Saturday, April 30, 2011

yeah baby!

Pam at radical ramblings and thoughts of a southern girl has given me The Versatile Blogger award!  I love the picture - was very tempted to copy and paste it onto my blog a while ago just because it's pretty, but I controlled myself.  This means a lot coming from Pam because I enjoy her blog so much and just know if we met we wouldn't shut up for a week.  Someday...

Okay, you got me - I also wanted this award for egotistical reasons.  I'm trying to get over it.  In the meantime, I'm absolutely giddy.  The award comes with some rules:

1.  Winners- Put the above image in your blog.  Legitimately done - woo hoo!

2.  Include a link back to the person who gave it to you.  That's Pam up there at radical ramblings...

3.  Tell 10 things about yourself  Ick - if you read this blog regularly you probably know too much.  Here's some stuff you may not know:

- I graduated from college after 11 years and 5 universities
- my initials are the same as my dad's - I love that
- my 6th (?) cousin was Robert Wadlow, in Guinness and Ripley's as the tallest man ever, 'though he's got some competition
- in 4th grade I almost beat out a 6th-grader in the school spelling bee, but "gesture" was my downfall
- I love children's books and I only pretend it's just because I'm a teacher/tutor
- I am secretly married to Johnny Depp - even he doesn't know it
- I've only owned 2 cars so far: a Tercel I had for 11 years, and my current car, also 11 years (and would someone please come total it so I can get a Land Rover?!)
- I am addicted to pop - or soda - whatever you call it where you are - Coke is my favorite, but I've gotta' watch the calories, so Diet Dr. Pepper is my alternate 1st choice
- I am also currently addicted to the Tetris demo on my phone
- the decade of 2000-2009 (the aughts) has seriously messed with my ability to accurately recall how long ago anything happened - I did well in math in school, but now when I count back to a particular event I always leave those years out - don't tell the kid I will soon be tutoring in math as well as reading - what he doesn't know won't hurt him - hey, I should put that on my business cards...

4.  Award 3 other bloggers
I'm going to see if I can find 3 that I really like that haven't been given this award yet.  This will be difficult, because I have exquisite taste.

Okay; I stongly suspect at least one of the following has been given this award - can't imagine him/her without it, but I found no evidence of it on their sites, so here goes:

I first visited Rita's blog,, because I liked the title, and I love the picture at the top.  Then I read her blog and now I can't stop.  Read her recent posts about her daughter and the Easter Bunny.

"oldegg" at Robin's Nest: is another person I'd enjoy meeting.  He's thoughtful, insightful, and funny. - ironic, insightful, funny - what's not to love?

I enjoy Sherri's perspective of life and the way she writes about it at Messy Mind:

Honorable mention goes to the blog that I'd award this to first, but based on her FAQ page I think if I did she'd hunt me down and do something terrible.  This woman makes me laugh until I cry - in a good way.

Hmm.  That looks like 5 blogs, not 3.  Oh well; I haven't crossed off "learn to count" from my Project 52 list yet.

5. Contact the bloggers you awarded and let them know they won.   I'm off!

five question friday

#1:  What day is it?  Oh, you're asking the questions?  Okay...
1. If you could buy any car, money not an option, what would it be?
Any of James Bond's cars outfitted by Q so that my road irritation fantasies can come true.

2. What was your worst first date ever?
Went out with the guy and his group of friends; they spent the entire time talking about pro wrestling.

3. How old were you when you fell in love for the first time?
If dogs count, around 5.  If not, around 30.  If crushes count, back to age 5 (this one was a human).

4. When was the last time you reconciled your checkbook?
Hey - where is my checkbook?!

5. If you were going to fashion a "Wanted" Ad for a best friend, how would you word it?
Wanted:  extremely patient, slightly kooky person who thinks a lot about God and life...wait, that's me....Wanted:  a wealthy person to pay all of my, that's not right, hang on....Wanted:  someone to do all of my domestic chores for  all of the above.

Thank you,, for a fun activity!

