Sunday, December 31, 2006

It stopped raining!

The first snow this winter arrived on the last day of the year!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Quality time

On our last flight home, my husband sat between our children and let me have the aisle seat opposite them. (Although my daughter still talked to me, (I was not obligated to entertain them across the aisle!) So while my husband had the pleasure of additional family time, I deliberated whether to read or try to work on a crossword puzzle. I never got to either one.

As usual, I greeted the person sitting next to me. We exchanged the usual information--where we were headed and where "home" is. What was unusual--at least for me--was that the mention of our destination launched us into quite a trip down memory lane for the woman beside me.

She grew up very near where we live now. She knew Fort Riley "back when it was very beautiful" and shared stories of watching the calvary march near her home. She recalled family reunions with her cousins from all over Kansas, remarking that "you all probably don't do that anymore." That phrase popped up every so often--sometimes it was accurate but in some cases, I was able to assure her that not everything has changed.

My companion from row 17 will be celebrating her 82nd birthday next week. While she happily recalled many good times with her sister and cousins (who have all passed away), about halfway through the flight she was wiping the tears away. I apologized for bringing up painful memories but she just patted my knee saying, "No dear. Thank you for letting me reminisce a little." She had only good things to relate but after each story, she'd remind me that she is the "only one left."

I tried cheering her by reminding her that she'd just visited her niece and her family. Her grand-niece is attending KSU which is not far and she has dear friends in Kansas City. She'd nod but repeat that she was the only one left, making sure that I understood her immediate family and old friends are all gone. She has been invited to move closer to her niece but said she'd rather stay where she is as it's near her burial place. I nodded, saying I hoped she would not need it for many more years but that it must be a comfort knowing that is settled. She smiled. She described a family burial spot, out in the country, where all of her family is buried together. There is a beautiful view; it's peaceful. And she settled back for a moment, quite serene.

We saw her twice more in the airport and my daughter spotted her first: "Look Mom! There's your friend!" I never asked her name but I'll think of her whenever we drive by the farms beyond the Army post.

I learned quite a bit about the place we live now but there was a larger lesson in her few minutes of silence. She spent a few sad, fearful moments realizing that she had been left behind but she spent just as much time happily anticipating joining her family again.

Delayed Christmas wishes!

I hope your holidays were wonderful! Belated warm wishes for Chanukah and Christmas!

I finally got the Christmas letters out but did not get back on the blog before we left town. We went to San Antonio to visit some of the hubbie's family for Christmas. We stayed with his parents and spent much of Christmas Day at his brother's house. Our kids loved having time with cousins they haven't seen in quite a while and we got to relax and catch up a little!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Personal apologies

For my readers who also know my last name and are expecting Christmas cards from me: SURPRISE! They won't get to you by tomorrow. (I know, that is not a surprise).

Further apologies--you won't get a card. After spending most of this week trying various ways to create beautiful, creative cards -- I can't get them to print right. Even my attempts to print the perfect photo to send with a card met with no success. I do at this time every year...I give up. I cut and paste our photo on a Christmas letter and print that instead. However, at least in years past, I have purchased cards and slip the letter inside. I have not made it that far this year.

You will get a Christmas letter from us this year. At least, I hope it gets to you this year!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

13 years

Thirteen may sound like an unlucky number but I don't know another way to get to fourteen!
(Our 13th wedding anniversary was officially yesterday but I'm always a bit behind...)
Happy (Belated) Anniversary, Sweetie!
13 Numbers Detailing 13 Years...
and only 1 Day Late!
17 years ago we had a 12 hour date and soon we were not dating anyone else.
16 years ago, I suggested that we could get married and you did not quite agree.
(It was not the enthusiastic response I was looking for.)
14.5 years ago you asked me to marry you and I agreed—though it was still a less enthusiastic response than you were hoping for!
13 years ago we got married.
12 years ago I suggested that we should not stay married but you did not quite agree. We made it through that and 10 years ago we talked about starting a family.
9 years ago we actually did and 8.5 years ago, our first child was born!
2.5 years later (almost 6 years ago) our second child was born!
Lately, I have suggested adding a 3rd child to our family but you do not quite agree.
We have a wonderful, loving family of 4 and life is good! I hope you agree!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Mea Culpa VI

I like to think that I am a nice person but I know there are people out there who would disagree. I cannot change the past, right? Perhaps it is better to go ahead and do the best I can each day rather than looking back.

Yet looking back is moving my novel forward. I had the idea to include one or two heartaches in the book—similar to personal ones—to work through them personally and give the novel some conflict. However, taking a closer look at the mistakes I made, the hurt I caused and then exaggerating those just a little makes for a more powerful story.

It makes it much more draining to write, too.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A marketer's dream

My son, of course, wants every toy advertised during his favorite cartoons on Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, etc.

When "grown-up" items are advertised--he wants them, too--for me. I hear "You should get that, Mom!" every time new cookware, laundry detergent or other helpful cleaning product is advertised.

I was afraid he thought I was a poor cook or his shirts weren't clean enough until yesterday. Sally Field was touting the benefits of Boniva and he voiced an even stronger plea: "You REALLY should get that, Mom!"

I'm just thankful that the ads for NuvaRing and male enhancement products usually air after bedtime.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Under construction

I am technologically challenged. So when it seemed that I could update the look of my blog quickly and easily---I should have known better!

I will try to regain the comments that were posted before today. If I succeed with that, maybe I'll put a few pretty buttons back on the site.

It's another work in progress...

Friday, December 01, 2006

I gave it a shot

I have always gotten more done when a deadline is fast approaching. Some of my best papers in college were written hours before they were due. That's my story, anyway and I'm sticking to it.

So it's no wonder that I wrote many more words today than I've written all month.
There were several days this month when I wrote no words at all. Seeing how many I really CAN write in between laundry, dishes, picking kids up, etc. has at least taught me an important lesson. While I always have plenty of excuses, if I just park myself in the chair, I CAN write. In fact, I learned today that I can watch my son at Taekwondo while fingers are flying on a laptop...who knew? I wrote 3 pages in 20 minutes. Who woulda thunk it?

Unfortunately, it's a lesson I've learned a little too late. There are twenty-seven minutes left before the Nano deadline--and I still have 12, 527 words to finish to "win." So I will not have a pretty icon to post and show you that I can do it.

But I will do it. I will pick a new date and stick to it and have the book done. I will even post excerpts for all to read. But not tonight. Of the 37,473 words you see over there to the left---over 9,000 were written today! If only I had started off that way...

Oh, well. Congratulations to all of you out there that finished in time and won!!! Good for you! I am impressed and hope to join you in the winner's circle next year!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Brrrrring it on!

Though it was a rainy morning when I took the kids to school, their sweatshirts were too warm! It'll hit 71 degrees today! The sun is shining now--it is gorgeous!

We've all gotten over the sniffles, colds, coughs and are enjoying this weather--while it lasts!

The high should be 39 degrees tomorrow and the snow showers are on the way!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

If a picture is worth a thousand words... many do you think I could justify in my NaNo novel? ;)

At least if 50,000 words = a novel, I should have half of a novel written soon!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I try to say thank-you to God every day. Today, I am especially grateful.

