Wednesday, December 30, 2009

10 Things That Happened This Decade

1. I was one of the first crime victims of 2000. Somebody broke into my car and stole my CD player and my copy of Jagged Little Pill. It didn't do them any good since they didn't take the adapter.

2. In 2001, I gave birth to Thing Two. This is the best thing to happen during the past 10 years. He is a crackerjack who loves music and being in the limelight, and everyday with him is a blessing.

3. My grandmother died in 2002.

4. The day after her the funeral my ex-husband and I broke up, over the phone. A house came for the rent on the same day in my mother's neighborhood, and I moved back to my small town. I had previously vowed never to come back. Be careful of famous last words.

5. I suddenly became a single mom with two young children and self-esteem at zero. I was dealing with infidelity and the lack of a job. I swallowed my pride and became a checkout girl at a local grocery store. I had to deal with some negative comments from customers and one person who I was once close, but I took care of the family on that salary. I also had the time of my life. They worked my hours around my children, and the people were great. It may have been one of the best jobs I have ever had.

6. I fine tuned my degree in 2004, and I began to work on my Master's. I began to teach that same year, and I completed grad school in 2006. I thank God for this every day. I am still drowning on some days, but #6 keeps throwing me a lifeline.

7. In 2003, I met a dark eye boy. In 2005, I feel head over heels. Women, who came of age during the Duran Duran era, can still find great love. It isn't the stuff found in vampire novels, but it is still just as great as it was all those years ago. Yeah me!

8. I have moved three times and bought two cars. I have been to five ballet recitals and countless soccer games.

9. I have made some horrible mistakes. No need to throw out everything, but yes, terrible mistakes have been made. Every stupid one them was a learning experiences, but I have a feeling more mistakes will be made during the next 10 years or so.

10. I have realized my own mortality. I have realized even though I speak about independence, I secretly want to find the "one". I have realized I am no longer a sweet, young thing. I have realized I will never have all the answers.

I hope tomorrow you find happiness in the old and anticipation in the new. This has been one rough year, and hopefully 2010 will give us more laughter and more love.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Future

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come leads Scrooge to his own demise so he sees that if he doesn't change his ways he will die alone without anybody to grieve for him. It climaxes into his redemption. His future then is a blank slate and filled with hope and joy.

What if you feel like the other shoe is going to drop? What if you see so much pain around you cannot help but wonder if and when it may happen to you? Okay, I am usually a Pollyanna. I am optimistic. I may grumble and panic and think the worse for a moment, but I shake it off and as Dory from Finding Nemo says, "keep on swimming". However even in my optimism, I recognize my grandmother is in her 80's, and my daddy is in his 70's. People don't live forever. One day I will be grieving for somebody I love. I know how lucky I am to have my family, but the thoughts of losing them takes my breath.

I lost a student this week to a horrible accident. In fact, he died on Christmas Day. I am still reeling from the shock, and I cannot imagine what he family is facing. My heart is breaking for them. Bad things happen to good people.

I had a panic attack in thinking of this. I broke down and had to catch my breath and hug my children closer. I am not saying bad things are going to happen to us, and I am not looking for it, but the idea of it slammed into me like a ton of bricks.

The life we have is a gift, and sometimes we take that gift for granted. The ones we love are also gifts, and today, don't waste a moment. Tell the people you love how much you care for them. Don't wait for them to tell you. They may never do it. Don't wait for the perfect moment. It may never come. Don't wait for a mean spirit to show up and point the direction out for you. Find your own path to redemption and grace.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Right in the Middle of a Winter Wonderland

Well, right at this moment, I should have been getting ready to see The Nutcracker, but it is not happening. We had between 8-10 inches of snow last night, and I don't see myself getting off my hillside before Monday. I guess the cost of tickets will now be considered a charitable donation. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter. I am safe, warm, and my electricity is still on. Most people in our small town cannot say that. Not only is there power out, but the power company is now saying it may be a week before it working again. My prayers are with them, and I truly hope and pray that the estimation is being exaggerated.

Here are some of highlights:
You never know the danger that lurks under the snow.

Rudy the Reindeer is keeping watch over our hill.

Just a little bit of damage, but it could have been much worse.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Some of things I miss from my Christmas past:

1. Thriving downtown communities. As a kid, several stores would be open late in the night, and it seems some of my best Christmas memories involve walking between my parents, snow falling, bells ringing, and Santa. There was magic on every corner. Those stores are now closed. We rush to the malls, and even though I am never one to complain about going to the mall, it just isn't the same. Too sterile.

2. Not being able to sleep on Christmas morning just from anticipation.

3. All my grandparents being here.

4. Believing in something larger than myself

5. Christmas caroling with my church choir. We rode on the back of an old truck and sang through the neighborhoods. Yeah, that was fun, but the hot chocolate and popcorn that followed were incredible.

6. Hobo Stew. I really miss this tradition, and I wonder how I can bring it back for my kids. My church family met the Saturday before Advent, and each household would bring a can of something that was soup worthy. As we decorated the tree and the windows, my grandfather, the minister, would make his famous soup or what we called hobo stew. The older ladies would be baking cornbread muffins. The scent in the church was amazing, and the feeling of fellowship still lingers in my heart.

7. Being in plays. Oh, I hated it when it was happening, but I would love to be an angel again or maybe a shepherd. I remember coming out of the back room and yelling at my grandmother, "Look, Mamaw, I am angel. I am flying!!!!"

8. Getting that one perfect gift: Cabbage Patch Dolls, Garfield toys, my first Walkman. Okay, maybe it isn't about the gifts, but come on, we all have different gifts that just made the world seem wonderful. I understand Ralphie's need for that gun, and I understand why he was sleeping with it on Christmas night.

9. Santa calling me. We have lost touch and I miss him. Santa Baby, if you are reading me.

10. And the unifying theme: magic, magic, magic. I remember being on my back looking up at the Christmas tree and it was the most amazing thing I have ever seen. I had to be about three. When I was four, Christmas fell on a Saturday. After all the gifts were opened, my dad turned on the television, and there was Scooby-Doo. Christmas and Scooby-Doo!!!!! All in the same day!!!! It doesn't get any better than that.

May you embrace all the wonder of your Christmas past, and may hope, belief, and magic dwell in your heart forever.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I haven't been myself for the past week. I was even out on Monday for what I thought was a routine U.T.I. I was in pain, and I had no energy, and today we found out why: I am the proud parent of a kidney stone. I am looking forward to meeting it so I can get some relief. It has truly been a horrible, no good day with a four hour trip to the ER. I am not a wuss, but I felt like I was in labor, and no bouncing baby to show for it. I have always heard the pain was severe, but I was not prepared for this at all.
I was to go Christmas shopping today with my parents, but I never got out of the driveway. I sent them, and I went home, but within minutes it was apparent I needed help. I drove myself and then proceeded to cry like a baby once I got there. My mother had her mother's intuition on full blast, and they turned around and met me at the hospital. I am truly thankful for her, even if I was cranky. The two hours I was there alone was frightening. Being single today wasn't fun at all. I really just wanted somebody to hold my hand and tell me it was going to be okay.
My parents had my children with them, and the ER staff allowed my daughter to come back to me, and I am amazed by how grown up she is. At one point, she took it upon herself to ask the doctor what was taking so long, especially with me in that much pain. She didn't have to do that and wasn't asked, but she is a very shy child, and it took guts and love to ask that question. My boy child was in the waiting room, and my dad caught him at the window telling the admissions clerk he wanted his mommy. He wasn't allowed to come to me, but I was able to stand outside the window and wave at him. Broke my heart, and I almost walked out right then, but my daddy saved the day with a trip to Subway.
Well, this is not how I wanted to spend my night, and I hope this is over soon. I hate not having control of my own body. This is minor though, and it will pass, literally and figuratively. Even though I am in this much pain, I still remember I am the fortunate one.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Yep, we have our first snow of the season, and the valley is fluffy and soft. I always prefer this to the bare, brown hills. My stress level has gone down 110% with the scent of orange candles. The tree is lit, and I feel safe and secure. It is a good morning after a restless night.

