Friday, August 31, 2007

Book Meme

I have had Bloggers Block all week. Actually, this has just been a really busy week. I was so glad to find a meme over at Musing of a Houswife.

What are you reading right now? I am reading Southern Storm by T. Blackstock; Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis; Psalms and the book of Acts (still trying to get through the Bible in 365 days 410 days. I am also listening to Shopoholic Ties the Knot, by Sophie Kinsella; Henry Huggins, Beverly Cleary (with the family in the evening).

Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that? Yes! In the fiction department I plan to purchase Kristin Billerbecks latest two books: The Trophy Wives Club and Split Ends. As a family we have the unabridged Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift in the queue. (You don't know how grateful I am to be on a Henry Huggins break from 18th century literature!)

What magazines do you have in your bathroom right now?
Hmm...I keep Fenelon's Let Go on the sink, and the latest Martha Stewart Living mag. This is because I HATE to brush my teeth. If I keep those things in there than I can be distracted for three minutes with reading while keeping up good dental hygiene. It's a win-win.

What’s the worst thing you were ever forced to read? Homer's The Illiad and The Odyssey in 8th grade. Snore.....

What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone? Do I have to choose one? Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss: Anything Laura Ingalls Wilder: and Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables.

Admit it, the librarians at your library know you on a first name basis, don’t they? Hmmm...well we're new in town so not quite yet. Plus I am a library wanderer, I have two that I visit.

Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don’t like it at all? This just happened to me! I loved Marley and Me, but everyone else I talked to hated it. Not sure why. Maybe you have to have an obnoxious dog to get it.

Do you read books while you do other things? While I do other things or while I should be doing other things? To answer the first, yes, often while driving (just kidding!). To answer the second.....I plead the fifth.

When you were little, did other children tease you about your reading habits? I didn't read much as a kid. Actually, I read in spurts. It was either feast or famine.

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down? Well, you see this is where I tell you that I have inherited a very complicated issue from my mother. It's called "Falling-Asleep-While-Reading Disorder". Which means, if it is dark outside and I start to read, especially while in bed, it will be precisely 8 minutes and 41 seconds before you see the book fall and the snoring begins (except in my case. With the exception of question #4, I don't snore.)

Consider yourself tagged. And let me know if you play along!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Conversation with The Boy...

...Or: Random Thoughts From Kellie's Brain (you've been warned)

Recently I came up with a new system. The system was born out of frustration really. I am frustrated of asking people to pick up the same stuff over and over again. Socks, shoes, toys, play clothes. The list goes on and on.

So I started charging people. Well, just the medium size people. Meaning The Boy and The Girl, since The Mister wouldn't think it was funny and The Dog doesn't care. Actually, it's not that she doesn't care, it's just that she doesn't wear socks.

If I find "stuff" on the floor the offending party must pay me cash. It ranges from a quarter per item, (50cents for a pair of shoes) or higher, depending on my mood; or if there is a sale at The Loft.

I also have started charging a fee for every time I have to run back to the school to drop off forgotten water bottles, lunches, and books. I don't mind running it down two blocks to the school, but my services are no longer free. Mama needs a new pair of running shoes.

Yesterday, after school, the kids were sitting at the table doing their homework and I was drinking a glass of ice Passion tea and obsessively looking at the Weather website. I was watching the mercury climb higher and higher. The final temperature count here was 105 degrees. I totally could have baked cookies on the sidewalk.

The boy asked what I had done while they were at school and I told him that I had watched soap operas and ate Bon Bon’s done laundry in the morning, had called and made appointments for the three of us to get established with new doctors, and then worked at Grannie's office for a couple of hours before I picked them up from school.

They finished their homework, cleaned up the table and went off to play.

I had moved on from the weather to watching that crazy video of Ms. South Carolina doing her best to answer a geography question. I tried really hard not to watch it, but it's like a train wreck and in the end I couldn't divert my eyes. For the record, my answer would have been:

"Clearly this is a sad statistic, not to mention a very stupid question. I was fully prepared to answer a question that has to do with a hot topic, like say Iraq or South Africa. Although those are both such complicated issues I am sure I would be able to discuss them here succinctly, responsibly, and knowledgeably in 30 seconds or less. Instead I will just smile and say that if everyone would just watch Dora the Explorer they would eventually be able to find the US on a map because she always carries one in her back pack. I am sure she knows how to use it, but more importantly, she likes to share."

I know, I know, easy for me to say when I am not in front of a million people. But really, this gal made it to third runner up, which tells us one thing: Beauty pageants really ARE all. about. looks.

I guess that is a post for another time.

ANYWAY, back to my original story...I am sitting at the computer filling my brain with mindless garbage doing really important stuff, and The Boy walked into the kitchen and plunked a quarter down on my desk. I look down and say, "Whats this?"

"It's for doing my laundry."

"Oh. Well. That's sweet. But you don't need to pay me for that. For the moment, that is part of my job." (read: the minute I see the potential for your doing laundry without floods or breakage of the machine, you are SO going to do your own laundry)

"Then it's for taking good care of us. For baking us monkey bread (banana bread with chocolate chips) and making our doctors appointments, and stuff like that."

