Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Knitting Intermission

So for tonight, I'm actually going to pretend that this is a knitting blog!  Oh?  Really?  It was always intended to be a knitting blog?  Oops.  My bad. 

So, it's kind of like this.  Summer here in Maryland tends to be humid and we don't have central air.  We have AC in the bedroom, the spare room (where the kids will sleep if it is ungodly hot) and in one room on the first floor.  But when it is hot like this, the last I want to do is hold wool in my lap.  So other than when I am someplace else (our monthly meeting of Fiber Fanatics or WOF) that has AC, not much knitting has been happening in my house this summer!

But now with the kids back in school, I have actually picked up projects this week and started to knit a few rows, before it occured to me just how many ongoing projects I have at the moment!  Now, this might not be uncommon for seasoned knitters, but I am far from seasoned, though apparently I have insane pretty well covered.

We have this:

This is an unfinished prayer shawl; my first prayer shawl to be exact.  We are starting up this ministy at my church in October and this is the demo.  I am nearly two skeins into it, with the shawl being a total of three skeins.

Then there is this:

This is the beginning of a for real baby blanket pattern, using stitches out the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary.  As you can see, I'm not very far along on that one.

Then I dug out this: 

This is the start of a sweater (my first sweater actually) for JJ.  The plan was to have knitted both boys a sweater by Christmas.  Yeah, like that's gonna happen.

Next up:

The sock!  One day I might have enough length on it to learn how to turn the heel!

The greatest shame is this:

This is my very first hat, cast on and COMPLETED (or so I thought) nearly a year ago.  Shelley helped me measure my big head and we got the width right!  However, the silly thing was not long enough!  So again with Shell's help, we picked up stitches around the brim, hoping that by knitting for a bit there, it will remedy the problem.  Don't let the suspense kill you, y'all, as it is been in the needing to knit stage for months now.  I actually took it off the needles two nights ago and placed it on a stitch holder because after my knitting inventory, I decided I didn't have quite enough going on.  So, this happened:

Baby hat to donate to the Sisters of Charity, where we meet to knit once a month.  Once this is completed (it's moving fast actually) I guess I'll eenie, meenie, miney, moe to work out what project to pick up next! 

So there is knitting that happens here...or at the very least, casting on!

and I can't seem to convince Alex that she is not much cooler in my lap than wool.

Monday, August 28, 2006

And now for your praying pleasure

You know, sometimes someone sort of dares you to do something, without coming right out and saying it is a dare.  When this happens you have two choices.  To either prove them right, or to rise above.  I'm taking the high road on this one.

Okay, so I've been longing for a long time to be a part of a prayer group.  Before the split in my church, as I think I've mentioned before, I never really felt needed.  Yes, at that time, we had a prayer team, but they had all the help they needed, thank you.  So now that we are smaller, we have no prayer team and that's okay too, as long as we continue to pray. 

I have no trouble tossing up a "quickie" to God while I'm driving to work ("Thanks God for such a beautiful day."), or when an immediate need arises ("God, please be with so and so while they undergo such and such.").  But when it comes down to deliberate prayer, I kinda suck.

Last night, I crawled into bed and had trouble falling asleep, so I decided to pray, figuring it would be a "quickie".  But once I got started with petitions and praise reports for things that have gone well, I was at it for about twenty minutes!  Bottom line is that we all know lots of people and all of those people have some kind of problem or are undergoing a hardship.  What started out small grew and grew as I remembered so many people; the family at church who just lost a sister, wisdom for Shell and Jim, healing for Robyn, peace for Sheri and the other friends who just lost a loved one, Gaby's friend who is currently paralyzed, for Kelly as she undergoes problems at work, for my church, my family, my children, myself.  The list went on and on and when it was all said and done, it felt good!  Praying on behalf of others brought peace to my heart.  I don't even think you have to be a believer to find some peace in knowing someone is praying for you.

So, with all that being said, I have created a Google prayer group that anyone interested is invited to attend.  Well, any women.  I just think that we sisters can be pretty powerful when we need to be praying on behalf of someone and I want the group to be a safe haven for folks to air their hearts.  It's not a group about judgement, but about supporting each other through friendship and prayers. 

So, I invite any of you to join who may want to.  If we get up to around 15-20 people, I'll poll the group to see how they feel about higher numbers, as I want the group to be intimate enough for people to be comfortable sharing.  I think things could get too big and impersonal and that isn't what I want at all.  The addy for the group is Sisters of Grace

Friday, August 25, 2006

Saturday morning Scavenger Hunt


The theme this week is blue, so I came up with this:

This is JJ in the very blue picture, taken in June when we were in Canada.

A male art form

So, I realize that many of you may already know that men can make television their number one favorite habit.  Tonight, however, I realized that the Brit has taken this one step further; he has made boring television a true art.