I spent the entire night with the ghosts of "what-ifs" moaning and groaning around the rafters of my brain. I went back to 1993 and wondered if I should have zigged instead of zagged. I was filled with envy and disgust as I thought about what I wanted and didn't have. I wondered about relationships and if I will ever fully trust again. I wondered what it would be like to be cherished. I didn't have that in my marriage, and sometimes the wounds open and bleed. Mistrust coated with fear is sometimes a bitter pill to swallow. Several years ago, I became somebody I didn't want to be. I became the woman He saw me as. I became the person he wanted me to be so he could excuse his behavior with one bland, cardboard cutout after another. I became resentful and angry, and that caused even more problems in the relationship. It is sometimes easy to go back and want to dwell in the mistakes of the past because it takes courage to face the future. I have to admit, there are some days when I am not so courageous.

This morning I awoke to snow and remembered the promise of grace and hope. I have the hope that the future is mine to have. Life is going to happen, and there is still much pain, grief, and heartbreak to come. One step, one breath, and self-knowledge will hopefully push me through those times, and I won't dwell in the illusions of what I thought I was. Even in my imperfections, I find grace.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wise Words from Barney Fife

This is a conversation I had today with a student concerning The Tragedy of Julius Caesar:

"Okay, so what is Brutus's motivation? Why does he want Caesar dead? "What does the metaphor of the serpent in the egg tell us?"

"Well, Ms. _________, I think Brutus is like Barney Fife. Sometimes you have to nip it, nip it in the bud."

It is days like this where I love my job. He got it. He really got it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving ABC

Inspired by One-Minute Writer:

The ABC's of my Thanksgiving

A: Attitudes that inspire
B: Being able to buy books
C: A safe Car
D: Dancing when I am alone
E: Evenings at home
F: Fridays
G: My Granny still being with us
H: H., my daughter
I: Independence
J: J., my son
K: knowledge
L: Laughter
M: Magic
N: Naps
O: Ocean
P: Parents
Q: Quiet
R: Rain at night
S: Snow days
T: Teaching
U: Universal love
V: Victories
W: Wisdom
X: eXuberance
Y: Year of ups and downs
Z: Life with Zip

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. May the blessings of the season fill your heart and nourish your soul.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Blessings of the Heart

Disclaimer: Being a single woman sometimes this blog will address issues of the heart and false starts.

Tonight I got sentimental. It was a rather bittersweet feeling, more sweet than bitter, bitter than sweet. My mother and I were talking about this and that when I began to share stories she never knew. I told her about how I met D., and how he walked back and forth several times before stopping. I told her about our first kiss, and how he attached his class ring to a dozen roses and had it delivered to me for my birthday. I told her about P.(her favorite) who ticked me off one night in my dorm's lobby just to meet me. We ended up talking for hours, and then he sent me a Winnie Pooh card. The card was my favorite literary character and it had his phone number. I told her about how A. made a vase out of Snocap chocolate boxes, and then put flowers in it. I fell in love though when he spent an hour trying to find my son's paci. My mother listened to the stories and talked about her own memories of the boys who have come and gone, and with this opening of memories, I realized how blessed I have been.
I have been loved. I have loved, and I will continue to love. I will wake up alone on Thanksgiving, but I still carry this love in me. Corney, yes, but true. I am so blessed to have known real emotion from real people who weren't knights in shining armor. They were flawed and complex. They helped to shape me into...well, me.
For that, thank you, dear hearts.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I Finally Know What I Want in a Man (and it isn't going to happen)

Okay, last weekend changed my life. I watched Lawrence Gowan preform with Styx, and a new obsession was born. I have looked up every video on youtube, and I now own the best of Gowan. How dare the Canadian borders block this from me in my impressionable youth. My years in the 80s would have been better if I had known his name. I do have problems watching the videos from the 80s just for the cheese factor, but the music is rich and fun and wow, sexy. Then I saw this video, and Mr. Gowan has ruined me for all men. I think this is going to be my next personal ad: Searching for Mr. Gowan, circa 1990-1997. Anyway, if you like good music and cute boys, may I just share this with you:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Am I Lonely? Blog going back into Single Mom Territory for a Bit.

Could it be? I didn't realize it. I went through my days and nights completely unaware that was even an option. I have not been in a relationship for several, several months (okay years), and I wanted it that way. I had been in love and then I thought I wasn't. Two weeks ago, contact was made and this past love showed up with a bag of groceries and many memories. Except for two late night conversations, nothing else has occurred to make me believe this relationship is going to rekindle. I refuse to dream of what may not be, and I am trying not to misread any signals. I don't want to believe in fairy tales, but I also don't want to let this one go. How odd is that? A friend recently asked if he was my "twin flame" and I now wondering if he was/is, and that is why I am suddenly knocked off balance. All of sudden I am in stuck in my winter of discontent. I woke up Sunday, and I was lonely to the core. I have a wonderful family who loves me, but there I was missing my other half. The funny thing is I am not sure if I am missing the man I know or the one I have yet to meet.

In the spirit of things I am attaching my second latest obsession, Lawrence Gowan from Styx. This one song is becoming my theme song:

When There's Time (For Love)
Written by Lawrence Gowan, E. Schwartz, J.D. Souther
Lead Vocals by Lawrence Gowan

The timing's wrong
You're out there eager to fly
I'll say so long
But I'll sure be watching the sky
When your wheels finally touch the groud
Look me up, I'll be around

When there's time for love
I want to be there
When you've got all night for love
I see you and me there
Well maybe our time isn't now
But it will come around

Must be nice
Out there chasing the stars
I've tried it once or twice
Flew real high and I fell real hard
Do what you've got to do
Make every single dream come true

And when there's time for love
I want to be there
When you've got all night for love
I see you and me there
Well maybe our time isn't now
But it will come around

Yes it will come around, it'll come around
And when you think your soaring days are done
You're going to find out
How they've just begun

When your wheels finally touch the ground
Look me up, I'll be around

'Cause when there's time for love
I want to be there
When you've got all night for love
I see you and me there
Well maybe our time isn't now
But it will come around

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lucky Me

I love Styx. No, seriously, I really do. They have been dear to my heart for well over twenty years now, and this is with or without Dennis. Amazing voice, but he just doesn't seem like a nice guy at all. Anyway, Saturday was my Styx experience. I had the pleasure of seeing Tommy Shaw in a bar in Nashville two years ago, but even as good as it was, it couldn't even begin to compare to this weekend. The band's energy was contagious, and I really do believe they are getting better with age. Fun, fun, so much fun. My girlfriends and I had a blast, especially with the opening act--Bo Bice. Oh, man, he is soooooo good. Sexy, talented, and I swear, he must have the best hair in show business. He is also a really, super nice guy. He was listening to Styx and was more than happy to meet the handful fan that found him with the sound guy. He touched me!!!!!!!! No, I mean his music touched me.

Here is Styx with Lawrence Gowan singing my favorite Beatles song, and yes, I love this version. All is good for me:

And now a little Bo:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ah-ha About the Dream

I figured it all out: He dreamed I was searching in earnest for something, and I was opening several different doors. I was dressed in clothes from the 30s, and in one hand, I held a sword. The other hand was a candle. This week I caught several students cheating, but I lack the proof needed to proceed formally. In one hand, I hold justice. The other hand is the truth. Deep, very deep, especially since he didn't know about the job stress. He did say the dream ended happily.

