Friday, September 30, 2005

The answer my friend...

Our weather is insane. It was 103 degrees yesterday. Now, it's 63. Anyone who says Texas doesn't have seasons, I dare you to come visit right now. Right now. 'Cause if you wait, you'll miss it. By Saturday, it'll be 94 again, and we'll be rollin' into Indian Summer. In about 3 weeks or so, we'll slam head first into Dead of Winter. But for this moment, this is Autumn. Catch it if you can!


Darren loaded Google Earth on my machine tonight. WHOA. I've heard about it, but tonight, I finally navigated it myself. For far too long. I revisited the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, the Wicklow Mountains and Amsterdam. Then I flew over to the Red Sea and checked out where the Israelites are thought to have crossed, hurried through Iraq, over to Italy, out over the Atlantic, and back to the U.S., where I followed the Colorado through the Grand Canyon, climbed Guadalupe Peak, zoomed in on my house, checked out my old workplace to see if my car was there (it wasn't), spied on my brother and sister-in-law in Oklahoma (DANG, they have a lot of land... I never realized!)... and managed to find Mom and Dad's digs by locating the nearest Wal-mart. I thought about checking out Yellowstone and Seattle, and flying out to Sacramento, then up to Detroit, then down to Huntsville... but I've got motion sickness. You know that feeling you get when you've been riding roller coasters all day, and when you finally fall into bed that night and close your eyes, your stomach starts riding again? Even as I type, I feel like the screen is zooming and tilting and focusing and .....blerrrrrrrpfh.


Is it considered "getting dressed" if I sleep naked, but then wake up in the morning and put on pajamas? And stay in 'em all day? No? Rats.


Bloglifted from a professor at ACU:
"Michael Brown said his greatest mistake in directing the Katrina relief effort was in not realizing for so long that Louisiana is dysfunctional. Does the man not read Grisham novels?"


The boys are spending the night with Grammy tonight. Strangely, I was sad to see them go. Usually, I leap for joy as soon as their car turns the corner. Sometimes I wait 'til they start backing out of the driveway. A few times, I lasted until they hopped in her car. And then there were those times I whooped and hollered when she rang the doorbell.


Dani just received her first high school report card. She's in all honors classes. She made straight A's. The lowest grade was a 93. She worked for those grades, and I'm proud of her. But also, I'm relieved that our two-year homeschooling experiment didn't blow up in my face today. ;)


I like to watch design shows on HGTV, but never in a million years would I let Design On A Dime Kristen and her team near my house. They scare me. And Kristen's outfits ALWAYS match the room she just designed. That annoys me and my "I've-carried-it-every-day-for-two-years-what-do-you-wanna-make-of-it" turquoise purse to no end.

"I found love at a Kmart store" is the most annoying commercial I've ever heard in my life.


Darren has keenly observed that I've developed a wild --er, MILD-- attraction to South American men. I do not deny it. I'm gonna start calling him Miguel.


I'm buying season tickets to the Symphony tomorrow morning with money I have not yet earned. I'm a wild woman. It must be in the wind. Yah. The Weather Insanity is rubbin' off on me. Yup.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


Day 3 of taking my Synthroid. :)
I probably should go to the doctor so they can retest my thyroid levels so they'll know where I am, and how this dosage is working. I've been getting nagging reminder phone calls and text messages from at least 4 of you. THANK YOU! Only 18 more days, and this'll be a habit. :)

I broke out of my scrapworking funk by scrapping some of my own photos. It was therapeutic. Wanna see 'em? :)

If you wanna see them bigger, click here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Turning Point

You'll forgive me for being so blaaaaahhh lately. It's been in the 100s every day this week, and it's supposedly autumn. Plus, the breach in the threadbare inner-thigh-area of my last pair of jeans finally gave way on Saturday, and I was forced to call in reinforcements. The trek to the fat lady store at the mall was one I most definitely did not enjoy. Not only that, but since I was in dire straits, I didn't have time to wait for a sale, so I had to pay full stinkin' price for fat jeans, and that's NEVER a happy thing. Why do they build fat jeans with low-rise waists, anyway? WHY? And lycra? Why would I want lycra in my jeans? It's not like I WANT the whole world to be able to see how the jeans are having to stretch with all their might across the vast expanse that is my butt, thank you very much.