Friday, April 29, 2011

quote of the day

From the TV show "Gunsmoke": 
"Friend, I asked myself a question once, and I got the wrong answer.  I don't ask myself nuttin' no more."  :)

fingerprint friday

Grandpa doing a word search puzzle.  Right now, he's laughing and clapping at Barney's antics on The Andy Griffith Show.  He likes to watch it with the lights off, though, so I don't have a good picture.  :)

Recent funnies from Grandpa: 
Grandpa worked for the plane manufacturer Beechcraft for 40+ years.  He likes pictures of planes.  The other day he saw one in the newspaper and said, "Hey, here's a nice airplane...oh, it's a Boeing. Never mind."

Grandpa talks back to the people in the commercials we see over and over and over.  Yesterday, he lost his patience with the guy who says "I can stay in my own home!" because he doesn't have to move into a nursing home since he got his scooter:  "You told us that before!   Stay in your home!   You're getting as bad as a woman!"

(I gotta' go - Grandpa likes to eat lunch early and pretends to faint when he's hungry.  His fake sighs have just gone from silly to melodramatic to ridiculous.)

Beki, the hostess of "Fingerprint Friday," has a wonderful post today:

Thursday, April 28, 2011


We thought we were so clever with the XYZ thing in grade school.  When someone added ABC, we were at the height of wit and creativity.  "Always be careful to check your zipper!"  It never got old.

I cut out this picture on my recent retreat.  I thought it was funny.  Get your mind out of the gutter, it's a roadside emergency kit.  It says so right between her legs.

I played it safe in childhood.  I was (still am, I guess) the oldest child of an oldest child (6 kids in that family) and a second-oldest child (4 kids).  I was the oldest grandchild in town; a couple of slightly-older cousins lived in another state.  I got lots of attention.  It was wonderful.  Life was blessedly simple.

If we are very fortunate, we grow up in a world where we are kept safe.  Our parents or other caregivers teach us to look both ways before crossing the street, don't talk to strangers, and don't run with Barbie coatracks.  This structure of safety allows us to play freely.  Accidents happen, of course, and we make mistakes.  Tragedies occur.  Hopefully someone does his/her best to see that our Safety Girl kits are fully stocked and checked regularly.

(I actually climbed higher in this tree; it was my favorite.  I don't know why Mom took a picture when I was hanging from it like a sloth.  Or maybe I do.  I don't remember it being dead, either.  Oh well.  It was my tree.)

In my late teens I began to grow tired of Safety Girl.  Adventure Girl no longer wanted to ride in the back seat; she was ready to drive.  Or fly, rather.

In my early 20's, I loaded up my car, moved to a Chicago suburb, and tossed my safety kit out the window.  I had an interesting relationship.  I talked to strangers.  I even stopped going to church!  I had the opportunity to see that some of those things in my safety kit were pretty useful; fortunately, it didn't take a traumatic experience for me to realize that.  So I got another safety kit.  An empty one.  I was going to stock this one myself.  As we age, we (hopefully) learn to discern what to pack in our kits and when to use them.  As children, it's all or nothing, Safety Girl or danger.  Hula-hooping in socks and sandals or playing in the middle of the street.  As adults, we become aware of the gray areas.  Sometimes it's just fine to talk to strangers.  But it's still not a good idea to accept rides from them.  We still look both ways before crossing the street, but if I want to take a walk I can do so now without my name written in permanent marker on the bottom of my shoes.  Sometimes accidents happen or Adventure Girl makes mistakes, but there's good in that.  If it weren't for those events we wouldn't have cute Safety Girl kits, and we wouldn't learn and grow from the lessons they teach us.

Hop in the car, Adventure Girl.  You too, Safety Girl.  We're going for a ride.  But I'll drive.

(I hope it's clear that I'm referring to everyday situations of safety and danger, not acts of God such as the recent tornadoes in the South.  Those events take much more than a cute kit to cope with.  I add my prayers to those already out there, that you will have everything you need.)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

difference between TV westerns and cop shows - unless there's a woman

Grandpa's a big fan of westerns.  Luckily for him, TVLand plays multiple episodes of Gunsmoke and Bonanza daily.  I am not a western fan, but I am a Grandpa fan, and I like to sit with him and work on the computer while he watches his shows.  I've realized that I don't mind at all watching up to 4 hours of Michael Landon a day (Little House is on, too), but if I never hear the Bonanza theme song again I will be perfectly happy, and my favorite opening for Gunsmoke is the one that zooms in on Marshal Matt Dillon's gun in his holster because it also zooms in on his tight butt (thank you, Gunsmoke - way to draw in the ladies).

