Friday, December 17, 2010

"String too short to use"

10) I now understand the value of washing my hair in the kitchen sink and taking a little spit-bath right there in the kitchen. It enables me to get clean (relatively) and keep half an eye on my three-year-old Destruct-O-Boy. See, Mom was smarter than I ever gave her credit for.

9) Moms are women who, among other things, trade eye liner for dark-circles, salon haircuts for pony tails, long showers for quick showers, late nights for early mornings and designer bags for diaper bags. As a mom I can tell you, it’s not as bad as it sounds.

8) Speaking of diaper bags, Liam is done with them! He got the hang of the whole potty thing in four days over Thanksgiving. Smart boy. The first two days of it were a disaster and I thought we were barking up the wrong tree, but by the end of the fourth day he was telling CJE and I, “Sit down, I do it myself,” and just going voluntarily whenever he needed to. YEA!

7) I am looking over my Christmas card list. Every year at this time I look at this list of 70+ people and think: I really should cut out about half of these folks. I ponder and muse for several days and then end up sending all of them after all, plus a few more new ones we’ve gathered in the past year. I do keep trying, but so far it hasn’t worked. I guess I still think all of you are worth a 44-cent stamp, a newsy letter and a photo of the squid.

6) The jammies are done! The jammies are done! Seven little nieces and nephews will have “Aunt Janie-made” Christmas jammies this year. I got them all shipped away and most likely they are already at their destination.

5) Had a great Thursday last week! Sue and I finally made our trip to the new Hobby Lobby in Kennewick. Gotta love Hobby Lobby. The store is quite new and obviously they don’t have all their stock yet, but still . . . very nice to have them in the neighborhood. Besides, we had a great trip; a little shopping, dinner and great company!

4) A couple weeks ago Liam’s threw a toy through a window at daycare. As my insurance company representative explained to me, because Liam is only 3½ and she is paid to care for him, we have no liability in this situation. Yeah, OK, but that doesn’t exactly work. She is his daycare provider, but she is also the daughter-in-law of a good friend. How do I keep the peace and tell her she should have been watching him closer and she is actually liable for her own window? Not a chance. In point of fact, to “keep the peace,” my insurance company is going to cover the damages. Thank God.

3) OK. People, calm down. X is actually one of the symbols for Christ. It was used, and may still be, by Christians who face(d) persecution for their beliefs. It really isn't Xing out the Lord.

2) Why can’t it be simple? Because it is real, and real things are not simple. - C.S. Lewis

1) Buy fancier, more expensive chocolate. This time of year, you spend money like water anyway, so you won’t miss it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lessons in Liamese

When Liam was first starting to talk he told me one day he didn’t want “gox on his beets (socks on his feet).”

When we got ready to leave the house one day last week it was raining. Liam informed me: “Mom, it’s raining, we need a willa (umbrella).” Which is funny enough, but the fact that I have a sister named Willa makes it hysterical.

Breakfast is the meal Liam is most likely to eat all of. His favorite breakfast is “lala bean.” Believe it or not this translates to: a banana and lime (green) yogurt.

For whatever reason when Liam came along, CJE and I started using the term nappy to refer to diapers. Liam has difficulty with Ns followed by As, so when asked if he needs his nappy changed his response is almost always: “No, it’s a good happy.”

Liam has taken to dawdling interminably over meals lately and when encouraged to eat his response is invariably, “I have a buffalo (mouthful).”

Liam loves movies. He calls “Avatar” the “blue kitties” and has asked to watch it every day for the past month.

Last time Liam was taking a tubby he played in the water an inordinate amount of time. When he finally agreed to get out, in some distress he showed me his hands. I said, “Your hands are all wrinkly and pruney.” He said, “Yes, like BaamMa (Grandma).”

Liam tracked me down in the bathroom a few days ago and informed me: “Mom, I have feet!” I said, “Yes, you do have feet. You have two of them. Where did you get those feet?” He thought for just a quick second and said, “Mal-Mart.” I’m going to let you figure that one out for yourself.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"String too short to use"

10) I have plans to go on a girl’s day out shopping excursion in a couple weeks. My friend, Sue, and I are going to trip over to Yakima to the nearest Hancock Fabrics on October 16. It’s a couple hours drive and then we’ll lose ourselves among the bolts and find a place for lunch and meander our way back home. Can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to this. I am always looking for someone to shop with who loves fabric as much as I do. Someone who will tolerate my standing mesmerized, staring at the same length of fabric imagining what it could be, and then not buying it. It should be a fun day.

9) The “Willow Tree Saga” continues. Another tree service came last Thursday and had a look. I liked what he had to say and liked his price even better than the first two. He is supposed to be here this Thursday to give the willow its haircut. I’ll let you know how it comes out.

8) CJE put his back out last Friday and our chiropractor was on vacation until yesterday. He spent the weekend alternately sitting against the heating pad and groaning and lumbering about the house hanging onto furniture. It was like living with Lurch from the Addams Family. His back seemed to feel best when he would go for a walk . . . and so did I.

7) It is fall! I am celebrating. I may have said this before, but this is my favorite time of year. Gardens are being put to bed for the winter. The last of the vegetables, fruits and herbs are ready for harvest. The air is cool in the mornings and crispness is coming soon. Even when the days are warm, there is an underlying coolness to the air. Trees are starting to put on their autumnal robes and the harsh summer sun has mellowed into a softer gentler glow. The NFL gives me the perfect excuse to accomplish absolutely nothing on any given Sunday. What is not to like?

6) I tried the most unusual but delicious sandwich this week. I found the recipe (for lack of a better term) in a magazine and was intrigued. So here it is: Rye bread spread with raspberry jam filled with slices of liver sausage and dill pickle. I know it sounds VERY strange. I thought CJE was going to gag when I put the thing together, but it is an interesting and yummy combination of flavors. You should try it.

5) I sent a little chart to my sister-in-law recently so she could tabulate measurements of her four children for me. Every year for the past several I have made pajamas for them and this year I had no opportunity to measure them myself. She got herself a measuring tape and promptly did the deed and sent it back! I am so excited! Now I can proceed with Christmas projects without delay. Yea!

4) I recently imagined and created a Halloween table runner. I miscalculated slightly and ended up with enough fabric for two. So I made two. I remembered one of my aunts back in North Dakota goes crazy decorating her house at Halloween, so I decided to send the extra one to her. Unfortunately, as usual, I didn’t take a picture of the darn thing before I sent it. I am now kicking myself. I am so bad about taking pictures of my creations, and I don’t know why. Maybe because I am usually so anxious to send things off so the recipients can have them as soon as possible. Here, however, is a picture of the one I kept.

3) Our garage has reached maximum density. It was on tap for this past weekend, but CJE’s back prevented it from happening. On October 9th you will find us there. Recycling bins will be cleared. Those things which look as though their last placement was an “open the door and chuck it” sort of thing will actually be put where they belong. The cushions from the deck chairs will be put up for the winter. The floor will get swept and a general spider patrol will occur. Annual flower pots will get emptied and put away. At this point there is still space enough for both vehicles, but if the fall cleaning doesn’t happen, there soon won’t be. It will happen.

2) I started a new book this week. Like I have time to read. But I did it anyway. “Green City in the Sun” by Barbara Wood. She is one of my favorite authors, although I can’t say I like everything she has written. This one has started out promising, but only time will tell. At least it will help to fill all those spare hours I have.

