Friday, February 29, 2008
So today, in the 5 minutes I had without an extra growth or two clinging to my leg or smearing snot onto my shirt (no, I don't mean that I am smearing snot on my shirt), I caught up on a little reading.
IF I had actually noticed that I wrote my 100th blog when I did, I might've told you 100 things about me (highly unlikely, but still). On that list would have been:
#99). I am a gleaner. Not so original, but I can glean like nobody. Scrap booking? I can monkey a page, but don't expect me to come up with my own idea. Web Surfing? The hubby often brags to his coworkers how I can manage to find the most amazing deals/photos/blogs/You Tube videos etc.... Now if I could turn that talent into a lucrative venture, hmmmmm.
#100). I share real good. (No more room to mention my eloquence and fantastical grammatical abilities).
So today in my un-interrupted 5-minute bloggy bliss, I harvested some real treasures and it's my pleasure to share them with you.
First, for a real belly laugh, check out Tammy's weekend posts (posted ahead since she somehow is escaping from real-life for the weekend). I love this girl's wit. She's the one you want sitting in your living room when you find out your hair dye (that just sat on your head for 25 minutes) has been contaminated with hair removal. You'd still laugh.
To purge yourself of any apathy that may have crept in with this crazy new ice age we've plunged into, check out a story about Allie on Such Simple Pleasures (a wonderful blog with a lot of heart).
And a beautiful picture of Olivia, the third child and only daughter of Tara-- a SAHM who is also a Pastor's Wife, living in waaaay below zero temp. in Canada.
Flea wants you to think about what's really important to you, and after you're done answering her question, see what Fred and Bessie are up to now, and check out the video of Star Wars....
Davis McMahon's blog is one you really can't afford to miss a day of. He posts funny news stories from around the world; beautiful, original photos and tips on how to achieve them; Post Of The Day where he honors posts he's gleaned and interviews with bloggers. Nice guy!
Last, Kathryn has just posted her 100th (dang, how did I miss this milestone? And was my 100th some lame thing? I'll have to check). She's a daily read for me, but the post that touched me the most (and put her on my computer speed dial), is the Happy Birthday Dad post she did in Nov. 2007. This is an absolute, do not miss, read.
There are others I should mention and others I read and wish I knew where the heck I found them (anybody know where I read the blog about the 20-something woman who started a cow farm with the hubby and decided to give it up and is now about to board horses????), but my freed-leg time is over... and Miss Ky has emptied out an entire box of batteries.
I love my life.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
EARTHQUAKE SAFETY TIPS
Brought to you by unwind.com
Earthquakes can strike without warning, and being prepared for such a disaster can mean the difference between life and death. Here are some tips to help you and your loved ones make it through a quake:
- Those living in areas not prone to earthquakes can respond quickly to the plight of disaster victims in quake zones by complacently smirking and saying, "I told you so."
- To minimize loss and damage in a quake, try not to own things.
- Practice your burrowing-out-from-under-40-tons-of-rubble skills ahead of time.
- Look out your window often. If you see a large, zig-zag-shaped crevasse moving rapidly from the horizon toward your home, step either to the right or the left.
- Do you have a treasured childhood toy? Perhaps a stuffed animal, such as a teddy bear? Well, let's see Mr. Bear help you now.
- For those who fear earthquakes, it may comfort you to know that a majority of the damage during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake did not come from the tremors themselves. Instead, it was from the raging, out-of-control fires that consumed most of the city.
- A doorway is the safest place to be during a quake. Eat, sleep and work in doorways.
- Be sure to mail your house insurance payments a full five business days before a major earthquake strikes.
- In the event of a quake, get under something heavy, such as a desk, a table or your uncle.
- If you are caught in a major earthquake in Southern California and are part of the entertainment industry, take a moment or two to reflect on how grossly you've wasted your life.
On an almost nightly basis, we have a little man come creeping into our room, where I (the super light sleeper) will lift the blanket and wrap it around him as he climbs in.
Well last night, after singing several horrendous rounds on Wii Karaoke American Idol, I was sleeping like a brick (nothing like thirty minutes of tearful, hard laughter to help you sleep).
Me before 1 am
Along comes the heaviest, nosiest child I have ever experienced. He stomps up the stairs, jumps up and down beside my bed and begins shaking it.
Alright, I know I was sleeping soundly for a couple of reasons.
My bed is a sturdy African Cherry Wood bed that stands high enough that even with my tall 9-year old, the matteress hits him about mid chest-- pretty hard to move it around.
I also can't imagine how any stomping could sound like a freight train.
So, still fuzzy headed, I lifted the blanket for him, but there was no one there. That's when my husband and I sat up simultaneously and said, "What the crap was that?!" It's not exactly what I said, but this is a G-rated blog.
We came downstairs to look around, still trying to determine-- was there a mangled plane crashed somewhere in our garden? Was our house side-swiped by a juggernaut? [All Things British moment: this is what we would call an 18-wheeler. It's a large lorry, or truck]
As I'm tossing these ideas around in my head, I knew it was probably an earthquake and was typing in the address for the U.K. Seismology department. Couldn't get through. Funny thing about that-- the morning news stations keep quoting the U.S.G.S. Dept. I know where to go next time. (next time?!)
My high-strung husband (not) then says, "I'm going back to bed".
"What?! What about the after shocks? What about the kids?".
I blogged (of course) and then sat in front of the telly listening to callers sharing their experiences.
