Friday, November 30, 2012

The End

You know, it's funny...earlier today I though to myself, "It's Friday and we don't have to go to a football game."  It was kind of a nice thought.  So now, at 10pm, what am I doing?  Watching the Division 1 (football) finals on TV.  Old habits die hard.

As we wrap up another NaBloPoMo season, I have a couple of random thoughts to share with you.

First, I learned something about myself this week:  when listening to Christmas music on my iPod, I can't set it to shuffle.  Normally, I do select shuffle for my playlists.  Granted, it can be a little weird going from Shipoopi to the Imperial March, but generally speaking it doesn't bother me.  Not so when it comes to Christmas music.  It really, really bugs me.  Apparently, I must listen to whole albums.

Secondly, I learned that if we had the money and the room, I could totally be a Prepper.  Have you watched Doomsday Preppers????  We had never watched it before, it's not the type of show that floats our boat.  However, Andy recorded it on a whim a week or two ago and we just got around to watching it this evening.  While most of the people are country hicks and generally ridiculous, there is something to be said for being prepared.  As Andy laughed at me, I started thinking about our water and food supply, acquiring some weapons and coming up with a bug-out plan.  Perhaps I'm a little bit of a nut after all.

Finally, I must admit that I'm a little bit freaked out about tomorrow.  It's my work Christmas party!  I don't know why I'm nervous about it.  Maybe I'm worried that people won't really talk to me; after all, I'm still the newbie and while I get along great with my office buddies, I don't often interact with the teachers.  Maybe I'm worried that Andy won't like my co-workers; not likely...Andy likes most people.  For some strange reason, I'm just a bundle of nerves.  Oh well.  The good news is that twenty-four hours from now, it'll be over. 

So, with that last bit of randomness, I thank you all for joining me for yet another year of blogging.  With all that I've got going on right now, it's been much more of a challenge this year.  It's been fun though, and I appreciate the time that you've taken to read my thoughts each day.

I wish you all a very, Merry Christmas! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Technology

Technology...it is both a blessing and a curse.  Today, I'm feeling more curse-ish.

I'm having trouble with our cable boxes.  Yes, we have two.  The cable is not out completely, we still have about 200 (actually, probably more...I've never counted) channels that are working properly.  However, we have about 15 channels that won't work on either box.  One of them happens to the be the channel that it's set to come on to; that's how I noticed the problem in the first place.

It shouldn't annoy me that much.  Really, if the whole thing went out, it shouldn't annoy me; people lived for thousands of years without cable.  But it does.  Mind you, I hate it that it does, but it does nonetheless.  I don't like things that aren't doing what they're supposed to do, I don't like calls to service people, I don't like the hassle of dealing with service appointments.  It's all so very annoying.  I'm not a patient person in the first place (just ask my husband), but I have even less patience for things like this.

This blog really isn't going anywhere; I don't have a grand epiphany, nor can I do anything except wait for the service appointment this weekend.  I know that being grumpy about it isn't going to solve the problem.  I just needed to vent, really.  The last two days have been pretty rough and dealing with this, as trivial as it seems, isn't helping. 

Perhaps when I get home from my meeting tonight, I won't turn the TV on at all.  If I do, I'll be reminded of its failure.  Instead, maybe I'll curl up with a glass of wine and my book.  In fact, I was just thinking this morning about how I need to hurry and finish it (the book, not the wine) before it's due back to the library.

Yeah, that's what I'll do.  Maybe, just maybe, one can actually choose to have a good evening anyway, despite the technical difficulties.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

So Much For That

Well, I guess I should be thankful...it took me 28 whole days to fail.
Sorry.  No blog tonight.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

To be honest, today has been a rough day.  Stress and discouragement have me in a seemingly continual loop right now.   In an effort to take my own advice, I decided to write a Ten on Tuesday list of things that made me smile today.  Because really, smiley things are there all the time, one just has to keep one's eyes open.  So, in no particular order....

1.  Pie.  Specifically, my homemade apple pie.  I ate the last piece for breakfast today; so delicious!

2.  Returns.  I'm thankful that we can return unused items if we think better of them/don't need them.  It's nice to get the money back.

3.  My sons.  It's a no-brainer; they make me smile every day.

4.  The Weather.  It was 60 degrees and very cloudy when I left work today.  It was wonderful.

5.  My job.  Speaking of work, my job is something to smile about.  Even on stressful days, I'm thankful that the Lord provided it for me (us).  And the people there always make me smile.

6.  Dessert Wines.  I'm about to crack one open; always a delight.

7.  Decorated Netflix Movies.  Seriously, they've decorated the sleeves with images of Christmas lights.  I love it!

8.  People Who Are Giving.  There's a sign near my work that says, "Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, 6-8pm, December 10th - 23rd."  That's a lot of time that those people are volunteering to make some little kids happy.  Lovely to see.

