Take It Where You Find It

Cleaned the big bathroom today.  Best my mood has been in a week or two.  If that isn't a crying shame, I don't know what is.

The children are happy and jovial.  Except the one.  At a time.

The days leading up to Christmas are soooooo long.

So, back to the bathroom...

I browned up 5 pounds of hamburger meat.  I got four pounds of meat for the freezer and waaaaay more than a pound of ugly fat.  At any rate, it went into the freezer.  Ready to go for next time I need to start with a pund of browned ground round.

No, that wasn't the bathroom.  What I meant to say  was that chores seem to make me happy.

I mopped.  The. Floor.

I cleaned the light fixture.

Scrubbed behind the commode.

Made "spaghetti".  Not in the bathroom.

Took the children to Target to shop for friends.  Saw some people who go to my church.  They looked the same as they did on Sunday.

If we could have Christmas without the break.  A little cooped up.  They aren't as cute without breaks. I learn more about their world view.  How they come across to friends.

What not.


Teens are such a blessing.  Let no one tell you otherwise.

We were praying for a friend today in the car.  It was keeping me from flipping people off in traffic.  I hope that is not offensive; either way, it's the fact.

I digress.

I realized that we all have stuff.  Some of us have basic hard times.  Others carry dark secrets.  Life is no joke.

I stopped what I was discussing with the Lord long enough to ask Him that with all my faults and failures, the things I do right or well.  Could he please give me but this one thing.  That we have a house where you can own your medals of honor and don't have to fear to ask for help for your wounds or be ashamed of your failures. 

What I failed to emphasize in that dreary post yesterday, is that a friend prayed for me Friday and I suddenly realized I was whining about a party.  My kids are healthy, my husband is employed.  I needed to pull up my big girl panties and shut up and party.  There are people who have a much harder thing going on than us.

 I don't know.

The bathroom is clean.

Life is full of delight.


Christmas Magic

The office Christmas party?  Dull, but no one showed their girdle. Big boss had walked in the office with a big smile on his face the day before and I had just cut him a look (not the right thing to do at all, but I had just drawn my hands out of a stranger's commode.  My rubber glove had torn, so the toilet water had touched my hand and by the time stupid boss guy flashed his giant grin, I was in no mood to pretend "it's all good".).  I thought I could sort of tell he and his wife were treating me differently, but whatever.  I can only re-iterate that we aren't really friends(I have spent more time with the tellers at my bank this year).  He feels there has to be a party and we feel compelled to attend.  Fortunately, the other partner hosted with her new husband.  The food was great, they had a gift for each household (beyond the ornament exchange)and Mickey and I brought home the gag gift, per usual.  On the way there, we realized we had forgotten to pay the mortgage, so I never really entered in, anyway.


Yeah, still procrastinating on the Santa thing with the boy.  He is keeping his mouth shut after his sister who cares not about anyone else's feelings hollered, "There's no Santa," at him. I think he thinks she is wrong.  He and I need to discuss it.  We were out the other day and there was an instrumental recording playing and Mickey asked me what the song was... It was " I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus".  He got a look on his face like "Eeew, how completely inappropriate."

In the meantime, I am beginning to doubt my stance.  Occasionally, that little inner voice has whispered, "You hate fun," since I posted in September about my kids making their own fun, then about not Trick or Treating; I have more an more often seen myself from the outside looking in.  It looks like we haven't had much fun with the kids or each other or anything else.

In spite of all this, Christmas is coming anyway.

Somehow, friends have come alongside.  We could not have done anything without their help.  There will be presents under the tree.  We are total charity cases this year, but God has reminded me that He sees.  His people are His hands and His feet.  It is irritating to be humbled.  It is humbling finding out who cares most about you and who either doesn't care enough to know or knows and doesn't care enough to just squeeze a hand.

By His grace:
-bills are current.
-there will be something under the tree.
-stockings will be filled.
-Mickey is still employed. (They haven't done the holiday firing. Yet.)
-friends have gathered around to encourage us.
-there is plenty of food in the kitchen.

Amongst all the emotion and the fight for fun...  I realized that last week marked the anniversary of Mickey's mother's death, 2 years ago.  6 years ago, this week, my grandma and great-grandma passed away within 27 hours.  Gah, no wonder we struggle to enjoy the season.  So that is filed away.

This afternoon, we are going to "Market Square" to the Holiday Ice Skating place and a friend and I will visit while our children skate.  See.  I am fun.

The girls got to go Swing Dancing with college friends on Monday night.  See? Fun!!! Right?

I don't know what tomorrow holds.  But I can't prove that Santa didn't put me back in front of Jesus again this year.


Is It Reeeeeally The Most Wonderful?

Okay, first of all, is it more relaxing to look at the page with the side bar back on the right where it belongs?  I know I spend almost no time looking at the Home Page here, but the side bar on the left was making my eyelid twitch.