I am thankful:
  • for my family
  • that my family is healthy.
  • that my husband is not deployed.
  • that we have plenty to eat. (While I am already planning what I'll have to do to undo what I'll eat today, I hope everyone is able to get something to eat today).
  • that my children could help us provide a Thanksgiving meal for a family in need. I am thankful that we are able to help someone else but also thankful that my children have at least an inkling of how lucky they are.
  • to be home with my family today. Even if we are not physically with our extended families, at least our immediate family is all together, safe and happy.
  • that the hubbie let me sleep this morning, while he got up with the kids!
  • that I was able to shower and write 500 words--in the same day--even before lunchtime!
  • for this BEAUTIFUL day!! We've had fall weather, and the leaves have been beautiful but today is GORGEOUS! It should reach 70 degrees today and the sun is shining. I sort of wish we could eat Thanksgiving dinner outside! We'll have to settle for an after-dinner walk, instead!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I can't bend spoons, either

Staring at the word count -- willing it to spontaneously increase on it's own -- just isn't working out.

So I need to squeeze all of my creativity into the "novel." (I have to use the term loosely. I really want to call it a Novel (with a great, big capital N) but at 20,000 words it does not qualify). So back to work I go. I'll come up with a more creative post here next week!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Math was never my thing

So now that I'm two-thirds of the way into November, I'm finally one-third of the way through the NaNo novel!

That's it. I've got to go write!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Dreaming of higher word counts

I currently have 13,013 words written in the novel. Is that a bad sign? (I'm not so much into omens but I ran the word count up a little writing a scene about a dream...)

I'll get that word count up--as soon as I refill the coffee cup--so it won't last long. It's just a good sign that the numbers are going up, right?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Back in the middle of things

We made it back on Sunday and got my mother-in-law back home on Monday. However, it takes me longer and longer each time we leave to get back into the routine! While I'm thankful the hubbie had Monday off, it throws my routine off just a little.

The trip went well. Notre Dame won the game so it was a pleasant trip! ;) We were able to visit with friends and that was fun! We met one of the hubbie's former classmates and his wife and drove down to Colorado Springs with them. We were able to meet up with another friend/classmate the day of the game.

Of course, I was more excited to reconnect with Jen--a friend from highschool that I haven't seen in years! I was able to meet her two little girls as well. Her oldest reminds me of my oldest a few years ago! She finally warmed up to me--even let me take several photos of her--and then I got a few of her face! (The first several are of the back of her head as she'd smile and then turn away just as I snapped the picture!)

It was really wonderful to spend time with them--even if it was just breakfast. I'll have to get my kiddos over there before we move further away again.

I bought a new novel to read on the trip but I have not made much progress on the NaNo novel since we left. Thursday morning is the first morning this week I did not have some other obligation so I intend to spend it with the laptop.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Old friends, new babies, reunions and a football game

We may all be scattered to all parts of the country now but it is a week to think of old friends from home!

This week, Aaron became a father for the first time! Congratulations, Aaron and Kathy--and welcome, Emelia Louise!

If that were not enough excitement for one week, Kris became a mother for the first time! Congratulations Kris and Dayne and welcome,Delaney Joy!

This small world we live in seems smaller every day thanks to the world wide web and it's great. I have already seen pics of both beautiful baby girls--and their adoring parents! How awesome is that?

Speaking of sharing beautiful pics on the web, another mutual friend has been sharing pics of her family for a while. I finally live "close" to her (she's in Colorado, I'm in Kansas) but I haven't been able to visit -- until this weekend!!

The hubbie and I are headed to Colorado Springs to watch Notre Dame play Air Force and I'll catch up with Jen while we're there! My mother-in-law is here with the kids and my daughter is a little bummed that she can't even look for us on tv.The game is not being broadcast on any major networks this time so you won't see me waving. (I know many of you will be hard at work on NaNo novels or gazing at newborns so you won't be watching football anyway but I'll catch up with all of you in a few days!)

In the middle of things

We're in the middle of the country and today we're squeezed between a few headlines, too.

Donald Rumsfeld will be speaking in the Little Apple today! (I won't make it to this one in person, either but will be checking it out here!)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


It was silly for me to stand in the soup aisle the other day, scanning the ingredient lists on seemingly vegetarian soups in an attempt to avoid chicken or beef stock.

I sniffed, coughed, sneezed and searched and finally succeeded in finding a few that looked good. I brought them home and heated a bowl of portabello mushroom soup, hoping to ease my sore throat.
It was delicious but I didn't feel much better.

I should have just gone for the chicken soup.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


It isn't dishonest if you're writing fiction.

I signed up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and do have a few novel ideas percolating. However, since I've been working on one particular concept now for a couple of years, it seems senseless to put a huge amount of time and effort into a new project. Right?

I'm justifying it by saying it is new--in a way. I've decided to rewrite the whole thing from someone else's point of view. So I'm using the same characters and a modified version of the same plot but I am reworking the whole book.

The website challenges you to write 50,000 words in a month. Is it dishonest to write that many words about an idea that was in the works before November?

Let me know what you think. If I'm delusional or just plain wrong...I've still got the rest of the month to start over honestly!

I did manage to write 1,200 brand new, never before seen words today. So either way, it's a good day.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sometimes it feels like somebody's watching me!

No more excuses!

Though I had some good ones lined up for only writing a paltry 85 words yesterday!

1. I honestly did have a fever.
2. I had to pick my son up early from kindergarten as he claimed to not feel well enough to stay.
3. I went to Mass at the kids' school. (I usually do anyway but on All Saints Day, I thought I should go...even with a low fever).
4. I was really, really tired.
5. Had to pick up a friend so she could watch my daughter's gymnastics class! (It was my daughter's friend...not mine).
6. Had to spend time arguing about bringing the friend to gymnastics only--no playdates.
7. I had to remind my son to eat. And go to the bathroom. And drink. (If this wasn't normal, I'd wonder if they messed with his ears when they were taking out his tonsils).
8. I was looking up the symptoms of the plague to see if I could get more sympathy claiming to have a fictional ailment on my blog rather than running up the fiction word count on the novel.
9. I did not drink enough coffee!!!
10. Did I mention that I was really, very tired?

However, I'm working today! Well, only 65 more written before I made the unwise decision to get online but I cannot procrastinate anymore. I said I would write a novel before I died and as it turns out, there may not be much time left!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

I don't sew. Costumes I make look a lot like Charlie Brown's ("I had a little trouble with the scissors.")

So I'm going That won't work for the kids but I don't want them to end up uttering another famous line from the show, ("I got a rock,") so they have store-bought (or rather, internet-bought) costumes.

Anakin Skywalker and his big sister, the Snow Princess, are ready! Are you?

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A doctor's son, indeed

C's question for months has been "how do you see in Heaven?" While it's a tough idea for me to understand, C seems to grasp that your body stays here when you die and your spirit goes to Heaven (let's hope)! He's been trying to understand how you can see your family in Heaven--and see God!--if your eyes are still down here.

The latest question--at least every other night--has been: "Who made God?"
My answer--"God did," is hard enough when you're 36--so apparently I have not entirely convinced my 5-year-old.

The conversation last night went like this:
C: "I know your body doesn't go to Heaven when you die but does your heart go up to Heaven?"

The hubbie did not miss a beat. "Sure, son! Your heart is part of your soul, so it goes to Heaven."

C nodded, thought for a moment, then asked: "What about your bloodstream?"

Friday, October 27, 2006

God complex

Can you have a "God complex" at the age of five?

C realizes the world does not revolve around him. He's a compassionate kid.
He is saying his own version of the Lord's Prayer, however. Of course, words like "trespass" are difficult when you're five but that isn't the word he's changing.

