Monday, June 30, 2008

Moving Up in the World

I have placed my order. They tell me the modem is being shipped. Self-installation is a possibility. Sanity is the goal.

If dialup doesn't kill me or I don't smash this computer in a near-fit of just-under-rage, I might be connecting to the information age in a timely fashion soon.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Be Careful What You Ask For

With the increase in our family size - in both number of people and length of teenage boy's legs - the need for a different vehicle is also increasing.

The van I've been driving for almost 4 years is 14 years old, has 226,000 miles on it, and is currently sitting in the parking lot of Menards, waiting to be towed to the repair shop. It doesn't feel like running. It whines, turns over, and plays dead. Both front window motors have been repaired or replaced several times. The fuel pump and filter have been replaced at least twice. The alignment can not be aligned completely, so the front tires have to be replaced more frequently than average. The blower does not work on the high setting. The horn doesn't work at all. The van locks of it's own volition at the most inopportune times, usually when I forget to pick up my keys from the seat. The ignition key is duck-taped in permanently, because it broke off in the ignition.

Tom drives a Festiva, courting more miles than my van. This little circus car is part red, part blue, and part primer. It has several coat hangers holding the exhaust system together. The muffler is loud enough that it sets off the neighbor's weenie-car alarm system just as good as the Harley riders and the multitude of freight trains rushing through our town each day. The passenger window does not roll up all the way, and the door doesn't open all the way. When you close the door, you have to "lift and slam". The left headlight is covered by a sheet of clear plastic held on by a bungee cord or something similar. The heater does not work.

Believe it or not, both these vehicles were answers to prayer.

During the summer of 2004, I had been praying for some financial pressure to ease up a little, and in one particular moment, I said, "God, if we just had an extra $200 dollars a month, that would help us so much." A few short days after this innocent request,(perhaps not even a prayer so much as a fleeting thought, to be honest) someone plowed through a stop sign and broadsided me. This effectively eliminated a $188 monthly van payment, along with the insurance company calling it a total loss and giving us enough money to buy, with cash, the van we have now.

A few months later, Tom needed a better vehicle for work. Gas prices were just starting to rise above acceptable terms, and he prayed for a car that "gets at least 40 mpg, and won't cost more than $300". The ad he found in the classified section was the exact match, and he didn't have to pray for a week to decide if that was the car God intended for him to have.

There is a good possibility that we may be getting a baby in the near future. We are making some attempts to find the right adoptee(s), as well. Right now we have enough seat belts (notice I didn't say "enough room") for all family members, but one more addition will require either driving 2 vehicles or using a bigger mode of transportation when the whole family goes somewhere. But the bigger dilemma is actually deciding whether we want one of those gas-guzzling passenger vans, or do we want to drive separate, more efficient mini-vans? Would it be cheaper to drive one monster? What about when I need to take only 4 kids out? Should we get one monster and one normal car?

When we found this house, I had been praying that we would be able to buy, instead of staying where we were renting - the landlord called and said he was going to tear down our house to make a parking lot and we had 60 days to move. Since my prayers get answered in unorthodox ways, and since God apparently thinks I learn better through humor and comedy, I'm trying to make some of my prayers a little more specific. So...

We need:
Seating for 8+ family members and the occasional friend
A 2nd door on the driver's side
Accessibility for Gabe
Space for guitars, wheelchairs, strollers, car seats, diaper bags and other necessities of family life
Room for long legs to be comfortable and little arms to not be able to reach pullable hair
Economic feasibility - affordable insurance, decent gas mileage, etc.

Oh, and another thing, we can't afford a payment of any kind.

Yep, I know. I'm asking alot. But I seem to recall singing a song in Sunday School about God owning the cattle on a thousand hills. Most people would assume that means that God can provide a vehicle if it's needed. I'm sure He can and will. I just sincerely hope that His idea isn't to rope 10 of those Holsteins together and drop them off with a wagon at my front door!

Is This Moral Compass Broken?

Thank goodness I don't have to sign papers saying I agree with particular viewpoints of this organization's leadership before they accept the donations I help to procure.

