a big hug and told her that he really liked the concert. She once again loved being there in the thick of it all.

For a special treat, we took them to Red Robin for kids’ meals and shakes. (Free shakes for kids on Tuesday nights plus a balloon guy is there making really cool things out of all shapes and sizes of balloons – really good deal). We all laughed and talked and played and had a great time in general.

It was late when we got home, so it was straight to bed for them. (Why is it that when saying that they need to go straight to bed, kids say “Yea! No brushing our teeth!!!” Is it that big of a chore? Wait, I remember saying that. Yeah it is I guess.)

We tucked the boy in, sang “Doxology” and the “I love you” songs. He was riled up but ready to hit the hay.

My daughter was sleepy too. We did the same routine with her and said good night. As I was leaving to go, she called me and asked me to come back to the bed. As I bent over her, she reached out and gave me a big hug and kiss and told me that she really loved me. When she wouldn’t let go of me, I gave her a playful tickle and she laughed and looked at me with a smile as she settled down into her pillow.

Perhaps I can still visit my snuggle girl, but they will have to be at night, under shadow and cover of home.

I’ll make those trips at anytime I can.

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Bring Out Your Dead

I know, two posts in one day again... But now I don't have to do this on the weekend. And really if you are going to get a virus, it's better to have the weekend to recover... (f-stop, I'm catching up to you slowly but surely. By the way, f-stop, click on this title... I did it just for you!)


Ask and it shall be given.

It seems that I finally caught the Indie Virus that has been going around the blogosphere. What you don't need to know is that I practically ripped momrn2's toothbrush out of her mouth and stuck it in mine to get infected. (momrn2, I owe you a new toothbrush... Just tell me the color and one will be on the way.) But, at last I get to "suffer" from this blessed little virus.

The good part is that I do not have to suffer alone.

Here is what I have to paste:


Pearsonified has started a small, casual social experiment, it’s called “The Indie Virus.” Here’s how Pearsonified describes this experiment:

The experiment, henceforth referred to as “The Indie Virus,” has two

  1. To bring exposure to lesser known blogs (especially those outside of Technorati’s top 100)*
  2. To explore the metrics behind a viral linking campaign launched by the “little guys” (less popular blogs)

Now I have lots of sites that I visit that I wish more people knew about.

So I hearby declare that I make the following people sick. No, no... That so did not come out right...

Rephrased: I hearby declare that the following people should be contaminated and have more visitors to their sights:

Antique Mommy, you of the chicken wipes and super cleaning son, get your lysol cleaner out for you now have the Indie Virus. (You Indie followers really need to visit her. That woman is a hoot!)

f-stop steve, your photoblog needs more traffic. How you have remained unnoticed, I do not know because your work is brilliant and fun all at once. Therefore, you are now infected with the Indie Virus. (I don't think you'll need your ambulance for this emergency, though.)

Actual Unretouched Photo, I know you don't need anymore sickness in your life, but really I think you can handle this Indie Virus. There is no spewing with this one.

Heather from One Woman's World, you could use some more love. So take it in the form of the Indie Virus.

Finally Mary from Mary on a Mission, since you are brand new to this blogging world, I might as well share the germs. There is no escaping the Indie Virus now!

There. I feel so much better spreading the germs around to so many people. Now, none of you can say that I never gave you anything!


Thursday, March 30, 2006

100th Blog... Don't I Get An Award or Something?

I cannot believe that this is my 100th blog. Where has the time gone?

Yeah, 100 times you have suffered through whatever drivel I slopped up for your reading entertainment. Or think of it this way... I've been in therapy 100 times. I'm not sure that I'm any better.

100 times you have had ample opportunity to roll your eyes at my thinking (or lack thereof).

100 times you have laughed at my expense, rightly so. Heck, I laugh at myself all the time!

So now I will divulge 100 things about me that you never knew (and probably never wanted to know...) Like most things I write, they will be random and odd, to be sure.

  1. I am actually shy sometimes.
  2. I don't like to be on the phone.
  3. I will ignore the phone if I don't want to talk on it.
  4. I get upset when no one calls to talk to me. (Yeah, follow the lack of logic circle there.)
  5. I am a blogaholic now. (I love getting comments from fellow bloggers and leaving my remarks on other's sight. There are some very creative people out there!)
  6. I love to sing.
  7. I have this eerie capability of remembering words to most songs.
  8. I forget words to songs if someone puts me on the spot. (Give me a moment to recover.)
  9. It is my secret dream to sing backup for someone who wants to be in the limelight.
  10. Singing alone scares the bajeezees out of me.
  11. I can hold a note a very long time.
  12. I've had two c-sections.
  13. During the first one, my epidural wore off. (Yeah, it hurt.)
  14. When I am pregnant, I look like a toothpick with an olive in the middle.
  15. I loved being pregnant, both times.
  16. I craved cookie dough and green olives when pregnant, but not to be eaten at the same time.
  17. I nursed both kids.
  18. I loved nursing because it was the first and only times that I actually filled out a shirt the way it was supposed to be fit.
  19. I hate wearing a bra mainly because sadly, I don't need one. (I don't unless I have to do it!)
  20. I still have phantom nursing feelings.
  21. I secretly correct anything that is written down and the same goes for grammar. (I am sure that there is a medical term for it... besides freak.)
  22. I started off college as a chemical engineer.
  23. I found that I like to blow things up.
  24. I switched to music major.
  25. I found that I cannot play the piano, but I really wish I could.
  26. I graduated with a degree in elementary ed. You follow the logic because I can't.
  27. I would much rather be in the sun than in the snow, unless of course I am sledding or skiing.
  28. Lying is my only bad habit. (That's a joke. Laugh.)
  29. I won an award for supporting actress in high school for playing a witch. Right, that was a stretch for me.
  30. I love wearing girl clothes and looking feminine.
  31. Most of the time I look like a mess.
  32. Makeup will not stay on my face.
  33. I love being on stage.
  34. I get really bad, ready-to-throw-up-in-my-hat stage fright, but usually I don't.
  35. I sang in front of thousands of people at the Mid-South Talent show. I don't know how I didn't upchuck at that one.
  36. I have never intentionally tried drugs. (Someone has to tell me that there is something in the brownies before I eat... stupid party... it was a bridal shower for goodness sake!)
  37. My favorite drink is Sex on the Beach.
  38. My second favorite drink is a drink I made up. I call it Malibu Kicker. (It's probably nothing new, but I like experimenting with drinks.)
  39. I discovered at the age of 30 that I like asparagus.
  40. I still do not like brussels sprouts.
  41. I did not drink coffee until I was 20.
  42. I drink my coffee with half and half or cream only. (I gave up the sugar while on South Beach Diet and found that I liked it.)
  43. I drink a cup of coffee almost everyday in the morning (Reason: See 44.).
  44. I sleep horribly and can wake easily.
  45. I use earplugs to sleep.
  46. I have MVP. (Mitral Valve Prolapse) No it's not catchy.
  47. I don't snore. However, on rare occasions I talk in my sleep.
  48. I would make a terrible spy. I'd get too nervous.
  49. I love flying.
  50. I want to go on a hot air balloon some day.
  51. I can pick up things with my toes.
  52. I get claustrophobic in huge crowds that are packed like sardines.
  53. My mind goes so fast sometimes I jump from thought to thought. (Mr. Right is often stopping me to backtrack to a thought that I did not complete before going on to another one.)
  54. I love massages. I like the feeling of being touched and kneaded.
  55. I almost drowned when I was eight.
  56. I have a slight fear of water, especially the ocean.
  57. I jump in the water so that my fear get the best of me.
  58. I love being on boats.
  59. I look like a very white girl when dancing.
  60. I don't care what I look like when I dance. I dance for my own amusement.
  61. But I do want to take dance classes.
  62. I love jazz.
  63. If I ever had to sing solo again, I would pick a classic blues song.
  64. The actress that I think I most resemble in looks and spirit is Holly Hunter. (Dorinda in Always or Raising Arizona)
  65. I see myself as pretty selfish, but I am working on reversing that.
  66. I love helping others.
  67. I get along with both sexes very well.
  68. I think I get along with guys better - just being one of the guys.
  69. My best friend in high school was a guy. I still talk with Ken.
  70. I love Handel's Water Music.
  71. I feel confident in myself as a likable person most days.
  72. I love to read.
  73. I prefer fiction over non-fiction.
  74. I usually read 4-6 books at one time.
  75. I know sign language, enough to muddle through a conversation. (I usually am petrified while signing. I don't want to accidently call someone a cow after they have asked to pass the salt.)
  76. I want to take signing classes so that I can get better at it.
  77. I love to cook.
  78. My favorite dessert is our homemade apple pie.
  79. I love mud pie too. The best ever made is the one from Chances R in York, NE.
  80. When I want a dessert, take brownies as an example, I will make them and eat just one. I usually don't want anymore after that. I know, I know... it goes against everything that stands for being a girl!
  81. I am quick to speak and slow to listen. I am constantly striving to reverse the last two.
  82. Sometimes I want to run away from home.
  83. I like being active and doing stuff, like going to a waterpark or taking hikes or playing volleyball.
  84. I have this fear that I will be alone in the future.
  85. I don't not like confrontations, but I am not afraid to have one when needed. I would rather deal in real terms and situations than dance around a subject. (Call a spade a spade...)
  86. I have a tendency to be bossy. (See 28 for an example.) I really don't like that about myself.
  87. I loved my high school experience.
  88. I love having people over to the house, especially if cards will be played!
  89. I have high cholesterol, but I am working on lowering it without medicine.
  90. I do not like taking medicine. I only want to take it when it is really necessary.
  91. I love going to new places.
  92. I don't watch TV, unless it is football. (Most of the time I forget we have one.)
  93. I am too hard on my daughter. (First child - I am actively seeking to change that everyday.)
  94. The only video game I ever really enjoyed playing was Centipede.
  95. I love listening to 80's music.
  96. My favorite groups from today to hear are Lifehouse, Nora Jones, Faith Hill, U2, and really I am stopping because I have lots of groups to which I like to listen.
  97. I love throwing caution to the wind - sometimes.
  98. I am a side seat driver. (I am biting my tongue often! I will not be the one to teach our kids to drive...)
  99. I don't like/keep knick knacks. I don't want to dust them.
  100. I love making and keeping new friends.
  101. (For good measure) I want to grow up but stay a kid at heart.