Hats off to you in the western states. I would move. Some people find this stuff exciting. I find it thrilling in the same way of participating in a 36-car pile up on the freeway.
My dusty, useless degree contains a minor in Geology. I know what is happening inside the earth to shake the outside hard enough to mimic a stomping child and I don't like it. It has a way of reminding me how little control I have over the grand scheme of things and how little God consults with me before making any final decisions. I don't like it.
What I do like is the British sense of Humour.
They're playing Martika's version of "I Feel the Earth Move" today.
Oh wait, there's something coming across the telly on the news ticker...
"Largest earthquake felt in Britain in 25 years said to have been caused by...
Some really horrendous karaoke somewhere near Norwich."
Uh oh. The Americans have done it again.
I was just awakened from a deep sleep by an earthquake!
We're waiting on news on the epicenter-- I have been trying to connect with the seismology website, but can you imagine, it won't connect.
Sky news is JUST now talking about it.
I do not know how you Californians do this on a regular basis.
I just had the snot scared out of me.
Here's my priorities... I will blog about it and then go gather my children.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Well, I am NOT going to do that to you.
I am going to reprint one that my brother sent to me in 2000.
My brother hates forwards as much as I do, so if one shows up in my email, I know it's good. And since I don't have a clue who the original author is, well-- just know that I didn't write it and am not trying to pass it off as mine.
HOW TO KNOW WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE READY TO HAVE KIDS:
Smear peanut butter on the sofa and curtains. Place a fish
stick behind the couch and leave it there all summer.
Obtain a 55 gallon box of Legos (or you may substitute
roofing tacks). Have a friend spread them all over the house.
Put on a blindfold. Try to walk to the bathroom or kitchen.
Do not scream because this would wake a child at night.
GROCERY STORE TEST
Borrow one or two small animals (goats are best) and take
them with you as you shop. Always keep them in sight and pay
for anything they eat or damage.
Obtain one large, unhappy, live octopus. Stuff into a small
net bag making sure that all the arms stay inside.
Obtain a large plastic milk jug. Fill halfway with water.
Suspend from the ceiling with a cord. Start the jug swinging.
Try to insert spoonfuls of soggy cereal into the mouth of the
jug, while pretending to be an airplane. Now dump the
contents of the jug on the floor.
Prepare by obtaining a small cloth bag and fill it with 8-12
pounds of sand. Soak it thoroughly in water. At 3:00p.m.
begin to waltz and hum with the bag until 9:00p.m. Lay down
your bag and set your alarm for 10:00p.m.Get up, pick up your
bag, and sing every song you have ever heard. Make up about a
dozen more and sing these too until 4:00a.m. Set alarm for
5:00a.m. Get up and make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years.
Take an egg carton. Using a pair of scissors and pot of
paint, turn it into an alligator. Now take a toilet paper
tube and turn it into an attractive Christmas candle. Use
only scotch tape and a piece of foil. Last, take a milk
carton, a ping-pong ball, and an empty box of Cocoa Puffs.
Make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower.
Forget the BMW and buy a station wagon. Buy a chocolate ice
cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it
there. Get a dime. Stick it into the cassette player. Take a
family size package of chocolate chip cookies. Mash them into
the back seat. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.
PHYSICAL TEST (Women)
Obtain a large bean bag chair and attach it to the front of
your clothes. Leave it there for 9 months. Now remove 10 of
the beans. And try not to notice your closet full of clothes.
You won't be wearing them for a while.
PHYSICAL TEST (Men)
Go to the nearest drug store. Set your wallet on the counter.
Ask the clerk to help himself. Now proceed to the nearest
food store. Go to the head office and arrange for your
paycheck to be directly deposited to the store. Purchase a
newspaper. Go home and read it quietly for the last time.
Find a couple who already have a small child. Lecture them on
how they can improve their discipline, patience, tolerance,
toilet training and child's table manners. Suggest many ways
they can improve. Emphasize to them that they should never
allow their children to run wild. Enjoy this experience. It
will be the last time you will have all the answers.
My comp'oo'er is about to undergo a face lift.
There's 12, 816 photos (give or take a few hundred) that need to be backed up.
I am tired of windows shutting down on me mid-comment, and my mail program closing whenever I open mail from ASDA (I might be missing something important!).
So, my posts may be slow for a few days while we get it all sorted.
Just think... if it takes too long, I might run out of room on my camera's memory stick and I'll have to get a new one... hmmm...
And speaking of things I neeeeeed,
Here's my birthday wish list.
Or if you're really feeling affectionate:
Hubby, you have approximately 105 days, 14 hours, 26 minutes and 44 seconds until my birthday. Think of what I could do with a Hairy Coo and Photoshop :-)
I am so materialistic.....
I can live with that.
Friday, February 22, 2008
There are so many support groups out there.
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, Mood Disorders Support Group, Divorce Recovery Support Group, Genetic Support Groups, Cancer Support groups as well as support groups for abuse, weight management, smoking cessation, alcohol abuse etc...
Basically, everyone's covered.
But there's something you may have overlooked in your busy, self-centered lives. Something you've never paid much attention to, mush less wondered or worried about.
I KNOW you've never lost sleep over it.
You should be ashamed, and thank me for opening your eyes to an organization that needs your respect. You see, some cases are so severe, it requires flashing lights (and maybe even sirens).
How many support groups do you belong to that can say that? Tsk Tsk Tsk people, pull your heads out.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
I have to vent. Here's another political statement from me... even though I promised in the beginning to steer clear of this (I'm not running for President, what do I care if I go back on my word?).
