halloween 2007

We spent 5 billion dollars on halloween this year - that is up 50% from 2 years ago. It sounds almost unbelievable until the same stats sayers tell us that we will spend a combined 475 billion dollars on Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah in the next few months.

That is a long way from your mom and dad's halloween. As a kid, I knew that every year I would wear the jeans that fit at the time, add one of my dad's shirts, tie a scarf to a stick and voila!, a hobo. Never mind the costume, it was worth it for the candy. The candy was what it was all about. I could not think any further - just candy.

After we started going to church in the late 70's, we learned about the dark side of halloween of which I literally had no idea about. Now days the church is good with halloween and have parties, scary costumes and all. I still have strong feelings about it but now having the grandkids, I have returned to the halloween of my childhood.

We have three parties tomorrow, 2 school ones and then we are going to party at home, taking turns answering the door and checking out all the costumes. The weather is always hard to predict and this takes care of worrying about it. Since we have a pirate, a BSU football player and his matching cheerleader. I am a BSU fan and papa is a pirate - all bases will be covered. I also promise not to go thru the kid's candy and taking all the good stuff FIRST and leave them with what is left.
We have done our part to contribute to halloween's 5 billion expense, now...on to the 465 billion dollar Christmas...


My mojo has been on high alert for the last week. With my three photo shoots last week, it kicked into high gear and has continued on into this week. I was checking out frames at Target, waiting to meet the kids at Costco for lunch when I turned and headed for the end of the isle and saw this. I have never bought a canvas - never have I been as attracted to something made of fabric and paint but this, I couldn't leave the store without it - Thank God, my birthday is next month - would have been difficult to justify it in the grocery budget.

I am not sure I would have seen it if it wasn't for the mojo thing. I read Cathy Zielze's blog a few weeks back about having certain tools for a season. Life tools, in particular she was talking about all the times she tried to diet and it just didn't work. This time, she had some new tools and it is working better. I think she may be on to Something. The first thing I thought about was 11 years ago when 13 of us started a church.

When I look back, those tools that I had then are no longer with me or my DH. They truly were seasonal to get us thru. We had no idea what we were doing but as we stepped up the the plate, God gave us what we needed. Four of us went to California to pick up some things they were donating to get us started. I heard my husband preach what turned out to be a sermon in front of complete strangers. The three of us were flabbergasted. He has not done it since.

I wound up playing the tambourine and had the time of my life. I loved our Saturday night practices and Sunday mornings were a blast. When the congregation grew to several hundred, it was time to move on. Today over 1000 people show up every week - there is no way I could play now. The point is, I had the tools to do it when I needed it.

It puts life in a different perspective. When this creative thing came my way, I didn't understand that it would be intermittent. I thought if one was creative - it would come everyday and maybe, in some small way it does and I just don't recognize it. It is not about producing but it is all about the process.

The canvas is on the wall in my office. It is perfect. I had already planned to have one of my favorite sayings made into wall art - Sally Jean says, Sometimes - there was a storm in her brain. She also reminds me about the emotion of the dry times of creativity, If I don't make art soon, I'm going to have a hissy fit. How true, how true. For however long this season of mojo is here, I am going to make the most of it, How great would life be if we lived a little everyday? I plan to find out...


Not able to sleep the other night - that happens when you get older. I can't sleep for more than 4 or 5 hours at a time anymore. I use to be able to sleep all the time - this feels plain weird. Anyway thanks to cable, there is usually sometime to pass the time. I landed on MSNBC's, Nowhere Like Home series that follows families who find themselves living in shelters and how their everyday loves played out.

In all the craziness of my bio family, we were never homeless as it would be described today. One year, we moved 26 times. We lived in a nice 3 bedroom house but lost that to live in multiple apartments. While the house held bad memories, it was still a house with a yard and some measure of privacy. Apartment life was foreign, felt confined and you lived in community whether you wanted to or not. Later in life, my father would be homeless, living on the streets and I would not let him stay with us.

This show was extremely difficult to watch. I have reoccurring dreams of not having a place to live. Being out in the cold with no end in sight, Watching this show was like the real life version of the familiar dream. For whatever reasons that people become homeless - because of abuse, financial choices or a combination of things, I always wonder about family and support. By the time they get to the shelter, have they lost all their support? As I watched families with kids, I can' t imagine not letting my kids and grandkids not share the space, food,whatever that I have. However because of the experience with my dad, I can understand how the support can be too big of a burden to share.

When my dad was living on the streets, I knew he would not be staying with us. It came to down to safety for my family and I couldn't bargain that down. Oh, there was guilt, both form inside and outside. A man who had worked for my dad gave me a good tongue-lashing about how bad of a daughter I was. Later this man would take my dad in his own home and after his experience with him, came back and apologized to me. Sure it gave me back some of my dignity but it also made me thankful that I didn't let guilt run the show.

