Friday, December 19, 2008

"String too short to use"

10) When you have a small boy around, 5:30 in the morning is about the only quiet you get. So here I am, blogging in the wee hours.

9) It snowed all day yesterday. We now have about a foot of the white stuff. It is beautiful, but driving is treacherous. I had to go out for a bit in the morning and HOLY COW! I was raised in snow country so I know how to drive when conditions are bad. Constant vigilance! I took the 4-wheel drive and did just fine. Almost got crushed by a semi who couldn’t stop when the light changed, but otherwise fine. I find other drivers to be irritating most of the time, but when the roads are bad I find them to be absolutely terrifying. From now on I’m only going if everyone else promises to stay home.

8) I spent yesterday afternoon baking. Cookies. Cookies. Cookies. It was fun, but my feet were sure tired at the end of it all. I still have to make peanut brittle. Learning how to make peanut brittle from my grandmother’s recipe has been my contribution to Christmas since she passed away. Makes me sad this year though, cause it was Dad’s favorite.

7) Christmas cards are in the mail. Enjoy the pic of Liam. We loved it, although I think it makes him look older than he is.

6) This is Umatilla School District’s third snow day this week. They have now used up all their extra days and any more they have to take will extend their year. It has been nice having Chris home most of this week, but I don’t want them to have to push out the end of the year. That would cut into our vacation plans. Grrr!

5) I have to drag out the wrapping paper for the last time again today. My final gift is complete and I can wrap up the late comers and be done! Usually I am finished long before now, but this year has not been ideal.

4) Liam is walking more and more each day. He loves to take a hand and walk with Chris or I all over the house. He will walk on his own, but he would rather take someone with him. Last night he took both of us. That was a first for us, and I think we were both a little choked up. It is the little things that get you.

3) I’ve begun work on “Ordinary Time” paraments. This is so much fun. I love to design and create when I am given free rein to do so. For those who don’t know: “Ordinary Time” is most of the church year, and it is green. I am very excited about these as well. My goal is that by the time the sanctuary remodel is done, the paraments will be ready. That means I’d best get hopping. The destruction starts the first of January and I believe it is scheduled to be complete by the end of the month. I’m going to really have to move.

2) I’m afraid my house is going to take precedence over everything else today. What a mess! I told Chris it looks like animals live here. Chris calls it “bears with furniture,” I call it “maximum density.” I can stand the clutter of things not getting to their proper homes for just so long, and then . . . maximum density is reached and I am done. That’s today.

1) I need to put some more current pics of Liam into the little photo album I carry in my purse. Unfortunately, it is full. I looked through it, thinking I could take some of the older ones out, but I find I can’t. There’s that sentimental nerve I’ve been looking for in myself all these years. I didn’t think I had one, but lo’ there it is.

0) I ordered our new windows this week. You will all be so proud of me: I opted for the bay window in the family room. It is terribly expensive, but I found I just couldn’t resist. Plus when we sell the place someday, it will be a good selling point. Right?

Bing said it best

It won't be long before we'll all be there with snow
I want to wash my hands, my face and hair with snow

I long to clear a path and lift a spade of snow
Oh, to see a great big man entirely made of snow

Where it's snowing
All winter through
That's where I want to be
Snowball throwing
That's what I'll do
How I'm longing to ski
Through the snow-oh-oh-oh-oh

Those glist'ning houses that seem to be built of snow
Oh, to see a mountain covered with a quilt of snow

What is Christmas with no snow
No white Christmas with no snow

I'll soon be there with snow
I'll wash my hair with snow
And with a spade of snow
I'll build a man that's made of snow
I'd love to stay up with you but I recommend a little shuteye
Go to sleep
And dream
Of snow

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's Chili weather

We woke up to snow this morning. Only about 2 inches, but for us it is unusual. Our normal weather for December before Christmas is just cold with the occasional freezing rain incident.

Therefore, this morning I am borrowing a page from my friend Maggie's blog and posting pictures of food.

This is my much perfected Chili. It is a recipe I have been working on for years and is now just, oh so close to, almost perfection. It all started with a couple packages of dry red beans about a week ago.

It should be ready to eat at about 4 p.m. this afternoon.

Come on over!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Taking Christmas pics

Chris and I spent some time this morning attempting to get a good picture of Liam in his Christmas jammies to send in our Christmas cards. This year it is all you get. Neither of us feel up to a letter.

This is one of the rejects. It was my favorite of the bunch, but the focus is just a bit off for reproducing prints from.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"String too short to use"

10) Liam is a clandestine walker. I will catch him walking out of the corner of my eye and if I turn my head to look right at him, he quickly sits down. So we know he can do it, most of the time he just chooses to crawl instead. It is much faster and he feels more secure that way.

9) Banana Spice Bread, yummy. I needed a recipe for banana bread that had good flavor but contained no rum or nuts. I made it last night. Liam loves it which is good as he was the reason for no nuts or rum.

8) Christmas cards are going to be late this year, they are waiting on a picture of Liam which has not even been taken yet. Most likely there will be no letter to accompany. I started one, but it is such a downer. My father’s death pretty much overshadows anything else we did, and I don’t want to bring everybody’s holiday down.

7) I still have flowers blooming in the pots on my front porch. Unbelievable as we have had temperatures in the mid-twenties. But, there they are, my petunias, still blooming.

6) As of yesterday, my Christmas shopping is complete. I paid for the last item on ebay yesterday. Now, as long as everything gets here in time, I am in good shape. Hurrah!

5) We need to replace the window in our family room. I want to put a bay window in there. I just think it would look so cool and I have always wanted one. Problem is, a bay window is more than three times the price of just a plain ol’ window. I somehow want to justify this, but so far I can’t, but I really want to. A bay window would just be so neat. Help!

4) The shopping is done, the sewing is not. I am making new jammies for Liam and myself. Liam has almost outgrown the ones I made in October, so he needs new ones which will hopefully get him through the winter. All my flannels are faded and worn, no holes, but so ugly now. I want something bright and new for Christmas.

3) Liam likes to unload the kitchen cabinet that contains all my stock pots and sauce pans and colanders. Chris snapped a picture of him awhile back. He looks so sweet, but believe me when I tell you those curls are the perfect cover for the little red devil horns he has on his head. He is one busy boy.

2) I am starting the traditional end of year file fight that all bookkeepers fight. I have to find a home for my own, and help nine clients pull theirs and stash them away somewhere for safekeeping. Yike! Just kidding, I actually love it. It satisfies my type A jonesing for organization. Besides I can’t resist file folders, paper, pens, paper clips, staples, erasers and all manner of office supplies. I can spend an extraordinary amount of time and money in Office Depot, Office Max and Staples. Those stores were made for me!

1) If you could eliminate one hereditary characteristic from your family, what would it be?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"String too short to use"

10) I have made my budget already this month. This is a good thing as we are headed out of town on Wednesday, going to spend Thanksgiving at my sister’s. We will have Christmas money if I can work like crazy these first three days of this week!

9) XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXSSSSSSSSS SXC /, UEDZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZS Hhhdn vef Hz bbbbbbbbbbbbbbb Nggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg ggggggggggggggggggggggggggggsmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmsnnnnnnnnnnns MMMMMMMX

8) Because he sees me working on the computer, Liam is determined to “help.” As you can see by #9, he is not much help. He certainly makes working from home much more of a challenge than it was in LBL. What to do?

7) Does anybody want/need a cat? She is a very sweet cat. Completely and unfailingly house/litter trained. She is affectionate but vocal. We cannot keep her anymore. She comes in in the wee hours of the morning and wakes up Liam. She very deliberately goes into his room and yowls until he wakes up. Our only option has been to lock the pet door with her on the outside, but then our dog and other cat can’t get in and out as they need to. I hate to give her away, but we are out of options.

6) The month is over. I just realized anything I intend to do this month, I’d best get cracking. When we get back from my sister’s place, it will effectively be December. Mmmmm. I’ve not really thought much about Christmas yet.

5) If you could “unknow” one thing you know, what would it be?

4) We made a discovery at our house this week: when small children go from being fed to feeding themselves, life gets messier, or at least, the kid and kitchen get messier. They also eat much less when they feed themselves than when you feed them. Weird. I would eat less if someone was feeding me because I wouldn’t want them to see how much I truly can put away. It would be embarrassing. Feeding myself . . . well, there’s just no one around to get hurt.

3) Traveling out of town with a toddler. OMG! Everything must go sans the kitchen sink. It is a good thing we have a vehicle big enough to fit it in. No, not the Mustang. It will take us forever just to gather it all up, let alone load it. Yike!

2) Making cranberry sauce today. The flavors like to have time to meld and it is oh, so tasty. Cranberries with orange and just the lightest touch of nutmeg and vanilla. Yummy! Cranberry sauce is my special contribution to the Thanksgiving meal in my family. Oh, and I always get asked to make the stuffing. Looking forward to a quiet, relaxing holiday this week.

1) Sometimes a chocolate doughnut is the only thing that helps.

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's in the bag

This is the bag. The perfect bag.

Big enough to contain all my junk, which really isn't much, but then I can throw in wipes, a diaper and a bottle if needs be. A change of clothing for me won't fit, but a clean shirt for Liam will.

It has a nice flat bottom with some stiffening so it will sit upright and not just fall into a puddle when set down. No flaps! Best of all it is a beautiful shade of plum which the picture doesn't exactly do justice.

Trust me. This is important. Women know these things. This is the perfect bag.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Advent is coming

These are the paraments I created for one of our local churches for the Advent season. The fabric and everything came together so well. It was indeed a God thing.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Halloween brings a lion to our house

OK, here are the first of several promised pics.

These are Halloween, obviously. This is our little lion boy.

He truly hated this costume when we first put it on him. It took Chris and I both to get him in it, but he got used to it after a bit and quit trying to get it off.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Nobody does it better

I am not now, nor will I ever be, the housekeeper my mother is.

That said, I have discovered a secret to motivation in house cleaning: keep a toddler around.

Liam is a pro at finding the dirtiest, nastiest corner of the house to play in. You know, the dirt I never even knew existed.

Our house is consistently cleaner these days than it has ever been. That should make both my mother and my mother-in-law happy.

I’m not talking about simple clutter here, I am talking about real dirt. There was a program on TLC for awhile called “Clean Sweep.” Scary! I cannot understand how people can actually live in clutter to the ceiling. I am not a pack rat. If it doesn’t serve a function in my life . . . it goes. Sentimental value be damned. I don’t have room for junque.

You see, clutter I have never had any tolerance for, but dirt I couldn’t easily see never bothered me. I have always been a lick-and-a-promise kind of housekeeper. I was always thankful to have overnight guests several times a year cause it gave me the needed impetus to really deep clean the place. In my world then, as long as it didn’t show too much, I could easily pretend like the dirt didn’t exist. Now that Liam drags it out of its hiding place for everyone to see, it has become more of a concern.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think my house has ever been really truly disgustingly filthy, but I was much more casual about the state of cleanliness around here than I am now. Maybe that’s why my mom scrubs her place faithfully every week and I swear her floors are clean enough to eat off of. She had four little girls tear-assing around for far too many years to ever come down off that horse. So, maybe there is hope for me yet. Perhaps when Liam becomes old enough to stop playing in the track of the sliding glass door and behind the door in the bathroom and in the farthest back corner behind the recliner in the family room, these better housekeeping habits will be so ingrained I will not revert back to my casual ways of LBL. One can only hope.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"String too short to use"

10) Great Green Greasy Gobs of Goo! I have had the worst cold of my life this past week. Yuk! That’s what happens when you have a little one in the house. Liam brought it home from day care and he and I have been suffering all week.

9) My creative juices are flowing along with my nose this week. The United Methodist Church in a little town south of here asked me to create paraments for the Advent season for their sanctuary. The unbelievably appropriate piece of fabric I found on ebay came in the mail yesterday so this afternoon I cut and assembled the altar cloth. This is my spiritual gift. It is what I do. It is how I become God’s instrument. I will post pictures when all are complete. They are lovely.

8) I got a new bag today. I have eight or more in the closet, but this one is fantastic. It is not huge, but it is substantial. It is made of a very shiny leather with brass accents. It has all the appropriate pockets, zippers, but NO flaps. I have discovered after much trial and error, I hate flaps on purses. The best part about this new bag is . . . it is plum! A very deep, dark plum color that almost looks black. Way cool!

7) Christmas is right around the corner. I am not done shopping, but I have a pretty good idea about who I am getting what. Not shipping much this year. Postage is outrageous, just like everything else, so if you don’t live close enough for me to put a gift in your hand, please enjoy the greeting cards sent your way, and rest assured donations to the local soup kitchen will be helping out the needy in our town. Best I can do.

6) Whew! We had a houseful of visitors November 1-3, and we all survived. Several guests even admitted they had a good time! It was a little crowded, and I would have preferred to have it after the election, but, oh well! We got through the weekend with all limbs intact and no fatalities.

5) We are working hard to get things winterized around here. We have sprinklers to blow out and antifreeze levels to check in the vehicles. I have some iris bulbs a friend gave me to plant and about a million other things needing to be done. I sometimes wonder why I like autumn so much. It is a lot of work. But, I love the smell and colors of fallen leaves. I love the crisp air and how the sky becomes a deeper blue in the fall. I love attending the football and soccer games at the high school where Chris teaches. I love this time of preparation before the holidays . . . the list goes on.

4) If you could go back to high school to relive one event as you wish it had been, what would it be?

3) Why is it when cats prepare to hurl they run to the nearest stretch of carpet or rug to do it. Do cats have a fear of puking on tile? It would make cat sick so much easier to clean up if they could just get past this unreasonable phobia. Hoarking onto tile is a good thing, why are cats not smart enough to know this? Course if I could get them to run for the toilet or ask for a bucket, that would be even better.

