Saturday, May 31, 2008
Full to overflowing
Two weeks, two weeks it's been since I flew home. I've kept my calendar mostly clear, and some of what was scheduled I just crossed off. Some days were spent playing the entire day, and some I didn't even get dressed. Note to self: sports bras are a good thing to sleep in, or at least pull on immediately after brushing your teeth. They serve those 'don't get dressed days' well, especially when the neighbor comes over at 4 in the afternoon, asking to borrow a ladder. I'll remember that.

I've spent four hours on the phone with my two parents. I've spent an entire day with my daughter, celebrating her birthday by bravely driving into Pittsburgh, eating at a not-often-frequented restaurant, then giving her a budget and having a blast just watching her shop for pretty things. I've spent a bit of time with my pudgy, adorable grandson - sitting on the floor making train and lion noises and watching Noggin' with him. I've had a few glasses of wine, over long talks with DH, about fixing up the house, moving away, buying another house, what will our life look like in the next stage, how will we choose a church, friends, activities? I've had four hour cups of coffee with a dear friend, discussing life, employment and the lack thereof, how to arrange a room, how to heal hurts, how to keep marriages growing through long years. I've spent some time cleaning up the camper and then listing it to sell, so we don't have a 20' pull behind us as we begin a 1200 mile drive across the country. I'm so hoping someone will buy him and love him like we have. I've chatted with repairmen, about leaks in the newly renovated bathroom, and about giving the house a fresh coat of paint, and on sprucing up the yard. I've spent time on long, rambly emails with my sister about deep things, those talks that would have been fun on an outside deck, late at night, while the stars were beginning to peek out. I'm trusting we have some of those nights together in the not so distant future. I've made plans for us to drive and see some dear friends, celebrating the 4th of July with them, but more just celebrating 20+ years of friendship that's held up in spite of the miles inbetween us.

Three weeks, it's been three weeks since my daughter and her family moved into their new home. Three weeks of unpacking boxes, arranging furniture and buying more, putting up window treatments, finding new places for favorite old things, discovering berry patches, meeting new neighbors - those with two legs and four - learning how to battle mice and plant a first garden and what plants are what, and where to move this perennial and what new ones to buy and bring home. Three weeks of learning the back roads to their 'new' place, baking that first batch of cookies in this home, which is almost like a christening, it's such a part of making a place truly feel like home. Doing those first loads of laundry - and isn't the smell of freshly washed towels and underwear a part of that too? Cleaning the bathrooms for the first time when it's actually your mess you're cleaning up, hauling home a car full of groceries, mowing the grass (or pasture), making smores, and catching grasshoppers or crickets in jars, and riding bicycles up and down the driveway without your shirt or shoes on. By the way, this last activity is best left to the little ones if you don't want to scare off those neighbors, but there's nothing quite so charming as seeing, from the back, a skinny little boy, sans shirt, pedaling his bike down a long driveway.

Amazing, how much of the rhythm of life can be held in just a few weeks of time, no matter the stage we're at.


  posted at 8:00 AM

Friday, May 30, 2008
Fun New Meme!
One of my sweet blogging girlfriends sent me this, and it's just too much fun to not pass on. It was set up for email, but I'm going to try it here.

In your entire life have you?

Gone on a blind date NO
Skipped school YES
Watched someone die NO
Been to Canada YES
Been to Mexico YES
Been to Florida YES
Been on a plane YES (a lot!)
Been lost YES (often!)
Been on the opposite side of the country YES
Gone to Washington , DC YES
Swam in the ocean YES
Had your booze taken away by the cops NO
Lettered in a high school sport ARE YOU KIDDING?!
Cried yourself to sleep YES
Played cops and robbers YES, we played 'army' more
Played dolls YES, Thumbelina was my dearest treasure
Recently colored with crayons YES with Landon at Bob Evans
Sang Karaoke NO
Paid for a meal with coins only YES, dug up from the pit of my purse
Done something you told yourself you wouldn't YES
Cheated on an exam YES (I'd guess yes to a math test, although I don't remember for sure)
Made prank phone calls YES, I was the typical dorky teenager
Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose YES
Caught a snowflake on your tongue YES
Danced in the rain YES
Written a letter to Santa Claus YES
Been kissed under the mistletoe YES
Watched the sunrise with someone you care about YES, Easter sunrise services
Been arrested NO
Blown bubbles YES, very recently to entertain little ones in the nursery
Gone ice-skating NO (there wasn't much ice in Texas!)
Been skinny dipping outdoors YES (recently! yes, the kids are horrified...)
Any nickname? YES Bevmeister, Bevanator
Mother's name? Judith Ann
Favorite drink that I'm allowed to have on a regular basis? Diet Coke or Coffee;
Favorite alcohol - margaritas or zinfandel wine
Tattoos? NO
Body Piercings? YES, Ears only
Birthplace? Beaumont, Texas
Favorite vacation spot? Outer Banks, NC
Been to Africa NO, No desire to go there, I'd never recover emotionally
Eaten cookies for dinner YES, Oatmeal chocolate chip, which seems reasonable to me
Ever been on TV NO
Ever steal any traffic signs NO
Ever been in a car accident? YES, thankfully it’s usually just me.
Drive a 2-door or 4-door vehicle? 4 door gas-guzzling beast
Favorite salad dressing? Ranch
Favorite Pie? Pecan with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side
Favorite number? Good grief no.
Favorite movie? Sound of Music
Favorite holiday? New Year's Day - I love brand new starts
Favorite food? Seafood of some sort
Favorite day of the week? Sunday
Favorite brand of body wash? Anything from Bath and Body
Favorite toothpaste? Sensodyne
Favorite smells - just bathed baby
What do you do to relax? Putz, do nothing that amounts to anything productive
How do you see yourself in 10 years? Retired, spending time with hubby and family

A fun meme, if anyone would like to join in, feel free to grab it and paste it into your own blog.


  posted at 8:00 AM

Thursday, May 29, 2008
Fading tan and memory!
It's already been a month since we left for a beautiful, romantic, exotic vacation in Riviera Maya! I never shared the photos, so if you're the type that hates those dinners you get sucked into accepting, and over dessert you're stuck watching a slide show of the fun someone else had, feel free to pass on by. If you're our family and friends, we thought you'd enjoy seeing them!