There is no one else that I know who can spend an evening watching the "shows most likely your wife will fall asleep to".  The worst part is that as a female, I just don't get WHY he watches most of them!  Let me give you an example of a typical night (tonight actually).  We started off with "Benny Hill".  I can honestly admit that I found this British slapstickish, vaudevillish program rather amusing....when I was about thirteen.  Now, however, I just find it annoying.  I suppose part of the appeal would be the scantily dressed women, but c'mon!  Can that really hold a guy's attention night after night?  Okay, maybe no one should really answer that question.

Next up was "Good Eats".  I am not a fan of cooking shows because primarily, I hate to cook.  The Brit rarely cooks, so I'm very unsure of his fascination with with these kinds of shows.  The host of this particular one, Alton Brown, drives me insane.  I'm not sure of exactly why; he just makes me crazy (I rank him right up there with Rachel Raye...that voice...ack!)

From here, I am not sure of program titles, plus I would tend to come in here to the computer when I had nothing else to occupy myself with in the living room, but they ranged from men working on cars, to men working on motorhomes, to men working on Harleys (that is the only one I "Get" as the Brit does like the bikes), to poker (I find WATCHING poker dull, but I do enjoy playing it).  I stay as long as I can bear, then I have to retreat, even if I'm not in the mood to sit in front of the computer.  I never really care what he watches on Saturday and Sunday nights as those are my chat nights with two friends who live in other countries,but tonight there was really nothing entertaining to do.

Yes, Brit, I realize that this is strictly a female's perspective and that perhaps you find my choice of shows every bit as dull.   I'm hoping life will improve once the fall season starts as we both like "House", "CSI Las Vegas" and he tolerates "American Idol" fairly well (though that doesn't begin until January).

It's just difficult for me to wrap my mind around his choice of programming.  Yes, I have become over the summer a "Dr. Phil" and "Oprah" junkie, but I think of it this way:  I often learn things from these shows that I will probably put into practice.  We don't even own a motorhome!  If I got a call occasionally that said "Honey, don't cook tonight.  I got this great recipe from the television last night that I'm going to fix!" I would immediately stop being bored with the cooking shows as they would now be for the greater good, even if it be mine.  But I don't get these calls and though we have discussed the possibility of a boat one day, a motorhome has really never come up.  The man is also smart enough that if something goes wrong with his car, he takes it in to be serviced, so why all the car repair shows?

Okay, question of the weekend...who here has taken a cruise?  On what ship did your travel and to where?  What did you like best and least?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Not a morning glow

So, the dinner is cooking, tomorrow's lunches are packed and chilling, the grocery shopping for one more week is finished, the last load of clothes is in the dryer, the cats have eaten, the paperwork to return to schools has been completed and I'm tired!

Technically now that Aaron has started middle school, I don't have to get up until 7:00 in order to shower before waking up JJ at 7:30.  The Brit is waking Aaron up at 6:00 (a 6:40 bus...what is this world coming to with its craziness?) and seeing him out the door.  This really makes my morning way easier and not because of the obvious reason of not having to wake up until 7:00 (though we'll get to my own controlling craziness with that in a moment).  Not having two children getting ready for school at the same time, bickering the entire time, if not yelling and screaming at each other, tormenting each other, getting in each other's way, is awesome!  It is so much easier to get one child out the door as opposed to two and it even runs more smoothly for the children.  It makes the mornings not hectic like they were last year.

Now, if I could just bring myself to actually sleep until 7:00.  I suppose it is part of being a mother and being female, but the alarm goes off at 6:00, the Brit gets up and I start worrying.  "Will he remember to tell Aaron to take his meds?"  "Will he remember to tell Aaron to brush his teeth?"  "Will he remind Aaron that his lunch is in the fridge?"  These are the things that get me out of bed, so that I can personally check on them.  It isn't that I have a lack of faith in the Brit, it's that I've been getting kids off to school for a few years now, and there are just certain things that I know by heart that maybe the Brit is still working on getting in routine.  (that combined with who I know will get the phone call from school of "Mom, I forgot to take my pills, get my lunch, etc).  I'm hoping I will start feeling more confident soon because after a busy day like today, my butt has been kicked and it's only 5:30.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mish mosh

It is either feast or famine with me, isn't it?  Either I update faithfully every day but the weekends, or I'm sporadic, like lately.  It's kind of like my friend, Shell.  I either talk to her daily, or like now, I am waiting for her to call me "right back", which generally translates into I will hear from her in a day or so.

But, good news!  Both kids went back to school today!   <insert mom happy dance here>  Aaron started middle school...what a huge adjustment!  I went to his orientation with him last night, and they actually had us change classes!  Wow, the memories THAT brought back to me!  A kabillion people in the halls, none of us knowing where the hell we were going.  I'm way glad that part of my life is over!