"Honey, that is really very kind. But those are things that I don't need to be paid to do. That's just what Mom's do! I am glad to do those little things."

This is when he realizes that the moment is getting a bit wordy for his taste and he decides to take his leave. But only while saying:

"Well then, just consider it a tip."

And he walked out of my kitchen.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

*Dreaming of Cooler Days*

**Updated at 1:59pm**

Posted by Picasa

The predicted forecast for today?

102 degrees.

104 degrees.

Come on autumn.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sweet Success

The Girl has been begging me for months, maybe even a year, to have a lemonade stand.

When my Dad announced that he was going to have a garage sale, she immediately asked if she could sell cookies and lemonade.

Let me tell you, I might have to quit my day job. She made a killing! A whopping $14. She charged a reasonable amount for a glass of lemonade: .25 cents. The same for a bag with two chocolate chip cookies. Her cookie supply was half sold in less than 30 minutes when a man came and bought one bag and munched while he shopped in my Dad's garage. When he was finished he came back and bought eight bags of cookies!

About half way through The Girl looked at me and said, "I feel so happy!". Of course she did! What is happier than a cool, overcast, day, peddling cookies and lemonade? Oh yeah, that and taking peoples cold hard cash.

It was a great morning.

Take note of the big green and white thermos sitting to The Girls right. Oh the Nostalgia!

That is an old Coleman 2 Gallon Thermos Dispenser. They don't make them like this anymore! The green part is actually made of metal. That thermos was on every camping trip, soccer game and fishing trip we ever took as a kids. I couldn't believe my Dad still had it when he pulled it out and cleaned it up for The Girl. As I was filling it up with ice and lemonade I told her that it is only fitting that it be used for her first ever lemonade stand. It's tradition!

This weekend also marked the end of The Misters schooling. I love these big moments of Sweet Success. I remember that day I wrote about it (although I can't find it in the archives!), feeling very much like August 2007 was so far away. Little did I know that there would be a major change in life. At that point I had NO IDEA I would be posting about his finish on the other side of the country.

To The Mister
(I know you don't want me, or anyone else for that matter, to call you Doctor, but since this is my blog...I'll do it just this once):

I am proud of you beyond words. I know you would never, not even for a moment, consider talking about your accomplishments.
So I will.
Your hard work is admirable and your achievement amazing. Made even more amazing because of your humbleness and your intentional pursuit to put the kids and I first,
even when that meant staying up all night to study.
I love you, and

Oh, and also, since your studies are done...will you install my new sink and faucet now?
(((cheesy grin)))

La Vida Dulce!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Tragic Loss of the Little Pink Book

If you have had a birthday since March, chances are I missed it.

I have two secrets. First, I don't remember birthdays, but people around me think I do. My 2nd secret: The Little Pink Book.

My long list of birthdays are held in the Little Pink Book which has been MIA since The Move.

I thought I had packed it in the van to bring along in case our temporary housing situation become, well, less temporary. When I couldn't find it, I decided that it was somewhere in the 8 very large crates that all our household goods were stored in for 3 months, while we waited for the House That Has Not Sold to sell (but is now blessedly rented!)

I have unpacked every last moving box and everything has been put away for quite some time, and yet the Little Pink Book is still a goner.

Today I am going to go to Target and buy a new Little Pink Book.

Do me favor, send me your birthday through email or through the comments. I love birthdays, not just mine. So feel free to send your birthday even if you know I didn't have it before! I will be sure to get a Little Pink Book with plenty of room! If you have my personal email, then use that one. If you don't have that one use the La Vida email found in my About Me section. If you don't mind putting it in the comments, that's OK too. Cause I do have that sickness prone to all bloggers: Comment Compulsion. I like to hear from you.

Happy Friday! (If not Happy Birthday.)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kona the Wondermutt

Posted by Picasa

I am pulling out an old post in response to the gals over at the LPM blog. Amanda, the blog administrator, posted a bit on her dog and invited others to post something too.

The post I am going to share is from two years ago when The Mister had asked me (several times) to keep the dog on the leash on her early morning walk because of her "problem".

That morning I hadn't leashed her and she took off into the woods and wouldn't come back. She was gone for about 20 minutes. When she came home The Mister was leaving for work. Just as he opened the garage door she came running in smelling less-than-delightful and tried very hard to jump up on The Mister to wish him a good morning.

That morning Kona and I got into trouble. We both knew it. (Only she wasn't smart enough to pretend like she hadn't enjoyed it.)

The post was actually an email that he let me post to the blog later on in the day. He's a good man.

To read click here.

La Vida Dulce!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I didn't sleep much last Friday night. I tossed and turned. I couldn't get comfortable. My mind kept spinning.

I was worried.

The Girl had been invited to her first slumber party. A High School Musical 2 party with pizza and swimming. A celebration with lots and lots of candy.