With one thing ("the play"...right up until I ran out of gas coming home from the cast party) and another (the alternator belt on the other car broke, so we are temporarily a one car family), and another (my freaking doctor will not pay attention to me) I really haven't started to feel very festive.

There is a big clock ticking.  It is the countdown.  To.  The. Office. Christmas. Party.

In the best of times, this is a fiasco.  It has no relationship to general job satisfaction.  Lowlights of past years include, but are not limited to:
--the co-worker's wife in the "sweatshirt-dress with-appliquee-kittens-in-Santa-hats-outlined-with-glitter-glue" dress, who got so drunk she couldn't sit up.  Loudly talking throughout the whole "dirty Santa" torture.  Trying to keep the dress from riding up as she slid off the sofa.  ...Later that year, burned her house; blamed her dog. (First firm out of college, 1996)
--the boss' wife who sang the Star-Spangled banner along with the recording of Whitney Houston from the Super Bowl.  Again and again.  ...Her husband later paid Christmas bonuses out of his wallet.  Everyone who was there at 4:00p.m. on Christmas Eve got one.  That's right, they're doin' it for the Andrews. (Second Firm 2001)
--The third firm Mickey worked for was repeatedly voted best workplace in [Major] City.  Didn't have holiday parties because they didn't want to offend those who didn't celebrate Hannukah, Chanukah, Christmas, Winter Solstice or Kwanzaa.  However, someone repeatedly ate Mickey's plate of holiday leftovers.
--Another co-worker's wife who drunkenly insisted that I was wrong and that I did know a man she worked with and had in fact entertained him as a guest in my home. (Which was not really a Christmas Party thing.  She did it every time I saw her.  But, Gah!!!  After the third time, drunk or sober, give up.)  ...Her husband later was fired for dishonesty. (Current firm)
--For the last five years, we have been treated to the cheapest and most convenient celebration for the owner of the firm.  Which, for three consecutive years, included going to his house in another town. We are expected to be on time; the office closes at 5:30.  The party starts at 6:00.  There are plenty of alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, but no appetizers.  So if you want you can be completely full and have all the calories you need for the week by the time the dinner bell gets rung.  The menu is more or less randomly assembled and has included deer sausage from his own hunt. (Spring for some Hickory Farms.)  Once we traveled in a weather advisory. 

Some of the people who work for this firm get together after hours and hang out.  Most of us don't.  There are nine(9) total people in the firm.  What I am saying is...why do we call it a party if:
a) we have no choice?
b) it is with people who, by mutual agreement we wouldn't socialize with otherwise?
3) we have to play "dirty Santa"?

Gotta go search for a way out.

Quick!  Tell me a story that will make me feel better about having to go to this party. 



No Matter Who You Are

I like to think that if I was very wealthy, I would still be careful with my money.  The truth is, if that were true, we wouldn't be where we are now.

At any rate, I do hope that I will be a discerning customer, a conscientious consumer, and a generous citizen.  And it is in this fantasy role, that I bring you the following story.

I am thankful that for the lack of income, we enjoy pretty decent benefits.  They aren't what we had in another state, but state laws differ.  So there.  They are still decent.

No matter how good they are, I treat the expenditure like it is right out of my pocket.

So you can imagine my surprise when I too the kids to have their eyeglass prescriptions filled and found that though I had paid only the $15 co-pay for the Small Fry's and around $30 total out-of-pocket for Diva M's, that they would be $85 and $200 respectively at the "Fast Place in the Mall".

I said, "I will keep shopping; thank you for your time."

We stopped at the "Big Anchor Store That Sells Everything From Support Hose To Car Batteries".  The elderly lady on the phone, the waiting customer and the fact that they didn't have a room, but just a recess in the wall, caused me to turn on my worn down heel and walk out.

Of course, *sigh*, we ended up at The "Discount Store We All Hate But Can't Ignore".  The slow speaking clerk didn't start off to inspire any type of confidence.  Really, I could discern that she thought I was ignorant and uneducated.  Really? She began to warm up when she realized that I have insurance and a flexible medical spending account.

The insurance, for reasons all its own, only covers new frames for 7 year-old boys, every two (2) years.  Small Fry is not as rough as most of his age mates, but that is ridiculous.  I was feeling all expansive and sprung for new frames because the ones he has have made me crazy from the first moment.  They have never fit right and are all that flexible wire and we can get them adjusted every day and they just relax back into out of place.

Her first pair of glasses came from there, her second pair came from the place with the car batteries.  She has never lost or broken a pair because of negligence.  The first pair broke because it gave out.  Insurance had changed to something that no one else in my whole town had heard of...  Since then, the firm has changed again because that one sucked.

Total expenditure after insurance for a full pair of children's glasses and one full adult pair: $39.  Same insurance, same prescriptions.  Perfectly acceptable level of quality assured through previous experience.

Long overdue... WIN!!!


The Right Way and the Other Way

Word is more or less out.

More, because every time I turn on the news, I see other families who are struggling to make ends meet.  The News.  Every time.