2) Little boys are delightful, or at least, mine is. He is starting to let go of things and stand. He even stood up all by himself in the middle of the family room a couple days ago. He has discovered that if he gets in behind the lace drapes in my office he is now tall enough to peek out the window, and of course, he loves to play in the drapes while he’s at it. So far he hasn’t destroyed anything significant, though he made quite the disaster of a piece of lemon cake last night, I have no doubt one of these days something I hold dear will be found in pieces in Liam’s wake.

1) Because Dad served in the Air Force, they presented my mother with an American flag at his memorial service, all folded neatly into a triangle by two dress marines while Taps was playing in the background. Yes. I cried. We all did. My question is this: I would like to get my mother a flag case to put it in, but I am unsure if this would be an appropriate Christmas gift or if I should give it to her now just because she is my mom and she would like to have it even though she doesn’t know it yet?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"String too short to use"

10) Liam had his first meal in a restaurant today. We had lunch with two of my very good friends. They are both moms themselves and so are very tolerant of childish behavior. Liam was, however, the perfect little gentleman until the very end when we were all done eating and he wanted to get down on the floor and play and Mom wouldn’t let him. He and I shared an order of fish & chips and then he had applesauce and milk to go with it. He has been in restaurants before, but this is the first time he’s been able to “order off the menu.”

9) Friends, there’s nothing like ‘em.

8) We’re having a party. My husband’s birthday is next Saturday. We are going to have a houseful of overnight guests and a bunch of friends over for dinner and cake. Y’all come!

7) It is good to be needed. I sometimes question whether I am. Thankfully something usually happens to convince me that someone needs me for something, and if I am really lucky that something is something that makes me happy to do or be.

6) Liam is patta-caking. He has the “patta-cake” part down. He sometimes remembers to “roll it,” can’t get the whole “prick it and mark it with a B” part, but rushes the “throw it in the oven for baby and me” cause that’s the most fun. He is so stinking cute, there are days I don’t get much done for playing with the baby. Oh well.

5) My only regret that the weather is cooler: top down season is coming to a close. Bummer!

4) I have reached the conclusion that the ability to create certain food items is art. Cooking itself is not really art. Any idiot can boil water and it doesn’t take any talent to make toast. However, homemade pie crust and homemade yeast bread (sans machine) I believe are art forms. The pie crust I’ve got, the bread remains a struggle in still life. My husband also informs me that gravy from scratch and rice (sans rice cooker) should also be elevated to the art level. Of course, I can’t cook rice without it either staying crunchy or becoming so sticky you could mortar bricks with it. He cooks the rice in our household. I do, however, have the gravy talent.

3) After a rather dismal September, October is looking brighter. I have been working a great deal and so my budget looks much better. Color me happy!

2) Speaking of budgets. Note to my dear friend, Maggie: my husband gets paid once a month. It is direct deposited to our savings account. I transfer to checking only enough to pay bills. On Fridays I withdraw cash for our living expenses. From that cash comes the groceries, entertainment, meals out and incidentals, when it is gone, we stay home. I have budgeted X amount and I make every effort to make it through until the next Friday. Hope that helps.

1) The statistics on sanity is that one out of every four persons is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends - if they're okay, then it's you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"String too short to use"

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1) Holding a sleeping baby is just about the best feeling in the whole wide world. Nothing will warm your heart faster. However, holding a poor little sick baby with a temperature over 102° is just about the worst feeling in the whole wide world. Nothing will make you feel more helpless.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sofa Sittin'

Here he is. He bravely puts one foot on the edge of the sofa and then muscles himself the rest of the way up. What a corker!

Not my writing, but true nonetheless

1. There are at least two people in this world that you would die for.

2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.

3. The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.

4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.

5. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.

6. You mean the world to someone.

7. You are special and unique.

8. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.

9. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.

10. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take another look.

11. Always remember the compliments you've received. Forget about the rude remarks.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"String too short to use"

10) It is October. My favorite month of the year. The trees will turn brilliant colors. The reds, yellows and oranges of autumn are sensational. The air feels crisp and the sky becomes a deeper shade of blue. It is time for hot spiced cider and jack o’lanterns and bobbing for apples, trick or treating and Octoberfest! What is not to like?

9) Speaking of trick or treating, Liam’s Halloween costume came in the mail yesterday. He is going to be a lion this year. I’ll post pictures.

8) I have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon. Not my favorite thing in the world to do, but necessary at least four times a year when you are diabetic. Wish me well. I want the tests to be good and my medication to stay the same.

7) Liam is tall enough now and steady enough on his pegs to reach into the drawers of my desk. He painstakingly takes items out of one drawer and puts them in the other. As if I needed my life to be more complicated! Now I’ll never find anything.

6) This one is really the corker. Liam can climb onto the couch. He stands in front of it. Puts one little foot up there and hoists himself up. Then he sits up there and grins, so proud of himself. Cracks me up. I guess we are going to have to move the coffee table so when he falls off he has a clear shot at the floor. Otherwise he’ll bash his head on the way down.

5) Thanks to everyone for the wonderful cards and notes and flowers to memorialize my dad. I so appreciate the outpouring of love and sympathy we have all received. As with most who suffer such tragedy in their lives, I have good days and bad, good moments and bad. I anxiously await the day when it just doesn’t hurt quite so much.

4) Another of my favorite things about this time of year: Christmas music! I have to admit I am a real sucker for both the old Christmas carols and any new, interesting songs that help prepare me for the holidays. I have to start listening to them now in order to be well into the spirit by the time the holidays are truly here. I have to do it on the QT tho’ cause Chris is completely against them until after his birthday (Nov 1).

3) How late can a birthday card be before you should just hold onto it and send it next year? This is the kind of question that keeps me awake at night. I started out the year right on top of things. If you were born in the first five months of the year, I got you covered, after that things fell apart.

2) Why is it people have such a terrible time asking for help? Are we so afraid to admit weakness? So afraid to admit we can’t cope? Do we think our friends will think less of us for it? Even when we know people are just waiting in the wings to help us if we need it, it about kills us to say: “Please help me, I can’t do this alone.” We should all work on this for the future. I have found, when I do finally breakdown and ask, anyone and everyone is ready and willing to help me with whatever it is that is causing me to stumble.

1) Unlike rice cakes, chocolate doesn’t crumble and leave a mess for the office cleaning staff.

Monday, October 6, 2008


My dad was a builder.

He built houses, shops, jails, factories, churches, schools, stores, shopping malls and office buildings. He worked in northern Idaho, western Montana and eastern Washington until his retirement two years ago. I don’t believe there is a highway corridor in that area I can’t drive down and point to buildings and say, “My daddy built that.”

This is his legacy in concrete, wood and steel.