Okay, about half-way through that, I was on a block. I really had a hard time coming up with things about me.

But after rereading that, I thought that I would want to be friends with me. Not a bad feeling over all.

Of course that may change if I ever get to the next 100 things about me...


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Go... Just Go Now

Two in one day, I know. It must be something in the air...

I am totally stealing Mel's words. She wrote it so splendidly. (Plus she is bossy.)

If you've ever caught vomit in your cupped hands, you are probably a
mother. And so, you might want to check out this blog by a mother of four. Cyn's
is one of my new favorites.

She talks about a support group she wanted to start when she had four
preschoolers: MAPS--Mothers Against Preschoolers.

Go to visit Cyn Kitchen. You will be glad you did.

Why are you still here? Go already!

But come back and tell me when the first meeting will be!


Animal House

I’ve decided to host a party. You’re all invited.

It won’t matter what time it will be.

It doesn't matter what food I serve.

It doesn't even matter if the guests get along.

Because I have a secret weapon…

Drink cups.

Now I know your thinking, “Drink cups? What is she smoking? Drink cups won’t make or break a party!”

But you see, if I serve some good stuff in one of these, I don’t think there will be a complaining guest among the crowd. Everyone will leave happy.

If anyone can leave at all.

Hmmm… Perhaps I had better rethink this after all because I really don’t want to take that much care of you all…


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Momma Said There’d Be Days Like This

I love being busy. It makes the work day go so much faster. I have an idea of being needed. I feel important, necessary, and over all appreciated and capable of doing a good job.

What I don’t like feeling is that my head is spinning. Call me Linda Blair of the business world. As of yet, there has been no spewing… but the day is not over yet. And no, I am not referring to the monstrous stomach flu that seems to be prevailing everywhere.

I feel as if I can’t keep myself focused on one task because there are so many to do. And by the time that I complete one, there are three others to put in its place. What’s that saying: “One step forward, two steps back”? That’s me today. I got pulled into a meeting today, and I think by the time I left, I was more confused than when I went in.

Oh, and I had to totally fess up to a friend about getting off the exercise routine. I was so hoping he wouldn’t ask how I was doing with it because then I wouldn’t feel the need to lie about it. But I told the truth anyway. What is funny is that I ran during the cold months and felt good about it. But when it warmed up and then got cold again, that was when I fell back. I don’t have a good excuse like my leg fell off or my dog ate my shoe. Just didn’t want to get cold… Dumb, I know, but there it is none the less.

And tonight, I have get to go to my daughter’s violin concert. All those 4th graders… playing in a concert… at the same time.

Yeah, I mean it like that.

So after all that whining and complaining, let me think some positive thoughts:

I am extremely thankful for having a job that I love, working with people I truly like and having challenging activities to pursue. I am even more appreciative to have internet access so that I can catch up with the musings of my blogging friends on breaks.

I am grateful that I have a friend who will hold me accountable and encourage me when I fail, even if – especially if – it is only a failure in my mind.

And I am delighted to have a body to work on because it means that I have enough to eat.

I am blessed with being able to hear all sorts of things, be it my daughter’s voice, my son’s laughter, my husband’s sweet-everythings, a friend’s advice or even a room full of 4th graders playing violin.

I am glad God gave me a sense of humor, as odd as it may be because without that, I really would go mad.

There, I feel better already. Nothing like a bit of reality check to bring me back to earth. That and a good run. I’m digging my running shoes out of the closet when I get home.


Monday, March 27, 2006

A Sure Spring

It is really beginning to look like the first of spring.

The weather is sunny. The flowers are in bloom. And the animals are feeling good.

Really good.

And happy with a satisfied smile on their face.

Some of them are smoking cigarettes after their good times.

I may never go on my back porch again after some of the real life porn show that was on display. Stupid squirrels.

I’m pretty sure I overheard one male squirrel use this pickup line: “Hey fur face. Nice tail. Why don’t you come on over here and let me show you my nut collection.” Dumb girl squirrel. She fell for it.

I am so happy that my six year old was really into his gameboy. That is one situation I don’t want to explain yet.

I don’t know how they make those cigarettes so small.

Update: f-stop steve seems to be noticing the same thing up where he is too. It must be a mass epidemic in the animal kingdom!

Shalee - check out our squirrels too. The little devils are doing the same thing up here. Disgusting little tramps.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Zippa-dee do-da

Zippa-dee do-da Zippa-dee day
my oh my what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine heading my way
Zippa-dee do-da Zippa-dee day!

That’s what I feel over this up and down rollercoaster of a week. Overall, I am full of song and joy for so many reasons.