Funny what dreams reveal. Maybe he is just watching too many old movies at night.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Do You Believe in Dreams and Other Stress

Two ex's both showed up this week, on different sides of my life. One came in for a visit with a bag of groceries, laughs, and just a relaxing evening. We even had time to hike and have many honest conversations. Anything in the future? Not at this moment, and as with any relationship, I plan to take just one day at a time. I don't want to plan anything at this point, but it was nice to remember why I fell for him in the first place. Some times we need to remember the good and just hang out. With that in mind, ex two really shocked me. He came in the form of an email. He is an ex-fiance, but he seems to be tapping into mystical powers. He had a dream about me last week where there was something developing around me which would lead to a great loss for him. He said though it was very peaceful since I was so happy.

Funny, my dreams are not pointing to any certain directions, so I want to hear more, but why do I have to be in a standard relationship to be happy. Why is happy always synonymous with romance? I think we are buying into the season of Twilight here. My happiness shouldn't be tied into anybody's knots. I am and will be happy with my life, and when the world does coming crashing down, I pray that my faith and love will be my strength. I have hope, and I pray I never lose it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lord of the Dance

When I was a kid, I sang the following song in church, and today I think the lyrics are very much needed. Dancing is usually looked upon as just a physical celebration, but a friend has reminded me that it can also heal the soul. We should not only dance in the light, but we need to find the strength to dance when the shadows circle around us:

I danced in the morning when the world was begun,
I dance in the moon and the stars and the sun,
I came down from Heaven and I danced on earth,
At Bethlehem I had my birth.

"Dance then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the dance," said he,
"And I'll lead you all wherever you may be,
And I'll lead you all in the dance," said he.

I danced for the scribe and the Pharisee,
They would not dance, they wouldn't follow me.
So I danced for the fishermen,
James and John came with me and the dance went on.

"Dance then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the dance," said he,
"And I'll lead you all wherever you may be,
And I'll lead you all in the dance," said he.

I danced on the Sabbath and I cured the lame,
The Holy people said it was a shame.
They whipped and they stripped and they hung me high,
Left me there on a cross to die.

"Dance then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the dance," said he,
"And I'll lead you all wherever you may be,
And I'll lead you all in the dance," said he.

I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black,
It's hard who dance with the devil on your back.
They buried my body, they thought I'd gone,
But I am the dance, and I still go on.

"Dance then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the dance," said he,
"And I'll lead you all wherever you may be,
And I'll lead you all in the dance," said he.

They cut me down, but I lept up high.
"I am the life that'll never never die
And I'll live in you if you'll live in me.
I am the Lord of the dance," said he.

"Dance then, wherever you may be,
I am the Lord of the dance," said he,
"And I'll lead you all wherever you may be,
And I'll lead you all in the dance," said he

Personal note.

G. you will dance stronger when the devil is on your back.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Home Scenes

Well, I am sick, yuck. I don't think it is what everybody else is having; I am unique :) I have pain in my side and back, and the pain was so severe yesterday it caused me to have other stomach troubles. I am feeling better today, but I am horribly weak. I have slept all day on my mom's couch, but at least I didn't have to call a sub. My district has called off for the rest of the week. One school near us had almost 50% of the student population out with some form of the creeping cruds. I have a feeling it is going to be a long winter.

Thing One is feeling much better, thank goodness, but she is tiring easily. All in all, however, she is 100% better than she was. Thing Two hasn't slowed down for one second. Which is good because Trick or Treat is tomorrow night, and Saturday I have invited some friends up for costumes and adult conversation. Hopefully, everybody will be there, and the creeping cruds stay away. If you know me personally, and you want to come, call for directions, and we will have a Candy Corn Cocktail waiting for you.

Happy Haunting!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Songs Inspiring Me Today

I love this song because it reminds I am never truly alone. The music within me makes me whole, a world I have built on my own:

This is just fun:

And Just because Janis made the world a brighter place. I love her:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Halloween

I don't normally post real pictures of us, but in spirit of the season:

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Life in Small Doses

I haven't posted in several days just because I couldn't think of what to write. Life is moving fast and furious, and I am learning to stop and just take it in small doses. School, work, and creeping cruds have overtaken our every day existence, and it may overwhelm us if we don't stop and breathe.

Thing One is sick, very sick. Thank goodness it isn't H1N1, but she had a high fever from Saturday until last night. As prayer went through my church's prayer chain (Thanks, Gran), it broke. She is still dizzy and weak, her head is pounding, and yes, she is just miserable, but in all this, we find smiles. We enjoyed the two days I took off to be with her at home. We enjoyed the movie Ghost Cat with a very young Ellen Page, and we just enjoyed being together on the couch. Life in small doses can bring blessings.

Speaking of blessing, funny how you can find them in the oddest places. How about the Dollar Store? Yep, even there. My gran is not feeling well, and I stopped for some medicine. As I walked out with my package in one hand, and my son's hand in the other, I looked to the hills and saw the brilliance of the gold, orange, and red. I felt the cool air on my cheeks. I saw people hurrying to pick some small items they need for today, and this overwhelming sense of thanksgiving washed over me. I am part of this wheel of life, and I just have a tiny corner of the world to occupy, but I am so blessed to have it. I about the 9Th generation of women to pass over these mountains, and I am thankful to have my stand. I may crave more coffee shops, museums, and sound in general, but today the quiet of the mountains, and the blessings of this small town touched me. The mountains wrap me in comfort and give me peace. Life in small doses is fine by me.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Time For Six Word Saturday

Click and make a trip to Cate's:

Looking forward but with lonely heart.

Nothing wrong. The kids are with their father, and I am happy for them and him, but sometimes the quiet makes me heartsick. I think it is an early morning, too much time to think thing.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday Night Mix Tape

Tonight is a TV free night. I don't need clutter or mindless chatter; I need comfort and blankets and big, fluffy pillows. I need to nurture myself with Walt Whitman and then Nora Roberts. I am a well rounded reader. It seems I have a touch of the latest stomach bug and was in misery the entire day. The cramping has stopped, and I was able to eat a small dinner of applesauce pancakes with an apple/cranberry topping. I thought all was good until I began to try and relax.

With my comfort food security level up several notches, I sat down and turned on my Itunes and hit my Genius Mix, where they mix up your songs for you. Well, this mix must be the depressing/ex boyfriend/ex husband blend. I had no idea that my music was this depressing. Not only that, but every sentimental song from old mix tapes/Cd's of significant others were thrown in for good measure. There is always something there to remind blared before Sarah began to sing about possession. Tori Amos prevailed with three songs reminding me that even though I wasn't perfect, I would still look it if I could play the piano like her, or at least sit and grind on the piano like her. I couldn't turn it off. I sat here in a stupor wondering what new boyfriend or insecurity would show up next when everything was redeemed with just a few catchy lines. I was no longer a single mom wondering where did it go wrong or where did it go right. I was eight again, on my back porch, with a UK blue eight track player and Blondie was telling me all about life, and it is still good.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saturday at the Park

I didn't make it to my usual Six Word Saturday because Thing Two and I had a last minute adventure. My school's soccer team had two spare tickets to the LA Galaxy and Columbus Crew soccer game last night, and not only did they give them to me, but I don't have to pay for them now. One of my co-workers also gave me a ride and away we went into the gloomy rain.