It's about this comment made by Michelle Obama:
"For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction...”
Doesn't this just chafe your hide?
Holy cow people.
As a mom, how many times have you said, "My kids are really driving me crazy!"
Am I to take that to mean your children have never brought you any joy and that you are seriously close to literally being institutionalized?
How about the new mom that says, "We haven't slept in six weeks!"
Really? Why aren't you dead? Why haven't you been declared insane?
I think we understand and accept her statement to mean:
"I have only slept in increments since the baby was born".
Anybody who has followed Barack Obama's political career has probably figured out by now that he has an intelligent wife with a sarcastic sense of humor. While campaigning, she has to be aware of the things she says and how they look in print-- therefore, she's toned down her comments. I think it's sad.
How many blogs do you visit daily BECAUSE the writer is sarcastic? How many links in your side bar are to a blog that could be re-titled "Everything's Wonderful In Happy Happy Land"?
I would rather see a potential First Lady (or maybe even a potential president) with a dry or sarcastic sense of humor than one that tells me everything I want to hear. The latter frightens me. I'm afraid the true colors would come out after it was too late to change my vote.
I am just really thankful the media hasn't covered any of them.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Can you humor me for a moment please?
Grab your wallet, purse, handbag, coin purse-- whatever it is you carry daily to get you through the day when you're out and about.
You're not opening it. You never even got out of your chair... come on....
Look over the amount of money you're carrying with you today.
Exchange all of those bills into coins.
Now you're ready to come to England.
One of the things an American has to get used to here, is the need to carry cash. Very few places will accept cheques-- and that's usually only local places. So, forget driving to Nottinghamshire with that slim, hardly-takes-up-any-space cheque book, because the cashier will look at you as if you were daft for even bringing it.
I have a debit and a credit card, but they're not always accepted. The U.K. has nearly completed the switch to credit cards with chips in them (mine don't have them), so even carrying a card is sometimes pointless.
So, one must carry cold hard cash.
Cold, heavy cash.
In a country as old as England, you'd expect that the kinks would be worked out in most matters. But for some reason, no one has seemed to notice-- in all of these years after the end of Roman rule -- that the currency here is heavy. Weigh-your-right-shoulder-down-so-you-look-like-Quasimodo heavy.
There are SIX coins (1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p and 50p) before you even get to a pound-- and that's a coin as well. Then there is a TWO-pound coin. So in total, there are EIGHT coins before you ever get to a paper bill, and that's a "fiver"or a five pound note.
Next is a ten pound note, and following that is the £20, £50, and the ever-elusive £100 (never had the need to carry one of those. If I were to drop it, there goes approximately $200.00 in one clumsy move-- kind of like Las Vegas).
To really throw a monkey into the cake, most shops prefer you to pay with £20 pound notes or less (and smaller shops request smaller currency).
So if you were traveling, and knew you'd be paying for lodging, meals, train fare and or cabs-- you would be carrying a suitcase of £10 notes and a rolling cart of £1 coins.
A couple of days ago, after carrying a sleeping baby to her room with all of the grace I could muster in a coat clanging against every door jamb, I decided I needed to get the money out of the pockets.
That pile of coins at the top of this post was in my jacket pockets. Even some U.S. coins hitched a ride.
Yes, I could've exchanged most of it for notes-- save your eyes trying to calculate it.
But I prefer to carry as little paper money as possible. You see, I still haven't gotten past the "monopoly money" stage. I have a little blue bill and a bigger orange bill and I'll hand them over to any pimply-faced teenager behind a counter without any hesitation.
"£10 for 3 sandwiches? Great, and here's a cute little blue note (£5) for you to add three tiny drinks on there too please".
THIRTY DOLLARS for a skimpy lunch for three kids?! No way, I'd walk 20 miles home and make them a peanut butter sandwich before I paid $30.00 for six slices of white bread with a little butter slathered on it (and a few shaved slices of meat) and a drink.
Never mind. It's fun, it's exciting. It's culture. And I need some of that.
I didn't need the hunched shoulder.
Here's a close up to give you an idea of the size and thickness of the coins here.
My husband is worried about my Clustr Map. He's an Air Traffic Controller, so Stress is his middle name-- but his concern about my map could be too much.
He mentioned today that IF some scientist in Antarctica were to read my blog, he wouldn't show up on the map. I wouldn't be able to say that I've had readers from all seven continents.
Do I really need Antarctica? I mean, I'm practically living there already.
Today's art project....
Monday, February 18, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
I've been thinking about a tv show that was (is?) (is!) running in the U.S.
Steve Hartman throws a dart into a map, drives to that area, pulls out a phone book and randomly picks a name. If that person selected doesn't think he's a total whacko and agrees to meet with him, the show highlights their life. A great concept-- and it must be doing pretty well since Jan. 30th will be the 100th story.
I have met some really interesting people in my travels as an Air Force wife and I think it's a shame more people don't get the same opportunity. So this is my new Sunday theme (until I give it up and do another one). I have several people already in mind, but I am going to take you back to the time BEFORE I was married, before my life was turned upside down by a relocation every two years.
I'm introducing John. And yes, that is his real name because the odds of this particular John actually reading this blog are slim to none. Besides, there aren't pictures.
John loved life. He loved nature. He loved camping, hiking, backpacking, white water rafting, etc. and his dented, baby blue Ford Pick up truck always had any needed gear readily available. His truck was prepared for him to live in permanently if ever the need arose.