9.  Jeopardy.  I do like it and tonight they have some categories that I'm actually doing well with!

10.  Sweet Little Girls.  Okay, best day at work so far!  I had to hike to one of our farthest classrooms today to take care of something, and on the way back, a sweet little girl named Isabella yelled, "Miss Michelle!" and she ran over to me and hugged me.  Made. My. Day.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Look At Me...All Grown Up


While cruising through BevMo yesterday, Andy was drawn to an Irish whiskey that he hadn't had before.  (He's really a Scotch man, but he likes to dabble in the Irish every now and again.)  Why did he notice this particular bottle?  Well, listen to the what the back label says - it sounds like something that he would write!

"By cracking this seal of The Knot you accept that drinking is never to be taken lightly and promise to act in a responsible fashion - not like some blithering idiot.  You promise to drink The Knot straight-up in a proper shot glass, rather than mixing it in some sort of novelty, tiny umbrella, fruit fiasco.  And finally, you vow that you will never drink to anything that you are not prepared to go through with.  If, in any way, you are not willing to abide by these conditions, by all means, please refrain from opening this bottle."

See?  How could he NOT try this one?

Late last night, after he'd opened it and poured himself some, he offered me a sip.  This is not unusual; he generally does offer me a sip, I say okay, I take a sip, and then I make a horrible face.  This is just how we roll.

But gasp!  Imagine my surprise when I didn't make a face, and in fact took a second sip!  After the third sip, I was amazed to report that I kind of like it!  They were baby sips, mind you, but still... progress!

It's taken well over a decade but it's entirely possible that this winter, we will be able to sit outside on a cold, cold night and sip whiskey together.  I'm seriously happy.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

I Chose Poorly

Apparently, I didn't choose correctly.  I'm not speaking of the Grail, although we did watch The Last Crusade on Friday.  You know, it always surprises me how the bad guys got the choice so wrong; it was so, so obvious that it wasn't going to be a flashy gold chalice.  But I digress...

A few weeks ago, I found myself at Bath and Body Works purchasing hand sanitizer.  Working at an elementary school, I find that I go through buckets and buckets of the stuff.  I'm not exaggerating either; I'm in constant contact with the kids and I'm often helping out the sickos in the health office.  Seriously.  Buckets. 

While there, I noticed that they had some candles on sale.  I'm totally a candle junkie, especially this time of year.  There's just something so cozy about candles when it's cold outside.  Typically, I get them exclusively at Yankee, but the sale at Bath and Body Works was so good that I thought I'd try them. After sampling all of the yummy fall/winter scents, I settled on two Hot Buttered Rum candles and one Peppermint Mocha.  Last night, after we got the tree up and all of the Christmas decorations out, I decided to light the Peppermint Mocha.

I noticed immediately that it is very fragrant; the house smelled like peppermint and chocolate in a matter of minutes.  The peppermint was fine; the mocha (chocolate) smelled a little bit scratch-and-sniff for my tastes, but it wasn't awful.  I figured that I probably wouldn't buy it again, but I'd definitely use it up.  Then Andy came downstairs.

"What's that candle?"  "It's a new one.  Do you like it?"  No response.  Later, when Matthew came down, Andy asked him if he liked it.  He said that it was okay.  From a generally nonchalant fifteen year old, "okay" could go either way.  It wasn't a good sign when Andy opened the back door shortly thereafter.  About thirty minutes later, John came down and Andy asked him what he thought of the candle.  John gave the typical teenage shoulder shrug.  It didn't seem like Andy was getting the responses that he was looking for.  Finally, I asked him, "You don't like the candle, do you?"  At least he was honest, "No.  Not at all.  It's pretty bad.  It reminds me of..."  And he wouldn't say what.  I asked him over and over, even after I blew the candle out, and he wouldn't tell me.

As we were getting ready to walk out the door for church this morning, I tried again.  "Honey, what does the candle remind you of?  Just tell me!" 

"Well, to be honest, it has a pungent, lingering smell that reminds me of the stadium bathrooms."

Yeah.  I won't be lighting that one again.  I don't think "men's urinal trough" is quite the mood that I'm trying to create around here. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

I'm Driving My Parents Nuts

"I'll have our lists to you by the weekend!"

Unfortunately, I've said those words to my folks multiple times over the last three weeks or so.  I don't think they believe me anymore.

The lists that I'm referring to, obviously, are our Christmas lists.  Each year, the four of us come up with a Christmas list and we give it to my folks; mom and dad, in return, give us lists for each of them.  This year, while they have already provided us with fabulous lists, I've got nothing to give them.

