What Did You Do? Wednesdays

Calling all fall fanatics, adventurous organizers, exercise procrastinators, perfectionists unable to make a move unless they're certain it will turn out with ultimate precision, messy Marvins, and any other category you put yourself in ~ stop by each Wednesday and share what you did that week. Big things, little things, adventurous things, nothin' much things, somethin' special things....doesn't matter.

Share your just one thing on What Did You Do? Wednesdays!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Father Time

Father Time's role has come to an end yet one more year. The old man is tired and worn, he has served his purpose and it is his duty to retire his position to a fresh, new character. I wish I had that ability, don't you? To have the chance, annually, to reverse the harsh effects of life, to undo aging, illness, unfairness, mistakes..... I guess that's not what makes up life, however. With age comes wisdom, of things both joyful and saddening. We learn what makes up happy, who we want to surround ourselves with, how to spend our fleeting time. We learn, too, about tragedies, hard knocks, tribulations and how to maneuver our way through each event.

For each of us, I wish a successful navigation through 2010. May we be granted health, kindness, consideration, support, serenity, laughter and delightful memories that last through the remainder of our years.

Easy Fleece-y

I've done it again! Sewing 102 is now under my belt. Little did you know, right? I had the luxury of being the only one in the class, with the same teacher as last time, so we zoomed right through a whole bunch of fleece embellishments. I would have liked to do more, but she was so careful about teaching me how to use a rotary cutter and a cutting board, that said little task took longer than I cared for. Taking heed to keep my fingers in tact, understood. But slicing along a ruler.....definitely NOT rocket science. I cut, gathered, sewed, weaved and fringed that forgiving fabric with ease. May any and all projects I ever tackle be as simple (ha!). So then, I'm prepared for some genius sewing to begin in this house. I think.

.....and I'll need to use these when??

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

One, Tooth, Three

Remember my daughter's "magical teeth"? Well, today was a magical dentist appointment and magical co-pay to have the baby teeth extracted, or, as Dr. Dentist calls it, "wiggled out". Sounds innocent enough, right? I'm glad I was the only one who knew what it was really going to involve. A. didn't have a clue in the world. But hooray for the advancements in dental care!

I had 4 permanent teeth (no, they weren't even my wisdom teeth) pulled in order to fit them all in my head before I had braces put on 1981. (Yes, I have a lot of big chompers in a big mouth. People have always commented on my teeth.....even my dentist. So far, though, I haven't made any toothpaste commercials. Although that's not a bad New Year's Resolution......). I remember my kind, old dentist coming at me with a needle the size of football goal post, and that was that.

A., on the other hand, got sunglasses, her choice of movie to stare at with a screen directly above her, bubblegum flavored laughing gas, and not even a peek at the football goal post....I mean "sleepy water" Dr. Novocain shot into her gums ~ 4 times, I might add. Either way, she was braver than I. I kept a fake smile plastered to my face & comforted her when she needed it, which, to my complete surprise, she didn't really. I was the one trying to maintain an upright position while that double tooth was yanked, pulled and twisted out. What a crazy root from hell. Ugh. It had to feel better with that out!

It ended up being quite a painless experience. I'm so thankful for a wonderful dentist who made the whole ordeal just a one, "tooth", three removal. The worst part for A. was the gauze she needed to bite down on (which only lasted until we got to the van), and the taste of the blood. Once I clued her in that she could swallow instead of wondering what to do with all the gunk coming out of her mouth, she was fine. As a matter of fact, she bounced back with such
unaffectedness, that her only question or comment about the whole experience was on the car ride home. "Can I still talk?" Yes, Miss Chatterbox, yak away.

Still in tact.

The bruise that continued up to the side of her mouth and looked pretty bad for a few days afterward.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December 22nd

Four years ago today, at 6:22pm, my dad died of pancreatic cancer. I have learned a lot about loss and mourning in those 4 years.

Grief is a paralyzing, stripping, hollowing, and very personal emotion. It may not hit you when you think it will, and it may strike at other times when you never saw it coming. I think the extent of grief is related to your closeness with the person you have lost.

Don't expect anyone else to understand exactly what you're going through.

Take great comfort in the people who are actually there for you, and try not to be angry with the people you thought would be but aren't.

The pain and sadness never go away, you just adjust.

Memories really do last a lifetime.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's So Cold

(All together now.....) How cold is it? It's so cold that it's come to this....

Little Bunny Boo-Boo (see the owie on his noggin?) says, "Brrrr!"

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sports Time

I don't know where the time goes. I never feel like I get anything done. Of course, the perfectionist in me wants it all done, finished and handled, like, yesterday! There are so many things I want to do (i.e. decorate, bake, create, go, do, see), but the time just seems to slip away. I'm not a procrastinator, and I consider myself organized (not the utmost organized, but organized nonetheless), yet at the end of each day I wonder how time has once again eluded me.

My husband was watching a basketball game early this evening as I was preparing dinner. I asked how much time was left. "One minute," he replied. I'm not a sports fan for a variety of reasons, but to me, broadcast basketball games are not too overly offensive. At least it's a faster paced game (than ....snooze.... football), and my workaholic demeanor feels somewhat at ease since the players spend most of the time moving around in a quick manner with some sense of productivity. But I tell you, "one minute" is never, ever "ONE minute" in sports. About 2 years later, the game was actually over.

Then it occurred to me that I need to discover a way for the time clock in LIFE to stop and start like that. Man, would I be rich. Can you even imagine?? This is a lovely moment to bask in, let's stop the clock right now. This situation stinks, let's keep those seconds ticking. Wait. Hold up. I need some more time to finish this. Clock stopped. What a solution to it all.

But meanwhile, gotta' run......tick, tock.
Tempus Fugit

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Day

Blizzard here. No school. Being forced to stay home was actually a nice thing. The bonus was that the girls played well together and touched the majority of their toys, which, in itself, is quite a feat.

Sleepy heads starting out their day with love

Monday, December 7, 2009

Paper Glitter Winner

I have discovered a whole new area of blogging....giveaways. Oh yes...free stuff. It seems as bloggers become popular, they use giveaways to promote their site & readership. I can't wait for the day I can give something away! No, it can't be the kitchy shelf-sitter that your great aunt gave you for Easter. It has to be something you make or design.