However, his most important building project was the house of love he built around his family. His wife and his four little girls were the lights of his life. Dad didn’t come right out and say “I love you” very often, but he showed his love in ways which were uniquely his. He built doll beds, deck stairs, roofs, shoe boxes, garages, curio cabinets, cupboards, treasure boxes, sewing machine cabinets, jewelry boxes, and toddler beds. He rebuilt engines, replaced windows and painted cars & houses.

When his little girls came of age and started marrying, Dad’s love expanded to encompass a larger family.

Each of us girls is married and Dad loved his son-in-laws and spent many hours with each/all of them. Under his tutelage each of them has learned something about carpentry, mechanics, hunting, fishing and life. Each of them has treated one of us girls well, provided for her and been a loyal, loving, caring husband; all that was necessary in Dad’s book to be considered a beloved member of the family.

Dad’s life was blessed with five grandchildren. My son, Liam, at 16 months, is the youngest of the bunch. The next youngest grandchild is 19 years old. In December 2006, when Chris and I told Mom & Dad we were going to have a baby, I got a real firsthand look at the joy Dad had in his grandkids. I’ll remember Dad’s words forever, “We thought we were all done with grandkids, and now we get to start all over!” Grinning fit to kill the whole time.

Two of the grandchildren have partners and our family is blessed with two great grandchildren as well. Dad’s love knew no bounds.

This is Dad’s real legacy. His love and all the memories of good times we have had as a family will live on forever. The blue sky is hard to see right now, but it will come. Our lives must and will go on, but all of us will be forever affected by the love of this man. The patriarch. Our dad.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"String too short to use"

10) Small boys who are not quite walking can sure get into a lot of stuff. One moment Liam’s here, the next he has disappeared and when he gets too quiet, I’d better be beatin’ feet to wherever he has gotten to.

9) Fall is here. It is my favorite season. Even though I have a lot of work to do in my flower beds before winter sets in. Yike! What a mess they are from being ignored from May until September. But around here it is just too blessed hot to even think about gardening in the dead of summer.

8) I love my work. The only thing I have to take with me to accomplish my work is my brain. Unfortunately, some days that’s a taller order than others. Today . . . nearly impossible, but it is the first of the month and billing must be done. Therefore, I will work.

7) What is it with baby clothes? At 16 months Liam is too tall for 12 month clothing, except for the pants, which are still a bit long and almost too big around. He must have a long body but short legs. Some of the 6-9 month pants still fit him. He is broad in the shoulder and narrow at the hip. Either kids clothes are not made to fit properly, or my kid is shaped weird.

6) I love the feel of a hardcover book. I enjoy reading, and read a great deal, but give me a hardcover book any day over a paperback. They just feel good in the hand. Some of my old worn out favorite books I am now replacing with hardcover. You know, the ones I return to time and again like old friends.

5) What’s for dinner? Lord, I hate that question. I try to write menus and purchase groceries to complete them ahead of each week, but time gets away sometimes and here we are, Wednesday night with no idea what we might eat. Carp!

4) A huge thanks to all who have expressed their condolences on the death of my dad. Please keep me and all my family in your prayers as we struggle to come to terms with this loss in our lives. Just how long does grief go on?

3) Election, smection. I am so over the top tired of all this political BS. Get it over with, the sooner the better. I consider myself anti-political. However, after much consideration, I am forced to agree with my friend Mags: a vote for McCain/Palin is a vote for a couple of cheese doodles.

2) If you value your sanity, do not obtain miniature dachshunds as pets. Our neighbor has two. Yip, yip, yip, yip, yip, yip. My dog stands in our backyard just looking at them and they go crazy. My dog doesn’t bark. He just looks at them like they have lost whatever small brain cells they might have had. So annoying.

1) I just read over my nine. I think my tenth needs to be an apology for how down my nine are. I am sorry. I am in a blue time. I’m not certain when it will improve. See #4.

Monday, September 29, 2008


It has been a tough, tough week.

My dad, my hero, the coolest Dad any girl could ever have, died on Friday, September 19. He was only 68. I am still in shock.

Liam and I have been staying with my Mom helping her get through those first days. We returned home yesterday and the import of this event is starting to really hit me.

My dad was one of the finest people I know. Always helping, always kind. It breaks my heart that little Liam will neither know nor remember him. It was my dearest wish that both of my parents would be around long enough for Liam to have memories of them. Now that cannot happen. Somehow I have to become used to the idea that Liam will grow up without his Grandpa Wayne. This is so hard. No one can take ever his place.

I am still very angry. When I found out he was being rushed to the hospital, my words to God were, "Don't you take him, we aren't done with him yet." But are you ever, really?

I know there are stages of grief. I know we each have to go through them. They come to different people in different order and intensity. Pray for me and all the members of my family as we travel this journey. It is one we thought we would face years from now, but here it is and face it we must.

I must admit I worry most for my mom. She is going to be so lonely. She and Dad did everything together, especially since his retirement two years ago. In time she will develop new interests and we all know life will go on without Dad, but in the here and now, it looks lonely and sad for her. If you know her, call her and say “hello” if you live near her, go see her and take her out of the house to do something interesting and fun.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"String to short to use"

10) Liam has had hayfever/allergies right along with the rest of us this week. Poor little boogery boy. He doesn’t know how to blow his nose yet, so it just leaks out and gets smeared all over the place.

9) Liam loves to play with the magnets on our refrigerator. After a long search I found some plastic letters and numbers at a store here in town. Yea, they cost me all of $1.76. And will enable Liam to have hours of fun. We have found that the simplest toys are the best.

8) I know it doesn’t look that way, but i-n-s-u-r-a-n-c-e really is a four-letter word.

7) I get excited by the littlest things. I bought a new ironing board cover yesterday! I can’t wait to put it on the board. My old one really is a dirty, ratty mess. With all the sewing I do, I spend a great deal of time standing at the ironing board. So, believe it or not, this really is a gift for me!

6) Paint is in my future. I have a shelf Chris built for Liam’s room that needs primed and painted, and my dad built a toddler bed. He primed it, but I have to paint it. Liam should be ready for it sometime between now and Christmas.

5) As I am within 20 hours of making budget for this month, and I still have two weeks left, I am taking the day off! I am going to spend some time in my sewing room and playing with my little boy.

4) I want to be the person whose job it is to name paint colors. When we painted our bedroom last summer I chose “Song of Summer” and “Deep Everglades.” Liam’s room is “Pistachio Ice Cream,” “Capitol” and “Apple Creek.” My sewing room is “Smiley Face.” Our family room has one wall that is now “Sherwood Forest.” The guest bathroom is “Maple Sugar” and “Timothy’s Eyes.” Our utility room is “Flamingo.” The exterior of our home is “Seal Rock” and “Plum Creek.” Aren’t they wonderful names?

3) Time really does fly. It goes faster and faster the older I get. Having Liam around has sped it up considerably as well. When hours go by as minutes, it is no damn wonder I don’t get anything done.

2) During afternoon nap time, I have got to wash my poor car. Yike! If I don’t want someone to write “Wash Me” in the dirt, I’d best get it done. It is probably the dirtiest it has been since I bought it. Continuing the theme from #4, my car is “Sonic Blue.”