  • Getting out of the house for a few days
  • Wine
  • Blogging/catching up with blogs
  • Eating really good food on real plates, with real silverware (and an extra fork or two) at a table where nothing will be crumbled up and thrown away
  • Wine
  • Blogging/catching up with blogs
  • Cute toes (the fingernails were chipping by the next day... now you see why I don’t do the manicure thing too often)
  • Wine
  • Blogging/catching up with blogs
  • Lots of laughter and conversations with fellow workers
  • Wine
  • Blogging/catching up with blogs (See a recurring theme here?)
  • Friends who I have never met praying for an unknown situation
  • Kids fighting to sit by me at first dinner home
  • Sleeping in my own bed next to Mr. Right
  • Promising outcome with a dear friend
  • Parents coming for a surprise visit
  • Ice cream (Hey, if I can’t have the wine, I’ll take the ice cream as a nice substitution)

I just have this overwhelming sense of peace and satisfaction.

And that is worth singing about.

P.S. By the way, the Wichita trip ended very well. I made it home safe and sound. It is ever so true that absence makes the heart grow fonder. As excited as I was about leaving home for a few days, that’s how excited I was about returning to it, even if it meant doing laundry, scrubbing bathrooms and mediating tiffs between the kids. As much as I love being an excellent Executive Assistant (most of the time because heaven knows this past week was no proof of it), I love being a wife and mother even more – even if it means not as much wine. But fortunately, there’s always blogging.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Prayers of a Righteous Man Is Powerful and Effective

(James 5:16b)

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I cannot tell you how much I coveted and truly needed your prayers for this meeting.

I was able to talk with my friend and my friend heard me out. It can be a hard thing to admit past mistakes and experiences, but I think that because I was willing to do so, it made great strides in reaching my friend's heart. I can only hope that God will work wonders in that heart and make changes for the better. It will be tough, dirty and unpleasant for a while, but I know that God can get someone through that and more because He did it for me.

If you would continue to offer prayers on my friend's behalf, I would greatly appreciate it. Here are a few things to pray for my friend: strength, commitment and the ability to hold to the truth.

Prayers of thanks going up to Him for you and your willingness to pray for an unknown situation with a fellow blogger. Now that is the definition of brotherly kindness and love.


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Calling All Prayer Warriors

Tomorrow I must do something incredibly difficult.

I must confront a friend with honesty, facts and tough love. It will be brutal for both of us. Harsh for my friend because denial and anger will come from it, a lot of it I am sure will be misaimed at me. It will be painful for me because I will be bringing up things from my past that I would much rather forget in an effort to help my friend see truth.

I very much don't want to do it, but I know God picked me because I understand the predicament and I have already told Him to use me as He will. I just didn't think it would be this way- at least I always hoped it wouldn't.

Obviously I am attempting to keep all the details confidential, but if you would be willing to pray for me and my friend with the Holy Spirit interceeding on our behalf, I would appreciate it very much. Please offer up prayers of support for me to say what must be said with love and compassion and for my friend to hear it, accept it and make changes at that moment before it is too late.

Although I am only offering meager and vague information, I know that with God's strength, the outcome can be clear and positive.

Thanks for the prayers in advance,



You Like Me... You REALLY Like Me!

As I previously disclosed it this post, I was vying for at least a 10th place spot in a laundry room contest so that I could win a copy of Barbara Curtis' book, Lord, Please Meet Me in the Laundry Room. (Or in the laundry closet in my case.) I sent in my pictures with a little wit and candor on the wonderful (not) subject of the mountain of odorous and never-ending pile of clothing.

It surprised me how many people thought that this picture was ever so daring!

Hey, anyone who knows me knows that I would do (most) anything for a book. Especially a really good book. It really helped my case that the picture above is a realistic photo of someone (okay... me) doing laundry.

I heard from all sorts of moms who gave all sorts of reasons to cheer me on. I'll just tell you right now that hearing any words of encouragement gives me warm fuzzies all over. (I'm so vain. I probably think this blog is about me...)

Then I’m thinking that (Shalee#14) that mom ought to have a book or any prize for daring to show that side of her to the whole world. But---(no pun intended) I guess if I was that young and fit, I just might send you such a photo—don’t hold your breath. -Pamela

THIS IS ONE OF THE FUNNIEST AND "TRUE-EST" THINGS I'VE SEEN IN A LOOOOOOOOOOOOONG TIME!!!!!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! My kind of humor! :P- Tulip

i saw your butt at mommy life and had to bookmark you. anyone who would do that surely has a site i'll love! (i just read that book and love it!)- Holymama

I can't believe you fit! That's pretty impressive!- Mel

Fitting inside a washing machine! Whatever…go away now!- Steph

Shalee, I loved your pictures at the Mommylife laundry room contest. Hilarious! I'm totally impressed you can fit in your washing machine.And you expressed well the reasons I love blogging too. Thanks for articulating that.- Shannon

Who knew that my backside would be such a draw? I have found wonderful new acquaintances from it and several fellow blogging moms who understand the ups and downs of trying to get everything done while still having a great sense of humor. They all understand what I mean when I say "I love blogging... It's cheaper than therapy."

I am (vainly) happy to announce that I took the bronze in the laundry room competition. It was such a fun contest. To see the two that beat me, grrr - sorry that's the competitive nature in me- (Carrie - gold, Kelsey- silver) and all the other moms go here. There are some fun-loving and heartwarming ladies in the blogdom who can bring a smile to your face on a daily basis.

And the nice little surprise for everyone who entered was that Barbara's publisher thought everyone who sent something in deserved a book. That was just the nicest thing to do!

So to close my little thank you speech and my fifteen seconds of fame (and lame Sally Field impression), I want to thank God for giving me the ability and reason to do laundry, thank those who voted for me, and thank Barbara because everyone needs their nod of thanks for a job well done.

Barb, thanks for pulling us all together this way. It was time consuming, I’m sure, but you reminded us all that just because we get older, become wives and mothers, work or don’t work, we still need to play and have fun. What better way than with other women who share many things in common… only one of them being laundry. May the Lord bless you and keep you today. Go shine for Him, Shalee

So, do you know of any other great contests that I should know about?

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Til Tuesday

Okay, for the record, I did not hit the bar. Tempting as it was, I knew I had to work the remainder of the day. I didn't think getting canned for being tipsy would help anything in the long run.

And it turned out to be a really good decision because everything else went fine.

Lunch was great, meeting went well, and I had a blast with one of my email buddies at work. I had talked with her several times, but this was the first time I would see her in person.

We went to Tips and Toes, a good little shop ran by many women from Vietnam. They were polite and attentive and they really knew how to make a novice at pampering (me) feel spoiled by the end of the appointment. (The only disconcerning moments were when they would all speak to each other in Vietnamese. I am paranoid enough to just KNOW that they were talking about ME. Because as you probably are thinking right now, "She is All That and MORE." If not, just amuse me and pretend to think that I am cool for the rest of the blog, okay?)

Anyway, despite my managing to break three fingernails down to where there was nothing left to file, those ladies did a fabulous job of turning nothing into something. My nails looked great by the time they were done.

And let me tell you how much I love getting a pedicure. Hot water, scrubbed fresh feet, the massage and really cute toenails by the end. I was quite the daring woman. I asked for a flower on the big toes the womad did a work of art. (Well to me it is a work of art. I can't draw a stick figure, so what do I know.) You decide for yourself.

This little piggy went to the nail salonl; all the rest went too because it was a deal they could not pass up!

(And this is for Antique Mommy: Yes, I got to eat really good food, drink wine and not once did I have to tell someone to stay in their seat. There were tablecloths, and I used a real napkin! I think it was a little slice of heaven on earth!)