He would be considered a loner, but I can't pinpoint a time that he didn't have a girlfriend. And I sat down with him and several of his past relationships-- all nice women that had a fondness (albeit "moved-on" attitude) for him still.
Since my memory stinks, I can't remember if his father or mother were still alive, but I do know that his family was never close by. I attended a reunion of some sort, but I think he only attended it out of some kind of obligation. He had no commitments, no ties.
He introduced me to some terrific hikes (had me sleeping in a sandstone overhang covered in spider webs once) and supplied me with the knowledge to camp on my own-- I didn't need a big strong man to gather wood and build me a fire after dating John.
And yes, this is an old boyfriend. Things didn't work out for a number of reasons, but you know how there are regrets lingering from past relationships? I have none from this one. I don't remember the relationship with the fuzzy fondness of a faded memory, I remember his jealousy, possessiveness and my ....well, my ability to be me, very well. But I learned a tremendous lesson from this relationship and that was to step outside of myself more often and see what is around me.
John never met a stranger. He would talk to anybody.
Now my nature is to rattle about random thoughts racing through my head (gee, you think?), but his style almost bordered on confrontational-- or so I felt at the time.
I will NOT ask someone questions (most of the time) because I feel that if they wanted me to know, they'd tell me. But not John.
I remember one hike in the desert we came upon a hiker couple, the first people we had seen in days. Usually on a trail, you pass and mumble something about the sunshine, but he stepped into their path and said hello and then bombarded them with questions. They hesitated at first, but then enjoyed sharing what brought them to that area. I stood there watching the whole interchange in awe.
People like talking about themselves!
Slowly, in the 15 or so years since that relationship, I have learned to leave my comfort zone behind and to ask people I meet to tell me a little about what shaped them into the person they are today.
I am really comfortable in my comfort zone. My style is still very far from John's.
Him: (noticing you've stepped back) So, why do you think it agitates you when someone stands so close?
Me: (noticing you've stepped back) Want to go get a coke?
Him: What made you decide he was the one you'd give up your dreams for?
Me: Did you have a summer wedding?
Him: Hey, those are great boots, did they take you long to break in? Did you use moleskin with your first wear? How many times have you hiked in the water with them?
Me: Great sunny day, isn't it!
All right, I haven't mastered it. But in the small amount of time I have lived here, I have met some people that wouldn't catch your eye on the High Street, but do they have a story or two to tell! And I am listening....
Saturday, February 16, 2008
I just picked up my prints at ASDA (your Walmart). I usually upload them via my Macbaby, but since it is a Mac and the general world is geared for Winbloze, I can only upload ten at a time. So, to save time, we drove to Norwich.
I stood in front of the photo machine long enough for my husband to investigate the entire store, and then made friends with the elderly man behind me while we waited for the 8-foot long receipt to slowly print out.
It was a little embarrassing. Not that I had 928 prints made (and very few duplicates), but that I could only say that these were photos from December and what has passed of January.
"Wait 'till you see NEXT month's!"
My husband said, "Maybe buying you that bigger memory card wasn't a good idea." (nor was the extra SLR, a telephoto lens that can cook your breakfast, the newer iPhoto and extra hard drive to store everything on...) I love you honey!
Friday, February 15, 2008
Well, it's official. Elliot Yamin wants me to run away with him...All photos under copyright protection (remember, you steal, you get my kids for a week!)
After the hubby came through with such a great date, how could I even consider? (Now Elliot, you come around when I've had a day of nothing but diaper changes, bickering children, piles of muddy and stinking laundry, dishes reproducing in the sink and a husband who has stared at his mistress (MacBook) through it all-- then we'll talk.)
Oh, fine. He didn't want me to run away with him. He didn't even ask.
When he came up on stage, he had a "polite", respectful audience. I was close enough to see the subtle glances to his band members... "Ok, this is going to be a long set", but by the end of his second song, people now knew what they were in for and were in to it. The floor was vibrating with the foot tapping ( I can't stop my leg!) from behind me, teeny's in front of me were holding up signs "I HEART Elliott!" (put that down, can't you see I am trying to take a few hundred pictures here?)
And speaking of "swaying",
See who is singing behind Elliot? Any American Idol season six people out there?
It was a great show (and he was polite enough to suffer through all of our "Idol" worship while probably suffering jet lag).
Never give your camera to someone shorter than you, the angle is not the most flattering...
Thursday, February 14, 2008
What I'm doing for Valentine's Day.
Oh wait, that sounded bad. I'll be seeing American Idol's Elliot Yamin (with the Hubby). I already loved this guy on the show, but now that he is a USO performer-- he's right up there with chocolate. And THAT as you know, my bloggy friends, is pretty darn high in my book.
Happy Heart Day @->------
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
What I would give to have my brain back. In a world of Botox, nip and tucks, and monster trucks, you'd think they could've mastered brain transplants (I'd like one like that, but a little bigger please).
I am always amazed by the (mostly useless) things I can remember. In my past-life as a bartender (my most favorite job--ever), it came in handy knowing that the silver-haired Tour Boat captain would start his evening off with a Gin and Tonic with two limes (and I'd be setting it down on the bar as he settled into his stool), and the mormon girl who always looked like a fish out of water until I'd set a new non-alcoholic drink down for her to try (fancy glass and all).
As a food server, I stopped writing my orders. Tables of six might start out with a condescending attitude until I showed up with every little quirky thing they had tweaked in their menu choices.