I have only signed up for 2 so far, but check this out.....I was a winner on my second try. You must visit Paper Glitter and check out her darling designs. I am in awe over her job as a toy designer. I mean, how cool is that? And she designs for mass market lines that we folks with girls surely have in our homes. The ultimate for me is Hello Kitty. She, too, has been a fan for over 3 decades. But then to end up designing for Sanrio. OH! And the other neat thing is her web site where you'll find a variety of free printables that you and your girls will love. Also, check out her Etsy store for a variety of cute and very inexpensive designs.

So, thank you, Linnette, for your sharing your creativeness with us! A. and I had a great time choosing our selection, and she was also thrilled to find your latest offering printed out for her this morning.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree

Now how sweet is a family's first true Christmas tree excursion? Picture in your mind a beautiful forest of strong pines, motionless in their sturdy roots, dusted with the most beautiful, glistening, powdery snow on the ends of their branches. The still silence surrounding them giving the greatest sense of peace on earth you could ever experience. Breathtaking. I said picture it in your mind; I didn't say we actually got our tree in that setting!

I have some majorly fond memories of picking out a Christmas tree when I was a kid. YEARS of picking out Christmas trees with my mom & dad. I loved it. Somehow the weather was always perfect ~ not bitterly cold, not windy. We went to a lovely Christmas tree farm down a side road about 5 miles away from our home. The owner knew my parents & I kind of always felt like we were treated well. The chore of choosing the perfect tree was equally exciting, fun & difficult. It somewhat saddened me to leave certain trees behind.....the ones that weren't so perfect. Would they get chosen at all? Or would they just sit there, alone, all through Christmas and beyond? And then what happened to them? I felt bad for them. So I'm sensitive. Sue me. I've long attached feeling to completely inanimate objects (those tiny Cheetos were cute, darn it!).

I picture my dad in his outdoor coveralls, with his slightly hunched over shoulders & somewhat subtle side-to-side walk, always asking me which one I liked. I picture my mom, close by my side, pointing out the different types of trees & teaching me yet one more thing in life. I see her choosing left behind branch clippings, forming for herself a now beautiful bundle of trimmed greens.....ones just right for the classy arrangements she always whipped up.

One day I want to go to an out of the way tree farm like this one was, but for our first year with a monumentally bored 6-year old (who attempted to make a Fairy Snow Village in any whisper of snow she could find on our stops), a 2-year old who would surely need a nap, and a Mother who was trying not to think of the umpteen million things she had to do at home. It so happened that our 3rd try was the charm. (Stop #1: no real selection. Stop #2: $110 trees?!?! Ty said that even if George Clooney would have been helping us, we still wouldn't have bought one. I said we certainly would have lingered though.)

(Pause, pause, pause..............)

Huh? Oh, yeah, right, the tree. I got a little Clooney gooney there for a bit.

Beautiful tree. Really a nice one. Balsam fir. Almost perfect shape. Great size. So great, in fact, that it didn't exactly fit in the corner we planned on putting it in. A couple more feet & we'd have even been out of luck in the 13' corner of the living room. Truly, it looked much smaller out in the wild.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ho Ho Ho...ly Line

Today we visited the jolly bearded man. There were about four different "neato" outings we had to choose from, but a jaunt to a cute little town about 20 minutes away seemed like a pleasant manner in which to meet up with Santa. Oooo ~ and he was a "good" one too....perfect size, great beard, the right age, nice voice. I liked him.

The event was at a library where they also had Mrs. Claus in attendance, along with a hard-working elf who was reading books & scurrying about helping with this, that and the other thing. There were areas where the kids could color and enter a contest with their art piece, decorate a cookie, and make a pipe cleaner & bead ornament. The function was from 10am-noon. We arrived about 11:20.....to find a line so long that I couldn't even see the end of the winding maze of people. Having no idea how long it might take us to be able to encounter the large elf himself, we set up Ty as our place marker. Piling him up with all of our coats, hats, mittens & our video camera & digital camera bag, I took the girls on a little jaunt to keep them occupied.

Ty learned that the people in line behind him originally arrived right at 10am, but the line was already out the door. That would have been an almost 2-hour wait! They came back later to get in line behind us, but had to get to a child's birthday party as well, but didn't know if they'd make it in time. How do you make a kid choose ~ Santa....birthday party? Santa....birthday party?

Suffice it to say, they were all out of the supplies for our ornament making enjoyment, but there were still cookies to decorate. There were cookies, and we were approaching 12:05pm. I'm sure I have never let my children eat two cookies, especially ones that I didn't make, before noon.

Finally, with quite a lot of patience on their part, up in Santa's lap they went. A. was very prepared with her list in hand. When Santa commented on the length of her wish list, she politely pointed out that she didn't even use many of the lines on the page. M. was happy to hang out for her 2-minute dose of the jolly old elf. And that was that. Lots of waiting, a little video taping, a couple of pictures.....and another sweet memory for my memory bank.
Santa, can you clarify your definition of "good"?

Cookie #1.......or was it cookie #2?

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's In The Bag

....my Sewing 101 diploma, that is. And really, it's in the bag I made during class. Wanna see??

What a masterpiece, eh? It was so ridiculously simple & because of its small size, I don't know in what capacity I'll ever use it, but can't you just see the care put into it?

I have to tell you, Sewing 101 was just fine. Can you believe it was just one other woman (a 66-year old Chinese woman) and myself? Basically everything we learned came flooding back to me (the memory still works). And yes, Mom, you DID teach me all the sewing basics. I know you hate the craft so much that I think you probably just blocked it out. But, once again, you were my original and BEST teacher.

The class didn't quite go off without a hitch. About 15 minutes in, I got a call from my husband. He would never call me in a situation like that unless it were truly necessary. And it was. Our first grader missed the bus home, and I had the van, in which the car seat for the 2-year old was. What to do? We had no one to call for assistance. He reached into the depths of our helpful people bank, but no one was available to call upon. All-in-all, the school's psychologist drove her safely back home (with appropriate booster seat in his vehicle). I'm sure she was scared when she first realized the bus had left, but one of her classmate's Moms helped her back inside the school & took her to the office. To A's defense, it had been our first snowfall and it took her longer to get on snowpants & boots, etc. vs. just a coat.

Ok, back in class....we all got along well, but I had the sneaking suspicion I might have been the favored student. My fellow student "Mae", as we'll refer to her as since that's what the teacher kept calling her even though that was NOT her name, was having quite a time with the foot pedal. I mean, I never knew a sewing machine could go from zero to 60 in 1 second flat. And so began the 2.5 hour long dialog between the two of them.