Moral clarity? Personal faith?


Oh, Good Grief!

Friday, June 27, 2008


They warned us. They told us the scary stories. They covered lots of scenarios.

But -

They didn't tell us how it really feels to sit and talk to the mother who knows she can't take her little boy home with her when she leaves. They didn't tell us how it would feel to be the "mommy" he's crying for when he's with his mother. They didn't tell us how we'd feel when his mother says she knows she can't take care of him now and she knows he's happy with us.

They tell us "Don't get your hopes up..."

I wish I couldn't hear them.

Friday, June 20, 2008

And Now for An Update

I've been called demented. I've been called sarcastic. I've been called both.

This proves that couldn't possibly be true!

Today is Friday, June 20th

It's official - Sex Ed is horrible in other countries, too! At least in the United States we know how to get pregnant!

It's official - You can be looney, but you still can't get away from those dang lawyers!

It's official - The Farmer did it! Forget that whole "Next time you eat, thank a farmer" campaign! And here I thought Global Warming was my fault, since I tossed all those used diapers in the landfill and didn't Reduce and Reuse.

It's official - They don't even TRY to hide their Voyeuristic Tendencies from the public anymore. They just want us to be mad at Ma Bell instead of the real perpetrators - otherwise known as "We're covering our own butts!"

It's official - We really do have an endless supply of money in this country.

It's official - While I may not care, there are obviously some people who do.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Make Mine with Nuts, Please

Over the years, I've participated in many different types of "personality" tests for various reasons. School, college classes, sales training, counseling, trying to figure out how to get along with other people, trying to figure out how to get along with myself, just for fun - you name it.

The results are usually fairly indicative of my core self in all it's glory, with only a couple "Yeah, right" glitches here and there. I'm a people person, I can listen sympathetically, I like being in the limelight sometimes, I can make my own fun, I talk alot (that doesn't necessarily mean I'm actually saying anything), I put other people's needs before my own, I'm demonstrative, emotional, thickheaded, stubborn, loyal, creative, action-oriented - I'm not boring.

What's funny about these "tests" is that I pretty much have to do them blind-folded, because if I jump ahead of myself and read the questions and have time to think about my answer, I try to analyze what the "correct" answer will make me look like, so I might not be completely accurate when I answer the questions if I think the answer will make me boring. For example, one test was figuring out what my choice of vehicle says about my personality. OK, I'm a Mom! What do you think I drive? It's a green mini-van. Trust me, I don't drive that because I WANT to! I want a convertible!! Top down! In the rain! But oh no! I have to be RESPONSIBLE! I put other people's needs before my own! Plus I just can't afford the Mustang. Drat!

Then there's the Internet.

Online personality tests crack me up. I appreciate how they stick to scientific evidence when formulating the questions and calculating the answers. They are always completely accurate, hitting the target each and every time. It's obvious that the facts are checked, rechecked, and checked again, similar to the fact-checking rules and criteria to which National Enquirer and Star strictly adhere.

For example, last night I did a quick one, 8-9 questions, on "What kind of chocolate are you?" Apparently, I'm milk chocolate. That's great - Hershey Bars are my absolute favorite kind of chocolate when I want something that is nothing but chocolate. No nuts, no dark, no white, no crunch. Just chocolate. Then I read on - This diagnosis of milk chocolate is apparently because I "have my head in the clouds". First, wouldn't that make me "white chocolate"? Unless, of course, it's a rainy day, in which case, I should be labelled "Cookies and Cream" at the least. But nope, I'm milk chocolate because I have my head in the clouds. ??

I'm not sure what pipe I've been smoking recently, but I haven't seen any clouds close up. Who has time to sniff the sky when they have 2 2-year-olds in the house, 3 teenage boys to feed, and one stuck-in-the-middle girl who can run circles around everybody AND the clouds?

