Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The 100th Wednesday Hodgepodge Already?

Time flies when you're having coffee over your laptop every Hump Day with 100 of your favorite online friends. Give or take.

Welcome to the 100th edition of Joyce's Wednesday Hodgepodge. Kudoes to her for coming up with thoughtful questions week after week.  And especially THIS week, when she prepared the 100th Hodgepodge whilst preparing for Hurricane Sandy.  Her piece of the American landscape pie was beat up pretty badly there in north Jersey. (Thanks, Joyce, for your faithful "interview" posts.
It's always fun to anticipate what you're going to ask, and to get to answer questions about things as far-ranging as food, family , and filosofee.)

I thought for sure that Joyce would ask things such as:
               If someone gave you $100,000 today, what would you do with it?   ( I had an answer ready for that!)
               Do you want to live to be 100? Why or why not?   (I had an answer for that, too!)
               Have you stuck your foot in your mouth at least 100 times? (What do you think?)

1. What creeps you out?

              -centipedes, or any bug with 100 legs or fewer (or more)
              -men with beards and really big glasses
              -the smell of fire or smoke that I can't pinpoint the source of
              -crickets, grasshoppers, praying mantisses (mantissi?),  frogs; anything that hops unpredictably
              -the calm before a storm and THEN the raging winds through sky-high trees at my house

2. What's your least favorite candy?

              Tootsie Rolls.

3. Are you a fan of scary movies? What's the scariest movie you've ever seen?

              No, I'm not a fan of scary movies. Demonic influence, blood, guts, violence, fear...none of that entertains me. I wasn't allowed to watch horror movies when I was growing up, but one night when I was at a slumber party in  9th grade, my friend Kelly and her brother and their friends put in the movie Nightmare on Elm Street.   I was scared witless and realized (with appreciation) why my parents had forbidden them in our home and never agreed to let us see one at the local cinema.  By today's standard, Nightmare on Elm Street was pretty tame, but it opened a door that should have stayed closed to me.

4. What part of life confuses you the most?

               Confuses me? I'm not sure I understand the question; could you please clarify your meaning, Joyce?   Just kidding.  Um, right now I am questioning something I had hoped I'd never have to question--why people, whom I thought had integrity, really will compromise what they say they believe in order to be part of the "in" crowd, and are old enough to know better. I  will keep it vague like that, but suffice it to say I am not talking about young people. That wouldn't confuse me; that's perfectly understandable. Nor am I referring to anyone in my family; I would have worked through that with many conversations by now.

5. Pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, poppy...what's your favorite seed?

                 By themselves? Sunflower seeds.  In something?    Poppy seeds in lemon cake.

6. Imagine your life ten years from today...what's changed?

               1) Our first three children will be married and have started their families. I sure hope I'm the grandmother of at least five little children by then.  That would make me exceedingly happy, provided they all lived within an hour's drive, but better yet, less than 20 minutes from us.
              2) Our youngest is in college, majoring in business and trying to invent something that will change the world and earn himself a truckload of money.
               3) Sadly, I think my mother will have passed away and my dad will be dying a slow death of heartbreak. I hope against hope he doesn't get Alzheimer's like his mother had, and I really hope my mom lives a lot longer than I expect, but this is what I picture happening in the next ten years.
               4) I imagine that Paul and I will have discovered the fun of traveling overseas together.  I imagine we will still be living here, but talking regularly about downsizing; I will be complaining the house is too big for two people and he will be complaining about the yard work.
                 5) I imagine we will be as active  in the church we joined in 2013 as we were in the one we left after 17 years. 
                 6)  I will have taken many more art classes and will have improved in that hobby.Perhaps I will be selling some of my work. Hah!  Maybe I will be teaching some art  when I'm not lovin' on the grands. 
                7)  I also imagine Paul and I be eating out almost all the time. I don't imagine I'll enjoy cooking regularly for 2 or 3 people; the thrill of cooking has already begun to wane as my family-at-home shrinks.
                8) I will have met five more of my blogging friends in real life.  Who wants to be part of that list?
                9) I might have just figured how today's technology works.  Today's--as in, 2012's in 2022. My daughter posted this on my Fb Wall. She knows me.

7. What do you a) love the most and b) like the least about the Hodgepodge?

             a.  I love having made what I consider a new circle of friends, especially ones in my middle-age category and those who are beyond me in years and wisdom.    I look forward to reading others' HP posts  (and not just their HP posts, but more of their blog) each week, and receiving comments from as many as who take time to say hello on mine.  I also really look forward to the HPs that make me laugh. Some of you crack me up every time, which keeps me coming back. And not just your humor, but your honesty and transparency about your lives.

             b.  What I like the least is not getting my entry in the top 13 or so some weeks. Why? Because I  just don't get as many notes in my comment box if I enter later in the day.  And I LOVE comments. They make me feel like I'm not writing into thin air, that someone is listening and
entering my little world for a few minutes.  