C's version:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed be my Name.
My kingdom come,
My will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
But deliver us from EVIL.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Jane, stop this crazy thing!

Stop the world. I don't even need to get off. I just want to "pause"--like the kids do with their DVDs--I just want to stop for a little while! I need a Calgon moment!

The boy is recovering from his tonsillectomy; he swears his throat doesn't even hurt a little and doesn't want to take medicine. The girl has a cold and cough. She took her medicine. She keeps reminding me: "I can have more in 4 hours. I can have more in 3 hours and 50 minutes. I can have more medicine in 3 and half hours." She's a Triaminic junkie, apparently.

At least they take turns with the crying, the arguing, the whining. Only one person has gotten physically sick on the sheets--he waited until I'd changed them twice already (two spills).

We're better. I couldn't find any Calgon so we all had pudding.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

C - 2

C had his tonsils removed Monday morning. He is doing quite well. (Of course, after being rewarded with a new Star Wars toy and Star Wars movie to watch during recovery, who wouldn't hang in there?)

We knew that both tonsils were large but apparently they were larger than anyone thought! This kid is going to be so much better off! (After he gets through this week!)

N woke early Monday morning to tell me she had a sore throat and cough but recovered after a little breakfast and has made it to school both mornings so far. She is enjoying the extra ice cream in the house afterwards, too--it's good to live with a patient with a sore throat! And when we get him to take those nice drugs they sent home with him, he does alright! If they could just send home some nice drugs for mommies, we'd be all set! ;)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

20-17 = a Good day!

...and there is joy and peace in our home! (We weren't so sure there for a while...)

My BIL and niece attended the game so there are many more happy relatives out there, too!

Thursday, October 19, 2006


I wanted to post a thank-you note to our Guardian Angels! (And I apologize for wondering the other day if my angel was this guy!)

Maybe it was my son's angel. Maybe the hard-working cherubim belonged to my son's friend who was also in the backseat. Maybe it was a team effort.

I could already see the front end of my car slamming into the driver's side of his car. I slammed the brakes as hard as I could but I knew we could not avoid hitting that car.

I'm still not sure how we missed it but one of those angels must be very thin!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The polls are closed--thank you for your votes!

There is no place like home. The definition of "home" can change, however! This upcoming move has been a new challenge in that we expect to really make this new town our home. We've moved a few times with the Army and enjoyed each place we've been; however, it is easy to find the positives when you know your time is limited. We knew we'd be moving again.

At each new assignment, we reasoned that we were learning more about what areas of the country we liked most. Having rented and owned a couple of houses now, we thought we were learning what would be most important to us when looking to settle somewhere.

Yet we are moving somewhere we have not lived before. While we agree on a few features, we're finding that the some important aspects of our new "home" are different for both of us.

It will be a new adventure--in Lafayette, Indiana!

I was talking to a friend in the grocery store the other day and telling her we were heading to Lafayette. A woman was standing patiently nearby so I thought I was blocking the items she was looking for. I stepped aside, and she moved, too. She was waiting for me to finish my conversation. As soon as I did, she put a hand on my arm and said "when are you moving to Indiana?" I told her we'd be moving to Lafayette in the summer and her face lit up. Both she and her husband attended Purdue many moons ago and still have dear friends in the area. She was very excited to tell me about how much we will love it. I'll take that as a good sign!

Friday, October 13, 2006

I am not a good rememberer!

Both of my children know that if there is anything important that I need to remember, I need to have it written down. My son's kindergarten teacher seemingly made this easy--sent out a snack calendar. It is on the refrigerator. I still forgot. I suck. He was supposed to bring snacks on Tuesday. I remembered on Thursday.

I have all sorts of excuses to reassure myself that I am not already in the midst of Alzheimer's. The hubbie had the day off on Monday--which throws my week off. We were finalizing decisions on which job he would accept. We had guests coming Tuesday night and I was thinking about when they'd arrive. In the back of my mind, I knew there was something else happening on the 10th but couldn't put my finger on it. Until the 12th.

I felt horrible and apologized to my son. He looked sad for a moment and mentioned, " teacher said I was supposed to bring snack that day. You are not a good rememberer, Mommy."
However, that was it! While I still feel terribly guilty, he's fine. His teacher did not scold me or even shake her head. She patted me on the back and sympathized--"you've got a lot going on right now! Just as long as you decide to stay here and not move, we'll be fine!" (More guilt but along different lines...)

I can add this to my growing list of qualifications for Worst Parent of the Year award. At least this latest disappointment was towards my son and not my daughter (who has both an excellent memory and is quite skilled at making me feel guilty, often with high drama). My son is only five, he's pretty laid back and going by the papers and library book that traveled to school and back in his backpack for three days straight without being turned in--I've got a running chance that he'll forget this event, too.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall?

We were accused of bringing "Texas weather" back to Kansas with us when we returned from College Station. It was 95 degrees here the day after we returned!

Though the leaves have been changing lately, I've wondered if was a sign of Fall approaching or if they were just over-cooked. However, the winds changed in the last two days---blowing in cooler weather from the north and relatives from the south!

It was wonderful to see my aunt and uncle last night--even if they had to do a little shopping on the way to our house so they could bundle up a bit! I am so glad they could stop by for a visit but between packing for warmer temps and finding that the heater in their truck was not functioning, they may refer to this visit as The Big Chill! (Soon, my aunt will be back in sunny Florida and will likely be grateful that she is not in Kansas anymore!)

So it looks like Fall has finally arrived in Manhattan, Kansas. Or perhaps a small dose of winter? We have a "freeze warning" in effect this week, too!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I never could diagram a sentence.

Your English Skills:
Punctuation: 100%Spelling: 100%Vocabulary: 100%Grammar: 80%

Does Your English Cut the Mustard?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Karma Chameleon

While my dogma has good strong legs, it can't outrun my karma! While I worried about my karma well before Earl made his list, perhaps I should follow his lead!

OK--so Friday's events weren't bad but I started to wonder...

We all headed to school Friday morning. After dropping the kids off, the hubbie noticed that one of the tires on the car was noticeably lower than the other three. I shrugged it off, saying I'd fill it later and talked him into going to the all-school Mass with me. (The plan included saying a few prayers before taking him to breakfast to make our final decision on the big move). After Mass however, we came out to find the tire almost entirely flat. We filled it at the closest gas station before heading home to get his car. I drove his car and met him at Sears where he was already talking to a guy about my tire.

We learned that there had been a large nail in my tire. As we got ready to leave, he noticed that one of his tires was low. They found a screw in his tire.

I'm not real good with odds but I let him do all the driving today.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mea Culpa V (I've got to stop numbering these)!

While a little caffeine gets the inspiration going...too much causes me to post too often, with complete disregard for accuracy. While I did get a few pages completed on the WIP, I also posted recklessly...with complete disregard for spelling.

I'm sure the poor people over at FOX simply had a typo and did not catch it. Kinda like when I tried to give Marrit credit for her witty comment but misspelled her name and did not notice.
If I can change an "a" to an "e," I'm sure busy tv producers can miss a "D" that should have been an "R." There are certainly a few larger issues to ponder today!

(Marrit ~ I apologize! I enjoy your comments and am sure you don't have to rely on Breakfast Blend or French Roast to get your mind percolating!)

No spin zone

I'm sure the hard working fact checkers just wanted to make it immediately clear the Foley had resigned. They wanted to let us know that he is a de-republican now.