Well, it was really gloomy because Beckham wasn't coming. Dang. I would have loved to see him play, shirtless of course. The man is just amazing, but I am partial to the Crew since they are the closest thing I have to a home team. I LOVE pro soccer, and I was just so happy to be there among the faithful. The energy of the crowd swept over us and carried us away with them. I swear this could seriously become an addiction, and if I lived closer, I would so have season tickets.

Thing One didn't want to go because it was the middle school's homecoming. Yes, she pried away for independence, but I think my little soccer player regretted not going, judging by her messages. Thing Two, well, he was just happy to have an adventure, and this was his first trip to Ohio. He is a positive person, and he was truly just happy to be there.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Reflections from Watching Grey's

Okay, it was sad to see George die, but I think it was even sadder to see Martha Plimpton playing a middle aged mom. It is just a reminder that The Goonies are now grown-up and so am I. Let's now raise a glass to our mortality. Here is to you, Martha:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Giggle, giggle

I was told this week that I have sex appeal. No real blog here, just a snicker and a snort. I would brag, but I cannot write anything that doesn't result in me shaking my head in wonder and giggling.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It Is Time for Six Word Saturday!!!

Find Cate and Six Word Saturday:

Day filled with family and friends.

Soccer game for daughter, fall festival, and then we will wrap it up at a friend's house who is having a party for all ages. It is going to be a long day but in a good way. Tomorrow I will worry about cleaning and paperwork.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Today's Words of Wisdom

I read the term self-reverence today in a magazine, and I was really struck by it. It isn't funny how we seem to fail to take care of the person we should love the most. I am now planning to be more self-reverent. For years I have put myself down because I didn't think I was worthy of good things. I allowed myself to feel shame for things outside of my control. This is self-loathing, and it is much easier to practice. It is lazy. Self-reverence is going to take work. I have already changed my diet for better health. I am now making sure to incorporate more exercise into my day. I joined a book club. I am enlarging my social circles. I am allowing myself to just be goofy with my kids. I am realizing it isn't selfish to want to be pretty or pretty things. Self-reverence. Yes, it is now a practice I want to preach.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Makes Me Laugh

Observations from the Couch

Patrick Swayze dying corresponds with my sick headache. Coincidence, I think not. I am truly heartsick over his death, and I am already looking forward to the onslaught of weekend movies, Ghost to Dirty Dancing to Road House. He proved a man who dances in sexy.

Also, did you watch Jay Leno last night? I wasn't going to since I am not a huge fan, but when he spoofed Cheaters with Joey Greco last night, I laughed until I cried. Cheaters is truly one of my guilty pleasures, and watching it come to live for Jay and his soul mate was worth tuning into NBC. Will I watch again? Depends. I cannot making a nightly commitment. It is the same show, just with a different time slot. I guess it if ain't broken, don't fix it. It is happier fare than watching Law and Order and Dateline every night. I am not chained to my television, and I don't think this will convince me to start.

Oh, one more thing, Kanye's silence was golden.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

This Just Makes Me Wonder:

There is a really sweet wedding announcement today from the New York Times where an older couple find love, but there is something in it that made me wonder about perceptions and expectations. She is 60 and he talked about how accomplished she is and wonders why she has never married. Yep, she should be married because she is so great. She does sound like an amazing woman, but I guess many are still buying into "a truth universally acknowledged". Women who are smart and accomplished must want to be married. I married because I bought into the romance of life. It wasn't because we were such wonderful people. I think I know what he meant by his rather nice comment. She is such a catch, and he is just wondering why she had never been caught. I think that maybe she is accomplished due to her lack of marriages. She has been able to grow into the woman she is intended to be because she was able to nurture herself. I am not anti marriage. I hope one day to share my life with somebody; however, you give a part of your soul away with marriage. Sometimes, without realizing it, you forget who you really are. I think this marriage has a better chance for success just because she is aware of herself. Some problems in my marriage were due to my lack of awareness of who I really was. I became what he perceived me to be. I was young and lacked the self-confidence to be myself. In a way, my divorce saved my life. It saved me.
Oh, if you do go to the New York Times, check out the lead story. They are in their 80's and found love after being apart over 70 years. I love it! Inspires me to remember that love doesn't need a timeline.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

This May Be Interesting: My Reality Show Update,,20303396,00.html

Ellen!!!! Ellen is replacing Paula on America Idol. Since I am the only woman in America who doesn't watch the show, this may actually push me toward an episode or two. Love her!!!!! She is going to be the people's vote, and that might be a nice contrast between Simon, Randy, and whatever her name is.

I am more into Dancing with the Stars, and I am already to tango across my living room while booing Carrie Ann. That girl can just be cruel. I expect it from Len. I respect it from Len, but Carrie Ann just gushes over whatever man she is feeling for the season. Join me on Monday nights. Bring your favorite pj's and chocolate. Good times, good times.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Much Ado About...Nothing

I cannot understand the big deal about Obama's speech to the students of America. It has turned reasonable parents into foaming dogs of war. Students are being kept home today so they will not be exposed to the socialist propaganda of the President. What? The speech isn't brainwashing children in the evil ways of liberalism. It is a pep talk, and one that every student needs. It is about taking responsibility. It is urging students to stay in school. It is urging students to become the best they can be. Even Republican Newt said it was an excellent speech, and on the Today show he urged parents to allow their students to hear it. So what all the hub bub, Bub?

Also, what are we teaching our children when we don't allow them to witness events? That tolerance is only allowed within our own belief system? That if we disagree politically we cannot find common ground? Oh, I know, it is okay to prejudge. Children will parrot our beliefs, and I often stop and wonder how I want my children to present me to the world. I hope and pray they show that I believe in having all the facts. I believe we need to listen and debate instead of spouting off preconceived doctrines. I don't agree with Obama on everything, but I will separate the man and mission. I did the same for George Bush. I disagreed on much of his policies, but I disagreed with respect. That is what I hope they parrot to the world.

This entire mess reminds me that silly purple kangaroo on "Horton Hears a Hoo"; however, we can't always hide our children to the world so they are not exposed to diffrent viewpoints. I think the speech is an amazing way to introduce a positive academic dialogue at home. Watch it as well and discuss it respectfully with your students. Voice your concerns and ask your students their opinions. It is okay to disagree, but model how to disagree with respect. Education begins at home.

Now, can somebody help me off this soapbox?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday, Sunday

I personally have a love/hate relationship with Sunday. It seems an odd day when we seem to embrace the idea of rest, but the ghost of Monday Present is standing just in the corner of our eyes, reminding us that this is only a brief respite from the work day stress and worry. Today is also the 30th anniversary of CBS Sunday Morning, a show that I watch every week and enjoy with my chai tea, but I despised it as a kid because of my dad's obsession with the news. I now notice how my own kids scatter when I turn it on. It is my weekend news, satire, and entertainment. It is part of my Sunday comfort and part of my Sunday religion. I cannot leave or get ready for church until the show is over. I refuse to be rushed on Sunday mornings; I may be late but not rushed.

In honor of this achievement, I want to post my favorite Sunday songs. They all seem to explore the fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning:

And I think we are all looking for a Sunday kind of Love

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

Rants and Raves: This Week in Review


I may be wrong, but I think the press is going way too far in the case of Jaycee Dugard. The majority of news shows seem to be looking at dollar signs instead of what is best for this family. The morning shows begin each day with questions about her survival, and they almost seem disappointed when specialist say they are doing well, or they will do well, or even with the hard road ahead, they may have productive lives. They keep turning and twisting answers until they have the negative outcome that sells. Another news show reported the family is having to move often due to the constant threat of reporters. Paparazzi are stalking for pictures, and I think there will be a special level of Hell for them. Where is the humanity? Do we really need to see what they look like? There is a morbid fascination, and I am sure it will be huge when they are outed, but we should not allow curiosity to further damage the victims. Yes, it will take years, and yes, it is beyond horrible, now back off and give them a moment to come to grips with what is happening.