8. Insert your own random thought here.

                   I've also noted that some people respond more the random thought than my other answers, which begs me to ask, If you're in a hurry, is that all you read?

                   Please keep up the Hodgepodging, Joyce. It's obviously quite the highlight of the week for many of us here in blogland. In fact, some weeks it provides the only post we get around to writing!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pictorial Play-by-Play

Around noon today...

Fairly calm. Leaves obviously scattered about during the night.

They took a seat on our tattered swing and around the grill that is
chained to the railing.
These are some of the tall trees that I have so much respect for.
Beautiful, but...the bigger they are, the harder they fall.
Leaves are supposed to fall, but the trees themselves should
remain firmly planted in the ground,right?

Um, are you just gonna stand there and take a picture of me, or let me in?
There's a hurricane out here, ya know!
Out front. Wonder how long the car cover will hold?
Tall trees above the neighbors' across the street.
More and more trees...

                                               This lonesome leaf smacked right up against
                                               my kitchen window as if to say, "HELP! HELP!
                                               LET ME IN!" 

I don't want to lose this view. It sold us on the house 13 years ago.
A mum in front, along with a deepening puddle.

                                                 The weeping willow sways... but this is one
                                                   my favorite fall scenes every year.

                                                   Reilly knows something isn't quite right.
                                             "Maybe if I watch it long enough, it'll go away."
This old gal is 14, or 98 in people years. Wonder how
many storms she has weathered? You can
certainly see the weathering on her muzzle.

                                                     I made peanut butter cookies and kept
                                               admiring my sunflowers. This is my Kansas
                                                 love picture. Comforting things.
Joel made the miniature paper chair. Cute, huh?

Add caption

                                               He also made this coat of arms in history class. Necabo Ego Te is Latin for  "I will kill you."
Hmmm. This is his personal coat of arms, not a reflection of
our family's general demeanor.

They long to be...close to me....

 It is now 4:02 as I post this.

Wind is really picking up and growling.
Reilly is growling back. Brownie is no longer resting peacefully. She is showing
signs of nervousness and just want to snuggle up to my leg.  Sweetie pie.

I am fine. Don't you worry. Pray, yes. Worry, no.  Love all my blogging buds for keeping
in touch.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Preparation "H"

I'm sitting here on my laptop, more or less ready as we wait for Hurricane Sandy to roar.  So far she is just whispering and spitting in our neck of the Maryland woods.

Having been caught in Hurricane Irene last  year, we're taking Hurricane Sandy seriously.   I find it funny to see the words describing this storm in back-to-back reports. 

I'm talking about this "biblical in nature "  "Frankenstorm."   (I picture  Charlton Heston changing out of his Moses costume and into his Phantom of the Opera suit.)

Flights up and down the Eastern seaboard have been cancelled.

Amtrak has cancelled most of its routes from Boston to DC.

Many of the counties have cancelled school already for tomorrow, and some for Tuesday, as well. My youngster is thrilled to bits.  It sort of makes up for the zero snow days he got last winter.  Score one for Sandy.

My husband's boss emailed everyone to judge for themselves about venturing to the office tomorrow. They have the work-from-home option. Or, in his case, the don't-work-at-all option. That's one of the  perks of being old   having 30 years of the same-old- same-old accumulated under your proverbial workbelt.  Score two for Sandy.

All of us prepare much the same way for hurricanes, to varying degrees.

What have we in the Zub house done? Inquiring minds want to know, right?  If you're not  waiting for your laptop or Ipad to charge, I'm sure you're glued to my blog.  It's about as addictive as the Weather Channel, huh?

Hurricane Sandy Preparations:  A Dozen Things We've Done

1.  Forget on Friday that you could lose power on Monday, and that fridges and freezes are run by electric power in our house.  How did this forgetfulness manifest itself? Well, hubby and I were in a vulnerable state of mind--and stomach--just as a Capital Meats truck pulled up  at 6:30 pm. We were literally pulling into our driveway ourselves.  The driver/salesman pounced on us was really friendly and hardworking and kept calling my hubby "boss."  Whatever you want, Boss. If you don't want the breaded chicken, I can swap it out for some tilapia. Whaddya say, Boss? Or I could get you some porterhouses instead of the scrimp."  Well, he ended up selling the Boss and me  two freezers' worth of steak, chicken, pork, and "scrimp."  What were we thinking?  Boss was thinking, "This is a really good deal."   Mrs. Boss was thinking, "Well, good! Now I don't have to think about my meat supply for the next four months!"