I'm not trying to be difficult, really I'm not.  Nor is it a case of me not wanting any Christmas gifts; of course I do...receiving gifts is fun.  It's just that I can't really think of anything to put on my list this year.  There's nothing that I desperately need and several things that I want are too expensive.  I'm just out of practical ideas.  Andy and the boys aren't doing any better.  Andy's got one thing on his list, John has two, and Matthew wins with four items.

We're such a gift-giving family that this is hard!  We LOVE to give gifts to each other!  I miss the days when the boys were little and wanted a million little action figures or toy cars or something.  That was awesome!  You could spend $30 and have a ton of little things to wrap.

Sigh.  With the tree now up, I feel so much pressure!  Perhaps tonight, miracle of miracles, we'll all be struck with amazing ideas while we sleep!  It never hurts to hope. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankful for Thankfulness

Thanksgiving is over.
(Remember, our family gets an extra day of it!)

Most things have been consumed; there are just the right amounts of left-overs.  The lights are up; the tree goes up tomorrow.  We spent two wonderful days with our family...man, they're great.  My mister has now given me permission to listen to Christmas music in the car. 

As I look ahead to the coming Christmas season, I think back to the lessons learned this past year.  The biggest one for me is thankfulness.  I am learning (still learning...it's a process) to be a more thankful person.

Honestly, that's very hard for me.  Ask anyone who knows me well - I'm definitely a half-empty kind of a girl.  I'm highly stressed, I've got numerous continual health challenges (shred, yeah right), and some people that I dearly love are facing huge challenges as well.  It's very easy, no, it's more than easy, it's very natural for me to complain and question all of the time.  I'm great at throwing myself pity parties.  I probably drive those closest to me nuts on many occasions.

This year, I've been working very hard on being thankful.  When I get down in the dumps, I'm trying very consciously to stop focusing on myself and start being thankful.  Truly, it's hard to completely despair when you're listing your blessings.  Funny thing... I've seen that often times my thankfulness has turned in to a deep desire to not only be mindful of the things that I can be thankful for, but also a desire to pray for others.  I've spent much time lately lifting those I know up to our Father.

I wouldn't say that I've arrived and that I'm an expert; I'll probably complain about something tomorrow!  Nor do I say this to try to convey how good I am; I'm not.  What I am is a child of God, who is being molded and who is trying to change her way of thinking.  Some days it works; other days it's harder.  But I will keep trying as I think it's definitely a good direction to be headed.

So today, as I wrap up this Thanksgiving season, I'm thankful for the ability to be thankful.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

For the Kids

As I sit here waiting for the pies to cook for our Thanksgiving celebration with my side of the family tomorrow, I find myself reflecting on today's celebration with Andy's side of the family. 

It became clear early in our relationship that my sisters-in-law had the Thanksgiving pies and cookies covered.  In an effort to find something that I could contribute, I once made some fudge and took it with us.  That was about ten years ago.  My fudge is now a staple, as is my homemade peppermint bark and almond candy.  Each year, I happily bring all kinds of sugary goodness with me when we head down for Thanksgiving.  This year, my Ventura nieces and nephews totally made my day when a few days ago, I heard that they were already looking forward to my candy.  It's good to know that you'll be remembered for something, right?  It's amazing the power a few simple words can have. 

That got me thinking about all of my nieces and nephews, and well, today I share my thoughts with them, and by extension, you.


Dear Chris, Tarah, Derry, Kali, Gabe, Mia, Jessica, Lucy, Leah, Jenna, Jarod, Laura, Jeremy, Jack, Jason, Emily, Joe, Abby and Nellie -

I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I am so thankful to have been able to spend my day with six of you.  I hope that the rest of you had a fabulous day, wherever you happen to be.

I've never had the opportunity to live in the same city as any of you, so honestly I don't know each of you as well as I would like.  I am so happy that some of us have Facebook, as it gives me an opportunity to know what is going on in your lives.  While I don't always comment on everything, I often leave that to your friends, I do keep tabs on you. 

Each year, I have the highest of hopes that I will remember each of your birthdays (on time!), and each year I fail.  Maybe one day I'll make it; I have hope!  Today, I just want each and every one of you to know that I love you.  I don't always see you, I don't always say it, but I do always think it.  I guess I need to work on the saying it part.  Each of you is very loved, and prayed for quite often. 

The Lord has blessed me with a bunch of "brothers and sisters" in your parents, and I am quite blessed and so proud to be your aunt. 

Love,
Auntie M.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Apple Didn't Fall Far...

You've heard numerous, profound ponderables before; there are many of them out there.


"Do they lock gas station bathrooms for fear that someone will clean them?"

"Why do they sterilize the needles for lethal injections?"

"Why do we park on driveways and drive on parkways?"

"What was the best thing before sliced bread?" 


This afternoon, as my brilliant fifteen year old son was trying to far asleep, he made up a new one:


"It's interesting how people can be simultaneously sitting up and sitting down."