Jason Bateman is back!!! To be honest, I never knew he left. I love him in everything with his name on it, from The Hogan Family, The Sweetest Thing, Juno, and certainly, Arrested Development. He is one of the actors I want to find on my deserted island, and I hope he kicks Bradley Cooper's butt at the box office.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Da, Da, Da

I wore my spring/fall suit today. It is tan with chocolate brown accents, and the jacket belts. I wore my ruffled collar blouse underneath with eggplant heels, and I felt organized and productive. Clinton Kelly isn't lying when he says that clothes affect your self-esteem. Students in every class had comments to say because they do not miss a thing. They even notice when I change earrings. I want to share two that made me smile:

"Hey, Ms. ____________, you look like a lawyer!"

"Wow, you look nice today. You look like a dectective."

Okay, I now have my future figured out. If this teaching thing doesn't work, I think I will audition for Law and Order.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Just Another Middle Age Woman Complaining About Double Standards

A few weeks ago on Sunday Morning, Nancy Giles gave commentary on the state of courgarism. I sat in rapt attention and shouted a few amens as she pointed out the terrible connotations associated with the term cougar. According to Ms. Giles, the term makes the older woman seem desperate due to the nature of the animal's hunting ability. Also, it is the only large cat that doesn't roar. Ms. Giles said it best with her comment, "I am woman, hear me purr?"

No, honey, we cannot roar if we are looking for companionship because that may scare the prey away.

Frankly, the media genius who came up with the term "cougar" should be placed in a jungle full of cougars with meat strapped around his neck. I agree with Ms. Giles, the term is a slap in the face for every single, independent woman over the age of 35. Instead of being admired for the lives being led, they are deemed desperate, needy, and less than worthy. The comparison is nothing new, and I am not the first nor the last to say this, but how dare women be portrayed as predators while men are celebrated for their ability to be fruitful and multiply. Hello, Michael Douglass.

I just read the New York Times wedding announcements, and several couples have a 7 to 25 year age difference with the man being the elder partner. There are no magazines analyzing these pairings and there are no gasps over coffee. It is considered the norm. If the woman was older, it would have been the lead story with her talking about finding love with a younger man.

Men age gracefully; women just age. We all have heard that. The woman's worth decreases with menopause, but the man can procreate until death. Hello, Tony Randall. In this age of enlightenment, does this mean we are so stilted in our own personal evolution, we still manage to cling to the caveman psychology that our only purpose on this earth is to procreate? An older man is still respected because he is not tied to a biological clock? I believe we are trapped by the Victorian notions even after the so called sexual revolution. The revolution may have led to promiscuity in college, but I believe it failed the collective body of womanhood, especially since the term "cougar" has been coined. It has turned the notion of mature women being valued into a joke.

Well, let's go with that joke for the moment:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A New Six Word Saturday

Find your way to Cate:

I am becoming a good cook?

Okay, my gran's health isn't the best, so I am sending food to her so she doesn't have to cook as often. She told me my stew was cookbook worthy, and I am "becoming" a good cook. Mmmm, I have been on my own for thirteen years.

Friday, August 28, 2009


During May, I was convinced each day of summer was going to be spectacular. We were going to have a pool. I was going to nonstop barbecue. I would keep each warm day sacred and holy. Didn't really happen that way, not at all. The beach was wonderful, and my sun and sand candles inspired many a daydream, but it wasn't like I imagined. Summer, even as sweet as it was, was centered around my mother's recovery from knee replacement surgery, flood clean-up, and rain. I know we don't live in Forks, WA, but you would have thought it with all of our dreary, rainy summer days. Even though a little summer is better than no summer, nothing lived up to the magazine covers. Due to this endless spring, I wasn't really looking forward to autumn.

Well, my last statement was a tad misleading because I am always looking forward to autumn. It is my favorite season, and I am crazy about every corny fall tradition. This year I have tried to cling to my summer dream, but then I went into my Big Lots tonight, and lo and behold, there was aisle after aisle of fun Halloween and autumn decorations. We played with every single thing that made noise. We played in costumes. We played in the Christmas, yes, Christmas decorations and made the farting Santa sing and dance. Quickly the Friday weariness faded, and the kids and I just gave in to the goofiness. We had a blast, but it also allowed me to look and window shop for new autumn decor. I am now looking forward to crisp nights and candy apples. Bring on the cozy.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Thing One is doing so much better this evening. Her fever is gone, mood is better, and the smile is back on her face. Thing Two is back to 100% of his wonderful self, and I am on the couch counting the moments to bed. Must mean I am almost back to normal.

Oh, and you have to see my new favorite television show:

He makes me want to move to California, make hip friends, and cook wonderful food. He is smart, witty, and just a fun time. Brian Boitano is DVR worthy.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Please, Please Tell Me Now

Sometimes, like everybody else in this universe, I can be needy. Yes, we all can be needy now and then. Humans crave positive reinforcements. We want love and to feel needed. That is totally normal, and as I watch my grandmother ask how her meal tastes, I understand. Little affirmations can get us through the day, especially bad days. I know I needed all the get well wishes from yesterday, and they really did make me feel a bit better. The positive vibes gave me the ability to focus on the blessings of the day and not the fact I have the headache from Hades; yet, when can we take it too far and actually ostracize those who we need?

This topic came up in a conversation I had with a friend yesterday. She was a bit put out by a recent friend's behavior on Facebook. The friend, who IRL has always been looking for these affirmations, has taken it a step higher on the social network. Her self-depricating nature is now daily found on quizes and status updates. If it comes up that she is channeling Marilyn, then she says, "Of course, I can never be that sexy." No, you cannot. I cannot. Normal people cannot, but there are instantly comments assuring her that yes, she is every bit as sexy as Marilyn. So, now instead of just fishing for attention from her circle of friends, she is throwing her line longer and deeper. She is angling for that friend who hasn't seen her since 8th grade. She is baiting the co-worker who is really just being polite.

Am I judging? Actually, no. I understand. I have been there. I have felt unloved and discarded, and I looked for my missing self-esteem where I knew I could find it: my friends, family, and other self-loathing people who wanted me to know that they had it worse than me. I hate spider veins, I hate my body is battle scared, and I want to feel pretty now and then...okay, every single day of my life. Sometimes, occassionally, I just have to cast the line myself. Like Pavlov's dog, we hear the bell and we salivate, wanting more. I did it recently when I posted last month I was unsure about my new red hair. I didn't mean to cast my insecurities out there, but I did. Of course, I was just being honest, but I did it in a way that gave me the love I was needing that day. It was not a conscious effort, but I would be lying if I said I didn't like the attention.

Where do we draw the line then? When we cannot get through the day without a pat on our backs. When we no longer find love and satisfaction within ourselves. Forgive me for sounding like a self-help book and a cliche, but as women, we need to realize that perfection is an air brushed dream, and we can be perfect for ourselvs even with spider veins and battle scared bodies. We shouldn't have to look to others to find fullfilment because it isn't going to happen. We need to stand up and scream, "Hell, ya, I know I can rock it like Marilyn or Betty Paige or Audrey Hepburn or anybody else Facebook throws at me!" Then dare anybody to comment differently.

Oh, and please feel free to comment.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Just a Friday Night Observation

I am sick, my daughter is sick, my son is sick, and countless others around us are coughing and hacking and snotting around my universe. I am just thankful it isn't worse. Two friends in other states have children who have been diagnosed with N1H1, and it makes me realize this cold is just an inconvenience. Well, it is still a coughing, hacking, snotty inconvenience.