2.  Patronize Walmart for the first time in over a year.   I didn't want to do it; I hate Walmart, but it was really convenient from where my daughter and I happened to be.  We were out of dog food, and I also wanted to pick up a big box of powdered milk to go with the bottled water to go with the umpteen boxes of cereal I  previously stocked up on--, some gluten-free, and some for the rest of the family.  To my surprise, Walmart also had some batteries left.   And not to my surprise, my hubby ran around town with the youngin and got essentials for us--you know, . Diet Dr. Pepper and V8 Splash. And sunflower seeds.  To each his own, right?

3.  Fill the tub with really hot water.  It might actually be bearably lukewarm should we need to take a sponge bath on the morrow. It will also flush down things I'd rather not discuss. (Disgus?)

4.  Wash all the laundry, including all the sweatpants that I won't even been caught in Walmart wearing.  Not that I'd be out of place...

5.   Remove all planters, wicker furniture, and pumpkins to the garage. In a hurricane, these decorations are known as projectiles.

6.  Stock up on bottled water.  Why do I suddenly get really thirsty just knowing I  might be hunkering down for a couple days?  I mean, it's not like I won't find running water somewhere on the premises!!!  Hello?

7.  Round up the flashlights.  Put them near a stack of real books for reading, otherwise known around here as "vintage entertainment."

8.  Laugh at the neighbors who spent an hour and half blowing leaves off their lawn yesterday.
We sit and watch angels flap their wings over our lawn and whoosh them away!

9.  Stock up on toilet paper. A must-have item, hurricane or no hurricane.

10.  Gas up all the vehicles. Never know when we might need to drive them and ourselves and all our descendants and camels   doggeroos to higher ground, which would mean sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic with every other east coast inhabitant who can't get to points West by airline right now. 

11. Communicate with my folks. They're fine; in fact, they're the most prepared people on the planet. We take our cues from them as we pray and go over our checklists, and wait, and pray some more, and go over our checklists, and wait...

12. Bake peanut butter cookies. I am not one to bake for pleasure. It takes a threat of natural disaster to get me to pull out the flour, sugar, soda, mixing bowls, and all that stuff, but I am well aware that we need our protein. And we need it to be easy to find in the dark, and not to require refrigeration. Score 3 for Sandy. 

Fashion (Non)Sense for the MOG

As my regular readers know by now, I will have the honor, once again, of being the
Mother of the Groom.   Our second son is getting married next summer.
Naturally my first thought after, "Wait! He's still just a baby!"
was, "Okay, now, what on earth am I going to wear to the wedding?"
A lazy Sunday afternoon beckoned me to peruse the internet for some possibilities .
Shall I give you a sneak peek into a few of the options?
First up,
inspired by Grey Poupon.
Or Baby Poupon.
Take your pick.
Granny's Nightie .  It Bee's Ugly, as evidenced by the mannequin who just caught
a glimpse of herself in the mirror.

 Next up we have a modest, eye-catching number sewn by Betsy Ross.  The red part has faded to
pink over the years, but the symbolism  hasn't been shrouded by antiquity.
It begs me to inscribe "Mrs. America" on the sash.

The Queen Mum might approve of this next get-up.  
 Too bad I'm way past the age of needing mum's approval for my wardrobe.
And, I couldn't be certain
someone else
wouldn't have this same outfit on. 
 Faux pas
of all fashion faux pas. 
(Pardon my French.)

Better safe than sorry, though. Everyone wants to show their unique style for such a big event. 
For the woman who must
she won't
show up
in a dress ANYONE else would wear...

And finally, in case the deejay doesn't arrive
 at the reception,
and we have to find alternate entertainment,
I'll have  Plan B ready and waiting.
I would pull this frock out of my wedding tote bag,
toss it onto the dance floor,
and invite all guests to  play a rousing game of Twister.
  It's bound to give a whole new meaning
to the term
 "bridal party."
Then again,
it could also mean
that neither of our remaining unwed children
would even CONSIDER inviting me
 to their wedding.
That's a mighty high price to pay for being in vogue.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hurricanes and Funny Things

                                  Sandy, We're Prepared for Your Visit but Aren't Looking Forward to It.

Living just a burp from the Chesapeake Bay here in Maryland has us in a precarious locale.  Hurricane Sandy is threatening to bear down like a woman in labor with septuplets in the northeast.
If she bears down like Isabel did in 2003, we're in trouble.  And by "we" I mean the whole state, but some of us have 2,000-ft trees behind our houses (give or take a few hundred feet). 