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR (sound of sewing machine)
Teacher: "Mae! You're scaring me, sweetie!! You've got to get the hang of this. S L O W L Y. I'm afraid you're going to hurt yourself!
Mae: "Oh no! I sorry Miss Laurie! I no do dis on purpose. I cannot contro so well. I not do dis to make you mad! I sorry, I sorry."
Teacher: "Now look at Julie. See how she's got a nice rhythm going?"
Mae: "Oh, I try. I cannot do so well. I see Julie do a good, good job. Oh, Julie, I see you do such a good, good job (giggle, giggle)."

BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR (sewing machine smokin' again)
Teacher: "MAE! Sweetie, dear!! It's my job to keep you safe & I'm afraid you're going to get your fingers here!"
Mae: (Repeat above sentences.)

Teacher: "Mae, Mae, Mae..... (me thinking: For the hundredth time, her name's NOT MAE!!)... you're half way to the moon!!"
I tried to keep track of how many times she told her that. I think I totaled 11. It meant she was sitting really far away from her table & machine.

If I had to grade myself on that class, I'd certainly give myself an A. Maybe not an A+ like I got on my pig pillow in 8th grade Home Ec. class, but an A, nonetheless. I left there with a little bit of knowledge back in my pocket & I'm at least ready to sew some straight lines for a few home decor items, an accessory or two, or something simple for the girls. And, no, Miss Laurie, I will not, I repeat NOT, be making a pair of pants for my husband. Trust me on that one.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Super Simple Suppers

I have been on a bit of a non-cooking/just throwing something together kick. Here's what we ate the last 2 nights:

Mexican roasted potatoes:
Potatoes, quartered, microwaved until mostly soft (to speed things along) and then roasted.
Pinto beans, black olives, green peppers, corn & McCormick's Taco Seasoning (I used half of a packet). Heat in pan, spoon on top of potatoes & sprinkle shredded cheese. Add sour cream if desired.

We also had avocado on the side, but a green salad with tomato would have worked.

Mexican Roasted Potatoes

Cilantro & Thyme Flatbread sandwiches: (This was a really good one!)
Flatbread (I just happened to get some at Super Target with the cilantro & thyme, which gave me the idea)
Pieces of pork loin (which I had in the freezer & ready to go)
A couple of slices of Hormel Natural Baked Ham
Swiss cheese
Provolone cheese
Hearty spicy brown mustard, yellow mustard, Smart Balance Omega Plus mayo (a blob, squirt or dollop of each one). Mix together along with ground pepper, cilantro and thyme.

Top flatbread with mustard dressing, slices of both provolone and swiss cheeses, pork loin pieces and ham. Heat in oven until warm & bread is toasty.

Brussel Sprouts:
(really, they were yummy)
Heat frozen brussel sprouts in microwave until mostly thawed, transfer to frying pan with olive oil, ground pepper, sea salt & just a bit of the sandwich mustard sauce. Coat & heat. Be oh-so healthy!

Cilanto & Thyme Flatbread Sandwiches

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Advent Calendar

Every year, as a child, my mom gave me an advent calendar. I absolutely loved them. Each one was different, and I admired the scenes, often times, feeling as if I could be a part of the activities in them. Even into adulthood, Mom continued to surprise me with an advent calendar just in time for December 1st. It always tickled me, because I had a strange amnesia about the calendars. I would recall them something during the month of November, but then completely forget about them until she presented me with the annual gift. She has maintained our tradition even after I have had my own children. The calendar countdowns have advanced since the 1970s, now with more elaborate detail & material, but nonetheless it's still something that is one of my most basic loves of Christmas.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tragic Incident

Yesterday I was forced to consider a situation that, never in my life, had I ever expected to have to encounter. We got a call from one of my 1st grader's teachers regarding a boy in her class who was injured with a gun in a domestic dispute. The call was to inform us that they would have a counselor in their classroom right away Monday morning to tell the children why the little boy would be out of school for a while. When the full news report was finally released tonight, we learned that the father, who was already a convicted felon, shot his girlfriend several times & his 8-year daughter in the back of the skull & his 7-year old son in the face when they tried to come to their mother's rescue. This happened at 6:00am when the man was drunk.

My daughter doesn't, and will hopefully never know or understand the full incident. When we told her someone in her class was hurt but will probably be alright, she thought someone fell off his or her swing set. I agree that is the innocence level I would like to personally have, but as I am learning, there are some very horrible situations & conditions in which people live, and sometimes, allow themselves to live. This isn't anything I can even fathom. Shot. With a gun. At the ages of 7 & 8. And so, sadly, their personal adult lives will most likely follow suit. I also can't bear the thought of my own children, with whom I began their own lives in the womb with the most pristine care, can only be sheltered to a certain extent from all that is evil in this world. It breaks my heart.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tortellini Soup

I never know what to make for dinner. It's also a rare occasion that I actually know what we're going to have much more than 30 minutes before we need to eat. If I have to roast a chicken or pork loin, well then, yes, I plan ahead. But usually it's something I pull out of thin air. Tonight was one of those nights. And I do say, I am always pleasantly surprised at how yummy things turn out tasting. Here's the recipe for your eating enjoyment. Try it sometime! Remember, I don't measure.

Box of DaVinci Multicolor Tortellini (lowest in fat & best flavor, in my book)
Olive oil
Garlic cloves
Sea salt
Pepper (some freshly ground)
8oz sliced mushrooms
About 6 tomatoes cut in chunks (canned would be fine too)
Most to all of a 15oz container of ricotta cheese (fat free or low-fat variety)

Cook the tortellini separately & drain. In same pot, add everything else (except parsley & ricotta) until mushrooms & tomatoes are tender. Add parsley & ricotta at end. Serve when fully heated. Yum.
One each for Papa Bear, Momma Bear, Little Bear and Baby Bear

Monday, November 23, 2009

Going GaGa

Did you see the American Music Awards? I'm all for creative expression, & not uptight about music & lyrics & censoring. Mainly, I go with the idea of if you don't like it, don't listen/watch/read. However, at the risk of sounding like a fuddy-duddy, I am concerned about the under 18-ish crowd (& their parents who allowed it) that witnessed Adam Lambert's S&M performance. I'm generally disappointed at the lack of class most Americans seem to have anyway, & this just solidified it. I personally look at it as just a performance, but there's a small part of me that can't help but feel things like this are yet another push toward the demise of our society's morals.