This is the lobby of our beautiful hotel. We were just blown away by how gorgeous it was, continually spotless. Speaking with the people at the desk was a bit of a challenge, but they were very gracious.

The main thoroughfare of the hotel. Every night we'd sit in this courtyard, enjoying a glass of wine and listening to musicians or theater performers. There were four weddings the week we visited, and it was such fun to see the bride and groom share their first dance in the middle of this gorgeous place.

Hours, hours, hours spent here. A more shallow pool, which spilled over into the larger pool, with lounge chairs built into the pool floor, and little tables and chairs if you wanted to sit there wet, eating nachos, or swim up to the poolside bar for some pretty drink with an umbrella in it. Every morning crazy vacationers did pool aerobics, then the afternoons sported volleyball games with lots of whooping and splashing.

If we got tired of the pool, we'd venture just past the gate to the beach area. Those lumps in the water are big bags of sand, put there to keep the beach from eroding. We never ventured deeper than our ankles, but it was absolutely gorgeous to take a stroll here every evening, after dinner.

Don has always wanted to go deep sea fishing. I'd jump out of the boat from the motion sickness that would surely get me, so he went alone, and this is what he caught. A dolphin, although they call it a dorado. He wanted to let it go, but the boat crew keeps all the catch to sell at the market. Of the five men who went, only two caught something, and since he'd waited so long for this adventure I was thrilled he was one of the two. I think he looks absolutely adorable here.

Another shot of the thoroughfare of our hotel. Just unbelievably beautiful.

We enjoyed a french dinner this night. Champagne at our table, and I don't even remember what we ate. It was not our favorite meal, but the atmosphere was lovely. The couple behind us was celebrating their wedding, and their table was sprinkled with rose petals.

We ate at this restaurant (all within our hotel) two nights, it was our favorite. I don't remember what we had here either, except the baked alaska dessert. I do remember the waiter kissed my hand when I thanked him for his service - how charming! I wore my hair crazy curly all week - the humidity of the tropics wreak havoc on any attempts to straighten it, so I just went with it

Poolside, waiting for somoeone to come by and ask us if we'd like anything at all. We spent hours and hours here, basting away, reading books, taking naps, when we'd get a bit warm we'd take a dip in the pool. There's a reason this photo is not zoomed in any closer - 50+ years old, you don't need to get close-ups of swimsuit shots! We did see some amazing sunbathers - thongs, on men and women! Bikinis that looked like they'd burst at the seams, truly you just saw it all. Pale, pale skin and we were sure they'd fry, people who were so tan they looked like they were a Coppertone commercial gone bad. If you want to feel good about yourself, go to a pool out of this country - there's always someone who looks so much better, then there are those wonderful people who just don't give a rip, don that bikini and enjoy life - we loved seeing that every day!


  posted at 8:34 AM

Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Wake Up Sleepyhead!
Somewhere in the background of my brain I hear music. Nothing else in that deep vacuum really, just music. In a nano-second I acknowledge the source, and give the radio a whap. Next, silence. But wait, it's not. That frenzy of chirping tells me my feathered friends are already up and at it, working on breakfast or tidying the nest. Listening more closely I can hear the sound of DH shaving, behind the closed bathroom door. A closer listen, the sound of cars already heading down the street.

The cat and I lie there a minute more, a few pats on her head as a deposit on what she'll surely deserve, after a day of being abused by those two furry fiends downstairs. I stop and think for just a minute, 'what day is it, what do I have going on today? Where do I have to be?' My mind skips over those items jotted in my daytimer, and I hit on a few that are pure joy. Aha! Something fun to look forward to. Then a minute taken, "Good morning Lord. Thanks for this beautiful day, for a reason to get out of this bed, places to go, people to spend it with, for purpose. Help me honor you today, from start to finish." Miah the cat scurries out of the way as I fling the coverlet across the bed, swing my legs out and slip my feet into slippers, a bit ratty to look at. Molded to my feet, they slide on without even a glance at them.

Literally stumbling down the hall as these not-that-old joints begin to loosen up. Potty stop, brush my teeth, survey the mess on my head and ponder whether I can go gather the paper such as I am. Heck, the neighbors have been seeing me like this for 12 years. It's good enough. Down the stairs, carefully, because I'm still not that awake, but after living here awhile I count the stairs automatically, '1-2-3-4-5....' and hit the bottom landing at '12'. There's something comforting about starting my day, the familiarity of again counting to 12.

I pause a minute to look out the front window that needs a good cleaning. Is it sunny? Oh my, it is! My spirits rise and something deep inside me begins to mentally sing, 'oh what a beautiful morning...' because I'm corny that way, and kind of like that I am. I could live inside a good old musical, just give me a scarf to tie on my head and I'm good to go, whether it's running over 'the hills that are alive', or 'washing that man out of my hair'. I could do that, I do believe.

Stepping into my kitchen, the smell of fresh-brewed coffee has overtaken the scent of furry friends. Let the dogs out for their morning pit stop. Open the front door, step outside and as I walk down the sidewalk I look over the neighborhood. Mrs. Bastien's clematis are already blooming, Mr. Wall doesn't usually let his grass get this long, I hope they're okay over there. Mary Grace's yard is going to be beautiful again this year, as usual. Seeing the other mailboxes with newspapers peeking out gives me a sense of this rhythm of life that's going on up and down my street. It's a good feeling, making me feel a bit like June Cleaver.

