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!

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.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Heeeellloooooo Out Theeeere

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

If you're there, I'd like to welcome you to my blog debut. Today's the day. Today's the day I will actually write one of the many things that have been swirling around in my brain since I began giving this whole blogging thing some thought.

There's a massive amount of creativity out there, don't you agree? Some of you are serious crafters, aren't you? That alone was having me feeling rather inadequate, and actually wondering if I would be ostracized from the cyber world if I told you that the idea of sewing, quilting and the like made me break out in hives. I sewed a wonderfully precise pig pillow in Home Economics class in 8th grade, which I got an A+ on, and to this day maintain quite a sense of pride about it. And sewing supposedly runs in my genes, as my maternal grandmother used to run a business sewing everything from special gowns for the girls at a local, private high school to attaching uniform decals that were shipped to her in huge deliveries. Like missing out on getting my mom's beautiful blue eyes, I have not been issued the love of sewing.

I'm not so certain I can actually "craft" either. Where do you people keep all those materials needed for making all that stuff? When do you find the time?

Me? I shop. I looooove shopping, and I know I'm good at it. I can smell a good clearance miles away. And don't get me started on garage sales.....there will be plenty of time to discuss that as we get to know each other better.

What else, you ask? Well, I do certainly like to decorate. The issue right now is finding the time to be able to actually put out more than what I consider the bare bones. (Again, I refer back to all the cool stuff I see posted for fall. Mom's with kids.....how do those loving, little, needy creatures allow you do get to any of it? Really. I'd love to know.)

Oh, and then there's baking & cooking. It's good. I like it. I'll be sharing with you some of my anti-recipe recipes (hint: I don't measure much) in the future, so maybe that's where I can be of assistance to you.

Well, nice to have met you. By the way, my name is Julie. I am married to a physicist and we have two girls, ages 6 (1st grade) & 2. I have PLENTY to say about each one them. But that's for another day.


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