I did make it to the grocery store, but only because Thing One wanted ice cream and needed meds. I know that a little bit of mommy love and Ben and Jerry's can make it all better. Well, at least we can fake it better with Ben and Jerry in the house.

Oh, and here is my big observation: I love Ghost Hunters. Jason and Grant rock, and I plan my Wednesdays around them. I enjoy Ghost Adventures on The Travel Channel. This show is what happens when you give impressionable frat boys cameras and a few beers. Yes, they take it more seriously than that, but it has a frat boy with camera and beer feel. That isn't a bad thing actually, and the camera man, Aaron, is a hoot. Now, what is up with that British Show Most Haunted? Every place is haunted, and they run around screaming and crying the entire time. If you have been hired to investigate ghosts, why be that cowardly? I am not a ghost hunter so I have permission to scream and cry; however, they lose every single bit of their street cred with they fall apart. If you go looking for ghosts, you will most likely one day find a ghost.

Okay, enough rambling for this night. Sleep tight and don't go looking for ghosts.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Just Don't Know What to Think

As an educator, I doubt this show is going to be truthful and honest. Come on, it is a "reality" show which means it will be staged and over the top. They say that it was filmed after hours and with hand picked students. Wow, wouldn't that be nice!

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Now For Something Completley Different

When I was fourteen, I had the biggest crush on J. He was not that handsome, but there was something in his bad boy ways and crooked smile that completely captured me, and I was not the only one. Half our school had a crush on him in some form or fashion. He had the coolest clothes, coolest attitude, and the coolest car. One thing that really stands out to me about J. was the fact he always treated me like a lady. Even though some of the crush was reciprocated, he was never lewd. He knew I was a little girl, and I was too nice of a girl to use. He and I became friends, and often on Friday nights, he would pull into my driveway and take me out for pizza.

Now span twenty--cough--cough--years, and he is back in town. Now, before you go and start thinking of something romantic, you must know a horrible fact, something that makes me shake my head in fear and wonder: J. still thinks he is seventeen. Oh, yes, he is has fallen victim to "I can still be cool" syndrome. In fact, he has it so bad, he is only one step away from regrowing the mullet.

I began to notice the symptoms when my phone began to ring late at night a few years ago. Yep, he was drunk dialing, and the only thing he could mumble about was our glory days. He is also very full of himself and speaks as if he is officially the only man on earth that can merit female attention. Mmmm, I wonder if George Clooney knows about this? Then he went on a website and complained that nobody went out on the weekends anymore. Nobody was cruising the once upon the time hot spots. He basically called us all out, but I had an excuse. I grew up. I no longer feel the perpetual need to drive in circle and use the word torque in sentences. I gave up the big hair, blue jean miniskirts, and bangle bracelets some time ago. I miss my younger, cuter self, but she is like a visiting relative, nice to see every now and then, but real life is so much more comfortable. I have a career that I love, my family who I love even more, and friends who know there is more to life than the next big score. I would much rather live in the here and now instead of a past that I am sure wasn't that glorious in the first place.

I woke up this morning to my phone turning on and my voicemail beeping. Yep, it was J. at 1 AM in the morning. Sometimes it is time to just turn off the phone.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Past Needs to Stay Where It Belongs

I am sorry, dear past betrayals, but you need to go and leave me now in the present. Stop coming in the middle of the night, reminding me of past failures and grievances. Stop reminding me of sleepless nights and countless tears. Stop laughing at the wasted time I have spent blaming myself for the transgressions of others. I accept my part, but I refuse to accept any more than that. My life is what it is due to your sorrow, and for that I am thankful. I never thought I would ever be thankful for self-doubt and fear, but I overcame it and discovered the strength I had buried inside. I, for one moment in my life, needed to be validated by you, but that came to an end a long time ago. I am comfortable in my own self of flaws, and I am comfortable in my silent moments of truth. So, please understand, you were never wanted, and you are trying to overstay your welcome. Memories may sometimes swirl again in the middle of the night, but I have ceased to believe in your power.

Goodbye to you.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ah, Amore

So, we have survived the first week of school, and everything has went very well for all. I love my classes, and for the most part, the students are great. I have several fun and challenging personalities that will make this an interesting year. I am wondering if the Antichrist is in one class, but that is a blog for another time. Thing Two is embracing third grade with a contagious excitement that is rarely seen outside of reality television. He loves his teacher. He loves his new best friend. He loves it all. Every morning he bounced out of bed looking for a new adventure. Thing One is still wondering what the fuss is about middle school. She is so my child on many aspects. She has very little tolerance for the laid back teacher. She sees through the jokes and wonders if he is just lazy. Hopefully, he is just funny and not the other. She loves the teachers who are difficult because she knows they will challenge her. She told me her English teacher told it like it was, and she wasn't going to put up with nonsense, and Thing One loves her.

That isn't the only thing that has Thing One's attention. It seems in trying to find classes and figure out the new locker, she has also noticed C., and C. is so pretty. She blushes as she describes him, and giggles when she revels he is sitting next to her in 6th period. Boys have noticed her since preschool. Her preschool teacher told me she has the magic ability to make boys stupid, and she does even though she has no clue. Every Christmas and Valentine's Day a new teddy bear or heart shaped necklace will come in possession, and she just thinks that they are such good friends. She never thought they more than that. They were sometimes just gum on her shoes, annoying in their attempts. She never understood their attention. She was too young. C. is just different. He called her "pretty lady" and she giggled for two hours. She knows every step, every look, and every conversation.

And so it begins...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We Made It!

Thing One had an amazing first day of school and loved every minute of her first day as a big kid, but she has no desire to repeat. She thinks one day of hilarity and learning is enough. It was like attending one big family reunion. She was glad to be there but she would rather stay home. Last night she sat in my lap for hours just going over every worse case scenario in her head. I told her that she had every right to be nervous, and change was hard, but by Monday, she will love it. She looked at me like I was naive, but today she is more in agreement with my line of thinking. She is going to be fine, and I think that her ability to be a leader, not a follower, will help. She doesn't allow other people to dictate her thoughts and accomplishments, and I remember being the same way. My mother said I wasn't marching to my own beat, I was leading the band. I think this fierce streak of independence will serve her well. She even showed it proud and strong today. It isn't cool for them to pack their lunch, but she brought hers proudly. As she put it, she doesn't need to starve to be cool. She would rather be uncool then eat cafeteria food. High five that one!

My day began with adventure. It stormed nonstop from 1:30 to about 5 AM, and I was awake for most of it. I never sleep well before the first day of school, and if you add constant storms, and the potential of flooding to the mix...well, it isn't good. Then, when I opened my cabinet to get out my baking sheet for my first day of school cinnamon buns, there sat a small mouse. I almost died of fright, but I yelled at it like it was human for bothering my first day of school routine. Thing One ran out of her bathroom, grabbed a broom and went all ninja on me. While I stood there laughing, the mouse got away. I hope he enjoyed his day because he will be mine, oh yes, he will be mine. We haven't had any true summer weather, and it has been an eternal spring. I think the constant wet and coolness has brought more of God's creatures to seek shelter in my house. Considering I will rather face a room of 40 teens than one field mouse, this isn't fun, but I am actually proud that this single woman can handle it without having a nervous breakdown. Well, so far anyway.