Back inside, feed the dogs so they'll quit dancing a jig in and out of my legs. Pour that first cup of coffee with a generous helping of flavored creamer. DH comes down the stairs to join me, just as I take that first long, slow sip. It's not just about the caffeine, it's about beginning yet another day, full of the mundane, beautiful things life offers. I look over to DH, ask, 'how'd you sleep, well?' 'Good, me too.' He grabs his first cup, settles down to read the paper just a bit. The dogs are ready to be let out again, for a romp in the yard, maybe chase a squirrel or run off a deer or two.

The beginning of another extraordinary, ordinary morning. 'Lord, don't let me live so long that I quit celebrating the day's beginning. Bed head hair, impatient pets, newpapers damp from the morning dew, flavored creamer, and someone to wake up to. Each one is a gift. Thank you.'


  posted at 7:51 AM

Tuesday, May 27, 2008
A Sacreligious Memorial Day...
I seem to grow fish well. The aquarium kind, not ponds or lakes. Someday when all these dogs and cats go to be Jesus' pets, I plan to keep growing fish because they're truly the perfect pet, if you don't expect much in return, and I don't. I feed them now and then, change their water out sometimes, we never chat, no pats on the head, and when we travel I tell the neighbor kid who has to come over three times a day to deal with the dogs, "just ignore the fish. They'll be fine."

Two of my angelfish grew to be absolutely beautiful, they were the size of a child's dish with long, flowing fins and they'd move gracefully around the tank, surveying it all. Then I had these two fish that reminded me more of me - zipping to and fro, chasing everything in sight with no discrimination. I really didn't care for them much, but once you get the fish home it's hard to get rid of them.

About two months ago I realized one of my beautiful black angelfish had literally been eaten away at. His gorgeous fins had been nibbled down to pitiful, ragged things that were so inept at moving him anymore, he was swimming sort of sideways, and more often hiding behind the plants. I decided the other black angelfish must have become territorial and started to dislike him. Eventually 'sad fish' became so pitiful flushing him was the humane thing to do. He could no longer even feed himself and spent his day in refuge. After his demise at my hands, I went away for awhile, got crazy busy, and when I finally got back home, I took a look at the tank. Beautiful fish #2 had lost much of his long fins too! I realized the two nasty fish were the culprits, zipping to and fro and taking nips out of him because he couldn't move fast enough to elude them. Much like some grand, elderly lady, his fins were for beauty, not speed. I began to wonder if fins grow back, like some creatures that can replace body parts, or are they more like our fingers and toes, irreplacable? The beauty of our relationship has always been that I'm not overly attached to them, when I find one belly-up I give it the flush ceremony. But seeing that he was being picked on, literally to death, brought back that protective side of me, and my dislike of the two zippy fish grew daily.

Yesterday, it being a holiday, I finally took the time to scoop up the two hateful fish and haul them to the fish store, to ask if they knew - would these zippy fish nip at the beautiful angels unceasingly? If so, I was going to give them back to the fishstore owners, and bring home some new angelfish, let them loose in a now non-hostile environment.

The fish store was closed.

I sat there, in the parking lot, the two hateful fish and me. I know they're just doing their thing, functioning the way they were created, it's a dog-eat-dog world out there, but I didn't want it taking place in my family room. I'm not really into violence. CSI makes me cringe, I can't handle Law and Order, or Cold Case or any of those other shows where the first scene is grisly and you spend the next 55 minutes getting more details than you want. My fish tank is there to have a spot of peaceful serenity, not playground bullying or streetfights.

Next door to the fish store is the cemetery. There's a pond with a beautiful fountain in the middle. I pulled in and drove through the cemetery, trying to find a parking spot next to the pond. One woman in particular stood out to me, sitting next to a very fresh grave. Flags waved in plenty and I tried not to look around too much, out of respect for those who were paying respects to people they'd loved.

I pulled over very near the pond, grabbed the little fish bowl and climbed out of the car. I walked as close as I could get to it, stood there and considered whether to walk down the rocky bank in my flip flops, and finally decided it might end in someone having to come pull me out. So I stood there and just flung the contents of the fishbowl out over the pond, giving it a couple extra shakes so there wouldn't be a floppy fish left in there. Once it was empty I took a couple of looks out over the pond, hoping the nasty fish would be happier there, thinking they were likely looking for rocks to hide behind and wondering why they had a migraine all of the sudden.

It was only as I was driving away I realized those putting flowers and flags on graves might have thought I was flinging Uncle Arthur's ashes across the pond.


  posted at 7:54 AM

Monday, May 26, 2008
How to (Re)Arrange a Room
I used to move the furniture in our house all the time; The scenario - husband walks in the front door after working midnight shift, falls over the sofa which was moved while he was at work - that wasn't uncommon at our house. I've gotten older, and the furniture doesn't get moved around nearly so much. Extra energy is spent on more important stuff, like meeting a girlfriend for coffee, or reading a book or knitting or shoving mud under my fingernails while digging in my flowerbeds.

Sometimes, though, a room just needs to be redone, and I have finally learned the perfect way to (re)arrange a room, and want to share it with you.

#1 Don't touch the furniture! Start with a pad of graph paper. Mine is 8 1/2 x 11, because I can see it better.

#2 Measure the entire room you're considering rearranging, including doors and windows, and make note of where outlets, TV cables and phone jacks are. Use a metal tape - they're more accurate than the floppy kind.

#3 Draw the room out on graph paper. I use two squares to equal one foot so the overall drawing is bigger, thus easier to see. Make note on the drawing of doors, windows and outlets. This version does not need to be neat, just get it down on paper.

#4 Measure all the furniture you'll be putting in the room, and make note of it on the graph paper. How long, how wide, how tall (so you don't forget and plan on putting the TV armoire right in front of the biggest window).

#5 Draw out each piece of furniture, again using two squares for each foot. This drawing is my final, neat version of the room and all the stuff to go into it.