I have held off on the spending of nights at the homes of kids from school because in this day and age I want a background check and something priceless as a hold deposit.

The Mister and I felt comfortable with this family. We decided that if The Girl wanted to go it would be OK.

Still, I didn't sleep.

The truth is that I had a horrible sleep-over experience as a tender 7 or 8 year old and I remember it so vividly it might as well've happened yesterday. I hadn't realized how that one evening had caused such anxiety for me until I lay in bed thinking about it all night.

My friend, K.C., lived with her grandparents on the weekends. They lived down the street. Looking back with my adult eyes it was probably a very sad situation for this little girl. The grandparents loved her, but they were older. K.C.'s mom, recently divorced, found a newfound love of partying. Every weekend she would drop K.C. at her grandparents and then disappear for the weekend, not seeing her until school was over on Monday afternoon. I spent a lot of time playing with KC over at her "weekend home".

Eventually, I was invited to spend a Saturday night, with the intention of going to church with them on Sunday Morning.

The Grandmother, wanting two clean girls for church, made us a take a bath. Which was fine. But then she wanted KC to wash her hair. When KC refused to wash her hair there was much screaming and craziness. There was a tense moment that involved a large plastic Goody hair brush; tan with brown markings to make it look like it was wood, used in a volatile moment as a paddle. There were shouts of "I hate you!"from KC, and more whacks with the brush. It was scary, to say the least.

I tried to tough it out, but in the end I had to go home late that night. To safety, to comfort, to my own warm bed.

It was years before I would spend the night at a friends house. My mom allowed me to blame it on her. My excuse for not spending the night became "My Mom won't let me." Instead, when invited to slumber parties she would come get me around 10pm. I would go to sleep at home.

It wasn't until 7th grade that I ever tried to sleep over at a friends house again. Even then only at TB's house. Those were the days! Watching Dirty Dancing on video (she had a VCR!) and eating frozen Schwan's hamburgers. Ahh! Memories...but i digress.

I hadn't realized what an impact the experience at KC's house had made. It's funny that I am writing about it today, August 21st, because for some reason I always think of KC on this day. Of all the things I remember about her it's this sleep-over moment, and the fact that today is her birthday, exactly one month from mine.

Unknowingly, this event had brought me to the conclusion (as a parent) that we would not allow the kids to spend the night at a friends house until they were 10. The Boy is almost there, so I was contemplating moving the age up a bit! I had made up this random age all based on my insecurities.

All last week The Girl was so excited about the party. When I dropped her off on Friday evening I had to make her kiss and hug me good-bye, more for my sake than hers. She was excited, not at all worried. Of course not! She doesn't have the baggage.

I laid in bed Friday night just praying that she was OK, that she was asleep. There was a brief bout of thunder, and I was sick with worry that she would be afraid, when I realized that she isn't the one who had an intense fear of thunder as a child. Yup, you've got it. Again, that was me.

I love this stage in life. I love hearing The Girl listening to her music CD's. Really loud. I love talking with The Boy and listening to all he is doing at school. I love this age where they are becoming independent. But what I hate about this stage is that everyday so much more is out of my control.

I want to protect them from hard things in life, but if I try to protect in all circumstances based on my insecurities (baggage), then they are going to miss some really great things that are the fun parts of being a kid.

I'm still going to be choosy about where they will spend the night, but this weekend was an opportunity to see areas where I parent out of fear; how I make choices based on my own baggage. That isn't a fun place to be, for the kids or for myself.

The Girl had a blast! She stayed up 'til past midnight and ate lots of candy. She felt horrible Saturday afternoon and I congratulated her on her first case of "Sleep-Over Sickness". Do you remember that feeling? When you feel slightly nauseous from lack of sleep and the all night junk food fest?

I hope that KC is somewhere out there safe and happy, perhaps with kids of her own that she can love on, and that her own baggage has not colored her way of life in dark shades that make it hard to see. If your out there, KC, very happiest of birthdays to you...

"Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you;
He will never leave you."
-Duet. 31:16

Monday, August 20, 2007

Whirlwind Weekend Haiku

It is Monday, noon.
Family reunion was fun.
Must do the laundry.

Want to blog some more,
Feeling a bit pressed for time.
Must do the laundry.

Will blog for real on
Tuesday, while drinking coffee
Hope to write good stuff.

Must go do the laundry now.
La Vida Dulce!

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Woes of Clothes

All week I tried to refrain from shop talk. I'm not talking "work" here. I'm actually talking about shopping. Again.

All week I tried to keep the blog "real." My motto was: Less fluff more "stuff".

But y'all, I have a crisis.

A "Low-Rise" crisis.

I must write.

I need jeans. OK, I want jeans. Jeans that fit and don't look like I am preparing for the flood. Just one pair that fits nice, looks good and is affordable. Is that too much to ask?

I went to two widely known stores, that sell affordable clothing. I tried on a hundred pairs of jeans if I tried one. Well, for the sake of all things denim, it was actually only fifteen.