So, rather than come up with some more bad poetry for you, today we're tripping down (lack of) Memory Lane.
I guess my first memory, or at least the one that seems to be the most predominate, is walking around the back corner of my house, along the rose bushes that were blooming and my mother was explaining to me that our dog Tiger had been killed the night before. He was hit by a car. Now I am sure she didn't put it that way, in fact I remember being pretty ambivalent about the whole thing, so I know she didn't use the word "killed". Tiger had been given to us by Omar Sharif. It was one of his dog's pups. I'm told I was about three years old.
I remember getting one of those plastic swimming pools for my birthday and I couldn't wait for everyone to go home so I could play in it (I grew up in a world where little girls wore party dresses with bows on the back-- not good for swimming). My friend Michael stayed behind and played with me. He was a lot older than I, and is the reason I have "Season's in the Sun" on my playlist. It reminds me of him. His family, embarrassed that he was gay, was estranged from him when he died. He was a victim of Aids.
My other memory of Michael was the day he came to our house with a single red rose for my mother. who broke down and cried. the first time in the week since my dad died.
And speaking of party dresses,
I had one with horizontal pastel stripes. I loved it, but I didn't love how much trouble I got into when I spilled a tube of vampire blood on it.
I fell out of a tree once while building a human's nest with a friend. She poked me in the rear- end with a limb, of course I was gonna fall. I landed on my back on a root. When I stood up, unable to breathe, my Dad dropped his rake (I will NEVER forget the look on his face) and came running towards me yelling, "Honey!". He and my Mom were both Ambulance Technicians at the time A few years after my Dad died, I took the same training, but was unable to complete the final when I slashed my hand on a dog food can lid (impossible to do CPR with a sliced-up hand). My mom came home to a kitchen with blood all over it. "J, you've been taking Emergency Medical Technician courses, what do you do when you cut your hand like this?!"
"You run around until a real Ambulance Technician comes home to help you".
There are a lot of memories in between, but the next one was hard to take. I was back home after a year of college back east and a year or two of working in Phoenix Arizona. There was a guy in the local bar (where everyone hung out to dance and listen to bands). He looked very familiar. He was so happy to see me and called me by name. I had no idea who he was. Since he seemed hurt, and he was such a nice guy, I started asking people who could clue me in. Imagine how frightening it is to learn that someone who used to be one of a close, three-person friendship has been wiped clear from your memory. After my friend Lori explained this to me (telling me stories of how she, Mike and I spent a lot of time together), I started getting flashes of memory (it's like hanging out under a strobe light) of this guy in a Texaco uniform. I was able to deduce where he had worked, but everything else is gone.
There's lots of theories why I am missing chunks of memory.
I could blame my experimental days in High School (and the fun friends I had that would slip me new and unusual concoctions in things I really thought were quite harmless-- thanks guys). I am the poster child for my 19-year old, "Why NOT to take up drugs" or "You too, could (not) think like this". (He actually uses my memory problems against me and the 9-year old has caught on as well, only he's not so good at it. "Mom, remember, you said I could eat cake for breakfast if I finished my dinner last night". "Nice try pal. Only I can have cake for breakfast").
Genetics? My Grandmother, whose daughters swear what she's suffering isn't Alzheimers, or Senility, doesn't remember much beyond young womanhood. She's currently living in a care-assisted home, and may or may not remember you if you stop by. She clearly cannot differentiate between the past and the present.
Stress-- a proven memory zapper, and I suffered an illness in the 80's. I was in intensive care and my mother had been told I would not survive the night. A week later, I was released from intensive care and began a long recovery process. Most of the year prior to that illness is gone. I have a newspaper clipping of a play I was involved in, and if it weren't for the clipping, I wouldn't have remembered the play at all. I sang and acted in it. I hope I was good.
Recently I read, or heard (this really sucks) something about how to be sure you remember a moment forever. There was something about taking a deep breath and really focusing on the moment while repeating in your mind "Remember this moment".
At least I think that's what you're supposed to do, I can't really remember.
White Fog by Sarah Teasdale
Heaven-invading hills are drowned
In wide moving waves of mist,
Phlox before my door are wound
In dripping wreaths of amethyst.
Ten feet away the solid earth
Changes into melting cloud,
There is a hush of pain and mirth,
No bird has heart to speak aloud.
Here in a world without a sky,
Without the ground, without the sea,
The one unchanging thing is I,
Myself remains to comfort me.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Here’s the rules:
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.
The nearest book. Gee, I have so much to choose from here by the computer...NOT. I have a homeschooling book that is awaiting postage to go to Tara, The House at Riverton, that I enjoyed so much (and trying to decide who I love the most and will get it next-- unlike the movies I send to my son--flops or scary things) and The Reduced History of Britain (The story of the World's greatest little nation squeezed into 101 moments). I think the latter is the closest, so here we go:
The British public has tuned in each week in its millions and more people vote in reality television finals than in many elections. The democratisation of fame or just a way for desperate and untalented people to get famous by getting drunk on a sofa? You decide.
It's written about Big Brother. The show that monopolizes several stations here, 24-hours a day. I am not kidding. If you're a masochist, you can tune in to watch people snore. It's like the Truman Show, but so not funny. The greatest thing about this show is during the summer it gets me and the kids out of the house. All winter long I can watch every version of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility (and BTW, the most recently aired 2008 BBC version is fantastic), and a new one, Lark Rise To Candleford. Last week I saw Anna Karenina and before that, Elizabeth. I can't be bothered by fresh air and exercise with so many good things on the telly!