Here is an observation from my work week:

Can you be a victim when you enable the negative behaviour? If you are aware of the circumstances and consequences then are you a victim of them? No serious crimes or hateful incidents committed, but it seems some people want to be the victim in order to avoid guilt over their actions enabling the problem. They want to place blame instead of reflecting on their own behavior. Honestly, I know from my own past actions, it is sometimes easier to place blame instead of looking inward, and I think this is human nature. Self analysis is a mature act and one difficult to accomplish, but it can be done especially if you know the difference between right and wrong. I am not talking Biblical but basic social cues. I find the true victim is one that cannot avoid the circumstances, nor do they have awareness of the truth behind it. They cannot make rational choices due to life circumstances, or they fall prey due to the choices of others. Mmmm, maybe I am wrong, but this has really playing around my head for the past two days.

Oh, well. I wonder if Thing One will pose with her ninja broom for my scrapbook?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Think of us Wednesday

That is the day Thing One begins middle school, and she and I both are dreading it 110%. She is nervous because she doesn't know what to expect, and I am nervous because I do. I just want to pick her up and hold her close. I want to protect her from mean girls, 8th grade boys, and every insecurity a girl can experience. Yeah, I know that isn't possible, but a mother can hope and pray.

I am also frightened by the future. She and I are close and joined at the hip, and for the moment, she thinks I am cool. She loves me and wants to be with me. She is my baby, and I am selfish. I want to keep things as they are. I know pulling away is emotionally healthy and prepares her for the real world, but that doesn't make it easier. I can accept it and go with it, but I don't have to do cartwheels over it.

My mom understands, pats my hand and reminds me to just wait. One day my baby will be staring at 40.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Eight years ago today...

My beautiful baby boy was born. Such a bittersweet day. I love the fun of the day that will have cupcakes and a family pizza party, but I miss my baby. He is my youngest and sometimes it is difficult to let go, but I am so blessed. He is funny, smart, and just a good kid. No, he is a great kid, and today will be his day. He wants the traditional gifts and birthday surprises, but he also wants one thing that is a bit different, breakfast in bed. So, I am off in a few moments to make a waffle and serve it to him in bed. I think I may join him.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Crazy Week

Tomorrow will be my last day of summer vacation, and so many see it as the end of summer, my kids included. Nope, summer is still here, but our vacation is coming to an end. This summer has been rather bittersweet. We have some beautiful memories of the beach and other family times, but we also worked as a family to deal with the remains of the flooding and my mother's recovery from surgery. It has also been a summer of blessings as I was once again reminded about silver liners and sometimes they aren't a cliche.

This last week of summer vacation has been a roller coaster. My mother had a set back with her knee and we spent one night in the ER and one day at her doctor's office. Hopefully, she will now be back on the road to recovery. I also attempted to have a yard sale to raise last minute back to school money, but wow, hard to do when the storm of the century was coming. No, biggie. I still made a few dollars and had a good time with my friends. Nothing better than women sitting under a tent with my BFF's special hot wings and our special sno cones.

I had a discussion this week about what could be my favorite song of all time and this is it:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

My Six Word Saturday

Really wish Clean House was here.

I am trying to get ready for my yard sale, and I think I need more hands to make it successful. Also, Mrs. Nash would kick my butt is I waffled on anything. I love that show.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday's Cooking Experiment or What Is For Dinner

****Disclaimer: Okay, whatever you do, please do not tell my children any of this is healthy. Thing Two cannot even handle the term "organic". Also, this is not a cookbook meal. This isn't a great meal, but it was fun. Shouldn't cooking be fun?****

The kids and I needed dinner tonight, and Fridays are special. Usually, Friday is pizza night, and tonight was no different, but I wanted to eat in to budget and to be just a little bit healthier (ssshhhhh). So, in the process I came up with my own recipe for chicken pizza. This isn't a buffalo chicken pizza, even though those are the bomb. My son is too picky for that. Instead, I began with a store bought wheat pizza crust, and I brushed olive oil on it and used a little dab of fat free butter spray. I then cut one large chicken breast in cubes and browned it with olive oil, onion, garlic, fresh peppercorn, and a dash of kosher salt. Yummy, but I wanted more. I then grabbed my bottle of Worcester sauce and sprinkled away. The smell was heavenly. I think I am going to fix that again this week and eat over couscous or rice. After the chicken breakthrough, I sprinkled low milk fat pizza blend cheese over the crust, added chicken, and then another layer of cheese. Now, have you noticed anything missing? I didn't add sauce. I have no idea why; we all like the sauce, but I wanted something different. I baked it at 425 for 11 minutes.

Final verdict? Thing One and Thing Two ate two slices each and were very happy with the results. We ended the meal with fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream. The best part was the involvement of the entire family in making the meal. Nothing better than a full kitchen, dancing kids, and loud music.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Check out this blog: The One Minute Writer

A friend (Hi, Brian) sent this to me last year, and I often use it with my students for pre-writing or beginning activities:

Today's prompt: Write a brief poem reviewing a book or movie you have read or seen.

I wanted to share mine with you today. This is a haiku dedicated to my all time favorite book, East of Eden.

East of Eden

Steinbeck Amazing
Cain, Abel, heartbreaking, yes
Father forgiveness

If you make this blog a part of your every day routine, I swear you will find out more about yourself. You never know what you will find when you only have a minute.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Just Another Manic Monday....

Today has been, well, a day. Thing One had her first day in soccer camp, and that meant Thing Two got to run errands with me, my grandmother, and my mother, and by 10:30 this morning, I had already been to two doctors' offices and Lowes. I managed to get to school and work this afternoon, only to come home and find my air conditioner was broken. Thank goodness my landlord came ASAP, and my house is once again a haven and not Hades.

The kids and I did have one cool indulgence that made everything easier to handle: cookies and cream cheesecake cupcakes. We found the recipe on a wonderful blog called 52 Cupcakes. She is a cupcake queen who is trying to make all of Martha Stewart's 175 cupcakes, similar to the Julie/Julia project. I love her blog because it is giving me so many delicious ideas and confidence. Yes, I am becoming comfortable and confident in my own kitchen. For example, I have never made homemade cheesecake before, and I may never buy store bought again. I am far from a "foodie" just because I lack any natural talent, but I find the more I read and make, the more I like it. Not easy to come out of my comfort zone, but it is sweet.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New Recipe: Nacho Pie

****Disclaimer: I am not a professional cook, and I cannot even claim to be a good cook, but I do watch Food Network on TV. Once again, I just know what I like.****

I have to admit, I may think I came up with this last night, but I bet there are people all over this fine world who have already made nacho pie on their own, but when something is quick, easy, and good, it still must be celebrated. Better yet, when the kids clean their plates, the clean up is easy, and the meal was not complicated, that is when I celebrate.

1 lb. of lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 cup of Bisquick
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 onion
taco seasoning packet
1 cup fiesta blend cheese
1/2 cup baked nacho chips
Sour cream
black olives
fresh diced tomatoes

1. Grease a loaf pan and set aside. Preheat over to 400

2. Brown onions until soft and then brown meat

3. While the meat is browning, mix the Bisquick with the eggs and milk. pour in loaf pan and set

4. Drain the meat, and add taco season and fix according to directions on package

5. Add meat to Bisquick mixture by spooning down the center

6. Cover with cheese and crunched up nacho chips

7. Bake until brown, about 30 minutes

8. Garnish with extra cheese, tomatoes, salsa, and black olives or anything to your taste

Maybe not original but really good.

Friday, July 24, 2009

New Music for The Day: Ghost in My Head

****Disclaimer: Once again, I have no entertainment or music experience outside of a church choir. I just know what I like****

I have eclectic taste in music, and if you shuffle my Ipod, you will find every style represented from classical to electronic. However, as I grow(prefer that to age), I find myself listening more to what Itunes calls "singer/songwriter". I just call it crunchy rock. That is the noise you make when you eat granola, and I know this comes from listening to the Indigo Girls and The Grateful Dead in college. I tend to favor singers who are more comfortable in a coffee shop than a stadium. I like the intimate feel of crunchy, granola rock, and this describes Jill Hennessey's debut CD, Ghost in My Head perfectly.