#6 Cut out all the furniture, and then have fun. I know this sounds completely OCD but trust me, it's a lot easier to move big bookcases or a heavy TV armoire on paper, try several scenarios, then when you finally get it right, you know exactly where each piece of furniture will go.

that's all the furniture, on the right, waiting to be arranged

#7 I did just this process with my home office this past week. We moved an armoire and TV to the downstairs rec room, and the space that was left empty looked strange. Standing in the family room all I could see was a big safe. Not only was it unattractive, I thought it was dangerous to our toddler grandson who visits often. I did all the measuring, graphed it out, cut it out, then put the 'pieces of furniture' in an envelope in about 30 minutes. Then I phoned my girlfriend, Carol and headed to the nearest coffee shop. Over lattes she helped me rearrange the furniture in my home office, on paper. We tried about six different scenarios before we settled on one. Moving the two big bookcases on paper was a lot more fun than trying to drag them around the room. Here's what we decided would work best:

I actually traced the furniture onto the graph paper because I should have taken tape with me, to tack down the furniture pieces. After six versions, I didn't want to get home and forget where everything went.

Here's what it looked like before:

The first thing you saw when you looked in was two messy, packed bookshelves.

The killer safe, sitting on a wobbly table, just waiting to crush grandson Landon. Not a very attractive first view of the office either. The safe is now in the basement, out of reach, and the table is sitting by the curb waiting for a home.

Here's the mostly finished product:

That can of paint is waiting for me to fill any nail holes, and I need to rehang the clock and sign over my desk.

When you first look in the office, you don't see this first bookcase, so I filled it with the messier items I can't live without. The one you see right away is a bit more attractive, with photos, etc. nicely arranged on the shelves.

I really can't do much about the dog prison kennel and bed. Dublin isn't old enough to trust leaving him out, and since it's not really his fault he't not four and calm, I gave him a window view. Elway's bed is right next to him, to keep him company because puppies get lonely. Neither of these lovely items show from the family room door.

I've used this method with long living rooms that need more than one seating area, master bedrooms that have a king size bed and not much wall space, and recently used it to rearrange my sewing room. When my daughter, Leslie moved into their rental townhouse the living room looked impossible to figure out. It was long and a bit narrow, with a patio door in the middle of the back wall. Once it was on graph paper we were able to figure it out pretty easily, and she's left it that way for a year because it works so well, and looks great. Well worth it, and much easier on your back too! If you have a man, say a husband or brother or brother-in-law who has agreed to help you actually move the heavy pieces, he's going to love this system. I promise, this works! You just shove the furniture to the already decided spot and it fits and works perfectly. All the auditioning of furniture is done ahead of time, before the muscle shows up.

You can even file away the furniture pieces in a little envelope, staple them to the graph paper that has the room drawn out and if you ever want to rearrange it again, it'll be a snap. This may well be a bit too OCD for some of you, but I love it, and so does my husband who is the main moving man.


  posted at 8:00 AM

Sunday, May 25, 2008
First Place
First I decided to fix up this house. Then it began to trickle into other areas of my life. Making a daily schedule, working on relationships, taking vitamins, beginning to exercise again, and now it's time to shed some weight. That dreaded ten lbs to be specific.

I'm tall, 5'10" so I can carry weight pretty easily. If you saw me (more than my profile that is) you wouldn't think I need to lose weight. But just like most people, it's been creeping up slowly and surely over the past twenty years, and I'm now at the top of the green BMI numbers. My gyne and primary both told me I'm fine - that I look healthy and strong. Still, I know I'm a bit over what I should be, my cholesterol is likely not the best, so it's time to pay some attention to this area of my life.

I'm a lifetime member of Weight Watchers. You can be over goal and still be Lifetime, trust me. Recently I found a program much like Weight Watchers, but Christ-centered. It's called First Place, you meet with a group of women for a weekly Bible study, weigh in, encouragement and accountability. There is no weekly charge once you buy the materials needed to participate. The next group begins June 3, and I'm signed up to go. In the meantime I've ordered the materials off of Amazon, and am starting early. It's time.

To find out more, you can go here, to their website. If you're able to join a group, I'd recommend that, but if you can't, the materials can be purchased at Amazon for very reasonable prices. Sometimes it's not about looking good in a swimsuit, or shedding weight for some special occasion, but rather just getting your act together in all areas of life. This temple is just a bit pudgy, too many McD's french fries going in, and not enough calories being burned.

I'll let you know how it goes. It seems much more efficient to me to just get it done, get rid of those extra pounds, than to keep putting it on my resolution list.


  posted at 8:00 AM

Saturday, May 24, 2008
Making Babies...
I think they should make more of these - look how great these four turned out! You notice Sarah and Leslie are holding onto them, but can't you just see the look in their eyes. Let me tell you, when they let go it gets crazy in about 1.5 seconds, and for a few hours or even days it's great fun having the chaos with us. Then they take them back home, where they really belong, and I get to just look at their sweet photos through rose-colored glasses and remember how great it is having them all in one place for just a little bit of time. Yes indeed, I'd love some more of these little people!


  posted at 8:00 AM

Friday, May 23, 2008
Deciding to Grow Up
I've just finished reading "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality", with the sub-title, "it's impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature". (author Peter Scazzero). How's that for a title! It was recommended to me by a deep-thinking friend, I had to order it from Barnes and Noble, and I almost gave up about half-way through. I'm glad I stuck with it.

It's not light stuff. The author writes out of his own pain, after his personal life pretty much fell apart. He's the senior pastor of a large church, and when his wife quit attending he decided he might need to make some changes. I'm not going to do a big re-cap or review of the book, but rather want to share some quotes. There are too many for one post, so I'll be back with more later.

"Emotional underdevelopment is not so obvious when we first meet people. Over time, as we become involved with them, that reality becomes apparent."

"Most people are either 'stuffers' or 'inflictors' of their anger."

"I never expected God to meet me through feelings such as sadness, depression, and anger."

"Most of us will not go forward until the pain of staying where we are is unbearable."

