Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Who Says It's Not All About Winning?

I see my parents and sisters and their families only a handful of times every year, so each moment with them is important to me. We talk and eat, but the part I love best is that when these guys are doing this:
some of us are doing this:

What makes you happy about family reunions?


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

And They're Good Cooks, too!

There is much for which I am thankful.

~ Experiences, friends, memories, material goods, the grace of the Lord ~

But today I am especially thankful for the fact

 that the people who have known me the longest are still happy to see me.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Throwing Caution to the Wind and Surviving

After twenty years of making apple pie the same way, I got brave and tried a new recipe.  A little too much nutmeg for me, but that didn't seem to matter to anyone else in the family.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Christmas? Bring it!


We are ready!!

That no shopping has been done...

...is just a minor inconvenience.
Okay.  Maybe it's a major inconvenience, but I won't think about that today.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Medical Maven I'm Not

For two months he has said, "My heel really hurts."

And I said, "Uh huh."

But I thought, "It's just a little bruise thing. It's not a big deal."

After school on Friday, I gave in and took him to the doctor even though I dreaded the bill that would follow in the mail.

I heard the doctor say,

"Growth plate injury."

"Very serious."

"Risk of permanent damage without treatment."
"Very glad you brought him in when you did."

That's when I had to eat my words, both spoken and unspoken.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

FF: All Around My Brain

**I had to drive my 10 year old somewhere on a very dark, rainy, and foggy night and absent-mindedly sang along with the radio. After we arrived at our destination, my son said, "Thanks for the completely inappropriate entertainment." I was totally confused until I realized that I had been singing the 1991 Divinyls hit. I can't even bring myself to type the title.

**We had a Weight Watchers friendly Beef Stroganoff this week. The non-friendly version would have tasted much better.

**Walmart!! Order more of this soap. It is lovely.

**My teen boy says he doesn't know what I see in Bruce Springsteen. I'll admit that I'm glad he doesn't. But, Bruce? Keep your politics to yourself.

**How do those protesters from Westboro Baptist Church sleep at night????

**Would you consider sharing a dog? It is a popular trend now. Two families share expenses and time with the dog. If the families live very near each other, it's even better. The dogs supposedly get to know the routine and will wait at the door when it's time to go to the second family.

**That makes me wonder how people manage to live double lives with two different families. How do they not go crazy trying to keep details straight? FYI: no personal references being hinted at here.

**And in the mindset of what was he thinking: In the metro Detroit area a man has rejected a $150,000 settlement offer after he used a screwdriver to open a jar of Del Monte fruit and the lid flew off and hit his eye rendering him unconscious.

**This week's fragments brought to you by Mrs. 4444's, who will no doubt be sad after the Michigan-Wisconsin game tomorrow.

Mommy's Idea

What's so hard about getting up at 4?

He was sure that if he did not go hunting with his dad and brother that he would miss something really exciting.

He needn't have worried.
The good news was that he was a little better rested than the other guys when they arrived home empty-handed.

Obviously MARvelous

Monday, November 15, 2010

Begging Your Pardon

My daughter and I stopped at Walgreen's the other night for a hairbrush. And some ponytail elastics. And maybe some moisturizer. And...you know how that goes.

As soon as we walked into the store an employee blocked our path and asked me two questions. Her English was heavily accented, so I asked her to repeat the questions. When it was clear that I wasn't going to understand what she was saying, I got nervous and answered, "Yes!" to the first and, "No!" to the second.  I walked around her, but she began to walk right behind me. At no time was she more than a few inches from me. Seriously. I could hear her breathing the entire time and had I turned quickly, we may have bumped boobs. That close. Unnerved, I walked several aisles and looked at many products and she continued to shadow me without ever saying another word.

It made me nervous, and I began to wonder what questions I had just answered.

"Do you find me seriously desirable?" Yes!
"Do you think you can forget me after this encounter?" No!

"Are you planning to shoplift while in my store?" Yes!
"Can you pull it off without my assistance?" No!

"Are you certifiably crazy?" Yes!
"Did you take your meds today?" No!

I felt so guilty about what I might have admitted to that I ended up buying a hundred dollars worth of things from her.

What do YOU suppose she was asking me?

Friday, November 12, 2010

FF: No Frontal Lobe

A student told me yesterday that I looked good. Since my belt couldn't even touch end to end before work and I had to go back to my fat belt, his comment made me smile.

In the oops category goes the comment that I made to a completely bald man this week.  "I like your hair cut."

My youngest child has been streamlining his morning routine.  For a while now, he's been sleeping in his school clothes and there have been times when he has slept with his school folder.  Last night he slept in his jacket.  Are the shoes next?

Yesterday I was on a road with a speed limit of 50 MPH. The woman behind me was talking into a cell phone in her left hand and was texting with another cell phone in her right hand.