Afterwards we ate at this really nice steakhouse. Chester's. It looks like a fort from the outside, but inside was all posh and warm. Food was wonderful and filling. The wine was devine. I only had one glass, but I was all warm and fuzzy on the inside by the time we were done. I was even so content with the meal, I turned down dessert. Yeah, me. No chocolate. Whodathunkit?

It was 9 when I got back to the hotel. I noticed that a lot of the meeting attendees were working on their night assignments in the bar, so I strolled over to give a hello and to show off the toes of course. They were all in good spirits, but that may have been due to all the empty drink glasses set about the table. I went up to the room and upon entering and throwing my stuff everywhere (I love being in a hotel!), I noticed a plate of cookies and a glass of milk on my desk. There was a note from the Executive Meeting Manager, welcoming me to the hotel. The milk was cold and the cookies were still warm. I ran down to offer them to the attendees. (See, I told you I was content if I'm giving away warm chocolate cookies without being guilted into it!)

When I got back to the room, I called Mr. Right just to hear his voice. I know I'm enjoying this time away from home, but I really do miss snuggling next to him or having the kids wake me in the morning. It will be good to be home tomorrow night. (Sigh)

Oh, and it did NOT snow like the weatherman said it would. What a liarhead. But I forgive him because I am happy to not have to drive in the mess tomorrow.

In the mean time, I plan on enjoying that big hot tub tonight. I know, I know... it's a hard life but somebody has to do it. I'm just glad that for a short time, it gets to be me.


Monday, March 20, 2006

Monday, Monday (La la la la la laaa)

I am on my first business trip in Wichita.

It's amazing how exotic Wichita... isn't.

I'm here not because I was ordered here by my boss but because there is a meeting being hosted out of town and I wanted to make sure that everything would go as smoothly as it would have if it were at home.

I needn't have bothered.

To start off the assembly yesterday evening, there was a fun, casual dinner at an appealing, trendy restaurant. I had called the manager to create a menu and to select the wine for the event. The latter was done mainly to keep the cost down because for some reason when people are offered a night out, they order the most obsurd and expensive drinks if they don't have to pay for it. Imagine my surprise when I arrived to find attendees with all sorts of drinks ranging from traditional to exotic in their hands and no wine on the table. I was 0-1 before the whole event began...

Food was delicious, service was excellent and everything went well until the manager ran the numbers to my company card (which I had given him when creating the menu; I wanted to only sign and go when the entire dinner was finished. I actually set everything up that way so it is one less detail about which to worry.) The machine kept saying invalid number. Did I bring the card? Nooooooooo. I had to scramble to find someone else to cover it so that I would not be stuck there doing dishes until next week.

I should have declared my intention of going home right then...

The nightcaps that occurred after dinner were fun and pleasant. Everyone was very amiable and relaxed. At least that bill I could charge to my room.

This morning, I awoke at the obscene hour of 5 AM. Are there any kids that are asking for breakfast? Do I need to be up that early to do laundry, dishes, anything at all? Could I use a bit more sleep? The answers were no, no and yes, but that did not matter... As hard as I tried, I could not fall asleep. So I decided at 6 to give up and to start with my morning coffee. I made it but could find no cream. So I called down to the desk requesting some. (I fully admit that I have extremely limited experience with room service. So I expected it to be a little bit before I would have it.) I waited 20 minutes and thought I had better hit the shower, all the while fearing that they would knock while I was sudsing up my hair.

My fears were for naught because they didn't come during my shower, nor while blow-drying my hair, nor while dressing. I eventually called down again to see if they had to go milk the cow to get the cream to bring to my room. No, it seemed that they just forgot. I had the cream 5 minutes later. Finally.

Everything else had gone splendidly. Well, aside from the fact that the proxima that was promised to me went awol, the leader had to start without any of his visual aids, the promised aforementioned machine did not arrive in the allotted 30 minutes, but rather an hour, there was broken glass on the floor from the previous event, and there was an old-fashioned car sitting in the back of our meeting room. Oh, and it's freakin' cold, with snow expected by tonight.

The one highlight I have to look forward to as an activity is also being marred. One of the ladies who I talk with on the phone and email frequently asked me to dinner tonight. She surprised me by setting up a manicure and pedicure for us too. Can I just tell you that I have broken three nails down to the quick in the last 24 hours? I'm just glad a facial wasn't planned; there's no telling what would have happened to my face it that were the surprise! (Huge blemishes, a door smacking my face, poking myself in the eye with a sharp stick - any or all of these would be lurking around my future the way things are going.)

It's not even lunch yet. I can't wait to see what might happen later.

I'll be at the bar if anybody needs me.


Friday, March 17, 2006

Shalee: Irish for Idiot...

As a wee Irish lass, I’ve always enjoyed St. Patrick’s Day. It was the one time when my little pixie self fit the part: 5’2”, light skinned, and freckled. Plus, with a name like Shālēē O’Rourke, you really can’t hide that ancestry.) Nothing has changed much.

Last year for St. Patty’s Day, Mr. Right and I, who happened to work close to each other at the time, met at O’Neill’s Irish Pub for lunch. We figured a good Irish meal and surrounding ourselves with fellow Irishmen would be a great way to celebrate the day. (Can I tell you now that I didn’t think people really drank that early in the day?! And people actually took a day of vacation to “celebrate” all day long… That’s even a bit too festive for me, and I’m Irish!)

The neat thing about it was that the pub had a DJ there to play Irish music and he invited others up at times to say an Irish blessing, an Irish poem or to give some example of how being Irish has played a part in our lives. Really a neat idea because I had never really thought about it so much.

Others went up and most of them gave a toast or quoted the most known Irish blessings:

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

May you live as long as you want,
And never want as long as you live.

May the saddest day of your future be no worse
Than the happiest day of your past.

Walls for the wind,
And a roof for the rain,
And drinks beside the fire -
Laughter to cheer you
And those you love near you,
And all that your heart may desire!

If God sends you down a stony path,
may he give you strong shoes.

One even offered this curse:

May those who love us love us.

And those that don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles,
So we'll know them by their limping.

Anyway, imagine my surprise when my Mr. Right, shy, introverted Mr. Right, got up and took the mike. Now this is the same man who has openly stated that he can’t tell a joke because he can never remember the words. What could he want to say from memory?

“I may not be Irish, but I did the next best thing a man could do. I married my Irish lass, Shalee O’Rourke and have been ever so blessed since. Here’s to you, love.”

Everyone around our table turned to look at me and raised their glasses to me with smiles in their eyes and on their faces.


Yeah, I cried. Who wouldn’t after that romantic declaration?

I’m just hoping that after writing this one he doesn’t remember any of the Irish curses.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Spring Break: Kidless and Fancy Free

All’s quiet on the home front. I mean it’s really, really quiet in the house. In the evenings especially. A little too quiet...

The kids have been at Grandma and Grandpa’s house since Sunday. It’s such a catch-22 for me. The grandparents take them and spoil them rotten, but I don’t have to pay for it… at least not in monetary form...

I don’t even want to think about all the stuff they are doing that will have to be undone after they come back home on Saturday. (No, you cannot have four bowls of sweet cereal for breakfast. No, chocolate is not one of your options for lunch. Non you can’t watch TV; go out and PLAY. Bedtime is at 8 PM… not whenever you want to go to bed. Yes, I know Grandma let you do that, but I don’t want you to jump off the roof onto the trampoline. Okay, I made that last one up, but it would probably be true if they had one. All the rest is absolutely true!)