Homeless now is a little different than 20 years ago. People are becoming homeless at rates faster than we have ever seen and for many more reasons. We are living in a health and wealth

Buy now - pay later.
Instant gratification isn't fast enough.

It is haunting to think of yourself as homeless. Close your eyes. Imagine being cold and hungry, imagine living in a small room with only a fabric curtain between you and the next guy and imagine not so much as a nickel in your pocket. Even worse, knowing that you have no support. No one to call, to listen or to care. I can almost feel the bone-chilling cold. Riding the subway in the dark of night, trying to sleep but having to keep one eye open for those who would harm you. Can you imagine what that must be like? I hope you and yours never have to find out...


I will admit I wish I was a better listener. It is an under - rated tool - one that could help me if I had a better handle on it.
We all take listening for granted. Whether listening to your boss go through yet another explanation of how he wants something done to a teen who has turned off his listening ear long before his mother started speaking - for the most part, when listening - we are on auto pilot.
There is also an internal type of listening which we treat with about the same respect as our external listening. It can warn us of danger, and other issues related to health, both physical and emotional. Sometimes it comes and you know, you need to pay attention.
Mine came this weekend in the form of needing a good cry. I am not a cry baby, far from it. In fact, I can't tell you the last time I did cry but I can remember how I felt afterwards. By the time I am in in a full-blown cry, there is a sense of relief and wellness. It is like a weight has been lift off my shoulders and there is a feeling of a good kind of emptiness. With DH working everyday since the beginning of September, there has been a sense of being brave and Buck up little camper but I have seen signs of oozing emotions. There is nothing I can do to change the situation but I had never thought about a good cry. Not sure how to speed the process along but now that I am aware, it should come naturally in its own time.
We use our ears to listen to music which can make the spirit soar and can bring that same soul, to the point of sobbing. Whether listening to a friend who needs a place to vent, or reading the true vibe in a child's story, the art of listening may be our most important resource. Think back to times when you felt someone heard you, really heard you. For me, those times made me feel validated. I was happy as a result of being thoroughly and completely, heard. Can't imagine that listening to our bodies would not bring the same results.
So when my good cry comes, I will be ready. Actually, I am looking forward to it. Not necessarily from a sad event, I have had times where I was laughing so hard, it turned to big tears. If that is the case, I can hardly wait...

playing hooky...

Mr H's dad is a teacher and probably has had his fair share of excuse notes but does he know there is a company that sells them?
For about $25 the Excused Absence Network has your back. Students and Employees can buy excuse notes that appear to come from doctors or hospitals. Other options include a fake jury summons or authentic-looking funeral services program complete with poems and a list of pallbearers.

I understand the funeral service one. The company I use to work for, that DH still does, requires a funeral program to get funeral pay. Apparently more that one person has lost a relative, more than once. How sad are we as a nation when our word about the death a loved one falls on deaf ears because of our own behavior?

...the web sites show pictures of people sunbathing and playing golf using the fabricated excuses. One testimonial says, " I've managed to take the nine weeks off using these templates! It couldn't be easier!"

My personal job history is pretty short. Twenty five years with one company - 5 months with the other. The first one is still backwards. This is a multi billion dollar company - no little fly by night place. They just ratified another union contract last Friday that will bring a 3% raise and will double our health insurance. There are no paid sick days (never has been but if you are sick more than 3 days, you have to bring a doctor's note). Vacation pay is handed out once a year and is based on 1/52 of total hours worked for the year which in the 41 years that DH has worked there, never adds up to a regular 40 hr week.

Millions of Americans work dead-end jobs, and sometimes they just need a day off...People are going to lie anyway How many people go visit their doctors every day when they are not sick because they need a note?...
Maybe they have a point. DH hasn't had a day off since September 3 and it isn't looking good until Thanksgiving. He hasn't seen his grandkids. That is what we need - a grandkids template. I bought him a Halloween costume so we are hoping...but we won't know until about 5PM on Halloween night.

The last company I worked for - had it going on. I had 12 days of pay to use however I wanted in those short five months. They could have cared less and no excuses were necessary. Of course, I was hired a month after a company wide layoff and the department I was in was outsourced shortly after I left. So much for the VP of Legal telling me I could back anytime.

As for the The Excused Absence Network - I have got to give you an A for creativity. You guys will do well in this adventure. With the new privacy restrictions on medical information, people probably will not get caught. It is cheap and easy. Think of all the sunbathing and golfing out there just waiting... but I hope I will never, ever need your services...


A friend of mine saw her first-born graduate from high school this summer and then saw him off a little over a month ago, to find his fame and fortune in Seattle. When he left, not only did they lose a son but they lost the party that is J. He is the social butterfly of the family - he is the party and when he left, he took the party with him. They will adjust but I would imagine that they miss that energy almost as much as the boy.