1) If you could have one person you have lost touch with call you up tonight and invite you to dinner, who would you want it to be?

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Twenty-two years ago my first husband and I divorced. Like most divorces, there was a myriad of reasons for it. As I look back today, however, the biggest and most constant reason was the man’s overwhelming neediness. When I left him and thought about it, I swore I would never again saddle myself with someone who needed me that much.

He was incapable of accomplishing basic household tasks. He was incapable of making simple or complex life decisions. He could not manage on his own for any length of time. He had no comprehension of how to be without me.

It drove me crazy. Being indispensable sucks. You have no freedom to be your own person, and you have no space to be that person and sometimes it is hard to even remember who that person might be.

I swore I would never saddle myself with someone who smothered me that much. Never again would I tolerate anyone’s dependence on me for their every need. The feeling of losing my identity into a role I was forced to play was not for me.

And now . . . I have a three-year old.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Saga of the Willow Tree

Argh! This is me pulling my hair out.

We have a huge upright willow tree in our backyard. We planted it 12 years ago when it was about as big around as my calf. Now, I am well aware I have larger than average calves, but this dang tree is now at least 40 feet high and much, MUCH bigger around than I am. It’s outer limbs are also crashing into our house and two of our neighbors' houses.

In short, it has outgrown its available space.

So, being the responsible homeowner I am, I contacted a tree service to come and look at the tree, tell me what was needed and how much it might cost me.

My primary concern is for the health of the tree and the surrounding houses. It truly has sprawled this year and no longer looks like a healthy tree.

A guy from a tree service showed up during the last week of August. Allan was very pleasant and had the most charming Scottish accent. He told me the tree needed drastically cut back and reshaped. His company would bring a truck in and take care of it, clean up the mess and systemic the tree for a mere $1200. Gulp! After I pulled my jaw up off the ground, I told him I would have to talk to my husband and we would get back to him.

I thought about it afterward and wondered if I had told him we had planted the tree nine years ago would the bill have been $900? Or, God forbid, what if we had planted it 24 years ago? Yike!

At any rate, after CJE and I talked it over, we just didn’t see an alternative. Something must be done with this tree. The company agreed to take half down and let us make payments for the remainder. They scheduled us for last Friday, September 17. Turns out I had a coupon, so the bill would be only $1150. Whew!

Friday came. About midway through the day I called the guy’s cell phone. Turns out he went on vacation and didn’t share my phone number with anybody else. The man who answered the phone when I called company headquarters said they had an emergency in Connell and couldn’t get here. He had no number to call and let me know. I asked him if he wanted to reschedule. He said he would call me the first of the week.

On Monday I called Allan’s cell phone again. I left him a voice mail saying: “We need to talk.”

I then proceeded to look in the yellow pages for additional tree services in our area. I must tell you I had no idea tree services were such fly-by-night operators. The one who had the most beautiful full-color ad in the yellow pages answered the phone “hello.” When I told him what I wanted he told me it was his son’s business and he would have him call me as soon as he could find him. The only other one took three days to get back to me after I had left two messages on his voicemail.

One of them did finally come and look at the tree. He will do the job for half the price of the first company, but recommends we wait until the tree goes dormant this fall. He says it will be better for the tree that way. I don’t necessarily have a problem with waiting a couple months, and I definitely liked his price a lot better, but this does mean the saga of the willow tree trimming operation will drag on. I wonder what’s next?

Allan did finally returned my call. I told him since they had missed their appointment, I had contacted some other services who were willing to do the job for considerably less. I asked if he was willing to negotiate price and he hung up on me. Ah well, it seems there is very little integrity and no imagination in business today.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Rockin' babies

I spent some time around 2:30 this morning rocking a little boy back to sleep.

Apparently Liam had a bad dream. This first time, CJE picked him up off the floor and put him back to bed.

Then it was my turn. As I was tucking him back under his covers he says, in this little quivery voice, “I want to sleep with you.” Knowing if I let him neither CJE nor I would get any more sleep I told him no, he had to sleep in his own bed.

Third time’s a charm. When he showed up bedside still sniffly, I decided some rocking action was going to have to happen or he wasn’t ever going to stay in his bed or get back to sleep. So we rocked.

There is something immense about rocking a sleepy child in the middle of the night when the house is all quiet and still and dark. The feeling of unconditional love and trust from this small one plucks my heartstrings every time. He obediently closed his eyes and was asleep within moments, but still we rocked. I just wasn’t ready to let go of the overwhelming closeness. In the light of his night light I watched his little face while he slept. So peaceful. A couple of times he smiled in his sleep and sighed. Sweet.

So this morning, even though I am short a couple hours of sleep, I am feeling humbled and at peace. Humbled that God has trusted me with this little life, and in awe at the peace He can make me feel.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Coming to terms

When I was small my mom didn’t work outside the home. She stayed home and raised up the four of us little girls. She cooked and cleaned and wiped noses and bums. She sewed and mended and did oceans of laundry. She planted and harvested an enormous garden and we raised chickens, pigs and had a milk cow. We didn’t have much in the way of material goods, but we managed to survive on Dad’s earnings, because that’s what you did.

She did a good job. We are all grown now and are all productive members of society, not an axe-murderer or druggie among us. I’m not saying Dad had nothing to do with it, he did, but that is a story for another time.

My husband’s job takes care of the lion’s share of our living expenses. I am able to work part-time from home and make up the rest. I work 16-20 hours each week. The rest of the time I devote to raising our son and keeping up with household chores. When I tell people I am able to stay home and be with Liam for the most part, they tell me how great that is and how much better it is for Liam and how lucky I am.

So my question is this: If I am so lucky, and what I am doing is a good and honorable thing, why do I feel as though if I don’t accomplish something absolutely concrete each and every day, I am being lazy and useless?

The benefits of reading, teaching and playing with Liam will not reap rewards for many years. It is impossible to visualize what, exactly, if anything, I am accomplishing today.

Why am I so conditioned, so attuned, to production, production, production? Has today’s society convinced me if my occupation is Mom and my goal in life is a strong, confident kid that that is just not good enough? I must have loftier, more concrete and career-minded goals. If that is indeed the case, why? And why do I as a wife and mother buy into it? Why do I, an intelligent, thinking human being, belittle my own aspirations of raising a child who is more confident, intelligent and creative than I?

It seems I am constantly questioning our decision for me to work part-time and spend the remaining hours each week with our son. Oftentimes I feel as though I should be toiling away at a full-time job, barely bringing home enough to pay for the childcare that would make necessary. Then I stop myself and think; this is ridiculous! Why would I do that and let someone else raise my son?

I play this mind game every day. I force myself to let go of this craziness and do what I need to do and want to do and say the hell with anyone else’s ideas of what I should do. Thankfully CJE is here to keep reminding me of the value of what I am doing and the reasons we made these choices in the first place. Somehow I need to stop this insanity I am putting myself through. I know it is stupid and nuts, but for some reason each morning I am right back where I started from the day before.

I wish I knew the answer that would ultimately give me peace with my choices, but until I do . . . I’ll just have to keep battling down the demons every day.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"String too short to use"

10) Some years ago (too many to count) I had a Tupperware party at my house. After spending the day cleaning and making dessert, all was in readiness for my guests. A friend, who is much taller than I, was the first to arrive. I can’t tell you how irritated, yet thankful, I was when she pointed out to me that the top of my range hood was covered with grime and dead bugs. Ever since then I have been somewhat paranoid about items in my house above eye level to me that others see quite readily.