I've become aware of one glaring difference between these "old" westerns and modern cop shows.  Unless it's time for the Big Shoot-Out, the old gunslingers seem to get their man with the first shot every time, while on cop shows Many Bullets must be fired.  I've only fired a gun once, but I think I'm a lot better shot than some of those dodos.  Really, it just makes you want to jump into the show and take over, doesn't it?  Remind me to check in with my therapist re: anger management.  Anyway, Marshal Dillon or the Cartwrights just fire a shot, the bad guy goes down without bleeding, and the story moves on.  And when our heroes get hit, they say, "It's just a scratch.  I'm fine," and go on with their day.

On today's cop shows, however, when the guns come out they stay out.  Must have a good union.  Every single thing around the bad guy is hit as he blithely runs away.  And if someone is hit, hero or villain, it's an Emmy-nominated moment:  "I'm hit!  I'm hit!  Aaaagggghhhh...."  Then they either die violently or fall in love in their hospital room.

UNLESS, that is, the hero of the cop show is actually a heroine.  Oh yes, now that more and more women are playing detectives, producers (or whoever) are returning to that old western glory.  If the female detective gets hit, she says, "It's just a scratch.  I'm fine," checks her stilettos, then ministers to her less-tough male counterparts who are whining in the background.  And she always gets her man.

When it's time for the Big Shoot-Out, however, all shows are the same - shoot all you've got at everything you've got.  Noise and flash is the goal, not accuracy.  The bigger the explosion, the better!  And as the dust settles, our hero or heroine rises bravely from the rubble, smiles a crooked smile, and rides into the sunset.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V: Venturing down the aisle...or not

When I was almost three years old, my aunt and uncle got married (not the ones I live with).  I was a flower girl for the first (I think) time.  (I don't mean aunt & uncle had multiple marriages, I mean I was in other weddings.  With other people.)  Anyway, I don't remember the ring-bearer's name, so we'll call him Bobby.  Bobby was thrilled to get all gussied up and participate in a wedding by carring a satin pillow.

Bobby made it through the rehearsal okay, but when the Big Day came and he found out that not only would he have to walk with a girl down the aisle again, but he would also have to do it in a tux, he decided he'd had enough.  Our moment came.  The music swelled, and we started to walk.  The room was filled with big people smiling down at us and whispering how cute we were.  This was the last straw for Bobby.  He saw his parents in the crowd, turned toward them, and ran.  I watched him, stunned for a moment, then I shrugged my shoulders, turned back toward the front of the sanctuary, and finished my job.  Boys.

I didn't know it at the time, but that episode would represent all of my future romantic or just-friends-but-I-wish-we-were-romantic endeavors.  While I enjoy the single life and understand how well it fits me now, in my 20's and early 30's I very much wanted to be married.  But I couldn't hook anyone.  I was just too cute.  And competent.  It's a cross I must bear.

silliness with grandpa

I tend to forget things.  Grandpa knows this and thinks it's hilarious.  I'm glad he's amused.  The other day as I gathered my things to leave, Grandpa said, "Do you have everything?"  "Yep!" I said.  "I've got it all!"  I left, then reappeared a couple of minutes later.  "What are you doing here?" Grandpa said.  "I forgot my charger," I growled with fake irritability.  "Well, I asked you if you had everything," Grandpa laughed.  "I know!" I yelled.

This morning, Grandpa said while doing his word search puzzle:  "You know, if you look at the word in the right direction, it's easy to find!"
Me:  (laugh)  "Well, why didn't you do that the first time?"
Grandpa:  "I know, I know!"

Monday, April 25, 2011

W: Whirling dervishes

From Ya-Yas in Bloom by Rebecca Wells:
"The girls spun round and round and round the ice cream parlor, scarves in their hands, between their teeth, wrapped around their fingers like scarf rings. They did not dance madly, like Mehnaz from some Greek tragedy, but like muses: graceful and ready to inspire. The spark that lived in all of them rejoiced when they turned in circles, little whirling wild spirits, like junior priestesses of some undomesticated tribe. They went somewhere else as they spun, into a trance of dizziness, as if they were praying. It looked as if they were bad little girls acting like wild sprites, and some of the folks in the ice cream parlor thought them rude and uncouth, but that is only because these townspeople did not know about whirling dervishes and what happens when they dance and pray, pray and dance. They did not know that dance can become prayer, and prayer can become dance."