Some of my friends live literally down the street from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay or have waterfront property.  They experienced the same kind of storm surge back then that could happen again. Ten foot swells suddenly ravaged the little town of Dundalk where we used to live. One of my friends lost her cousin in that hurricane. He went out for a walk through the neighborhood, got disoriented, and drowned.  Another family friend lost the home they had begun to build. People fled to their second story bedroom windows to be rescued by police boats. Scary stuff.  We have stocked up on essential food and water, toilet paper, batteries and sunflower seeds. When my husband is nervous, he chews on sunflower seeds like a squirrel on steroids.

They're calling it Frankenstorm. If areas in the western portion of the state get the coldfront that's coming their way, the hurricane could ostensibly be like a freakish monster snowstorm.

We got a freakish snowstorm on October 29th last year.  It was just about the only snow we got all winter, and came right on the day we were hosting a big party for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary.  We got more snow in what was supposed to SPRING!  And then this past August, we were expecting a thunderstorm, a normal, "garden variety" kind.  But we got a derecho that put much of Baltimore out of power for days on end.

So, all that to say this: when it comes to freakish weather, we can count on it! We are bracing for Sandy. Too bad such a horrible storm shares a name with some of my favorite people.

                                      First Grade Funnies are Just the Best.

Yesterday I subbed for the first grade teacher at our little Christian school.  Oh, my. Those kids are funny and they don't even know it.

As I was reading them the story of Eliezer going out under Abraham's order to find a wife for Isaac,
I told them that they were in the land of Mesopotamia.   I asked them to repeat the word.  Mess-uh-puh-tay-mee-uh. They did very well. Then one little girl raised her hand.  "I know why they call it Mesopotamia.  Because it has the word "mess up" in it because a lot of people mess up there."

I squelched my giggle and told her I bet they do mess up a lot there. I wasn't about to launch into a discussion about it being the hub of modern day terrorist groups.  Talk about mess-up potamia.


Same class, at short recess (11 a.m-ish). We are fifteen minutes behind schedule, but no biggie in the whole scheme of things (to me, anyway).

I notice a little girl crying.
Me: What's wrong, honey?
Her: I just really miss Miss Thomason.
Me: Aww. That's sweet. I bet she'll be glad to know you missed her.
Her: She's a good teacher.
Me: Yes, she sure is . Do you want to be a teacher when you grow up?
Her:  Maybe. I've thought about it. But I've got time to decide.

A little later, the girl is still mopey and tearful.
Me: You're still sad, Kristi. What's the matter?
Her: (breaking into a full sob): Well, Miss Thomason always brings us out for short recess a LOT sooner than this! She tells us to run around and get our mad out, and it usually helps!
Me: Then go run around and get your mad out!
Her:  I'm not MAD! I'm SAD!  I'm really, realllllllllllllllllllly saaaaaaaaaaaaad.  (more sobbing)

Same class , at lunch.  (names are all changed in this whole post)

One girl approaches me and says, "Mary said a bathroom word."
Me: Oh, really, what bathroom word?
Her: Pee.
Me: Where was she when she said it?
Her: In the bathroom.
Me: It's okay.  We can say pee in the bathroom.

                                                     Second Grade Funnies are Pretty Funny, Too.

Another teacher told me she heard a second grader in music class say to her friend, "Sit your butt down here." And then she quickly covered her mouth in a gasp. "Oh, no! I said the "b" word."

The other girl replied, "Well, at least you didn't say the really BAD "b" word."

"What's the really bad "b" word?" asked the first girl.


Third Graders Get Theological with their Funnies.

A teacher heard two boys in the bathroom discussing Halloween.  (These were 9 year olds.)

Boy 1: I can't wait for Halloween! All that candy....!
Boy 2: Are you a Christian?
Boy 1:  Yeah, I'm a Christian.
Boy 2:  Christians don't celebrate Halloween.
Boy 1:  Oh, guess I'm NOT a Christian, then!

Then, as they headed out for recess, the teacher heard this from the same kids:
Boy 1: Wanna play pirates and witches?
Boy 2: Sure!

            Fifth Grader Makes Me Laugh Every Day.

My own boy is in fifth grade. This morning I found a note he'd written and left on the sink of the kids' bathroom. (By kids I mean my two twenty-somethings and him.)   He managed to find a space for the slip of paper between deodorant stick, razor, retainer cup, handsoap, cologne,  hairbrush, and an empty roll of toilet paper.  A mix of wet clothes and dry ones decorated the floor. Shampoo bottles and lovely loofahs punctuated the rim of the tub. Splatters of toothpaste made the mirror a work of art. Ahem.