I am entering into a new season in my life being forty and though I was most unhappy to turn that particular number, I now view it as an adventure.  I have things I want to accomplish.  I know so much more than I did ten years ago.  I have a good, solid marriage.  I have found that I do know how to parent for the most part.  I am needed in my church for the first time in the twenty something years I've been there.  I like not knowing what is just around the corner because I know that wherever I go or whatever I do, it is God who is leading me.  At forty, I know this where at thirty, I didn't.  I like it.  He's brought me this far, so who am I to doubt him.  Every day is a blessing and all I need to do is show up and then see where He takes me.  No, it isn't always pleasant or what I might have envisioned for myself, but with every turn this life has taken me, there have been lessons to be learned.  I love being open for new possibilities.  This is the great adventure; going through life with hope and grace right next to  you and it's awesome. 

Monday, August 21, 2006

8 Years

So today was the Brit's and my 8 year anniversary!  The Brit can never tell me anything he wants, but did say he wanted to be surprised, so I did something I have never done before and had a special delivery sent to his work:

The big balloon plays "You're still the One" when you tap it.  JJ has been having a ball with that all night!

As for what he got me, I'm about to show y'all one of my favorite things, but you have to promise not to laugh:

I was/am a "Touched by an Angel" fanatic.  Loved that show and miss it very much, but as they are finally releasing the series on DVD, I gave the majority of my taped VHS episodes to the church yard sale (and I'll have you know that they sold, so there are at least two TBAA fans in Hagerstown!), and am working on aquiring the series on DVD.  No commercials! heh.

We also went out to dinner on Saturday night to Dutch's Daughter in Frederick.  Very posh and excellent seafood, which is what I was in the mood for.  I highly recommend it for any special occasion.

But the best part of all about this year's anniversary is a promise of things to come!  The Brit told me at dinner Saturday night that for our 10th year anniversary, we are heading on an Alaskan cruise!  Despite the fact that it is two years away, (I tend to get  a little excited, plus I am a planner by nature) I have invited our friends, John and Paula to come with us, and I have already purchased a book on Alaska cruises.  I have been all over the internet bookmarking sites about cruises and whale watches (I have high hopes of finally seeing not only my beloved Orcas but also a Humpback in the wild!) and Alaska in general!  Very exciting!  Thank you, my Brit!

No real news other than that, other than the one other starts day after tomorrow!! 

It was also requested by Irish Church Lady, after Saturday's photo hunt, to know more about the story of our Noah, so here's the scoop.  Our two boys, Aaron and JJ are adopted through social services.  When the Brit and I were unable to conceive, this was the route we elected to take to have children and the two boys were our very first placement.  They were already in an adoptive status, but we had to foster them for six months before we could adopt them.  The parental scoop was that bio-mom had crack issues and prostitution issues and bio-dad was an alcoholic.  Both bio-parents were actually in jail when the boys came to live with us.

The boys also had a little sister, Kaitlyn, but she was living with a cousin.  As the first two years passed and the boys were adopted by us, we came to know the little ins and outs of the bio family.  Bio-mom had an "arrangement" with this cousin, where she did not have to comply with scheduled DSS (Dept of Social Services) visitations of Kaitlyn.  She could simply call up said cousin and see her daughter whenever she wanted, which gave her no motivation to clean up her act.  She wound up in jail again.  We knew all these things because we chose to keep as many doors open for the boys as possible, so they still visited their grandparents, providing our rules were followed.  Our basic rule was no visits with the bio-parents.

So, as life went on, bio mom got out of jail again and during the summer of 2004, we found out that she was pregnant again.  We only shook our heads and prayed that one day this young mother would get her act together or stop having children (she was 14 years old when she had Aaron, who is now 11). 

January 2005 we received a call from DSS that rattled us...badly.  Bio mom had tested positive for crack at 7 months pregnant.  The baby had just been born and as we had adopted the two boys, could they place this third baby boy with us.  I went into freak out mode.  Though at one time, I had desperately wanted an infant, we had finally settled into a comfortable routine as a family of four.  Add to that the fact that we had absolutely nothing for a baby!  No clothes, no crib, no formula and we only had until the next morning to let DSS know as the baby needed to be picked up at the hospital in two days.

The Brit and I finally decided to go where God led us and we agreed to take little three day old Noah.  After I told one friend at church and the Brit told one friend at work about our undertaking, the baby supplies starting arriving.  Bottles, toys, a bassinet, diapers, wipes, clothes, diaper bag, and the list goes on and on.  We picked up this dear little soul at the hospital and I fell madly in love.

He was a beautiful baby; not a blemish on him.  I can't say for certain if he was in withdrawal from being a "crack baby" or not.  He had his days and nights confused, and would wake at night after about three hours, and I could easily be up the rest of the night with him.  Every time I got him close to falling off to sleep after being fed, burped and changed, he would get angry and force himself back to wakefulness.  But all in all, I loved mothering him and the boys loved being big brothers, especially JJ, who was always so eager to help me with Noah.

Our social worker when we took Aaron and JJ in was wonderful.  I could not have asked for a more personable, helpful young woman.  However, we did not get her with Noah.  Megan was a nightmare.  As soon as I would get Noah off to sleep in the afternoon, in the precious four hours I had with both boys in school, and would try to catch a nap myself, Megan would  call to tell me things of minor importance.  Bio-mom had visitation with Noah, so once a week we headed down to DSS, where he would be taken from me, and I would wait for an hour for him to come back.  Megan had told me that bio-mom was talking to the same cousin who had Kaitlyn about taking Noah and this set off alarm bells for me as I knew that situation all too well.  I filled Megan in on everything I knew about that "arrangement."