All people have an energy about them. Some are vibrant, loud and sassy. You can feel them when they come into a room even before you see them. Some good and some not so good, they ooze almost out of every pore in their body. In any group setting, adding or subtracting one person can change the whole tone of the gathering. Someone who is like J can turn any get together into a party. Someone else whose bigness is a big, black cloud can turn a party into a downpour.
Mr H brought his family and we had ourselves a blast yesterday. He was a little shy at first but after daring him to say, Boogers - he warmed up nicely and even started posing for me. Their world does revolve around this fabulous little boy and it shows. We had a great time and got some great shots. The brick wall shot was one of the last ones we took - everyone was loose and when I said, Strike a pose.... They each got their party on.
I think we all have a little party in us. Maybe it just needs to be developed. I find that after a few minutes in most shoots, everyone relaxes a bit and they feel a bit more free to party. A little party never hurt anyone and if you let it, it can make your day...

offense or defense...

I know very little about football except for our local hero BSU team. I know nothing. What is a first-down, why do you throw a piece of fabric on the ground if someone gets a penalty and why doesn't every player go after the quarterback every time? A few weeks ago when BSU was in their fourth overtime and the score was tied, I ranted and raved, mainly following the lead of the crowd on TV but one aspect of the game does interest me.
Two completely different camps, depended on whether you are leading or protecting the team. Each has their own role and they are completely different in focus and execution, ( see, the words are starting to wear on). As I waited for BSU to pull this overtime nightmare out of the hole, which they did in a mindblowing play, I thought about offense and defense in my life. I am pretty sure I don't have seperate teams to call out, depending on what situation I am in. I am also pretty sure that I wouldn't have the frame of mind to call the right team out at the right time. Imagine needing a quarterback and getting a kicker? How could change the outcome in most any scenerio?

Still, the idea of having specialists at my disposal who are specifically trained for fight or hold in any given situation is more than appealing but as appealing as it is, the logistics of blowing whistles and all the coming and goings of people would prove to be too much for most of us and we would have a whole new set of problems on our hands.

What amount of time should we spend being on the offense/defense? The obvious 50/50 - would certainly be balanced but would it be the right balance? Personally, I would put myself at about 80/20. I would also say that during that 20% defense, I would be most uncomfortable. Reminds me of childhood, being vunerable and having to react to someone else's reality.

For now, I will continue to root for the Orange and Blue and ask no questions about what is going on. No one would have time to teach me anyway what with all the sacking, yards and high 5ing going on. Probably for the best anyhow...

personal space...

Personal space, an updated form of Edward T. Hall's 1966 proxemics, is the region surrounding each person, or that area which a person considers his domain or territory. Often if entered by another being without this being desired, it makes them feel uncomfortable. The amount of space a being (person, plant, animal) needs falls into two categories, immediate individual physical space (determined by imagined boundaries), and the space an individual considers theirs to live in (often called habitat). These are dependent on many things, such as growth needs, habits, courtships, etc. Hall's spacing models, to note, were themselves based on Heini Hediger's 1955 psychological studies of zoo animals.
Another mystery solved. I have always thought I was reasonably well equipped to handle personal space but it seems there is a clink in my armor. When I am at the grocery store, I expect the line I am in to continue to move along. Any stopping of said line should be kept to a minimum. My girl says I get too close to the guy in front of me. I see it not as an issue of personal space but personal responsibility. She has even pointed out that our 5 year old knows about more about personal space than I do - apparently they teach it in school now.
Have your check written out, your credit card ready to go - whatever it takes. I am not trying to crowd you, just keeping up with the flow of traffic. I am not trying to hug you or kiss your babies and expect the same, back. This is not personal - we are both here to do a job and I see no reason that it can't be orderly and done in an efficient manner.
This is not the same as being overwhelmed at the front doors of a church by a zealous hugger or someone who want to rub a pregnant tummy for some unknown reason. Whatever other charms I may possess, I am Miss Personal Space, personified.
I will be on my best behavior on my next trip to the store with my family. No promises, as I am still not convinced this isn't an apples and oranges issue but I see the point...It's always fun until someone puts an eye out...

a knock at the door...

Saturday Night. We went to bed early - DH had to go to work Sunday. However my little nap earlier in the day made sleeping impossible so I got up. ABout 1120Pm. I hear someone knocking at the front door. I listen and about 3 minutes later, they knock again, this time more forcefully. I continue to listen, really wishing they would just go away. I look out the window in the far bedroom and can't see a car or anyone.

Then the doorbell rings. I go get DH up out of a deep sleep and tell him what I know. He dresses for company and I offer my help but grabbing the phone and offering my services as the fasting 911 caller south of the Mississippi. He looks at me like I am crazy but I shrug that off to his sleepy state. He opens the door - we have a little catch so you can open the door and see who is there. My phone in hand, I am prepared for anything.

It is our dear neighbors across the street, both of them. She knew I was by myself alot and I know that is why she came too. They wanted to make sure nothing was wrong with us because our garage door was up...Earlier that evening, Dh and I were searching for a bag that held a shirt for the next day's photos shoot and Christmas presents that had to be hidden. I thought he closed the garage door, he was the last one in. Not so.