Nope, he doesn't have a brain just like his father...not at all.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Words Aren't Necessary

Well, one word is...
Happiness.











Monday, November 19, 2012

I've Got Nothing

It happens every November; today happens to be the day for this year.  It's the day that I really shouldn't waste anyone's time.  The clock is nearing midnight and I've got nothing to say, but being the rule follower that I am, I find myself frantically trying to get something posted.  

Yeah, that day.

Don't get me wrong, it was a great day.  Here, since I have nothing exciting to talk about, I'll list the highlights:

Sleeping in
Receiving my freshly edited family photos from my amazing sister
Going to the doctor (This is a good thing; I love my doctor.)
Having John and Matthew's girlfriends over
Watching Star Wars (John's girlfriend hadn't ever seen it!)
Getting a reasonably priced knee brace at Sports Authority 
Watching The Waterboy with my men.


See?  It was a perfect vacation day!

I've spent the last two hours messing around on Shutterfly, trying to get just the right Christmas card photo combination without breaking the bank.  I'm wiped.  I haven't gotten it right yet, and although I have a really good coupon that expires in sixteen minutes, I think I need to step away and revisit it tomorrow.  It's killing me, but I just can't get it done tonight.

So there you have it.  A terrible post; a colossal waste of time, but written words nonetheless.

Goodnight.  And I apologize.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Homesick

Oh man, is it 10pm already?  Man, the day flew by!

A cool thing happened today, though - I got homesick.  No, not for my home; for my church.

Today, we had occasion to attend our old church.  Actually, it's our old, old church - two churches ago.  There were a few highlights:  we celebrated a special little lady, we saw some old friends, I got to sit with (and goof off with) my brother, and I got to hear my dad play the piano.  All fabulous things.

But as we drove home, the mister and I both shared how we really, truly missed being at our church.   We began attending a new church early this year and we plugged in right away.  We are part of an amazing small group, our worship and pastoral staff are phenomenal, and the kids are totally plugged in.  In our entire married life, neither one of us has ever felt so at home so quickly.  

So today was a blessing on several counts.  We got to celebrate a precious little life and have all of the fun that went along with it, but we also received affirmation that we are indeed exactly where we are supposed to be.  We missed our home, and that's a very good thing.  


Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Very Very Very End

In order for a new chapter to begin, the current chapter must close.

Last night, John took the field for the last time. 

At the close of the game, we joined him on the field and snapped a few pictures as he and his teammates embraced one another and said goodbye to their coaches.  Four years of sweat, blood and brotherhood..complete.  With tears in my eyes, I was enveloped into a bear hug by my eldest son.  I am so proud of the player that he has been; I am equally proud of the man that he is becoming.

It's bittersweet, really.  On one hand, we no longer have practices and crazy schedules to contend with; no more daily risk of injury.  On the other hand, it's heart-wrenching to realize that the children-playing-sports phase of our lives is over; it's time to hang up the pom-poms and retire the stadium seats.

As we walked away last night, with a very heavy heart, I took one last look at the field.  
Then the lights went out.

The finality was almost too much to bear.


Friday, November 16, 2012

2003



John and Granddad are playing a duet at John's piano recital.


Matthew finally gets to play t-ball!
It was fun having them both on the same team.




Sigh.  To be thin again.


Having fun in the pool at Grandma's house!


I adore that face!


They made this "target" at Grandma's house and
practiced pitching by throwing water balloons at it.


All dressed up for his Kindergarten Graduation;
scraped forehead and all.



My Happy Campers



Someone's feet got tired while cruising
Cannery Row!



Yes, the beach again...the things we do in Monterey.


I love jammies!


I've always been a sucker for nachos...
and for that pirate behind me.



Playing with your cousin is very serious business.


Matthew got his turn for a duet at the Christmas recital!


Merry Christmas!
Thankfully, Santa comes even if you
didn't listen to you mother, you got hurt,
and you have stitches in your chin.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Taking The Easy Way Out

Tonight at home group, we celebrated Thanksgiving.  Our fabulous hostess made turkey and wild casserole, green beans, corn, apple/fluff salad, rolls and cranberry sauce.  It was all quite delicious.

While it wasn't a potluck, I told her that I would bring the pumpkin pie.  Months ago, when the dessert sign up sheet was passed around (yes, we eat dessert every week at group), I volunteered for tonight.  It's our last meeting of the session, so I thought I'd make Ding Dong Cake (I can explain that another day).  Once she decided to do a Thanksgiving-ish meal, pie seemed more appropriate.

Dutifully, I brought three pumpkin pies and three large canisters of whipped cream.  Here's the problem.  I cheated.  I bought them at Costco.  It's been a long work week and I didn't know if I'd have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen, so I decided that for $5.99 each, I would let Costco do the work.
 
Ugh.  It's just not the same. Granted, it's fine.  It's passable.  But it's really not the same.  Homemade kicks Costco's butt.