1) What one thing in your life best represents your freedom?


As Chris was carrying him up the stairs the other day, I heard him tell Liam: “ I really like your mama, you know. In fact, I think your mama is the bee’s knees.”

Wow! I’m the bee’s knees!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Peace in our time

After a long and difficult week, there is peace in the Early household today.

What it took was for me and my auto sales client to have a meeting of the minds.

I had to make him understand it was/is not my fault that his books are four months behind. When you open a business in January and don’t hire a bookkeeper until June, that tends to happen. I am dancing as fast as I can to get to real time, but I refuse to work 40-60 hours a week. I have this sweet little boy I need to spend time with.

Car sales is a unique animal. Every sale is different. Some people pay cash outright. Some people have a trade in. Some people have to finance. Some people have a trade in that is not completely paid for. Some people have a trade in that is worth more than the vehicle they are purchasing. . . . the list goes on.

Then, each car has different things done to it. Some get tires. Some get brake work. Some just get washed and out the door they go. Some get paint. Some get detailed. . . . again, the list goes on.

Needless to say it makes my work interesting, albeit time consuming. I really like the work. It is challenging and helps keep my mind sharp in the ways of GAAP.

What has made me crazy is the owner’s general nervousness and seeming distrust. I finally came to the conclusion that either we were going to have to get on the same page, or I was going to have to cut him lose. I am working more than I want or need, and I certainly don’t need the headache he is giving me by calling every other day. After last night’s meeting, I think he finally understands just because he doesn’t see me, doesn’t mean I’m not working, and if he insists on seeing me too often, he is paying for that time, which leaves me less time to actually get his work done. At least I hope that’s where we are now.

The situation reminds me of when I was in college and worked as typesetter for the student newspaper. On layout nights I would shut the door to my cave and work like crazy to produce laid out stories for the reporters to then cut and paste. Reporters who insisted upon knocking on my door begging for their stories first, would get them last. It was oh so simple to slip their stories to the bottom of the stack. Most of them finally got the idea, the more they pestered me, the longer it took for them to get their stuff. We had one reporter who just couldn’t figure it out. He never made the connection between his constant knocking at my door and the fact that he was nearly always the last to get his pages completed and leaving for home at one o’clock in the morning.

My auto sales client has been the same way. The more he calls, the more I don’t want to even look at his books. Not to mention the fact that he is one of my latest clients and a whole bunch of others have been with me longer than he.

This might be vindictive and a terrible abuse of power, but I think it is just human nature. No one wants to be driven crazy while they are trying to do their job. And one way or another, the driver is going to pay.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"String too short to use"

10) Blue Tuesday, and that’s all I have to say about that.

9) I found the coolest site. Go here: They have new and used books for sale at reasonable prices. It benefits worldwide literacy and saves books from landfills! What could be better than that? I was able to find some books that I have long been searching for.

8) Liam is adjusting very well to day care. He goes only two days a week for only 4 hours at a time. It is good for him to spend time with other kids, and it gives Mom a break and time to get some work done and meet with clients.

7) When in doubt, quilt!

6) Vertical blinds and small, curious boys are not a good mix.

5) Yea! Clean carpet. We recently purchased a carpet cleaning machine. With one small boy, one small dog and two large cats, we really need one. It is wonderful to be able to clean our carpets whenever we need to without borrowing or renting a machine or paying through the nose for professional cleaning. Yike! Buying the machine cost me less!

4) This is going to date me, but when I was a kid, my parents owned a station wagon. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but this new wave of vehicles labeled “crossover” look remarkably similar to the old Mercury station wagon we were hauled around in when I was a kid. I guess that new name makes them cooler somehow.

3) LBL - I used to think sleep was a colossal waste of time. I could always come up with more interesting, better ways to spend those hours. Not anymore. Sleep has become a necessity, one that is sadly lacking in my life these days :-(.

2) Prayers for Chris’ Mom. She goes in September 24 for a mastectomy. Her second. She had her first over 15 years ago. A couple of weeks ago they discovered lesions in the remaining breast. So here we go again. They caught it very early, so we are optimistic that all will be well.

1) Food for thought: If you could have only one piece of furniture in your house, what would it be?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"String too short to use"

10) When you wash a baby’s face, you must also wash his/her tongue. Apparently it too is soiled after breakfast, lunch and dinner.

9) On the way home from visiting Grandma and Grandpa last weekend, completely unencouraged by anyone, Liam started clapping his hands for the first time on his own. All alone in the backseat of the truck he was clapping his hands. If I looked directly at him, he would stop. A new milestone!

8) Work. Work. Work. ‘Nuff said.

7) Little boys can smear poo a really long way.

6) I discovered several years ago I am what a friend of mine calls a “May-September gardener.” I work out in the yard through May and then I don’t start up again until September. September is here. I guess I’d better get going.

5) Chocolate cures many ills.

4) I am out of sugar. That is so irritating. I had plans to make a Nectarine Cobbler with some of the nectarines my friend gave me, but alas, it means a trip to the store first, not a undertaking to be approached lightly with a 15-month old in tow.

3) Day care is the modern worlds’ cure for Mom’s stress.

2) Office chair = Merry-Go ‘Round

1) Maintaining inventory records is not a job for the faint of heart.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"String too short to use"

10) It’s Thursday; we won’t speak of it again. Right?

9) I have not worked today, which is great, except that I should have which is bad. See, guilt, it’s not just for Catholics anymore.

8) We are leaving tomorrow morning for BF to see my folks. Which is both a good thing and the pits. That five hour drive is not much fun when it costs you three times as much as it used to. It is also not much fun with a 15 month old who refuses to sleep in the car. But it will be good to see Mom and Dad. Dad is doing well according to Mom. I am going to go and see for myself.

7) I have day care lined up for one afternoon and one morning each week; starting next week. I only need 8 hours total and I found someone I know and trust. Yeah!

6) Liam woke me too early this morning and I have been dragon-butt all day.

5) It is a beautiful day, a bit warm for my tastes, but probably one of the last of the summer. The A/C kicked on for the first time in over a week. I am so looking forward to cooler weather. (Sorry, Mags!)

4) I had to buy a new set of sheets. I discovered a couple days ago, my favorite set of sheets is so old we have literally worn holes in it. We have a backup set, but I don’t like them. I bought them as a set and the pillowcases aren’t the same shade of green as the sheets. Weird. They all came in the same package, but no matchy. That’s probably anal with a capital A. Isn’t it?

3) One of the six goldfish in the pond in our front yard jumped out overnight and died. He was just lying on the edge of the pond this morning. Dead. Very strange. I’ve had these fish for several winters now and never had anything quite like this happen. Makes me say: Hummm?

2) I think myself and the Disney Movie Club have reached an understanding. That being the case, I will attempt not to bad mouth them again. That is, of course, provided they don’t screw up again.