Less, because in our personal lives, we feel like we are weekly having to humiliate ourselves.  There are two responses to another person's hard times... sensitivity and dignity or the other one.

Sensitivity and dignity... "I know things have been tight.  I was cleaning house and found some things. I would like to give you for the kids.  You know, spinbrushes, shower gels...stocking stuffers.  It wouldn't be from me, it could be from Santa or you guys or whatever you want to do.  I just wanted to offer. We are in a position to help this year, and I know that one of these days you will be able to help someone else. Maybe us."

I got that all out of order, but there it is.

The other one... Wednesday before Thanksgiving: "I heard you might need the money and I prefer to hire middle schoolers because they aren't usually able to make more money elsewhere and they are more trainable and I would like to have your girls clean for me this afternoon for four hours.  I have people coming in."

(I told her we had a choir performance that day and were partly concerned about our own holiday celebration.  She was miffed. And, no, my girls aren't middle schoolers.)

Saturday: She:"Wonder if the girls are busy today."
Me: I am taking M. to get her glasses and then we have a play performance in the afternoon.
She: I only need them for four hours.
Me: I am right now looking for Bro's Rx and we are going to head out.  I don't know how long it will take.
She: So the girls are just going along for the ride.
Me:  No.  Bro needs glasses and M needs glasses and ...[Further details on our whole day and all the reasons why I am doing it this way.]
She: Well, you don't need to tell me all that.  I need someone to clean before company comes and then I will need someone again before the holiday.  I am prepared to pay $5/hour.  If they aren't available today, we can do it tomorrow afternoon or Tuesday afternoon.  I will need them for four hours and I will see if my husband can come pick them up.
Me:  I will have to check and see what all else we have coming up.

(This is not all of it, but in all this, I mentioned that the girls were 14.)

Voice Mail 10 minutes later: You mentioned that the girls were older.  I am prepared to pay $7/hour.  Which is more than I pay J and E, who normally do it for me (she has never said whether this rate is each or for the set). And my husband can pick them up.

To be honest, I think one of my girls would make her re-think her position on hiring young people of a certain age.  She didn't ask.  I could clean the devil out of her house, but she didn't ask me.  She never asked anything.  She assumed.

While I was writing I remembered I had screened her Sunday afternoon...grabbed that voice mail... "I feel like I owe you an apology and I would like to make it."  I know, now I know I have to return her call.

Today is filled.  I am providing a ride for the daughter of some friends who called and asked me to get her to campus and back because they are having a scheduling thing.  She has a final today and neither mom nor dad nor older sister are able to swing this.  They asked.  It isn't particularly convenient, but we are friends and they have a need.  I agreed without hesitation.  There is no money involved.

Carrie sent me a tiara this week.  I need encouragement.  She can feel it.  I am extremely blessed.  It raised my head.  It went straight to my heart.

So, money is tight.  That is not all we are or all we have.  I am so glad I have friends who remind me that I am a friend and worth more than the difference between our bank balances.


"Whatever Happened to..." Don't Mind Me, I'm Old.

The first time we moved here, anytime someone found out we weren't from around here, they asked, "Aren't people around here friendly?"  The speaker was invariably a local native.

Isn't this like saying, "Don't these jeans make my ass look great!"

When we moved back, no one said that.  Instead, they just upped the intensity of their "sparkle".  We got free stuff, faster service and better help. We must have picked up the accent.  Maybe we look a little hopeless around the eyes.  No one guesses we aren't from around here, anymore.  There is no sparkle.  Nobody gives a fig if we are pleased with our service or if we think we have moved to a nice place.

I've tried to figure out how to get better service.  I had been thinking of wearing a sympathy belly to Target, but when the checker at Kroger gave me the senior discount, I realized that I was living in a dream world.

I shouldn't have to do that, anyway.  I was taught, when I started out in retail, that the customer matters and we want them to come back.  They are always right and we treat everyone like the president of the company in disguise.  Everyone should get the "sparkle".

Last week, we ordered a pizza and got something different than we ordered.  We called them and they said they would write us in the book and give us a free one that we actually ordered.

Why do they have a book?  I understand the need to give yourself margin, but a book?  You are after all only human, but...a book?  Enough mistakes to fill a book can only mean you are putting people on the job who aren't trained or you don't care or you aren't able.  There.  Did I say that diplomatically?

Okay, well. Whatever.

I'm not done.

We are trying to put on this play.  I am the classroom assistant to my friend who encouraged me to join the Monday Co-op group.  Parents have mad faces.  Children are hateful and mean.  Up until Thursday last week, lines weren't even nailed down.  The reality is, folks are mad because the students are expected to keep the commitments they have made.  We signed a paper in September that had the rehearsal schedule on it, and those with conflicts (one student is taking dual enrollment college courses, and has finals this week.  She also happens to have her lines memorized.) had the opportunity to make arrangements.