Therefore, I am now officially ready for Thanksgiving.  Until now, I've been in denial that we're this close to the holidays.  You know, if I don't acknowledge it, it won't matter that I'm so far behind.  But having a pseudo Thanksgiving meal and mediocre pumpkin pie, I must say that I'm ready.  I need real, homemade dessert.  I'm eagerly anticipating my sister-in-law's pie (and hopefully her amazing chocolate chip cookies!) next Thursday, and then I plan to spend Thursday night making pies for our second Thanksgiving next Friday.

Seriously...I can't wait.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Son Is...

Many words and phrases describe my eldest son.

Intelligent

Compassionate

Driven

A True Teammate

The Oscar to Matthew's Felix

Fun-Loving

Talented

I could go on and on; those are just a few.  Today I can add to that list.

College Applicant

It is with tremendous pride, and a little piece of my heart breaking, that we dip our toes into the next chapter of John's life.  I don't have any idea what will come next.  I am praying for a financial miracle that will allow him to go to a university.  However, if the Lord's plan is that he stays home and attends Palomar for a while, we will rejoice that he will get through a few years without accumulating any debt.  I am trying, although it is quite against my nature, to let go of the stress and release John and his path to Christ.

No matter how it ends, today we took a not-so-baby-step forward.  

I don't feel remotely ready for my baby to grow up,
but I am so overwhelmingly proud of him and excited to see what his future holds.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ten on Tuesday

Today I offer you ten completely random thoughts.  Enjoy...

1.  If the panhandler on the corner can afford hair dye, perhaps she's doing just fine.

2.  Would a snack-free theatre catch on?  While we were seeing Skyfall the other night, I was annoyed several times by candy bag/crinkling noise behind me.

3.  I don't really read very often, but I kind of want a Kindle. What's that about?

4.  Andy didn't have to tell me that KYXY is playing Christmas music every evening at 7pm.  I had no idea.  It was beyond delightful; it made my day and was a true sacrifice on his part. 

5.  I am continually shocked by the general irresponsibility of some parents.

6.  I appreciate days off much more, now that I have to go to work every day.  Weekends and holidays have become so precious.

7.  Losing weight would be much easier if I liked vegetables and healthy foods.  I love red meat, potatoes, breads, pastas, fried foods and baked goods.  I'm not kidding, I like three vegetables and only one of them is green.

8.  Each year, it makes me happy to see how happy Andy gets when I can finally get Old Fezziwig Ale.

9.  I can't sleep with the closet doors open.  How weird am I?

10.  Our youth pastor (Geoff) and our worship leader (David, pronounced Dah-veed) are awesome.  Not only are they super gifted, talented, and generally fabulous at what they do, but they have both taken an interest in Matthew and have begun to take time to jam with him (on the guitar).  It's quite wonderful. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Shredded

Yesterday I got a hair-brained idea. 

As I was putzing around on the computer before we went to church, I saw an ad for Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred.  Honestly, I'd never heard of it before.  Clearly I've been under a fitness rock for some time.  Sigh.

Around this time last year, having reached my highest weight to date, I decided that beginning January 2nd, I would be making some changes.  I dove right in and I really did make some good progress.  By the end of April, I'd lost fifteen pounds.  While that was awesome, I still had a good thirty to forty pounds to go and I got overwhelmed and off track. I completely fell off the wagon.  So now, a year later when I could have been near my goal weight by now, I find myself having gained back all that I lost and needing to once again make changes.

I've been meaning to get back to the gym, but I don't know that I'm going to be able to have time for it until after Christmas.  Yes, I could get up at 5am and do it; no, I'm not THAT committed.  So, when I saw the 30 Day Shred, I wondered if that might be just the thing to get me started.  Against my better judgement, I gave it a try this morning.

Whoa.

It's only been about four hours and I'm already sore.  I can tell that by the end of the night, it might be a project just making it up and down the stairs.  I have no idea how I'm going to be able to do it again tomorrow.  I will try though.  I'm praying, you can join me, that my back will hold out; I have some disk (disc?) damage.  I should also remember to do jumping jacks correctly so that I don't hurt my foot again. Don't ask.

Will it be enough to help me lose weight in the next 30 days?  Don't know.  Hopefully, it'll keep me from gaining too much over the holidays and aid me in regaining some good habits.

We'll see!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Rewriting Christmas Songs

Sing along with me, will you? 
I've penned a new verse to It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year:


It's the most asthmatic time of the year.
With the damp air a-blowing, I'll keep neb-u-lizing - for my lungs I fear!
It's the most asthmatic time...of the year!


It seems cruel that my absolute favorite time of the year, November through February, is also the time that I most struggle to breathe.  The moist, cold air kills me.  This year it's starting early; there's a heaviness in my lungs that won't subside.  My barky cough is returning and I've already spent multiple days tied to my inhaler. 