We thanked them over and over, Dh headed back to bed and proceeded to try to calm down. I thought about all the nights that he is gone and I am alone. I have had some trouble with the doorbell ringing in the middle of the night when he is gone - even moved my office to the back side of the house. Probably kids but I am always too scared to look out. The top of our front door is glass covered by a blind. As I sat going over the night's event, I dawned on me that maybe I need to be a bit more proactive and less timid. I am letting those superhero skills I KNOW I have, dwindle and atrophy which eventually would render them useless and that would be quite a waste.

It reminds me of another Story that involves a closet, a unclothed woman and me as the main character. Those who know that Story seem to get a great chuckle out of it. After too many Happy Chocolates, I have made it public but do not intend to say anymore except that fear makes a person do things they ordinarily, would not do. Enough said.

Finally got to sleep, the sun came up and all is right with the world. I am considering altering my behavior next time this happens - lets hope I have learned something. Thanks Craig and Susie - for having our backs...


"Do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are my witnesses." Isaiah 44:8.

I have been scared of Africa in one form or another since I was a kid. I can remember seeing National Geographic magazines at the check out stands and the wild colors, neck rings and the two naked youknowwhats above the grass skirts - that was my total exposure to anything African for many years. Each time we would go to the store, There would be those magazines and after an accumulation of views, that was a Place I never wanted to go to. Never.

When I started going to church for the first time at 26, the subject of Africa came up again and in a more terrifying way. They wanted me to pray about Going There. To help, to minister to those who had so much less and needed so much more. I've got to tell you, as riveting as those sermons were, they did nothing but fill me with fear. I would most certainly have chosen out of christianity if it had been an either you do or you are out type of deal. I can remember praying, Please don't make me go to Africa! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE...

I would like to tell you that in the last 30 years that I have changed my view. That I have developed spiritually to the point that Africa is no longer an issue. You are bright people, you can see where this is going. Some things never change.

I got an email today about my KKSM boys and their trip to Africa. As I saw the header to the email, Africa, that same old feeling came back hot and heavy.

Saturday at the Stadium was the most incredible time for the KKSM Team,
during the demo the crowd was on their feet screaming when the skateboarders
were doing what they do so well. Elijah Moore shared a 5-10 testimony from
the skate park and challenged the crowd to think about what God can do for
them, Richard Jefferson then shared from the Main stage about the healing of
Moses at the orphanage and gave the Word, then Pastor Mark Jobe shared
the Gospel and gave the invitation to receive Christ and approximately 2000
people responded, they estimated because they were not able to reach
everyone in the crowd.

The email chronicles the dangers are well as the successes of the trip. As I sat here reading what God did through this team, for the briefest of moments, I forgot they were in Africa. It could have been Columbus, Ohio or London, England or Baghdad, Iraq. The truth is that there are people who need to be ministered to, Everywhere. Whether Africa or people in your neighborhood, if you are willing, you will go and tell. It's not about where but willing. In the back of my mind, I always thought that because this bothered me so much, that Some day I would have to go, kicking and screaming. God doesn't work like that. If He is trying to soften my heart, looks like it is working. You can't help reading about these boys, not only in harm's way but putting It out there for everyone to see. Take it or leave it - and they are taking it.

The same tapes about still Africa play in my head but they will have to make some room for the new tapes. The tapes of those who love and trust and are doing what they are told to do.

Go Tell... Right now for me, that is local not global. Go Tell where I am, everyday in some form or another. God has Africa covered, it is in good hands. My only concern should be is He as secure in what He has placed in my hands and believe me, today it is...

baby boomers...

Born one second after midnight on Jan 1, 1946 - Kathleen Casey-Kirschling has a honor that if she could sell it on Ebay - would make her a millionaire. The first of many to come. We are not your momma's porch-swinging, tea sipping generation. We are the Baby Boomers.

Kathleen is our nation's 1st baby boomer and she filed for for her Social Security benefits this week. She is a retired middle school teacher and will be eligible for benefits on her 62th birthday next year. It is estimated that 10, 000 people a day will become eligible of SS over the next 20 years. This is the generation of almost 80 million born from 1946 to 1964. If left alone, the SS trust fund will go broke in 2041 but experts are optimistic that the issue will be addressed after the 2008 elections.

Besides our collective enthusiasm to let the young un's take over the world, we share a wealth of notions about retirement that are wayyyy different from the generations before us. 62 is the new 50, in more ways than one. Dh and I have had a few conversations about how nursing homes had better change when the BB's hit the front door. I, for one, will need lots of table space for my IPod and the Bose dock. They had better have WiFi ready and I will need a big wall for my 60' plasma TV. We are prepared to party, will be our cry.