9) I am having some issues with my health right now. I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes in 1999. I have managed with oral medication and diet for 10+ years, but this summer my blood sugar ran right off the rails. My doctor and I are struggling to get back on track, but it is difficult right now. Even if I eat no carbohydrates at all, my sugars are running too high. The immediate bad is this makes me feel rundown and sleepy a lot of the time. Long term effects are too horrible to consider. We will get this under control.

8) CJE went back to work/school today. Summer’s over and I really am good with that. It has not been a great summer for us. Whatever normal is, I hope it visits here again real soon.

7) Liam is suffering from hay fever/allergies just like CJE and I do. Poor little mite. His nose is so dry and crusty and it hurts for us to wipe it. He’s a mess. Our old humidifier gave up the ghost at the end of last winter, so I have a new one on its way here. It can’t get here soon enough. I would have liked to have bought one here in town, but the big W is the only game and all they had was junk.

6) On a brighter note, Liam seems to have discovered what a beautiful art form sleeping in is. The past few mornings he has been rolling out sometime between 7:30 and 8:30. I love it! It gives me a chance to focus in the mornings and plan my day. Have a cuppa and enjoy the quiet. Nice.

5) Our home is worth less money than ever these days. However, I got the bill for our annual homeowner’s policy and it went up. Did the insurance company not get the memo?

4) I am having a pedicure at 2 p.m. today. CJE got me a gift certificate for the local day spa for Mother’s Day. I used that up a long time ago, but it really got me hooked on pedicures. Being diabetic, foot care is very important. The local podiatrist made my feet feel worse than ever, but Darcie at Simply Divine makes my feet very happy. Of course, she makes them look good as well. Too bad my health insurance won’t pay for my Darcie fix.

3) I love autumn. It is my absolute favorite time of year. The crispness in the air is intoxicating. I can’t wait for those frosty mornings to arrive and turn the leaves to gold. Spending my Sunday’s curled up under a blanket watching the NFL rates pretty darn high on my list as well. Yea, fall.

2) Liam’s daycare provider has to have major back surgery sometime this fall. I am desperately trying to find a backup person. He only needs about 1½ days a week, but I definitely need those days. Anyone available starting late September through November? Sure wish Grandma lived a lot closer.

1) If you could have any type of fresh cut flowers delivered to your home every week, what type would you pick?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A gift from Pastor Bill

This is a list of the Top Ten Priceless Gifts anyone can give to anyone, anywhere and at anytime:

10. The Gift of Listening --- No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your answers, just listen.

9. The Gift of Affection --- 10 hugs a day, kisses, pats on the back and hold hands.

8. The Gift of Laughter --- Cartoons, articles and funny stories delivered daily show you care.

7. The Gift of a Written Note --- A scribble, note, email or card may change a life.

6. The Gift of a Compliment --- “You look great today,” “Great job” or “Wonderful meal” can make a day.

5. The Gift of a Favor --- Apply a random act of kindness to someone you love and make an impression.

4. The Gift of Solitude --- A time to be alone and a time to be together—make it pleasurable.

3. The Gift of  a Cheerful Disposition --- Bubbly is contagious, try it and see the difference.

2. The Gift of Unconditional Love --- There is no better security than knowing you are loved for who you are.

1. The Gift of Salvation --- Share Jesus with someone you love and give them the gift of eternity.

Easy peasy, rice & cheesy. Right?!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

'Tis the season

Fruit Jam or Jelly

4 c fruit (pureed, chopped, juice or whatever consistency you like)
2 c very smooth unsweetened applesauce
1 box dry pectin (2 for marmalade)
6 c sugar

Place all fruit in a large saucepan (about an 8 quart). Open the box of pectin and throw away the instructions. Open the little envelope and dump the contents into the saucepan with the fruit. Bring to a nice rolling boil, stirring occasionally. Add sugar and bring back to a rolling boil, stirring more frequently. Boil for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, until it looks like it will jell. By this I mean when you spread a splash on a cold plate, let it cool and push it with your finger you get some resistance and you can see wrinkles in the surface of the jam.

In the meantime prepare your jars, rings and lids. Jars need to be clean and then I usually stand them in a 9x13 pan in about an inch of very hot water. The rings just need to be clean. The lids need to be boiled in a small pan of water and then let them stand in the water until you are ready for them. They need to stay hot so I usually boil them just as the jam is getting done.

Now for the really fun part; the jam is so very hot so this part is burn your fingers fun! When your jam looks like it will jell, fill your jars. The jar rims must be wiped in order for the lids to set properly and in order for the rings to not stick, so burn your fingers. Fish the lids out of the boiled water with a fork and burn your fingers placing them on the jars. Place the rings on the jars and screw them down tightly burning your fingers as you do this. If you don’t get them on tight enough, the jam will ooze out during the next step. Stand them on their heads on a triple layer of newspaper covered with a towel. Set your timer for 30 minutes and when it goes off burn your fingers turning them right side up. Turning them upside down for 30 minutes helps to kill any lingering bacteria and gets the top of the jar and lid nice and hot for proper sealing. Let your jars set at least overnight, several days is better to get a seal that will not be broken by jostling.

The reason for the applesauce is that most jam or jelly fruits do not have much in the way of natural pectin of their own and even using a box of pectin won’t be enough to make them jell. Apples have a ton of natural pectin and using 2 cups of them with your fruit of choice will not distort the flavor of the jam or jelly, but it will give you the added pectin you need to have a nice consistency of product when you get done. Sometimes I buy canned applesauce for this, but usually I buy about three Granny Smith apples, peel and core them and puree them with my fruit.

You will find this to be not as sweet as most store bought jams or even most recipes. I believe this helps make the flavor of the fruit the star of the show.

Most recipes and canning books are going to tell you that you must water bath your jam. I have never done this as I have never found it necessary. If you want to water bath your jam or jelly, you will need to follow someone else’s recipe.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

So that is art

In the past I have attended many spiritual retreats, but one in particular stands out in my mind. It happened some years ago. It was a women’s retreat put on by our church. About a dozen of us went to Wallowa Lake Camp in the Blue Mountains of Oregon one weekend in March and had an amazing experience.

This happened to be at a very low time in my life. Isn’t it interesting that at those lows times is when we are most open to new truths.

The retreat was led by Ardis Letey. She is an artist from coastal Oregon.

She taught us some very helpful techniques and methods. We worked with several different media and learned and grew and had a marvelous weekend.

I’ll be the first to admit that I can no longer remember much of what we actually did during the retreat. Only one of the items I created, a painting of a sunflower drifting on the open sea, is still around. However, that doesn’t matter because of something Ardis told us which has stuck with me all these years. She told us:

“Art is the process, not the product.”

Read it several times, and then go back and read it again. All you tentative artists out there, ingrain it on your hearts and minds.

What you produce, or not, doesn’t matter. It is in the process where you find the art.

The hours I spend at my sewing machine sewing or at my writing table designing and drafting, that is the art. That is the satisfaction. That is the sweetness, the holiness, if you will.

My art is sanctuary for me. It is where I escape to when life has gotten in the way and the stress of keeping all the balls in the air has become too great.

For me, in art there is peace. When the pressure to produce something amazing, beautiful, wonderful, that everyone is going to “get” is lifted, freedom and liberty to simply create is granted and the heart and mind can truly soar. It is an incredibly uplifting feeling and I find often during this process is when my soul has its best communion with God.