Oh well.  It's a reasonably small price to pay for the glorious, heavenly cold weather. 
I really, really do love it. Cold, wind, rain...I come alive.
Bring it on, weatherman! 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Saturday Awesomeness

Getting to sleep in:  Refreshing.

Peterson's donuts for brunch:  Delicious.

Seeing Skyfall and going to Claim Jumper with my three favorite men:  Priceless.


Seriously, my men are so wonderful.  There was a bit of stress for a while today, but time with them always adjusts my perspective and reminds me of what is really important.

So thankful for today.

Friday, November 9, 2012

2002

I believe that last year we ended with 2001.
Here, for your viewing pleasure, are way too many pictures!

How do you beat your older brother at Duck Hunt?
Stand six inches from the screen, of course!



Having fun at Grandma and Papa's 40th Anniversary party!

Legoland!

First year of T-Ball; John made an unassisted triple play. 
I'm totally not kidding.  


This sums up Matthew's childhood personality perfectly.
His award too much too long to arrive.


John and a classmate at Kindergarten Graduation.
This one has always killed me.

Camping with Daddy and Granddad. 
There was an American flag within sight
of the outhouses, so every time they came out,
they would pause and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Trying to clean some of the dirt off...
rather uncharacteristic for John.

Monterey

Knott's Berry Farm

Turning 5 at McDonald's


I threw this in for my friend, Carol. 

Grandma and her boys

Bate's Nut Farm

Playing with Rolie Polie Olie

Merry Christmas


Thursday, November 8, 2012

My Inner Sally Albright


Watch this clip.  Please, watch it. 



Last night, I asked my husband if he thought that I was a high maintenance person.  After a few witty and sarcastic remarks, he admitted that yes, I am indeed high maintenance.  I'm not particularly proud of it, nor am I ashamed of it; it's who I am.

It rears it's head most often in restaurants.  Like Sally, I always have to use a lot of words when I'm ordering.  Honestly, I can't think of any entree that I order anywhere which I don't have to customize in some way.  Maybe pizza; I generally leave pizza alone.  But typically it's add this, take this off, put that on the side...I always have to do something to it.  Andy is so simple when he orders that most often we probably do look like Harry and Sally.

Just when I thought that I couldn't make restaurants more complicated, something new came up.  I have now become that person at the Mongolian Grill.  You know, the one who holds up the entire line by asking the guys to clean off the grill before they cook your food.  Yep, from now on that will be me.  I'm not really trying to be difficult.  It's just that last night, I paid $11.95 for a plate of food that was presumably delicious, but I was unable to taste anything after the third bite.  Seriously, someone before me must have gone heavy on the Dragon Oil because after a couple of bites, my mouth was on fire and I had to guzzle water just to make it through my meal.

So, I (sort of) apologize to waitstaff everywhere.  I know how I want my food and I'm going to order it that way.  I (sort of) apologize to the people in line at the grill - I know that you're waiting for your meal, but I'd like to be able to taste mine.  Apparently, I really am high maintenance.  Perhaps I'll just say that I'm confident in what I want.  Yeah...that sounds better.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

One Final Thought


 
 

My grandfather flew his flag upside down following an election twenty years ago.  
Today I honor him by doing the same.

America is indeed in dire distress.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Oh Yes I Did...

Last night I had to go to a meeting at 6:30pm.

It was dark outside when I left, I had closed toe shoes on, and I had a sweatshirt with me.  
I stopped on the way for a pumpkin spice latte.  

I couldn't help myself.   


While I promise not to put out any decorations until the appropriate time, 
Christmas music season has begun!

Monday, November 5, 2012

My Civic Duty

In case you've been under a rock somewhere, you are probably aware that tomorrow is Election Day.

Like every good American should, I plan to stop at my polling place on the way to work and cast my ballot.  I must say, I'm a bit annoyed with the whole process though.  In fact, I honestly question why I should bother.

Oh I know, there are the propositions and the various state and local positions to be filled.  In these areas, my voice will be heard.  In fact, the props are quite easy:  if they cost money, I will vote no.  Honestly, the state hasn't instilled in me any confidence that if they have even a dime more, they will use it wisely.  I'm through voluntarily giving them more money.  I don't care whether it's for schools or food labels or anything else aimed at pulling on my heartstrings; I want to keep what's mine.

It's the presidential part that I have a problem with.  Why should I, a conservative in the People's Republic of California, wait in potentially long lines to vote when the outcome (of my state) is a foregone conclusion?  It's ridiculous.  With or without my vote, my state is going to go blue.  I hate that.  I hate the Electoral College and our whole system.