(It's bouncing around the blogosphere. Kudos to Merrit for coming up with the "O Really? Factor!")

What are you reading?

My sister enjoyed a book I'd mentioned and asked for another recommendation! (Thanks, H!) That made my day. (When we were younger, it seemed this sister did not like to read much. Now she's reading and asking for my opinions!)

I have not yet posted a book review for The Red Tent. Hopefully I'll manage that soon! (While it's great to leave home for a few days, it seems it takes me twice as long to catch up on things when we return!) So in case I don't get to that in the near future, I'll just say it was excellent and I highly recommend it.

When we traveled to Toronto recently, the hubbie and I were on different flights. It was exquisite to have a little time by myself (amid a hundred or so other passengers) to get into another book! (Of course, I love spending time with my husband without the kids but there was plenty of time for that after the plane landed!) I did not have time to finish the book but I'm nearing the end of Beloved. I can already highly recommend it as well and will say more when I finally reach the end!

While I still have a few books in my TBR pile and many more on my list, I'm always looking for great titles to check out (and pass along)! So what are you reading? My sister and I want to know!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Return from Aggieland

We are back. We went to visit College Station to help make our decision whether to move to Lafayette, Indiana or College Station, Texas. We were fairly sure we wanted to move to Indiana but felt we owed College Station a visit. When we drove through in July, I thought there was nothing other than Texas A&M in this town in the middle of nowhere.

This trip, it felt comfortable--same weather and many of the same stores as they have "back home." (Even though I've lived elsewhere for almost as many years as I lived there, it's still "home," right?)

What fun! OK, looking for "signs" as to whether or not we belonged there, I found my first negative leaving the airport. It was, in fact, a street sign--but a sign, nonetheless! George Bush Drive. I can't drive that every day.

However, playing in the outdoor pool and getting a little sun during the last week of September was a very positive sign!

The real estate agent helping us was very cool. (A t.v. star, too!)
Natalie seemed a little jealous that he and C hit it off right away, until she and Clay talked closets in one of the houses we saw. "He loves shoes too, Mommy!" She found a new friend instantly! ;)

We liked the houses we saw in Texas more than the ones we were shown in Indiana. I really like the doctors and their wives.

However, the rest of my family enjoys four seasons and Lafayette seems to a better fit for the family. Not to mention the fact that the hubbie fell in love with Chicago while acquiring his EMBA and Lafayette is only 90 miles away.
Of course, College Station is within driving distance of much of the hubbie's family (scattered throughout Texas and Louisiana) and I have good friends in Houston (90 miles away).

Not 100% sure either way ...we're still taking votes!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

We're off...again

I'm always a bit off, anyway...but we are headed out of town once more! We leave for College Station in the morning and will return Saturday.

Have a great week!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Take your time!

My aunt emailed me the "world's easiest quiz." Now you know with a title like that, you ought to take your time, right?

Go ahead. See how you do. I'll wait.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

We're back!

We returned Wednesday; the kids and I drove my parents to Kansas City today so they could return to Florida.

We saw old friends, ate great food, drank too much wine and had a great time in Toronto. We came home, ate great food, drank more wine and caught up with my parents! ;)

Additional photos and details will be forthcoming!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Packing, washing, stressing...but almost ready!

My parents are coming in this weekend as we head out! The hubbie and I are flying to Toronto on Saturday for a conference (his) and will return on Wednesday.

My oldest has started to test us again lately. (When she was younger, I called it "testing her limits. " I think now she is trying to test ours!) It'll be interesting to see if she settles down for a few days with my parents or if she tries to see what she can get away with while they're here.
(They've raised 5 kids and often help out with their 11 grandkids so she may be dismayed to learn that her new antics aren't all that new to them!)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I sense no disturbance in the Force

It isn't quite Christmas time but you would have wondered this morning. My son got up with a wide grin and admitted, "I will listen to whatever you tell me today without whining, Mom!"

No...I did not slip any potions into his toothpaste last night. He has been very eagerly awaiting the arrival of Lego Star Wars II in stores. He and his Dad went and put a $5 deposit down on one at GameStop on Sunday to be sure that there would still be one to buy after he got out of kindergarten today! He wasn't going to do anything to risk his chances of me driving him there to pick it up!

He has been giving anyone who will listen a daily countdown until TODAY! SEPTEMBER 12! It is FINALLY here!

And now it is quiet here at home. Not silent--I hear buttons clicking and cantina music wafting through the house--but young C is content.

Monday, September 11, 2006

In memoriam

From Aggieville to Aggieland?

We have one final visit to make before deciding where we want to move next summer. We've narrowed it down to Lafayette, Indiana; Kansas City, Missouri or College Station, Texas. We are visiting College Station once more at the end of the month.

Any advice on why we should choose one over the other (or why we should avoid one) would be much appreciated!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Recommended reading

I fell behind in folding the laundry, getting the dishes washed in a timely manner and blogging this week. Not just because I'm lazy but because I had to keep getting back to reading my book!

Though I try to read when I can, the hubbie took notice of this one. (Rather than remaining on my nightstand, this one has been traveling around the house--and in the car--with me.) The title had him intrigued--and intimidated.
"Is it about sex, or...?"
I just smiled. "Yes."

As he headed up to bed tonight, I was still in the kitchen with a glass of wine in one hand and my book in the other; he asked if I'd like Monk's Travels.
(Running joke/bet--I owe him. I thought he would enjoy The DaVinci Code and while I was reading it, told him he should. All he knew of it was what he'd heard on tv but said he'd read it if I agreed to read Monk's Travels. I agreed; he did read DVC but I have not yet read his book. I did pick it up one night, ready to fulfill my end of the bargain but after reading the back cover and first page, couldn't do it. (I had something better I was dying to get to.) He has given me grief for it and rightly so. However, he picked it up recently (he hasn't read it yet, either) and after reading the first page or two, he put it down himself! Still...a deal is a deal so I'll get to that one, too!)

It was also his way of asking if I thought he should read The Red Tent. I explained that I won't push this one on him but not because of a lack of quality. The main character of the novel, Dinah, makes a claim that "men knew nothing of the red tent or its ceremonies and sacrifices." Reading it now, thousands of years later and married to a man who was present for his childrens' births, I know it still contains things he'd rather not read. And he's a physician! So I won't add this to his TBR pile.

I do highly recommend it, though! I thank Mary P for recommending this! In her comments on another book review, she mentioned this book. I had not heard of it but looked it up online that day. I thought it sounded intriguing and added it to my wishlist. When I happened to pass by it at Target the very next day, I took it as a sign and grabbed it. (The kids were getting all sorts of school supplies that day so I decided I deserved something new, too!)

Of course, once I finish a good book, you know I can't stop with only one post about it. I just finished The Red Tent tonight so I'll likely have more to say about it tomorrow!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Living the high life

Living in a two-story house is great!
That is, until you have to paint.

PSA #2

For my readers with little ones, toy recall info:
Leapfrog toy recalled for entrapment dangers

Saturday, September 02, 2006

In which she explains her new seating assignment

I was quizzing my daughter on her spelling and vocabulary words. She was writing them down so fast, I could not read half of her words.

"Slow down! You won't get credit for spelling them right if your teacher can't read them."

This is a constant battle. She is very smart but not patient. She understands concepts easily and CAN spell but misses things on papers and tests because she won't take her time or go back and check her work.