I read his note:

 "bathroom needs to be cleaned this weekend--fight over it."

I wasn't sure which was funnier, the fact that he actually noticed that the bathroom needed to be cleaned, or  what he meant by "fight over it."   

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

99 Red Balloons in the Hodgepodge

This is Hodgepodge Number 99. Can you believe it? Me neither.

99 is  all over the retail stores, yes?  Why can't something just sell for $5.00, not $4.99?  I know, I know, it's psychological, darlin'!

99 is a fun number to say. And sing. Except when you don't want to sing, or listen to other people sing on the bus, "99 bottles of beer on the wall." Not that I ever sang it that way. I went to Christian school and we had to sing "99 bottles of Coke on the wall."  One more reason never to apply for a job as a bus driver.

Do you remember that song "99 Red Balloons Go By"?  I'm not sure if the words made sense; they seemed kooky last time I listened, and I haven't been tempted to re-listen for a fair analysis, lo these many years later.

 I found a photo on Flickr that is really cool (cold, actually!) with some amazing red balloons converging in a winter scene. There's also a brief explanation--says that "99 Red Balloons" was a German protest song in 1982. I was protesting things much closer to home then, namely having to catch the bus before the sun got out of bed.  Made me mad enough to pop LIKE a balloon.

Anyway, take one down and pass it around---a Hodgepodge link, that is.

1. So, do you like beer?

Yes, in general I do, if it's bottled, not that cheap "Rocky Moutain beaver pee" we some of my classmates used to drink in college.  I like Dos Esquis, Dogfish Head, Red Stripe, some Polish beer I can't think of (let alone pronounce) and Landshark, to name a few.  A cold brewski is unbeatable on two occasions: at a  crab feast, and after mowing the lawn in 100 degree heat and humidity.

2. What's your least favorite repetitive task?

Unloading the dishwasher. 

3. When was the last time you rode a bus? Where was it headed?

Hmmm. Let me think. It's been awhile. Does a shuttle bus count? If so, a couple months ago I visited a huge local church and happened to park in the "upper lot" which is about two miles   four city blocks from the main sanctuary, but I didn't know that. Thankfully, a shuttle bus makes the rounds for "lost souls" !

4. What song from your childhood or from your own children's childhood could make a parent's nerves stand on end? 

My parents didn't often let on that their nerves were frayed, but actually Daddy did NOT like when we sang the aforementioned "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall."  He came from a strict Baptist home and was a chaplain who saw many a life ruined by alcohol. He can't stand even the mention of anything alcoholic, so we girls refrain from speaking of it in front of him. (And I don't think my folks read my blog unless I point them here for a specific post. (Sorry, Daddy. You raised us right, but we're deviants; it's not your fault that we all four like a nip now and then.)  

My parents also did not like "B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O and Bingo was his name-o."

Namely-o because we sang it and clapped out the letters  (B,i,n,g, CLAP) over and over and over and over and over  (like, 99 times?) till my  poor Baptist dad was probably tempted to take JUST ONE bottle of beer off the wall to drown his sorrows.

5. The US Presidential election cycle is drawing to a close (can I get an AMEN??), and the third and final debate was held last night...what was the last thing you 'debated about'?

AMEN from me!!   The last thing I debated was with myself was ON THE WAY TO MY JOB INTERVIEW LAST WEEK!--when having  trouble with the car I'd taken as a back-up, mind you,  since my VAN was dead at home! The debate was whether to pull over onto the side of the beltway and call GEICO or one of my sons for help (hubby was in California, so not available in the least).  OR to risk making it off the exit ramp and get as close to my destination as possible and hope not to get stuck in busy traffic on the main thoroughfare through town.   I chose the latter.  You can read what transpired, in yesterday's post, which I wrote in a poetic letter to my friend Kelly.

6. Can a person make too much money? How much is too much?

Too much money is the amount it takes to forget God.  Remember that He owns it all, that He gives it and He can surely take it away.

I personally like the way Tevye "debated" (on the other hand...) in Fiddler on the Roof.  He says, "It's no shame to be poor.  On the other hand, it's no great honor either!"

Having been poor and having been "not poor," I like "not poor" better. But I have to say, I am more comfortable among the poor than among the rich.  You can find me at the corner of Redneck and Rodeo Drive.

7. Pop-soda-coke-something else...what's it called where you live/

Soda.  This is Balmer, hon.  If you're a Ravens fan (which I am) it's soda all the way.  (That is, if you aren't drinking beer.) If you're a "Stillers" fan, then it's pop. Or Rolling Rock beer (AKA Pittsburgh beaver pee).   In our house, we drink soda. Got that? No one is allowed to drink "pop" in our house unless they wanna get popped in the mouth. Well, okay, maybe we're not THAT hostile toward Steeler fans, but we do ban the use of the word "pop" except when referring to Daddy-o.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Ten pounds and one pants size down since October 1st.  I feel like a new woman since going gluten-free.

Letter to my Friend, in Silly Rhyme

Folks, I'm am literally up to my elbows in laundry, which is why I'm blogging. I'm  on my laptop in the basement, on the sofa,  an ironing board's length away from the washer and dryer.  My left arm is  propped up by a load of towels,  while a load of darks  props the right. A basket of socks and undies serves as an ottoman for my feet.

Not really, but the mental image isn't far from the truth.  I AM blogging in the basement near the laundry room, inundated by mounds of clothes that got washed following a toilet overflow two nights ago.

So before I dive into my piles, I want to share part of a letter I wrote to my friend Kelly, who lives in Colorado. We were high school classmates, and shared an apartment in college until we went different directions back in the 80s. She is the mother of 8 -- count 'em, 8. Four biological and then four adopted.  But somehow she manages to write me monthly (almost)  and I reciprocate. Although, one time she went FIVE months before writing back, which I won't let her forget.

Last night I penned this letter (yes, penned a 16 pager, not typed) about my life's little happenings.

The letter was only going to START with a silly poem,
 and then turn to normal prose,
 but I couldn't cease the rhyming.
Read on. Here goes:

Dear Kelly,

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul--

Oh, wait! No, here's a revised version:

Now I sit me down to write
A letter to Kelly this fall Monday night.
It's been many moons since she heard from me
Which is only payback from her friend named "Z."

She's probably forgotten the news she penned last.
Time takes a toll and moves on so fast,
Except when it's one's turn to RECEIVE correspondence.
Then time moves slowly and one's heart grows despondent.

So I'll squelch your dismay by expressing my views
Should I skip the politics and talk about shoes?
Okay, I will! I bought some black clogs
Which are most comfy, yes,  except when one jogs.

I've bought other stuff too (I love to shop.)
A new Crock Pot and knives--choppity chop.
Add to that a plum leather  purse,
Art supplies, sticky notes, and an '87 hearse.

                              Just kidding, I didn't have a coupon for the hearse
                              And I refuse to pay full price if it's the last thing I do!

Let's see, since my last letter,
We celebrated the engagement
Of Stephen and Ambrey in the house
(Not   on the pavement.)

The wedding is planned for a day in June
We've booked church, hall, photographer and are recalling the tune:
"E-I-E-I-O" or, rather, "See? I owe, We Owe."
(Now aren't you tired of the rhymes by Zo?)

All right, I'll stop, I mean I'll try.
I'd hate to think you're ready to cry
About the fact that I've got a most horrible curse--
Unstoppable explosions of ill-formed verse !!

Back to the news here on  Friendship Drive,
The dogs drive me nutty when they howl at 5.
I don't do well responding to beasts (or to people, for that matter)
who disturb my sleep with incessant chatter.

Our minivan's battery konked out last Wednesday night
So Thursday I took our Saab (the "emergency car") and got quite a fright.
You see, I was heading to a  job interview
Merrily cruising at about seventy-two.

When, to my horror, my shock, my chagrin,
The engine began to chug, shake, and shim.
No! Not now! What is going on?
I JUST filled the tank, so what the dawn?

In a split second I thought, "Uh-oh, dear Lord,
This thing is acting just like a Ford!
The speedometer dropped down, down, down to 37--
"Oh, dear Father," I begged-- "please get me to Chevron!"

With time to spare, I called hubby (who was FAR away)
Though there was nothing he could do from his phone in LA.
So I ate some crow, and swallowed my pride,
Called the interviewer,  and confessed  "my car died."

She asked where I was.
"In the assisted living parking lot."
She said, "You're three minutes from me,
I'll come see what you've got."

Well, I've got embarrassment, and wondered if God
Remembered that bosses don't go for slipshod.
Or was my asking for help in time of need
A better thing, after all, than self-reliance indeed?

She followed me to her trusty mechanic
Who said , "It's a Saab story, but don't you panic."
The boss lady drove me to the client's house,
While I was feeling sheepish, and small as a mouse.

I was applying to become this sweet person's art teacher.
She's 41, disabled, and art's a way to reach her.
You see, she's wheelchair-bound, afflicted by CP.
A pretty brunette who weighs but half of me!

She can only move her left arm, her right one barely works,
and her hand's not always steady--sometimes she get 'the jerks.'
Spasticity's a common thing for her to contend with,
So doing art with "Katie" requires a certain gift.

And not to brag on self--but on God--
I think I've got that gift.  (Please nod.)
Our one-hour interview became a four-hour lunch.
Boy, can three women talk a bunch while we munch!

The sweet slow-talking "Katie" asked about my family, students, pets, and car.
She asked, "Are you a patient person?" I cackled, "Hardee har har!"
"Yes," I said, "with people who try and who need my help,
but not with my two dogs who always yelp, yelp, yelp!"

She smiled. I asked her, "Do YOU think I'm patient?"
She paused, then nodded, "If you're a teacher, and have 4 kids, you're patient."
(Oh, if only that qualified me, what a difference there'd be under our dome,
Or as those Jews say, we'd have more shalom in the home.)

Oh, back to the  car-in-the-shop deal,
The Saab got fixed for $252 over a midday meal.
The lady has one more person to see this week
But I hope she picks me, with my personality squeak.

She seems rich as all get-out, the interviewing lady,
So, too, "Katie" herself, or more precisely, Katie's daddy.
He had the home built for his one and only daughter,
Totally designed from floors to sink where one draws water.

Her wheelchair goes through an automatic door that opens from kitchen to garage
and can fit under countertops--oh, my, what a suitable, bright lodge.
She can't feed herself or go potty on her own.
But she's sold paintings for charity. Mazel tov and shalom!

Speaking of Jews, I babysit two girls at a local synagogue.
It's easy work, for generous pay, on regular shabbat.
But let me tell you, easy ends when 1, 2, 3, 4 little boys
need me for diaper changes, lollipops, and playing with ALL the toys.

Oy vey! I was watching four boys this past Saturday.
While  "Samuel" was in service, something made me nervous.
I was helping little "Jacob" to pee on the pot, not the floor,
When the other quietly sneaked out, I never heard the door!

The two little squirts had disappeared down the hall
While toileting Jake had my attention. Oh, the gaul!
And 14-month old Nathan-- binky in his mouth--
Couldn't stay there all alone. I just wanted to shout!

"Where ARE you boys! Get back here or I'm toast!"
I felt a coronary coming on. Call 911 or just the host?
Their New York Jewish mother heard their voices near her door
Where she was half-attentive during her nephew's bar "mitz-voor."

Finally boys were back under my dictatorial watchful eye.
I was tempted to SIT on them--at least on the rottenest little guy.
Okay, I'm shutting this down and turning on the tube
To see Obama and Romney debate; will either be a boob?

Oh, by the way, not sure if you're the Crock Pot cookin' type,
But I'm ready to announce this new discovery with hype.
Put all your prepped food in a Ziploc bag
(Potatoes, seered meat,  carrots, et cetera) when you're not jet-lagged.

Then stick in the freezer, labeled as such,
"Add 1/2 cup water, cook on Low 8 hrs"--what a crutch!
We all need crutches to lean on for support
When life's moving fast, and our energy is short.

Truly, truly, I say unto thee
I'm about finished writing, my dear Kelly.

Questions, answers, comments, whatever. I'll reread your letter and hope
you will forever
Be grateful to the Lord above, that He invented sleep
 because I need some.
And that totally
didn't rhyme
but I don't give
a rodent's butt.

My favorite movie? I can't pick just one.
Recently Sarah's Key, but way back, Forrest Gump.
Never seen Tombstone or Gods Must Be Crazy.
Does that mean, good friend, that I am cinematically lazy?

Hey, girl, to answer your great question:
"If we had a weekend together, what would we do?'
I say wine and cheese and mountain breeze,
and lots of yackin' with you!

Yes, all my kids get along with each other and their spouse("s").
We all like to spend time where oldest son's house is.
What, you ask, would I do if I didn't like the women my sons chose?
Well, I think I'd keep them from my sons with a freezing water hose!

No, I think I would be much less hospitable.
I wouldn't buy them any gifts nor take them on vacation.
I'd snarl, "Go find someone else to bat your lashes at,
and while you're at it, "Cover up your entire bust!"
And THAT totally didn't rhyme either. (Again, I don't give a rodent's butt.)

What's Colorado Springs like now that the fires are gone,
Along with hundreds of properties?
Can I find some rhyming words
Like "gundreds of jalopities"?

Shoot me! Your letter was written on August 20th--
Two months and two days ago!
Please don't repay evil for evil. Remember, I love you!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Scatterday Evening Post

What a crazy-busy, full, loaded, intense, action-packed week it's been here.  I have so much to report, rather randomly, with things which could easily be one post apiece.  For the sake of brevity (and of course I use the term as loosely as some politicians use tax dollars),  I shall do a collage of thoughts.

Many times this week I wanted to sit down and post, but mentally konked out and played lots of games of Words with Friends.