We had lots of sunshine today. AMAZING feeling, being able to throw open windows and let the little missy wander around the garden. This child is very busy exploring and has to be watched every second-- if not, I may find her on the table (or off, if she's fallen) or up on a chair trying to reach something. The best is the trail she leaves in her wake. A testament to a short attention span: a hot wheels car, one of her brother's DS's, keys to a door (great, which door is missing a key now?!), my recently folded (and now unfolded) laundry... But today she explored the grass and the fat, wet worms (no, she didn't attempt to pick them up) while her brothers played football.These shots were taken with my Nikon D70-- the camera that sits on the shelf while I take my D50 everywhere. But my baby is in hospital (dust on the sensor lens), so I have to get over my prejudices.
As you already must suspect, I love the phone boxes, and this is the one my landlord had to have to his wife's dismay. :-)
Yesterday, I left something behind at church and had to drive the 15-20 minutes back to get it before the building was locked up. On the way home, I looked up at the phone wires that appeared to have waves of heat emanating from them. Remember, you don't take your eyes off of these roads longer than a nano second, so after several looks up, I realized that the 'waves' were actually silky webs, glistening in the sunlight.
There's ONE day in the entire week I don't grab my camera when when I leave the house. Guess which one that is...
I did go back, but by then the sun was in a different place, so I captured the webs on the bushes instead. ( This is a large upload so you can click on it to see the webs a little clearer )
Can you look at a spider's web and not think of E.B. White?
You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.
Charlotte, "Charlotte's Web"
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I have been reluctant to come out and play because
1. WOW --the depression-slap upside the head this week.
2. After reading so many really cool blogs, I am beginning to wonder if I really have anything to say. (Doesn't mean I won't say something... have you seen me try a wordless "any" day?)
I first began my blog because I was really fed up with where my life was (or wasn't) going. I googled (insert unhappy wife/mom/Air Force dependent etc... here), and happened upon a blog... that was telling my story. From there, I clicked on more links and found my spirits lifting. I began to feel like I was connected to these people somehow and feeling like what I was experiencing was o.k.
In the weeks that followed, I did find a few blogs that basically told me I was a selfish person for not reveling in the joys of wiping snotty noses and throwing unsalvageable underpants out for the third time in a week, but the great thing about blogs is how quick you can leave the offending post (wait, that wasn't your cue to leave).
The bad thing as a blogger is that I have entered this "need to perform" mode. You know, I need this post to be better and funnier than the one before.
That's the whole problem with face-to-face friends, isn't it? It's the very rare friendship that we let down our guards showing who we are, quit entertaining and allow the friendship to really deepen. We take that risk of exposing all of our ugliness and still being liked.
THAT's what blogging is supposed to be doing for me, but somewhere in there I started worrying.
I worried about posting how I have every intention of changing my nationality if Hillary becomes president. I worried about sharing something that lifted me spiritually during the week--I wasn't ready for anti-God comments. I worried about becoming annoying with stories of my kids, and what sicko may be reading them.
I worried that someone might steal my photos. I worried that in my newby-ness, I may have committed the unpardonable blogging sin... Should I have asked you before I told everyone reading my blog how great your blog is? Putting your link in my side-bar, is that like posting your unlisted phone number (or worse, like sending you email 'forwards')?
I actually dropped my mask one day. The day I received the news that President Gordon B. Hinckley passed away, I wanted to acknowledge it, but did so thinking, "well, there go a few of my bloggy friends".
But you didn't go. Some of you left kind comments, some of you just ignored it and that was ok too. And maybe our bloggy relationship just grew a little bit, if only on my part.
In the meantime, I blog because writing interests me.
I read blogs, because I like knowing there's life outside my nappy-changing, nose-wiping, bed-makin', toilet-scrubbing, three-ring circus.
I am an artist that hasn't done ANY art in at least 5 years, and haven't painted seriously for 11 years. Yikes, seeing that actually typed... ouch.
I laugh a lot when my body isn't fighting me, and enjoy humorous blogs as well as the tear-jerkers and posts that have me rooting for the under dog (you know, aka: mom).
I go to church every sunday and some days in between. My family says prayers together, we eat our meals at the table together, and we drive each other mad... together.
I have no problem with any other religions and am actually fascinated in hearing our differences.
I don't like my food to touch, but I don't think it's bordering on nutty, I just take a lot of time getting flavors just right and don't want one taste to contaminate another.
I love taking pictures, and if someone wants to steal them, I will be flattered, but I will hunt them down (and force them to spend a week in my house with my kids).
and tell you
I've NEVER sat nekked picking at my toes.
However, Miss Ky is obsessed with it (shoes and socks come off with every car ride), and she's a happy baby, so maybe ...?
Friday, February 8, 2008
If you don't see another movie this year, watch Amazing Grace. I bought it, having no idea what it was about, having never heard of it. I bought it for the beautiful photographs (sad, but true. Renting here is expensive, it's cheaper to buy).
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
I took a trip up through Scotland (the first summer we were here) to ride on the Hogwarts Express (right across the Glenfinnan viaduct you see in the movies), and there I got my first look at a Hairy Coo. Aren't they cute?
There are post cards available with a Hairy Coo standing next to a red phone Box,
and he should count himself fortunate to have that moment forever documented since for some strange reason, the U.K. has started replacing them with boring glass BT boxes (imagine an AT&T box but even less complimentary to this dreamy landscape). They sold them off for nothing, but now if you find one at an auction, you could pay close to £1000.00.