SS Commissioner Micheal Astrue calls us, America's Silver Tsunami. Has a nice ring to it, don't you think? However baby boomers will collectively be remembered, I would imagine that it won't be like your mamma's generation. BB grandparents may be younger than in generations before. I can remember that if you were not finished having all the off spring you were going to have by 25, you were way behind the mommy curve.
Let the Retirement begin - Last December, I got my first pension check from my former workplace. It will be 7 more years before I am 62 and start collecting the first of which I hope are many SS checks. Got a lot of living to do and a lot of boomers to do it with...


Not a big space girl. Seems like a lot about nothing. Until the diapered astronut, I never cared much. That event sort of perked me up but as with everything NASA- related, the rules don't seem to apply to them. Secrecy seems to be their theme until they want the attention. Barbara Morgan has been a bright spot in their program but come on, 22 years to wait seems like an incredibly long time to invest in a single human cause.

In their last mission (why is it that NASA always makes it sound like they are super-heroes trying to save the world?)the issue of the foam tiles came up again. This tile problem has been on-going and dangerous. What other industry doesn't solve a dangerous problem before continuing on? Why would you risk human life when you have a known problem that you are not 100% sure is corrected? It took several days for NASA to decide if the crew would try to fix the problem in space or just hope for the best, and bring them home. Everyday for most of the week, we waited while NASA talked to whoever they talk too. It would appear from their hesitancy that they really didn't know what to do. Risk losing a few astronauts right there and then or lose the entire crew when they headed home. This would be my perspective, Fix the tiles before you send up another ship.

On the other hand, it is nice to know that NASA does have some great success in housekeeping matters. They have perfected the #1 and #2 issues. Not putting a SVU on the moon or building a Starbucks on Jupiter but the bathroom #1 and #2 issues.

More like a PSA, this will make you proud of where your tax dollars are going. NASA is also trying humor in their presentations. I, for one, would feel better if they would leave stand up to the professionals and just fix the tiles...

Marlboro Man...

There is not a red blooded woman around who has not had an idea of what the perfect man would be like in her brain. From the moment we express any kind of leadership skills, we girls start playing house with our brothers or dads and this is where our fantasies begin.

At sometime in our woman life, there is a certain fascination with trashy, romance novels. I only say trashy not because of the language or content but because of the ideas that they put in our heads. Unless you are in a fairly healthy relationship and/or have met all your mental health obligations, a girl could read one of those and become despondent with the man she does have. Reading these novels could convince a girl to make choices that in retrospect, aren't so great and could have far lasting consequences.

So that is why when my favorite pioneer woman in the world, Miss Ree, started writing about her romance with the Marlboro Man - I was there. I think I am within the parameters of the rules to be good with this, I hope. She has just finished Black Heels To Tractor Wheels, Chapter XIV and I am ready for the next one. She is a FABulous writer but what is it about being so excited to see what is coming next when you know how it ends? We already know the girl gets the cowboy but we want to know the details. I can guarantee you anyone who has read more than 5 words of her writing feels like Ree made out like a bandit. MM is every girl's dream come true. Strong yet gentle, he know what he wants and it is her. Only her. Is that not what every woman on earth has always wanted?

Being pursued yet not hunted down. Being overwhelmingly loved without feeling mauled. It is not unlike what we want from God. Every time I read more of Ree's words, it reads like a Prodigal Daughter story. To women, it is always about the Love. Women have spent years Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places - we have a soft spot and sometimes, a less than smart spot.

For those of us reading about the MM - while most of us would never want to cause any trouble, we enjoy living vicariously thru Ree. You can't help but thinking if it is like Fourth of July in their bedroom every night but because they have all those cows, children and have to get up early, just makes you wonder. If you want a good read by a woman who does the best Ethel Merman impression ANYWHERE, check out http://thepioneerwoman.com/ and read for yourself. She also has a killer cookbook site but that isn't how she caught him. He actually came to love her in spite of her cooking skills. A woman who can write, cook, sing like Ethel Merman and corral the MM man - I do so love her so...

customer service...

Let me start by saying I will not be offended. Actually, I will feel relieved. If anyone in your family or any of your friends are Customer Service Reps and if they ever see my name come up, please refer me to someone else. It will be best for all of us. I already feel bad about making Laura cry, I can't take too much more.

Our relationship was doomed from the beginning. There was a tiny language barrier which certainly didn't help but in the end, wouldn't have been a deal breaker. Because I semi-understand myself, when I am in a CS situation, I routinely ask, Is what I am saying making sense? I want them to have Something to hang on to.

There were four receipts, four dates and 4 dollar amounts. The more questions I asked, the more confused Laura became. After 30 minutes which included her putting me on hold twice for 5 minutes to either gather information or catch her breath, I told her, Laura - we are not getting anywhere. I need to talk to your supervisor, please.. I could hear her choke up and trying to hold back tears and retain what little dignity she still had. She tried one more time to gather her thoughts and decipher her notes but she was totally gone by then. After 5 more minutes, I said, Laura, I need to speak to your supervisor now. I was firm but it was cruel to let this go on.