Apparently she has at least heard our admonitions.

"I hurry. That's my thing," she tells me.

"That's your thing?"

"And I'm a talker."

Thursday, August 31, 2006

and I was like...ummmm...I don't think so!

A knack for dialogue? Hmmm....not so much.
I don't find this particularly accurate but maybe you will. What type of writer should you be?

You Should Be a Film Writer
You don't just create compelling stories, you see them as clearly as a movie in your mind.You have a knack for details and dialogue. You can really make a character come to life.Chances are, you enjoy creating all types of stories. The joy is in the storytelling.And nothing would please you more than millions of people seeing your story on the big screen!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I knew it was there, somewhere

Is a cluttered house a sign of a cluttered mind? My house looks fine.
(My hubbie is very neat.) I tend to help keep common areas clear--or he cleans up after me and then I can't find my stuff! The house is presentable. It is clear however, which nightstand, office and side of the closet belong to me!

Lately, I feel like I'm searching through my internal memory banks like I shuffle through my stacks of papers. (I know I put it here somewhere...)

However, I'm good at remembering the lives of characters I've read. (As well as dates from the Revolutionary war and phone numbers of childhood friends; I can remember all sorts of things that I no longer need!) So it's been bothering me that I could not recall a single detail of what appears to be a memorable book. Every once in a while, I read through book reviews or read a reference to Beloved. Oh yes, that's the one with....wait, that was when...ummm....that's not right.

It's been frustrating to try to figure out why I couldn't recall a single moment from Toni Morrison's award winning book. I can remember what happened to her characters in some of her other novels. I also know exactly where those books are on the bookshelf downstairs. I vividly remember seeing this book--with a bookmark in it--in my room!

However, I haven't been able to find it on any of my bookshelves. It happened to be on sale on a paperback rack in the front of Waldenbooks the other day so I brought it home with me. It's been sitting on my nightstand for the last week, waiting for me to finish another book. I've been glancing at it, thinking it's familiar but not quite right...maybe it's a different cover.

Maybe my last copy was blue. I know it didn't have this sticker saying it was "The single best work of American Fiction published in the last 25 years."

What? That can't be right. I talked about this book with my old roommate and that was right after Ms. Morrison won the Pulitzer prize so that was just...oh, wow. 1988. (Well, at least that wasn't 25 years ago. ) In 1988 L was my roommate, had recently changed her major to english and was...reading Beloved.

I'd forgotten I had promised to borrow it and read it later. I'd say 18 years qualifies as "later!"

Whew! I still haven't forgotten a story! ;)

'tis the season

Last week, as we neared the anniversary of Katrina's visit to New Orleans, I was worried that Ernesto was on his way to the recovering city.

Soon we learned that he was taking a different turn, heading for my family in Florida! Thank goodness he's remained fairly calm, refusing to batter the state as badly as some of his predecessors. While a tropical storm is nothing to ignore, I know everyone is glad he isn't stronger.

After viewing the emptiness and exasperation in some New Orleans neighborhoods last month, I'm thankful they won't be tested again yet. While residents there do not need the anniversary specials on CNN to tell them how much work still needs to be done, I pray that this hurricane season will continue to be a calm one in the Gulf.

We've had a few surprising thunderstorms this week but life in Kansas has otherwise been fairly tame. For my family and friends in Florida--stay safe. We'll be watching and praying that Ernesto leaves quickly.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


I've spent at least the last week lamenting the fact that my children do not understand how lucky they are. I've been talking about service projects or some way to show my children how good their life is. They say "thank you for all I have" each night during prayers but it's become something they say from memory rather than something more heartfelt. N believes not having a play date any time she'd like is a hardship and C is pretty sure that a "hard life" would be life with no video games.

I still haven't found a project to commit to yet but sometimes it takes just a moment to realize how lucky you are.

Another military wife who has a son in Taekwondo class with my son is often my reminder of how good my life really is.

While I wonder if my husband will leave work early enough to catch C's Taekwondo class, her husband is serving his second tour in Iraq.

After struggling to get my two kids in the car in time to get C to class in his uniform, I sometimes get a little frazzled. Until I get there and overhear her telling someone, "We have a really good life. I'm just a little tired today." (She has 5 boys and lives much further from the school.)

On Tuesday, she asked how I was doing and I grinned. "Both my kids are in school now, I'm great!"
"Have your boys started school yet?" I asked her.
"We homeschool."

She looked more tired than usual so I asked if everything else was going OK. She responded that it had been tough lately. I tried to remember when her husband was due back and thinking it should be September, I mentioned that at least it shouldn't be too much longer until she had the hubby back, right?

That's when I learned he'd been in a recent Blackhawk crash. He survived but lost many friends. He has recommendations to be sent home but others are trying to keep him there--they need pilots.

When I asked what I could do to give her a hand, she couldn't think of anything so I offered to at least have one or all of her boys over to my house to play (and give her a break). With that offer, her eyes lit up. Only one of her boys, M, is in C's class and the others don't really know my son. However, she said that M was having the hardest time dealing with everything and would probably love the diversion!

So we had him over yesterday. He is her adopted son. The only reason I mention that is because of a conversation he had with my son on the drive to our house. M asked about the gear shift on the floor of my car (I guess mom's Suburban has it on the steering wheel). He mentioned that his dad used to have a car like that.

My son (also 5 yrs old) turned to look at him.
"What did he do with the car?"
"He gave it to my old mom."
My son's eyes doubled in size. "Old mom?"
"Yeah. I live with my new mom now. One time, when we were waiting in the car, I said I just want my real mom but my brothers said that their mom is my mom."
"You have a new mom?" My son is still trying to comprehend this when he gets the next answer.
"Yep. Not wicked mom. She spanks us with a belt."

When the playdate ended yesterday, M told C that he is lucky. Why? Because C has video games.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I'm sorry (or Mea Culpa IV)

(I know some of you will be SHOCKED to find me apologizing!!)

I am sorry that I've missed some comments on some of my posts until today. I've tried to catch up but of course, this post will bump some posts off of the page. Rather than expect anyone to scroll through archives to see if I've found your comments, I've included a few below.

In particular, a few responses to this one:

Joey: I appreciate that you also can look back fondly on music from the 80s. However, the fact that you can put Guns n' Roses and 5th grade in the same sentence does not make me feel any younger! ;(

John: I'm senile but something seemed familiar about that car. Why I found that relevant while "Boys of Summer" was playing or while my daughter was blushing over some boy, I'm not quite sure but I'll think of it and get back to you.

Everyone: I subjected you to that "music" (I'm still not sure if I should be proud or horrified that I recognized each 80s reference in the video) so I will attempt to make up for it with this.

I feel better now.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Well, I did not complete the Book In A Week. It did inspire me to start a new writing routine and I did get work accomplished. Maybe I can complete the book in a month!;)

I have to get out of the house to get real writing done. There are simply too many distractions here. Yesterday there were errands to run and laundry to start so I did come home after dropping the kids off at school. By the time I'd completed errands, I only had 30 minutes before I had to pick up my son. I took the laptop to a coffee shop anyway, with no idea as to what I'd write when I got there. I bought a coffee, sat down and decided to work on the short story idea I had last week. From there, the fingers started flying and in 25 minutes, I had almost 700 words! (I am sure that most of them will be cut but it still amazes me how much work I can accomplish if I just get

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The reading comes later

C is holding up a copy of the Ten Commandments:

"Mom! This has all the stuff that I have to do."