1) Liam and I take turns chasing one another through the house on our hands and knees. He giggles and laughs until he ‘bout falls over. There is nothing in the world like baby laughter. It makes all this worthwhile.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

“String too short to use”

When my Grandmother was no longer able to care for herself, my mom and her siblings helped her move into an assisted living facility in my hometown. In the process of moving her and cleaning her house readying it to sell, they came across a box labeled “String too short to use.” In the box was small bits of string, which were indeed, too short to use. We have had many a laugh over this at my Grandmother’s expense. None of us can figure out what she had in mind when she labeled the box and started this collection.

However, the quote itself is masterful and I have been yearning to use it for something. Therefore, my “Ten on Tuesday” will forevermore be entitled: “String too short to use.” After all little of it is likely to be of any use, or much of it is unlikely to be of any use, or not much of it will be useful, or I doubt you’ll be able to make use of any of it or . . .whatever; here goes:

1) Help! My son is 2½ feet tall and weighs 22 pounds, yet he makes more laundry than Chris and I together!?

2) I have told the kindly computer from the extended warranty place in every way I can think of that I don’t want to extend the warranty on my car, yet my “last call” keeps coming in about once a week.

3) After turning my office completely upside down today, Liam is down for the night. Bless his little heart. He cracks me up, even when he is into everything and being rotten.

4) I made the mistake of joining Disney Movie Club for Liam. What a colossal disaster that has turned out to be. I exchanged a movie for a different one, but they credited my account and never sent me the one I really want. Then they sent me another movie I did not order and do not want. Yike!

5) After having such a stellar Monday a couple weeks ago, yesterday was crap. I spent well over an hour searching for $200. Not the cash mind you, just on paper. It’s what I do and mostly I love it, but some days . . . Grrrr!

6) Football season is coming, color me happy! I have projects lining up waiting for those long Sunday afternoons. Picture me rubbing my hands together in anticipatory glee!

7) Why do mom’s drive minivans? Is there a law on the books I am unaware of? Am I in danger of being pulled over because I have a 14-month old in shades riding in a car seat in the back of my Mustang convertible?

8) It was a beautiful day today. The rain last night cleared the air and cooled us off. Nice.

9) My auto dealer client is driving me crazy. It’s one of those “lack of planning/preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.” I started working with him in June and he had had nothing done since opening the dealership in January and now he wants to be in real time by the end of August. Not gonna happen. Cost accounting takes time and I don’t work more than 20-25 hours a week. Wanna find someone else? Be my guest.

10) I thank the God that made me for my life, my loving husband and our little boy. Every day.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Nothing in the world is as sweet as holding a sleeping baby.

Nothing else plucks at your heart strings like the feeling of a little warm, sweaty body snuggling up to you, a tiny curl-covered head on your shoulder.

I’ve never considered myself a “kid person.” Everyone has told me, “It’s different when it’s your own.” You know what? They’re right.

You just can’t beat the feeling. My thoughts become tangled. Even after almost 15 months of having Liam complicating our lives, I am struck anew by awe. Every baby is a miracle, but this is one I live with every day.

He loves me. Of course, I doubt he knows it yet, but his smile lights up the room when he sees me walk in, and that’s enough proof of it for me.

When I hold him I feel protective. It becomes paramount that his world is secure.

And yet . . . I can see ahead to a more independent time. It warms my heart to think of the man he will become and the role I can play in getting him there. It is an awesome responsibility, but it will be a gradual transition, and is not overwhelming. This make me happy, sad and thoughtful.

My life has undergone a revolution in the past two years. It has not been easy. In fact, at times it has been both physically and mentally painful. I suspect it will continue to be so.

Conversion to motherhood for a personality such as I has resulted in plenty of frustration and tears. I can’t speak for anyone else, but the current lack of solitude and organization in my life has caused me to lose some of my hair, and I suspect, some of my mind.

Adjustment to change has never been a smooth road for me, but these precious moments of holding a sleeping baby certainly help me to keep perspective and make it all worthwhile.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Busy Boy

Liam . . . spins office chairs and runs them over his fingers . . . swings every door in the house; bathrooms, cupboards, closets, and the front door . . . opens and closes drawers over and over and over . . . slides the keyboard shelf in and out, in and out; makes typing interesting . . . pushes the buttons on the front of the CPU; the computer shuts down almost immediately . . . sticks his whole hand in the slot on the VCR and through the door on the CD player . . . races up and down the stairs on all fours; as fast (or faster) than I can on two legs . . . cruises around every stick of furniture in the house . . . finds the dirtiest (hidden) corner of the house to play in . . . climbs over anything and everything on the floor; including me . . . laughs when I dance and/or sing; yes, apparently it is that bad . . . chases the dog and cats.

Friday, August 8, 2008

How was your day, Dear?

Just one more day and Liam and I will have survived this week without Chris.

You know in my LBL (life before Liam) I never minded being on my own for a few days or even a week, but these days I am no longer “alone.” There is no solitude when you have a 14-month old in the house. Even during nap time, he is “gone,” but not really. Don’t get me wrong, I love the little blighter, but, wow, he is so busy. Even asleep he never stops moving. It is a full time job just to keep his covers over him.

I will be a relief to have another adult in the house again, someone who can speak in complete sentences and who uses words I can understand. Not to mention someone who is willing to change a diaper or hold a baby spoon or bottle at the appropriate times.

I miss Chris more now when he is away than I used to. Perhaps it is because of Liam, but I feel there is more to it than that. After 20 years Chris is such a part of my life, such a part of me. I have long considered myself a strong, independent person, whole in my own right. And I am, but still there is a little empty spot that aches when he is away. Life goes on. I do the things Janie is supposed to do. No one would ever guess there is anything amiss. But I yearn to share my day to day happenings with Chris, that trivia of existence that no one else knows or cares about. I know the ramblings of my daily minutiae will be of interest to him.

The mere question “How was your day, Dear?” becomes paramount.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Good Monday

I don’t know how it happened, but I've had a good Monday.

It all started this morning when I slept in until 7:00 and Liam slept in until 8:00. That’s some kind of record for him. But we have had two very busy, crazy weeks in a row, and it must have just finally caught up with him.

I was able to leave Liam at Kid Kare while I worked for a couple of hours and he only got just a little bit whiney a couple of times. It was not enough for them to page me!

I got groceries and it was actually an almost pleasant experience. I found everything I needed and although the lines were long, the people in them were friendly and charming. Liam and I played silly games with the items in our cart until he was laughing like crazy. There is nothing in this world as wonderful to my ears as Liam’s laughter.

All of this enabled Liam to skip his morning nap.

After lunch we played on a blanket on the front lawn in the shade for about 45 minutes. He stands up and walks while holding on now. He climbed all over me when I got on the blanket with him. He giggled as we wrestled around and played. He is at such a fun age now.

By 2:00 he was ready for a good long nap, and that is where he is now. I did a couple hours of work for one of my “at home” clients, cooked some carrots to mash up for baby, and am now trying to catchup on myspace and here.

Liam will be waking soon for dinner, and tonight will be bath night because last night we were just too tired. He loves his bath, so that will be fun. He will be a splashing little froggie, which always makes me laugh.

As the phone has not rung, I can assume all is well with my Dad and in Mexico.

At the end of the day, to top it all off, Liam let me snuggle him after he took his final bottle before bed. We rocked and I sang to him until he fell asleep. He's not a very cuddly baby, so this was a very special moment.

Yes, it has been a good Monday.

I don’t know . . .

. . . who I am.

. . . what to think, what to do or what is next.

. . . where I am going.

. . . when my life will be normal.

. . . why I’m here.

. . . how I feel.

Living La Vida Loca

I hardly know where to begin.

The third full week of July, while Chris was off playing camp counselor, Liam and I spent with my parents in northern Idaho. It was the perfect opportunity for Grandparent time. The three of them had a ball. I had an nice, if exhausting, time, but I will always be grateful that we spent that week with them.

That Friday afternoon, my dad felt ill, but he said he had been welding and had probably inhaled some bad fumes. On Saturday Liam and I left for home. Chris arrived home about 20 minutes behind us. Good timing!

I spent the first three days of last week working like crazy trying to catchup for the week I was gone. Then on Wednesday my dad was airlifted to the hospital. He had not inhaled fumes, he had had a heart attack. An angioplasty and stent procedure was performed. He lost some heart muscle because he waited so long to go in, but although recovery will be long, he should be OK.

Very scary.

Needless to say, Liam and I spent the remainder of that week in the Spokane area, running back and forth between Chris’ mom’s place and the hospital. Chris was unable to go with us because he had to leave Saturday for Mexico.

Liam and I got home yesterday evening. We were both exhausted and very thankful to be home. We are hoping to remain here for awhile!

Aaargh! (This is me tearing my hair out.)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Making a Memory

I washed Liam’s feet today.

Took me back to my childhood days: a little girl running barefoot through the grass in the soft summer evenings, out on the farm with nothing to hear but the crickets and the frogs and an occasional lowing from the milk cow.

It was twilight on the verge of darkness before Mom would call us in. My sisters were older, so they sat on the edge of the tub and washed their own feet, but Momma would pick me up and sit me on the counter beside the kitchen sink and wash my feet before she tucked me into bed.

I’m sure the romance of it is exaggerated in my mind, but it is nonetheless a sweet, sweet memory of days gone by. I hope my son has some of these when he is my age.

This morning, 4th of July, was cooler than the past several days, so we backed the vehicles out of the garage and did a little cleanup. (Do we know how to celebrate or what?) Then we had this big open space giving little Liam plenty of room to motate in his walker. He loved it, but the garage floor is not very clean. Thus came the need to wash his tiny foots before his morning nap. As I sat him on the counter beside the sink, this memory from my childhood came flooding in.

I know there will be other opportunities to wash his feet, many more sweet, earthy and romantic than the filth of the garage floor, but I plan to savor them, each and every one, and build sweet, sweet memories for Liam.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Don't stay on the ground floor

I am staying in a motel room with three other adults and a one-year old.

I need my head examined.

Now I will grant you, this is not a simple motel room; it is a two bedroom suite at the Marriot Residence Inn.

Still, staying in a motel with a one-year old is stressful. We spent most of yesterday afternoon, evening and night trying to convince the people in the room above us that they could be a whole lot quieter in order for Liam to sleep/nap and to enable the rest of us to think.

What has happened to common courtesy? Or has it just become uncommon courtesy?

We talked to the desk clerk a number of times about the small children bouncing off the furniture upstairs. Finally we went up to the room and knocked on the door ourselves. The woman acted as though she had no idea what we were talking about and proceeded to tell us what absolute angels her children are. When we asked her if they could please try to be quieter, as we had a baby trying to sleep, she told us "No, we are tired of trying to be quiet and we are not going to try anymore." Even my attempt at Mom to Mom communication didn't work!

BTW, this was at 10:30 at night and none of her children were over six. Shouldn't they have been in bed in the first place?

The jumping children noises went on until about 11:30 p.m. when I lost my cool, marched down to the front desk and told the manager that if she didn't get them quiet, move them to another room or kick them out, my next call would be to the police.

Do the police do anything in situations like this? I don't know, but it seemed to finally do the trick. Granted I still only got about 4 hours of sleep, but at least it finally did get quiet.


Next chapter: I stop at the front desk the next morning and inquire if the people in 204 are checking out or could they be given a different room if they are staying. I was told they were checking out and that check out was at noon so they should be gone soon. At 1:30 this afternoon, with much crashing and thumping they finally left. Wow! I really wanted to step outside and wave to them as they drove away. We are staying until Sunday, bye-bye now.

With any luck, tonight we can all get a good night's sleep.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Marriage 101

Yesterday was my 19th wedding anniversary.

Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of Chris and I’s first date.

It is official. I have now lived longer with Chris than anyone, including my parents.


In this day of rising divorce rates and single parent households, I must admit, I do consider this something of an accomplishment. Now I don’t mean to imply I know everything there is to know about marriage and staying married and making it work. I learn new things every day about marriage, life and other hazards. That said, over the years I have learned a few fundamental truths which I will share now.

Marriage is hard, hard, hard, hard, hard, hard, hard work. I cannot stress this enough. Even if you are married to the "right" person, and no matter how much you love the other person and he/she loves you. If someone tells you, "When you are married to your soul-mate, it will/should be easy," you can just about bet that person has never been married more than seven years and/or is lying through his/her teeth. It is not ever easy (at least not for more than about 10 minutes at a time). That being said, if you are married to the right person, it is worth all (and I do mean ALL) the work. It has gotten only infinitesimally easier, but Chris and I's life together gets hugely better and better and sweeter and sweeter through the years.

Marriage is never 50/50. Maybe over the course of the past 19 years it has been one or two days, but if it has, I don't remember when. Days, weeks, months and years can go by when you feel you have been giving 90 percent and your partner's 10 percent doesn't look like even that. You are angry and hurt and frustrated. Then days and weeks and months and even years go by and your five percent is all you can muster and suddenly you are just very grateful that your partner has found the energy for 95 percent plus. I don't expect that even at the end of our time together here on earth Chris and I will be able to look back and say, "Look, over all it was 50/50." That being the case, there's not much point in keeping score. You just have to give and give and give and then when you think you haven't anything left, you give some more. You see one another through the tough stuff, cause you know there's a reward down the road and it is gonna be great!

No marriage is perfect. We all hide the ugly stuff from the people around us, our friends and family, because we don't want them to know we have our problems and that it just might be possible our relationship isn't perfection itself. Chris and I have our "ugly stuff," just like everyone else. But we love and we work and we take turns putting forth the effort required to make our marriage go. We do this because we know the reward is worth it or because we are both just too stubborn to walk away, some days I'm not sure which.

Well, there you have it, for whatever it is worth: Marriage 101.