The real problem is that I am no Posh Spice. I am an average sized, close to middle age woman, who has birthed two of the most enormous children known to man. I do not need super low-rise pants. What happened to the mid-rise pants from three years ago? I complained when the waist dropped then. I am not sinking any lower.

Am I destined to a wardrobe of work-out wear and yoga pants all winter?

OK, I think I feel better.

What does make things feel better is that it is a Fabulous Friday! In about 2 hours I will feel a lot better because that's when I head up to the Mexican Restaurant with The Mister's Sisters! (I just love saying that!) Who needs jeans when you've got friends and a hall pass for Friday night?

Mrs. MooFish, her older Sis and I are going out (just us girls) for night of Mexican food, fun, and........Ice cream (tried to look-up a word for ice cream that starts with 'f', but it didn't work out.)

Have a great weekend!

(A jean-less)
La Vida Dulce!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dodged Bullet

My kids are older, and sort of over the whole Dora thing, which is why I hadn't paid much attention to the whole Mattel recall mess. Until this article on the little girl who swallowed magnets that came from a Polly Pockets toy.

Some of you in North Carolina might remember back in August of 2005 when The Boy decided he would put one of these exact magnets in his mouth, to see if they would stick to his fillings.

Well, you'll also remember he found that these tiny little magnets, do actually, stick to fillings. As a matter of fact, they stick so well, that they pull out half of the said filling and generate great amounts of cold hard cash for the dentist.

After reading about the little girl who swallowed the magnets I feel very grateful that all our troubles only added up to a root canal and not a life and death situation.

The little girls mother said something in the article that got my attention: "I never thought in a million years she'd swallowed a magnet,".

All I can say is: But for the grace of God go I.

Because I never thought, in a million years, my seven year old son would try to magnetize his teeth. Well, I guess I would say, "Not in a hundred years."

But honestly, how many times as parents do we do this "Not my Kid!" thing?

When I think back on the whole magnet/filling situation I remember being irritated about the dentist part, but I never, not even once, thought to throw the magnets out, or complain to the manufacturer, or take the toy back. Honestly, long after the root canal was finished and the Polly's got chucked in the trash I was still finding those little magnets everywhere. Including one I found several weeks ago right here in The New House.

So I guess what I am coming to is the next quote from this mom:

"I went straight to a lawyer," she added.

I am not sure how I feel about this. There is the mom-part that would hate to see my child suffer, almost die, and then have a $40,000 bill for all the trouble. You gotta pay that bill somehow right?

But at the same time, at what point do we (the parent) take some responsibility?

I don't know her situation. Which is far more troubling than ours. Incomparable really.

But in my situation those magnets starting falling out within hours of purchase. Polly pocket toys are cheap, that's why I liked them. In the past they had provided hours of entertainment and that's why I didn't think twice about them falling apart. Taking it back for a refund would have used more money in gas than the toy was worth. The Girl would have been sad that I took the toy back because all the other working parts were in order. The magnets would fall out, but if you put them back into their little holes and quick! put them together with the opposing magnet, everything held together.

It was a band of reasons and extenuation's that made me deem this toy safe. I acted irresponsibly as a parent, and I've got the dental bills to prove it. Yes, The Boy had some responsibility in it too, but without trying to sound like I am making excuses for him, little boys do some weird stuff. I think it's how they learn.

So my son didn't end up with a life and death infection, but he did have a lot painful dental issues that caused a lot of angst and financial indigestion. If I am painfully honest, it was my responsibility to assess the broken toy situation and think about the consequences of my young child's possible actions. For heaven sakes, the magnet the seven year old put in his mouth was part of a toy purchased for a five year old.

I really feel for this mom, and I feel uncomfortable with the litigious nature of the US culture right now. What is the answer? I really don't know.

I do know I want to learn and remember. This article was a good wake up call to realize that there is much I look away from because it's convenient in the moment.

I'm praying that God would open my eyes to the things that I am blind to when it comes to my children. Yes, they are good kids. Yes, they are mature. Yes, they are learning to make good choices. But they are kids.

Above all things it's my job to remember that.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Random Poll - August

"Good advice is always certain to be ignored.
But that's no reason not to give it."
- Agatha Christie

I read this quote in the paper on Sunday morning. I had been trying to come up with a random poll for this month and reading this got me thinking about all the advice one gets through life.

Much of it unsolicited advice.

I remember the The Mister and I taking our little family to Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas when The Girl was 2 months old. We went because my then two-and-a-half year old son L.O.V.E.D'd going there.

I put just a bit of sunscreen on The Girl (because the label said "not for babies under 6 months of age') and I sat holding her on one side of the river, with my toes in the water, under the shade of an umbrella. An older woman kept looking at me with disdain in her eyes. I could see her struggling as she watched me in the water with my baby. Finally after about 20 minutes she walked over to me and told me that I "didn't need to be bringing such a young baby outside in the sun". She told me it was too hot and too sunny, and that I should have her covered with long sleeves and a hat. Oh! and also "babies should always wear socks."