So it is with sweet disillusions that Mr. Right and I are having a week of bliss, even if there is work inserted here and there – like from 8 to 5 every day. We’ve gone out to eat way too much, have had two coffee dates already, watched two movies with no interruptions, slept without being awakened by someone crawling into bed. We’ve had time to read, time to talk, time to… ummm… you know, ummm, okay we’ve had sex. And we liked it… a lot. There! I said it because you know you were thinking it anyway! There’s something about knowing there will be no knocks, no ruckuses or no questions about why the bedroom door is locked that makes this “favorite pastime” of ours quite… un-inhibiting and out and out fun. You remember, like when you were newlyweds…

Even though I have enjoyed every moment of this peace and freedom from daily duties (who wants to clean a house, do dishes or fold any laundry when there are good times to be had and only a week to do it?!), I do miss those little love bugs. With all the fun, food and sleep, I know that my heart has an empty spot where the kids are supposed to be.

I called just to hear their voices. I wanted to tell them that I love them and that I can’t wait to see them. When the phone was answered, I could hear them bickering in the background over who knows what. My daughter was mothering her brother; he was trying to be his own boss.

Instead, I asked if they could stay an extra week. I’m enjoying this peace and quiet more and more with each passing day.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Another Pickup Game of Calvinball

The world is changing around me. The flowers are blossoming, the trees are budding and love is in the air, especially in the way of playing. Birds are playing their own games of tag, squirrels are chasing each other, couples are walking the trails hand in hand and kids are playing all sorts of games, some old, some completely made up and new, with ever changing rules… Like Calvinball – a glorious game involving an ever-changing tide of rules, songs, zones, and fun. No sport is more unorganized than Calvinball, and no other can possible be as much fun!

There is only one permanent rule to playing Calvinball, stated by Calvin himself:

Any player can declare a new rule at any point in the game. The rule can effect any player involved, be positive or negative, make sense or make no sense. New rules will take effect once they are said out loud, or thought (depending on the zone the rule making player inhabits).

All you need to play the game are masks, flags, a field, a ball, any other equipment that the player chooses to use and a great imagination… especially with the songs. Songs are sung throughout Calvinball. There’s even an official Calvinball song which is goes as follows:

The Official Calvinball Song

Other kids games are all such a bore!

They gotta have rules and they gotta keep score!

Calvinball is better by far!

It's never the same! It's always bizarre.

You don't need a team or a referee!

You know that it's great, 'cause its named after me!

If you wanna...

But any song will make the cut, no matter how beautifully or badly it is sung.

Score may be kept or disregarded. If you do keep score, it shall have no bearing on the game nor will it have any logical consistency to it. (Legal scores include 'Q to 12', 'BW-109 to YU-34, and 'Nosebleed to Pelvic Fracture'.)

There isn’t always a clear cut winner to the game. The whole point is that you played.

Now to me, Calvinball is just another way of looking at motherhood. Think about it…

The only permanent rule about raising children is that it will never be done the same way twice. Every kid is different, has different needs, and what you did with one child will not necessarily work with another. The rules are constantly changing! Just when you think you’ve got one figured out, something will happen to send you into total confusion. By the time you get a handle on it, someone will change another rule on you.

And the rules affect each member differently. One rule will make one child cry, while another may be filled with bliss, while another still may be bewildered by the rule itself. Parents have to play all the rules, with all its meaning, at the same time.

The playing fields are constantly changing. The equipment is recycled or used as needed. Often a new one is bought to keep the “game” going.

You are constantly running into a new zone without warning – disciple, protection, friends, school, hormones – you name it, you will encounter it at some point without any premonition, and you are fully expected to know what to do to solve any situation – with ease, warmth and hugs thrown in for grins and giggles.

You will wear many masks as a mom. A mask of encouragement when you really fear for your children’s emotions, a mask of comfort when you only want to strangle them, a mask of confidence when you know full well that you don’t know what to do.

And there are so many songs involved in motherhood, whether it is a forte of yours or not. Your children don't care if you are off-key or a singer extraordinaire. They just want to hear you, be near you and crave the love behind each note. It’s the same with any book reading, bedtime story and talk-time, too.

And at the end to the day, it doesn't matter if you have kept score at all. You know that you have had a day with those you love, a little more love from your kids. And that made the game worth it all.

Even if, especially if, you were making it up as you went along.

Being a mom is the ultimate game of Calvinball. Hard to play, but worth ever second of grief, misery, embarrassment, and laughter that evolves from this game of love.

The wonderful thing is that I can’t wait to start the next day so that I can play it again.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Life As I Will Never Know It

My good friend Stephanie just sent me this article from Good Housekeeping, May 13, 1955.

A Good Wife's Guide
  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.
  • Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.
  • Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.
  • Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. and then run a dust cloth over the tables.
  • Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
  • Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimize all the noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.
  • Be happy to see him.
  • Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first – remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
  • Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.
  • Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquillity where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.
  • Don't greet him with complaints and problems.
  • Don't complain if he's late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.
  • Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
  • Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
  • Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
  • A good wife always knows her place.

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha !!!! They for got to mention the French maid's outfit and bowing in reverence anytime he enters the room!

Ohhhhhh (wiping tears from my eyes) That's a good one! I needed that good laugh!

Okay, you may now resume life as you know it.


Monday, March 13, 2006

A Weekend to Remember

What a glorious weekend we had! It started so perfectly, well almost perfectly…

As I have posted before, you know that Saturday is our day to do the big breakfast thing. This time I opted for sausage gravy and biscuits (one of my favorites, if I have to have a breakfast). I even remembered to take the sausage out to thaw over night. I was with it for once!

Mr. Right and I have a deal. I make the gravy; he makes the biscuits. So I got up around 7:30 (sleeping in for me – I have early rising kids) and decided to start in on my part. If I get the gravy out of the way, I have time to sit on the back porch and listen to the birds and sip my coffee gingerly because it is a perfect spring morning. Warm, slight wind, birds in the trees, sun lightly playing among the branches... This weekend had “relax” all over it.

I cooked the sausage, added my spices, made the roux and went to add the milk. Not enough to make the gravy! Or the biscuits! Arrg! Why didn’t I check the milk?!

Okay, I still had time. Kids were still playing downstairs and I hadn’t taken coffee up to Mr. Right yet, so I could run to Wally World to grab it and be back in 10 minutes top. I got the milk, plus they had strawberries on sale – oh that sounds so good! – so I made it out quick as a flash of lightning. Yeah! Gravy not scorched, so we are doubly good. Coffee can still be had in relax mode.

I took a cup to Mr. Right to get his lazy bum out of bed because now I 'm actually hungry for breakfast. Gravy’s good, ripe sweet strawberries washed, cut and assembled on a plate – begging to be eaten, kids were still playing and coffee and chair were calling me. I went outside, set myself down to relax while Mr. Right did his thing.

And then it began…

“Hey hon… Are we out of wheat flour?” Mr. Right called from the kitchen.

“Just use white flour this time. I’ll get some wheat later.” I respond so sweetly. Ahhh, I’m brilliant. Another trip to the store deflected!

“Uh, babe… we’re out of shortening. I can’t make it without shortening…”

So help me! I guess peace, tranquility and back porch can wait… again. Wal-Mart twice in the morning before 8:30 AM… and here I thought I had my act together. (You know the saying “Do you know how to make God laugh? Make a plan.”? I’m feeling that about now…)

Eventually we had a great family breakfast within the hour. And I got my coffee and down time outside.

This day was made for vegging and that's just what I'll do. (Think "These Boots Were Made for Walking") Look at that lazy bum, no shower, hair a mess yet as happy as a lark.