On that same trip, I also had an opportunity to try (and passed on it) a Haggis. Those of you with weak stomachs should scroll down now.
It's basically a sheep's organs minced with spices and boiled in the same creature's stomach. Mmmm, yummy.
Haggis and Blood Sausage from Portugal will fall far below Escargot on my list of things to eat, you know, when the world has ended.
You could skip the eating part and just participate in the Haggis Hunt. My kids did. It's alot like Snipe hunting in the states.
Monday, February 4, 2008
Here's the post I told Kari at I Struggle and Emerge I would do sometime over two weeks ago. And I have yet to play tag with Tammy at The Color of Home and pass on my shiny new award on here from Kathryn , one of my favorite reads. Only so many minutes in a curtain-climber packed day!
7 years, 7 months, 7 weeks, 7 days, 7 hours, 7 minutes to live!
I would start traveling! Pompeii, Caribbean, Turkey, and every National Park in the U.S. I'd take the kids to Disney World for two weeks and let someone else clean up after us while we just laughed and played. I'd learn a foreign language and climb a mountain (a small one, I am in my forties, you know!). I'd start getting the stories behind the photos written down for the kids.
Sit in the audience for an Oprah Show (except when she's on her celebrity kick...), or Doctor Phil, or Deal or No Deal-- not yours, sorry, HATE Howie Mandel, but love Noel Edmunds over here. I'll eat in a Gordon Ramsay Restaurant on an evening when he's actually cooking.
The panic sets in. I would make some letters or videos for the kids to have when they're older. Basically a "Things I wish I had known" thing with lots and lots of love and positive comments.
See every show in (on? at?) London's West End and on Broadway. I'd lie about my age and try out for American Idol (no, I can't sing), high-five Simon Cowell and tell Randy to stop saying "Yo dog", because it's aging him (and yes, I am SURE they'll believe I'm only 23).
well, I'm going anyway, so I might as well lie on the beach with coconut oil containing only SPF 2 and tan away! I look so much better tanned. I would be super affectionate with my touchy-touchy husband. I don't like to be touched a lot (gee, I have had someone at my breast or hanging off of my leg every minute of every day for about 10 years now, I don't know why I don't like to be touched).
One of the days, I will sit by the window while the rain falls and read a good book and drink hot chocolate--without interruptions.
Go to the States and see my doggy. Bury my head in his fur until he gets tired of me hugging him.
I MISS MY DOG.
spend every moment talking to my family and friends, eating rich foods, and laughing. I'd be slaughtering everyone at Risk and NOT feeling bad about it.
sit with my family and take in the last sunrise and watch the last sunset (can be done in four hours here in the winter time) and teach my children to see the beauty we live in.
Well, since I don't have to rush around and pack, I imagine the last 7 minutes would be hugs, a few tears and lots of kisses. AND I would remind my family, ONE MORE TIME, that I want a big party, not some sad, drippy funeral.
Are you up for the challenge? I'd love to see what you come up with, so please drop me a comment if you take and post this challenge.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
All right ladies (and gent), if possible, get up of off your chair and dance along (you can dance while reading?)
I have told my husband that I'd be thinner if we danced more. I used to effortlessly travel between a size 5 and 7 and was a HUGE size 8 when I got married, but marriage came and the dancing ended. Now I can't get one thigh into a size 7. I'm ok with that, because for some odd reason, so is my husband. But what I will have to insist on is that I have stamina. I want to play in my 80s and dance in my 90s.
Still up moving?
Anyway, forget what I said about what I would be blogging-- there's still tomorrow to do that blog I've wanted to do since last week-- I went to my very first (and probably last) Hen Party. What a hoot, it was a real quack up! sooo lame, I know.
In the States, we have the semi-equivalent in bachelorette parties. I have attended a few of those, but the British people certainly have a way of celebrating.
Our first introduction to the way parties are thrown here was when A1 was invited to a birthday party that didn't start until 6 pm. He was 6-- a 6 p.m. party? The invitation said "6 p.m. WI Hall". I actually took the invitation in to the Head Teacher at his school and asked if he could help.
"Whats' a WI Hall, and where do I find it?" and, "There's not enough numbers for the phone to RSVP, how do I dial this?" Sweet man that he is, was happy A1 had already been invited to something and clued me in on where I would find it.
On the night of the party, I left our house a little grumpily. It had taken forever to pick out a gift for this little girl I knew NOTHING about and had to pay a fortune for (remember, we earn dollars and pay pounds-- so double. A $15.00 gift runs me $30.00).
Because you may have never traveled outside of the States before (yet), there are some things you may take for granted. You know that if your kid is invited to a Chucky Cheese party, you're not going to send your little sweetie in a white, ruffled dress. I had NO idea what my kid should be wearing here, and worse, we were out at night on our little country road.
As I pulled up to the village W.I. hall (the Women's Institute Hall, a gathering place kind of like a town hall that you can rent for functions), imagine my surprise to hear disco music blaring out the open doors and enough people coming in and out the doors to rival Walmart on Black Friday.
As we approached, I was thinking, "oh, no, my poor little shy A1! He's going to roll up like a potato bug". When we got inside, our eyes were assaulted by the colourful flashing lights, while bubbles shot endlessly from the bubble blower next to the DJ.
Yes, you heard me. There was a full-on party DJ, leading the kids onto the dance floor.