"Well, yes. I guess that's true!"

"AND MOM! This tells me everything I'm supposed to NOT do!"

I'm nodding and grinning. He gets it!


"What's wrong?"


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dear old Golden Rule Days

The kids both started school this morning! It's only a half-day today but that's still a morning of freedom! ;)

It's time for some serious writing!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Just write!

Rene and Melissa are hosting a "Book in a Week" (BIAW) here.
The event began yesterday and I said I'd try but my total number of words yesterday was ZERO. (We were in Topeka for much of the day but the kids' behavior on the way home sucked any and all creativity out of me. Maybe I'll post about that sometime for your entertainment!)

I visited Villa in Tuscany today and Melissa has posted some inspiring quotes from writers.

So...if you're inspired, join me and see how much you can write in a week! Even if you don't think you can finish a draft of a book, these quotes will inspire you to write something! The week actually began yesterday but you can start today along with me!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Public Service Announcement--Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Inflammatory Breast Cancer. Have you heard of it? I had not until my sister emailed me the video contained on this site.

Here is another news clip from another city I lived in for quite a while.

Please watch one. Then tell someone! (Ask them to tell someone, too!)

BTW--this link continues to be available over to the left side of my site. Click often!

Friday, August 11, 2006

What type of dressing would you like on my lawn?

The rain did cool things down yesterday and the high today is only supposed to reach 95.

However, when you hear the a/c kick on and your windows are fogged up at 7am-- you know it's going to be a hot one!

The hubbie turned the sprinklers on as he left again this morning. He's trying to help bring the lawn back to life (after we forgot to set the sprinklers before leaving for 10 days). Rather than watering the lawn however, I'm pretty sure at this point we're just steaming the grass. Improving the salad for the grasshoppers, if you will.
(revision 8/12: It seemed just as hot when I was looking through the steamed windows of my air conditioned home but upon going outside, it was very pleasant. Everyone I spoke with said the same thing; though we agreed it seemed odd to keep talking about how much cooler it felt and how nice it was outside when the temperature was 95 degrees!)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Could it BE?

After yet another week of temps in the triple digits, it finally looks like rain! Today was the only day that there was no chance of rain in the forecast a day or two ago but I don't need advance notice!

I see clouds! I hear thunder! I know it's just the wind but the trees look like they're cheering! (As much as their yellowing, wilted leaves can cheer!)

There'll be days like this, my mama said

If we go to the pool when it opens, the lifeguards are playing what I assume are"hip," current hits. Most of them give me a headache.

When we go in the late afternoons, they play music I know. In fact, if I start nodding in time with the music or--heaven forbid--sing along, my kids nod to each other, knowingly. "It's an old song from the 80's," they say.

Around dinnertime--they play music I love--music that is just a bit older than I am. It's hard for my kids to fathom that great music was produced before electricity was invented but it's got a beat and they can swim to it. They find it amusing that I know all the words to those songs but I can't remember to bring their favorite beach towel to the pool.

When my daughter gets together with her best friends at the pool and they giggle over a boy, I smile--girls just wanna have fun.

I'm not old. The fact that I can't remember the right towels just means my brain is too full of classic song lyrics. As long as the kids are acting like 10,000 maniacs, if they could compose a little diddy about bringing Hello Kitty and Buzz Lightyear towels to the pool, I would learn the tune and maybe even remember the towels, too!

I'm still fairly young. The fact that my ears bleed when certain lifeguards play mind-numbing noise at 1:00 just means that I have different tastes -- not that I'm ready to sit on my front porch beginning sentences with phrases like, "back in my day..."

I'm not that young. When I spend much of the summer denying this, the universe finds a way to remind me. I found a great parking spot at the pool--which happened to be next to an avocado green Dodge Dart. We entered the pool area and I observed my daughter blush when a boy (same one referenced above) said "hey" to her. The background music the lifeguards had chosen at the particular moment was Don Henley's Boys of Summer.

Sadly, my background song for this summer might be more along these lines.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Unruly Monday

Mondays are mondays but yesterday? Wow.

I should have known better than to give up drinking the week before school begins. At the very least, I should have managed to not run out of coffee, too!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I finished the walk

I finished Walking the Bible on during the first leg of our trip. As I mentioned earlier, this book was a treat. Each time I opened his book, I was invited back into his quest.

I read the end of Feiler's journey as I began a smaller physical journey of my own. Vicariously traveling with him through biblical cities was intriguing enough; by the time I finished the book, those places were the focus of international news headlines as well.

Feiler and his traveling companion, Avner Goren, stop and read the stories of the Pentateuch in the spots where they are believed to have occured. In some instances, they find that the accounts in the Bible cannot be literally true; in each case, they find that the spirit, wisdom and universal truth of the texts are alive in the people and places they visit.

I started putting post-it-notes on the pages that I wanted to quote for you; I found, however, that I was collecting colorful tabs on every other page! Whether it is for the scholarly questions that Feiler asks the experts, his own spiritual journey or just for a deeper understanding of a region that is constantly in the news, you will learn something from this book. An added bonus is that it is genuinely entertaining!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

What color is your aura?

I found this over on Catherine's blog and thought I'd give it a try! What color is your aura?

Your Aura is Violet
Idealistic and thoughtful, you have the mind and ideas to change the world.And you have the charisma of a great leader, even if you don't always use it!
The purpose of your life: saying truths that other people dare not say
Famous purples include: Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Susan B. Anthony
Careers for you to try: Political Activist, Inventor, Life Coach

Friday, August 04, 2006


The big storm came on Wednesday evening and cooled things off. It was a mild day of only 90 degrees yesterday! We even had a breeze so we were a bit cool after getting out of the pool down the street! (The rains had even cooled the sauna-temperature pool water back down so it was a refreshing--yet not cold--dip!)

I hope you all are enjoying (and surviving!) the summer! These heat waves keep making their way across the continent but that gives you an excuse for a frozen treat, right?

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Pretty in pink

He plays well with his older sister but occasionally, stuff like this happens!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Please pray...again

I asked last year and Katrina's force did not destroy the city. We all breathed a sigh of relief.
Then the levees broke. I was so thankful that my kids got visit with Miss I, the hubbie's grandmother and to see New Orleans, in all of its glory, a month prior.

We just returned from New Orleans on Monday. Some areas are thriving and some are all but forsaken. My hubby was asking about rebuilding on his grandmother's street. My guess was that people would ride out this hurricane season to see what would happen.

I had no idea a storm was lurking as I uttered those words. The levees are fortified but I know the people are worried. If you have an extra moment when you pray tonight, please keep New Orleans...the Gulf your prayers.

Thank you.

14 days

During my bloghopping this morning, I found a brilliant idea over at Rene's and promptly "borrowed" her idea--putting a countdown to the first day of school over on the sidebar! (It's over there to the left--under "Just for Fun!")

While I am looking forward to that day with a certain amount of giddy anticipation, the countdown is also a reminder that I don't have much more time to justify slacking off. My claim is that it is hard to focus and really write when the kids are home. So I am dedicated to using the child-free hours during the school year to actually write. My youngest will be in kindergarten but it is only half-day. So the plan is to use the mornings to complete the novel.

14 days until I get the kids out of the house and kick myself into gear!