It was such a beautiful day that I decided to actually lay out. Fortunately for you, no pictures were taken of that little scene, but it was heavenly for me. (I think I’m a cat in disguise… I love being in the sun.) Afterwards, the kids and I washed the car. You know that they say about washing the car though. Don’t do it unless you want rain the next day. And boy did we get it!

This week is Spring Break for the kids. The kids love it because they get to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. I love it because… well for the same reason, plus I don’t have to pay for it! A whole week with no kids to bathe, feed, settle petty arguments… it’s a vacation for me too (even though I know I’m going to missing them come Wednesday.)

So needless to say the kids were excited because their bags were packed, they were going to see their friends at church and we were going out to eat afterwards… life really couldn’t get any better in their minds. Well actually being with the grandparents would be the topper, but they knew that it would happen later that day. So it was all good.

At 8 AM, all the sudden the warning sirens started sounding. I’m pretty sure that they wouldn’t just test the sirens at 8 in the morning on a Sunday. This raising of the alarm could only have meant that a tornado had been sighted. I checked the weather site on the computer. Sure enough for our zip code the weather bureau had issued a tornado warning.

How can this be? It looked beautiful outside. There were clouds and a little wind, but no dark skies, hard winds, rain, hail or anything associated with tornadoes.

My daughter the worrier is freaking out in a very calm way. You know, she tried to stay calm, but she kept saying that she was scared. Her brother just wanted to know where the siren was coming from and could he press the button to make it go.

I felt like I had just entered a movie. (Cue eerie music)

I walked out and stood on the front porch. The wind blew my hair softly. There was a calm peace all about me. I heard all sorts of tones in the sirens, so there was definitely warning for all areas. Wind chimes were tinkling musically around me. The light gray clouds looked anything but menacing to me. Other neighbors had walked out to question the scene as well.

I turned my head to see that my daughter had joined me on the porch. She too was looking around the neighborhood. Not a sound out of place. Well, except for the birds. They were too quiet. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I had heard an animal since I had walked out. Strange and disquieting, indeed.

My son joined us on the front porch, clutching his teddy bear and blanket he was taking to Grandma’s. He was unusually quiet and he seemed to be trying to understand it too. We three stood looking out at the serene surroundings, a perfect backdrop for Twister or The Day After.

My mind is starting to categorize: decide if we should head to the basement. Do I have supplies? Where are the candles? Water? Is it really in our area? Where had one been sighted and what destruction has happened because of it? How long can we stay down there without chocolate and a great bottle of wine?

“Mommy, I’m scared,” my daughter said in a low voice.

My son, with a dead serious expression, whispered, “Maybe it’s aliens.”

Both my daughter and I turned our heads slowly to look at the boy. No shred of a smile on his face as he stared out at the sky. We looked at each other and burst out laughing. Now that was some much needed comic relief! He smiled when he realize that he said it out loud and we really found him hilarious.

It was something like you would hear from the movie Signs. Unsettling yet a perfect explanation to it all. Out of the mouths of babes.

That’s all it took to get us going. We had decided that since the warning, according to, said it would last until 8:45 AM, we could still make it to church because if the world was going to end for me that day, I would prefer be at church singing praises to God when I bite the dust. It reminded me of the story about Paul and Silas singing right through an earthquake while in prison. Really it couldn’t hurt to go out with the extra oomph if I am going to meet God… it’s like bonus points on an exam.

As you can already deduce, we are all safe and sound. The walls did not tumble down around us, church was wonderfully inspiring, and our trip to meet the grandparents to get rid of… pardon me, I mean pass along – the kids was very uneventful and smooth.

Speaking of which, Mr. Right and I drove back to town, talking the whole way. We decided to start the date time right away. We were going to go out for dinner, but when we arrived back in town, the clouds were black and threatening. Hail was being predicted, and we weren’t sure how long the conditions would remain. So we opted for a Chinese takeout (Yum!), making it a dinner and a movie night at home instead. Just as pleasant as an evening out on the town in my opinion, especially when you know for certain that there will be no interruptions from the kids.

Before we ate, I ran inside and grabbed the camera, trying to capture some of the beautiful “lightworks” in the sky. I was able to get the tail end of a couple, but really what I need is a faster digital camera. It wouldn’t take when I pressed the button. Oh well. Below is one I could get out of the 20 or so pictures I took. I gave up because my stomach was starting to growl and there was a man waiting patiently inside. Mainly I didn't want him to eat all the wok roasted chicken.

(I'm no f-stop steve, but it turned out okay.)

And a special thanks to f-stop steve for asking if we were okay. When I got into work this morning, he emailed me to see if we were in any of harm’s way. That’s what I love about this blogging stuff… friends can be made over long distances without ever leaving the state.

People still caring about people… isn’t that what it’s all about?


Friday, March 10, 2006

I've Been Tagged!

I've been tagged. So here goes… if you feel comfortable doing so, post a comment giving answers about you because we all enjoy learning something about our buds!

Four jobs you've had in your life

  1. Development Officer at a college
  2. Barnes and Noble – made it to manager, then quit because they threw me in with no training and expected me to work like a dog for nothing and still make plan... best thing I ever did was quit - although I still miss being around and reading all those books!
  3. Executive Assistant (if I don't get fired for yesterday's posting...)
  4. Mom – longest held job to date (lousy pay, but the benefits are to die for!)

Four movies that you would watch over and over

  1. Lord of the Rings trilogy
  2. Return to Me
  3. A & E’s Pride and Prejudice (Six magnificent hours of a beautiful Jane Austen book... I usually watch it in 2 hour intervals over 3 days. I would go all six if everyone would leave me alone, but it's usually "Momma, Momma Momma" this or "Honey" that.)
  4. Philadelphia Story, When Harry Met Sally, While You Were Sleeping, Always, Better Off Dead, Sense and Sensibilities, The Matrix and anything by M Night (Okay, that is more than 4, but hey, it’s my blog – I can bend the rules if I want to!)

Four places you've lived

  1. Memphis, TN
  2. Bremerton, WA
  3. York, NE
  4. Overland Park, KS

Four TV shows that you love to watch (or used to watch)

  1. Moonlighting
  2. Law & Order (oldies)
  3. Cosby Show
  4. Greatest American Hero
  5. You Can’t Do That On Television – Nickelodeon (I loved it when they got slimed for saying “I don’t know”)
  6. Max Headroom
  7. The Tomorrow People – cool when I was a kid!
  8. Football in the fall, winter!

(Can you tell that I don’t watch much of anything in the present?)

Four places you've been on vacation

  1. Jamaica (honeymoon ~ Woo hoo! See this post to understand why woo hoo!)
  2. Beaver Creek, CO
  3. Memphis, TN
  4. Florida

Four websites you visit daily

  1. My blog… Hey, I still like seeing my name in lights (I'm sooo vain!! Besides, many of my links are there.)
  3. (Too funny to see what will be for sell next! They sell one thing all day. When it is sold out, it is sold out. They post something else at 12 AM CST the next night... unless of course there is a woot off! Then it's catch as catch can mayhem... I just want one of there bag o' crap... you'll have to visit to see why.)
  4. Antique Mommy , f-stop steve (great photoblog), Rocks in my Dryer… Just go down the list on the side of my blog. I need to update it because there are others that I visit that are saved in my favorites.

Four of your favorite foods

  1. Chinese
  2. Italian
  3. My homemade mac ‘n cheese
  4. (Most) Anything that someone else is buying!

Four places you would rather be right now

  1. home reading a book
  2. beach
  3. Italy – for a first time visit
  4. having a cuppa with Antique Mommy – (She probably thinks I’m deranged, but I could see just having such a great time in her company.)