And last for today, this:

"We are not God. We cannot serve everyone in need. We are human. Jesus modeled this for us as a human being - he did NOT heal every sick person. He did not raise every dead person. He did not feed all the hungry beggars or set up job development centers for the poor of Jerusalem. He didn't do it, and we shouldn't feel we have to. But somehow we do. Why don't we take appropriate care of ourselves? Why are so many Christians, along with the rest of our culture, frantic, exhausted, over-loaded and hurried? Few Christians make the connection between love of self and love of others. Sadly, many believe that taking care of themselves is a sin, a 'psychologizing' of the gospel taken from our self-centered culture. I believed that myself for years. Parker Palmer said, "self-care is never a selfish act - it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.""

Amen, Parker. Amen Peter.

Heavy stuff. Good stuff.


  posted at 8:00 AM

Thursday, May 22, 2008
Acquiring Labels in Life
After my divorce was final, I remember thinking, 'I can never be one of those people who can say they aren't divorced.' It was a label I did not want to wear, and years ago, a less common one. There have been labels over the years that I acquired, and immediately wished I hadn't. Waking up with a hangover (one was quite enough since it felt like motion-sickness, and why on earth anyone would do that twice is beyond me), I could never say I hadn't had one. Smoked pot, twice, (unlike someone else, yes I inhaled) and thank the Lord someone told someone and I was threatened enough to never do that again, plus, again, it felt like motion-sickness. Hit-and-run driver, when I was 16, and I bumped into someone's car in the grocery lot and pulled out and peeled away, for fear my Dad would skin me alive. (It was just a bump, likely didn't do any real damage, but I've always felt terrible about it.)

So up to now I've never gone for 'counseling', a little to avoid the label, but more to avoid rattling the worlds of those around me, who see me as strong and wise and having it all together. Feeling the need to do that in itself is likely enough to justify counseling! Plus it just seemed like a lot of trouble to sit there, go on and on trying to get them caught up with where I am, then figure out the problem(s), so we can work through it together. When my brother died four years ago, I was already pretty stressed from a too-hectic life and some family issues that had piled up, I was beginning to see signs of unexplained anxiety. When he died, I still didn't go, for fear my family would worry over me. I just told them, "I'm a bit of a mess right now, I'm going on medication, and I'll be fine with time." That revelation alone was something, being a middle child who likes to keep everyone happy, and not cause waves. Looking back, I should have made the appointment and gone. I should have given myself permission to fall apart in light of the circumstances of my life then.

The older I get, the more comfortable I am in my own skin, wrinkles, loss of elasticity and all. I'm pretty comfortable being me. I'm also getting better at seeing, and admitting, the short-comings, the fragile spots, all those things I ignored for years or accepted as 'just being me, just the way I am.' One blessing of getting older is that I can look back, then forward and see my life in definite seasons, with different pressures and demands, goals, ways to spend my time and money and energy. If I'm almost 53 then I'm likely more than half-done with my time here on earth, and it changes priorities. I find myself thinking that I'll be early-70's twenty years from now, so how do I want to spend them? What is truly important to me? Like most people, it's people, and specifically it's family.

So I'm going to be brave, be smart, and take on this new label. I share that decision here hoping to give someone else out there the courage to take it on too, if need be. I'm going to schedule some appointments with a christian counselor, to work through some old baggage, and help prepare me for life's next season, when Don and I retire, move away from a daughter and her family and the place I've lived longer than anywhere else in my life. He and I will be together much of the time, living away from one daughter, near the other two kids and their families. My parents are getting older and that will bring challenges, we're taking on a whole new lifestyle together, one that will likely feel awkward and lonely for awhile. My husband will need some support as he starts this drastically different lifestyle, and I want to be as emotionally healthy as I can be when I join him on the journey. I suspect I'll need some support as well getting used to it all, starting completely over across the country and all the challenges that brings.

So after discussing it with Don, assuring him it's not a sign of being unhealthy, but rather of being healthy enough to get some professional input and guidance, I'm making the call, to a woman counselor my church recommended. I need someone who's at least on the same page, has the same center as I do. While I've been warned counseling can be a painful process, I'm excited at what she and I can accomplish together. Sometimes the strongest, bravest thing we can do is admit we're not - strong and brave. That we could use a helping hand. It'll be a few weeks before I'm actually sitting on that couch, but I'll be sure to come back and appropriately share what I discover. Hopefully it'll be encouraging to someone else out there. Some of the labels I've acquired I'm not real proud of, but I imagine many of you out there have them, or others, yourself. Honesty, keeping it real, it's the only way for me, and that includes what I share here. Life is just way too precious and short to do it any other way. I'm hoping this is a really great label to take on, much better than being a teenage hit-and-run driver!


  posted at 8:18 AM

Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Shopping at Home
I just ordered this book from Amazon. The review in our daily paper made it look like just what I need. My closet is already organized with shirts together, skirts together, blues then greens, then yellow into reds, brown and then black. You know - the normal closet, but I could really use help looking at everything hanging there and having a clear idea of what on earth to grab for different occasions. Once you go past choosing an outfit for a visit to the local grocery I get a bit challenged, and tend to wear the same ole boring stuff over and over.

I like that the cover shows a normal closet, not a big walk-in one, which I've never had. I'd like to have DH put in some dividers, bars high and low, etc. much like the cover photo. Help with organizing my closet, and shopping from it, rather than going to the mall every time I have a function to attend - that's something I can really use. If she offers help with figuring out what on earth shoes to put with an outfit then I'm nominating her for an award, because that's a complete mystery to me. I think you have to be born with a shoe gene, and I didn't get it! Maybe you can use a little help too? If not, feel free to move on and count yourself very blessed indeed.


  posted at 8:00 AM

Tuesday, May 20, 2008
A schedule!
Update: I found this at Target, and it smells wonderful! It testifies to help lift pet hair and remove odor, and the entire upstairs smells so much better, so I'm a new convert. I'll be buying boxes and boxes of this stuff. Also, a few comments suggested I shut off some of the rooms upstairs. Great idea! Done deal! After stripping and replacing sheets, dusting, vacuuming, the rooms are ready for guests and the doors are shut tight to keep out anyone with four legs. So thanks for the tips, there's hope! (Not that I'm really inviting anyone over anytime soon....)