I am tired but feel good.  Not good enough to put these thoughts in any sort of order.  But isn't that the way our thoughts run--never quite chronologically, never quite by order of importance, but somehow our thoughts do this rapid-fire thing of remembering, forgetting, estimating, opinionating, fixating, calculating, brooding, sorting? Amazing thing the brain.

All that was my way of procrastinating the actual writing of my sundry thoughts.  Ai, yai, yai.  No wonder my poor husband encourages Girls Night Out.

Oh,  wait! Yes, yes! 

THE ABSOLUTELY MOST IMPORTANT THING to report is the birth of my new great-nephew, Zachary.

He was born yesterday to Paul's niece, Talitha, and her husband Dave. They have a first grader who is a great older brother.  This new baby is truly an answer to many prayers.  After going through many medical procedures and miscarriages, this baby was conceived without "help" and was carried full-term.  Oh, the joy!!!

Here is the grandpa of that newborn. He's the one on the right, my husband's brother.  Tony is  being a goof  in this shot., the morning he was returning from a weeklong "bro visit" here. One of these days years,  Lord willing, the guy on the left--yes, my husband--will have the grand privilege of being a grandfather himself.  And what will that make me?  A happy grandmother!!!


On a MUCH less important note, here's something else that makes me happy: a new fall tablecloth and the remnant flowers from a bigger bouquet. I get a lot of mileage out of flowers and cloth napkins. Flowers are my love language (one of many I  have). The picture is  a bit blurry. Ugh. 

I made Cucumber Sammies for the engagement party.  Easy and yummy!
I used Pepperidge Farm thin-sliced whole wheat bread.  The filling is simply this:
8 oz cream cheese and 2 Tablespoons dry Hidden Valley Ranch  dressing and a cucumber, peeled and sliced very thiin.  (I use a mandolin.)
Another anppetizer I made, with assembly-line help from two of my kids, are these Pepperoni Kebabs.
A friend name Ron introduced us to these tasty treats  at  a Christmas social.  Big hit!
On a toothpick, layer the following: half a grape tomato, a cube of pepperjack  or sharp cheddar (I alternate for color and because some folks don't care for spicy cheese),  a piece of red onion, and a dill pickle chip.  Plate these up and then sprinkle with Italian seasoning and garlic powder (or garlic salt if you like it really salty, which we don't. The pickle and pepperoni are salty enough for us.)
  I think these are great four-season appetizers. Depending on the plate you use, it can look great at a fall festivity,  a Christmas party, a spring gathering, or a summer picnic.
That's all for now.

I have more to say (is anyone surprised?) but will make it a separate post. I am sitting on the edge of my chair waiting for a special phone call about a dream job.  There's a whole interview story I have to tell.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Love is Pink and Green and Sushi and Rainbows

The day after my son got Down on One Knee,  and Ambrey said yes, I just had to throw them a miniature engagement party. A bigger two-family party was still planned for October, but I wanted to do something immediately and spontaneously.

Party City had these plates, the quote lifted directly from scripture...and which was printed on Steve's message in a bottle.  Naturally, while the girl at the balloon counter was filling my order, I was full of hot air myself and gave her (and everyone  else within earshot) my rendition of the Beach Proposal story.  The girls could not believe any guy would wait 20 months to say "I love you" to his girlfriend; one of the girls looked like she was about to cry.  I told her it was not because he didn't feel it--he'd felt it for well over a year-- but held back because she'd asked him to save those three little words for when he really meant it.

Love always hopes, always trusts.

She held the hope in her heart that she'd become his wife, and trusted God that Steve would ask when he was ready and able to provide for her.   She trusted that he would include the "I love you" in his asking, too!  Some things just cannot be left out out of a proper proposal, now can they?

Back to my party story. ( I told you I was full of hot air.)  

Knowing they'd get home late  from their beach trip on Sunday night , and perhaps hungry for a midnight snack and something sweet to mark the occasion,   I picked up coordinating cups and balloons

 and sushi (which they love, as do the rest of us) ... and ...

look what else I found. Rainbow cupcakes. That was a God thing. If you read the proposal post, you  will remember that there was a unique "rainbow ribbon" overhead at the moment Steve proposed.


And after cupcakes, we took some pictures.  

Are they just about the most radiant twosome you've ever seen?  And this is at midnight!

Finally,  a picture with the parental units who are happy as can be,
but one of us is feeling the midnight hour and one is faking it.
Can you tell who is faking? Romance and parties give the faker a
second wind.
I am so looking forward to having this girl officially in the family next June!  It will be wonderful to have three daughters as well as three sons at the wedding!