I encourage everyone, with or without artistic leanings, to give this a chance. When you sit down to draw, sew, paint, write, sculpt or _____, grant yourself the freedom to move in the spirit and get lost in the process. The process that IS art.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

In fond memory of

I am struggling this week.

We received the devastating news Sunday morning that CJE’s younger brother, David, died suddenly of an aneurysm Saturday night. He was changing the diaper of his 5-month-old daughter when he keeled over dead. Needless to say this came as a shock to all of us. David was 40 years old.

Now we are trying to figure out how we go forward from here. Obviously we have to, but I don’t know how. Among others, one quandary I find myself in is: what do I say to CJE’s mom and step-dad, John, who was David’s dad. Words cannot express the sorrow in my heart for them and for all the family.

For the past two years I have been dwelling and lamenting often on the fact that my son, Liam, will never know or even remember his Granddad Wayne, my dad, who died in 2008. Now we are faced with the horrible reality that Sophia, David’s little girl, will never know or remember her own daddy who died when she was just 5 months old. The best was yet to come and now he won’t be here to see her walk or run. He’ll never hear her first words or her laughter. It makes me unbelievably sad.

Events like these make me question God’s plan. I know he has one, but what could possibly be the justification for taking someone like David? This is someone who was on the cusp of a brilliant career, who had just purchased a home and leaves behind his wife and this beautiful little girl. We pray unceasingly for God’s will in our lives, but when something like this happens it shakes our faith to the very core.

I don’t have any answers. Most days I’m not even sure what the questions should be.

Shortly after my dad died I purchased a little magnet which is now hanging on my front door. On it is a quote from St John Chrysostom. I read it every day and most days it gives me some comfort. It reads: “Those whom we love and lose are no longer where they were before. They are now wherever we are.”

Friday, July 23, 2010

A week alone?

CJE left last Saturday to go play in the mountains with horses and teenagers. He will be back tomorrow. I will have been home alone with Liam for eight days. I used to really look forward to spending a little time home alone. CJE has never been away much so it has always been a nice break for both of us when he is. The problem is . . . I am no longer alone.

I can’t spend the week staying up until two and getting up at 10.

I can’t eat popcorn for dinner and ice cream for breakfast.

I can’t soak in the tub surrounded by candles and soft music.

I can’t spread my scrapbooking junk all over the table and leave it for days.

I can’t go alone to the matinee of the latest chick flick and cry in the dark of the theater.

I really miss those days.

Instead I have spent the week being the sole caregiver for Liam. By week’s end I expect to be ready to be committed somewhere. I must say I don’t know how single parents do this without coming out the other end a complete basket case. I’m lucky if I can get through one week. I would never want to do this 24/7/365.

I thought about running away to a girl friend’s place in Idaho and then on to my Mom’s, but alas, I couldn’t work up the energy for the trip. Partly because I have work to do here, but frankly nothing that couldn’t have waited until next week. Mostly because taking Liam overnight quadruples my workload. We were at my mother-in-law’s place last weekend and I just didn’t have the strength to head out the door again.

When CJE gets back I am looking for someplace to go where someone will welcome me with open arms even if Liam is not with me. Someone who will let me sleep 12 hours a day every day for about a week and not expect too much in the way of coherent action, thought or speech. Either that or I’ll go lie on a beach somewhere where nobody knows my name and where if I hear the word “Mommy” I know it doesn’t mean me.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the little blighter. He is cute as a button and a very happy, funny little boy. We have more or less played the week away: drums, cars, swing, maracas, tricycle, bubbles, the pool, sidewalk chalk, balls, books, sandbox, movies, crayons, harmonica, walks, golf, you name it. I’ve tried to make it a good week for him because I know he doesn’t understand why Daddy is gone or that he will be back.

It’s turned out to be an OK week. Liam has missed his Daddy and has been extra clingy and demanding. It has not been easy, but the end is in sight. If we can just get through the next 24 hours, both of us will have survived.

Now, where is the nearest beach?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


There is a picture floating around the internet right now that rankles my sense of fair-play.

It is a picture of a very nattily dressed Laura Bush descending the steps of Air Force One. Right next to this is a picture of Michelle Obama dressed in shorts, a tank top and a camp shirt also walking down the steps of the plane. The caption reads “CHANGE.”

The problem I have with it is this: Laura Bush is coming down the steps of Air Force One in a foreign country on a official trip. Michelle Obama is in Phoenix, Arizona, on a family vacation. What was cleverly cut out of her picture is her two little girls on either side of her dressed similarly. They are on VACATION.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I dress a lot differently when I am on vacation than I do when I am going to work. If you look around out there plenty of photos exist of Michelle Obama, both with and without her daughters by her side, dressed every bit as nicely as Laura Bush ever has. Come on people.

Obviously someone decided this would make an interesting statement on the Obama administration’s “change.” I think it just serves to point out what dirty pool these political hacks play.

As I have said before, I can understand if you don’t like his politics, but what is the point of attacking his family?

With very little research I was able to find the origins of the picture and discover what a whack-job whoever put the two photos together must be. Whoever you are, you didn’t make your point. The only point you made clear is you are political vermin preying on the ignorance of the American people. Now I understand there is a lot of ignorance in this country to prey on, but I hope ultimately we are all smart enough to see through this one.

Nice try.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"String too short to use"

10) All those born in the last half of the year, I would like to apologize to you now, in front of God and everyone, for missing your birthday. For whatever reason, I start out the year great. I send cards via snail mail for birthdays and anniversaries and other special occasions as they arise. By May or June I am out of steam and the remainder of the year I am lucky if I can get greetings to my friends on facebook or via email for their special days. No excuse will do, although in my defense, I truly am trying to do better. I am very frustrated by this. Life gets in the way I guess.

9) Beech/beach, its/it's, your/you're, there/their/they're, are/our, bear/bare, hear/here, wear/where and the list goes on. The extremely poor use of spelling, punctuation and grammar is my pet peeve, be it on facebook or anywhere else I might have occasion to view the printed word. It is horrifying to me how poorly people spell and their grammar is even worse. Most don't even bother with punctuation. I have been encouraging a college professor of mine to get on facebook because it is such an easy way to communicate. I am going to stop. She would just die if she saw what passes for communication out there.

8) Lately I have been forced to become much more aware of the angry, hateful world we live in. I don't like it. I read so many nasty, unnecessary and hurtful things about our president and his wife and children. It is atrocious. I don't particularly care if you voted for him or not. He is now your president as much as he is mine, and at the very least, he deserves your respect. You may disagree with his politics, but what purpose does it serve for you to run him and his family down? They are people, you know.

7) My little boy is the bright spot in my universe. Even on the days when I pray he will sleep until at least 8:30, I still just love to see his little face and hear his laughter. I can hear his little footsteps in the mornings the moment he gets out of bed as my office is right under his bedroom. When I stick my head around the corner he is sitting behind the gate at the top of the stairs and he says, "Hi Mommy," in the happiest, sweetest voice imaginable. Gives me a warm fuzzy every time I hear it. We are so blessed to have been entrusted with this happy little boy.

6) CJE and I invested in two of those ergonomic gravity lounge chairs. Can I just say: “Yeah!”

5) When we were in church on Sunday, Liam was amusing us and those around us with a litany of all the Bible characters he knows. Thanks in part to Veggie Tales, he knows the names of a surprising number of folks from the good book. It was a hoot.

4) No rest for the wicked. I will be so glad to see June end. I have been so busy this month I haven’t even been able to think about my summer reading list, let alone actually crack a book. Darn it. I have a backload of projects to try to get to as well. Then yesterday it came to my attention Liam has outgrown three of his sets of summer jammies. What a weed. So today I raided my fabric stash and cut him out two new sets and even got one sewn up. He was so excited about it he wanted to put them on to take his nap in.

3) When Liam and CJE got home from daycare last Wednesday, Liam came to me and told me: “Liam/Daddy goto store, buy cookies, come back.” He had such an earnest look on his little face. He was just sure this was a good plan. I tried really hard not to laugh because he was so-o-o-o serious.

2) My mom doesn’t have a computer in her house, and wouldn’t know what to do with one if she did, so I have started sending her printed copies of my bloggings. I thought she might like to share in my day-to-day musings. She is probably both my biggest fan and my most constructive critic so I think it is a good call.

1) If you could eliminate one habit you have, what would you stop doing?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"String too short to use"

10) It is very difficult to sing, even old familiar songs, when you are busy listening to the three-year old on your lap singing along with you. Liam knows about every third word or so to “This Little Light of Mine” and “Jesus Loves Me.” It is both hysterical and distracting to try to sing and listen at the same time. I love it!

9) My friend Nancy and I are in the process of recovering the seat and back cushions for the lodge furniture at the Wallowa Lake Methodist Camp. I’m not exactly wild about the fabric that was chosen, but at least it sews up nicely. I finished the first set of covers and they fit well. The covers are a bugger to get on the foam cushions, but once on everything is snug and looks good. Only 22 more to go!

8) I blew up the TV Sunday morning. I turned it on and heard this little pop and the screen went black. We’re pretty sure it is the lamp, so we ordered a new one from Best Buy and should have it by Thursday at the latest. As it turns out the lamp was only supposed to last about 18 months, and we have had the TV for about four years. I guess we can’t complain. We’ll see how long the new one lasts.

7) I have been playing too much this month. My week ahead is going to be crazy/busy and I really need to buckle down and get some work done. One thing I have discovered about myself since I became self-employed: I am great at procrastination. This was not a good thing to uncover. One really has to be a stern taskmaster when you have an employee like me who can creatively procrastinate like nobody’s business.

6) I've been reading a book about the Albigensian Crusade and it has really got me wondering: How many wars in the history of this world have truly been necessary? Justified? Honorable? See, I’m not even sure what word I’m looking for. I do know the Crusade into southern France in 1209 was completely bogus. It was all about a power-hungry pope and a land-hungry French king. Between the two of them they wiped out thousands of people whose only crime was not believing it necessary to go through the pope to get to Heaven. It is a good thing I didn’t live there then, I would have been slaughtered right along with the rest.

5) “Attention Wal-Mart shoppers: After you have paid your money at the checkstand, please proceed directly to customer service and wait in line. It is an almost certainty you have been overcharged and will need to get your money back. Thank-you for shopping at Wal-Mart.”

Every time I leave that place I try to remember to check my receipt. The one day I forget, here I am again. I was charged $4.50 the other day for two apples. Man, I hate that place, as my husband always says: Wal-Mart sux.

4) I got a letter today from the wife of a cousin of mine. The two of them have been having some marital difficulties and I have been so very worried. They went to a counselor and are working things out. She says things are better now than they have been in a long time. I am so relieved and happy and thankful. It always kills me when people I love split up. They are two of my favorite people and I am so glad they are working things out. Everyone keep sending love and prayers their way.

3) Liam learned to pedal his tricycle! It was one of those overnight things. One day he couldn’t figure it out and then it must have come to him in his dreams, because the next day he was just pedaling like crazy. CJE and I constructed a driveway net to keep him and his tricycle off the street. He is doing really well controlling it, but our drive is sloped just enough that it could easily get away from him and he’d just end up in the street. We decided we would relax a little easier if he had a net.

2) I got rid of my brain yesterday. Since 1993 I have been using a DayTimer planner and have called it my “brain.” I keep a journal and all sorts of notes, goal and ideas in it. For the past 18 months or so I have hardly cracked it. I’ve been a bit busy and was starting to find the paper system not convenient. So yesterday I transferred all my info to the computer. I found a calendar to use in Windows Live Mail. I don’t like it, but it is already on my computer so for now it will do. I’d like to find a more user friendly one that can be tailored to fit my needs a bit more, but am not sure what’s good. Any thoughts?

1) If you could have prevented any single fashion idea or trend from ever happening, which would you have stopped?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"String too short to use"

10) I don’t spend my change. I bring it home and Liam and I have this little ritual where I put his piggy bank on the floor and he puts all the “pennies” in. When the pig gets full (it holds about $100) we cash it out at the bank and send another check to his college fund. It is so cute because he calls them all “pennies” and counts them as he puts them in. But no more. He is now tall enough to reach the shelf where the piggy sits and just puts them all in himself. Oh, time is fleeting.

9) Liam had his 3-year well baby exam yesterday. He is well. He is small, but the right weight for his height. His motors skills and language skills are on target. He had to get a Hep. booster, but is now up to date on his vaccinations. Well baby.

8) In other good news, Dr Wirkkala says Liam will let us know when the time is right to start potty training and not to get too exercised about it. Liam does everything when the time is right for him, regardless of what we, as parents, might think, want or imagine.

7) One of the wheels fell off my office chair today. I was hoping that meant I would have to take the day off while someone from maintenance came and repaired it, but then I remembered: I am maintenance, too.

6) Pardon me, but I’m going to have to get on my soapbox for just a moment here. If you don’t know how to swim, stay off the water! And I mean it! If you intend to go boating, kayaking, white water rafting, water skiing, parasailing, surfing or riding PWC: LEARN TO SWIM. If you don’t know how to swim, a life vest isn’t good enough. OK I’m done.

5) Something swooped in a couple of nights ago and ate up all the fish in my pond. Well, at least it killed them all. It ate all but the two we found expired at the edge of the pond. It had to have been something pretty big cause they were good sized fish. I am very bummed as two of them were about 10 years old and the rest we’d had at least five years or so. They even had names. RIP: Moe, Larry, Noodle, Frodo and Sam.

4) I found a very cool website today from which I was able to download and print some new quilting patterns. I love it when things like that are free. Of course, I need new projects about like I need a hole in my head, but still . . . cool.

3) I appreciate all my clients. I have some clients who pay on time. I have some clients who pay early. I have some clients who pay late. I really like the ones who pay on time. I love the ones who pay early. I refuse to comment on the ones who pay late.

2) I love it when I meet someone who likes to do some of the things I like to do, or likes to read some of the same books I read, or is interested in some of the same things I am interested in. I don’t expect anyone to buy into everything I love, but finding someone who loves even some of it is a wonderful feeling. So, sometimes, I open my mouth and voilĂ  a new friend!

1) If you could have prevented one event in history, what event would you eliminate?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Birthday IS the theme

Since when do little kids' birthday parties have to cost as much as a wedding? Or a new car? Or a second mortgage? Not in this household. Not as long as I’m the Mommy.

I was asked by a couple of people this week what the theme for Liam’s birthday party was. Theme? I thought birthday was a theme. He’s three, can’t that be the theme?

We are having friends over for brats on the grill, multiple salads, cake, ice cream and presents. How’s this for a theme: good food, good friends.

I am not made of money. If, for his three-year party, I rent a bouncy house, water slide and Bozo the clown, all of which he is scared of by the way, when does it end? When he turns 18 will I be renting a limousine and Bimbo the girl from the corner of 2nd & main?

I just don’t think this is something I want to get into. I do not feel the need to keep up with the Joneses. I am too old and too smart for this sort of nonsense. If there comes a time when Liam feels truly slighted by his Mother’s inability to play these games, he and I will sit down and have a discussion about economics 101.

I briefly considered calling the local humane society to find out if they would be willing to underwrite the party if I promised to send every kid home with a puppy. Wouldn’t that be a great theme? It would solve a lot of problems in one fell swoop. I could throw the most elaborate pet-themed party imaginable at no cost to us. Any number of sad little homeless puppies would find new homes. It is a win-win solution.

A friend suggested perhaps a garden theme wherein all the guests could apply themselves to my weedy flowerbeds. Not bad. Bring your own gloves.

In short, I think birthdays as an enterprise is the height of ridiculousness. When Liam starts to feel slighted, if he can’t understand the concepts of economics 101, he is perfectly welcome to break his own piggy bank to finance the theme, however, tapping into the college fund will not be tolerated.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"String too short to use"

10) I placed an order with J.C. Penney a couple of days ago. I looked all over the house for my catalog cause I knew it offered free shipping. Couldn’t find it. Today . . . it shows. So I called Penney’s on the off-chance they would credit me the shipping ($19.25). I figured it would be worth the call. Right? The first person I talked to said no way, but she offered to transfer me to someone on up the line. Terry at is my hero. I gave him the code off the catalog and he verified it and credited my account. Yippee!

9) Normally Chris picks up Liam from daycare on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but he has an awards ceremony at the school tonight so I have to go get Liam. I am whining a little because I am in the middle of about 500 things. Routine: I am your slave.

8) Our evening PIGS/Bible Study group has started both a study of Ephesians and a Prayer Shawl ministry. We figure we can do both at the same time. We started the study last week so it is too early to tell how that is going. However, I found several really neat shawl patterns on the internet, and one of our group purchased a pattern book. Here we go!

7) Is it just me or do the Toyota Sienna commercials make others want to vomit as well? NOTHING is cool about owning a minivan. A friend of mine has one and when I am truly desperate for space she lets me borrow it. I do so hoping no one will recognize me. I don’t see anything wrong with my son having the mom with the coolest car.

6) We got an invitation in the mail to the golden wedding anniversary party for some dear friends of my family’s. I am very happy for them, and wouldn’t miss it for the world, but it does remind me that Mom & Dad’s 50th would have been the summer of 2009. Dad died in September 2008, so they missed it by a few months. Just another bitter regret about Dad’s passing.

5) Having a water feature in the yard is nice. Sitting on the porch listening to the water is very soothing. We have five fair-sized fish in our pond we have raised from little tiny feeders. However, I have to tell you it is plenty of work in the spring and fall. We have a cover for it to attempt to keep the leaves out in the fall. It sort of works. Spring is worse because the blossoms from the trees and shrubs are little enough to get through and under the cover and they clog the filter. We have pulled and rinsed the filter about once a week for the past eight weeks. I’ll be glad when the current siege is over.

4) After 11 years we have finally found a trustworthy dog sitter! There are no kennels where we live. Several of the vets around town do kenneling, but the dogs and cats there get fed and that’s it; no walking, no petting, no love. Last weekend while we were at Chris’ leadership training for horse camp, we asked a friend to watch Mufasa. He is a very small, very needy dog. He got rave reviews! Most places we go we just take him with, but sometimes we really can’t. Thank you Sue! You may be seeing more of him, although we promise not to take advantage of your willingness to serve.

3) That’s it. I’ve had it! I am washing my car today. I don’t care how many bad weather gremlins are watching. My car is an absolutely beautiful machine when it is clean, and looks twice as dreadful as any old clunker when it is dirty. Some bird did its business down the passenger door a few weeks ago and our weather has been too lousy to do anything about it. But no more. We have wind today and I am liable to get completely drenched doing it, but here goes.

2) Last week I took care of a task I have been procrastinating for well over a year now. It wasn’t nearly as painful as I thought, certainly not worth all the concern and downright dread I have been feeling. I called a lawyer. No, I’m not leaving Chris. When Liam was born we knew flying by the seat of pants was no longer going to be a realistic option. We have been talking about wills, guardianship and a testamentary trust ever since. Naturally my biggest concern was cost and if we got a do-it-yourself kit, did it come with a rope for the inevitable hanging that would take place. Finally I found my courage and called a lawyer. Pleasantly, the task will not cost anywhere near what I feared and so the appointment is made. Three years too late, but better late than never. Now . . . which one of you wants him?

1) If you had to fight a duel tomorrow at dawn, who would your second be?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

They love me here

In the past few months I have been offered two different full-time jobs. Unsolicited.

The first was from a gentleman who was a client of mine at the bank where I used to work. He is a well-established business owner here in town and I was very flattered when he told me he wanted to offer the job to me before he posted it to the public.

The second was just a couple of days ago from the manager of one of the credit unions here in town. He got my name from one of his customers who knows me.

Because I am currently doing work for eight clients and truly enjoy working from home, I had to turn them both down. If there were the slightest possibility I could work either into my current schedule, I would have done it, but both were full-time or nothing.

I have to say both offers were a real stroke to my ego.

I left the bank six years ago August. The day I walked away I had one client, and I was scared to death. My reputation has grown by word of mouth until now, almost six years later, I have eight steady clients and a couple of fly-byers. I work just about as much as I want to. I could work more, but I like my 16-20 hour weeks.

Working from home gives me plenty of time to spend with Liam. He goes to daycare a day and a half each week which gives me time to meet with clients and trade files and whatnot. Much of the time I really feel like I have the best of both worlds. I work Tuesday and Wednesday each week and half of either Monday or Friday . . . or not. My Wednesday people are the only ones who are somewhat inflexible. The rest I can move around pretty easily if something interesting comes up.

My husband hates this town, but we have lived here 17 years. We have been able to stay gainfully employed for most of that time. Obviously I have worked hard to have a good reputation here. At this stage of my life and career if we moved away, I would likely have go back to full-time jobs for an extended length of time in an attempt to establish myself. So, while I would agree this isn’t the prettiest place in the world to live, I have no real desire to go anywhere else.

I like living where my talents are needed and appreciated.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Having a helping of saddness

For reasons unknown, I am missing my Dad so much today. I don’t know what makes today different from any other day, but there you have it.

Some time ago I took two of the few pictures we have of Liam and my Dad and had them enlarged. They have been languishing in an envelope for months. Today, because Dad was on my mind, I decided it would be a good time to get this project finished.

I had a teary moment at the frame shop when I explained the significance of the pictures and what I wanted to have done, but all in all it was good. This will give Liam a memento for all time of his Grandpa Wayne. I am very thankful we at least have a couple of pictures of the two of them, because he’ll never remember him any other way. Liam was just too little when Dad died.

It still makes me angry. Dad died too young, and will miss out on Liam’s growing up. Liam wasn’t even walking yet when Dad passed away.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame God for taking him. We all wanted him with us, so why wouldn’t God?

It just seems so unfair to Liam, and to Dad. My Dad would have been the Grandpa who taught Liam to fish and drive a tractor and given him an appreciation of the natural world. I just know the two of them would have had so much fun together.