After you guys left comments, and I went and checked out Anna at Pleasantview Schoolhouse (thank you, for sending me there!), here's what I came up with. I'm going to give it a try this week and see how it goes. Just having a plan makes me feel less overwhelmed.

· House projects with Don
· Fun: scrapbook/sew/crafts
· Seasonal yardwork as needed
· Poopscoop

· Exercise
· Wash bedding
· Houseplants
· Dust, vacuum main level
· Trash out
· Clean glass

· Clean out fridge
· Bake bread, other
· Scrub kitchen in detail
· Errand day, groc as needed
· Poopscoop

· Exercise
· Bathrooms
· Dust, vacuum upstairs
· Laundry, ironing
· Sewing or scrapbooking day
· Make menus, grocery list

· Clean basement – tidy, vacuum, etc
· Errand day, grocery shop
· Poopscoop

· Exercise
· Deskwork as needed
· Vacuum main level as needed
· Tidy for weekend plans

· Sleep in!
· Yardwork as needed
· Catbox
· Groom pets as needed

· EOW long time at library or bookstore
· EOW manicure, or some other primping
· Good time for girl gabs Wed, Thurs, Sat am
· Every Week Have Landon for half day
· Every Week Time with Leslie for fun

I had an old schedule, in the to do pile for updating, and I feel better just having a plan in place. I won't tell you how seldom I normally wash bedding. It's my most hated job in the house. My sister irons her sheets and I rarely wash mine. I guess family trees branch out sometimes. My home has more levels and is larger than Anna's but then she has five kids at home, works and her property is larger, so if Anna can do it, it should be manageable for me. I did like the one commenter who told me just to hire it out!

So it's Tuesday, that means I'm cleaning the furry things out of the fridge, baking bread and something yummy for my sewing group who's coming tomorrow. Thanks for the help - bloggers are just the best when you need a helping hand!


  posted at 8:00 AM

Sunday, May 18, 2008
Lately I've been sleeping like a baby, nine hours at night, then the urge to nap overcomes me before noon, and I find myself grabbing a soft comforter and heading to the nearest sofa.

Lately I've been looking in nooks and crannies of the house for CHOCOLATE! I don't really like chocolate, so what on earth this is about is beyond me. Today I finished off my husband's Easter chocolate saw and hammer. I left him the wrench.

Lately I've been craving routine, that life that matches kitchen towels of days gone by. Monday is wash day, Tuesday is ironing day, etc. etc.

So - any good, easy, low-maintenance routines out there? Anybody have any suggestions as to how to divide up this monstrous house, three floors, three bathrooms, five bedrooms, floors that show every single dog paw print, and carpets that are constantly covered with pet hair? I know the Fly Lady would tell me to start by getting dressed, putting on my shoes and shining the kitchen sink. Then what? I need suggestions as to how to keep this house presentable without it sucking the life out of me.

Routines, products, daily schedules, great websites that won't take me longer to read than it would to clean the house without them - I'd love some input. And a cleaning routine that includes daily naps and chocolate would work well too. Me, I'm headed to bed for another solid night's sleep, hoping I wake up feeling ready to grab the world by the horns tomorrow.


  posted at 10:19 PM

Saturday, May 17, 2008
Amputee Ken and Limbless Barbie
So Dubbie had his one year checkup today, mostly to get his rabies shot that's required when I take him for his shearings at the local Petco. For some reason the silly boy won't jump up into our SUV, but just puts his front paws on the bumper and waits to be lifted in. I pick up his rear, then shove him in and off we go.

Ignorance is bliss - not knowing what he weighed. At the vet, they have him walk onto the big, flat scale, I get him situated and the weight never completely settles but it does hover somewhere between 90.0 and 91.3!!!!!!!!!! Are you kidding me, that dog I've been lifting weighs close to 100 lbs and not the 72 I suspected?! He weighed 72 the last time we went and I guess cutting off all his hair made him look, if not smaller, then certainly not any beefier. Is beefier a word?
They jab him twice, get him to stop wiggling all over the place long enough to listen to his little heart and lungs and declare him fit. I tell the vet I have a few questions.

Is he fat? Yes, yes he is. Oh. So how fat? Well, he shouldn't lose more than 7-8 lbs, but they're not real concerned. So I mentally figure if I not only cut back on the dogfood a bit, and quit giving him treats every time he decides to come in when I call him, rather than run down to the bottom of the yard to eat a bit more mushroom manure, that may do it. If I can figure out how to make him quit stealing our old dog's food, that should surely put him in the green dog BMI.

Okay, so does he walk funny? Does it matter that he lays sort of like a frog, or a chicken sitting on eggs? Well, it is sort of strange, but the vet thinks it's more behavioral rather than a structural problem. He just seems to like to lie down with his little feet sticking out behind him.

Mr. Vet, do you think neutering him at 7 months made his growth plates do weird things, that made him really long, or could he possibly have spent too much time in the kennel and that made him grow extra long and walk all wiggly, because that's what the dog trainer told me? The vet watches him awhile, then tells me they neuter at 7 months every single day they're open, and they've never seen a good report that says anything about over-kenneling producing extra long torsoed dogs.

Whew! I was worried. And what's going on with his teeth? Are all his adult teeth in, or is he still teething, because I'm wondering why we have a rash of amputee Barbie's and Ken's, perfectly good plastic dolls that have stood the test of time for almost 20 years and recently this dog has been eating limbs left and right?

No Ma'am, his adult teeth have been in for months, there are no shots to prevent love of all things plastic. Sad, sad trash. Ken looks like he's been swimming with sharks, and there's just something really pitiful about little Barbie feet chewed up into little pieces all over the basement playroom.