Her supervisor came on the line and I told her that Laura and I were having difficulty understanding one another. I am sure she would work better with less intense and less organized people - In the right situation, I am sure she works well with others. I am not sure I can say that about myself. The supervisor and I sorted out the problem in less than a minute - all is well and no one was hurt.

But I thought about Laura for the rest of the day. I hope she went home to her family and they all gathered around her as she told the tale of the nasty, fast talking yet powerfully prepared woman she had to deal with. They take turns hugging her and but it isn't until they take her out for ice cream that the memory of her day begins to fade.

Customer service is not created equal. Retail CS is much different than dealing with let's say, the US Government CS. I am so glad that Laura is where she is. She would never survive working for the government - there just isn't enough ice cream in the world to deal with that...

blessed are those who love...

You can plan all you want.
You can think you know what is going on.
The sooner you realize that His Ways are not your ways...you will really grow.

The boys met while working in the corn fields when they were 13 or 14. He married before DH did. I met them when their now 36 year old daughter was a few weeks old. The men were already best friends and she and I would follow suit. The friendship would last for over 30 years. We spent many, many hours together. At one point, we lived across the street from each other - I couldn't have been happier. As our girls became teenagers, the men had 6 VW bugs to work on. They were our family and we were theirs.

They divorced. We saw it coming but could do nothing to stop it. The friendship with both of them fell apart. There were many reasons and I still miss them to this day. It has been over three years since her and I talked. I will always love her and the girls. They were like my own. I always thought of myself as a mom to three even though I only gave birth to one.

I still keep in contact with the oldest girl - she is a sweetheart. Like Keaton, kindness comes naturally to her. She had let us know that the youngest was getting married this year. Memorial Day to be exact - we were not invited. We didn't expect to be but independently, Brandi and I decided we wanted to send a wedding gift so we did. We did not receive a response but we didn't expect too.

DH dropped his work phone in the water last Friday and got a new one on Monday. New to him, it was a used phone form a co worker who happens to be this family's cousin. As DH and I sat at Costco eating dinner the night he got the new phone, he mentioned that there were pictures of this cousin left on the phone. I grabbed the phone to see his kids. I had know this kid since he was a baby and now he had three boys of his own. As I flipped through the pics I came upon what looked like a bride and her step-dad. It looked like our Seattle bride. There was also a picture of her grandparents who had claimed my girl for most of her life. I almost started to cry.

DH got home so late last night we didn't talk much but before he left for work this morning, he said, I talked to K and and it was the wedding in Seattle.. You could say that the cousin not taking off his pics from the phone was a fluke. Say what you want, make your plans, but leave room for the unexpected. Leave room for God. Never say Never. Imagine, never having to imagine...

letter or spirit of the law...

It has almost been a year since the POTD (picture of the day)started. It was about this time last year that I was putting the final touches on what the Rules would be and dragged another person into doing it with me. It didn't seem like a big deal at the time. One pic a day for 365 days. No double dipping - if you took 50 pictures in one day and you took them between 1201 am and 1159pm, you could only use one of those. The rest would be ineligible to be considered.

The first 10 days gave me an idea of what it would be. There were several days I completely forgot until I was in bed and I would JUMP up and take a picture of ANYthing to fulfill the obligation and go by the Rules. It truly was driven by the Letter of the Law.

Letter of the Law.
Color in the lines.
No Exceptions.

I am not going to make big deal about this on Nov 1. I will quietly look at my POTD files and put this chapter behind me. I am taking my friend who I dragged into this idea out for a Celebratory Get Together(your choice, Mrs D). I want to hear her thoughts and share mine with her.

The one thing that really stands out for me is last month. When I got sick at the beginning of September, honest to God, I thought about the POTD when I couldn't lift my head off the couch - I will have a good reason NOT to have much of a folder during the month. Still going by the Letter of the Law. By the time I started to feel better, over a month had gone by and October was here. I have taking some October pictures but haven't move them into the October folder - a Big Rule violation.

The calendar may say I have 20 days to go but truly, I am done now. I have learned what I was suppose to learn. Life is not meant to be lived by the Letter but by the Spirit of the Law. It has taken me a year to get that. The day I took the first picture, I had pass this church and had to go back. I had wondered how I would know which picture would be the One on those days when I didn't have an activity planned ahead of time. After passing the church, I turned around, pulled in the parking lot and took the picture of the sign. I remember smiling to myself, thinking it would always come so easy...and it didn't.

I will put my POTD file on cd and on my external HD. Often thinking throughout the year that I would never look at these again because there were not 365 pictures I had committed to. I am changing my mind. I need to remember to live in the Spirit. I need that reminder everyday. So in that spirit, Thank You POTD. Thank you for teaching me that I am not perfect, and more importantly, I don't have to be. You have been a good friend and that is all a girl really needs...