They are going to do well.  They have worked hard and the casting is brilliant.  The teacher did a wonderful job.  The first play is a comedy and it is really well suited to the group.  The second, done by two upperclassmen women, is not so funny and the ending brings me to tears.  Every time.

There is talk of a bunch of parents taking their children out of class at the semester break.  Why?

Because it isn't fun.

My mom used to say as she quoted someone else, "Everything in life is sent either to educate or entertain me; if I am not having a good time, I must be learning something."

We spent all day at rehearsals and then I went to get our pizza.  All I could think about both things is: am I teaching my kids that doing something right is worth a little discomfort?

 Am I setting the example?

What ever happened to excellence?

I was never anyone's overachiever.  But am I holding back on life because I am unwilling to be inconvenienced?

Am I teaching my kids that fun means slacking off?

Or am I teaching them that it is fun to stretch and grow?

You know what, I am Sharing My Awesome With Jennifer @ Momma Made It Look Easy.  You can, too.

Share Your Awesome


Wake-Up Call

You guys gave me the wake-up call in the form of "I was terrible to my parents."   And "That's how I remember not to get mad."

I am responsible for a lot of what shaped these children.  If they are mean, or if they don't realize when they are being deceived by others, is it because I haven't been tender enough?

I really had to think about that later.

They tried to throw down again at lunch time yesterday, because the most recent third party (mean girl), called on the phone and I told her that we were sitting down to lunch and it wasn't a good time.  On Tuesday.  At, like, 1:30.

The Divas got their backs up and took attitude with me that I needed to just get myself back on the phone and tell the girl that they just wouldn't be allowed to speak to her.

You said, What?

Yes, THEY told ME.

Short memories that they seem to have, I let them know that the bottom line here was that there is not need to tell someone you are pulling back from a destructive friendship when you are 14.  They will get the hint.  If not, I will keep everyone so busy with details that it is a non-issue and then we are off for a month and in that time, perhaps she will find another project.

But it is still rolling around in my head....
1) These kids always say someone else is there causing trouble.
2)  The person is always treating them as less than as valuable as themselves.
3)  They always seem to take it.  And go back for more.
4)  Do all teens do this?
5)  Someone recently asked me if my girls feel free to say, "No."  And I had no answer.  I didn't know.  It was my first order of business that day.
6)  How did we get here?

The only conclusion I can reach is that I have failed to give them true self-respect.  I don't want to wait until someone gets destroyed.  These small things are the tremors before the fault line shatters.  The trail of smoke that goes up before the eruption.

Am I the only one who takes my kids seriously?

I see meaner kids than mine all the time.  Homeschooled, "Christian", and ....mean.  Not just the ones who've gotten lead roles in a post.

I am the main example they have had.  Have I taught them to allow others to treat them disrespectfully and not to draw back in pain from ill-treatment?  Not to think of the feelings of others except momentarily or based on my own experience of the same?  Or do all children go through a stage when they treat the world like their toilet?

Fortunately, my friend has showed me the grace of Christ.  Nothing is more effective for empowering one to do business with themselves.  I hope I can pass it along to the Divas.

Thank you for listening to this wildness.  Yes, the girls know I have a blog.  It is protecting them from having a very tense Mama right now.  They don't like being busted out on blog or IRL.

"[People] think we are bad people." 

No, Baby, people laugh, because we all go through the journey of learning to be civilized.  Their kids are doing it too.  Or they know they did the same kind of thing when they were your age.

Don't get me wrong.  They have grown by leaps and bounds.  I am just getting freaked out that this is the 'high center' that we are all caught on.  Why not wanting to be something you are no good at?  Oh yeah.  We haven't found that yet.  It's going to be relationships.  Crud.

Looking inside me.  Blah.


I Prefer to Think of It as Applied Psychology.

     Pass the Zantec and the Xanax.  It is not getting through to them, that I am unable to go with them every place they go.  I am unable to stamp the foreheads of the people they will meet with "safe" or "toxic".  I can't use their common sense for them.  I am more than willing to clarify whatever their conscience alludes to...


Modern Psychology would have me think that my teens cannot make moral judgements.  Neurologically, they are changing so fast that blah, blah, blah.

If this were true, and it is  not, how do you explain people who just simply never ever get into these situations.

I didn't.

It seems that the pattern is that my children make extraordinarily dumb moves and somehow, some way, there is always another child nearby who is responsible but not them.



Last night, I will admit.  I yelled.  I wasn't going to yell.  I was going to keep my own counsel and let these little operators reap what they sowed.  But one said, "What's wrong with you?"  Not to be left out of the impending nuclear holocaust, her sister followed with, "What are you mad about?"

I told them I wasn't going to talk about it.

They are still pretty young, America.  It did not occur to them to think, "Good for me."  Instead, they seem to have thought, "We need to help mom realize she has no reason to be mad. After all, we are perfect as far as she knows, that should make her life nirvana."

A comment slipped out.