So I'm wondering, how many calories in a lump of mushroom manure or a Ken leg? Hey, I could use losing about 7-8 lbs, we're about to buy an ellyptical. I wonder, if the dog won't jump up into the back of the car, maybe we could get him to shove those paws into the foot pedals of the ellyptical and go to town. But then, they're plastic. Maybe not such a great idea.


  posted at 11:00 AM

Friday, May 16, 2008
Dusty Book Giveaway
UPDATE: I have no idea why my profile isn't showing up to give you my email address. Best ask Susie at Bluebird Blogs to figure it out for me! In the meantime, my blog email is Sorry about the confusion.

Finally, I'm getting around to giving away those books I listed a good three weeks ago. I swear I used Random Number Generator, but I was surprised to see that my sister and a dear friend of almost 30 years won! So here are the results:

#1 Christy - goes to Vicki, comment #33 (no homepage?)
#2 How to Read a Book, goes to Susanne, comment #6
#3 Pleasers, goes to Andrea, comment #14
#4 If You Want to Write, goes to Robin, comment #26
#5 Writing Down the Bones, goes to d, comment #24
#6 Bird by Bird, goes to Robyn, comment #35
#7 Hobbit, Sad, Sad - nobody wanted him so I'll keep him a bit longer
#8 Susanne's Diary, goes to Tris (I can find you!), comment #30
#9 Memory Keeper's Daughter, goes to Renna, comment #18
#10 Clay Aiken, goes to my sister Barb (I can find you!), comment #3
#11 Shadowlands, goes to Stacey, comment #11
#12 Hillsong CD, goes to Mary B, comment #7
#13 Dog Sitter Video, goes to Trina, comment #12

You can email me on my sidebar and let me know where to ship the book and I'll get them out quick as a wink. Can't promise to dust them first though. I've got bigger fires to put out around here! Happy Reading.


  posted at 7:59 AM

Thursday, May 15, 2008
Could it be 'Home'?
Could it be 'home', that place that fits us like a glove, where we'd rather be than anywhere else on earth, once you go past about 5 days. Could the great room hold our Christmas tree, covered with ornaments from years gone by, with big meals served around the table that overlooks the lake. Could it be a place to sit on a stool, pulled up to the kitchen counter, for long talks on the phone to either of our daughters or son. Would there be summer memories made, of grandkids jumping into the lake, or swishing down the slide, or being pulled behind the boat, or standing at the edge of the dock while Papa shows them how to cast their line.

Could the back yard grow big red climbing roses, and peonies that will last longer than I will? Will we get to know the neighbors, chat from deck to deck, and lend eggs and sugar for baking that's already underway before you realize you're out of ingredients for a cake you started to bake because company's coming.

Could it feel comforting to pull up in the driveway, unload groceries through the garage, or sit down to a football game over chili and cornbread, or mexican dinners with lots of guacamole? Could grandbabies be bathed in the tub, and tucked into the twin beds their Papa grew up with, and old barbies with nappy hair, from years past would be dressed and undressed, and matchbox cars could be driven over the carpet? Would fires be built in the firepit outside, that's not there yet, but would be? Would evenings be spent with a glass of wine, or a cup of cocoa watching the Texas sun go down over the lake?
Will we have family come visit us here to enjoy the lake together? Will my father get to come visit and play golf with me? Will my mother or sister come for a stay, and we'll sit on the deck, sipping hot coffee, having nice, long chats?

Will we mow grass, and string christmas lights and pop popcorn, and read books, and enjoy big thunderstorms, and feed ducks, and spend years there enjoying life, and most of all it could be a place to return to after we've been away, and there would be this overwhelming sense of comfort? I don't know. But God does. He already knows whether we'll ramble around this house, or will it be another. That's good enough for now.


  posted at 5:33 PM

Jennifer Anniston envy
After three and a half weeks of having family here with us, or being in another country on vacation, or being with family in Texas helping with a move, or me looking for a home for us, I'm back home.

How do jet-setters do it? Not the logistics of being on the move all the time, dealing with planes and luggage and bills - I know they have people to do that for them. How do they live without that comforting routine of getting out of bed in the morning, sliding your feet across the carpet into your waiting slippers, stumbling down the hall to reach out and grab your favorite coffee cup? Amble outside for the morning paper, and begin to slowly sip that first cup with sleepy eyes and bedhair, how do they NOT do that?

Thank you God, for not making me independently wealthy. I could get used to someone else dealing with luggage and bills and piles of newspapers and rotten vegetables in the fridge drawers, but there is no amount of money that would be worth giving up that deeply comforting feeling of being home, where I belong.

This first morning home, everything in me wants to climb back into my comfy bed, pull the covers up over my head, but I suspect jumping in the shower, throwing in a load of laundry, and sitting down at my desk to sort out bills, emails, etc. will do more to restore my spirit. I'm a creature of routine, so that's what I'll be getting back into today - blessed routine.

There are days I'd really, really like to trade looks with Jennifer Anniston, but she can keep her life. I personally think she's better off without Brad, but her hair is fabulous! Stil, I'm happy to have my life back right now, even the bedhair from sleeping on my own pillow last night.


  posted at 8:19 AM

Friday, May 09, 2008
I'm deep in the heart of Texas, it's only May and yet when I walk outdoors the warmth of the spring air hits me right in the face. Nice! It feels like where I grew up, and somehow that heat is comforting to me. After flying with Sarah and her three kids, on two flights, where - her bad and my good - I was 20 rows behind her napping while she handled fidgety little ones, then we landed and parted ways. She headed out with her little family to do the wrap-up of buying a home for them all. I climbed in the car with my DIL, Janae and we headed to watch my son play intra-mural basketball. Til 12:45 am Texas time. That would be 1:45 am Pittsburgh time. But they won, so it was worth it I think.

I haven't seen him play basketball in years, maybe six or seven, and that's after watching hundreds and hundreds of games while he was growing up. He still plays like a crazy person, but after three games last night he told me he hurt all over. At twenty-five he was limping around and tired today. Hard to deny they are growing up, and if he's sore at twenty-five, then what am I at almost 53 years old? What stage of life?