We want the funk...

First thing this morning, my inbox brought an email from my same-age aunt and she reminded me of some things I had forgotten over the years. Considering we were 17 when her sister and my father got together - that is a lot of territory to remember.

Later in the morning I met with some ladies to make some invitations for their mother's 80th birthday celebration. There was much good talk about women and religion - couldn't have enjoyed myself more. We shared more in common than I ever would have imagined.

Early afternoon, my phone rings and I am instructed to open the front door. There was my friend with a goodie bag that included my favorite soup IN THE WHOLE WORLD. She made my day - her kindness had me in tears.

I spent a few hours working on the birthday invitations and wondered what this 80th old woman would claim to be her greatest joys and her deepest regrets. Her daughters want to give her a great day of celebration and my contribution involved a lot of pink and a princess crown.

As I sit here reviewing my day, I have no idea how to put it all together. It seems like none of the things that I experienced today had anything in common with each other but I was wrong. Who would have thought that Mastercard would put it in such easy terms - so simple even a child could get it!!!


This video has been in my inbox for the last couple days. It seems to speak to moms of all ages. Thank goodness there are still women out there looking out for us by finding ways to make motherhood, simpler. For those who don't have children, your perception of children may range from soft and sweet, as in a newborn to those who choose a public forum to air their temper tantrums. The truth is that they are mostly both but at times, have both feet planted in one or another camp.

Jessica Seinfeld was a delightful surprise on Oprah. Her book, Deceptively Delicious, show moms fabulous ways to get kids to eat vegetables without them even knowing it. By adding pureed veggies to their favorite foods, it seems to make meal times less combative. Spinach and carrot puree in chocolate cake, squash puree in mac and cheese and no complaints from the kids. Looks like I will be picking up a copy!

After the cooking demo, Dr Oz - ok, sidebar - LOVE, LOVE Dr OZ - he always brings something gross with him. Today it was 49 pounds of sugar, attractively displayed, which the average kid/teen eats in a year. He also said there is a good reason that kids gag at some foods. Grown ups have 3000 taste buds - kids have 10,000. These foods taste different to them than to us. It truly is apples and oranges so if hiding broccoli in chicken nuggets works, it is a win/win.

Forget about kids - maybe it is you. No more, it has to taste bad to be good for you deal. I am still stuck on the taste bud thing. What would you not eat if the taste was magnified over three-fold? Something to think about...

Kids, they are fabulous little creatures. Whether brand new or on the verge of Big Peoplehood - they are our most precious gifts that we are given. We need to treat them as such...and make funny videos about them too!


We had a pretty cold weekend. Enough so that we needed to turn the heat on. That really is unusual for this time of year. We should have about 16 more days of non-furnace days. Oct 23 is my target date every year for firing up the gas fireplace which heats the whole house. Ultimately the downside is that I go into hibernation mode sooner. My menu for meals change. Time for comfort food. Homemade chicken pot pie will replace potato salad for the next 9 months as well as fresh corn on the cob will have to make room for mashed potatoes.
It is a matter of adjustment. Some go better than others. Being a California Girl for so many years means I will always have to adjust to wearing a coat and driving in snow for 6 months out of the year and I have to admit that every year I act like it is a total surprise. Like I have never done it before. What's with that?
With the flip flops and the patio umbrella gone, time to make a few more adjustments. The up side is that as I lay on the couch, daydreaming while looking out the window is a nice way to spend a cold, cloudy day. Gives me time to think about what the kids are going to wear for Halloween, what to bring to Grandma Sue's for Thanksgiving and what time we are going to start shopping on Black Friday. If you really think about it, adjusting is not Something to fight but really to embrace. Familiar sceneries, wonderful smells - a time to shake it up a bit. Save that for the Big Adjustments which we will all face, sooner or later.
Maybe the little ones will help when we have to make the Big Ones. When we face life changing adjustments - the ones where we will never been the same and the ones we never saw coming - is it possible that in yearso flearning to adjust to the little things that we can look there for help with the big things? I would like to think so. Ok, so my schedule for turning on the heat was compromised - I can deal with it. My pantry is stocked with pumpkin puree and cocoa. I made Hot Fudge Cake for lunch today w/o even thinking about it. Maybe I am doing better than I think - maybe I will become the Adjustment Queen. Imagine that...

the Celebration of life...

My friend brought over a movie she wanted me to see. Without knowing anything about it, I put the DVD in the player and turned it on. It is called Wit and it is based on a play by Margeret Edson. It is about cancer, the medical profession, 17th century literature and so much more. I laughed and wept and finally, sobbed uncontrollably . The fears we all share about death and I saw the love of Jesus, like never before. Rent it, buy it or steal it, if you have too. I who have not read in a few years. can't wait to get my hands on this book. Funny how a day comes together.