Three weeks after picking Noah up from the hospital, there was a hearing for placement.  The Brit and I were sure Noah would be able to stay with us for at least the time being until bio-mom got into drug rehab and adhered to all the things she needed to do to get Noah back.  We found ourselves sitting in the courtroom right across the aisle from the cousin and when the DSS lawyers gave the judge their recommendation that Noah go with family and be moved to the cousin's place, we were horrified.  We were equally heartbroken and furious when that was the way the judge ruled.  Add to that the fact that it was against the law for a foster child to be taken across state line to a relative without a current home study being done.  The cousin lived in the next state over and had moved since her last home study, but the jedge got around that by calling it an "Extended visitation."

The Brit had words with Megan after the hearing about what Noah had just been set up for; illegal visitations from a mother who was not going to clean up her act if she didn't have to.  We didn't understand why Aaron and JJ were not also considered "family" as Noah's half brothers (Noah had a different father than the other three children).  Not that any of his arguments mattered.  We had to go home, where my mother was watching Noah and say goodbye to him.

Megan called almost as soon as we got home, and we were not even permitted to keep him until the boys got home from school, so they never got to tell him goodbye.  Megan came and picked Noah up and we have not seen him since.  (*note: Aaron and JJ have seen Noah a few times the past year when visiting their bio-grandparents).

I was bitter and heart sick over what had transpired and a week later I spoke with Noah's lawyer.  What I found out was that Megan had not told ANYONE what I had told her about how visitations between bio-mom and Kaitlyn were working out thanks to the cousin.  So, I sat down and wrote a long letter to the judge.  I told him all I knew and I told him how as foster parents of Noah's siblings that we knew certain things and that these things needed to be taken into consideration.  I heard nothing back until four months later.

Noah's lawyer called me and what I found out was that the judge had forwarded my letter to all the parties involved; Noah's lawyer, bio-mom's lawyer and bio-dad's lawyer.  Because of this letter, there were no illegal visits as the lawyers sat down with their clients and the cousin and told them that things were going to start being done by the book, as they should have been done all along.  That knowledge at least brought me some peace in knowing that Noah stood a chance.

To wrap us this rather long story, bio-mom has been clean for over a year now and she now has custody of both Noah and Kaitlyn.  My boys see them both on occasion (but never bio-mom) which is good for me and for them.  Last January, I finally cleaned out my basement and took all the baby items to charities.  It took me nearly a year to be able to part with Noah's things and now all I kept was his baptismal outfit (We had him baptised in the three weeks we had him as that was important to us).  There is still a picture of Noah on our entertainment center as well as one of all three boys together that we had taken while he was with us.  It took me a long time to get over losing him, but now, I can honestly say that I am at peace and that I pray for Noah daily, as well as Kaitlyn, just asking that they have safe and normal lives.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday Morning Photo Savenger Hunt

Todays theme is "Youth" and I found this one for you:

Hannah was only a kitten at the time and the other photo participant is Noah.  Noah was my boy's half brother, who came to foster with us at two days old.  We had high hopes that like Aaron and JJ, Noah would find a permanent place in our home, but sadly, three weeks later, he had gone to live with a cousin. 

Friday, August 18, 2006

4 More Days!

So, if you are one of those parents who feels sorry for the kids when they have to go back to school, you may want to skip the beginning of this post as I am incredibly excited!  FOUR MORE DAYS!  Only two more days to have to take them to work with me!  How beautiful is that??  Back to schedules and peaceful mornings after 8:15, back to peace and quiet at work.  Sure, school can be hectic as well with homework and messy book bags and lunches to pack, but still....SCHOOL! 

The yard sale at the church is going extremely well!  Lots of people shopping, lots of volunteers, homemade soups and goodies.  Seeing old friends of the church and knowing that we are doing way better than simply surviving (so if the rumor is true that those that left think that they will be coming back in January because we will have "Closed" our church, they may want to rethink that as we aren't going anywhere.  Let's be honest here...we are Christ's church and He is the head of our church.  He has paved the way for us to do just fine, thank you!).  It's a good feeling to be able to genuinely smile at the other parishioners around me because we all like and respect each other.  Before the exodus, my offers of help were often ignored by those who wanted to run things themselves, but now my help (and everyone else's help) is not only needed but appreciated and wanted!  It's the way a church should be and it's the way God's people should work together to get things done.    We worship together, we work together, we pray together and we play together.  For the absolute first time in my Christian walk, I am content with the body of believers to which I belong.

Okay, didn't mean to spout off about all that, but sometimes I am just so overcome by the number of blessings that God has instilled on my church that I have to share it.

Andrea came through her surgery fairly well, as far as I know (thank you to those who prayed or thought good thoughts for her!).  A one hour surgery turned into a four hour surgery, and there is still much pain so please keep praying and thinking those good thoughts for her!

