Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope 2006 brings you much love and happiness.

If you're watching television tonight, you may get a glimpse of our part of the world!
Fox News will show the little apple drop from Aggieville here in Manhattan, Kansas ("The Little Apple").

Have a safe, fun evening! Here's to 2006!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I plan to plan

As we wrap up this year and begin planning for the next, many of us make plans to improve our lives.

Some of my previous New Year's resolutions have been grand: this will be the year I finish the Great American novel! Some of my resolutions have been small: I will keep in touch with people a little more than the year before, even if it is just via email.
There have been many, of course, and I usually give up on just about all of them by February.
It is not because they are unattainable. I have learned to set reasonable goals.
However, I have never planned to meet those goals.

I met a very busy woman a few years ago. She's great. She's a busy mom, busy volunteer, busy military wife...but she gets things done. While serving on a volunteer committee with her one year, I noted the way she ended all of her notes and emails to us:
Remember--if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

That really irritated me. I don't plan.

My husband has suggested from time to time, that I should make a plan. Of course, he is a great planner so I figure he plans enough for the both of us.

When he asks what I have done on a certain day, I often answer, you know, I had grand plans... Of course, we both know it's a lie because I have no plans. Even on busy days when I have much to accomplish--he'll ask what's the plan for your day today and I will rattle off my long to-do list but I still do not have a plan. I stumble about the day and usually get it all done.

After reading Rene's post on time management, I was struck by her idea of making herself accountable for her time. I realize that for your organized planners out there, this is a no brainer but for me, the light clicked on.

When 2006 rolls in, I will have a plan laid out for my time. Rather than throwing in a load of laundry (and doing a crossword or two) and then determining if I have time to write or exercise, I will have set times to get those things accomplished. I won't do it so I have an answer for my husband or for you but because I should hold myself accountable for doing the things I that I claim are important. At least, that's the plan.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Another lazy post

Your New Year's Resolutions

1) Get a pet frog

2) Eat more cheese

3) Travel to Italy

4) Study abnormal psychology

5) Get in shape with pilates

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Reindeer games

You Are Dancer

Carefree and fun, you always find reasons to do a happy dance.

Why You're Naughty: That dark stint you had as Santa's private dancer.

Why You're Nice: You're friendly. Very friendly.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Revision is key

The most important part of writing is rewriting.
Whether it is for The Great American Novel or a lame anniversary gift, it always holds true.

I thank those of you who tried to help me with my attempt to write 12 pages of 12 facts about the number twelve for my twelfth anniversary. The reason it was so hard was because it was not a great idea. Working through it though, the last three pages were not only salvageable but much more relevant. So...the hubbie did not get twelve pages of anything.

He did get a homemade card with three pages: Twelve new things we did on our honeymoon, Twelve new things I've done since I married you, and Twelve things I expect during the next 12 years. Beside each list, I copied a photo of a wine label from 1993. The cover page had the image at the top of this post, entitled "Wine and Still Life, 1993" by Diantha York-Ripley.

It all came together in the end and I thank you for your advice and/or positive vibes!
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Friday, December 16, 2005


Speaking of being busy...remember that grasshopper who could not be bothered during the summer to collect food and had to beg the ants the following winter?

Well...this grasshopper has been busy with...well, too many things to list here now but I have not spent enough time coming up with the creative anniversary present this year.

Oh, all right! Truth be told, I never come up with that creative idea until December anyway. I thought a dozen years of marriage deserved something especially creative and I've come up with something...but I've come up short.

Don't judge me. I'm a dork and I know it but I've got like 26 hours left and I need help.
Here's what I've got: 12 bottles of wine for his putting up with 12 years of my whining.

Some are from where we went for our honeymoon, some are from places we have visited or lived, some have the name of a famous golfer on them and some are just there because he'll like them.
Lacking anything else remotely clever, I thought I'd wrap a piece of paper around each bottle. Each piece of paper would list twelve interesting facts relating to the number twelve in some fashion. is where my dedicated blog readers, friends and relatives come in! Remember that "plan" in the last paragraph? The one with 12 interesting facts on 12 separate pages?
I have 10 pages but only ONE page actually has 12 items on it. If you have anything interesting (a fact, a story, a joke, ANYTHING...that relates to the number 12 in ANY WAY, could you send it along?)