After oversleeping this morning, we all climbed into a car and went to meet with our realtor and spent a couple of hours looking at two homes. One, a woman lost her husband about a year ago and is ready to move closer to her adult children. The other, the family wants to move into town to have their kids nearer the private school they're enrolled in. I walked through homes, seeing photos on walls and dressers. One had shoes lined up outside the door, boxes of sugary cereal on top of the fridge, school lessons waiting to be finished, a busy home somewhat cluttered with the stuff of life. The other immaculate, neat and tidy because the life she knew is over. As I walked through both I considered whether either could be home for us. Did it feel like a place we could gather for holidays, wake up and read the paper together, head in and out of daily as we go about our lives? Was it a place for Don and I to grow older together?

Signs of the passing of life - a little family who is excited to begin living their life together in a rambly home, a home full of the middle-school years, consumed with sports and other activities, a son who still moves like he's in high school but pays the price the next day, and a woman who is facing the rest of her life without her mate. Where do we fit in all that, where is the right place for us to be? It's going to involve leaving behind a daughter and her family, and somehow that adds more pressure for it to be a place my heart longs to be.

Home - full and rich and crazy and busy - ebbing and flowing with energy and the end of the same. Complicated, but the stuff life is made up of.


  posted at 7:38 PM

Thursday, May 08, 2008
As my SIL, Chris would say, "Good Night Nurse!" it's been insane around here. A week with Sarah, Chris and the kids, then a week in Mexico, then a week with Sarah and the kids, and tomorrow morning I join Sarah and the kiddos to fly to Texas, via a layover in Charlotte because we just like to make it as much fun as possible. It's been CRAZY, messy, noisy, irritating at times, so endearing at times, laughable, grace-stretching, the emotions have run the gamut. I'm tired, we're all tired, but I wouldn't have missed a minute of it. Even the baby toothpaste smeared on the walls going upstairs is a bit touching to think about, and having a little person scribble on the kitchen walls and upstairs door - well, that's pretty sweet too especially since they make Magic Eraser!

So a few photos of the past few weeks with a house busting at the seams:

Papa and Landon check out the elephants spraying water at the Pittsburgh Zoo

Two pretty mommys with sweet Miss Addison wedged in-between. Sweet stuff!

Our feet hurt after walking 1 1/2 miles to see the new baby colts. Someone lost a shoe on the trip and we were darned happy to find it on the way back. How can you not love that smushed up face?
After a long walk we were all too tired to even cook corndogs, so we ran to Bob Evans, and they let us eat there, in spite of how dirty we all were. The kids ate every single bite of their supper. I hope these little boys always like me this much.

This one? Priceless - all four of our grandchildren together in one place. Well worth the admission cost to spend the day at the zoo with them. I absolutely will be framing this for my desk.

In about nine hours we'll be climbing in the car (actually two) to head to the airport, and I'll be back home in about a week. Within a few days the house will be clean, neat, quiet, and that will feel nice I'm sure. I'm also confident I'll be just a bit sad, washing that baby toothpaste off those walls, remembering how sweet it was to have them all here with us. Back in a week, to give away those books, share photos of Mexico, and also buy a new computer. This Dell laptop is giving lots of warning signs it's about to die. Soooooooooo, anyone have an opinion on whether to make the switch to a Mac? Sarah and Pace say yes, Don isn't at all sure. What do you think? I'd appreciate any opinions because I absolutely hate buying a new computer, and this one should have held up better than it did. I'm going with a desktop this time, but I just don't know about whether to go Mac or not. Help please!

Labels: ,

  posted at 12:23 AM

Monday, May 05, 2008
Revolving Doors of Life
Well, we're home. We've been here a good 18 hours, and I'm home for almost three days before I hop on a plane, actually two, and fly to Texas for a week. With Sarah, her three children, their three car seats, a jogging stroller, all their luggage that will be shoved into my biggest suitcase because they up and went and changed the luggage rules while Sarah and the kiddos were here. And yes, I am twitching just a little bit at the thought of it all.

So my suitcase is on the bedroom floor. At 1:00 a.m., after staying up too late, with a carton of butter pecan on the desk between us, while Sarah and I chatted, I went to bed and got almost six hours of sleep, and so the suitcase still has wet swimsuits and brochures and sea shells and sand and dirty laundry in it. I'm about to dump most of it in the washer, then I'll grab the clean clothes and put some of them back into that same suitcase, leaving room for two little boy's pjs and t-shirts.

Why on earth do we make plans? And don't you just know God belly-laughs at us for doing so? I'd planned to come home, slowly easy back into life around here, and instead I'm getting ready to leave for a week in Texas.

Texas this time of year - I do believe the Blue bonnets may be blooming, and if I am about to embark on an impromptu trip down south, at Thank You Sarah and Chris, at least it's not August and over 100 degrees.

Oh yeah, and I'm meeting with the realtor at the lake to look at a house he thinks may be just perfect for us. We're planning to move NEXT summer, but then again, about making plans.....

I'll be back to give away those books, show you fun, fun beach photos, and give you the scoop on this upcoming trip too.


  posted at 11:03 AM

Subscribe in a reader
Past Chats
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008

  • Filed Away Neatly
    Busy Buzz
    Creative License
    Dusty Stuff
    Family Affair
    Girl Talk
    Glimpse of the Heart
    Photo Album
    Slavin' Over the Stove
    The Price is Right

    Search This Blog


    Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

    Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

    About Me

    Girl Raised in the South

    I have a deep, abiding love for full octane coffee, sewing, knitting, quilting, reading, cooking, gardening, God and my family - not in that order.

    My Complete Profile

    Family is Everything
  • A Chelsea Morning - Barb
  • And Baby Makes Three - Leslie
  • Creative Worship - Chris
  • Flight Song - Mom
  • In The Midst of It - Sarah
  • At A glance - Krissy
  • In A Moment - Mandy

  • Recent Comments

    Fruit of the Spirit

    Family Friendly

    Family Friendly Blogroll []

    Family Friendly Blogroll [-]

    Blog Design by:

    Powered by:
    Powered By Blogger

    Meter by: