Saturday, December 17, 2011

So very proud of my son

My son Liam is four. He is attending preschool now and loving every minute of it. Forgive a mother's pride, but I just had to share this:

Liam's Preschool Christmas Program

He did so good and even managed to help the little boy next to him stay focused. It brought tears to my eyes. He's one-of-a-kind and such a good boy.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy. Happy. Joy. Joy.

According to a facebook friend: We are all supposed to pretend that life doesn’t suck, even occasionally, and nothing bad ever happens in our lives. Because she is unable or unwilling to deal with anything negative, I’m supposed to act as though my life is constantly, consistently good and I never need the help and support of my friends, because God-dammit, life is perfect.

So don’t post anything negative on facebook, cause she just doesn’t want to know about it.

Wow. I believe that to be a much larger burden than I really want to put on the people I call friends: You all must be happy and positive at all times, because I just don’t wish to deal with any of your sadness or gloom. Huh? Now how does that make me your friend?

Don’t get me wrong. I agree trying to stay positive and upbeat is a good thing. However, the expectation that people should not let their friends know when life is sucky is completely unrealistic and confining. While general whinyness should not be tolerated, when someone I know has had a bad day or a real situation of struggle in their life, I’m gonna hold up my hand and say: “STOP! I don’t want to hear it. Cause I just don’t want to have to cope with ANYTHING negative.” Again, huh?

Would that really make me a good friend?

Generally speaking I embrace the positive aspects of life. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you, my outlook is generally positive and my expectation is for life to be perfect. Although I am frequently disappointed in the perfection side of things, I still keep going there time after time.

That being said, just like everyone else, I occasionally experience a bad day, week or whatever. Every single one of us has rough patches in our lives. Don’t we?

So some (I reserve the right to add/ask more) of my questions are:

   If I am overwhelmed at times by an ugly turn my life has taken, even if momentarily, should I hesitate to reach out to those who purport to love me?

   Why should I not let my friends know?

   I am a strong person, but am I not on occasion entitled to ask for and receive the love and encouragement of my friends?

   I am unbelievably humbled to find I have friends in my life who would willingly take a bullet for me if it meant sparing me anguish and pain. However, if they don’t know I am troubled, how can they get in the line of fire?

   Besides all that, don’t friends like to help friends?

   Isn’t that what being a friend is all about?

   Where would I be without my friends?

   How would I get through the dark times and back into the sunlight without them?

   I should hide my feelings and hurts inside so nobody knows they exist? I’m sure that would be a big boon to my mental health.

I thought they were my friends.

Friends love.

Friends support.

Friends have the shoulders I cry on when bad things happen and when life gets overwhelming.

Friends divide burdens and multiply joy.

If I insist on only happiness from myself and my friends, I am neither being a good friend, nor letting them be.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

More "string too short to use"

10) After about 16 months of no naps, Liam has fallen asleep in the afternoon three days this week. This scares me because it probably means a growth spurt soon. Day after tomorrow his shoes all of a sudden won’t go on his feet. Overnight his pants will become too short and half of the T-shirts in his dresser will no longer go over his head. Joy.

9) I love my sisters. That being said; I’ve always wanted a brother. I always thought it would be nice to have a big brother to stick up for me and help me out of jams. All of ya’all out there with brothers, be thankful for them.

8) “Being taken for granted can be a compliment. It means that you've become a comfortable, trusted element in another person's life.” - Dr Joyce Brothers. You know what, Dr Joyce, you can just kiss my ass. Being taken for granted is not a compliment. Being taken for granted means you’ve become invisible. All the things you do just happen and no one knows or cares why or how unless you stop doing them.

7) A friend of mine posted on facebook she needed a dress hemmed. Well, I can hem a dress so I told her to come on by. HA. It is a triple-layered wedding dress. The outer layer is chiffon and is about 17 miles around. The two under layers are slippery lining fabric and are each only about 8.5 miles around. Can I do it? Yes. Will it be a fun chore? No. However, it will be done on time and beautifully finished cause that’s how I roll.

6) I thought of something last night to add to this just as I was getting into bed. It is gone. I knew I should have come down here and written it right then. My brain is definitely not what it once was.

5) Our little boy loves to dance. In the past week I have been treated with the dance of the Mary Poppins penguins (They wiggle their butts you know.) and a little naked Cha-Cha-Cha in the living room. Hysterical. I definitely have to get some video of the penguin dance. The naked Cha-Cha-Cha would probably get me arrested.

4) The weather was pleasant yesterday, so we spent the bulk of the day outside and in the garage doing some fall clean up and harvesting herbs. I rebuilt a flower bed that our plum tree had almost pushed over this past year. We defrosted and reorganized the freezer so I would know what is there and can plan menus accordingly. CJE took the leaf-blower to the leaves which had accumulated on the deck. He also sprayed the weeds poking through the sidewalk. Liam rode his bicycle and demonstrated his four-year-old underfoot skills. All in all it was a glorious fall day.

3) When we came in from outside yesterday I took a look at my To-Do List for the day. Except for the freezer, none of what we did was on the list. How frustrating! I so enjoy the satisfaction of crossing off the things we have accomplished. I have even been known to write down things I have already done just so I can check them off. That being the case, I quickly wrote “make raspberry jam” on the list as I had decided after going through the freezer, a couple packages of raspberries in there were looking a little sad and needed to be used. So I made jam in the afternoon, cause it was on the list, you know. Come on, I gotta be able to check off something!

2) Sometimes a mom just needs a quiet moment. So here I am, it is Sunday morning and much as I know CJE would have liked me to come to church with him and Liam; I am taking my moment of peace. Oftentimes this is the only way/time I can get one. I miss going to church, but this time of quiet renewal counts for more. I’m sorry it is this way, but it is.

1) If you had to name the one personality trait that you have tried the hardest to change in yourself, what would you say?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"String too short to use"

10) One of my on-again-off-again clients is on again. He got a nasty-gram from the Oregon Department of Revenue informing him he darned well better get his taxes filed for the last four years. His wife saw the letter and ‘bout had a panic attack. She doesn’t understand why ODR would care. “We don’t owe them any money,” she says to me. Well, Honey, you might not, but they have no way of knowing that. Plus they are likely to ding you like crazy in penalties simply for neglecting to file for the past four years. The bad side of this is I have been working 50+ hours a week trying to get them caught up. The good side is, our savings account will be nice and fat going into the holidays.

9) I am so very ready to put my lawn and gardens to bed. Yea fall!
8) I am thankful to have a few friends in my life who really get me. Friends who understand where I’m coming from even when my words don’t come out right are so rare and valuable. True kindred spirits are out there. When you find one, you don’t have to worry about losing them, they just become a part of your life forever.

7) Liam’s latest thing: Whenever we tell him he needs a bath he’ll say, “Smell me, Mom (or Dad).” Except that it comes out sounding like, “Sell me, Mom (or Dad).” And I can’t help but think each time he says it; we’ll never get any takers. We’d have to pay someone to take you, you little twirp.

6) My sister, Karen, recently posted online some pictures of my grandparents’ old place. Whoa. Talk about nostalgia. It is so funny, because they lived in the tiniest little house, and we used to all go there for Sunday dinners and holidays and the like. The main floor of their house couldn’t have been more than 1000 square feet (and probably less), but all their kids, kid-in-laws, grandkids and assorted friends would jam in there, at times more than 24 of us. I tell you, it must have been standing room only. Ahh. Good times.

5) I woke this morning without a headache. This is a rare, but good, thing.

4) No two women in the world are shaped alike. Apparently many women my size have boobs much larger than mine, boobs which have gravitated downward over the years. That combined with the fact that I’m not very tall in the first place, makes darts and shaped seams in ready-to-wear clothing a complete joke. Unfortunately that means I am doomed to wear shapeless, tentlike items of clothing which are oh, so flattering. Joy. The solution is, if I really want it to fit, I must make it myself. What can I say; I’m working on it, but tailoring clothing is tricky business. The failures seem somehow to outweigh the successes. I shall endeavor to persevere.

3) Coffee = elixir of the gods.

2) Today is Sunday. I am putting Pizza Soup in the slow-cooker this morning and then curling under my latest quilt project to handsew its binding and watch football. I also have some buttons to sew on a shirt for CJE. I’ll keep my Kindle within reach for when I get both of those done. I would say I would nap in the afternoon, but my little boy is determined none of us shall nap, least of all himself. I’m sorry if the NFL turns some of my readers off, but I love it.

1) If you could stop everyone from misusing/overusing one word in the English language, what would it be?

(For me it would be “awesome.” I hear this word used in regard to a whole lot of things that might be great, they may be super, they might even be phenomenal, but they are not really awe inspiring. Very little in this world is truly awesome. The panoramic vista of God’s creation inspires awe. The miraculous perfection of a newborn’s tiny hand is awesome. My car, while fantastic and something I am crazy about, is not awesome. Meeting a friend for lunch would be fun, it might even be great fun, but would it really be awesome? It would be nice if people understood the difference.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Creamy Chicken Corn Chowder

This is not a low-fat soup. If low-fat is your preference, I recommend you steer clear of chowders in general and mine in particular. That being said, this is the yummiest, most comforting soup you will ever eat.

The recipe:

1 can chicken broth
1 c water
3 med potatoes, chopped
3 med carrots, chopped
3 c frozen corn kernels
1 t minced garlic
½ t marjoram
½ t thyme
½ t black pepper
5 T flour
1½ c milk
½ c cream
6 oz Velveeta, cubed
1½ c cooked, cubed chicken

    Simmer first 9 ingredients until potatoes and carrots are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Combine milk, cream and flour until smooth. Add to vegetable mixture and cook and stir 2 minutes until thickened. Reduce heat and add cheese and chicken. Heat through and serve.
    Throw all ingredients into slow cooker. Cook on low, stirring somewhat frequently. Should take about 7-8 hours give or take. When the potatoes and carrots are cooked to your liking, eat it up!

I started with a recipe from a cookbook and tailored it to fit our tastes. That, to me, is what cooking is all about. So I want each of you to feel free to take this recipe and make it your own.

Our son, Liam, loves carrots so although the original recipe didn't call for them, I threw them in. Not only are they yummy, but they add a nice color to a soup that is otherwise quite bland looking.

We like a nice thick chowder so I increased the chunky bits (potatoes, corn, carrots) and slightly decreased the the liquid elements.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Am I proud of my boy? You bet!

After kind of a rough start at preschool, Liam has figured out how to live with rules laid down by someone other than Mom and Dad and is doing great.

I dropped him off on the first day, August 30, and he was just fine. "Go Mom," he said.

When I arrived back to the school that afternoon to pick him up, Mrs. Eaker, his teacher, came out to tell me he did really well until the last two minutes of class when he hit the little girl sitting next to him. So Mrs. Eaker took his candy away and made him put his head down on the desk. And, she said, "He is quite upset about the whole thing." When he came out into the hallway he was just sobbing his little heart out, big ol' tears and the works. I waited until all the other kids were gone to chat with the teacher for a minute and Liam told her, again, that he was sorry. Not the best first day. Mrs. Eaker did, however, tell me that she didn't see it happen, but that when she asked him if he hit Courtney, he admitted that he did. So . . . at least he didn't lie.

Naturally on the way home he announced: "Mom, I'm not going to school tomorrow."

I assured him that yes, he was going to school the next day, but that tomorrow was a new day with no mistakes in it. He would be starting new and fresh and clean.

After school the next day he informed me: "Mom, I did not hit her today." He made it sound like maybe she needed to be hit, but that he didn't do it. What restraint!

The next week the teacher put six little paper bees on the wall under each kid's name. The goal is for them to keep all their bees. If they are bad and get into trouble then the teacher takes away their bees. Liam decided right away he didn't want to lose any bees. So on each afternoon since the bee program started he tells me when I pick him up, "Mom, I didn't lose any bees today." He is also very quick to point out other little boys who have lost bees. One day one little boy had only two bees left! Shocking!

This week Courtney has been gone. Liam told me on Monday she was gone and he didn't know where she was. Then yesterday on the way home he told me he hoped Courtney hadn't "gone to be with Jesus" cause he missed her and wanted her back at school. Today I asked the teacher if Courtney was sick and was she coming back because my little soft-hearted boy missed her. She and I had a good chuckle over how quickly he went from wanting to swat Courtney to wanting her there in the seat next to him. Turns out Courtney went on vacation with her family and will be back next week.

Mrs. Eaker told me several things today that made me feel pretty good about my little boy:

She is keeping an extra close eye on him because Liam doesn't tattle. Now in my mind not tattling is a good thing, but she is concerned that he wouldn't tattle even if the other kids were really being mean, so she is watching out for him. He is the smallest boy in the class, and she is extra careful about bullying. This I definitely appreciate.

She thought at first he might not be ready for preschool, but she says he definitely is. He is intelligent. He is also very well-spoken and extremely polite.

These are her words, not mine!

All I can say is apparently he hasn't yet had reason to tell her: "You're bustin' my chops!"

I wonder if he knows that would likely lose him a bee?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Laughter is good for the soul

For the past several days I have been feeling a restlessness that cannot be explained.

I can't seem to settle in to my normal tasks and I have been having the most bizarre dreams.

In one dream I was forced to run through a giant drawer full of silverware. The divisions between the items were about three feet high, just a bit too tall for me to step over. Someone had me by the hand and was dragging me through them at a run. In my other hand was silverware of my own which I kept dropping and having to stop and pick up. It would blend in with the existing silverware in the drawer and then I couldn't find it. For whatever reason it was very important that I not lose the silverware I was carrying. As the dream went on I became more and more frantic as I wasn't given a chance to relocate my own silverware. So bizarre.

Then last night I dreamt I was the caretaker for this older gentleman. When I got to his house to make his dinner, straighten up the house and give him his medicine some of his family was there visiting. As I was cleaning up around the house I kept finding silverware in all these strange places. Some was under the sofa, tucked under the covers of the bed, inside the washer and dryer and other equally odd spots. Weird. As I was checking in this one particularly frilly bedroom I discovered a flight of stairs I had not previously noticed following the line of the wall to the second floor. They were only about 18 inches wide, covered with rose print fabric and had no handrail. I went up a few steps, but chickened out and came back down. As I regained the bottom one of the man's sons came into the room and chastised me for being in there. I told him I was just trying to locate all the silverware and showed him the handfuls I was carrying. As we exited the room we ran into another of the sons who was carrying a ladies' pump (you know the shoe kind). It was about three feet long and painted bright green. He told me he was looking for a place in his dad's house where it would look "right." He then proceeded to tell me he had two more at home he was planning on painting blue and yellow respectively and that I needed to be thinking about a nice place for them as well. Huh?

I can't decide if I am truly losing it or what.

My husband says he thinks our dreams are just the psyche's way of taking out the trash. We fall asleep at night and if the day has been particularly stressful or whatever, the brain starts getting rid of the unnecessary stuff and it comes out as these strange and unexplainable images that most of the time we can't even remember. Usually when I do remember them I end up wishing I couldn't because they are so absolutely nutty and disconnected that when I tell someone about them I just sound like a blithering idiot. These two were so bizarrely funny I just had to share. I'm sure some dream-interpreter person could tell me what they really mean, but I think in this case I would rather be comfortable in my ignorance. I just found them good for a chuckle first thing in the morning.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Things I love, autumn

Fall has arrived.

Autumn is my very most favorite time of year.

There is a chill in the air and no matter how hot it might still get, that underlying chill will still be there. The air has a crispness when I breathe it and a sweet, sweet coolness on my skin. Our air conditioner is shut off for the season, and that too, is a good thing.

The autumn sky is a deeper blue. In place of the pale, cloudless, high clear blue of summer, we see a brighter, more colorful blue . . . with clouds!

Life slows down in the fall. Schedules become more important. Therefore, plans are less likely to go askew. Because I am a planner, I have a huge appreciation for this aspect of fall. Summer is a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of season; autumn is all about organization and planning.

Preparation for winter begins. Summer toys are put away and gardens and flowers will be put to bed over the next few weeks. Trees will turn to yellow, gold, orange and red giving the landscape a brightness summer could never achieve. When the leaves finally drop to the ground, Liam will spend many a happy hour dashing through them, throwing them high and jumping into the piles CJE has painstakingly created in preparation for their doom.

Liam has started preschool. Though he had a little trouble on the first day, overall he seems to be liking it and that gives me great joy. Watching him learn and grow has become one of my favorite pastimes. This fall in particular will be great for that. He will enjoy a whole set of experiences that Mom and Dad are not a part of. This will give him new scope for his lively imagination and new reasons for him to say: “Mom, I need to tell you.”

The Nation Football League season starts this Thursday. I understand for some people this is not a cause for elation, but in our home, it is. Football season is one thing which seems to help our lives to slow from summer’s frantic pace. Sunday afternoons are spent alternately sewing and snoozing in front of the game . . . oh, and watching! I know the rules and truly enjoy the game. For reasons unknown to me, whiling away a Sunday afternoon watching football is guilt-free, and I certainly like that.

Naturally, in the fall my thoughts turn to Christmas. Which is, by the way, right around the corner. Crafty projects must be planned and started now or before if completion is expected by December 25. Always I have several and this year I started clear back in May. Most therefore are well on their way and I will have the satisfaction of finishing them over the next few months.

Autumn is a time of harvest and preservation. I have made jam and syrup already. Just today I started a batch of Zucchini Relish. It needs to steep overnight and I will finish it up tomorrow. I chatted with my neighbor yesterday and I think she and I are going to can up some tomatoes together in the next few weeks. She has always used a pressure canner and I am going to show her how to water-bath them. My mom has always liked the preserving part but has never much cared for the harvest. I have grown to enjoy the harvest as well. Picking a bucketful of whatever brings a welcome sense of satisfaction and then I have the completion of preserving to look forward to. See, I have many good autumn feelings.

Cooking is my most enjoyed household task, and soup is one of my favorite thing to make. Fall is a great time of year for crock pot recipes and soups, stews and chilies top that list. Just a few days ago I tried yet another recipe for Chicken Corn Chowder. I love Chicken Corn Chowder and have been looking for a really good recipe for it literally for years. I think I finally found it! This soup was creamy, thick and full of flavor. Oh, so yummy. It is definitely a keeper and all other recipes I have tried and tweaked and messed with can just go away. Yea! I predict many more varieties of soup to be created in my kitchen in the not too distant future.

I’m not sure this is a truly comprehensive list of what I love about fall, but it is a great start.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Suffering from neglect

I am guilty of neglecting my blog for the past few weeks.

Mostly it seems life gets in the way sometimes and the things I want to do have to take a backseat to the things I have/need to do. So here I am a month from my previous post and still not sure what to write about or if I have time to make a decent post of something.

We took a week off the first of August and that not only takes the time of being away, but it also makes the workload just nuts when I get back. As I am self-employed, no one does the work for me while I am off playing. Time away has to be carefully planned and coordinated so clients are covered and content while I am gone. To top things off nicely I was back and working fast and furiously for a few days when my on-again/off-again client called and needed 35+ hours of work done ASAP. Poor planning on your part . . .

My past week has been spent getting ready to go back to school. I am somewhat used to CJE’s normal prep for back-to-school, but this year Liam starts preschool so we had parent orientation to go to and “Meet the Teacher” day. Liam is very excited about school, although I think at this point he believes it is just going to be a new place to play. The day we went to meet his teacher he spent the hour we were there playing with the other kids and about a dozen Mr Potato Heads.

There are 19 littles in the class. 13 of them are boys. I do not envy Mrs. Eaker. I was somewhat distressed, although not surprised, to find when she measured the kids as they came to visit Liam is one of the littlest in the class. He is also one of the youngest. Several of the other boys have already turned five and although their parents probably made the right decision in that they were not ready for preschool last year at only just barely four, as the parent of a true four-year-old in the class I have concerns. I’m not trying to borrow trouble here, but I hope there is a real awareness on the part of the school of the potential for bullying this presents.

Wow, do I sound like a defensive, paranoid parent or what? I am trying hard not to be, but he is my baby after all.

School officially starts Monday for CJE and Tuesday for Liam. I suspect it will take several weeks for us to get used to this new routine. In short that means don’t count too heavily on much on here from me. I foresee life getting in the way again. Already several weekends in September are full which always makes the month seem over before it begins. Help! I’m behind already and I haven’t even turned the calendar page.

I make no apologies, and no promises.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Still . . .

We are still leaving on vacation on Monday . . .

. . . Whether or not I get all the laundry done.

. . . Whether or not I figure out what all I need to take to my mother.

. . . Whether or not I finish all my work. After all, will it not STILL be waiting here for me when I get back?

. . . Whether the weather is good, bad or indifferent. The kids will sleep out if it is good and in if it is bad, not much change there.

. . . Whether we have to take the dog or I find someone to care for him. He is getting older now and it not the traveler he once was.

. . . Whether we remember everything or forget most of what we need. I’m just not sure I care if I have my toothbrush with me or if I must go purchase a new one when we get where we are going.

. . . Whether or not the lawn gets mowed. It would be better if it did or we will likely need a swather and baler when we get back.

. . . Whether or not the truck gets washed., I don’t really want to travel in CJE’s dirty pickup, but I will if I have to. No, he’s gonna have to wash it.

Still . . . we are going.

Monday, July 25, 2011

"String too short to use"

10) Had a big fight with the Symphony a couple days ago. Could not get the throat plate back on correctly. The thread kept tangling and I was losing my temper big time. I finally put the whole thing back together, shut it off and walked away. I came back the next day. Turned it on. Everything works fine. When in doubt . . . reboot.

9) July, August and September are tightening our belts months. While it is true, my car is paid off, we have our annual auto insurance payment due the end of September. I have the money for it, but not for much of anything else. Popcorn and apple juice for dinner? Why yes, don’t mind if I do.

8) I am contemplating creating another clean spot this week. Now mind you, I don’t really want to, but this house doesn’t clean itself and maximum density has been reached. It is time to tackle another room. At the rate we’re going we will get through the house just in time to start over again. Just to make things interesting, this time around I adopted the policy from each room at least one thing must go. After all aren’t we all overwhelmed with stuff?

7) I am entering two of my quilt projects in the country fair this year. I haven’t entered anything in the county fair since I was a kid in 4H. I have a couple of completed items I am reasonably proud of. I don’t know if they are up to the judging standards, but we shall see. In any case it will be fun to have something on display. I also get to help clerk in the 4H hall during the judging phase. So I am looking forward to helping out as well as entering.

6) Just say no to sticky notes. When I worked at a bank one of the gals I worked with would literally cover the inside of her teller window with sticky notes, reminders, phone numbers account numbers, you name it. At the end of the day all of these had to be either locked in a drawer or shredded because of the private, sensitive nature of the information. Not to mention the fact that her window always looked trashy and unkempt. As I look at the cubby on my desk where my monitor sits, I see on the right hand side a rash of sticky notes. Grrr! They gotta go.

5) I spent the weekend painting the trim in our entryway. Do you know there are four doors that open into it? Now you do. That means four doors to take down (thank you CJE), and four jams to tape off and paint. It was loads of fun. So I taped off on Friday and managed to get two coats of paint on all of it Saturday with a small curious boy as backup. It is done, however, and brightens the look of the front of the house. Now on to the next room.

4) I saw this quote on facebook yesterday and it truly did make me laugh out loud.

"Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, make sure that you are, in fact, not just surrounded by assholes" ~William Gibson

You gotta admit, it is good advice.

3) With a nod to my mid-western readers: Our hot weather arrived yesterday. Not that I am rejoicing mind you, but normally our air conditioner is running hard the whole month of July. This year, yesterday was the first day I think we even broke into the 90°s. I must admit I have been loving the cool summer mornings. Still in the high 50°s at 7 a.m. is a whole lot nicer than 80°. Today it is 66°. Warmer, but still not bad.

2) I only have to work two days this week! I get to have sewing time today, Thursday and Friday. Yea! I have a dress to make for a six-month old girl (something I am actually getting paid for) and then several projects of my own to wrap up. Looking forward to time spent with my Symphony and being in my creative zone.

1) If you were to add a thirteenth month to the year, where would you insert it?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Welcome to my sanctuary

I (with CJE's help) spent several days last week deep cleaning my sewing room. Yes, I am one of those lucky people who has her own space for crafting and I love it. I call it my sanctuary. It is where I go whenever possible to create and commune with God.
This picture was taken from the doorway looking directly into the room.
This is the new sewing machine CJE & Liam got me for Mother's Day. Yes, I am spoiled. At this point I am convinced this machine is smarter than I am. When it comes to quilting, applique and basic sewing, it does everything. It is super quiet and I am having loads of fun with it.
This is the opposite corner of the room, looking over the top of my sewing machine.
This is the stacked-box shelves CJE made me for the corner beyond the ironing board. They are extremely user-friendly.

Everything about this room was made to order. I chose the bright yellow paint for the walls and the citrus-colored fabric for the ceiling. The orange strips on the walls are fabric-covered homasote board. This stuff is wonderful as I can pin things to them, projects in progress or decorative items.

This is my sanctuary, the place I go to when the world overwhelms me and I need some quiet and reflective time. Because I can't stand closed doors, the unwinding sign doesn't always mean much. Oftentimes Liam is in the room with me playing with toys scattered all over the floor, but still time spent in this room is time well-spent and I nearly always come out with a happier frame of mind.

Peace reigns within these walls.

Hooking up with:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

"String too short to use"

10) B52s. We have unbelievably large flies that seem to be breeding in our garage. Every time I open the door between the house and garage I have to battle these enormous pests. I hate it when they actually manage to get in the house. CJE and I have taken to calling them B52s. Imagine an insect this big:

9) Liam and I spent an idyllic day in the backyard yesterday. I pushed him in the swing. We played pirate ship with him on his little slide. We watched a little green worm twist and squirm on the deck. We ate a ton of plastic food from his little plastic grill. We read several books and played music with his recorder (sure the neighbors loved that). We shot some hoops. We looked at the weeds, but opted not to pull them (too much like work). It was a lovely afternoon.

8) I am struggling mightily to keep up with birthday and anniversary cards this year. Every year about this time I loose momentum and all those born in the last half of the year get nothing. I promise myself each January: “This year will be different.” It never is. Wish me luck, cause . . . “This year will be different.”

7) A woman I met several years ago has become a very good friend of mine. She is someone I feel completely comfortable with and seems to love me despite my warts. She doesn’t seem to be shocked when I admit to her how difficult this whole mom thing is for me. Unfortunately she is moving overseas to teach for at least two years and I know when she returns stateside, she won’t be coming back to this little podunk town. I’m going to miss her terribly, but I seem to be fairly good at long-distance friendships. When she leaves, my closest BFF will be at least 200 miles away, and all others MUCH farther.

6) Ahhh (sigh of contentment). It is Sunday morning. There is coffee in my cup. My husband and four-year old are still in bed. The sun is shining. The birds are singing. What could possibly be better?

5) I have a new love. He has the most enchanting smile. His laugh is infectious. He is one of those rare guys who genuinely likes to cuddle. He isn’t afraid to cry. He says the funniest things. It doesn’t seem to matter to him that I am not built like a super model. I met him four years ago and he has been an amazing blessing in my life. Our love seems to grow with each passing year. His name is Liam. My husband knows all about him . . . and loves him, too.

4) Breakfast. My turn this morning as CJE made bacon, eggs and toast yesterday. Muffins this morning with fruit, I think.

3) Apparently my son’s dancing ability is more renowned than we realized. His Grandpa and Grandma in Illinois just sent him two left shoes!

2) Sundays and Thursdays have become my most looked-forward to days. I sew on Thursdays with anyone who cares to join me. Sometimes it is just Liam and I and sometimes friends come over to sew or cut or crochet or . . . whatever. It is always a pleasant day. Sundays I wave CJE and Liam off to church and I retreat to my sewing room, my sanctuary. I sew or sort fabric or iron or cut or whatever suits my fancy. In any case I usually get two to three hours all to myself. Precious, precious time.

1) If you could be more candid with one person you know from now on, who would it be?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Third of Five

I delivered my third of five this past Tuesday evening.

It so happened that in the course of this facebook pay-it-forward game one of my five ended up being Kevin, a guy I’ve known for about 18 years. Which is fine except . . . I work in fabrics! I racked my brain . . . what am I gonna make for a guy? Finally I came up with a concept and then spent some time in the fabric store with my mom and sister finding the right fabrics to complete my vision.

I finished an incredible wall hanging for him a few weeks ago. I called his wife on a Friday afternoon to find out if there was a time I could come by the house when Kevin wasn’t around so I could put it up and surprise him. Turns out he was having dialysis three nights a week so we scheduled for the following Monday evening.

On the Sunday of that weekend, she called me. We couldn’t come over on Monday because she and Kevin were headed for Portland. They had gotten a call and the kidney he had been waiting for was now waiting for him! Praise God! Kevin has diabetes and has been on a waiting list for a new kidney for some time.

The surgery was successful and everything looks good. Kevin is feeling better than he has in years. Talk is they are releasing him this Friday (today). Since I had decided the thing to do was to have it hanging in their home when he walks through the door, CJE and I talked their son into letting us in on Tuesday night to put it up. Now it is there, waiting for him whenever he gets home.

My readers get a little sneak peek. The hanging is about 40" square. It was great fun to make and I have adapted the “plaid looking” border for several other projects cause I just love it.

Joining up today with: StudioJRU

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"String too short to use"

10) Never, never, never ask a woman if she is pregnant. Unless you can see a tiny hand, foot or head protruding from her body, it is best to just not ask. It is embarrassing for you and humiliating for her if she has to tell you “No.” Some of us are just rounder than others and you would do well to remember that the next time you are thinking about asking this potentially most embarrassing question.

9) Overnight it seems my son has outgrown every pair of shoes he owns. Unreal. Sunday morning as we were getting ready for church we discovered, with the exception of a pair of flips flops, we could get his feet into exactly one pair of shoes and as this was the pair with the smallest number on the bottom, we knew they didn’t really fit either. We had to just jam his feet into them and get through it. On the way home from church, he and I stopped at the shoe store. The sales clerk measured his feet. His largest pair of shoes was a 7, his foot measures an 8½. Oh, help.

8) For Mother’s Day I drug my husband into the Montavilla Sewing Center and showed him my dream sewing machine . . . and went home with one! It is a BabyLock Symphony and it is marvelous. It has all the wonderful features that cause a crafter like me to drool uncontrollably. Needless to say I have been spending every free moment sitting behind it dreaming and creating. Yea!

7) Work. Work has really been getting in the way of my play lately. I have to keep reminding myself that work is what pays for my play, but right now with the fine weather finally here and new ideas blossoming everywhere, it is a tough sell.

6) While I was at Quilt Camp earlier this month I discovered a new outlet for my creativity and passion. Suttle Lake Camp hosts Strength for the Journey at the camp in August. Strength for the Journey is a camp for men with HIV/AIDS. Each summer 50-75 men come to the camp for about four days to be nurtured and fed. They come for time to reflect, rest and gain strength in an atmosphere of peace and acceptance. Quilts are given to them as part of the activities of the camp. Quilts? Yes! I am hoping to get two done in time for the camp this summer.

5) Small boy turns four on Sunday. Yike! On top of his feet overnight no longer fitting in his shoes, big changes are in store over the next few months. He is so ready to go to school. Of course, he wants to ride the bus and I haven’t had the heart to tell him he won’t get to do that until Kindergarten. He’s going to be disappointed about it, but I still think he will love school.

4) When you put yourself out there and get shut down time after time, it becomes difficult to want to even bother. I have a small circle of friends who seem to understand me and for that I am extremely grateful. It has always been difficult for me to open up and make new friends and I am always so excited to find someone new who seems to like me . . . for whatever reason. I feel like I have a lot to give, but struggle with finding people who want what I have to share.

3) I have high hopes for my church family. We are getting a new pastor in July and someone collaborative would go a long way to helping us recover from the past eight years of minimalism.

2) My mom really wants Liam and I to come see her in July. CJE will be counseling at horse camp and there isn’t any reason Liam and I couldn’t go see Grandma. Except for the high cost of fuel. I haven’t figured out how I can afford to send CJE out of town one direction and Liam and I another. So how do I tell her we would love to see her, but just plain can’t afford the trip?

1) If you had to name the most incredible thing a friend has ever done for you, what would it be?

My friend Kathy Anderson gets this one. When I was about to be sent home from the hospital (45 miles away) after having Liam, but they were going to keep him, Kathy came and helped me situate things so I could stay in the Pediatric Ward with Liam and sent her pastor to visit with me as well. Asking for help is such a difficult thing. Swallowing my pride and admitting “I can’t” was the hardest thing I have ever done, and Kathy came through for me in a big way.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Peace located

I have found my peace. I have carved out a meager few hours of solitude in the craziness that is being the mother of my almost-4-year old, Liam. The only trouble is; it is Sunday mornings from 10:00 to noon or thereabouts while, you guessed it, CJE and Liam are at church.

Before Liam came along I was a faithful church-goer. After he came along my attendance became sporadic, and once he started to walk it became all but non-existent.

On one level I don’t have a problem with this. I am spiritually fed in other ways besides church every Sunday and the traditional Sunday sermon. The quiet solitude of my Sunday mornings has become sacrosanct and I absolutely don’t wish to give that up. It has become my time of introspection and meditation. Two things which are absolutely necessary for me to experience life on an even keel.

Another side of me is telling me there is immeasurable value in the fellowship of like-minded Christians and I am really missing out by not attending the service and gleaning said value with/from my church family. There is a peace and growth factor gained by being a part of a nurturing body of Christ, and I know this.

At this juncture I am very unsure which way to jump.

Liam will turn four two weeks from today. His normal MO is 90 miles an hour through the house; Mom, Mom, Mom-ing all the way. After a few days of this my brain seizes up and refuses to function properly and I feel a bit like the Goldie Hawn character in Overboard sitting on the corner of the couch staring into nothingness saying: “Buh-Buh-Buh-Buh.” The only therapy that seems to work for this condition is a quiet hour or three of solitude, a time when no one says my name and the only demands on my time are my own.

I struggle with the selfishness of it. I know my place is in a pew with my family, but if that is the choice I make; how do I keep from locking my son in a closet later in the week so I can have the peace my mind so desperately craves? How do I keep from becoming a screaming shrew by Thursday whom nobody wants to be around, let alone live with?

I really do feel I am doing this for my own sanity. Whether it is truly selfish or not is debatable. After all if Momma is happy, ain’t everybody happy?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Quilt Camp

I spent last weekend in the Cascade Mountains at Quilt Camp! It was delightful, insightful and refreshing.

It snowed. I think all 22 of us were hoping to get snowed in so we could just stay and play, but the three inches that fell was gone within a few hours.
We were warm and toasty inside the lodge with our machines, projects and fellowship.
I will write more about the art of it all later. I am still trying to internalize most of the thoughts and ideas which were flowing through the place. Suffice it to say we had a marvelous time and that’s why I return year after year.

Friday, April 22, 2011

So this 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.

I posted this several months ago, but really felt moved to repost as I am preparing to leave for Quilt Camp in less than a week. - Janie

Monday, April 18, 2011

Where I’m from . . .

I am from fabric; from Singer, Gingher, Coats and Clark.

I am from homemade bread and milk fresh from the cow; from butter paddled and rinsed from the cream and vegetables dirty from the garden.

I am from the pines and the birches; from barbed-wire pastures and deep cedar glades.

I am from the little house with 40 acres on the north bench.
I am from books read aloud and six people sharing a single bathroom.

I am from Zilch and jigsaw puzzles; from Nancy and Wayne; from grandparents and cousins all living in one another’s hip pocket.

I am from Cattail Canyon and Salamander Swamp; from the big rock and blue-tailed lizards.

I am from stubbornness and perfection.

I’m from drinking coffee will make your feet black and Run Sheep Run.

I am from quiet. I am from dark shadows and bright lights.

I'm from Idaho and Germany, meat and potatoes.

I am from the muddy, rocky bottom of the Moyie River watching false teeth and glasses floating away. I am from branding day at Hinthorns’ and swimming on the point. I am from camping on the west side and huckleberries on the east.
I am from the box in the top of the closet and the reels on the shelf; from the priceless relics and memories of the past.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I am loved

It’s gonna be a good week.

Who cares if my husband has to take half a day off tomorrow to help me out of a jam?

Who cares if I have so much work to do I feel like I might be done next October?

Who cares if we have such a busy schedule this week we won't sit down to dinner as a family until Friday?

Who cares if my son routinely turns into demanding, whiny-boy?

Who cares if the laundry isn’t done, the sink is full of dirty dishes and the family room is looking like Hurricane Toysrus struck?

Who cares if an icy wind is blowing?

Who cares if my alone time consists of the three seconds it takes for Liam to locate me again?

None of it matters.

I am loved.

It is amazing how that simple statement of fact covers a multitude of the downers in my life.

Not only am I loved by my husband who would move the earth and stars for me if need be, but I am loved by the sweetest little boy in the world and most importantly I am loved by the God who created us all.

Although I sometimes need reminding of it, and many things in my life try to overwhelm it: I am loved . . . and it makes all the difference.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Projects' progress

I am working on my five.

I joined in the "Pay It Forward" status message on facebook. It was this fun little exercise where you post in your status window that the first five people to comment will receive something handmade from you over the course of the next year, but in return they have to post the status as well, so they will be making something for five people and so on and so on.

I have my five and I have very clear ideas on what they will be receiving from me. In fact two are done already and the third is on a friend's long arm machine being quilted as I write.

This was the first, a lovely green bag for my dear friend Maggie. I adapted a pattern to quilt-as-you-go because I love piecing but am not as wild about machine quilting. This way as soon as it is pieced it is done. Love it.

This was a Valentine table runner I had originally thought to keep for myself. After I finished and posted the picture, my oldest sister, who is one of my five, fell in love with it. I realized these colors are much more her than me, so I am sending this one to her. I have cut one in stronger reds on a cream background for me.

I am mom to a three-year-old boy who I am home with most days. Quilting and sewing are my outlet from the craziness of being Liam's mom. I love him to death, but he is a very busy little boy. My craft room is my sanctuary where my God-given and -directed talents can have free rein.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The deed is done

Today I endured one of the first of many stressful things I get to do as the mother of my son.

On this day, I registered him for preschool.

Yes, boys and girls, Liam will begin the endurance test known as education this coming fall. Hard to believe the little blighter is going to turn four the end of next month. He very excited about school at this point and I hope he can maintain that attitude for several years to come.

However, let me tell you about my day.

Actually, this whole process started yesterday when Liam’s daycare provider told me her little boy got the last slot in the Monday/Wednesday/Friday morning four-year-old class at Bethlehem Lutheran Preschool. This meant Liam was not going to be able to be in the same class as Gavin, the little boy he has had daycare with for the past 2½ years. That coupled with the fact that I really needed a morning class for him to be in, led me to pursue alternatives. Although touted to be the best in the area, parishioners get first dibs and this coming fall there are no dregs. Apparently there is a plethora of 4-year old Lutherans in this town.

So last night I started searching for other preschools in the area. The local Christian center has a preschool. I was impressed with the curriculum information available on their website, so I called them first thing this morning. The gal I got on the phone assured me that: no, they didn’t have a specific day for registration; yes, they had plenty of room as they had only received just a couple of registration forms. Well alrighty then.

My next call was to Liam’s pediatrician’s office. I needed a copy of his immunization record. The gal I got on the phone said all I had to do was to come in and sign a records release and I could pick them up right then. OK, this was going smoother than I had imagined.

I left work early and headed straight to the medical center. I filled out the records release form and the gal says, “Now you will need to put your address on there so we can mail you the records.” WHAT?! I told her what I had been assured of over the phone and, after rolling her eyes at me, she went back and got a copy of his records. His file is there, they have a copy machine. What is the problem?

My next stop was the bank to get his birth certificate out of the safe deposit box. Thankfully the teller was very gracious about making a copy of it for me so I didn’t have to run all over town for that.

Finally I arrived at the school with all my little paper ducks in a row. When I walked in the door, the secretary asked me if I had called this morning. I said yes, I had. As I was writing my check and she was looking over my paperwork we had a conversation about the other school being full and that they needed to get prepared as they were likely to get slammed and I had gotten my act together today to avoid the melee. I told her I figured as soon as word got out the Lutheran school was full, parents would be flocking to their doors. I think she thought I was kidding, but as I was leaving two other mothers were walking in and I overhead one of them say to her, "I need to register my little boy for four-year-old preschool." The secretary’s eyes met mine for just an instant and I smiled . . . told you so.

Although this was the busy, stressful episode of my day, what a milestone! I don’t want to rush summer, but I am excited for fall and this new adventure Liam gets to have. It will be his first without Mom or Dad tagging along and that is a wow for all kinds of reasons.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What am I worth?

I’m having a tattoo removed.

In 1983 I had a tattoo of a butterfly placed on my left shoulder. It seems a lifetime ago. I was married to someone else then. Getting tattooed was something we did together. When we divorced in 1988 it became a constant reminder of this disastrous relationship. I can’t tell you how many times in the ensuing years I have regretted it and wanted it gone. If wishing it away would have worked it would have vanished ages ago. Unfortunately tattoos are a little more permanent than that.

I have felt forced to live with this poor decision made in my younger days for all these years. But no more. I had a consultation and first treatment in Portland this past week.

I have done a great deal of soul-searching over this decision and have spent a inordinate amount of time analyzing my motives. In fact, I have reached the conclusion that I have spent too much time questioning the rightness of this. Not that it is a decision I should have come to in haste, a hasty decision is what got me here in the first place. No, but because the reality is that a huge part of the reason I have taken so long to decide to do this is the money. No kidding, the money involved is considerable. I have never spent this kind of money on something that is pretty much just for me. The real question is: why?

Why don’t I consider myself enough of a priority to spend this kind of money on?

Why don’t I consider myself enough of a priority to spend any kind of money on?

Most women's attitudes about themselves are complex to say the least. Mine are no different. I like to think I am self-aware, self-assured and strong. I know I play an important role in the lives of my husband and my son. I bring home some bacon and I am “Mommy” 24/7. I cook, clean and care. I spend money with no compunction on both Liam and Chris. So why do I feel guilty when I spend money on myself? If I look deeply will I find I really consider myself not worth it?

So maybe, in addition to having this thing out from under my skin and out of my life, there are other, more compelling reasons that make this a step in the right direction. Not that I am going to start blowing money frivolously, but that I will more readily recognize the times when spending money on myself is not frivolous. I have value, so aren’t I entitled to occasionally buy something, just for me, without feeling guilty?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Each day stands alone

Each day stands alone. Don’t worry about yesterday. Don’t anticipate tomorrow.

Having diabetes has taught me this.

Each day of blood sugar tests stands alone. Your system reboots each night so you start fresh each day with a wiped slate. Whatever you ate yesterday doesn’t matter anymore, and whatever you might be eating tomorrow can’t be figured in. However much insulin you had to have yesterday has no bearing on how much you might need today. Each day is different and new.

When you think about it, it is not a bad philosophy for life.

Whatever I did yesterday is over and done with. I can’t change it, and if I guilt-trip myself over it, I will just ruin my today. If I owe someone an apology for yesterday, since I can’t change whatever it was I did or said, I might as well take care of it and go on. If I spend too much time ruing yesterday, I won’t do anything, right or wrong, today. Where’s the good in that?

I wasn’t the best mother I could be yesterday. Well I can’t worry about that, I have to be mom today, too. I can’t change yesterday. I will just have to try harder today.

What if I ate a whole bag of chips yesterday? It wouldn’t have made me feel good, but I did it and it is done, I can’t un-eat it. So, I won’t do that today. Today I will eat the right things in the right proportions and go forward. Feeling guilty today about what I ate yesterday will not help me keep on my diet, it will just help to convince me that I can’t do this anyway. “See, look what happened yesterday, obviously I am not capable of doing this.”

Defeat all over the place.

Don’t believe if you didn’t do it yesterday, you can’t do it today. We are called to learn and make progress. Not to overlook, but to forgive and let go of the sins of the past. This means forgiving ourselves as well as those around us. Forgiving ourselves is actually harder.

Understand, I’m not saying we shouldn’t learn from yesterday. There are lessons in our yesterdays we need to take to heart, but don’t let yesterday steal the best of you.

Tomorrow can be planned for and looked forward to, but it is dangerous to look for disaster there. That is a sure way to paralyze today. Give today your full attention, make today your focus, and tomorrow will take care of itself. It is a new day full of possibilities, so take advantage of it in the morning.

Yesterday and tomorrow can so easily rob me of my today if I let them.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"String too short to use"

10) I really admire people who write on their blog every day. Wow, what dedication. I can’t imagine how that works as I never have enough time on my hands to give any one thing that much attention. My son and my work pretty much have to duke it out for the top spot.

9) It is amazing what a little love can do.

8) I am truly puzzled by the current backlash in this country against teachers. We don’t want our children to have the brightest and the best teaching them. We just want what minium wage can get us because we don’t care if our kids are smart and succeed and become productive members of society. Have I got this right? Wow. We are a lot stupider than I gave us credit for.

7) It is my day off. The sun is shining. My son is definitely on the mend. I’m feeling loved. Life is good.

6) In the grand scheme of things, does it matter if my son wants to eat lunch-type food for breakfast? As long as he eats a decent, well-rounded meal, right? Who cares if mac-n-cheese, an apple and a glass of milk are not someone’s idea of breakfast?

5) I am registered for Quilt Camp! Color me happy! I have so many projects in the works right now. I can’t wait to get up to the lodge and set up my machine and immerse myself in my craft. It is a beautiful setting in the Cascades, and I will be surrounded by like-minded people . . . what’s not to like?

4) Where do my days go? Time goes by so quickly. Here it is March already and my list of things to do is not dwindling. If anything it is getting longer cause I don’t have sense enough to quit adding to it. So the answer to the question is: “Yes, I do make my very own brand of trouble for myself, but only because nobody else will do it for me.” I guess the good news is the list does change, it just doesn’t shrink.

3) I found the yummiest recipe for Tilapia with Hash Browns. I didn’t find it to be too complicated or labor intensive. I have never been the best in the kitchen with fish, but I’m telling you this recipe is foolproof. The recipe is from the Food Network kitchens and if you Google it, it will come right up. It is beautiful coming out of the oven, so makes a nice dish for company as well. Do cook the hash browns on the stove top in a non-stick skillet until they are as crispy as you want them. I did this and then slid them into a regular skillet for the oven time as my non-stick is not oven-proof. The oven time on the recipe is OK, the stove top time is off. Those hash browns take a heck of a long time to get crispy.

2) CJE built me a wonderful little shelf for my office recently. It is not fancy, but it is made to order and perfectly houses my printer and CPU. I love it cause it cleared so much space on my desk. I am all for changing up my space if it means getting the most efficient use of it. I love my office which is good cause I spend a lot of time here.

1) If you were to suddenly find out one work of fiction was actually true, what book would you choose?

Mine would have to be any one or all of Anne McCaffery’s Pern series. I want to ride a dragon!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"String too short to use"

10) Prayers for the people of New Zealand. The images of destruction and death in Christchurch are horrible.

9) “Mom, you’re bustin’ my chops.” Liam’s latest. Cracks me up, although my husband says it’s disrespectful. I suppose it is, but it made me laugh anyway.

8) Because I have no preconceived notions about where Liam should be on the learning curve, I am absolutely delighted when he displays new talents. This week he has figured out how to identify and spell his own name. He can’t write it yet, but he can point to the letters, call them out and he knows it spells “Liam.” Too cool.

7) I am so looking forward to this weekend. Liam and CJE are heading off today to spend a few days at Grandma’s house. After a week of Liam being sick, then a week of me being sick, and then a weekend of CJE only coming home to sleep, I am so very ready for a break. Thankfully CJE’s mom is only about a three-hour drive away, and she loves having free-rein with Liam.

6) Work. Work. Work. It is hard to work when my little one is sick. It is hard to work when I am sick. Therefore, I am two weeks behind and struggling to catch up before month’s end. I promised CJE I would not work the whole time this weekend.

5) Firefly. Nathan Fillion and crew, you rock.

4) A friend of mine posts photos of her children on facebook all the time with no clothes on. For some reason I find this offensive. Why must I see these otherwise cute children in bare skin and  saggy diapers? Don’t your children have clothes? There are tons and tons of really cute kids' clothes in stores everywhere. Liam even has some very cute, clean castoffs I could give you that would probably fit your kids. No wonder they are sick all the time, they are likely freezing. Without clothes on you’d need to keep it about 80° in your home for them to be warm enough to trot around all day in their altogethers. You post all these pictures of half naked children in diapers. Nasty. Where are their clothes? Get them dressed.

3) Spring really is coming.  I took a brisk little stroll around the yard over the weekend and many bushes, tree and flowers are budding and ready. Tulips and daffodils are poking through. This morning their little heads have a dusting of snow on them, but they are hardy . . . they will keep on coming and soon the sun will have some warmth in it for them. I am so very ready to get out there and dig in the dirt.

2) I am a little bit proud of the fact that I don’t use the word “hate” much. There are things and situations and even people in this world that I have a strong aversion to, but not much that I can honestly say I truly “hate.” That being said, I hate coats. I have never found one that looks as cute on me as it does on the model or the damn hangar for that matter. Because I am a short, round person, it just seems adding another layer, especially a bulky one, just makes me look rounder. Blech. No, thank you. Besides, I carry around enough insulation that most of the year I don’t really need one anyway.

1) If I asked you to name your all-time best song, which would it be? I don’t want the one that made the most money, I want the one that most deeply touched your heart/changed your life.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Having a tough week

Liam woke us between one and two Monday morning gasping for air and coughing up mucous and blood. He had a low-grade fever and at first said his mouth hurts, but now tells me in a very raspy little voice that his throat hurts.

Needless to say, Monday was a really long day. I couldn’t get him into the doctor until Tuesday. Doc says it is not strep, but suspects some other bacteria at work. So Liam will be taking an antibiotic for a few days.

This threw my week in the toilet. Whatever work I thought I was going to get done is waiting for next week. No way could he go to the sitter’s like this. Now that he’s been on antibiotics for more than 24 hours, he is no longer contagious, but he is still a very miserable little boy. I did see some improvement yesterday. He seemed to have a bit more energy and actually ate a little something, plus the off-and-on, low-grade fever seemed to be more off than on.

I honestly thought I was accomplishing nothing on the days I was home with Liam, now I know better. Sick boys, big or little, are very whiny and demanding. We have done a lot of movie watching and napping in chairs, sofas and beds all over the house. He doesn’t want me out of his sight, so sitting at the computer working is out of the question. He will barely let me go to the bathroom.

Since I haven’t gotten more than about three hours of sleep in any one of the past four nights, I figure I’m the one mostly likely to come down with this next. Oh joy.

So it hasn’t been a real fun week. I’ve gone flying out the door the last two evenings the moment CJE walked in so I can get some work done somewhere. This means no dinner as a family (Liam wasn’t eating anyway) and no chance to sit and talk with my husband.

Many things combined to not make me a very happy camper.

On the plus side . . .

Yes, I am trying to find a plus side here.

On the plus side:

    1) I have had lots of cuddle time with Liam. We have snuggled and snoozed in almost every chair and bed in the house. He is a sweet, cuddly little boy at the best of times and when he is sick . . . even more so.

    2) It has been extremely quiet around our house this week. Liam has been unable to talk above a whisper since get up on Monday. I have to admit I do love the sound of silence. Having Liam be sick to get it makes the trade off not so good, however.

Needless to say we are eagerly looking forward to next week.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I have been thinking a lot about heroes this week. Not necessarily heroes in general, but heroes specific to my life. I have several, but two in particular standout in my mind.

One is a person I have known since 5th grade. Her family moved into the area and she started attending Mt Hall Elementary in the fall of 1974. We became friends and have remained friends, through thick and thin, good times and trials, ever since. Neither of us had really thought about it much, we had just always been friends, until one day a few years ago her then boyfriend asked, “How long have you two known one another?” We both gave the flip answer; “since 5th grade.” Dave persisted and said, “How long ago was that?” We had to stop and think then and we came up with . . . 34 years. Wow!

I actually blogged about her once before, back in June 2008 when she and Dave got married. More of the details of our friendship can be found there. However, today I am writing about heroes, and I want to tell you why she qualifies.

This dear friend has been through seventeen kinds of hell in her life yet she always has a smile and a helping hand for the next person she meets.

One of her sons and one of her younger brothers both suffer from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. They both live with her. Her son is now 25 and her brother is in his 40s. Onset of the disease for each of them was when they were adolescents. For many years she was their primary caregiver and when that got to be too much, nurses started coming in. This means through the major part of everyday, strangers are all over her house. Not that they stay strangers for very long, but think about what that means. Because these nurses are responsible for the guys’ complete care, they are doing laundry and cooking and cleaning in her house, oftentimes when she is not there.

Two years ago when her Dad passed away, her Mom came to live with her as well. She is in her 70s and has cancer. She has been on the verge of dying several times over the past few months and it speaks volumes about my friend’s undying dedication to helping and healing that her Mom is still around.

There is more, lots more, but some of it I don’t feel I have the liberty to share. Suffice it to say, for all she has accepted gracefully in her life, she will always be a hero in my book.

My other significant hero is a guy I met in 1986 when I was living in southern California. My then husband, Gary, was in the Navy and, after we got settled in Oxnard, he deployed to Puerto Rico. Steve had been in the same company, but had mustered out so stayed behind. Steve shared an apartment with several other Navy and ex-Navy guys in the complex next to ours.

While my husband was in Puerto Rico a blow-by-blow record of his infidelity came to light. I won’t bore you with the details, but this was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. The next time Gary called from Puerto Rico, I told him it was over and I was leaving. When word got out, I discovered the number of real friends I had in southern California could be counted on one finger . . . Steve.

I was 23 years old and terrified.

Over the course of the next few days, Steve helped me in countless ways. He helped me hold my act together. Without his help I would never have rented a trailer and gotten it loaded with the few personal items I was taking. The whole time I was scared to death Gary would get emergency leave and show up before I could get gone. While others turned their backs on me for leaving, Steve stood by me. He never questioned my decision or the reasons behind it. He trusted that what I was doing was the right thing for me and he never judged me for what I felt I had to do.

I have always felt him to be heroic for standing up for what he believed was right in the face of plenty of adversaries ready to tell him he was wrong. I’ve always appreciated his presence at that most difficult time in my life and am very happy to have reconnected with him recently.

These are two of the significant heroes in my life. Who are yours?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bleeding onto the screen

I have searched my archives for something to put on here, something mostly finished that just needs a little polish. Nada. Zip. Zilch. So I am forced to start from scratch and to be honest . . . I got nothin’.

I haven’t blogged in awhile. Life has definitely got in the way. The busyness of the holidays has combined with my general funk about the condition of our world and other things and left me with nothing encouraging, humorous or engaging to say.

I keep telling myself, this too shall pass, but it has been with me for several months and its hold doesn’t seem to be lifting in the slightest.

Having a three-year old constantly at my elbow doesn’t help my ability to focus and complete sentences. I look for a time of the day to write when he’s otherwise occupied, but then I need sleep too. Liam giving up his nap altogether was the death of my blog. I am hoping to breathe new life into it soon. I miss it.

An occurrence in October really took the wind from my sails and I have been trying since then to get it back. I discovered a fellow blogging friend of mine, someone whose opinions I value, has stopped reading my blog. You know the little traffic feed is cool, it shows you who is reading, well, it also shows you who is not. I don’t understand. I feel incredibly hurt. I keep asking myself, was she the only person I was writing for? The answer has to be no, so I’m trying to make it no.

So I ask my remaining readers, geez I hope there are some, to bear with me while I work through this. I know things will get better. Please keep checking this page. I am struggling to get back to it.