Happy Anniversary to me!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

So this is gold

I just got off the phone with one of my dearest friends. She is getting married and called to ask me to stand up with her. I told her I would love to, but in actual fact, I am extremely honored. I have always wanted to be a maid of honor, although, I guess I qualify now as a matron of honor. Not quite the same thing, but an honor nonetheless.

We have known one another since her family moved to my hometown in 1974. She was the new little red-haired girl in my fifth-grade class at Mt Hall Elementary. We became friends back then and have been ever since. We have seen each other through weddings, marriages, moves, divorces, childbirth and child-rearing. We have remained staunch friends through thick and thin. She has always been a person I knew I could count on no matter what, and I sincerely hope she feels the same way about me.

Ours is one of those friendships that defy time and distance. Not many friendships continue through 34 years of living. A lot changes in lives over that length of time and only rarely in the past 26 years have we even lived in the same town. But our friendship goes on.

I hardly remember a time in my life when I didn’t know Mary Helen. She has just always been there. Even when we lived 1000+ miles apart, we would write and call often. Now with the advent of cellular phones and email, distance is somewhat negated and our contact is much more frequent.

Gold by Joseph Perry

Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver; these are gold.
New-made friendships, like new wine,
Age will mellow and refine.
Friendships that have stood the test-
Of time and change are surely best;
Brow may wrinkle, hair grow gray,
Friendship never knows decay.
For mid old friends, tried and true
We once more our youth renew.
Cherish friendship in your breast-
New is good, but old is best;
Make new friends, but keep the old;
Those are silver; these are gold.

So I say congratulations and thank-you to my dear friend, Mary Helen. I am honored that you asked and thrilled to be a part of your special day!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Our little boy turned one

this past Thursday.

We had a small party here at the house. Nine of Chris and I's friends came; all of them adults, no small children. He is only one, for goodness sake. His best friends right now are a stuffed horse named Bandit and Geoffrey, an equally squishy giraffe. Is that bad?

I wonder sometimes as a new parent, when do I start calling other children he has met his friends? When do I start inviting them to birthday parties? Do I wait for him to say, "Mom, I want to invite this person or that one."? Or will that not happen until he's like five? Do I choose friends for him until then? He's not in daycare, so we don't know too many other little ones. There are a couple of boys about his age at church, but is that association enough to make them his friends?

At any rate, we had a very nice party. He received many nice gifts; toys, books and clothes. The overall theme seemed to be toys that make noise. Which is interesting for two reasons. The first is: those are the kinds of toys Chris and I have always purchased for nieces and nephews, because we knew they had the potential to drive our siblings crazy (oh we are so there). The second is: Liam doesn't really care for toys that make noise. If you put all his toys out for him to choose, he goes for the soft, squishy silent type every time. I'm sure that will change, but so far, I like it.

Liam loves his books. Chris and I are ecstatic over this. Naturally he doesn't read yet, and only barely has an interest in us reading to him, but he loves the books. The feel of them, the weight of them, turning pages and just holding them. Chris and I are both book lovers and avid readers and it is one of our most cherished hopes that Liam will grow to love them and be a reader, too. We are on our way!

Celebrate with us. Our little boy turned one.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Five on a mattress

We spent an extended Memorial Day weekend at the home of my in-laws. It was a very hectic, but fun time: Birthday parties, barbecues, visits with old friends. Chris and I had a great time, Liam, not so much. Liam is our son who turns one year old tomorrow. It was too many new faces and places for his taste.

Which is why, I believe, he woke up crying Monday morning at about 1 a.m. He had had enough. Although he did have his Jilly blanket and Bandit, the stuffed horse, it wasn't good enough. Strange bed, strange house. After a nappy change and a snuggle, he still wasn't happy, so we put him in bed with us.

Naturally, Liam slept, Mufasa (the dog) slept, Bandit did what Bandit does, and Chris and I were awake the rest of the night. Now I am well aware that as parents of a small child, we are not expected to get much in the way of sleep, but Liam has been sleeping the night through since he was about 3 months old. We are kinda used to that.

Monday went by in a blurr. After another not so sleep-filled night, Tuesday wasn't much better. And I can tell you, we were all extremely happy to be sleeping in our own beds by Tuesday night.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The party nobody came to . . .

Thankfully, this was not it.

We had friends for dinner last night. Well, not literally. I mean, we didn't eat them. We actually ate barbecued ribs, potato salad, fresh bread and plenty of beer. Regardless, the food was good, but not the highlight of the evening.

The highlight was the company. This is a rather interesting mix of people. Three couples: One in their 60s, one in their 50s and one in their 40s. Four to six times each year we get together to argue. Ok, maybe it's not the healthiest relationship in the world, but it is interesting. Actually, we don't seriously argue, we have lively, animated discussions about a myriad of topics: Politics, ethics, golf, work, life.

The 60 somethings have never had children. The female half is a retired elementary teacher, the male half works in city administration. The 50 somethings are grandparents. The female half works in management, the male half at a high paying blue collar job. My husband and I are the 40 somethings of the group, my husband is a high school teacher, I have a home-based bookkeeping business. We are an eclectic group.

Then, very unexpectedly, nearly a year ago, my husband and I had our first child. I wondered at the time how this would change the dynamic of all of our friendships, this group in particular. So far, the song remains the same, but I continue to worry/wonder.

How will our son affect our friendships? How will our friendships affect our son?

Wow! Did I get off topic? I really did throw a party some years ago that no one came to. It was my intent to say that it has made me a somewhat reluctant and rather spontaneous hostess. (If I don't plan too much, it doesn't become a big deal, and then if no one shows it doesn't matter?) It always takes me by surprise when I host a get-together and we actually do get together!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

On the list of things I could do without . . .

I discovered a spider living in my powder room this morning.

When I went in there to pee in the half-light before dawn, I became aware of a very large spider lurking just above floor level near my feet.

As I could reach the switch, the light came on.

To my dismay, she is a Black Widow. Now I knew these were living in the garage, but I was unaware that any had moved into the house. Needless to say I am less than pleased. Something will obviously have to be done.

I'm not much of a spider killer myself, but I will if I have to. I have no desire to share my powder room with her. She is going to get more than a powder, she will get dusted, even if I have to do it myself.


I've never had a nickname. I always wanted one. My mother took pains when naming each of us to ensure that our names were too short to be shortened, and I guess I never had an outstanding characteristic that encouraged anyone to call me as they saw me.

For a brief moment in college I was known as Ogg, the Dinosaur Tamer. Very brief. No one ever actually called me that, I was just printed on the back of a T-shirt as such. I was typesetter for my college newspaper. The room I did my work in was a closet ( about 4x6, no windows, one door). How it became the dinosaur closet I have no recollection, but as it was, I became Ogg, the Dinosaur Tamer.

A friend of mine started her blog about a year ago, I just recently found out she had one and have been reading catch-up. She is a fantastic writer and I know I can't compete, but it looks like fun, so here I am . . .

. . . welcome to my blog.