8 states, 5 pools, 3 visits and a funeral


Our second visit to Lafayette, Indiana went well. In fact, the hubbie did not have an offical "second interview." Our entire family was treated to dinner twice but much of the rest of the visit was aimed at impressing the kids and myself---knowing that the hubbie won't take a job in a place that does not interest the family. The kids enjoyed the city and loved the hotel pool. (The big selling point of this city for the kids is the new pool--with BIG, colorful water slides--at a city park!)

When we returned to KC, we rented a minivan so the kids were thrilled. We made it to Norman, OK that night and received the sad news about the hubbie's grandmother while we were there. While the hubbie mapquested the next leg of our journey, the kids and I visited the hotel pool.

The following evening found us in College Station, TX which is another possible future home for us. We did not get the grand tour but visited the city ourselves before going back to the hotel for another swim.

The next day's drive brought us to New Orleans. (Interrupted by the rental van breaking down in Lafayette, LA but with the help of two animated southern ladies at National Car Rental, we made it to our destination.) Before heading to the hubbie's sister's home for the night, we toured the lakefront area where his grandmother had lived. They have cleaned up quite a bit from what I hear but the area is almost a ghost-town. The store where Miss I shopped is still closed; houses bear a brown-orange line where the water line was and bright orange "x's" marking dates when the home was inspected. (One house had the added info: "10/4-cats removed.")

Saturday morning featured a sad drive back through this neighborhood on the way to the church but quite a reunion once we got there. Not only did we get to see many relatives but also quite a few of Miss I's neighbors. Where those neighbors were scattered and where they are all living now is another saga.

Sunday morning we made a L O N G drive to Springfield, MO and had a long, refreshing swim.

That long drive enabled us to have a short and sweet drive back to KC on Monday to pick up our car and then a quick 2-hour drive home.

The kids, while understandably tired, were hellions at the grocery store today so they've lost their pool priveleges.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

On our way...

Our flight to Indiana leaves tomorrow morning; we're heading to KC tonight to alleviate the morning rush. I don't know if we'll be heading to Texas or Louisiana after that; either way, we won't be back until next Saturday.

I took some great photos to share with my son's sweetie one day...Natalie had him dressed in a pink dress, shoes and wig! Maybe I'll post the pics when I get back; though I usually don't post pictures of my kids, you'd never recognize him on the street after looking at these photos! ;)

Have a great week!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A prayer request

For those of you who will say a few prayers tonight before you go to sleep: if you have a second, please include my husband's grandmother.

She has taken care of everyone else--including me--during her life. Now she is facing assisted living/nursing home care; while family is mystified as to why her condition is deteriorating, the beginning of this sentence was enough explanation for me. As kindred independent spirits, I understand her condition as her way of proving that there is another way. If I were her, I'd wave the white flag at this point, too.

We are scheduled to leave this weekend to visit Indiana for a second time to see if that is where the hubbie would like to practice next year. We are planning to head down to Texas immediately afterwards to visit his grandmother. I'd kept most of my suspicions to myself until tonight when the hubbie admitted that if she can't hold out until we get there, we will have plenty of time to see what and where other arrangments will be if she should pass.

I just wrote two very long posts about this amazing woman; I immediately deleted them. I meant each as a tribute; I did not mean either as an obituary, but that is what they began to sound like. While Miss I is 85, I had the privilege of meeting her uncle years ago---when he was 109. I am not counting this strong lady out yet but a few extra prayers never hurt anyone.

Thank you!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Empty nest

When the eggs hatched, I wondered if there were only three this year. (Two years ago, there were five babies.) A day or two later, I counted four little heads and from time to time this summer, I could count five open mouths. From my limited vantage point, it seemed that the last bird was crowded, smaller and being sat upon. (I'd be smaller too if my mom kept flying by and feeding a sibling who was sitting on me!)

This week, the birds appeared big, healthy, strong and ready to fly. (Though they'd perch on the very edge of that nest for a while before they'd go. It reminded me of my son learning to jump in the pool: "'m ready"

As the birds left, one by one, my husband stood by the window watching them.
"Whoa! That bird almost took a dive but both parents came at him from different sides!"
Good parents.

Soon, only the smallest bird was left in the nest. Rather than a big, fluffy chest full of feathers, his was notably sunken in; while I'm no veterinarian, the little guy did not look too healthy. This was the guy who'd been left in the back of the nest, obviously. My husband kept noting the lonely, scrawny bird. "Can't I go give him a cracker? That little guy can't fly."

While I understood his sentiment, I could not see any way to deliver meals to the bird without touching him. We kept waiting for his parents (who still brought a few things to the siblings sitting on the porch) to tend to this guy.

Yesterday morning--as I was bloghopping, actually--I heard a great deal of chirping, squawking and general bird commotion out on the porch. I nodded, thinking that the last hold out had finally left the nest and the family was bound for the trees.

I did not discover the actual reason for all that commotion later, when I remembered to go out to water the flowers. The little bird was still lying directly below the nest.

I still had a few hours before the hubbie would return home and I knew the kids would check the porch before then. Besides, after his vigil the night before, I couldn't ask him to handle it.

I did tell him later and got his standard response: "it's the circle of life." Indeed. However, if a bird I'd barely seen inspires such a long post, we might do well to hold off on getting a real pet just a bit longer!

Monday, July 17, 2006

What if God was one of us?

Or rather, what if Mary was one of us?

Of course, she was one of us. She was wiser and more patient than I’ll ever be but completely human, nonetheless. Two Women of Galilee imagines part of her life as she interacts with characters who make brief appearances in the Bible.

The main character, Joanna, suffers from consumption and has tried every treatment that Roman doctors or supernatural healers can provide. Her illness and curiosity lead her to followers of Jesus. When Joanna encounters Mary, she is surprised to learn that the Healer's mother is her cousin.

The story of their estrangement and reunion is based in the context of the Roman occupation. When the Romans took control, Mary’s father took his family out of the city and raised his daughter according to the ancient traditions. His brother, Joanna’s father, recognized an opportunity and kept his family in the city; they gave up their religious beliefs and pledged allegiance to Caesar. Assimilating with the Roman occupants, Joanna’s family became wealthy. She married Herod’s chief steward and her friend among the elite women of the court is Claudia Procula, Pilate’s wife.

It is a clever take on the events that led up to Christ’s crucifixion. Rourke gives her readers credit for being familiar with the Passion and does not re-tell that story but describes events that unfolded behind the scenes. For example, the Bible tells us that Joseph, a good and righteous man from Arimathea went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; this novel imagines how—and why—Joseph took care of the burial arrangements.

Rourke has applied a backstory to the gospels and seeks to remind us that everyone is here for a reason.
“Look to the whole story, not the small part that each person plays.” ~ from Two Women of Galilee

This is a good beach read or-- if you also happen to live in Kansas--a good backyard/poolside read! There are a few distracting typos but they might be caught by the time the book comes out in paperback.

Between Indiana and Texas lie Arkansas and Kansas

While we will be living in Kansas for another year, the hubbie is interviewing now to determine where he’d like to go when that time is up. Remaining here is an option but not a strong one; Kansas City is a contender but it is Kansas City, Missouri that holds the attraction.

I have been asked for my preferences, which include living near water and/or living in the South. My husband has tried to take these into consideration but he is not interested in living on a coast and is certainly not interested in returning to the “deep south.” Apparently our geographical proclivities are about as alike as our politics.