The perceptive one who usually gets when to keep a low profile, blurted out, "Oh the [Friend's Name] thing."

As distinct from what other things I don't know about yet?

"I apologized."


Well, at this point her sister had some other minimizing comment and I saw red.

Suffice to say, I lost my voice last night.

Ugly as hell sin.

While I yelled, I made the Monday evening spaghetti sauce that I am way too proud of.  I got down in startled faces, and ran back into the kitchen to arrange pepperoni on top of the simmering skillet and topped the whole mess with shredded mozzerella and a domed lid.  I made garlic toast on bakery sandwich rolls. (And Type A got it, that even though I am chewing your ass rear right on off, I love you and want to bless you.  Ya little beast.)

While my daughters tried to finneagle a reason that the problem is mine.  Not theirs.

The.  Hell.  It.  Is.

They are big enough and "neurologically able" to know when they are taking the side of wrong.  They chose the mean girl over the nice girl, watched the mean girl twist the knife, and hoped to get to the grave without me finding out.

What they have is misplaced fear.  We all fear something.  The Bible says the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.  In this case, they preferred to fear the small bitch with the big mouth.  Rather than God, me, or that this little girl WOULD hurt them the way she hurt their friend.

I have been checking around with moms, and uniformly, they admit they were afraid of the repercussions if their parent should find out they had misbehaved at school.  We were afraid of the principal of the school, our parents and God.  In that order.  As far as my peers were concerned, I took an "every man for himself" approach.

After deep analysis, one of the girls came to the point of getting what the problem was.  Maybe.

One of the girls slipped out the house and went to "Bible Study".  She came home with tales of cute boys and greetings from their old buddy Nate.  She is currently giving me the "perky good student" massage. She is living on borrowed time.

I on the other hand talked to a mom this morning who told me she has seen so much growth in my girls since school started.  Puh.  Yeah.  Because we are going to the mat every several days on NO-THE-CRAP-YOU-AREN'T-GOING-TO-BEHAVE-LIKE-THIS-IS-A-REAL-LIFE-PRODUCATION-OF-LORD-OF-THE-FRACKING-FLIES!!!!  They are maturing because they have no choice.

I had been silently, well, and in one case openly, freaking out a little that the "drama with boys" was taking up so much of my thought life.  These boys are going to go off to college and see thrifty-whillion gals and forget there was ever any such thing as the Type A and Her Sister.  And I am old.

*cold chill*

How I would like to return to the halcyon days of last week.  Where all I had on my mind was keeping Gooden Hotson away from my daughters for another 21 months.* 

Today, we are down to the real life business of growing up and choosing yourself over the evil business of allowing a mean bitch girl to hurt others.  And themselves.  They haven't told me what was in it for them.  Every time they are together (I find out now), she says nasty things about adoption and me and *wonders* if the girls want to search for their birth parents.

The Divas are required stay away from her and don't give me the excuse that she came over to them.

I think it is pretty clear, at this point, but I thought that when we covered texting boys with my phone.  And I also thought it was clear when I covered texting boys with other people's phones, writing what that person tells you until the number gets blocked and then she says it was you.  That what they need to see before their eyes when they need to make a decision is not WWJD?  But WHWMFO?  What Happens When Mama Finds Out?

Embarrassment?  You should have thought of that before you took your stand on the side of wrong.

I prefer to think of it as applied psychology.

 *Til he goes off to college. Rumor is he's playing Type A per the warnings. He sang "Baby" to her Friday.  She said, "{Name}stop it.  I hate Justin Bieber."  I can't believe how perfectly she played it.  Senior girl said that everyone else has giggled and batted their eyes. (And he has sung it to everyone else) Shame he's an amateur 'playa' and will 'play' hell heck getting anywhere near my daughter next semester. He wouldn't make eye contact with Mickey at the concert.  He's still bitching. Oh, God.  Totally another post.


Reaching the Limit

Good morning, Jesus;

It's Sunday.

Time to get-together with Your people.

I gotta tell Ya.

We reach a point with folk, I think.

I know You'll correct me if I am wrong.

Where we know all we care to know.

We don't want to get any closer.

We prefer to extrapolate based on what patterns we can discern in the previous information we think we have.


To really know people there has to be a mutuality.

We are afraid if we get into relationships with them people will think we approve of them.

They are loose cannons or unknown quantities.

They feel judged and find another place to be.

Where the level of mutual revelation is comfortable.

Where there is not a ranking of super powers among members.

Where the reason we are here is still the actual Bible.

Where you go to people and say, "I heard this. Is it true?"

And the speculation and so forth is stopped.

Where the church is still a family.

Almost time to move on.

But not today.

You just let me know, though.

In Your name.


Pinterest and Me

Some relationships start off great and once you have kind of committed, you start realizing irritating things about the other?  Probably that's just me.

So then you find the person whose personal set of strengths and weaknesses you find charming or tolerable and it lasts awhile.  Forever.  Or a little shorter in some cases.