Not exactly sure how to handle the well meaning, but snippy advice of a complete stranger, I thanked her and told her that I was planning on keeping her safely under the umbrella and that we weren't planning on staying for too long. She walked away in a huff and we continued to have fun on a beautiful Texas spring day.

I have to say, she did make an impression on me, just not one I hope I will ever leave in the eyes of a young mother. I did learn that unruly advice given in haste is bound to be remembered in one form or the other. But if your delivery isn't good-hearted you probably won't be remembered as much for the advice.

As my Mom used to say: You catch more bee's with honey.

With that said, here is the poll for this month. Today I am offering a "You choose" option:

1. What was the best advice you were ever given? (or)

2. What is a piece of unsolicited advice you chose to ignore? (or)

3. What was a piece of good advice you were given and you wish you hadn't ignored?

This can be advice you received regarding parenting, marriage, work, whatever it is that comes to mind. It can be something from your past or something from the present. If you have a blog, and you would prefer to post your answer there, then leave me a link in the comments. If you don't have a blog, then leave your answer in the comments. I know this one might take some time so I will check the comments throughout the week.

La Vida Dulce!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Mixed Mediums

When we moved here I warned the kids not to leave things in the car. On a days like this weekend, when the temperature reaches to 104 degrees it is deadly. Quite literally. It can get up to 160 degrees in a locked up car on a very hot day.

On days like this hot Cd's bubble, Chapstick liquefies, and toys melt.

I had warned my children. I tried to make them understand.

On Saturday afternoon, between the mess that we encountered and the enormous fit I threw, I think they got the picture.

Honestly, it was just a matter of time.

Saturday we met my Mom, Dad and Great Grandma for lunch. The kids each ordered from the kid menus which came with 4 brand new Crayola crayons.

Yes, you know where this is going. But today we are going to call this blog "therapy", so stick with me.

After lunch we headed over to my parents for some swimming. We stayed and played for about three hours.

It was time to go and I unlocked and opened the sliding van door. The smell is what hit me first. A strange warm, waxy smell, that took me back to my first days of school. My eyes, protected behind a dark pair of sunglasses couldn't adjust, so I took off my shades. Laying in The Girls seat, in beautiful primary colors, were three very melted crayons; the colors spread out in brilliant fashion, with a ring of melted wax expanded beyond the color and embedded in the fabric like oil. The long paper that once wrapped around it's color-y goodness, now oil-soaked but empty.

As you can imagine this didn't go over well.

I tried to clean it up, but in my attempt to wipe up the waxy mess with a damp, chlorinated towel I managed to make it ten times worse.

It reminded me of when I was a kid playing with a thermometer. I had dropped it on the carpet and it broke. I tried like crazy to wipe up the silvery mess that had oozed from the glass, but the more I rubbed it the more it kept multiplying and going deeper into the carpet. Much later, as in a just few years ago, I realized this was an old thermometer filled with mercury. I remembered that panicky feeling of wondering how in the world I was going to to tell my parents, but then all that silvery stuff disappeared and all I had left was pieces of glass. With the evidence underneath the carpet and the glass to simply throw away, I don't think I ever told them that I'd broke it.

I was kind of hoping the same would happen with these crayons. That somehow all my moping with the towel would make the red, yellow and blue colors fade away, and the oily mess would disappear. Only it didn't turn out that way.

The problem was that I knew there had to be 5 more crayons. The Girl's last crayon was on the floor. This crayon was also completely melted, but because it wasn't in the direct sunlight it had kept it's familiar long, skinny shape. Instead of finding some careful way to pick it up that might catch the drips, in frustration I impetuously picked it up with my fingers, pouring green wax all over the floor board and managing to get it all over my hands.

In the end, I covered the seat with the towel, ordered the kids to avoid stepping on the waxy build up on the floor, and we were on our way. Fuming and crabby, but on our way. The kids silent in the back, afraid to say anything that might make it worse for them.

I was irritated with myself for acting irrationally, as well as with the whole problem I had, I looked at The Boy and inquired (as calmly as I could) as to the whereabouts of his remaining four crayons. To which he replied, "Oh! My Crayons are safe in the magazine pocket" (on the back of the passenger seat) and he reached in the pocket to pull out the proof, but instead pulled out fingers covered in color.


Oh! it was a mess.

It's been a couple of days and I have managed to clean up as much as I think is possible.

The funny things is that I knew this day would come. I knew that eventually we would learn this lesson the hard way. We always do.

I did actually laugh when I was looking up the Crayola sight for ways to clean melted crayon. There was an ad on their site about Mixing Mediums. They have developed paint that have different items mixed in to give the tempura texture and sparkle.

I wish I had had the presence of mind to have taken a picture. I could have sent it in with this caption:

Mixing Mediums:
The hot sun, eight crayons and your mini-van.
(Oh yeah, and one irate Mom.)

La Vida Dulce!

How To Remove Cactus from Your Knuckles

A Tutorial in Pictures:

My brother-in-law, Mr MooFish, has graciously sent pictures of his Adventure with Cholla, and given me permission to post them.

His email said:

Here is photographic evidence of my Mr. Moofish educational sacrifice.

Sometimes educating others can be a painful thing. Just taking one for the team. Putting myself out there. Whatever it takes to show others what not to do.

I, for one, have learned! I've learned more about cholla and found another very good use for keys!

Thanks for pics Mr MooFish, and for letting me share your adventure on the net!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 10, 2007

My Birthday Is...

...10 weeks away. I'm already thinking about it.

This year I will be 35. I'm no spring chicken.

A couple of weeks ago I began to search for some running races for the fall. I'm not interested in running in anything unless it's less than 70 degrees outside.

I was excited to see that there is a race on my birthday. There's only one problem: it's a 10-miler.

Here's the thing: I am not a runner, more of a jogger really. I have never run 10 miles all at once. Once I ran about eight. But that was years ago. When I was youthful. And stupid.

I usually average 4.5 miles/three days a week on my runs, but the last time I ran more than that was when EW (my sweet Carolina Running Partner) and I did a 10k almost two years ago.

So, I am contemplating the race. I envision the race starting at 7:30 and my crossing the finish line around 9ish and then having a big breakfast birthday party in a park somewhere near the finish line. BYOD: Bring Your Own Donuts. I'll provide the juice. Orange, that is.

Insecurity is what makes me waiver. So, I am trying to make a decision, but I've got to make it soon because i need to train a bit more specifically, and more importantly, if I register early it's cheaper.

That way, if halfway through they have to carry me in a stretcher to the finish line, I have saved 5 bucks.

I'll let you know when I have made my decision.

Happy Friday!

La Vida Dulce

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Desert Life: An Introduction

"I am making a way in the desert,
And streams in the wasteland"
-Isaiah 34:19b

Often when we think of the desert we are put off by it's barrenness, it's heat. Some are frightened by it's reptilian creatures, it's sharp foliage and general unfriendly, demeanor. We've all seen the movies where people lost in the desert lose their mind because of the harsh climate: seeing mirages of water when dying of thirst.

The Bible often talks about the desert. Recently I have been reading a lot about the Israelites as they wandered through the desert. I also have been doing a lot of word study on the desert in scripture and found that often, the desert represents physical, emotional, and spiritual fatigue. We see throughout God's Word that hard times often came in the desert. We read about doubt, fear, loneliness, testing, rejection, disobedience, hunger, thirst.

Matthew 4:1 tells us that Christ himself was not immune to the desert experience. It was there that he was tempted by the enemy. He knows, by experience, what the "deserts in life" can bring.

But the desert in scripture (and today) isn't all just arid, wild, barren (deadly!) land. We also read about provision, care, and refuge. The desert is where people went to hide, to pray, to learn, to seek out God.

Interwoven in that harsh exterior is unbelievable beauty. Breathtaking artistry, amazing charm. Refreshing goodness that one can experience: Rain in the desert. Spectacular sunsets. The coolness of the air when the sun finally goes to sleep. The sounds, the smells, the sights. Yes, even the solitude.

The detail in which our Creator so lovingly made the desert is amazing to me.

My Sister-in-law, (we'll call her Mrs.MooFish), had a young (newly married) couple from the east coast visiting all last week. The groom had never been to the desert before. Mrs.MooFish mentioned that she had a new appreciation for the desert while she viewed it through one who had never seen it. We talked about about a few of the amazing birds: The roadrunner and quail. We talked about the unique plant life, in particular the detail on a specific cactus: The Cholla.

The Cholla is unique for couple of reasons: First because it grows in tubercles (little round sections), so if something rubs against it it doesn't stick with one lonely needle, the whole tubercle comes off, along with it's many needles.

Secondly, the Cholla is the only cactus that has a papery sheath that covers each individual needle. There is an Old Cactus Trick, done by young desert dwelling whipper-snappers, who to try to remove this sheath while escaping the perils that come with playing with cacti. That is, without getting painfully stuck. For the record, it's very difficult to do.

Mrs. MooFish's husband, Mr. MooFish, tried his hand at this Old Cactus Trick, for the purposes of education and entertainment for his out-of-town guests. Unfortunately, his knuckles got into a fight with a cactus tubercle. The cactus won.

Therein lies the juxtaposition with the desert. In the desert we are given the opportunity to experience all the wonder it brings, and sometimes, we get stuck. Or warm. Or dehydrated. Becoming so thirsty we will believe what we see instead of what we know.

The desert holds many metaphors for life. It speaks volumes for the greatness of God.

I've always loved the desert. Maybe it's because I grew up here. But maybe, more importantly, it's because when I look at the desert and all it's beauty I see the hand of God. The God of Truth. The God of Mercy. The sovereign God who has a purpose, even among all those crazy plants that bite. Living in the Sonoran Desert reminds me that in the Deserts of Life I can trust Him. Always.

I can trust Him when I am comfortably gazing at a sunset, cool drink in hand, or when I feel lost and thirsty, and begin to eat the sand I've confused as water. I can trust Him (and learn) when I play with cacti and lose.

The desert points me to God, the creator of all things, and reminds me that He has a provided a way. It may not always look like I want it to, but it's there.

And that is my purpose as I start writing about The Desert Life in the months to come.

Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new.
It's bursting out! Don't you see it? There it is! I'm making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands. Wild animals will say 'Thank you!'
—the coyotes and the buzzards— Because I provided water in the desert,
rivers through the sun-baked earth, Drinking water for the people I chose,
the people I made especially for myself,
a people custom-made to praise me.
(Isaiah 43:19)
The Message

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Today I am going to play in Wordless Wednesday. It's when you post a picture and don't use words. I don't know who started it, but I like it.

Of course, as you can tell, I'm gonna use words.

Wednesdays are going to be the days I work at my Mom's office so I may resort to the Wordless Wednesdays a lot!

The picture above is the view from the covered porch at the Horse Thief Ranch in Roscoe, Montana. Let me tell you I have laid in that hammock and it is divine! I love that ranch and the 10 days we spent there exactly four years ago. I do hope that someday we will go back.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A Bloggers Welcome!

After a lot of nagging (I mean, encouraging), my dear friend, meh, has decided to join the bloggers circle.


Go on over to her site and tell her hello!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Little Monday Project

I have been wanting to get the old sewing machine out all summer, but the days keep ticking away. This morning it was raining and cloudy and I decided today would be the day!

I have been wanting new table linens. The ones I really liked are more than I want to pay for 4 napkins, since I know it is, maybe, $12.00 worth of material, and I may be being too generous.

I have yards and yards of material left over from an old Ralph Lauren duvet I inherited years ago. You may recognize the material from here and here. Do you remember those Carolina Summer days when I went on that crafts binge, and made my kids do it too? Ah! Memories!

I decided that perhaps I could try my hand at making linen table napkins. Also known as, Old-Hand-Me-Down-Duvet table napkins.

So here is my final product. They are a bit rough around the edges. But they will work. And I got to get my trusty sewing machine out of the box where it has been sitting forlornly in a closet for a very long time.

Now that I know that I can make them I am going to go to the fabric store and browse through the remnant bin and see if I can find any of those beautiful paisley patterns in those amazing reds and greens and yellows!

La Vida Dulce!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A Cesar Moment

Oh! Y'all.

I wish you could have been here.

I don't normally post on Sunday's but last night, while my parents-in-law and sister-in-law and nieces were all here I had a Cesar moment.

It was like, suddenly, I became the trained professional. I was the Alpha Dog, and Kona was my show dog.

All eyes were on her, and I had the nightly doggy treat. I made her sit and stay. I made her jump. She did 'shake', and 'gentle' (when eating a tiny treat out of my hand) and then, THEN! she did this little turn thing that I have never taught her to do!

All eyes were on me. My Mother in law kept saying "She is just the best dog! She is just the smartest dog!" Honestly, I didn't even think she liked dogs.

My nieces kept saying, "You trained her! It's amazing!"

And I kept thinking, It is amazing! It really is!

Y'all, Kona is the dumbest Australian Shepherd I have ever had the pleasure to meet. She is cute, and she loves me above all others, which is both completely sweet and totally annoying, but she is the most neurotic animal on the face of the earth. She drives me insane every. single. blessed. day.

She is smart, but her neurosis makes her forget her wits.

But on Saturday night, it was glorious. This evening I tried to reenact, on video, her amazing talent. But it isn't the same at all.

I guess you just had to be there.

Click on the middle of camera above for video.

Disclaimer: In order to get this video we had to do a couple of takes. In one she wouldn't stay. In the other she refused to lay down, and on the other she kept jumping and missing her treat....I was feeling a little disappointed, but in the end she pulled through.

La Vida Dulce!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Shopping Let Down..But I Got Good Hair

I am beginning to feel that I'm not supposed to spend money. Maybe it's because June Cutoff Cash has started a revolution. And don't think I'm kidding. I had two, yes two! phone conversations with girlfriends all over the country who told me that they are inspired by June.

Maybe I'm smarting because I actually have a little money saved and now that I know what I want, it isn't for purchase.

It all started yesterday when I went to buy jeans, but there were no jeans to be bought. Literally, the only denim in the place were capris. And I don't need capris. I need a pair of jeans. Like the pair I bought three years ago but they discontinued them. Without asking permission. Or even giving a girl a warning.

Today I went to two different stores, in the ritzy part of town (read: it took me a long time to get there) to purchase items for my kitchen. I have been watching these items for a long time now. They finally went on sale. But do you think they had them when I was there? Of! Course! Not! One store didn't have the colors I had wanted and the other store informed me that the sale is an on-line exclusive item. Meaning: You should have bought them on-line where you saw the sale posted.

I hesitate to write so much about shopping, and haircuts (although I actually haven't written about that yet have I? Oh wait...that's coming) lest you think that I'm as deep as a puddle. Or begin to think me a tad materialistic. I actually am not. As a matter of fact I am often accused of being a minimalist.

I have learned to be minimalistic for a number of reasons. One is organization. As my parents will certainly testify I was not organized as a child. Statistics prove that 99.9% of the time my room looked like a FEMA disaster area.This is not so much the truth anymore.

The second reason is this motto:

The more you have, the more you have to have, to take care of the things you have.

Thank you Jungle Jams.

To make a long story short. I am not a fan of clutter. It makes me a little crazy (Although it's debatable that I didn't start out that way.) I try not to collect too many things because then I just have to find a place to put them. Where they can't be seen. So I can keep the Title I have grown to love.

Really, my quest for organization and cleanliness is all about leisureliness. I know I don't want to take care of it, so I probably don't need it. Although I am still trying to figure out how in the world I have lived with only one pair of jeans. I admit, that is a little fanatical. Next thing you know I will be dancing with snakes.

I am not so wrapped up in organization and cleaning that I don't have time for fun.

Like today when I was supposed to quench my thirst for Instant Retail Gratification. I drove to this swanky new outdoor shopping center on a quest for new dishes. I walked around, with my big sunglasses that make me feel like I'm a movie star. I even thought about buying a $7 cup of coffee and walking around with it in one hand while talking into my cell phone with the other. But since I am on a Starbucks strike at the moment I decided to just talk real loud and fluff my new beautiful hair. Of course my cell phone doesn't get reception out there so I had to pretend that I was talking to my closest BFF.

You see, I could have stayed home. Ordered all my goods online. Paid a ton in shipping, and got my stuff mailed to my door in a few weeks time. But what fun would that be?

Instead, I drove far away, waisting gas and coming home to a dirty house, empty handed, and muttering under my breath that Starbucks has raised it's prices. But I'm not bitter or anything.

I will have to wait for my new dinnerware settings to arrive in the post. And I will probably have to wait until the weather around here actually turns before I can find a good pair of jeans. But good things come to those who wait. I will try my best to be patient. And perhaps a bit less sarcastic. Don't hold your breath.

I took a couple pictures to show you the New Do. I feel a bit silly posting another pic of myself so soon after the last one . Cause, you know, it feels so smug.

In the end I decided to post two.

The first one is the cell phone talking, latte drinking, impetuous shopper with great hair (and a little attitude.) The second girl is the toilet scrubbing, clean countered, housewife, with only one pair of jeans. And she likes it that way.

Posted by Picasa

La Vida Dulce!

Thursday, August 02, 2007


In my quest to teach the kids to prepare dinner I have been looking up new recipes.

I picked up the Betty Crocker:Easy Family Dinners Book at the library and picked out two recipes to try this week: Cheesy Chicken Strips and Chicken Chop Suey.

Last night was The Girl's night and we made the Chicken Strips. Wow! Were they good! They were, as promised, super easy and very delicious. I served them with fresh steamed broccoli, whole wheat toast and grapes and strawberries for dessert.

The recipe is as follows:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (I used three frozen chicken breast) or chicken tenders (not breaded)

2 cups cheese flavored crackers (i used Cheeze -it's)

1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese

1 egg

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray jelly roll pan with cooking spray. If using chicken breast halves, cut chicken into strips.

Mix crushed crackers and cheese in large resealable plastic food storage bag. Beat egg in large bowl. add chicken strips to egg. Toss to coat. Remove chicken from egg, allowing excess to drip off into bowl; place chicken in bag of crackers mixture, shake to coat chicken evenly. Place chicken strips in single layer in pan.

Bake uncovered 10-12 minutes or until no longer pink (I cooked mine for almost 20 min)

The Girl and I awarded this recipe a "Winner", and it goes in the "Tried and True" recipe box that I started many years ago!

Tonight The Boy and I will make Chicken Chop Suey, a really fancy name for Chicken Stir Fry with Rice!

Now, i must go. Today is a really an exciting day for me. I. Am. Getting. A. Hair. Cut...and color and removal of unsightly facial hair!!!!!! Whooo!! Hooo!! I am actually getting an entirely new style today. Very exciting.

And, if I have time I may stop by Ann Taylor Loft and buy myself a new pair of jeans, which I need very badly! My only pair of jeans have a "Been-Through-The-Dryer-To-Many-Times" issue. They fit fine around the waist but suddenly they are about an inch and a half too short! They are almost three years old so I guess it is time.

New Hair! New Brows! New Jeans! I may not be able to handle this much excitement!

A winner recipe. A winner day.
La Vida Dulce!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Conversation with The Mister

"I know you have just been chomping at the bit to hear this news. So I think you might want to sit down when I tell you this."

"Oh really? What is it?"

"Yeah, I mean, I figured you would've already heard. It's all over the internet. But seeing as you haven't said anything I thought I might tell you myself. You know, so you won't feel like you were the last to know."

"Sure. What is it?"

"Nicole Richie is pregnant."

Silence. Confused look...

"Who's Nicole Richie?"