Here's Lady Gaga (Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) during her performance. Uh, excuse me Ms. Germanotta, your piano seems to be on fire. At this point, it might be a good idea to move swiftly away from the flames. Actually, I'm sure this exhibit simply boosted her popularity. She's laughing all the way to the bank & you know it's true.

Pom Pom Pleasure

A couple of weeks ago I sprung for a bag of 350 pom poms at Michael's. With my coupon, it cost all of $2 and it has, undoubtedly, been one of the most played with "toys" for the girls to date. They love little things they can hold in their hands, but these softies also lent themselves to a real variety of things thanks to some great imagination, which A. has no shortage of what-so-ever. She helped M. sort them by color, they dispensed them in various containers, carried them around the house in bandannas, lined them up, gathered them in a Build-A-Bear bear bed only to toss the entire contents up in the air & enjoy the plush pom pom rain. The girls did that time & time again, with arms outstretched & faces to the sky, giggling & squealing as they raced to gather them for another upward toss. Among other things, the fluffy balls served as students on a Fisher-Price bus, ice cream flavors in an ice cube tray, confetti soup in a sampling of bowls, smoothie drinks in cups and holders of all sizes & shapes, and even awesome cat toys that are providing exercise for our hairy loungers.

Don't want to spend 20 minutes drenching yourself in downpour of pom poms? Well, here are a few crafting ideas instead. Stick them on lamp shades, embellish a felt or fabric-wrapped Christmas tree with them, display as a doorway garland, ornament a tree with a string of them, wind them in & out of a wreath, make a table runner out of a chain of them....and the list goes on. I ask you, how much more fun could a $2 bag of puffy balls be?

Photos courtesy of www.kidley.com

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Hit & A Miss

Today I needed to clean. Dust, mainly. I hate dusting. Love the vacuuming! Love it. I even really like laundry. Hate dusting. It was an amazingly warm, sunny day here, so sneaked out to run a few errands in the morning. Things always take longer than I budget for so, suffice it to say, there went the dusting. I mean, who wants to start that chore at 3:00 in the afternoon? So that was my "miss" for the day. But I did get a bunch of laundry done & a number of those little things that just seem to multiply like Gremlins. And best of all, my "hit" for the day included this brand new with tags still attached Sondra Roberts lovely:

My secret ~ The HospiceCare Thrift Store, 20% off my entire purchase with an e-mail coupon (oh yes, I found other treasures as well). How much did my new handbag cost? Hold on to your hats....$8!!! When was the last time you got something for 95% off? I felt so triumphant after I dug it out of an 8' long pile of other purses. Admire it again, won't you?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Stinky Stalker

(Today's blog is written for my good friend & personal trainer Denise. Dedicated with love to our years of health club entertainment.)

I like the exercise facility I use. It's low-key, has a small, reliable childcare room with both regular clients & staff, & pretty much every amenity I want. I am fortunate enough to be able go late mornings, which is the time I prefer to exercise anyway. It's never very busy, & I can always count on seeing the same, mostly non-offensive folks.

There are all types of people at most gyms across the country & you know who they are. You've surely all witnessed my least favorite: the muscle bursting, testosterone overloaded ass wearing his Zubaz & barely a thread for a tank top. This creature is the one whose workouts include a lot of loud grunting. It's either done for assistance in lifting an overloaded amount of weights or it's actually his language. It's the latter which, I think, might be the case since he's obviously never advanced past the Neanderthal stage. Then there's the female counterpart to that: the too tan, bleach blonde with her skin tight spandex, long manicured nails & large breasts. Sometimes these two are together, as The Kissy Couple. This is the couple who cannot bear to be 3 steps away from each other, & in between each of their "sets" they need to hang on each other in some lovey-dovey way.

Certainly, you've all experienced the Sweaty Dude. I'm not even talking about the treadmill runners who, I figure, deserve the right to really sweat. I'm talking about the middle-aged dude who's working at about 70% & still absolutely soaked through his clothing & dripping all over the machines. Personally, I'd go see a doctor about that. Have you ever seen the older woman who carries her purse with her from spot to spot? I wonder if she doesn't realize there are locker rooms. How about the old man, bless his heart for still doing his body some good, who exercises on the weight machines in blue jeans. You've surely experienced the Too Long Talker who you try to avoid at all costs because you've heard it all before & you need to move on with your day. I've currently got myself one of these.

The Perv is one who really freaks me out. Keep a great distance & never ever stretch on a mat even within view of this one. Are you a member of a Mom Clique? Not me, ladies & gentlemen. This is the inseparable cluster of Moms who seem as though they've known each other since the beginning of time. Each one's kids running amuck while they discuss their girls' nights out, their next play dates & pick-ups because, so far as I can tell, there is a lot of intermingling with families here. I am not part of this group, nor would I want to be. But just for the record, no one is welcome in this group.

I do always have to smile when I heard the infectious laugh of The Jolly Guy. This man is usually in his late 40s or early-to-mid 50s, quite portly, & usually quite hairy (not to be confused with The Hairy Man, who is fully covered in the black velvet stuff). He's a truly happy person no matter where he is, even when he's working out, which is a place you knoooooow he doesn't want to be. He just wants lunch!

On to a few more of the women: Here we see the older woman in her 70s with her permed & set hair, heavy make-up, gold jewelry, pointy painted fingernails & way, I repeat, WAY too much cheap perfume. Do not attempt to inhale in her presence. You will pass out. I'm not a fan of locker rooms. There's just way too much skin present. So, I steer very clear of the grossly obese women disrobing for their weekly float in the pool. I literally cannot even look at these specimens. I mean, I didn't realize stomachs could touch knees without completely bending one's body in half.

I am always pleased to chit-chat with the nice elderly lady, who really is just that....kind, classy & just plain genuine. I have, unfortunately, had my retina burned a time or two by The Naked Talker. My gosh ~ I can never believe it when it happens. This person is pleased as punch to stand in all her naked glory jabbering on & on about Lord only knows what because I couldn't concentrate to save my life. Put On Some Clothes.....please! Here's a towel! And here's another!! Cover up already.