But anyway.  Okay.  Whatever.

So a few months ago, I join Pinterest.  It seems to have a lot of what I didn't realize I had been looking for all my life.  I am, as they say, 'enthusiastic'.

But for some reason, after awhile, it all seems a little repetitive.  And not in a good way.

Little things start to annoy me.

The crocheted men's holiday winter underwear with a drawstring tie.
The anorexia promoted as fitness.
The same photo with a different caption.  In 10 out of 10 cases, the first caption was better.  So was the grammar.

I could go on, but I realize I am nitpicking.

I still love what I love..

Cute baby animals.
Easy DIY Tips.
Nifty outfits, put together so I can figure out if I have any way to approximate what is actually in style.
Snappy one-liners.
The occasional peep at a movie star young enough to be my son.  Or alternatively.  Just the right age and in possession of a full set of clothes.  It's all good.
Ideas of what we would do to our house.

Slowly, I started to think snarky comments. I left one, the same one, a couple of times.  You know that little poster?  The one that says, "Those who criticize our generation; for get who raised it."  Yeah.  Both times, I wrote, "That goes both ways."  You know, after the second time, I have only seen it maybe one more time.

More and more, I think, "Really?..."  And a correction.

I hold my peace. I know how I would feel.  I thought I did, until earlier this week.

You see, the blogosphere has been really good to me.  My readers have just simply been silent to me when they disagreed.  They have never left a negative comment.  I have gotten one or two I didn't understand, but never anything mean.

Ya know I come close to cursing on the blog, and I am fairly forthright about my IRL mouth.  I keep it off the blog and with one exception, have removed all the negative stuff off my pinboards.  I appreciate a well placed punctuative expletive. Art is art.


The use of the eff word on Pinterest is just silly.  One day you see a funny picture, and a day or two later it is re-posted rephrased to include an 'eff'.  Sometimes it is funny.  Mostly, it's not.

There's this one with an owl...

Anyway, when the "If you are tired of the overuse of the eff word"... pin appeared, I drew a parallel to children smoking in order to look grown.  Well, that hit a little close to home for someone.  Or two.

Long story short, she called me a RETARD.

Interestingly, she didn't use 'effing'.  To read the comment, it just bursts out everywhere, but she was trying to say it wasn't the same.  She is caught in her own trap.

So someone followed up by saying, "This is an adult website and people can talk however they want."  First, it's not.  There are a lot of little kids around the site.  Second, Adult or no.  You can't say whatever you want everywhere.  We call it the 'discipline of place' (i.e, you don't behave the same way at the gynecologist's office that you do at a football game).

Other than with relatives, I have found social media to be as friendly and safe as I am willing to be.  Until now.  I am a little disappointed to find the environment less than supportive.  I am disappointed that I am not free to express my opinion without fear of personal attack by others.

That is a right or privilege that I have extended to others and have had extended to me.  I know if I don't agree with someone I am free to move on and not take in anymore of whatever I find distasteful.  I am free to remain kind.  I am free to encourage and engage in discussion.

Oh...my I.Q.?

Not even close to retard, Sugar.

Today, I am Sharing My Freaking Awesome with Jennifer @Momma Made It Look Easy.

Share Your Awesome
Do y'all do this?

Say, for example, some zany thing happens in the grocery store.  Like your kids see a woman who is obviously sporting NO undergarments.  You don't see this, but your daughters assure you it is so, and that they have seen a hooch in the meat dept.  (Not joking.  That's really where she was.)  Your son would have been at eye level.

So then, you think..."How do I blog this?"

Is it because I am new-ish, or rather than new, disorganized and don't have structured time for writing?

Or someone flips you off on the road when you haven't done anything...and you remain calm, because that is one crazy person who will end up on the blog.  "Why yes, that's it.  A whole post about road rage!!!"  That'll teach 'em.

Or perhaps, someone you know obviously pulls back from a conversation when, yet again, their standards for movies in their home, and yours in your home don't align*. We need to sit down and just talk about this. But rather than do that...

Is the blog keeping me from going crazy, or is it making me weird?  Five or six times a day, something funny happens, and I think..."Doh.  Blogging that."  Mostly, I forget by the time I am able to catch a wi-fi signal.  That is why the only things I blog about are the large looming issues like finding a dollar and young teens-who-have-no-sense.

In the case of the road rage, what do I think?  That so many people will read it and mend their strange ways that I will change the world?  In the case of my friend and the movies, if she read the blog, that would be worse for the relationship, because I didn't discuss it with everyone I know her.  In the case of the grocery sto' ho', does anyone really want to read about that?