While second trips to Indiana and Texas are planned, we all made our first trip to Fort Smith, Arkansas this past weekend. The hubbie was willing to check it out as it is in northwest Arkansas (close to Oklahoma and Missouri) so he can claim it is not in The South. I was willing to check it out mostly because I was sure his claim was mistaken. I spoke with hospital recruiters and realtors on the phone before we left and could just tell that we would find sweet tea and grits available on restaurant menus.

In fact, at lunch on Saturday, a waitress asked for our drink orders and I ordered iced tea. She returned with everyone else’s beverage and then apologetically asked what I’d like again. She could not remember if I’d asked for sweet or "unsweet" tea. I asked sweetly for unsweetened tea. She returned once more to make sure she’d heard me correctly but never did return with any sort of tea.

Offers are similar in the cities on the short list so a large part of the decision is deciding what we want in a community. Indiana has four seasons but may get a bit cold for me; Texas has a few seasons: HOT, a little hot and warm—which may be more heat than the hubbie can handle.

We may end up settling on Kansas City simply because it is between the other two.

This is my B4B entry.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

On the road and in the air again

We leave in the morning for a quick trip to Arkansas. After we return, along with the promised "Between" post will be a review of Mary Rourke's Two Women of Galilee. The concept of the book is clever but the review is not. Yet. I'll revise, rewrite and post it on Sunday!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Between bloghopping and books...B4B is LIVE!

Blogging for Books is on! It's a week later this month so for those of us who were a little distracted with the holiday weekend, we did not miss a thing!

This month's topic is BETWEEN. You can think of something! ;)
Go. Write.
Details are here.

(I promise to enter this month as well. We're are heading out-of-town again this weekend so it may just be a midnight post on Sunday but I will make it this month. Stay tuned!)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The family is growing

Not our family, though we share part of the same house. This photo was taken a few days ago and you can only see a couple of babies here.

They've grown in just the last few days and I counted five open mouths this morning! I'm not sure if they're yelling "I'm still hungry," or "I want my own room!"

Saturday, July 08, 2006

An adventure at home

You can have adventures in your own backyard--or at the top of your stairs!

While some people travel to a summer home, my kids have constructed their own.

What's up, doc?

I have mentioned in previous posts how I occasionally let my yard go a little wild. While it is not quite a jungle, I wait until weeding will take hours before I actually get out there to do it.

This week I tackled what I kept referring to as "weeds" but it was actually a patch of bright, new, healthy grass--growing where I don't want any grass. (Much of my yard has brown (fried) patches or even holes right now but grass thrives in the spots I don't want it! (Along the edge of this rock wall, for example. Of course, I did not think to snap the photo until after I'd dug up the grass/weeds!)

Another resident of our yard has enjoyed the new grass. Yet while Bugs eats other areas of my grass down to the roots, he comes to this new patch for just a nibble. Maybe the new grass is sweeter and makes a nice dessert.

Bugs watched me from under the deck for a while, then inched ever closer, keeping a close eye on me as I dug up his salad bar. Maybe my attempt to clean up the yard was a little misguided. That rascally rabbit will have no choice but to eat more of the lawn now!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

You can read the text here.

Celebrate! Enjoy the day and be grateful for your freedom.

I'm blowing out candles today as well as lighting sparklers so I'm going to keep this short. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

It was the nightingale, and not the lark

I tried to use this line with my son the other morning. He can't read much beyond his own name yet, so quoting Shakespeare--even at 6:30am--did not impress him.

I tried to tell him to climb into bed with me to sleep for just a few more minutes but he protested.

"Hear that bird singing, Mommy? That's the bird that sings when it's time to get up!"

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

My knight in shining scrubs

I was mowing the grass when the hubbie came home last week but he had the difficult job. I asked him if he was interested in rescuing a damsel in distress. When he looked slightly befuddled, I explained that we had a dragon in our garage.

He responded simply, "another one?"

OK--so they don't breathe fire and they are not technically dragons but they take up a whole glue trap!

I will admit that this creature was in much more need of rescuing than I was but I know there is no way to actually remove him (or her) from the glue trap. After debating whether to leave him to squirm in the garage until he'd made it to greener pastures--flowing with ants and grasshoppers--or just put him out of his misery, I was happy to just let the hubbie take care of it. Always on the lookout for maidens needing assistance, he sweetly took care of the problem without sharing the details.

This time we did not put a new glue trap down. (While they are ostensibly rodent traps, we use them to catch bugs wandering under the garage door. I don't have nearly as much guilt about the pill bugs that get stuck. )

Monday, June 26, 2006

Construction fun!

The city came out Thursday to tear up our street and pour some new concrete.

The kids were thrilled and even took a few photos themselves:

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Summer days driftin' away

I should put a disclaimer on my blog that during the summer, I will offer more weekly posts than daily posts!

It was great to have my sister, brother-in-law and their kids here last week! While we always enjoy our visits "home" to Florida and love seeing everyone there, we do see everyone there! It was nice to have a little one-on-one time with one of my sisters and her family. My kids had a blast!

Upon completion of kindergarten, my niece learned a song with words put to the tune of "Summer Nights" from Grease. It was extremely cute but the song has been running through my head for a week now!

Father's Day was relaxing. After Mass, we drove the hubbie out-of-town to a community theater production of CATS. While it was a bit too long for C, everyone seemed to enjoy it and we found a new Italian restaurant afterwards so it was quite a success!

The hubbie has another interview this weekend and this time we will go, too! It is in Kansas City, so it is not too far but we enjoy playing in the "big city" once in a while!

N and C had their first official swimming lesson yesterday. (We have been swimming but I thought some "formal" instruction could not hurt--especially as C just put his face entirely under water this summer.) However, the thunder is roaring this morning and the rain is falling so we may be staying in this morning.

I hope you are enjoying your summer, whether or not it includes any type of vacation!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Monday morning update

Birthday parties (both N's and friends') were fun and we've been spending time at the local pool.

Hubbie returned from another interview on Friday evening. He really likes both practices that he's interviewed with so far (still a few more to go) but it looks like these are at the top of the list. Both have their advantages so it may come down to a preference in climate---one is in Indiana and the other in Texas. We will accompany him on the next two trips--Kansas City (not far) and Arkansas--so I'll keep you updated!

Our houseguests completed their nest. We can't see but are sure that eggs are inside now--one bird remains close by at all times and they're much more protective of our front porch! I'll post the pic of the nest soon and will let you know when the little ones arrive! (C is already having trouble waiting. He was checking on the nest each morning when he got up but this morning asked if I could check the nest and just tell him if I could see baby birds.)

We have human guests arriving soon, too! My sister and her family are due to arrive this evening so my posts may remain infrequent for a few more days!

I hope you are enjoying your summer!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

This is for the birds

There was a construction delay!

While I suspect I might have given up -- or at least stopped for lunch-- the bird who was standing on the nest when it collapsed flew off and returned a moment later with a new branch. In the meantime, the partner flew up, looked around for a second but added another branch and they kept working. I did not hear a chirp or squawk that could have been interpreted as "what did you do?", "I just put that piece there!" or even "I told you that mud was too soft!"

They just kept taking turns, quietly rebuilding the nest.

Monday, June 05, 2006


No -- not me -- our fine feathered friends!

We had a bird family in the corner of our porch two years ago. Once the babies learned to fly and the entire family took off, a man-made storm (hubbie with the hose on jet-stream) took out their home. Though I suspect they flew by last year, they did not take up residence.

This past weekend, they began building a new nest. These photos were taken yesterday.