So, my children have apparently lost their minds as tonight they were outside playing with the children across the street and apparently Halloween came up in the conversation, as the next thing I know, this had happened:

And this:

Apparently, the boys are as early with their seasons as the Walmart is.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Random Wednesday

1) So, I was in the Walmart today (I love it when Larry the Cable guy refers to it as "THE Walmart" makes me laugh) with my mom and both kids.  JJ, who is six, was riding in the large part of the cart as opposed to in the child seat.  While walking down the isle, I looked at him and said "You need pull-ups, don't you?" (*Note: JJ is still prone to accidents at night while sleeping.  He is not in pull ups during the day, but I prefer to not have to change sheets on a bunk bed every other day because he slept through nature's calling).  JJ, looks to his left, then to his right and replies in a hushed voice, "Mom, do you have to tell everyone?"  He's so comical and doesn't even know it.

2) Robyn update.  I spent a few hours over at Robyn's apartment tonight with she and her sister, Susan.  What a nice evening!  Robyn is now all finished with treatment, thank God!  She still has the stomach tube and is not sure of when she will get rid of it.  She is SLOWLY getting her energy back, but it's going to take time.  I have always gotten on very well with Susan, from the time I was a freshman in high school and had just met her.  She is in her fifties, but is still exactly the same as when I first met her, close to twenty-six years ago.  What I discovered tonight is that she does wonders for my self confidence.  I think that so often we see traits in people and we are not so quick to point them out to the person.  Susan does not do this.  She told me tonight that there was no one else who made her laugh like I do.  I was surprised as I had never really viewed myself as "Funny".  I've always thought I had a decent, though slightly off-beat sense of humor, but never blatantly funny.  It was nice to know.

3) Prayer request.  My dear friend, Andrea, is undergoing surgery in the morning to remove some rather large fibroids.  A relatively routine surgery, but still a surgery just the same.  Prayers for a safe and successful surgery as well as a relatively pain free and fast recovery would be very much appreciated.

4)  For some reason, my best laid plans tend to get foiled.  Remember that list of things I wanted to accomplish before school starts?  Well, I had planned to begin working on that list today, but as usual, nothing goes according to plan.  The day began with JJ having a dentist appointment for a cleaning at 8:30.  We were there on time, the cleaning was quick, but they found four tiny cavities they wanted to do something with and could I come back at 3:30 to have those done, as otherwise, they had no appointments until after school started.  I suppressed a groan and agreed.  Got to work on time at 9:00 and worked until 1:00, then on to THE Walmart for groceries. From there, I dropped Aaron off with the Brit at work, as to not have to drag him back to the dentist with his brother.  Got home and had TEN MINUTES to unload groceries and get what needed to find its way to the freezer there, before tearing back out the door to the dentist.  By the time the cavities were done, it was nearly 4:45 and time to begin dinner once I got home.  So, there was pretty much my day, which left nothing to do but to head to Robyn's for some girl time!

I doubt much will get done the next two days due to our church yard sale.  They are putting stuff out and setting up for the sale to begin on Friday (it's a huge ordeal and we have it annually.  I have had the public calling the church office since June asking for the dates) so if they are still putting stuff out at 1:00, I'll stay to help for a bit.  Tomorrow night, I will be baking cookies as there is a bake sale/food sale that accompanies the yard sale.   Oh and just for the record, all the proceeds of the yard sale go to benevolence (Feeding the hungry, local charities, etc.)  So, if you are in the Hagerstown area and enjoy yard saling,  stop by the church and pay us a visit on Friday or Saturday!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Late birthday gifts are the best

"When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself."

I saw this quote today while searching for my "Quote of the Day" for the church powerpoint and I really liked it.  It says a lot about things that happened several months ago when the Christians in my church turned on each other (As a friend of mine said "Christians, unfortunately, are best known for shooting their own wounded).  It just reminds me that judgement was such a root of the problems and it took everyone's eyes away from the real prize: Jesus Christ.

Anyway!  Late birthday gifts!  Fun!  I got my late gift at our Fiber Fanatics gathering on Saturday from Kelly.  It was the book "One Skein" and has all these awesome patterns using only one skein of yarn, for all those leftovers when you over buy for a project.  Now, I was a total loser on Saturday and did not take one picture, so please forgive me.

Last night, Aaron got his late gift from my brother and sister in law, who we have not seen for some time though they live about ten miles away.  It was nice to spend time with them and it always makes me wonder why we don't get together more often. 

Amongst other things, Aaron got a magic set as he does have an interest.  Whether he takes the time to practice and learn the tricks remains to be seen.