This week we have:
--taken clothes to the consignment and books to the used bookstore...$62.
--gone to the eye doctor...small fry's eyes are improved and he has a new prescription and we keep patching.
--sold some homeschool curriculum...$60 or so. And counting.
--gone to the holiday concert where I was WAY too into the unfolding story.  Mom needs a life.
--continued work as a household servant to someone who works at Best Buy and lives in one of the most exclusive addresses in town, and whose mother writes my check.  Humble yourself or God will find all your pride and make you look at it.  I have always taught my kids that all work is honorable and you do your best.  I am angry about this assignment and unable to slack off in any way.  Even while I fume, I am doing it better than the last time.
--dropped the kids off at church and ran into another couple who are pretty fun and they took us to Starbuck's.  That was refreshing fun.
--today we have play practice for 3 or 4 hours.  yay.
--tomorrow, I do clean up at the co-op for the afternoon, I get paid. $50.
--Continue to have to blog when Mickey is home and I can borrow his work computer for consistent and timely internet connection.
--So I am ducking out until we can get the dsl up and running again.


I Can't Believe We All Lived Through It

Last night was the official holiday concert.  It was pretty well done.  I have an attitude about fine arts and homeschoolers.  We (as a group) tend to let each other by with less than the best.  And clap for it.  There is no excuse to hold a lower standard than the world around us.  If we can't do it with excellence, we need to leave it alone.

I digress.

I have been more than forthcoming about the girls crushes. It is really none of my business. I tell you, so I don't meddle too much in their lives.  Must be just a homeschool mom temptation.

What I haven't told you about, is that there is a boy who has a crush on one of them.  He is quiet.  We've known the family since we moved back here. Neither of the girls seem to be aware.  They can't see past...well,


Clearly, I can't say anything.  That is why I have the blog.

It sucked to be a teen.  I forgot while I was wishing I could go back to not being responsible for paying the bills.


Parenting teens is not as fun as they make it seem in the books and movies.

Because I really Can't Say...I am linking with...


Holiday Rush

You know, God will laugh at you.  To your face.  That is what makes him a great friend, except that when he follows up with the practical joke, it always hits the mark.  Perfectly.

See, for a couple of years, Mickey and I have been commenting, privately, that the term "holiday rush"  or the statement, "Then it's the holidays and when will we fit another thing in?"  are overused and probably excuses to NOT do stuff.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

Over the weekend, we sat around.  We continued work on the storied "back room".  Bagged up a few clothing items for the consignment and charity donations. Loaded a set of encyclopedias in the car to take to the used book store to the free bin. Watched a number of dvds that we had seen before.  I tried to think about this week, but I just couldn't focus. We had choir practice a couple of times and performed on Sunday.

The Monday co-op was off today for their holiday break.  Bless 'em.

Today.  It rained.  I was walking by the TV last night, and heard the weatherman say it would be 3-5 inches before this moved off.

Since coming back from the break, I haven't acknowledged God much at the blog.  We are on good terms, just haven't been spending hours and hours together. I was frustrated.  I was tired of telling Him the same things.  I figure, faith extends to trusting Him to hear me the first time and the 100th time.  And sooner or later, I am just nagging.  I felt guilty.  But I also felt foolish.  As I mentioned in a post some time ago, I felt a little responsible for my situation.  Sort of like I was on my own.  A couple of weeks ago, on Sunday, someone said, "Sometimes, God is silent for awhile."  It was just for me.

Since then, I started trying a little harder to focus on Him.  Ironically.  If He is silent, and that's okay.  How am I suddenly interested in getting His attention?  Well, initially, I didn't have much luck, anyway.

Until this morning.

I got up and made the coffee and sat down with the Word.

And He spoke.

To be honest, I didn't care much for what He had to say.

If it had been a person, it would have been confrontational.

But when the person giving the feedback wrote the book and sees everything, there is not much to argue.

To be honest.  It may have been said in that, "This-Is-The-Last-Time-I'm-Gonna-Say-This" tone I have begun to recognize so well, because I use it so often.

The message was loud and clear and unmistakably for me.

I hope it gets me through this week.

Back to the holiday rush.  My advice: don't smart off.  God will hear you and give you a week like I'm fixin'tuh have.


Thoughts in a Quiet Moment...

I really wanted to link up Wordful Wednesday or Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop last week, but it was not to be.  The holiday was super low key.  The food was really good.  We had leftovers.  When we share the holiday, the leftovers don't last as long.

We went to the holiday extravaganza.  They should call it Fantasy of Gingerbread Houses.  The house contest was the best part.  They used to have soaring massive trees.  This year there were but a fistful of trees that would be too large for a regular apartment.  The kids performed and I didn't forget the camera for once.  The pictures are mediocre because I was unwilling to stand in the aisle and block the other parents from seeing their children.  Not everyone felt the same way.

Now, I am going to save this post, log off the internet on this machine and in about thirty minutes or so, the other computer will have booted up and I will load the photos.

Dude just figured he'd be bored.  He brought a Sudoku book.

Yeah, I am wearing orange.  Because I am a rebel.

Going to check-in.   Boys on one side.  Girls on the other.  Just like the pilgrims.