I consider myself a realist, and obviously nothing can be done to alter the circumstances, but I still don’t have to like it. We will tell my Dad’s stories and see him in pictures and videos and hope that we can convey to Liam how much his Grandpa Wayne loved him. That will have to do.

I cannot come up with the right words to convey the disappointment I feel in knowing this is the way it is going to be. Most of the time I just don’t let my mind go there, because it is still a very painful place. I think it always will be. If it was just me, it would be easier to deal with, but I feel this overwhelming sense of loss on Liam’s behalf. That one’s the killer, and I can’t fix this.

We love you Daddy/Grandpa and we miss you so very much.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Am I alone?

You offend me and I don’t let you go.
I offend you and it’s the first thing you do.

Am I just a sap?

Or am I the more tolerant of the two?

Why on earth should I not let people know when I am offended?

Never mind, I know, it is because in letting you know, I will offend you, and you will write me out of your life.

Perhaps it is time I don’t care so much about hanging on to friends who are just looking for an excuse to cut me out of their lives.

Perhaps I should go looking for less offensive friends, or at least friends who, while they might call me on it, will at least acknowledge I have a right to my feelings and opinions just as they do.

Why am I expected to tolerate theirs, but they refuse to tolerate mine?

Am I alone?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Quilting is a verb

I am feeling the need to blog, but also feeling like I have nothing to say. I have been feeling this way for quite some time, thus . . . not much new on this page. I am now prepared to slog my way through this and get something written whether I feel capable of it or not. So here goes.

Chris and I spent four days with my Mom this past week. It was good. She is just truckin’ along, doing her thing; whatever that is. Her eye has improved. My sister and I took her to Portland a couple weeks ago and the doctor cleared her for surgery. She has a consultation coming up on April 12, and hopefully can get the surgery scheduled relatively soon. It would be nice to get it out of the way before summer comes.

Mom and I tied quilts, five of them, which might have been a little ambitious. My sister, Karen, helped with three of the five and we got the job done. For those of you not familiar with quilting in general. Tying quilts is an old-fashioned way of finishing a quilt without actually hand or machine quilting it. We use yarn to tie a little knot about every six inches or so to hold the top, batt and back together. I much prefer this over quilting as you end up with a thicker, softer, cuddlier quilt. We also use flannel to back our quilts so they are extremely warm and snuggly.

We had a nice visit, but were very happy to get home. It is so fun to go visiting, but it always feels so very good to get home again. My own bed is a haven for a restful night’s sleep, and Malcolm, the cat, missed us terribly.

After I get the binding finished on the quilts I will post some pictures. I think Chris got some of Liam “helping,” so I will try to post some of those as well.

Monday, March 1, 2010

"String too short to use"

10) Busy. Busy. Busy.

9) I have been quilting like a woman possessed. I’m heading up to Mom’s the weekend of March 20th and I want to tie three quilts that weekend: a little boy quilt for Liam as he has outgrown all the cute little baby quilts he received before he was born (His feet hang out the end of all but two these days.); a new quilt for Chris and I’s bed as ours is very faded and worn; a quilt I agreed to help out my sister in-law, Elizabeth, with (She pieced the top, but then ran out of gas.) Needless to say, this has kept my sewing machine humming right along. Two of the three are ready, top and back, but the third one, ours, the one I call the Eternal Quilt, still needs borders sewn on the top and I need to put together a back for it which I haven’t even purchased yet. I will post pictures when finished.

8) In my spare time I have been creating table runners. A friend showed me a really neat quilt-as-you-go runner that turned out great. Then I made an octagonal one for a friend. Now I want to make more.

7) I am attempting to keep up on birthday and anniversary cards via snail mail this year. Invariably I get to about April or so and the train runs off the rails. My 2010 goal is to make it all the way to the end of the year. Wish me luck.

6) How is it that the smallest member of our household generates the most laundry?

5) Life turned upside down week before last. Chris was gone Presidents’ weekend and I spent the time doing taxes for us and some family and friends. He got back Monday evening, went to work Tuesday and didn’t feel good by Tuesday evening. He finally went to the hospital at about 10 p.m. and at about 1 a.m. they removed his appendix. It hadn’t burst, but was very inflamed. He spend two days in the hospital and then a few idle days at home. He went back to work last Tuesday and life has returned somewhat to normal. I am dreading the bills however.

4) Spring is here. Pace Picante Phil screwed up again. Never trust a rodent as a weatherman.

3) We spent some time last weekend pruning roses and lilacs and cutting back last year’s growth on some ornamental grasses. It felt so very good to be outside in the sun and not be bundled from head to toe. Liam played on the swing and slide so it was good for all of us.

2) Three out of seven isn’t too bad. If I were a batter I’d be a hero. Unfortunately, the three out of seven is the number of my clients with paperwork at the accountant’s for income tax purposes. Bleh. That leaves me four to go, two of which are most likely going to have to file for extensions because they have not exactly been forthcoming with information. Naturally they will drop the remainder of 2009 on me in the next few weeks and still expect to file by April 15. Ha. Ha. Ha. Then it becomes that whole "lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part" thing.

1) If you could be invisible for one hour, where would you go and what would you do?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"String too short to use"

10) When you are the mom of a two-year old, a disposable diaper becomes part of the centerpiece on your diningroom table: out of the diaper bag onto the table, off of the table into the purse, out of the purse back onto the table, off of the table back into the diaper bag. Round and round it goes until it finally finds its way onto the bum of a small boy.

9) January is almost over. Yay! When you are a bookkeeper, not a CPA, January becomes a very busy month. W-2s and W-3s have to go out by the end of the month. 941s, 940s and Oregon quarterlies, accompanied by their payments, have to be mailed by month’s end. 1096s and 1099s have to be ordered, because the local office supply place is out, and then filled out and sent by the end of February. Plus, all my business want to have their stuff all completed for 2009 and to the CPA for income taxes. Just a few more days of this nuttiness. Whew!

8) “I been jugglin’, strugglin’, closin’ big deals, dancin’ backwards in high heels.” Much to my dismay, I can no longer even consider wearing high heels. Just thinking about them makes my feet hurt. Being diabetic makes the condition of my feet of paramount importance, and high heels have become out of the question. No more sexy shoes for me. Blech.

7) Finishing a project is one of the best feelings in the whole world. However, I have come to realize not everyone is like me and has several projects going at once. In fact, when we started our PIGS group, one of the gals confessed that she has NO unfinished projects. What?! How can that be? This prompted me, just out of curiosity, to count my unfinished projects. Now, this is actual projects started, but incomplete. Not just thought about or materials purchased for, but actually started, a seam is sewn, a stitch has been taken, paint has been applied or . . . I have 16. Do you think that might be too many?

6) I am working on believing I am capable of amazing, awesome and wondrous things. I don’t know what exactly, but I need to believe it. Everyone needs a little boost to their self-esteem on a regular basis. It is nice when it comes from other people, but sometimes you just have to reiterate it to yourself over and over again. Like a litany: “You can do it. You are awesome.”

5) I am deliberately taking Thursdays off nowadays. Thursdays have long been the worst day of my week. If I was having a bad day I could look at the calendar and . . . Yep, it’s Thursday. I figured, if I take Thursdays off, it makes me look forward to Thursdays and we do something fun and it is a great day. Yay! Mission accomplished.

4) Thank God for my family and friends. I have days, many of them, where I don’t feel like I’m really up to this whole motherhood thing. I love Liam to pieces, but I don’t feel like I’m a very good mother. I think God was crazy to trust me with this precious life. I’m so afraid I’m going to screw him up. My family and friends have graciously told me, sometimes over and over, that he is a sweet, happy and healthy little boy, so I must be doing something right. Lord, I hope they are right and I am wrong.

3) Mid-winter cleaning is progressing. We are slowly working our way through the house. Trying very hard to do major urban renewal without Ruth. She is no help and being RUTHLESS is the only way to find space in the closets and drawers around here. Ha!

2) Was absolutely ecstatic to hear from my dear friend Mags yesterday. She bought her dream car and I am so very thrilled for her. I know that feeling and it is a great one. I was also happy to find my method of vehicle purchasing works for others as well. I find big ticket items like cars to be impulse items. If Wal-Mart carried them, they would be right next to the checkstand, like a candy bar, so you could just grab one on your way out.

1) Trying hard to make it all work. One day at a time,

Monday, January 25, 2010

Give me land, lots of land . . .

We are considering land.

Chris and I are both of the opinion a little land would be nice to have. Not a lot, just enough for some fruit trees and a nice garden space. Just enough to ensure our neighbors are not right on top of us.

We have been thinking this way for some time, but also recognizing a great deal of work must come before (during and after) any move. That’s the part we’d both like to avoid, but because I know avoidance = procrastination, I am ready to grab the proverbial bull by the horns and get to it. Chris . . . not so much. This is where the plan runs off the rails.

Through a realtor client of mine, I have located a piece of bare ground outside of town which already has a well and is DEQ approved for septic. It is on a paved road. It is two acres. It has power on a pole at the road right in front of the acreage. We haven’t been to see it yet, but I want to. The price is right and if the owner will carry a short-term contract until we can sell our place, we could soon be the proud owners of a couple of acres northeast of town.

Then, down around the corner from us, there is a place I’d like to look at. It is two acres with a house already on it and from the pictures it looks like one I might like. I want to check it out. If we don’t like it there are a couple of other listings I might be interest in seeing. This process could take awhile, but if we don’t start somewhere, we will retire right where we are and neither of us really wants that.

It will take time to sell our place. Some work must be done to it before we can even consider putting it on the market. And, let’s face it, the market is not great right now. Still, if we don’t list it, we’ll never sell it.

Buying and selling real estate is a logistical nightmare. I know this. That doesn’t really deter me. I want a single story house. I have had enough of carrying laundry and Liam up and down the stairs. I want a bigger kitchen. I am tired of moving stuff around and around my kitchen in order to have room on the counters to actually cook. And, as I already mentioned, I’d like a garden and some fruit trees.

Chris agrees with all this, but still gets a “deer in the headlights” look whenever I start to talk about it. I think he’s afraid I’m planning on moving tomorrow. I would if I could, but I can’t so I won’t. However, I really just don’t see any point in putting off the things that have to be done to make this dream a reality. The more we put it off the longer it will take and the harder it will be to actually get ourselves motivated to do it. Even the largest project has to start somewhere.

We are both agreed this will be our last move before they plant us, so it has to be the right house and the right piece of ground. We don’t expect perfection, but it would be nice to have several of our wants met.

Realistically we both know this could take some time. That’s why I want to get started now. Neither of us are getting any younger, and I’d like to have this done before Liam starts school somewhere so we don’t have to uproot him. I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Finding bliss

I saw the word bliss awhile back on a friend’s Facebook note.


It’s an odd word. It is not a word I think about much. I’m not sure it’s a word that fits into my life. Is my life too prosaic for bliss? Work, cooking, cleaning, baths, laundry, diapers, breakfast, lunch, dinner . . . bliss?

What exactly is bliss? I think it must be one of those things that is different for everyone.

Some people think bliss is escaping to the mountains or the seashore, and maybe it is, but that seems to limit bliss too much for my taste. I would like bliss to be a more everyday word. Can I carve out a little time each day for bliss?

Likely it would have to be different each day. Perhaps it is already there and I just have to learn to recognize it when it happens.

Some days bliss would be spending time in my sewing room.

Most days bliss is holding my son for a few moments after I have rocked him to sleep. Holding a sleeping baby definitely qualifies as bliss.

That’s all I got for now. What is your bliss?

Friday, January 8, 2010

"String too short to use"

10) For the first time in a long time I am making resolutions for the new year. Top of the list is to take better care of myself. Because I have a two-year old, I am extremely fortunate if I manage to brush both my hair and my teeth on the same morning. In 2010, I am going to strive for a face wash as well.

9) If Liam catches sight of Chris and I hugging and kissing, he comes running up to us for a “group hug.” Chris or I one will pick him up, the three of us hug, we all say: “Mmmmmm,” then he gives each of us a kiss and says: “Youuuu (which means ‘I love you’).” It’s the best.

8) We reclaimed our house last Saturday. I love Christmas and all that the holidays bring. The decorations are so pretty and the music is beautiful. This year for the first time I felt a huge sense of peace and completion when the decorations came down. We had wonderful Christmases, but I am soooo content to have my house back to normal.

7) This Saturday, that’s tomorrow for those of you keeping score, we are going to tackle the room we call the library. What a disaster. It also functions as Chris’ office, or rather doesn’t function cause it is such a wreck right now. We are probably pissing in the wind to think cleaning it up will either help or stay, but it is either that or cut the room out of the house.

6) We, or rather I, have been on a cleaning tear this week, and I’m not done yet. There is not a single room in our house that doesn’t need attention. My husband might disagree, but he’d be wrong. It is bad. I am starting to get that closed -in, claustrophobic feeling about my shoulders, a sure sign that I am feeling crowded out by “stuff.”

5) I am so looking forward to President’s Day weekend. Join me to pray for good weather. Chris is going to Shebang, and I am going to have a houseful of women. Karen and Mom are planning on coming down. My friend, Mary Helen, and her mom and daughter are all talking about being here, too. If everyone makes it, Liam will definitely be outnumbered, but he will have a great time being spoiled. The focus for the weekend is income taxes, but I’m sure we will find time for fun as well.

4) My little dog disappeared for four hours the weekend after Thanksgiving. Mufasa was outside with Chris and I while we were hanging Christmas lights, and I vaguely heard something that sounded like firecrackers up on the hill above our house. Mufasa is scared to death of loud noises. Usually he comes and scratches at me, but this time he just took off. When we realized he was gone, we called and called. Chris searched all over the neighborhood. I just knew he was a goner. The little bugger only weighs about 5 pounds, and has very little hair. An extended length of time out in the cold would do him in, but four hours later he showed up at the door. Dirty and wet and cold and full of burrs, but very happy to be home. Scary.

3) Bunco is at my house Monday night. I still need at least one sub. Anybody?

2) I am in the process of sorting photos and trying to organize them so I can find what I want when I want. So far it isn’t working. Not sure what the answer is. Digital images are nice, but finding the one you remember seeing somewhere is a nightmare. If anyone out there has a thought on how best to make this work, I’m all ears.

1) If you had to choose the best book ever, which book would get the prize? My motive here is selfish. I am looking to put together a reading list for 2010. Help! I intend to start out with an old favorite of mine: “The Atonement of Ashley Morden” by Fred Bodsworth. It is long out of print, but if you ever find one, give it a read. I have a copy, but you would have to come to my house to read it. I love you, but it is not a book I let out of my sight.