I'm so blessed to have some whirling dervishes in my life who draw me into the dance (especially one who loves to wear her cowboy boots with anything, including multi-colored striped tights):

wish I'd thought of that

I love Surrender, Dorothy's post about the Easter Bunny - just call me "Passover Chick."

paintings that make me say "wow"

I discovered Gabriel Lehman's art through Jennifer Johnson's site, Meditate Create.  You can learn more about Gabriel at and on Facebook.  I love these!

"Behind the Window"

"Destination Unknown"

"Music in a Flower"

"Home Sweet Home"

stuff I never Understood as a kid

In addition to the mystery of why I wasn't allowed to run with Barbie coatracks, I didn't understand a few other things people told me when I was young:

"If you keep pouting and sticking your lip out like that, a little bird's going to come sit on it."  Huh?  Why on earth would a bird do that?  And actually, that would be really cool, unless the bird pooped on me.

"Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about."  Again, huh?  I HAVE something to cry about, that's why I'm crying!  And if you want me to stop, why would you make me cry more?

But why can't I spray my bedroom's wood floor with perfume and mop it up with my stick horse?  Don't you want me to have any domestic skills?  (This is why I have no domestic skills.)

"Because I said so!"  Does the President know you're claiming this much authority?

After a particular "Three's Company" episode, I went to Mom and asked, "What's a hooker?"  And that was the end of "Three's Company."  I learned to keep my mouth shut after that.

Mom and Dad were showing their wedding pictures to friends one evening and pointing out who was in the pics, and I said, "And that's me in Mommy's tummy."  It took me several years to figure out why Dad so adamantly said, "Oh no you're not!!!"

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Today is Holy Saturday.  Hush...
(scroll down the 24-7 page to see videos)

Friday, April 22, 2011

New, Nifty job skills

Last week I realized that my time with Grandpa has helped me develop some valuable new job skills to add to my resume:

- I can remove most of the pudding in a pudding cup with just one scoop!

- I can spray whipped cream on a variety of surfaces and in a variety of shapes!

- I can tell you which section of Medicaid covers prescriptions and how to get it!

- I can tell you which lawyer to call if you get in a car accident!

- According to Grandpa, I am "pretty sharp" at raising and lowering the bottom part of the recliner!

- I can name that Andy Griffith episode in 30 seconds! (Grandpa can do it in one.)

A to Z Challenge: L through S

Well I certainly didn't plan to write posts for this challenge in large chunks...oh well.

I Love the Low-impact woodland home on!

M was meant to be memories - I enjoyed looking at old pics the other day, one of which provides photographic evidence of the-destroying-of-my-2nd-grade-birthday-cake by my stupid-little-brother-with-a-doctorate (he wasn't a Ph.D at the time), but my scanner isn't working.  I had one of little brother picking his nose, too.  Hmmm...

For N, I will write a separate New, Nifty Job Skills post.

I've never been married, but I imagine there comes a day when you wake up, look at your beloved sleeping next to you, and think, "Oh my god what have I done?"  I experienced that feeling a couple of weeks ago when I started looking at other blogs and blogging communities.  Suddenly my inbox was filled with recommended sites and "Congratulations!  You joined ---" messages.  I wondered, "How many blogs am I following?"  "How many are following me?"  I'm glad to say the week without a computer and the retreat helped me get over that crap.  For now.

I had a great time playing with my 3-year-old cousin B. yesterday afternoon.  She wanted music, so we played some tunes and danced - I think she's an Indigo Girls fan.  Then we played B.-carrying-my-bag-and-keys-out-the-door-"bye bye, I love you" over and over, then B. got in my bed and we played "Good night!  Wake up!  Good night!  Wake up!"

Had a wonderful time of quiet

on my retreat in the Flint Hills this week.  Happy Easter!

I really enjoy the community at SparkPeople -  I've joined a few "teams" and have met some great people!

anglican prayer beads and project 52 update

I called them Orthodox prayer beads in my list of Project 52 goals; these are actually called Anglican prayer beads.  This way of prayer is new for me; I am intrigued by it.  The stone at the bottom is from Wednesday's retreat in the Flint Hills and serves as the cross.  The locket above the stone is heart-shaped, which reminds me that this is an invitation to love, not a bunch of "shoulds."