Tonight, we are celebrating Miss A's successful journey from stage one breast cancer. A bunch of us are all getting together at a local Italian restaurant - those who have taking care of A and her family. Many hours of prayers, meal, babysitting - it does take a village to get thru cancer. For now, she has been given a clean bill of health and it is time to move to the next chapter of her journey...and ours.

You can't help but being moved by a movie or a real life Story about cancer. Just like wedding and funerals, you are just glad it isn't you...but Someday, it may be. All of this will be good practice but not until we are baptized by our own mortality can we fully comprehend for ourselves. If that day comes for me or someone in my family, I hope I will respond like these 2 brave women. Women are Steel Magnolias - it is not just a movie. I plan to party tonight with this mostly younger crowd. We are going to celebrate being women and being alive - doesn't get much better than that.


the wind is rising
and the air is wild with leaves.

We have had,
our summer evenings
now, for October eves...
Humbert Wolfe.

Sounds about as accurate as our local weather forecasters who, by the way, have the greatest jobs in town. What other occupation can you be totally wrong, not a speck of truth came from your prediction and you still get to collect a paycheck. If Something happens that they didn't see on the weather-liar radar, you don't get your part of your cable bill back. You depend on the news with their high-fluting computers to be able to give you some kind of idea how to dress the kids for school and whether to wear flip-flops or tennis shoes.

Still, the glamour of being a weather-liar, leaves me less than thrilled. As one who could care less about inversions and cloud formations, all those hand gestures sweeping over a map of the US just doesn't do too much for me. Apparently, just talking about what may happen to us weather-wise tomorrow is about as accurate as anything - we are going to have weather tomorrow. We think it is going to (insert guess here) but it may (insert horrible prediction). Our evening will be unsettled ( insert Anything type of weather - scenario here)

But, my favorite quote of the day came from my friendly, little checker at Walmart this morning. We were talking about the weatherliars and she said she once called the US Weather Bureau and left them this message,

I just finished shoveling over 6 inches of partly cloudy off my driveway.

Ah, A girl after my own heart, Life is good, if you are a weather man...

what did I learn today...

Morning Joe is where I tend to get my early morning news every morning. They took the Don Imus slot, which still is near and dear to my heart. They are not the place to find good humor but sometimes, you take what you can get. One thing I do like is at the end of their 3 hours stint, they finish with a What did I learn today? segment.

It is a good idea, Each of us should be learning Something every day. If you aren't, you are missing out. We should be better people tomorrow than today - I don't believe anyone who couldn't find something over a 24 hour period, that they didn't know before. I am considering make a list and every month, as I look over the list - checking to see what has stuck. What changes have I made in my life because of Something I have learned in the last 30 days?

Today's lesson came early in the day. I had some issues with the facility where my FIL is living. I thought it was my paranoia raising it's ugly head but my DH suggested that I give people too much credit. That is wasn't payback but incompetence that fueled this week's issues. He always tells me I am too smart for my own good and this leads to more issues - and he is so right. However, I will remember today's lesson when the next Sick Poppa issue comes up and it will. I wasted too much time today trying to figure it out and make it all right.

Tomorrow's lesson will be completely different but I have to be open and watch for them. Somedays, these lessons will come out of left field, but will be no less important. I will end each day with Something to take to begin, tomorrow but I ca't help but praying that tomorrow's lesson has some smiling involved...


I was raised in Southern California - the land of flip flops and the Beach Boys. There is a part of me that will always be that way but when I moved to Idaho in 1969, I was ready to adopt it's fine culture and all that comes with it.

The idea of camping is very romantic. Warm days and cool nights - smothering oneself in plaid and the softness of hiker boots. The reality is much different. Much, much different.

My first camping experience, while interesting and stimulating, has always been my point of reference. Suffice it to say that between my father wearing dress pants to fish in (he got in huge trouble when he ripped the knees out) and my step aunt who had to stop at every bathroom on the way home ( sorry T), this was not a good beginning for camping and me. Fast forward to a few years back - with that experience will behind me, Some friends invite us to come up and spend the night at their hunting camp. I have NEVER been so cold in my entire life, to and including this very day. We weren't prepared for that kind of cold in October and I still remember not sleeping and just hoping to live until the next morning. Little did I know that there would be more...

The next morning, I went out on my first 4-wheeler ever. It was great fun until I fell off and broke a rib. I knew we were too far from a hospital and if it was my time to go, it would be great. More pain than I could have imagined.

So, romance and plaid not withstanding, I am leery to try again. My girl would love to take the kids and I would go with them, relucantly. The whole hunting thing makes no sense to me. By the time you buy food, gas, guns, plaid shirts and all that stuff - your meat is running you about $312/a pound. Surely there can not be a man alive who would still use the defense, But, it is free meat!.

It was a prefect day to be by a fire with a blanket and contemplate life. In our second home, we started with firewood and then moved on to wooden pellets. This next house, we have a little gas stove that makes those coolish evening disappear with the flick of a switch. Maybe I can buy a camping video to enjoy on those nights...