My simplistic brain things that we should go to a popular vote; then each and every vote, across the whole country, would make a difference.  Andy, who is far wiser than I am, tells me that it wouldn't work.  I'm not sure why not, but I generally trust him.  If not the popular vote, is there no other equitable way to elect a president?  There's got to be a better solution out there.  I just need to find it.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Not Your Typical Girl

I've never been a girlie girl.

My earliest and best childhood friends were a pair of boys and a girl who was a bit of a tomboy herself. I had a few token Barbies that I played when when I was alone, but I spent most of my time playing Star Wars and Super Heroes with the aforementioned boys. At recess, while the rest of the girls were prancing around in their made-up Unicorn Club (I'm not kidding), I was the 4-Square queen. In junior high and high school, I did use my fair share of cosmetics and hair products, but I never really did embrace all things girlie. I think the Lord knew what He was doing when He made me a boy mom.

That being said, every now and again I do wish that I enjoyed a few more feminine things; it would be convenient. While I do love a good spa treatment, that's about where my girlie side ends. Whenever my lady friends have a girls movie night, it's never something that I want to see; I'd much rather sneak in to men's movie night.

This weekend, another example of my non-traditional views popped up: shopping.

So many of my friends love to spend time at the mall; I can't stand it. I had to get some coordinating clothes for our Christmas photos and I'd put it off until the day before the shoot - I really couldn't wait any longer. I spent several hours at the mall yesterday and I hated every second of it. Since I was up there, I had a few other things that I needed and I actually considered skipping them so that I could leave! Thankfully, I soldiered on and took care of what needed to be done. 

Afterward, as I was rushing back to my car thankful to be leaving the crowds and the clutter, I had a terrifying thought: It's time to start Christmas shopping! Perhaps I'll spend a little extra time with Amazon this year. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

So Wrong


Really?  Are you kidding me?  
I know that I spoke about my Star Wars feelings just two days ago, but seriously, this is important.

I saw this at the store tonight.  It's just not right.  

And not three minutes after finding this, I saw a t-shirt with Vader riding a motorcycle! 

Is nothing sacred anymore?
















Friday, November 2, 2012

Senior Night

Senior Night.  
The night that Andy and I get to escort our son across the field to begin 
what will be his last, regular season home game.  

Freshman, 2009 








JV, 2010




Varsity, 2011


Varsity, 2012

There's a slight chance that I turned into a blubbering idiot when I heard this (again) this morning.  
Slight chance. 
I'd better pack Kleenex tonight.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Don't Do It, Fonzie...

...he did.
And in my opinion, so did George Lucas.
Star Wars has jumped the shark.

Let me back up for a second....
My Halloween decorations are still up and I don't have clean clothes for work tomorrow; arguably I have more important things to do.  Still, rumor has it that today is November 1st and therefore the beginning of NaBloPoMo.  Always up for a challenge, and possibly against my better judgment, I'm once again diving in.  Things are so crazy that I make no promises about quality this year, but I will do my best to get something posted every day. 

Now, back to the topic at hand; one that is very dear to my heart:  Star Wars.

Most of you are probably aware that a few days ago, it was announced that George Lucas has sold Lucasfilm to Disney for 4 billion dollars.   I understand that he wants to spend more time on indie projects, and heck, if you have something worth that much money, I guess I get the appeal of cashing out.  But Star Wars?  Really?

I'm a purist.  Give me a line from A New Hope...I can quote the next line back to you.  Seriously, I used to have the whole movie memorized.  I took my beloved Return of the Jedi lunch box to school every day in elementary school.  Oh the scorn that I was subjected to, a girl with a RotJ lunchbox, but I held my head up and carried it with pride.  I was once Princess Leia for Halloween; I considered naming one of my children after one of Han and Leia's children. I can obliterate most people at Star Wars Trivial Pursuit.  I'm telling you, I'm hard core.

That said, I'm not on board with the sale of the franchise.  I endured all of George's blasted tinkering; after all, he's the creator.  But to sell it to Disney?  No, the two shouldn't mix.  There's a photo floating around now with Vader bowing to Mickey.  SO not okay.  And check out this quote that I read, discussing the casting of Han, Leia and Luke for the next movie: "...Disney was not likely to take the risk of casting no-name actors and actresses as Lucas did, opting for “tried and true” as opposed to “new, young hotshots.”  Have you read some of the names floating around?  Rooney Mara or Jennifer Lawrence as Princess Leia?  Anton Yelchin or Liam Hemsworth as Luke?  And heaven forbid, Ryan Gosling as Han?  Are you kidding me?  From Harrison Ford to Ryan Gosling?  They might as well come out and admit that Greedo did shoot first!  Granted, these just various suggestions from people, but it goes to show you how irreverently this could be treated!  They're also going to be mass producing and mass marketing everything; the schedule that they've alluded to is nutty.  I'm afraid that there can indeed be too much of a good thing. 