If you have a keen eye, you might catch a glimpse of the boy who is causing all the trouble around here(unbeknownst to himself).  Nah, I don't have the other parents' permission to put their kids pics up.  I'll just upload them to my real FB account.  Somehow, that's different.

Pretty, wow, huh?

The local architecture firm that my husband DOESN'T work for.

Extarordinarily-Small-Town High School.

Not sure what is up with this face.

All in all it was an okay day.


Part Two: Attention to the Craving

I have tried both, and I have decided that it is nicer to post the links...  I like looking at the other blog.  I like the restful color.

I know you don't have a lot of time to read several pages.  However, there may be strong last minute advice on the glory of the starches , revisionist history, last minute pilgrimage, and the flavor of true gratitude.

The rest of that blog is almost the same musing out loud about how to maintain a proper attitude in the face of circumstances that seem unfair (but I guess aren't.  Everybody has 'stuff'.)

I just finished reminding teenagers that we don't need dollars to be thankful, do our schoolwork, or take care of our home.  We don't need dollars to have a good time or be a good friend.  We don't need to have dollars to feel loved.

I am writing it down so I will remember, too.

What's for Dinner?

Tomorrow is Thankfulness Day.  Because, by the time I can sit down to the computer, I will be Thankful that the concert is over and that the Christmas season is underway.  Oh, I will rock the Gratitude.  Like the Pilgrims rocked Plymouth.

I digress, sort of.

This time last year, I was clattering away on an "anonymous" blog.  I thought at the time that I didn't care for what anonymity did for my attitude. Recently, I looked back at some of the Thanksgiving posts and they made me laugh.  I am re-posting.  Or whatever.

Overall, my idea was to share what I did for Thanksgiving for the person who didn't have a current tradition.  The recipes are probably practically useless because I don't really have them written down any place.  I just freestyle and we eat.  One year, I left the broccoli out of the broccoli casserole.

So without further ado:






...that special holiday when the pilgrims ate brie en croute.

One of my mini(many)-addictions is magazines.  Yet, November is just a 'no-go' on magazines, because every magazine publishes 'new' recipes for Thanksgiving.


Oh, and don't let's forget... The-Last-Turkey-Recipe-You-Will-Ever-Need.


Can I just say?...

You don't need a recipe for turkey(the directions are printed on the wrapper)!

Why, oh why, do we need new recipes for sides?  I know some people don't have a Thanksgiving tradition or at least not one they want to repeat.  But why would we blame the food?  There is a menu for this holiday.  We don't need new.  Thanksgiving isn't about new.  It is specifically about what has gone before.  We know that the pilgrims didn't have feta OR turkey gravy from a jar.

My connection to my far away family's tradition is that I duplicate the menu every year.  The aunts didn't do it on their own.  They haven't yet.  We also have new traditions.  We get together with friends who are like family.  I am no longer doing it alone.  My daughters have taken over the preparation of their favorite dishes.
I love Thanksgiving: the Holiday.  I invite you to share my family's traditions. Remember back when the Pilgrim's hung out with their unlikely new friends, the Indians and everyone had a clean plate?

As for Thanksgiving: the Practice-- I am not as accomplished at that.  But I know this...

You don't need a recipe for Thanksgiving.
You just get on down on them knees.
Fold them hands, like so.
Drop your chin to your chest.
Close your eyes.
Open your mouth and whisper,

Tomorrow: What exactly is the menu, and if you are so ordinary, why are you a food snob?  And...Homemade Noodles for regular folk.


Today's Burning Question

Yesterday, while I was getting ready for the day, I saw an old Martha Stewart magazine on the shelf.  One would not guess by looking at my home, but I went through a short-lived obsession with her, in about 2005, at the height of her over-exposure.  Back to the magazine on the shelf.  I grabbed it and thumbed through.  I thought, "Wait a minute.  Is she the most brilliant living American?"


Since WWII, advertising has sold us everything from automobiles to household appliances with ease, convenience and time-savings as the buzzword. "Less work for me?  It must be good. Let me pay you more than it would cost to do it myself."

But wait.  Where was out attention when Martha snuck up and built an empire off selling American women (mostly) "Doing It the Hard Way and Paying More For It"?

My grandma ran a tasteful home where people wanted to be.  She grew her vegetable and her beef.  It was considered turncoat to eat chicken.  She did her tasteful home decor herself.  She preserved food for the future.  She cooked and hosted and considered it an achievement to have more people than last year.  She passed along those skills to her daughter, my aunt. I sneaked them when no one was watching.

Martha's way is always harder and more expensive than Grandma's way. Grandma's way makes my people feel loved in a way that Martha's way couldn't.  Grandma's way is free.

Is homemaking (or keeping) a lost art?  Does a generation who may have come up without seeing Thanksgiving dinner made (or the sheets changed) need someone impart to them skills that used to be handed down in the family?

Or is she just selling back to us what used to belong to us by rights?

Who taught you to take care of your home?  Mom?  Aunt?  Grandmother?  Dad?

What is your cleverest homekeeping trick?