Then there was the test that posed the question "How real are you?" ...(this should be fun)...
My assigned answer - 69%


Ya don't get a whole lot more REAL than me - I'd say I'm about 98% REAL. There are times in life when I successfully bite my tongue hard enough that the pain keeps me in check and I don't blow my lid being real. Generally it has something to do with church people extolling the virtues of the likes of Joyce, Joel, Rick, Ed, Rob, Benny, Richard (you get the concept, right?) yet being unable to point out a sound piece of Biblical evidence for why I should listen to how the "preacher" in question is trying to "bless" me. Being "not real" that 2% of the time is the best I can do. Maybe it's just because I don't "feel safe" being real with everybody 100% of the time - that's my official psychological reasoning.

If there was a test for "How long do you rant about unimportant topics?" I would ace it! I bet I would be 100% Real Pure Cocoa.

But this test...THIS test was right on the mark!

You Are Smores

Unusual and unconventional, you make your strange ways work for you.

You've got personality - no one's denying that!

Monday, June 16, 2008

101 Ways to Eat a Chicken

I'm sitting here thinking my "In The Kitchen" section looks like I never cook. In reality, I'm a fairly decent cook of most basic things. I don't get fancy too often. My "A" personality type simply can't stand to take the time to read completely through a recipe before just throwing everything in a bowl and calling it good, then getting really ticked when it doesn't taste the way the picture made it look.

Meijer has chicken breast BOGO this week, so I'm stocking up because everybody in our house likes chicken.

This week, we've already had chicken marinated with Italian dressing and Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing. It was good, but I had to bake it in the oven. I would prefer it on the grill. I've also fixed it with the Italian dressing and a jar of strawberry jam or apricot (my sister's suggestion) preserves. I prefer the strawberry. Fix a box (for us, 2 boxes isn't enough!) of Lower Sodium Chicken Rice-a-Roni. Throw together a quick spinach/strawberry/pecan or walnut salad with the Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing.

The kids all really like chicken covered in bread crumbs, covered with Alfredo sauce and baked for about 25 minutes. Toss some mozzarella cheese on the last 5 minutes of baking, serve with linguine.

At Aldi's or Dollar Tree, you can get Seasoning Grinders. They're cheap and really tasty. (Pick up the Sea Salt grinder at Aldi's. You won't want to use regular table salt after you've tried it, really! We accidentally used the pizza and pasta grinder in scrambled eggs, thinking it was pepper - we use it purposefully on eggs.) Use any of the grinders, or Lipton Dry Onion Soup mix, or a GrillMates spice combined with crushed corn flakes - dip the chicken in a milk/egg mixture, drag through the corn flakes, bake it, eat it, wipe the drool off your chin.

One of my very favorite chicken salads just has shredded chicken breast, mayo, red grapes and pineapple. Put it on a sweeter-type bread or French bread for sandwiches. My boys pick out the fruit - I think they're weird. It's a mutual feeling.

Ok, that's my chicken ideas for the week. Hopefully liver isn't the sale at Meijer next week.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

An idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture

So THAT's what that means!

About a month or so ago, my sister tagged me, but around here, ya go with the tide and the tide hit my computer. Onward and upward -

Favorite person (outside family): Oh, depending on my mood, it might be my hiLARious friend, Carrie - we tend to get into trouble when we spend too much time together, so we limit ourselves to occasional cookouts with our family and phone calls to rant about her jerky boss; I LOVE Russ and Cindra Coy, a wonderful couple at our church; and while we don't spend much time together (kids, homeschool moms, etc) I really like to blabber with my church friend, Mandy - her family is just as screwy as mine

Favorite Food: A good steak and steamed, fresh vegetables. And Cheesecake. And Brownies. And Coffee.

Quirks about me: Good grief, do I really need to answer this? I understand football; I remember my phone number from childhood; I can't tolerate the smell of anti-freeze; I eat beets out of the can; I don't use a microwave; I can't stand wearing shoes; I like Corona better than wine; (I also don't have the typical, American/Church-Person attitude that Christians don't drink alcohol - is that a religious quirk?); I actually like some of my kids' screamo music; the notion that Global Warming is real pushes me over the edge; I want a bunch more kids; I quote movies my kids can't watch, just to irritate them; that's enough - I can't give away all my secrets.