Maybe I will be proven wrong.  If I end up enjoying the transition and subsequent films, I am more than willing to come back and post a retraction.  At this point though, I'm not very hopeful.  I love Disney and I love Star Wars.  I just don't see them being a winning combination.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Old Habits Die Hard

This afternoon, I found myself laying in bed while watching the Steelers at the Raiders.  Hey, it was almost one hundred degrees at our house today and our bedroom is the only room with air conditioning!

Upon seeing the baseball diamond on the field (which I hate during football season), I rolled over and asked Andy, "Who plays at the Coliseum?  Are the Dodgers playing there now?"

I'll let you figure out where I went wrong.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

While America is Sleeping

As I sit here watching the news, I am confronted with continual stories flooding in from the Middle East.  Hundreds, even thousands of people, in multiple countries, are now protesting our embassies.  They are protesting America. Why?  Because we happen to disagree with them.  The movie was just the catalyst; it's our difference in ideology that is the problem.

If these were normal, rational, peaceful protests, I would have no issue with them.  Everyone doesn't have to agree with me.  Sadly, this is not the case. Riots, fires, vandalism, gunfire, killings....these are not normal, rational people.  These people, frankly, are animals.  They are lawless, godless, animals.  They are a people who would take the lives of our citizens and drag their bodies through the streets.  They are the scum of the earth.  They are evil incarnate.

My question is this:  Where is the outrage on our side?  Why aren't the American people, and people of all faiths around the world, outraged and incensed at the atrocities that are unfolding before us?  Or, if you would prefer to take religion out of it, why aren't other foreign governments appalled at the treatment that our officials are receiving?  Our embassies are sovereign territory.  Why doesn't our government take this seriously and handle it swiftly?  Why do we continue to tip-toe around these monsters?  Why are we giving them aid?

 Oh...that's right.  Our farce of a government is busy with more important things, like banning large-sized sugary drinks in New York's public places.  I'm not even kidding; they just did.  I realize it's not an apples-to-apples comparison, but do you see my point?

I hope that our country wakes up.  In November, we must make some changes, but it needs to go further than that.  America needs to get back to the basics.  Read some history books, study our Founding Fathers, heck..even watch The Patriot!  We need realign our priorities, beginning with protecting our own, and quit worrying about the blood sugar levels of Coke lovers.






Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Communication is Key

Tonight, I have a quick Public Service Announcement for those of you who are employers.

If you hire a (super-fabulous) new girl and she happens to begin work on...say...August 9th, as you're showing her the ins and outs of the various office machinery, you might want to spend a few minutes on the phone system.  This is especially pertinent if she is to be the main voice of your place of business.

Some functions are basic: transfers and voice mail transfers.  Some are a little more tricky:  "all calls."  She may be quite anxiously looking forward to the first time that she will need to make an all call, it may sound like a lot of fun.  She might also wish that her best friend lived across the street so that she could sneak code words into said all calls and see if her friend hears them.  But I digress.  Most basic phone functions can be picked up with minimal effort and in time, she will undoubtedly memorize all 45 extensions.

You may, however, want to take a moment and discuss the red light.  It's not blinking or doing anything annoying; it's more of a soft, continual back light.  You know, it just looks like a normal part of the phone.  So, imagine the surprise of said new girl if on...say...September 5th, you casually mention, "...you are checking your voice mail regularly, aren't you?" 

If this happens, be prepared for her to give you a deer-in-the-headlights look and voice a mild, yet emphatic  exclamation about not having any idea that she had her own voice mail to monitor.  She might not be aware that the pretty red light is in fact an indicator of voice mail and not just a little bit of Christmas cheer each and every day.

In closing, please remember that in between discussions about amazingly fancy copy machines and electric three-hole punchers (so cool!), you should probably mention the phone.  It'll make her feel like much less of an idiot a month later, and she won't have to spend a half hour listening through and deciphering a zillion messages.

This ends tonight's PSA; you may now carry on with your regularly scheduled evening.

Late-Night Questions

1.  Why is it that when there's a special event where you need your make-up to look perfect, it disappears?  And yet on an average, ho-hum day, it lasts forever?  Seriously, I put it on 18 hours ago...

2.  Why do the 7-Eleven people always act so put out when I ask them to stamp my Slurpee card?  I didn't ask for the card; I didn't create it.  They did, and they offered it to me.  So what's with the attitude?

3.  Why on earth did I agree to both the football boosters and the Little League presidency at the same time that I was beginning a new job?  I might be insane.

4.  What does it say about my current state of affairs that the highlight of my day was finding all of the necessary roly-polies for Matthew's lab tomorrow?  I'm not kidding, I went out this evening and found him more than a dozen.  I was much more excited than I probably needed to be.

5.  Why am I blogging all of this when I should be working or sleeping?  Oh, I know....because I miss blogging.