Some people who are not familiar with country music may consider this as country, but there is a difference. This is more folk than anything with a guitar, a message, and a beautiful, soothing voice. Perfect listening for a cool summer night with the windows open. Hennessey's voice is not synthetically perfect like every pop princess on the radio. Instead, we find something more, deeper, multi layered, and richer. It is just genuinely real. You can see this directly in the songs "Slow Down" and "Save Me".

Here is Jill Hennessey singing "4 Small Hands":

OH, I am writing this as I watch The Today Show, and Katy Perry is butchering her own songs. Great personality and seems like a lot of fun, but it almost seems more like karaoke on the plaza.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pine Sol, Baby

The truth will set you free, or in my case, cause me to scrub down my living room walls with Pine Sol at 2 AM. I rediscovered a not so well kept secret by somebody who I once loved, and I cleaned to avoid the fact it still can hurt sometimes, even after all these years. The past has a beautiful way of reminding you that you are human and flawed, but in a way, I am thankful now for the pain and muck. I didn't exactly make lemonade with what life gave me, but I sucked the lemon, dealt with it, and tossed it away. My life is my own, and I now have really nice shining walls and a clean, fresh scent.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

All Shook Up

Thing One came running into the living room with a look of shock and fear on her face. Immediately I started looking for Thing Two. I just knew she was finally successful her in her quest to flush him down the toilet. I just wish it had been that simple.

"Mom, did you know Jared Leto is old?"

"H., he isn't that old. He is my age. I need to get you My So Called...,"she didn't even give me time to finish.

"No, the guy from 30 Seconds from Mars cannot be your age," her words dripped with pure disgust. She was treading on dangerous territory. Didn't she realize she was talking to the woman who controlled her next CD purchase, Hot Topic tee, and her college tuition?

"Baby, I am really not that old."

"No, you aren't. You are the perfect age for a mom but not a rock star." I almost expected her pat me on the head and ask if I needed more prunes.

"Well, don't say that to Madonna."

"Who? Oh, that old lady on your Ipod."

'Nuff said.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Turning Toward the Sun

I have always loved sunflowers. My first bedroom after leaving college was black and white with bright yellow sunflower accents. When I married I decorated my kitchen in sunflowers and daisies, my favorite two flowers. There is a fierceness in their beauty as they grow tall and strong, pushing forward toward the sun, symbolizing beauty, warmth, and happiness.

I was reminded of this as I walked with my children this past weekend. The evening was cool, and we went to the ruins of our hometown. The scars from the Mother's Day flooding are still raw and red. Several homes are shuttered and abandoned while many empty lots hold the ghosts of the families that once lived there and thrived. Those who remain are defiantly rebuilding,cleaning, and hoping that they can begin again; however, among the weeds of the abandoned something bright caught my eye. The sunflower was there.

At first I thought I was seeing things, but yeah, in the middle of three damaged homes, grew several flowers. One mile down, in the yard of a home where the walls collapsed, stood an entire garden of sunflowers. Yes, in the dirt and remaining sand, there they were. We counted and soon found over twenty. It was really an amazing sight to see. Where people no longer dwelled nature brought comfort and beauty.

Life is messy and filled with mud and muck. Sometimes it brings you down and makes you just as dirty as the flood waters that swirled over you, but with time and patience something beautiful may grow from it. Hopefully this will be the case of our small community.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Anybody Want a Cupcake?

I have been baking this summer. I have made several cobblers and a few dozen cookies, but they have been tailored for the taste buds of my parents. The kids have been fine with that, but nothing has made them want to be in the kitchen with me. I needed something to make the "ohs" turn into "Ahhhs". After much deliberation(two minutes at least), the answer came to me, cupcakes.

Cupcakes and childhood go hand in hand. Just saying the name conjures images of school parties, holidays, and my mom not being able to find her muffin tin. I wanted to bring that magic back home, but I wanted to avoid the synthetic, conveyor belt taste of our local bakeries. I live in rural America, and we sadly lack the gourmet cupcake shops that seem to be springing up everywhere but here. I am not adding extra laps of walking for cardboard covered with sugar.
I turned to the Internet for recipes, and in doing so found Martha Stewart. Not a huge fan of her, but this woman knows her cupcakes.

The kids and I made Martha's Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes, and they are amazing. The cake is absolutely delicious and will melt in your mouth; however, in following the recipe, I found the icing had a bitter aftertaste, as mentioned in the reviews. I added more vanilla and sugar, and that took care of that.
This really turned this mundane, cool rainy summer day into an adventure. Both kids were up to their elbows in batter and icing, and they did a great job. They may not look like Martha's, but in my opinion, they are better. They taste as good as they look.

Now you must excuse me. We have earned those extra laps.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

First Post or Why I Loved Public Enemies

***Disclaimer: I am not a film student. I am not a critic or anybody with any real knowledge of the film industry. I have friends who make movies and produce plays. I have friends who have IMDB credits, and my ex wrote screenplays, so take any of this with a grain of salt.***

If I like a film, I usually come home, mention I liked it and promptly forget all about it, but if I love a movie, I come home and analyze lines or camera angles. It becomes a brief obsession, and Public Enemies is now officially on that level. I shouldn't have even liked this film due to the historical inaccuracies. I am a history major, and films with their own time lines for entertainment purposes usually just annoy me. This is the same reason why I could not enjoy Titanic when it first came out. Too many people died for it to be entertainment (I am now off my soap box and can watch it). Don't go to this one and expect a history lesson. Wikipedia is more accurate than this. Maybe it was the documentary feel that came from the hand held camera. Maybe it was the unexpected impact of the love story. Maybe it was the beautiful clothes and amazing soundtrack, but I inhaled in the first scene and didn't exhale until the closing credits. Johnny Depp proves once again why he is the greatest actor of my generation. He captured, of course, the sexy/cool charm that made Dillinger an icon, but he goes deeper and keeps him from becoming a caricature. His subtle movements convey more than any single line of dialogue. Christian Bale? Once again, he has a solid performance. Handsome man who can quietly command a scene. He glowers and looks anguished here, and then he goes over and glowers and looks anguished there. Christian Bale is a solid dramatic performer, but even as a fan, sometimes I miss the lightness of young Laurie in Little Women. Okay, I get it, you have dark and brooding down. You are a dramatic actor and you are good at it, but one day, just for fun, lighten up a bit. Batman, Terminator, and now Purvis, Bale proves he can glower and brood with the best of them; however, with that said, I do like how the film foreshadows the tensions between the glory hound Hoover and Purvis. Even though the character is never fleshed out,which isn't Bale's fault, it does show he is a man tormented. Purvis, as a man, was an enigma, so that may explain why we never really know why Dillinger was his personal white whale.

I also purchased the soundtrack, and the score is beautiful, but come on, this is a Michale Mann film, and he is known for the music he chooses. The score is haunting, rich, and complex. I listened to "JD Dies" so many times last night, I felt the strings were carrying me away. Even though all the songs are amazing(Billy Holliday, yeah,yeah), "Ten Million Slaves" truly sets the tone for the entire film. Enjoy.

Friday, July 17, 2009


Here I go again, trying to throw my words to the universe while finding a catharsis for my soul. My first experiment in blogging failed due to my own inability in seeing that my words mattered. Now, I collect myself and try, try again. This isn't an attempt to find myself, but only to make who I am better. I hope you can come on this awkward and stumbling journey with me.

Perfect Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

Today was a very busy but lovely beginning to our Halloween Festivities.  My husband and I went to a Farmers' Market that was featuring ...