The room was framed by tables lined with sausage rolls, mini sandwiches, crisps, drinks, pastries, candies... cousin Dudley's heaven.
I was gobsmacked (your British term for the week). I asked the closest thing I could find to the hostess (a teenager--sister to the party girl), "Do you want the parents to stay, or do we go?" "oh, um... you can stay if you want, but you don't have to...um, unless you want to..." (teenagers are the same everywhere in the world, accent or not).
I looked down at my precious little wall-flower and asked him, "Honey, do you want me to stay with you?" as he was wondering away, hand in hand with a mate from school, barely able to force himself to look back at me long enough to say, "you can go".
I went home in shock and told my husband, "we've been doing this birthday party thing all wrong, and with 5 kids, we're in big trouble!"
So, when invited to this Hen party, for my friend who is nearly my age (thus the feeling I won't be invited to many more). I was anxious and scared all at the same time. What to wear?!!
The ladies here aren't conventional. You will see a forty-year old woman with purple hair as easily as a 20-year old. The blingy-er you can get, the more you blend. Women come to queue up at the school in 3-inch heels and clothes with fur or feathers. But the best part, and I hope to blog more on this, is the attitude of the senior citizens here. No walkers for these folks, they walk everywhere, go on hiking holidays and attend things like I went to last night.
Anyway, after an interesting pre-party male dancer (sorry, those pictures are for the Bride only) we had a three-course meal
and danced to a Madness tribute band (I'm giving you the mini-version)
until 2 am.
I didn't have a heart attack, so that was the bonus of the evening.
I did realize that I need to dance more, and if it means dancing to Disney around the house, so be it. I want to be the little 80-something year-old lady I saw boogying the night away with her husband-- the one who limped his way to the dance floor and then shook his groove thing like he was in his 30s.
Dance on people, let's live long enough and healthily enough to embarrass our children well into their middle ages!
Friday, February 1, 2008
Monday, November 26, 2007
All blog sites hate me today. Is it the wind up of Nov. blogging keeping sites from loading?
I just wanted to upload a picture and call it done, but now you get to hear (see) me whinge instead.
Ok, maybe I won't whinge. Maybe I'll share.
I made proper Yorkshire pudding for dinner tonight. When I was younger and devouring any books set in the U.K., I would salivate when "tea" was mentioned. Ahhh, crumpets, cakes and puddings. Visions of lovely sweets adorning dainty china plates.
I guess I was envisioning petit fours and layer cakes... wow, now I'm hungry.
Anyway, that is NOT the case.
The first thing I tried to pick up in the store that resembled the pudding I'm used to (picture Bill Cosby saying "yum"), was actually a pretty nasty gelatin mess. Pudding here is a bread, in every form you can imagine. There's Christmas pudding, which is a lot like our fruit cake, but add every kind of alcohol and let it cure for a year or so. There's Spotted Dick (I joke you not), that even though I didn't care for the taste, I have bought it for every American that has come to visit.
But I regress, the subject of today's post is Yorkshire pudding (wait 'till I bend your ear (eye?) about clotted cream...).
I had some (pudding--my, you get lost easily) in a restaurant. It was a little bread-ish bowl with steaming roast beef and loads of dark, rich gravy. I decided this was one thing I needed to learn how to make. So, I got out my handy British cookbook and there was a recipe! But it was only for the bread part, that's no good. So I asked a friend, "Do you make Yorkshire pudding?" "Oh, no!" she replied like I was daft, "I buy them at Tesco's and pop them in the oven."
I'm liking this more all of the time.
She told me the brand she uses (Aunt Bessie's) and off I went.
Well, Tesco's carries LOTS of brands of Yorkshire pudding, but they have no meat, no gravy, nada. What the heck? So I ask another friend (I can't look too stupid to the same person), "What is yorkshire pudding?" I discover it's the batter/bread thing (like an American pop-over I'm told), you add what you want to it.
So tonight, I popped in the Aunt Bessie's and topped it with my own beef and gravy. Delicious. I LOVE this country!
Something terrible happened yesterday.
A huge storm came blowing through and knocked out our power. Imagine me calling Power Gen., "I know there's a line down, but this is serious, I CAN'T BLOG, PEOPLE!".
Ok, I didn't really make that call--oh yeah, because I didn't have a phone. Or a router to use my broadband. Or water.
When we lose power, we lose water because we're on a well with a pump.
I'm all for 72-hour preparedness and all, but when you take away my electricity AND a way to clean the mud off my boys, I can get a little cranky.
Ask the poor pizza guy who watched me melt down in front of him over two large, cold pizzas (they failed to call out my order when it was up. I was sitting in front of the counter, with nothing to occupy me. Believe me, I didn't miss the announcement, "145? Your order, that has taken double the time to fill than what I quoted you, is up and now we're gonna put it on a shelf and hope your psychic abilities come through for you so that you know to come up here and ask for it"
I still had an hour's drive home with cold pizzas and no way to heat them. They got them back. I came home food-less.
But it gets better. When we have no power, we have no water and our heat is fueled by water (ok, it's fueled by oil--very expensive oil, .42p a liter oil and we just spent nearly one thousand smackers taking our oil tank up to a less-nerve racking level than almost empty). The oil heats the water which then flows through our floors and our radiators. It's no good without it.
So my kids were huddled into one room where we have a propane-fueled fireplace. It was a big, fun, camp-out for them. Not so much for me. Sleeping in the same room as my lifeless computer.
Two things I discovered during this strength-building experience.
I missed you.
And I'm definitely a nutter.