Project 52 goals completed so far:
#4 - Learn more about blogging - ongoing; I am learning!
#12 - Write a handwritten letter to R. and send it by snail mail - done today!  I don't think I would have done this yet had I not set this goal for myself and had a way to keep track of it - I guess goal-setting can work.
#16 - Spend quality time reading other blogs - ongoing.
#18 - Get rid of more stuff - I've gone through my CDs and pulled several out for the "garage sale" box - books and DVDs are next, I think.
#19 - Make prayer beads - now to use them...
#23 - Improve natural sleep patterns - I got a full, drug-free night's sleep last night, woo hoo!  I didn't sleep at all the night before, though - is that progress?

retreat in the flint hills - April '11

I enjoyed a day retreat at the Tallgrass Spiritual Retreat Center Wednesday.  This time it was an individual retreat.  I made the appointment during a period of depression, and although I felt much better by Wed., I decided to go on retreat anyway and see what happened.

I had two one-hour sessions with Billie planned to bookend my retreat:  meet with Billie, spend several hours on my own, meet with Billie, spend more time if necessary, then go home.  Billie is a great listener, and as I told my stories to her and we talked, I processed recent events/issues and received new things to consider.  On the drive to the retreat, I remembered the many pictures Billie had cut from magazines to use in collages, and I wanted to look at more pictures.  Otherwise, I had absoutely no idea or plan for what to do, other than walk around and enjoy God and his creation.  It's taken me 40+ years to learn that often not having an agenda is the best way.

After settling in and a good talk with Billie, I walked down to the creek.  I hadn't taken that walk before, and I was delighted by the beauty surrounding me.

I didn't get any pictures of the creek.  I don't know why.

As I walked, I opened myself to God and listened for, waited to receive whatever he may have had for me at that time.  I was caught up in looking at everything except the ground, and I stepped on a tree limb and lost my balance.  No fall, no pain, just enough of a jolt to get my attention.  I stopped.  I listened.  "Pay attention," I sensed, "Pay attention to this step, this present moment, and enjoy it as it comes."  And so I did.  I didn't try to think deep thoughts or solve any problems.  I simply walked, looked, was open, and enjoyed.  I received the grace to love and give thanks for each moment.

There is a wonderful variety of stones in many shapes, sizes, and colors by the creek.  I picked one up.  As I turned it over in my hands, I sensed that it would be good to sit for a bit and look at more stones.  I did, then I walked along the creek, stopping a few times to close my eyes and just listen to the water and the birds, and found a few more stones.  I love them.

When I discovered that square stone, I laughed and laughed.  I had just been talking to Billie about my upbringing in the church and the rigidity of it, about the learning I have done and still need to do to be thankful for the good things I received from it.  When I saw that stone, I realized/received the understanding that there's plenty of room for squares in the kingdom of God, that there is a place for and the creation of things with straight sides and sharp corners, and sometimes I could be a blockhead myself.  Then I realized the stone was laughing along with me.

I returned to the bunkhouse and set about looking at the pictures Billie had left there for me.  I just wanted to look and look and look, keeping pictures that touched me in some way, but not thinking too much yet about why they did.  After about an hour, I think, I stopped and asked myself, "Is this it?  Is this how you want to spend this time you're paying for?"  I thought about it and decided/realized that yes, this was it.  For now.

I spent the rest of that time until my second session with Billie going through pictures.  It is a marvelous hospitality she provides just in that one act, collecting pictures for people to look at and use.  The number of and reasons for the images I chose are too many to share, but I invite you to find your own.

After my second meeting with Billie, I spent another hour or so walking around and looking.  There are a number of stones on the railing of the back deck of the bunkhouse; I assume they were left by past retreaters...retreatants?  Anyway, I added one of my own to the collection.

On the drive home I passed a ranged being burned  (see for more info. on range burning).  I realized that some folks probably don't have range burning in their part of the world, so I took a couple of pictures.  I wanted to take a picture of the sign that said pull over if the smoke from the burning was dense, but I passed it before I could get the camera ready - sorry!

I love the prairie.

important things to remember

#1:  Traffic is not Tetris.  If you've been playing the game often, remember that when you drive you cannot move the other cars - especially the oncoming ones - at your will.  Unfortunately.