Five people I’m tagging

  1. Antique Mommy
  2. f-stop steve
  3. Rocks in my Dryer
  4. holymama!
  5. Mom101


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Mom at Home, Mom at Work...

(Pardon the pictures... camera phone)

This is my boss’ door.

This is the sign on my boss’ door.

The man is sick, hacking up a lung.

Here is the conversation that he held with me.

Boss: Shalee, I don’t feel so good. (Cough) Do you think it is allergies?

Shalee: No, I think you are sick and should go home. My kids are going to grandma’s all next week, and I really don’t want to be sick when they are out of the house!

(I hand him some Advil. Actually I placed them on my desk and let him get them. I don’t want to touch him. He smiles and goes into office, hacking up the other lung, closes the door. I frantically clean with Lysol wipes.)

B: I’m starting to ache. That’s not good, is it?

S: No, You are sick and you need to get out of here before you get me sick too! I really won’t be happy if I get what you get. You need to get out to the doctor’s office.

B: My eyes hurt and I have a lot of pressure up here. (points to sinus and forehead)

S: That is probably because you have a sinus infection. Call your wife and see if she can get you into the office for an appointment. You really should be home.

B: I probably need some drugs, huh?

S: Yep, and a sick day.

(Can you see the recurring theme here?)

(Boss continues working, coughing, sniffling. The man is a workaholic and a menace to society… Well at least to me with the cough.)

Since he was so kind to shut his door while he does his thing, I was so kind to give everyone warning to not go near him. Although there is only one other lady in our office, it was still funny.

An hour and a half after he closed his door, he opened it to find the strips there. I look up with an unsure expression, praying that I won’t be fired and that his sense of humor hasn’t been screwed up with the rest of the stuff he has going on within him.

He stopped, looked at me and smiled. “Now that’s funny.” He ducked under the strips, turned to admire my handy work and said, “Good one, Shalee.”

I love my job; I hope I still have it next week.

And no, he's still here.


Girls Just Want To Be Mean

Trouble is brewing on our home front. Actually it's next door too.

When my daughter gets home, she has a routine. She comes in, has a snack, does her homework and then she is allowed to play. 9.5 times out of 10 she chooses to go outside to play with the next door neighbor, a girl the same age as my daughter. As an added bonus, there is another girl who plays at the neighbor’s house, so the three of them are often seen running here and there, shooting baskets, jumping rope or just sitting outside shooting the breeze.

On one of these talks, on Tuesday, my daughter said that she wants to be an illustrator when she grows up. (They had just come back from a fieldtrip to visit an illustrator, and my daughter thought it was so cool. She often wants to be different things. She’s gone from wanting to be a teacher, to a hair stylist, to a chef, to a stay at home mom and now an illustrator. Chances are good that next week, it will be something entirely different.) She also said that she doesn't like school (but she excels at it) and she doesn't care for her teacher (reason for not liking school- her teacher is much more rough around the edges than all of her previous first year teachers – the ones who really like teaching because it is still new to them). She didn’t make any of these remarks derogatively or disrespectfully; she was just stating her opinion.

Yesterday, the girl next door sent this note to my daughter through the girl that also plays with them.

I totally respect your opinion on a future career. However, I have the experience of not getting along with people who hate school. I feel that you shouldn’t let one teacher ruin your year. I know that the two of us have nothing in common. I am an outgoing person – it’s hard for me to hang out with a very, very shy person.

My daughter is so confused. How can this friend go from hot to cold over an opinion that doesn't apply to the play time?

As a mom, I want to slap the girl for being so bratty, judgmental, and self-centered. I really want to lay on the sarcasm that this was never a problem when they are playing tag, throwing a ball or reading. My daughter, who is more reserved but definitely fun-loving and very easy going - who would give away her most cherished possessions to have a friend, is being rejected not for who she is, but for having an opinion that probably change by next year. Yeah, momma bear wants to roar. But for once, I am holding my tongue.

Because I can’t fix this one. Sometimes, (and here is the suckiest part of being a parent) it is better to let your children figure some things out on their own – trial by fire, if you will. I guess you can think of it in Calvin and Hobbes terms: “Building Character”.

I can guide and encourage, but ultimately it is her battle to fight.

I just told my daughter that her friend is missing out on a great relationship. I suggested that she pray for her friend, that she pray for God to give her a bosom friends who will stand through thick and thin and be great encouragers of her faith, and that she treat her friend with respect and still speak with her in the hall or in the yard. I told her that she is perfect as she has been made, she doesn't have to be just like everyone else, and it is in our diversity that we truly understand other people and the beauty of others.

All that is good and well and right, but I am at a block for how to help her today. Now. This very moment. She is feeling very rejected and lonely because both of her playing pals have withdrawn from her because, you know, when one girl does something, the others follow suit. It’s kind of like when girls go to the bathroom. They all have to go at the same time.

I read the book "Odd Girl Out" hoping it would prepare me for when this day would come. A very good book from another odd girl out who was trying to figure out why girls react to disagreements the way they do. (Boys usually will have a scuffle and then go back to being the best of pals, whereas girls disagree, hold the grudge and then convince all their friends to choose a side and to ignore the offending girl. To be quite honest, it doesn't really help with how to build up my girl right now, a girl who would rather die than have an arguement with someone or to have someone not like her.)

If you have any words of wisdom to pass on, please leave a comment. I really need some right now. This very moment. Today.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Laundry Room Fun

I know, I know… that is a paradox. But hang in there with me. Have I ever lead you astray? – Wait, don’t answer, just read.

So I was cruising around the blogging world and as I’m clicking at a good clip (at least 55 miles an hours – well under the speed limit), I make my way to Mommy Life, a wonderful blog about life with 12 kids.

12 kids!!! Can you imagine? And she is still sane and agreeable. Amazing! She is so full of life and energy, and I am sure that there is more wisdom there than I could ever hope to have. But I’m going to try. So I read her and other wonderfully inspiring writers.

Anyway, she thought of this wonderful idea about doing a contest about women in their laundry room since that is where much of our time is spent or should be spent if the laundry piles so high that you can’t get around it. Not that that happens at my place. (cough, cough, clear throat)

The winners will get a copy of Lord, Please Meet Me In the Laundry Room. if there is a good book involved, I will do most anything for a book! (But I won’t do that… Get your mind out of the gutter!)

I loved the idea, but I don't have a laundry room. I've a laundry closet. It is situated so nicely between my kitchen and my dining room. (I say that so sarcastically... anytime someone comes over, I have to make sure that the doors stay closed and won't fly open at the least inopportune moment, thereby showing everyone what a sad house keeper I am as well as my underwear.) She didn't mind at all about the closet, so I sent her a few pictures from which to choose. She put all three up! So now that they are floating around the internet wave, I thought I might as well post them here, too. If you want the letter I wrote with it, just visit this site. There are quite a few creative entries already and they are just as read-worthy.

Who knows? It may inspire you to take on the mountain clothes in your house too!

Isn't this really what laundry looks like?

Can you believe that I fit inside the washer? I only can hope that I didn't break it!


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I'm one Wild and Crazy Girl

Think Steve Martin here... SNL - A wild and crazy guy!

What does being a CHBM mean to me?

That’s the question this week on the Crazy Hip Blog Mama writing collaboration.

Well, I’m sure that I’ve got the Crazy nailed down, receiving a perfect “10” from the judges. (Hey, quiet down from the peanut gallery… I didn’t ask your opinion!)

Hip: I actually have two of them so that make me twice as applicable to the group.

Although there are countless reasons why I love blogging, there are a few that directly relate to blogging in this circle.

  • There are other mothers out there who are laughing with me at the reality of life.
  • Sometimes looking at another mother’s viewpoint really can slap me into shape and make me see beyond myself.
  • There are mothers out there with more “adventurous” children than my own and they haven’t killed them yet, so really I have no reason to do that to my own. They give me such inspiration...
  • I love the internet buddies that I’ve found through the site. Where else can you claim friendships and connections to women from coast to coast, from every age level, in all sorts of walks of life, with those who work and those who stay home, from those who have one child to those who have a handful. We are all making it up as we go along. I t’s nice to have others there to help with our brain block moments. And every single one of the mothers think that their child is the best. That’s some good healthy competition out there! (They shouldn’t feel so badly about their children coming in second place. Not to bad for them to be in the 99th percentile.)

Mama: When every other sentence and every other minute is punctuated by that title, I think I have earned it. And that doesn't just apply to my children’s words. Mr. Right refers to me as Mom, as in “Go ask Mom” and I wear the title proudly when I am “____’s (insert one of my children’s name) Mom.”

I feel that it is a great place to let it all hang out, let my hair down and keep touch on the pulse of motherhood and womanhood. And really it's cheaper than therapy.

As an added bonus, I don’t have to apologize for my thoughts and words because they are mine. If you don’t like them, "Well, excuuuuuuuuuuse me!"


Sunrise, Sunrise, Looks Like Morning In Your Eyes

I love that song by Nora Jones. It speaks volumes about love. But that is not what the blog is about today.

When we got up this morning and after I had a couple of eye-opening sips of coffee, Mr. Right pointed me to the world outside.

There was the prettiest sunrise I’ve seen in a while. Correction: There was the prettiest sunrise that I actually took the time to notice.

I ran out with the camera to catch some of the colors this morning. Good thing for me that all my neighbors were inside, away from the windows because really, bedhead is not always so becoming on me.

Front yard sunrise

Backyard silhouette

Doesn't it look like a big Easter egg sky? Spring is in the air... I can almost taste it, along with the chocolate and jelly beans that I'll get from the Easter bunny.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Carpe Diem!

This past weekend, Mr. Right and I watched a great movie, one we hadn’t seen since it came out years ago – Dead Poets Society, starring Robin Williams as an inspirational teacher and others (Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard) as the young men making their way through life.

Do you remember it? Do you remember the key phrase that the movie was trying to convey through many misguided, over-controlled youths who so desperately wanted to find themselves?

It wasn’t to be the best student you can be.

It wasn’t to fit in and to excel in conformity.

It wasn’t to be the person holding all the cards at the end of the day.

It was “Carpe diem”. Seize the day. Live today to its fullest.

One of the quotes from the film that further illustrated this point: “I went into the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life... to put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” It was a quote by Whitman.

I love that idea –sucking the bone of life until there is no more to be released from it. To not be distracted by the things that do not matter, but to feel and cherish life to the nth degree.

In the movie, at the beginning when the young men were first introduced to this idea of sucking the marrow out of life, it mainly was used by the students when its results proved to be exciting and adventurous. The point really driven home by the movie, though, was to stand up for one's beliefs throughout all of life no matter how hard it may prove and to live each day fully despite the obstacles in the way.

At church yesterday, I heard the same thing from the pulpit, except it way put this way: “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:24. I felt like God was giving me the old one-two punch. Maybe this was a point he wished me to get so completely that he repeated it to me in different ways so that I can really hear its message.

This day, this very day, today is the day the Lord has made for you and for me. We need to remember that there will never be another day like this day. Never can we earn back these 24 hours which are given to everyone alike. No matter your money, station in life, health or situation, we all get the same amount of time to live. What we choose to do with that time is up to us.

We can’t live in the past, for it is dead and gone – never to be repeated the same way.

We can’t live in the future, for we are not guaranteed one.

We can’t live on our successes, for that takes away from what we still have within us.

We can’t live life through our children, for they have their own choices to make.

We can only live one day at a time, embracing out of every moment, making us glad for the gift of today.

Do I choose to let the weight of life keep me from living today to its fullest? Do the worries of finances prevent me from smiling at the moments of joy today? Will I play with my children despite all the laundry or dishes piled in their places? Do I look at life half-empty or half-full? Do I grab this day by the reins and ride it or do I let it loop me by the heel and drag me on the ground?

It really makes me ask the question: “What shall I do with my time?”

I hope that at the end of each day, I can view it with a smile. I hope to be able to say “I truly lived.”

In the movie, Keating makes this statement: “To quote from Whitman: "O me! O life! of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless... of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?" Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

What will your verse be?

Mine will be a song - a happy, upbeat song, one that makes you want to dance. Maybe Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves or And We Danced by the Hooters. Now those are songs really want to make you move!


Friday, March 03, 2006

Did I draw Della too tall, Edward? I did?

I like palindromes.

What’s that, you ask? Okay, you didn't really, but if you are reading my blog you are stuck with my subjects, so you might as well ask. You know I'm going to tell you anyway.

(Clear throat) A palindrome is a word or phrase or a sentence that reads the same forwards and backwards. I first noticed these in grade school. Sure there were the simple words:


But one day when I was studying for my spelling test, I remember coming upon the word “level”. Wow. Five letters … Cool! I felt so brilliant, as if I was discovering something new, going were no child had gone before… uncharted territory in the land of words. Could there be more? Along the way I’ve discovered many additional words that I’ve kept squirreled away in me ‘ead (along with lots and lots of other useless trivial stuff!)


That’s when I kept a look out for phrases. I’ve discovered a few along the way.

A Toyota
A man, a plan, a canal: Panama!
Borrow or rob?
Gateman sees name. Garage man sees name tag.
Derek, I like red!
Gert, I saw Ron avoid a radio-van - or was it Reg?
Lisa Bonet ate no basil.
Panic in a Titanic, I nap.
Stella won no wallets.
Was it a cat I saw?

Weird, I know. But it comes in mighty handy to have these, especially at a very dull party. Not that I’ve actually uttered them. But it would be neat to slip one out someday and test the waters.

You would think with this kind of romance with letters, I would be good at Scrabble. But in all actuality, I suck at it. That’s why I avoid it at all cost.

I’m better at cards… Spades anyone?


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Not So Secret Confession

Let me tell you how much I enjoyed my son’s sick day yesterday.

Although I went home, tucked him in bed and worked from home, it was wonderful to have the chance actually to be outside. Fresh air… quiet time... I can only hope that if I have a call from the school nurse again, it will be such a pleasant day.

Last night (after 5 PM mind you - I was OFF THE CLOCK - for the benefit of coworkers), my daughter grabbed the camera and caught some pics of me. I think I found a calling for her in the future.

I don't feel that I am extremely photogenic and usually don't care for the outcome for most of my pictures, but I actually liked most of them for once. Maybe it is the good mood of the day that makes me like them. I’ll share a few of them with you. But mind you, I am in need of a tan, badly!

This is me chillin’ on the porch. (Look at those WHITE legs... On second thought, don't.)

Close up and personal.

Self portrait of my daughter and me... Now that is teamwork: I held the camera; she pushed the button.

Same as before... I can't believe we didn't cut off a head!

I love this picture! And I took it myself. My eyes, which are never the same color from one day to the next look so green. I do have Irish eyes! (and pixie ears, too - Hey, maybe I can get a part in the next Lord of the Rings trilogy!)