And finally, I reach the moral of this story. Today happened to be a very unpopulated day at the gym & I found myself all alone in a row of 17 gleaming machines. I just set the Super Sky Glider XM9000 (or whatever it is) to my liking when I smelled him, I mean, spied him. He had sneaked in a side door & stood, in all his ickyness, evaluating his prey. It was, undeniably, The Stinky Stalker. Picture him, if you will.....a thin, short, balding man in his mid 50s with long, wiry, salt & pepper hair. Fortunately, we don't cross paths too regularly, & when we do, I try with all my might to dodge his offensive presence. I mean, HE STINKS! And besides his inability to bathe, he ogles me. Ick, ick & double ick. As he eyed the room, I kept hoping he would choose any one of the very available apparatuses that wasn't anywhere near me. I mean, now he had over 50 machines to choose from. But in a creepy, nonchalant manner, he sidled up RIGHT NEXT TO ME!!!! Now, in his defense, maybe he, too, enjoys a workout on the Super Sky Glider XM9000 (or whatever it is), but come on!! There are 10 others to choose from! It is, after all, unspoken gym etiquette that you leave a one-machine-space between you & the other person when it's at all possible. I refused to stand for this passive stalking, so I unapologetically closed my magazine, halted my gliding & moved to the very opposite end of the gym.......in proximity to other every-day exercisers just trying to do their thing. Of course, as I walked away I tossed a bar of soap in his general direction.

Directions: Lather, Rinse, REPEAT!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Shark Attack

I am in withdrawals. Have you seen the tv show Shark Tank on ABC? Have you watched it on & off while washing the dishes at night? Had you, then, found yourself trying to catch it while it was on at its regularly scheduled time? Did you move on to being so disappointed when you had to shut it off early because you had to put your children to bed? Were you, finally, so sad when they moved it to an earlier time slot & you couldn't see it at all?? Did it occur to you that you could watch it on the internet?! Did you work like crazy to get your nighttime chores done so you could sneak in an episode before it was way past your bedtime?? Were you instantly HOOKED like a madman because you loved, loved, loved the entrepreneurial ideas & incredible opportunities that could lie ahead for each contender??? Oh, p e o p l e, I did. I soooooo did!!!

The show started this past summer & ended, to my extreme disappointment, on October 20th. Withdrawals, I tell you. Bad withdrawals. I have been an admirer of Barbara Corcoran since I began seeing her real estate segments on The Today Show. Her books are on my reading list. She just plain rocks; that's all I have to say about her. My other favorite is Robert. Isn't he a cutie? Of course, you need the other three dudes (especially jerky Kevin O'Leary) just to even things out.

Until the next new episode, I am undoubtedly UNDER ATTACK!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sucking It Up

I think it's safe to say that I do have a few talents in life. For instance, one of my greatest abilities is to adopt psychotic cats. In 1997, I oh-so wisely adopted a one-eyed, twice returned by other unsuspecting folks, BIG mouthed, dog-lovin', cat-hating, constipated, profusely shedding, black & white cat named Captain (get it? Captain....one-eye....). That cat drove me crazy, but I loved him so much & I still miss Captain Kitty.

After his passing, I seemed to feel the need to replace him...with zero success. Admittedly, I am attracted to the tuxedo variety. Don't ask me why; those guys have the loudest mouths. They just never shut up. However, as a glutton for punishment, I foolishly brought home a darling, little black & white monster....that my husband & I kept for a total of 72 hours. I don't know what he required mentally, but since I was not well versed in animal psychiatric assistance, I didn't feel I could properly provide what he needed. Case in point: he chewed his way out of the cardboard carrier, which I had placed in the back seat for the ride home, & within 2 miles that animal was sitting on my dashboard. So what, you say?...animals have teeth. Ok, another scenario for those doubtful subjects out there: in order to ease him into the transition of a new living environment, we kept him in our 3-season porch for the first 24-hours. We were in the living room when we heard the most horrific smash. Wondering what that could have been, I hurried to check on the new fuzzball. There he was, just a cat. No damage to see, just a cat & some furniture, as we had removed every other item from the room. I gave him a dose of welcoming reassurance & went back to my business. Moments later came the same startling sound. Again, back to check on the new inhabitant. Same scenario. Repeat one more time, & then I stayed put for a little spying. Discovery: that hairy little beast was managing to hurl itself against the windows 5 feet off the ground! Sparing you from other great detail on "Charlie's" (name hung on him post window incident, after Charles Manson. Read: insane) stay, after him you should know that we kindly sheltered a very plump, snotty, tortoise shell female by the name of Franny (i.e. Fatty Franny Bananny) & a smug, handsome, gray dude I dubbed Jasper.

In a nutshell, Franny moved to the very loving home of my 1st cousin once removed, where she is wholeheartedly spoiled. And, although I'm sure Jasper ended up in the right environment, we just couldn't keep him. He bit, & I had just found out I was pregnant.

Fast forward 7 years later, I thought it was time for the girls to have/grow up with an animal. Ok, TWO animals but they came as buddies, & they are a perfect fit for 2 young children. And so, Bo & Maxwell joined our household 3 months ago. Short of having to get rid of one of our plants, & a few hairballs on our carpet, things are going along smoothly. I despise the hair everywhere, but at least their shedding lessens at times. So I suck it up (literally & figuratively) for the sake of the girls to know the bond with an animal & have those memories as they age.

Bo is a good buddy & absolutely in love with me. He must be so grateful to me for rescuing him. Maxwell is about as calm as they come and, well, a bit looney because of it. I mean, honestly, I have discovered that the animal likes to be vacuumed!!!! Hey, it's par for the course.

(left) Maxwell, age 3
(right) Bo, age 4

Monday, November 9, 2009

Say It Isn't Sew

I have a confession. Today...well, uh...today I...today Isignedupforasewingclass! There. I said it.


It's ok, folks. That was just my mom falling off her chair. We'll catch up with her at the end after she's had time to recover & I'll go over the details with her.

I know. I can hardly even let the words come out of my own mouth. It's crazy, but here's the thing. I want to write. Duh ~ like I'm not writing right now, but I mean write....for a living. I've always wanted to write. It's my own personal version of stand up comedy, which, at this point, only my parents, husband & close friends have been privy to over the years. It's difficult to do imitations of people using only words, but I guess I'll have to just keep those special impersonations for my live audience. I'm not just a one-man band, though. I enjoy performing a good imitation, but I've got way more up my sleeve than that. For whatever reason, things just happen to me. Things like the midget who followed me around a bizarre outlet store in Allentown, PA, and things like Harley the Horse, who tried to murder me on a mountain trail in Colorado. Things I want to share with you.