#2:  ha ha, very funny - if you can just keep #1 in your head for more than a few seconds that'd be great

Monday, April 18, 2011

"pool saga" rerun

It is Monday evening, and the Geek Squad have decided to take my computer hostage; that's the only reason I can think of for them keeping it at least a WEEK!  I'M GOING CRAZY!!!  So here's a post I like and plan to add drawings to someday.  Hope it gives you a good laugh - this happened in 2003.

It all started a week ago Sunday when I saw a store ad in the newspaper for a 3'x8' pool for $40. I thought, hey, what an inexpensive, simple way to enjoy some leisure time this summer. I bought the pool, but of course while I was at the store I also needed a hose, air pump to inflate the upper ring of the pool, inflatable floating mat, and swimsuit. To save money, I went cheap on the swimsuit and got a bicycle pump instead of an electric or battery-powered pump.

I went home, excited to get started, and set up everything in the backyard. Then I discovered the bicycle pump didn't fit the pool. I played around with different attachments and things but couldn't get it to work, so I decided I'd better watch the instructional video that came with the pool. (No Tools Needed! Quick Set-Up!) But I didn't have a VCR to watch the tape, and I didn't want to borrow the neighbors' VCR because I didn't want them to know I had a pool and then have to invite their young daughter, M., over to swim - I bought the thing so I could RELAX. So I called the public library, got transferred to 3 people, and found out I could watch my tape on their VCR if I reserved a room. Fortunately, the room was available, so I headed to the library to figure out how to inflate the pool rim.

Of course, the video said nothing about how to inflate the rim, it just said "inflate", then went on and on about how their own handy pump, available at many retailers near me, worked well for this job. So I went back to the store to see how much the handy pool pump cost, but they didn't have it. I went to a 2nd store, and they didn't have it. However, while I was driving, I remembered the movie "Apollo 13" and how they had to solve the carbon monoxide problem by attaching a square part to a round hole. With that inspiration, I went home to try again.

When I got home, I realized I had no duct tape (sorry, Dad, you tried your best), so I took out some clear packaging tape and tried that. About half a roll later, I had the pump attached to the pool and all airways blocked (on the pool). In the process, however, I'd sliced the side of my thumb twice on the metal teeth of the tape roller and split open the seam at the back of my shorts. I went inside (we're a few hours into this process now), got bandaids, checked my shorts, saw that an inner seam was still holding together, decided that was good enough, and went back outside.

Finally, I was ready to pump up the pool with my trusty, cheap bicycle pump. At first I thought I was getting nowhere, I took a lot of breaks, my bandaids kept coming off, and my shorts split some more. During this whole time, my dog Chester and his doggie friend Tessa were in the house barking their heads off because they were missing all the fun outside. I grabbed the handy packaging tape and taped my bandaids onto my thumb and kept on going, trooper that I am. (Some would say stubborn.) After a while I made some good progress, but then seemed to be getting nowhere again, and I couldn't find a leak. By this time I'd been working with the pump for about an hour, so I went inside, called my friend S., and offered to buy him dinner if he'd come finish the job.

S. good-naturedly came to the rescue, and after I added some more tape and sliced my thumb a 3rd time, I held the seal and S. used the pump and we finished pretty quickly. At last, I thought, I'm going to enjoy my pool. I hooked my new hose up to the house and began filling the pool. While this was happening my young neighbor M. came over and caught me in the act. She began asking lots of questions, including when could she get in. I tried to explain that it was my pool for relaxing, not for other people to play in, and she offered to relax in it with me. Then she said, "I'll be right back," and left. A couple of minutes later she returned and said her mom said it was okay for her to play in my pool. I told her, nicely, that I hadn't invited her to play in my pool yet, so she shouldn't ask her mom yet. S. started laughing at me, because he knew I'd eventually give in, and went into the house. A few seconds later he came back outside and said, "Kerri, we have a problem." (Just like Apollo 13!) But I was still bickering with M. about whether or not I was going to share my pool with her, so I ignored S. until he yelled, "Kerri, your house is flooded!"