How would the person who loves you most describe you in ten words or less? (Ask them.) He can't describe me in 10 words - no one can.

Any regrets in life? Many. One of the biggest is that I spent too long living in the past.

Favorite Cause/Charity: Those closest to my heart include Operation Christmas Child,
Angelman Syndrome Foundation,
Ronald McDonald Houses, and giving to local causes like Gabe's school, which serves special needs/autism children.

Favorite Blog Recently: This should be no surprise.

Something you can't get enough of: Dumb question, not sure how to answer, so I'll go with "I like candles and Frank Sinatra"

Worst job you've ever had. First job! Being a nurses' aide was the be-all, end-all for some reason. (Not MY idea, but it was allowed - and WHY, I'll NEVER understand! There is NO WAY I would allow Savannah to do what I did at this job, when she's 16! No Way!!!) I worked at a nursing home that was in an old house, had poor plumbing, bad floor plans, and dirty old men. The home used cloth diapers. I lasted 4 days. Nope, Savannah won't be doing that kind of job anytime soon.

What job would you pay NOT to have. I would never want to be a social worker, investigator, attorney or judge in a child abuse case. I would rather go back to the nursing home!

If you could be a fly on a wall, where? So many walls, so little time. I'd start out with the home of the Walmart CEO to see if I can find out if he's really as non-human as I assume he must be, and how he can sleep at night knowing he's doing business with China at breakneck speed; then I'd zip over to the Exxon Mobil mansions to see how my money is being utilized there; for lunch, I'd like to see what plans George Bush has for America after he finishes his "term"; for dinner, I'll go to Howie Mandel's plate, because he won't bother to smack me, with him being a germaphobe and all...I'll make sure I blow him razzberry kisses; I'll finish off the day with...oh crap, I didn't make it - that stupid fly paper got me again!

Favorite Bible verse right now: Jeremiah 29:11-13 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

Guilty pleasure? Going for coffee alone; it's a treat when I take Savannah, it's a secret when I go alone because she tends to get a little cranky about that!

Got any confessions? Are you a priest? I'm not Catholic. Go away!

If you HAD to spend $1,000 on YOURSELF, how would you spend it? I would fly to Texas and smell my nephew's laundry. I'm not being weird! Every once in a while, I get a whiff of the laundry detergent my sister washes his clothes with, and it makes me want to squeeze the stuffing out of him, but being 1100 miles away limits that opportunity somewhat. With the cost of fuel hitting all industries including the airlines, if there's any money left over, I would spend the rest on custom undergarments of the sexy variety. Or, I would kidnap Tom from work and spend a long weekend in Hocking Hills at this place.

Favorite thing about your house? Our house has gorgeous woodwork, which is what sold us on it. Of course, the fact that our former house had 60 days until the wrecking ball took a swipe at it encouraged the hastening of a home purchase, but that's another story. I love my house.

Least favorite thing about your house? We don't have much closet space, we're not in the country, we have one bathroom, the kitchen is boring and smallish, and we have no place for kids to have friends over and be "separate yet seen" for movies, etc. But we've got nice woodwork.

One thing you're bad at: Keeping my mouth shut when witnessing stupid.

One thing you're good at: Seeing comedy in most situations

If you could change one thing about your circumstances, what? I would be more organized, and I would figure out a way to make money without leaving my kids, so my husband doesn't have to work 70 hour weeks.

Who would you like to meet someday? Fred G. Sanford, if he were a real person. But since he's not, I'd like to meet Homer Hickam. For whatever reason, I really like his books. Carol Burnett. Jimmy Stewart and Ronald Reagan, but not if I have to die to meet them.

What makes you feel sexy? When Tom hears a song that makes him think about me, and tells me about it. Or when he whispers something raunchy in my ear that should make me blush if anyone else hears it (I rarely blush, though)

Who is your real life hero? Webster's Dictionary defines the word "hero" as "an object of extreme admiration and devotion, a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities, one that shows great courage" and Tom exceeds that criteria - it also defines "hero" as "a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability, an illustrious warrior, the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work, the central figure in an event, period, or movement" - that would probably be David, in the Bible - a whiner and complainer, yes, but he also knew how to throw a party, right down to the dancing naked part, AND he was "a man after God's own heart"

What is the hardest part of your job? Believing that I really am doing the right thing, when so much around me looks like I'm failing.