How does this help?
1. Gets me closer to my list of 144 "interesting" things to wrap around 12 bottles
2. Gives me another page (in my quest for 12 pages) as I will devote a page to all the people who helped me with this!!! Come on! I know there are 12 helpful souls out there who will help a girl out!

I know what you're thinking.
1. Why bother?
2. You've just posted this on the internet so the jig is up.

I have the answers.
1. As discussed previously, I'm a dork. A sleepy one who should be in bed but who, instead, just poured another glass of wine so there really isn't any logic involved here whatsoever.
2. a) Hubbie rarely has time to read the blog (has too much to read already)
b) IF he were to read it, he'd use his laptop, which he left here with me so he can't access it at all until tomorrow evening....

So if I can just get this done in the next 19 hours, I'll be OK! If he should happen to wander over to my blog and read my "plan", I can just give him the gift six hours early.
If you have a fact, joke, mathematical equation...anything involving the number twelve that cannot be found on Wikipedia and feel like sharing, you will have both my gratitude and a spot on my page of the "12 Most Helpful People" who helped me pull this stupid thing off. (Hurry, though! I'm not listing 13 people!)

(Yes, I will)

...or are you TOO BUSY?

In my hesitation to get off of the computer and on with my day, I found this.

(I find it just a little disconcerting that I can relate to a frog.)

Are you busy?

Are you glad it’s Friday? Do you still have many things to accomplish today? I should be shopping, wrapping and putting together some sort of amazing anniversary present.
So, of course, here I am…online.

Are there any other procrastinators out there? Here are a few links to visit so you’ll look busy!

Hanukkah Trivia Quiz
(I am embarrassed to admit I only got 60% correct with a score of 167 points)
Christmas Trivia Quiz
(I managed to do a little better here at 80%, 238 points)
December Trivia Quiz
(I should have quit while I was ahead with the Christmas quiz, as I ended up with 70%, 310 points on this one)

Have a fantastic Friday! I have to go now because I am really, really busy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Tiny tyrant

Son: He's mean and always comes to me and hits me.
Mom: Can you stay out of his way?
Son: He finds me.
Mom: Does he bother other kids in the class?
Son: Not "S." S is the boy in my class that never listens. That's why they're friends. The people who don't listen are friends and they don't like the good kids.
Mom: Does this mean boy hit your friend "J?"
Son: No, because J is strong and can defend himself.
(J does have two older siblings, so I'm sure this is true. My son takes Taekwondo but has not made the connection that any of those cool moves could be used defensively.)
Mom: You're strong, too. Maybe you could block him.
Son: I could kick him!
Mom: (Whoops!!) No, no! I don't want you to kick him.
Son: He hits me!
Mom goes through the whole 2 wrongs don't make a right discussion and reminds son that if he is seen kicking, he will be the one to get into trouble.
Daughter: Maybe you could just run away from him!
Mom: (likes daughter's suggestion but is afraid it won't solve the problem) You could try that. Have you asked him not to hit you?
Son: No
Mom: Maybe he thinks you're really tough and you don't mind. (Mom is hoping the "hits" are like a punch on the upper arm). Tell this boy it hurts and you want him to stop.
Son: Maybe I could try to give him a hug!

Mom is speechless for a moment but gives her son a big hug!

(I don't want to make my child "easy prey" but I just love his optimism!)

This has just started since the children are playing indoors more often with other classes. (When it was warmer and they played outside more often, this did not seem to be a problem.)

For the second time this week, my son did not want to go to school because he did not want to deal with the mean kid. So I did talk with his teacher this morning. I did not have his name but when I told her it was "S's friend from another classroom" she knew who I meant. Apparently she said "he is a tiny child who thinks he's better than the other kids and picks on all of them." (My son will never be the tallest kid on the block but the fact that a preschool teacher mentioned that the bully is "tiny" at least makes me feel better that he isn't holding my son up against the wall by his shirt collar!)

Apparently this boy has been shuffled between classes a couple of times for similar problems. His parents have been told but don't believe their little darling could be causing trouble.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I went to public school

I do get pleasure out of the little things. (Sometimes, I'll admit, they're rather inane little things). My mother, rather than tell me that outright, would often just grin and say little things please little minds!

I am not pleased today and it is over the littlest thing.

Somehow I have made it this far in life assuming (there I go again) that "littlest" was not a word. When my daughter triumphs over her brother in a board game or race, as I remind her to stop gloating (he may be bigger than her one day), I've also quietly told her that he is smaller but he isn't "littler" because that is not a word.

So she greatly enjoyed her victory yesterday when I tried to correct her homework. She was to write five sentences, using at least two spelling words in each sentence. I told her to fix number two because she had written "littlest," which is not actually a word.

She presented her spelling list and showed me that it is not only a word but also a spelling word this week!

As I muttered comments about education today and her teacher's inattention, I pulled out the big dictionary. (To be fair, the little one leaves lots of things out!)
There they were. Both littler and littlest are apparently legitimate, correct words in the English language.

I then decided that these must be recent additions.(You know, the way that "muggle" is now in the dictionary too after the success of the Harry Potter series). However, I was wrong once again. My little dictionary was revised in 1984 and the words are there too. Even if it was new then, I've had plenty of time to get up to speed.

Maybe my little mind is a bit littler than I thought.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The REAL reason for the season

All right. I've whined publicly about how busy this month gets and hopefully I've gotten the complaints out of my system. Because, of course, I really don't have much to complain about.

I do know what is important. I enjoy the fact that my children are starting to understand just a little bit too. While the five-minute discussion I had yesterday with my daughter about whether or not the baby Jesus should be placed in the Nativity display now or Christmas Eve does not constitute a real philosophical debate, we were discussing what it is we are celebrating.

Yet after reading a particular post yesterday afternoon, I still find myself wondering if we stress the really important aspects enough. While I am still shocked to hear that some churches will be closed on Christmas Day, I cannot cast any stones at anyone else. While my family attends Mass each Christmas, I will admit that we attend the "children's Mass" on Christmas Eve rather than making it there early Christmas Day. It is convenient. The children actually pay attention to some parts so we have a chance to relax and pay attention too. We say our thanks and our prayers that evening so we don't have to pull hyper children or our exhausted selves away from the packages and stockings early the next morning.

So if I don't make the effort on Christmas morning, I cannot deride others for not going either. Ministers have families too. I understand that they would want to share a quiet Christmas morning with their families. However, I also assume (which is a bad thing to do) that ministers are in touch with both the real reason for celebrating Christmas and the needs of their church families. What message will it send to the people who ARE willing to go to church early on Christmas morning when they find that the doors to their church, rather than being open and welcoming, are locked?

Thanks, Q, for posting the story!

'tis the season...

...the busy season, that is! It's a good thing I'm not baking or traveling this year or I might forget the fact that we celebrate holidays this month!

We've made it through a preschool holiday concert and a Christmas piano recital, along with various December birthday parties for young friends. Just one more Christmas concert this week, Taekwondo testing and a few more holiday parties! Somewhere in there I really will send out Christmas cards. Really. I will.

Hubbie has been traveling the past two weekends and the upcoming weekend is no exception...but he will return before our wedding anniversary on Sunday!

We are very blessed. We have many reasons to celebrate and wonderful friends to share our food, fun and holidays with. We will attend Mass together as a family and thank the Lord for all of our blessings. I will say thank you, I will behave and when we get home I will leave my list out for Santa.

All I want for Christmas is a nice, long nap!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Greetings from the world beyond

I have returned, briefly, from the world outside of the world wide web!

I cannot blame my absence entirely on the hustle and bustle of the season, though that might be part of it. I regret to admit I've had nothing inspiring to share. I've visited other blogs here and there this week but I'm sorry to say I had nothing to add.

At least the mental stagnation has not been complete! I HAVE gotten some writing done! I'm very excited and will have to keep this short to MAKE myself get back to the WIP. Almost every year, somewhere in our family Christmas letter, I tell my friends and family that I'm still at work on "the novel." While it would indeed be a Christmas miracle to be able to tell everyone this year that I have a completed draft, I'd like to see how close I can get before the end of 2005!

One quick update--our son had his very first Christmas concert last night with his preschool class. For my family members who have seen the video of our daughter's first preschool concert (she was a pale, frightened, shy child who finally managed to whisper a few lyrics at the very end), I can tell you that her little brother's first performance was quite the opposite! He had a blast!

It's cold and snowing here today. Though the kids are in school, they're thrilled and are asking for playdates after school as they're sure to have enough snow for snowballs today!

I hope you can pause for a moment on to remember this somber occasion in American history but also go on to have a great day!