I turned off the hose, sent M. back home, and went inside to find my living room carpet soaked and about 1/2 inch of water on the linoleum in the kitchen/dining room. The pipe that runs from the house to the spigot outside had split. I started moving stuff up, around, and outside. In the process, I tried to push the dining table along the floor and one of the legs broke off. Since this was my lucky day, I caught the table before all my papers, teaching materials, etc. fell off into the water. At this point, Chester and Tessa are now in the backyard barking up a storm because they're missing all the fun in the house.

S. left to get a wet vac and I called the management co. I rented from. The ditzy girl working the answering service didn't know what a spigot was; I explained it and told her I needed someone ASAP. Neighbors came over to see what was going on and to offer help, S. returned with the wet vac, and I decided I'd better call the mgmt. co. again. A different woman answered and put me through to a maintenance guy right away. The carpet dryer-outer arrived, and he turned out to be just as chatty as S, so while he and S. carried on a great conversation and did a little work, I did some cleaning then went outside to quiet the dogs and talk to M., who had come back a couple of times to watch the fun. Twenty-four hours and a jumbo margarita later, I enjoyed my pool - alone.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

fun with grandpa

Grandpa, half-serious, looking at the newspaper I'd strewn all over the floor:  "Look at that mess on my floor!"  I said, "I'm sorry, Grandpa, I'll pick it up," and I balled up a page and threw it at him.  "Hey!" he whined in a fake sad voice, "that's the funnies!  You crumpled the funnies!"  I threw the 2nd page of funnies at him.  "Hey!"

Grandpa, bored, tapping the pillow on his lap:  "I'm playing the piano," then he tapped and sang a silly song.  Afterward, he laughed and said, "I'm going crazy."  Okay, time to get out the word search puzzles.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A-Z Challenge: K

Kerri is a dorK.  The cable/phone/internet/change-the-oil-in-your-car guy came over.  I figured that out when he took us offline.  I went outside to see what was going on; when I came back in, I saw that I'd gone outside looking like an...elf.  Or something.  Completely forgot I was wearing the bandana and had no clue it was standing up straight.  Sigh.

things I saw that made me laugh

A truck with a dent and scratches in its back bumper, as if it had backed into a fire hydrant, right where his you-drive-like-a-jerk bumper sticker was.

A license plate frame that said, "Honor Roll Student, Doggy Day Care."  Exactly who was the student?  Who's driving the car?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"j"ump into Project 52

I've discovered I enjoy group blogging activities.  At least I do now (I just started).  ProJect 52 is the creation of Karen Peterson and Jennee Thompson and involves setting, reaching, and recording progress on goals you set for yourself for 2011.  AND it involves making a list!  Woo hoo!

The "52" has to do with - oh shoot, you guessed it - setting a goal for every week of the year.  Thankfully, Karen and Jennee are flexible on this, because life already moves at the speed of light for me, and it's not because I'm that busy, either.  It's because I can really be an airhead sometimes.  Adding a goal a week would just blow a fuse, and it's already April anyway, so here are my 30 goals:

1.  Finish what I start, including the A to Z Challenge and Project 52
2.  Jump off a diving board for the first time (once there's water in the pool)
3.  Eat lunch with my cousin (whose name begins with J - I'm such a multi-tasker) "regularly" (we originally said monthly, but we just had our January lunch last week)
4.  Learn more about the blogging world and writing a good blog
5.  Balance blogging with the rest of life (!)
6.  Replace diet pop with water (no set amount - I'm not that dumb)
7.  Lose any number of pounds - this goal-setting is easy!
8.  Okay, okay - swim 3 times a week at least 4 times this year
9.  Read a book with my eyes (I love books, but I've gotten hooked on audio books and haven't actually read one in a while.)
10.  Make a list - ta da!
11.  See/hear my cousin Matt play in his band Carrie Nation and the Speakeasy - I've already done the "hear" part because they were on the radio the other night.  Matt plays the banjo really fast.  And he's self-taught.  I'm still in awe.
12.  Write a handwritten letter to R. and send it by snail mail
13.  Cook for myself and my housemates (aunt & uncle, sometimes cousin too) at the same time at least once - that's all they'll let me do
14.  Begin (again) a "regular" habit of doing yoga's Sun Salutation in the morning
15.  Explore the new walking trails they're making in town
16.  Spend "quality" (you can define that for yourself) time reading the blogs I've bookmarked to spend more time with later
17.  Play hard with my niece and nephew every time they're in town
18.  Get rid of more stuff
19.  Finish making my (Orthodox) prayer beads - and use them
20.  Support a family for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas to the best of my ability
21.  Learn something about gardening
22.  Keep eating well and avoid fast food more
23.  Improve natural sleep patterns
24.  Learn to do the front crawl with my face in the water and swim 50 yards without stopping
25.  Check my progress on these goals regularly
26.  Be thankful always
27.  Love others
28.  Learn to count

Monday, April 11, 2011

A to Z Challenge: A-G...oops, and H & I

I arrived at this A to Z Challenge a little late, so I've got some catching up to do.  Thank you, Arlee, for this way to get me thinking outside the box and for the chance to get to know other bloggers!

The Alphabet is a key component in teaching kids to read, as any of my tutoring students sure better be able to tell you.

My Brother is graduating with his Ph.D in May, received raved reviews on his dissertation and defense, AND has a book contract!  I'm incredibly proud of him and I love him very much.

Could I have any more trouble coming up with - wait! Coming up with ideas for C???

The Dogwood trees - whoops, they're Redbuds, but I'll forget to mention them by the time I get to R - are in bloom in Wichita and are gorgeous - I love them against the backdrop of the green leaves and white blooms of other trees.

E. is my brother's wife.  I love her for her creativity, kindness, wit, encouragement, photo-taking skills, incredible cooking and child-caring skills, and her ability to live with my brother.

I've begun exploring other blogs and networking sites, and I'm amazed!  It's great getting to know my Fellow bloggers and Finding so many others with similar interests and terrific insight and wit!

Grandpa is currently laughing at Barney Fife's antics on The Andy Griffith Show as I sit near him on the couch and type.  We enjoy sitting together, whether we're doing our own thing or laughing at Barney together - Don Knotts was so talented!

Hel-lo, doing a letter every day except Sundays means you include Saturdays, and we're actually on

I, which this Idiot should have known - if my students can't tell you about the alphabet, it may not be their fault after all...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

running with Barbie coatracks

When I was about 5, I played with Barbie.  (Back in the old days, children, she was just called "Barbie."  Not "Nurse Barbie" or "Malibu Barbie" or "Fairy Princess Barbie."  Maybe that's why I get grumpy sometimes.)  I didn't play with them for long; my stupid-little-brother-with-a-doctorate ended up playing with my dolls, which just goes to show...never mind.  There was a period when I was about 12 that my cousins, brother (told you) and I had a LOT of fun building Barbie houses out of cardboard boxes - so much fun that we never got around to playing with them.  But this has to do with a memory from when I was 5.  I was running with a wire coatrack made to hang Barbie clothes on, because everything you do at that age is vitally important and you must get there quickly, when my mom called out, "Don't run with that!"  Huh?  I slowed down, and when I came to a stop I looked at the coatrack.  It was the only thing I was carrying, so it must have been what mom was talking about.  Why not run with it?  Do good little girls not run with coatracks?  Why?  I was clueless.

I was reminded of that episode the other day.  N's dad was talking to me, but I only caught the first part of the conversation because the back of a blond head kept popping up and down behind the dad's head.  I tried to focus, but then I caught the glint of metal.  I looked more closely at N. and saw that he was trying to pop his brother's helium-filled birthday balloon with a long kitchen knife.  And it wasn't the bread knife, it was the long, pointy one.  Yeah, that one.  I started laughing and couldn't stop (heck, he's not my kid).  Seeing this generally happy, sweet boy jump up and down with a large knife trying to pop his brother's balloon while I had his dad's attention really tickled me.  (In case you don't know I'm not a monster, N. is 11 and is an accomplished equestrian with excellent balance and motor skills.  I wasn't worried.)

(When I don't draw legs that means we're sitting.  I am a bit artistically challenged.)

Nick never did pop the balloon, though.  Or maim himself.  So the moral of this story is don't run with coatracks or jump with knives unless you are athletic and my mom isn't there.  You're welcome.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

"The Mom Pledge"

I am not a mom.  But I am very fond of quite a few.  In addition, I am an auntie, a teacher, a tutor, and a friend to a number of children.  The Mom Pledge at is an online community centered around stopping online bullying of moms by other moms.  I share their message here in order to show my own support and to help spread the word.  Go, moms!

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