I met a woman recently who said she is going to push me to go back to work full time, and I realized that I am ready for that. That she works at a university where I want to work is convenient. Now if she could only really get me a job!

My newest quest? Non-pilling, non-shrinking sheets that won't leave my husband swimming in a sea of perspiration by 3 a.m.  If they could be less than a mortgage payment, I would love them even more.

Dolly Parton is a brilliant business woman and some of her lyrics are just wonderful, but I think she should have refused to record "Stairway to Heaven." Have you heard it? Go on!! YouTube it. I dare you!

On Wednesday, while in a waiting room, I listened as two elderly women had a conversation. They spoke exceedingly loudly and were quite conciliatory toward each other, but although they took turns in speaking, neither woman was involved in the other's conversation. They were in parallel conversations - just taking turns talking. If this post is any indication, I am well on my way to joining them. Fortunately there are those who understand. 

Mommy's Idea

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Happiness Project: Soaking

Every morning, before the sun crests the neighbors' house, these two stumble down their bed ladders and drag themselves to this ancient hot tub.  They slowly awaken and warm-up and what begins as a quiet journey to the backyard soon becomes a laughing fest. That old vessel was a good investment after all.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Caution's Cooking Conquest

I cannot believe how many recipes people carry around in their heads!  It seems that any time I
  • sit at a ball game
  • sit through a scouting event
  • sit through a church-related event
  • stand in line at the grocery store
people begin to talk food, and that talk turns to recipes.  And that is when people say, "I have the greatest way to make ..."

I love to hear those recipes, but I never remember them. 

Okay, there is one exception.  Years ago while we waited for our young daughters to sell Girl Scout cookies at Kroger, a woman said,

"Put a couple of pounds of beef stew, a couple of cans of tomatoes, and a couple of cans of Bush's Chili Magic into a crock pot.  Voila! Dinner will be served eight hours later."

I love that recipe and love doctoring it with different things. As a matter of fact, it's what's for dinner tonight.

A couple of weeks ago my family went to a party ~ a grand party with the most gracious hosts who know how to cook.  Among the DOZENS of dishes they put out, one held ribs and that prompted me to admit that I cannot cook ribs to save my life.

You should have heard the chorus around that room:
  • use vinegar!
  • use beer!
  • Make Checkered cook!

The woman next to me quietly said that she had the best method ever! Then she told me to do three things, but I knew that was two things too many to remember, so she scrounged up paper and a pen and wrote those things down.  I stuffed that paper into my pocket and found it a few day later.
 She was right:  KILLER ribs !! 

I was going to call and thank her, but my son now says I've been mispronouncing the woman's name for a year (he couldn't have told me months ago????)  I think an email thank-you will suffice; don't you?

Friday, November 5, 2010

FF: Embracing Life

I decided to take a break from blogging and it lasted one Friday.   Here's what you may have missed in my absence:

I bought an old computer from a student.  He included the stale cigarette smoke in the tower as a bonus.  Every time I use that computer now, I think I'm in a Motel 6 or Super 8.

A couple of days ago, I was using the very cool mouse which was totally messed up and working backward.   I was annoyed at: 1. the mouse, 2. the student, 3. the cigarette smoke.  It took me a while to realize that I was holding the mouse upside down.

Michigan drivers are exhausting me.  This morning I stopped to allow a middle school student to cross in front of me.  The mom behind me immediately blew her horn.  You can imagine how gracious they are to a new driver, so I ordered some of these for our cars. Let's hope they help.

But WHY when I Googled  "student driver sign" did breastfeeding signs come up?  The correlation is lost on me.

Never before have I have a semester where so many students have buried a parent or a sibling.  Their essays are breaking my heart.

My flower bulbs, which arrived weeks ago, are still unplanted.

The child in this family assigned to feeding the dog has NOT been giving her water.  "Why would I do that when we have a toilet?"

My youngest child was very sad when he learned that 8 year olds cannot vote.  He had been watching the ads and reading the mail and had picked out his candidate.  It was some guy named Jack.  Checkered and I both voted for Jack to make our son happy.  We're deep political thinkers.

Jack won.

Mommy's Idea

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I don't always expect my children to be popular, but I certainly hope they will have a friend or two.  My son thought he had one -just one.  Last night that friend joined two other kids and pelted my child with rocks and sticks.  When my child told them to stop, they held him and stuffed his shirt with leaves.  When he tried to run away, they threw basketballs, and soccer balls, and even a baseball at his head.  When his face turned red from the effort of holding back tears, they told him he was a wus. 

Thank God for cell phones.  "Come get me.  Now!" 

My child needs a real friend.  His dad and I need wisdom so that we don't exacerbate the situation. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sweetness in there Somewhere

He may be closer to his eleventh birthday than his tenth, and he may be closer to the attitude of a sixteen year old than to that of a ten year old, BUT put this boy in the presence of  beautiful symphonic and choral music, and he's all love.  His lucky, lucky dad got to sit next to him for the concert.