When are you most relaxed? When all the bills are paid and I still have money for milk

What stresses you out? Looking at my calendar; deadlines; financial pressure. Other than that, I'm pretty easy going!

What can you not live without? Tom. And then there's always air, come to think of it.

Do you agree or disagree with the recent article that reported that blogs are authored by narcissists? What article? I'm too busy writing about myself. Hey, it's my blog, so chances are pretty likely I'm gonna talk about myself somewhat. But everyone else is fair game, too, especially if ya do something stupid! Hopefully I amuse. I'm pretty sure I've offended. Shrug. Get over yourselves. The rest of us had to.

Why do you blog? I'm hoping to be discovered someday, and I want the world to be able to look back and see the real me, how I lived, what I fought for, who my friends were. I want my blog address to be worth millions so my heirs will be incredibly wealthy when the rights to my memoirs are sold at Sotheby's for many, many zeroes.


Apparently, there are some rules involved with this episode, and I'm supposed to tag:

Two Newish Bloggers:

Two Blog Friends:

The problem here is that I actually don't read a ton of blogs, so I don't know who's new and who's old. I also don't know that any of my personal friends actively blog. So I'll just go with the 2 below, and if they wanna play, they can!

Two Bloggers I'd Like To Know Better: We think maybe it isn't a good idea for us to be friends, because Shelly and I have waaaaaaaaay to much in common. But I think we're related somehow.

And Dorothy. She has the size of family I have always wanted, and she still hasn't pulled her hair out!

Read My Text - Know Gnus is Good Gnus

It is with great (after all, this is graduation season) pomp and circumstance (what in the wide world does that mean, anyway?!?) that I announce the obvious -

"My computer is back home and working correctly."

It's still ancient, I still have dialup and the color scheme is still askew, but thanks to my handy-dandy brother-in-law, I can at least not have to wade through the bikes, cell phones and bimbo teenage girls at the library to check my email.

What's happened?

Tom survived his sailing adventures...
Bucky turned 15...
Savannah turned 11...
Our bedroom is much prettier...

I have pictures of all the above events - relocating them to this spot will take time and energy that I am currently short on, so don't hold your breath.

Something I've discovered in the past month - I truly have no patience for texting. Bucky bought a cell phone. It never leaves his side. It's like an appendage on his hip, one of those stretchy wristband/keychain thingys the Walmart managers keep on their arm and when they need to feel ultra important they snap themselves with it, but they can't really get away from it, they NEED it. (They want you to think it's the keys to the safe, but really it's the keys to the paper towel dispenser.)

This cell phone tumor presents a way to check up on Bucky when he's not in my sight. I've tried to text him exactly twice. The first time it took me longer to punch in "Come home now, I need the keys" than if I would have called a locksmith and had him cut me a new set. The second time, as I was finishing up my laborious task of saying "We r here, where r u?" in text-ese, thankfully he walked into view and I didn't have to admit that my adrenaline level was peaking at 720,000 and make up excuses for why I was in the back of an ambulance wearing nothing but leather restraints and screaming "Alltel sucks!" at the top of my lungs.

I saw a poster at Walmart a few days ago that was a big list of Text Talk Shortcuts. I noticed that POS means Parents Over Shoulder. What fool actually puts in writing the definition of the code for "I can't talk now, my parents will kill me if they see this"? I would have been curious, had I noticed one of my kids saying "POS", but I probably would have assumed that A. They bought a vowel from Vanna while adding a postscript, or B. They're balancing my checkbook for me and writing in the Point of Sale transactions. But not now! Ha! Now I know they're hiding something from me if they're POSing somebody!

If any adults reading this are proficient at texting, you should be ashamed of yourself! In the amount of time it takes to send a single 5 word text, have you any idea how many times you could kiss your spouse and totally gross out your kids??!??

(That's so much more fun!)