I have been trying to prepare for the start of school in a week.  (Hear that, a WEEK!).  Being prepared as far as the kids go is one thing and then there is the my being prepared.  My being prepared for some time to get back to the gym after my summer hiatus, time for some knitting, some writing, etc.  BUT, to make sure I get to all these things, there are other things I need to accomplish so that other things that I NEED to do are not pulling me away from the things I WANT to do.  So, between now and next Tuesday, I want to get the walk-in closet cleaned up, and the bathroom floor mopped, and the hardwood floors upstairs cleaned, and my living room and knitting room put back together from the arrival of the big screen television.  If I can accomplish that in a week (and I  can if the men will just pick up after themselves in the interim), I will feel guilt free to get back to Curves and to try and find some writing time.  That's the plan.  We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Saturday Morning (or in my case, early evening) Photo Hunt!

The theme for this week is funny and in digging through my old photos, I didnt' turn up much and I haven't seen anything funny lately to snap a pic of, so here is what you get!

How world domination begins.....

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

I got nuthin'

Truly.  Absolutely nothing to say today, but I feel guilty because I didn't update yesterday either. 

The heat has broken here on the east coast and the last two days have been delightfully pleasant. So, I have taken advantage of that as only a person of my crazy level can do: I clean.  I kid you not.  Yesterday, I broke the pact with myself to not mop nor wax the kitchen floor until school started.  It was much cooler outside, thus cooler inside, so I mopped and waxed.  Because I am insane.  I'm really not a total neat freak, but I do get my crazy on with vacuuming.  I do it every day.  Without fail.  Just me and my Dyson going to town on the downstairs, sucking up the cat hair and the grass that has been dragged in by little wet pool feet, just to do it all over again the next day.  I cannot even relax, no matter how tired I may be until it is done. 

So, the writing thing.  I have not yet begun my original story, but I am still prepping.  My story I posted on the old blog, "A Hug From Heaven" is going into the church newsletter in September in memory of 9/11.  I have been writing my little fingers off with a few internet writing buddies.  I have been reading way more than I have since I started knitting.  It's amazing to me really.  I've had my nose in books the last few weeks and tonight, while working on a short piece just for fun, I can tell by my writing that I've been reading.  My description is much better as is my use of the English language in general.  I'm starting to breathe writing again.  My mind is constantly whirling with thoughts and plots and scenes.  A song can trigger a potential story.  It feels good.  Really good.  It feels like home. 

There is something very comfortable to me in writing and in imagining.  I've always had a very vivid imagination, always loved pretending to be some character or person, if only in my mind.  I've been doing this for almost as long as I can remember.  Back in the days of playing "Charlie's Angels" or "Donny and Marie" (I am really dating myself!) or even "Little House on the Praire".  Oh, or the "Trixie Belden Mysteries".  My friends and family and myself took roles in these games of imagination.  We became those characters if only for an afternoon at a time.  I used to dive into playing these people, much like I would if rehearsing for a play or musical.  I wanted to know the character inside out and would find myself relating to a given character in my real life situations.  I assumed a "role" when I resigned from my first job at a fast food joint.  I chose a character who would not be rattled or nervous, simply very matter-of-fact and it served me well.  At times a "role" will help me to chose to react to a situation or to a person. 

I love characters.  I get attached to them.  When reading a book and adoring a particular character, I always feel sad by the end of the book in knowing our relationship will no longer continue on paper.  Sometimes an especially well loved character will live on in my mind in new situations made up entirely by my imagination, even though the stories can never be shared because the character belongs to someone else.  But I enjoy the imaginary experiences and exercises in character development. 

I'm starting to work on my heroine in my mind.  I know her name and her situation and we are becoming better aquainted.  Once we are comfortable with each other, we will begin to tell her story.

Monday, August 7, 2006

A list

I really have nothing of any great importance to say today, but I have been mulling over a list of things I need or want to do in the next ten years.  I'm forty now, probably halfway through my life and there is still all this stuff that just needs to get done (and no, the "stuff" does not include cleaning the basement or the walk-in closet for the 5,556 time either).  I may add some things to the list and if I'm very fortunate, I will be able to cross some things off the list as the years go by.

So without further ado:  A wish list

1)  Lose a bunch of weight as without this some of the other stuff is going to be difficult.
2) Learn to ride a horse
3) Become published in something
4) See Orca whales in the wild
5) Feel very beautiful for just one season in my life
6) Learn to quilt
7) Visit both Hawaii and Ireland (not necessarily at the same time!)
8) See my children grow up to be respectable young men
9) Get a real kitchen (I'll take a picture of the current one and you'll understand)
10) See my church grow to the size it was before the exodus
11) Read the entire Bible
12) Visit Cape Cod again

So, I'm not sure if I can feasibly do all of this in ten years, but it's nice to have a few goals. 

Saturday, August 5, 2006


I've been at Robyn's since about 7:30 last night. She's doing better today than last night as chemo can suck the life out of you and add to that the infection she has just gotten out of the hospital for. She spiked a fever at 12:45 am and woke me up to call the doctor (talking is not comfortable for her right now due to mouth pain). She was packing a bag for the hospital while I waited for the doctor to anwer her page. Much to Robyn's relief, the doc recommended Tylenol, considering that her WBC count had been good yesterday. They removed her port yesterday, so it is probable that procedure spurred the fever. I can't imagine how scary this must be for her. Being alone would only leave her alone with her thoughts and to worry about her course of action if anything were to happen and she was here alone. I know this is where I'm supposed to be this weekend. The Brit and the boys will be fine for one more night as they are relatively self sufficient (even if they don't always like it). I'm needed elsewhere right now, by someone who has been in my life for 26 years. GRowing up, I was always referred to as the "Sixth sister" in Robyn's family of all female siblings and it's nice to be included in that again now and to be able to help in some small way. I miss my family, cats and the comfort of home but I have always tried to live my life by the policy of "No regrets" and this is no exception. It is also a privledge and a blessing for me to be here this weekend, even if all I am needed for is so that Robyn knows she is not alone. She's dealing with cancer and it's treatment which is way bigger than what anyone else I know is going through right now. Sometimes, we forget that the best we can often do for each other is to support each other and simply be there. For me, it's been a nice reminder.

Friday, August 4, 2006

Nothing to say so a quick survey!

So, I am heading off to stay with Robyn (my friend who has cancer) to give her sisters a night off.  So, no real time to post.  I stole borrowed this off another blog I read. 

Have a good weekend!

this is going around... thought I'd do it-- How about you??

Things you've done: (ones I've done are in bold)

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said 'I love you' and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightening storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper

21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky with a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger

30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can

32. Held a lamb (does a sheep count?)
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day

38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 10 provinces
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends

43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing

49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. alphabetized your cd's
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day

60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain

65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites

70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror.
96. Raised children.
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named your own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an illness you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart

111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about

130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146: Dyed your hair
147: Been a DJ
148: Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone's life

Thursday, August 3, 2006


So, despite what I said last night about no cleaning until the hot spell ended (which is supposed to be tonight.  Ya hear that, hot spell??  Get outta town!) I furiously attacked my desk late this afternoon and just finished.  My thought?  That if I am going to write, I need to have a clean and tidy environment to do so.  I have cleaned drawers, dusted shelves, had dust in my eyes and throat, threw away a huge trashbag of crap, etc.  I don't have a Before picture for y'all, but I did take an After:

It's kind of blurry, but I'm tired and not feeling like taking another one, resizing it, downloading it, yada, yada, yada.  All those things on the shelf are angels and were full of dust.  Other than yarn, angels are another weakness of mine that I've been trying to back off of. 

I even placed some resources nearby:

Don't I look all official without one word written on the computer?

Anyway, not much else to say today as the day was way busy and I'm pretty tired.  Too much to do at work and did I mention that while we were away this past weekend someone stole the rear license plate off my car??  We took the Brit's car to Cape May, so I guess mine sat idle long enough for someone to decide I wasn't around.  So that was twenty bucks because someone STOLE my tag!  It isn't like I gave it away or anything.  I just hope the butthead who has it gets caught while he is trying to have his car impersonate mine! 

Okay, I'm heading outside now to do a rain dance.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Random Wednesday

It seems like most of the bloggers I read go with a random Friday, but I'm adopting Wednesdays.  Not sure of why.  It could just be that today is Wednesday and I have several unrelated things to say. 

1) First off, happy 11th birthday to my oldest son, Aaron!

We had a family celebration tonight.  He got to chose the place to have dinner and a good time was had by all.  Can't believe he is already eleven, and even though some days I forget, he really has come miles since he first came to us three years ago. 

2) It was 103 degrees here today!  Thankfully, the heat spell is supposed to end tomorrow night and double thankfully they fixed the air conditioner in my office at work!  The stacks of crap are piling up at my house and by the time cooler weather arrives, my To Do list is going to be a mile long, but it is just too hot to be bothered to do a whole lot.  I have been able to retain some semblance of order, but everything needs to be properly cleaned.  The only thing I am purposely avoiding is the kitchen floor.  I have resolved not to mop and wax it until the kids go back to school, because like an unsharpened pencil, there would just be no point.  The day I wax it, without fail, someone spills something on it. 

3) I got really annoyed last night.  Please keep in mind that ever since seeing the dolphins, I've been on an animal activist kick again, full throttle.  There are times when I think PETA is over the top, but there are just some things that don't make any sense to me, like a lot of the crap I read on this website.  The short of it is about animals wild animals who attack people while in captivity.  Then what do the people do?  In  most cases, they turn around and shoot the offending animal.  Does this make little to no sense to anyone else???  Though this happened like a year ago, there was a senior in high school who went to a tiger sanctuary to have her senior portraits taken with a tiger and the tiger killed her.  Now, my heart goes out to the family as it has to be excruciatingly painful to lose a child, but does no one else think that having a teenager want her picture taken with a tiger is a bad idea?  My mother wouldn't even let me go to a friend's house if she didn't know the parents, so a tiger would have definitely been out of the question!  I'm sorry, but I cannot blame a wild animal for being wild.  It doesn't matter how long they have been in captivity, there are just certain things that are in their nature.  Technically, the cat could have just been playing.  My cats romp with me, and grab my hand and claw at me and occasionally give me a playful love bite.  It's in their nature.  Now, take that same behavior and magnify it a couple of hundred times to tiger size and suddenly that behavior is a problem and the tiger winds up killed.  This is where I really struggle with animals in captivity of any kind.  We just have to keep messin' with nature and then when it messes back we get all pissed off and vengeful.  You would think that one day, the powers that be would work all this out and put an end to it for the poor animals and the people who are being placed in potential harm's way.