So in my quest for a writing career (do you have connections? know anyone in the business? I have free Silpada for you if you hook me up....), starting a store on Etsy seems to be the way to get my blog out into the world. And I do mean world. Wow ~ there are women from all around our whole big earth who are making & creating their own original products. I happen to be impressed. However, I'm at a bit of a loss as to what I should "make". Right now I have so many tabs open in my browser that I think my computer might blow up. And the books....the stack of library books on my counter comes up to my 2-year old's waist. I'm searching for inspiration while trying to be realistic at the same time. Yeah, yeah, never say never, right? But come on.....crocheting, knitting, scrapbooking....eeooowwwhhhh noooooo. I'm extremely suspicious about anything that might appear to be what I call a putzy project. Heck, it's amazing that I'm even sitting long enough to type these blogs & search the internet for motivation. You cannot expect the ADD types to be able to focus on that little fussy stuff. I need movement & I need to feel unrestricted.

Now you're confused. I can tell by the silence. You're wondering what in "tarnation" (we've recently introduced A. to Looney Tunes & I've been reminded of Yosemite Sam...my favorite) I would be doing, then, sewing. To that I say....I don't know either. But it seemed like I should at least re-learn how to do a bobbin thingy. You know, that twisty-on thing where the thread zooms on the bobbin & then you've got those 2 strings & you pull them to start sewing stuff. Alright, I promise I'll sit in the from row.

JoAnn's had 50% off their classes, so 2.5 hours of instruction for only $17.50 struck me as a reasonable way to find out if I'd end up with sewing fever....or a fever from sewing. Sewing 101: Friday, December 4th from 2:30-5:00. Trust me, you'll want to stay tuned for this.

Pardon me, as I must go call my mother to see if she's been revived yet.........

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pumpkin Angel Food

I have the easiest schmesiest dessert recipe in all the world for you. I've added a nice twist of variation to it as well. There are a number of options, so you can sign up for "dessert bringer" at all of your functions, yet still have a different tasting treat each time.

Pumpkin Angel Food Cake

1 box angel food cake
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1 T. pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup orange juice (or water)

Bake in a 9x13 pan at 350 degrees for 30 minutes


Add orange or lemon peel along with lemon extract ( & even mini chocolate chips on top)
Add 1/4 cup cocoa & mini chocolate chips on top
Add almond extract & sprinkle with slivered almonds when serving

The possibilities go on. Let me know what you come up with.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Smooth(ie) Move

I like smoothies. I mean, who doesn't? What would anyone have against a smoothie? They can be really healthy for you, and on great occasion, I actually buy one. Normally I'm way too cheap to spend $5+ on a drink. But today I thought my 2-year old & I deserved a treat. My gym has smoothies and, on sale today, was the Very Berry for $3.25. Ok, I thought ~ it really is berry...blackberries, raspberries, strawberries. Just thinking of all those antioxidants made me shiver with vitality. With the diminishing supply of fresh fruits & vegetables, I also wanted to provide M. with some lovely vitamins & protein.

I belly up to the smoothie bar, order up my Very Berry, adding a protein powder (extra dollar, but worth it for M.) & substituting apple juice for soy milk (add $.50 but, again, merited in order to get her more calories & less sugar). Since the protein powder fluffs it up, we were presented with one large drink, & a smaller sized one as well. M. is a very capable little girl & she was proud to carry her own smoothie to the van. I knew in the back of my Mother brain, that it might not be such a grand idea since the small cup was much larger in her petite grasp. I was hoping that as long as she kept the straw in the cup, we'd be able to contain the Very Staining Berry in her stomach only. But Miss Goofball decides she'll do her little shuffle-feet move, & in an instant she is DOWN. A massive face plant right into the concrete...not exactly a smooth move. I am admittedly a paranoid Mom, and especially when it comes to the girls' faces & teeth. So there lay M., at an angle because of the small slope of the walkway. She was bawling like crazy, but I could tell it was more of a scared & upset cry than one of pain. I picked her up in a mere microsecond to happily discover that she was boo-boo free. The only thing that was bruised was her ego.

With Very Berry all over her hands, a little on her (white) sweatshirt & a bit in her hair, I believe that smoothie saved her face from harm. A blob of the cool drink lay in a puddle on the ground, with poor M. pointing & blabbering & bellowing. I wiped her off, scooped her up & took her to her car seat. And believe it or not, because the cup just cracked in the middle, & because I have plastic bags in my repertoire of items in the van, I was able to salvage most of the $5.01 drink for her to enjoy at home.

I now plan on inventing a haute couture beverage holster so that, in the future, I have hands to also carry my purse, gym bag, hold M's hand & grasp the car keys. Smoothie-drinking Mothers everywhere will thank me.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

This afternoon I took my girls to our local Halloween Candy Buy Back program, sponsored by The Center for Cosmetic Dentistry & Park Bank. They pay the kids $1/lb. of trick or treat candy they bring in & send it to our troops overseas. This is the 2nd year we've participated, & weeks ago, A. made sure to inform me that she wanted to do it again.

In her 5 years of trick or treating, she gave The Halloween Witch her candy 2 of those years, in exchange for a different kind of treat.
If you've never met The Halloween Witch, I encourage you to get to know her. She flies around on Halloween night, searching for dropped, discarded & even donated trick or treat goodies. (That's why her teeth are so awful. I mean, have you ever gotten a good look at that woman? Ugh!) The first year we heard about her, we thought we'd see if we could get her to visit us at our own home. Sure enough, A. set her candy out on the front porch & in the morning she found a puzzle, left as a token of thanks for all the sugary loot.

Maybe you can get this gal to visit your house in the years to come. For now, we've ditched the witch in exchange for the coveted greenbacks. Little did you know that Halloween could foster money management!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I Hardly Knew Ye

Hanna Andersson Clog Boots

.....or as I refer to them (produced with low guttural sounds), "OOoooooohhhhhhh!!!" Look at these boots, people. Look At These Boots! If you have known me for any length of time you all knooooow that these boots were just meant to be on my feet. It was love at first sight. I began composing my letter to Santa, & then something horrible happened. In tiny print, & in parenthesis after the description in the catalog, I saw the disturbing words "(girls only)". WHAT?? What kind of injustice is this? Doesn't Hanna want to indulge a 39-year old with these lush suede, embroidered beauties? I take offense. She's all but telling me that I would look foolishly inappropriate sporting a calf-high entity of Bright Blossom kickers. To this I reply, I DON'T CARE! I will own these boots! My devised solution: Surely the largest girls' size will fit me. I've managed it before. Moments later I had Hanna Andersson's customer service on the line. Questions were asked, deliberation was made regarding sizing, & finally came the stinging phrase, "Sold Out." Utilizing those low guttural sounds one more time, I let out a defeated, "Nooooooooo!" After seconds of pause for a brief mourning, I moved on. Fine. I'd settle for these......Hanna Andersson Animal Clogs

come in a women's size. Apparently Hanna thinks it's admissible for the adult sector of the female popular to sport these. Again, fine. And again, SOLD OUT. Hanna, Hanna, Hanna....you teased me with your handcrafted cacheta wood footwear & then denied me the sheer enjoyment. I'll bet they were really uncomfortable anyway.

Well, I could maaaaybe consider these.....before they're sold out, of course.
Hanna Andersson Clog Boots

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

We Have A Wiggler!!!

It's a wiggly tooth! No wait...two! Two wiggly teeth. Hold on!! THREE! Three wiggly teeth!!!

I'm not normally on nighttime tooth brushing duty, but I have been regularly examining my 6 year old's teeth for any sort of "wiggliness". I've mainly kept an eye on her two bottom front teeth, as she has permanent teeth coming in right behind them. Yup. Two rows of teeth. "Magical teeth", as we refer to them in her presence.

However, after I flossed her chompers last night, I pulled her in very close. There seemed to be a suspicious amount of more space around the two front ones than what there had been even a week ago. Check that! One top left loosey-goosey pearly white. We squealed. We embraced. We delighted. We danced the Dance of Joy. We spoke of the Tooth Fairy & the preparations she, herself, might have to make before her arrival.

I was so much more excited at that moment than I could have imagined I'd ever be. My own childhood flashed before my eyes. I, too, was 6 years old. It was the summer I turned 7, to be exact. I was missing several in the front & eating the summer delicacy of corn-on-the-cob was a quite chore. At one family get-together, everyone in attendance kidded me. I smiled my toothless grin & kind of enjoyed the challenge that both their comments & my lack of teeth provided. It was that picnic where the Frisbee ended up on top of the roof of my grandpa's house. It was that picnic when I felt such a brief moment of pride as my cousin, 12 years my senior, & tragically killed just this past May, lifted me as high as his arms would extend so that I might triumphantly recover the disc. If I think hard enough, I believe I can even remember what I was wearing. It was that picnic where we watched bats dart about the darkened sky in the warmth of a summer night.

I recalled the taste of blood & the feel of my raw, smooth gums that took the place of my baby teeth as I stroked over the newly formed holes with my tongue. I pictured my parents bending down & gently peering in my mouth, carefully moving my teeth back & forth with great consideration. I shivered thinking of the pesky top front tooth that would not loosen its grip, & only through the help of my dad, finally gave up the fight. I remember attempting to sleep as still as possible the nights I carefully positioned my tiny teeth under my pillow in fear that if they fell on the floor, the Tooth Fairy would not find them.

It is now when I quietly weep over both the mourning of times & people that have already come & gone in my own life, & the pure joy in what is to transpire in my daughter's.

Immediately before this picture was taken, we discovered A's other top tooth loose as well. Immediately after, we noticed a wiggly bottom culprit.

Just for good measure, we needed to check M's too. (No loose ones, BTW. Whew.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Today my husband & I are celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary. The 7 year itch, you ask? Hardly. We met in 1996, & have been together as a couple since 1999. He's been my rock, my cheerleader & my best friend.

Ty ~ If only our vows wouldn't have gotten lost in the shuffle after our ceremony, I would repeat them word for word today. But in a declaration a lot less eloquent, I have prepared a special poem for you.

It's been 7 years though it seems like many more,
Through ups & downs, it has never been a bore.

We've moved across country, our encounters so varied,
You've kept calm & loving even when I got harried.

Out-of-town home buying, we managed at best.
Viewed twelve houses per day, now that was a test.

Baby girl number one arrived with her eyes open wide;
I knew how you held her that she was your pride.

Moving back home was such a relief,
I knew you could get us here. That was my belief.

Girl number two came with such stress,
Two years later she's our goofball princess.

So today I thank you, with all of my heart.
Your love & support I could never part.

The Lovely Couple

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Garage Sale Creed

I believe in one Garage Sale, the Rummage Sale, the Almighty, maker of old and barely used, of all that is seen and unseen.

I believe in one Summer Season, Bargaining Season, the only Mother of Sale, eternally begotten of the Pre-Owned, Quarters from Dollars, Change from a Buck, true Bargain from true Bargain, begotten, maybe handmade, of one Being with the Deal; through this all things were gained.

For me and for my salvation talked her down from ($)seven, was incarnate of the Holy Get-This-Out-of-My-House Spirit and born of the purgin' Carrie. For my sake she was clarified while clearing her closet; she took a breath and was no longer buried. On the third day she rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; she ascended into a van and has bleated that her storage is no more bother. I will come again in glory to judge the items that have been shed, and this kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Sale, the Recycled, the giver of life, who proceeds from a Mother who has used & is done, who with the Father and their Son has discarded and denied, who has spoken through the profits. I believe in one holy sunny morning and plasmic search. I acknowledge one Baptism for the forgiveness of digging through bins. I look for the resurrection of the rejected, and its life in my world to come. Amen.

Here endeth The Season.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hoping for Help

I am exhausted. Not your normal exhausted from heart-beating exercise or strenuous work. It's not exhaustion from staying up waaaay too late, or from burning the candle at both ends. I am exhausted every day, all day. When I am forced to open my eyes each morning, I want to cry. Most days I do....in time. I am tired beyond your wildest imagination no matter how much sleep I get. When I wake, I feel as if I've been dragged across the country & back by a team of wild horses. It's a debilitating fatigue that makes me feel like I haven't slept in decades even though I get a very reasonable amount of sleep. It's what's called "nonrestorative" sleep. It's fatigue that causes my thinking abilities to fail, causes me to stumble for words, causes me to be short-tempered & takes from me the productivity & energy that's required to live a normal life. Even the smallest of tasks can seem insurmountable.

A few times a year (yes, I said year), I experience a fleeting 5-30 minute reprieve, but that is all. In that glorious escape, I imagine life as I had pictured it, life as I see my friends with 3, 4, & even 5 kids sailing through, some even working full-time. I wonder all the time how people do it, but then I am reminded how others might cope when I am given those few flashes of a lifted fog. Life seems reasonable then.

There is nothing reasonable about fibromyalgia & chronic fatigue. Nothing at all. A new tv commercial is just starting to air here promoting this web site. http://fibrocenter.com Some of the folks on this ad shed tears. They look desperate to me, & I know they are. They are absolutely desperate to find help for a syndrome for which there is no cure. There are only speculations about what might cause it, & even many doctors don't accept its realism. Never mind the insurance companies, coupled with the health care providers who either make fibro/CFS sufferers jump through hoops or flat out deny assistance to seek help. (My, my, my ~ what a splendid example of how inefficient our health care system is.)

I have been robbed. Robbed of my life in many ways.....of the Mother I want to be, of the physical activities I want to participate in, & of the things I want to do both personally & professionally. I live in a mental fog. Literally. Fibromyalgia is often coupled with chronic fatigue. Well, I got them both....badly. My body hurts, literally, from head to toe on a regular basis. It's a gnawing pain that would make even the strongest opponents go out of their mind at times. My life-robbing, physically painful existence is one that I can only hope I don't have to endure forever. Like other sufferers, I hope for a cure.

The research I have done on current options has been thorough & exhaustive (no pun intended). I have been fortunate to undercover the work of Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum. He, himself, has fibromyalgia, & has fought his way back to health using a variety of treatments. I am hopeful that the work he is doing will, in time, lead the fibro/chronic fatigue community to receive the complete answers we deserve. Dr. Teitelbaum will be featured on The Dr. Oz Show, this Friday October 23. I am anxious to see this segment.

I will be posting miscellaneous information about fibro/CFS as I go along. So, even while this nasty syndrome has its hooks in me, I will still prevail. I come from hard-working, determined, strong stock & I will not give up. I want to do too many things in life; I want too much for my children.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Make Squash Not War

Our fall season has kicked in with full force here, which entices me to make the most out of my time in the kitchen. As long as the oven is fired up, I say why not roast that chicken, make those muffins, bake that squash, & just to add to the festive aroma, chop those apples for homemade applesauce.

If I had to choose, I would say that squash is my favorite vegetable. Butternut, especially, is such a creamy, warm-in-the-tummy choice. I remember watching my mom prepare squash for the oven when I was a child. Although neither one violent by nature, it seemed to me, the relationship between the two of them was one of all out war. Scrubbed clean & lying in wait on the cutting board, I think the squash actually knew what was in store for it as my mom approached with the gleaming butcher knife. Just a quick slice of its end didn't seem a big deal. The knife glided right through the buttery colored skin & smooth core. A couple more slices.....things were going along alright. But then began the struggle. It was a confrontation between woman & vegetable. With the large knife wedged in the squash's insides, she would lift it from the cutting board what seemed like at least a foot above & smash it back onto the surface. Time & time again she did this in hopes of gaining victory. The quake of the whacking & walloping made items on the counter jump in distress. Always, in the end, & with a final declaration of a hearty, "Whew!", the thin woman won out.

I followed in her footsteps for years, administering massive squash beatings. But now I am free. Free to slice through the innocent, harvested plant with much more ease. What allowed me to liberate myself from this exhausting behavior? One word....microwave. Just as you would poke holes in a potato to prepare it in the microwave, poke a few holes in your beloved squash (be careful, as some varieties have very tough skins), & microwave it on high for 3-6 minutes depending on the power of your appliance.

Take care when removing it from the microwave, as it will be HOT!

I am pleased to report that my mom & I have improved our relations with the squash family, & we now slice with smiles on our faces.

Here's to a harmonious relationship!

Monday, October 19, 2009

That's MS. Witch to You

Last week my husband raked leaves & mowed the lawn for the final time this year. He bagged the clippings & prepared them for the next garbage pick-up. I walked by the bags as I took my daughter to the bus stop, & when I met her upon arrival home from school. I walked by the bags on my way to & from the mailbox. Something tugged at me each time. As if a spell had come over me, I felt compelled to create! I'm sure the possibilities are endless, but here's what transpired.

Boring bag of clippings/leaves

Roll of white paper & double-wide construction paper

Introducing Ms. Witch!

I didn't use any patterns...just drew on the construction paper freehand. And everything you see is from construction paper except the witch's hat that I got on clearance two years ago for $.19.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rhymes With Lucky

Last Saturday, my youngest daughter & I attended the annual Oak Bank Pumpkin Give Away fundraiser, benefiting The Road Home (Dane County). This, in itself, was its own little carnival complete with a bouncy house, games for the little ones, an appearance from local team & business mascots, food, activities, & even the Oscar Mayer Mini Wienermobile. Free chair massages were available for the adults, & there was a nice spread of prizes featured in their raffle. I bought 5 tickets, I chose carefully.....and wouldn't you know it.....I WON one!

What you must understand now is that I never win anything. Ok, ok I realize my odds were a little better that day considering the snow flurries in the air & the bitter wind that made tiny white caps on the pond near by. (No picture to post from the event because, even with mittens, my fingers were too frozen to manipulate a camera.) Maybe the turnout wasn't quite what it had been in the past, but either way.....I won!

Now here's the moral of the story. What I really had my sights set on in the basket was the Bucky Book. My husband was also a lucky Bucky winner last May during one of his company's monthly meetings. It had been about 1.5 decades since I'd had relations with a Bucky Book. I never cared for it. It mocked me, pressured me &, if you will, Badgered me. That's right. That little book filled with coupons nagged me to "Buy One, Get One Free" & frequent hundreds of establishments that, under normal non-coupon circumstances, I never would have patronized. But that little word....that one little word....the word "free" appealed to me on a different level this time.

Summer was approaching, giving us a little more free time, when Ty brought that book home last year, & it just seemed the appropriate time to at least partake in the completely free offerings. I mean, what a deal to get something for absolutely nothing, right? And so it began. A freebie coupon there, a buy one, get one free coupon there. They began as a nice break for me to take from cooking on occasion, a neat outing to enjoy with A., & so on. Quickly my hesitation turned into an eagerness for another and another and another good deal the whole family could enjoy. I poured over each offering inside that sneaky book, leaving no acceptable offer to waste. Admittedly, we enjoyed a fun-filled summer & my whole family experienced a Mom who was a bit more happy-go-lucky. It encouraged me to get out, enjoy, & participate in the outside world a smidge more. It was the best summer I can remember in a long time. Thank you, Bucky Book. I look forward to this next year with you.


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