4) My diet has been so far out the window, it is merely a speck in the sky and a vivid memory.  It was all going so well before it all went so wrong.  It's not like I can say "I have no idea what happened!" because I know exactly how the dominoes fell.  The first domino occured when the inlaws were here for a couple of reasons.  When they are here, I tend to feel guilty running off to Curves and leaving them with the kids.  After all, school was out and they had the kids in the morning while I worked.  The other piece of that was that the visit this time was a wee bit stressful for me.  My MIL was having hip problems (she has had one hip replaced and now the other one is going) and being in pain can make anyone cranky.  She was cranky.  The other piece of that is that I was sick at the time with a cold.  So guilt+cranky+sick=no Curves.

Then there was the summer of the Zyprexa.  Y'all know that story and we have remedied it, but we still had two months of hell first.

Then there was the wrist surgery.  Again, I blogged the story.  So, what I have learned about myself is that I am a stress eater and I have been REALLY stressed which has led me to terrible food choices.  The illness, the surgery and kids out of school for the summer have led me to not workout and I can fairly safely say that the weight I lost has found its way home.  So, the goal for the next three weeks until school starts is to get back on the eating better bandwagon, so that when school does start, I can go back to my workouts.

I'm going to be way honest here and say that this is my last attempt.  If this fails, I am going to look into weight loss surgery.  It is not something I want to do, but on the same token, I do not want to be overweight the second half of my life.  I fear that there are many people out there who think that surgery is an "easy way out" but trust me, I have done the research on this surgery and it is not something I want to do.  I want to be able to keep to a weight loss program, but I don't want to yo-yo the rest of my life either.  I have friends who can put anything they want to in their mouths and not gain a pound (which is often a problem in itself as there are people with the opposite problem of myself: they can't gain weight.  No one can tell me that some part of weight and metabolism are not in a person's genetic makeup).  I am not one of those people.

So, I am trying this for the last time.  If by Spring, I do not have significant progress, I consult my doctor.

5) Last but not least, read the book "Marley and Me".  The Brit and I listened to it on tape on the journey to and from Cape May, and I highly recommend it. Yes, it has its sad bits, but what a great tribute to a less than perfect pet. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

The quaint town of Cape May

So, we are home, safe and sound after two days in Cape May, New Jersey.  I've never been a big fan of NJ, but Cape May is the exception to the rule.  I fell in love with the place.  We were fortunate enough to find a hotel right on the beach with a side view room that suited us just fine. 

Cape May seems to attract a bit of an older crowd (yes, at 40, I am now grouping myself in with "the older crowd, but hey, if I want noise and mayhem, I have two kids, thank you) as opposed to Wildwood, which is right down the road and a much more commercial area, attracting a much younger crowd.  When it comes to ocean towns, I like something original, with one of a kind shops, as opposed to a Sunsations on every block.  Cape May offers this, with four blocks of little shops, selling anything from knick knacks to clothing.  Yes, I even found a yarn store (like you even for a minute thought I might not!).

We paid a visit to the Cape May Light House:

And just to give you an idea of the quaintness of the area, I snapped a picture of the houses that were the norm of the area:

Very victorian and elegant, with massive front porches.  Yeah, I could live there.

The highlight of the trip for me, was the whale and dolphin watch.  

I may not have ever made mention in this blog about my passion for marine life.  Were it not for all the math involved, I would have pursued a career in Marine Biology.  I have always battled with my feelings over places like Sea World and Marineland, just because I can't really justify the captivity of these animals.  Yes, I know they serve to educate and to expose people to these creatures who may not ever have a chance to see them otherwise (and yes, I battle the same issues with zoos), but given my choice, I would much rather see any animal in its natural habitat.


See, I find this way more exciting then to watch them doing flips in an aquarium pool.

We were fortunate enough to encounter a school of approx 300 dolphins.  They were all around our boat, coming out of the water, breaching, tail slapping, obviously hunting their dinner.  It was amazing.  We did not encounter any whales, but as the naturalist said "This is nature, folks, not Sea World."  You see what you see.  Not like you can call the whales for an appointment or anything.

All in all, an awesome trip.  I'd like to go again when it is not quite so hot!  The east coast is in the midst of an incredible heat wave right now which is supposed to last until around Monday.  It is way too hot to knit or to clean (no central air here!) or to do much of anything other than trying to stay cool.

Those of you who are kitten lovers, pop over to Knitowls blog to see what she rescued last week!  If I lived closer and didn't already have six cats, I would take Squint in a heartbeat!