I've been in a mood lately, it hasn't been a pretty one. I haven't been able to pinpoint why, but I've felt frustrated, unfulfilled, and at odds with people that I love. Normally energetic, I've been lathargic and apathetic. I'm behind my deadline on three jobs, but I haven't cared enough to do much about it. I haven't scrapped my own photos in weeks. I'm not doing my Bible Study homework, and I don't even care. I don't log on to IM much, 'cause mostly I don't feel like chatting, even though it's something I used to enjoy immensely. In the mornings, the boys have to actually beg for breakfast before I finally shuffle in and slap some peanut butter on toast for them. When they want a drink, I can't even bother to get up and get it. "Bring me your cup and the juice," I say. They don't even ask anymore... they just bring me the necessary items when they're thirsty. My used-to-be 24/7 libido has vanished. I hate to go to bed, but then I hate to get up in the mornings. I've noticed that I don't open the curtains anymore, and I often don't get dressed unless I'm expecting company. Last week, I actually drove to pick up Dani from school in a ratty gown with a pair of sweats bra. (!!!!!) The boys were in the backseat in their underwear. At church, sometimes I can't bring myself to sing. At home, I can't stand for there to be noise. I don't want the TV on, or the radio. I get pissed when the phone rings. When the mail comes crashing through the mail slot in the front door, I sit and stare at it, but I can't muster up the energy to walk the 20 feet to see what came. I haven't sent thank you notes for scrapbook ministry donations in a long time. I can't be bothered to answer emails, even from people offering to send me scrapbook supplies, and even from friends I enjoy hearing from, and even from my sister-in-law who wants to know what I want for Christmas. I'm either hot or cold with the kids... either they're making me so crazy that I scream at them to get out of the room, or I ignore them completely.

Are you afraid?

Are you surprised?

I've been hiding it pretty well.

The golf-ball-sized lump on my neck (enlarged thyroid... "goiter"... OH how I hate that word) is now closer to the size of a tennis ball. I haven't taken my Synthroid. A prescription of 30 pills, prescribed and filled November 4th of last year, still has 9 pills in it. Tonight, I took one. Tomorrow, I will take another. Thursday, I will take another. I was first diagnosed with this disorder 3 years ago. I've never treated it, despite my doctor lecturing me, despite Darren begging me, despite my friends nagging me.

And now it's come to this. I'm tired of pretending that the white elephant in this room isn't here. I'm sick, and I'm only gonna get sicker if I don't start being proactive about it. I can be well if I'll only take the pills. Why is that so bleepin' HARD for me to do??? I know the answer, but it's not one I wish to put in black and white.

I want to be normal again, I do. I want to be FUN again. I want to enjoy my kids, not just tolerate them. I want to feel like showering and getting dressed and actually putting on make-up. I want to enjoy my work again, and I want to sing again. When I get invited some place, I want to WANT to go. I want to pull myself up by the bootstraps and be me again. Tonight was the turning point. In the space of 6 hours, I saw me for who I have become, saw how to correct the path, and saw who I want to be. I'll start by taking the stupid Synthroid.

And besides...if I don't, Kristi said she won't feel sorry for me when I have a cantelope hanging off my neck. That was advice worth listening to.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Indian Summer

Things That Totally Rocked Today:

* playing with the boys in the sprinkers, since it hit 100 degrees again today
* Dani's teacher writing on her Lord of the Flies paper: "It's hard for me to remember that you're a high school freshman, because you write better than most college freshmen!"
* finding out that I CAN get bright orange roses
* getting 6 tape runner refills as a RAK (random act of kindness) in the mail!
* Darren and I talking and laughing 'til 3 in the morning last night... was a zombie today, but MAN did that rock!
* my new fat jeans make me feel a little skinnier
* Ian, "Mr. Don't-Touch-Me", asked to be carried up to bed like a baby. *happy sigh*
* Chipotle and Target with Cara and our kiddos. Fun! And watching Cara do something like bonking her kid's head with the car door makes me feel more normal.
*Mico and Larry mowed my lawn, then came inside and helped themselves to juice. Then they sat at my kitchen island and laughed, asked my why I was so rude and didn't bring them souvenirs from Ireland, counted the coins in the change jar and talked about what they'd do with the $15.63 in there. (Laundry). I can't wait to give them each a roll of quarters on Sunday. :)

Monday, September 26, 2005

Listen to the Words - Something Worth Leaving Behind

WARNING: Until I figure out how to make it work otherwise, this song will start up when you open my blog. Hopefully, my Blog Designer friend LIZ (thanks for the new banner, Liz!!) will know what to do to make it where you can click a button if you want to hear it...and that way you won't be subjected to it if you DON'T wanna hear it. I'll change the song every Monday. So... turn down your volume if music annoys you. Turn it up if you wanna hear the song. :)..... ETA: nevermind. I took the music off 'cause it kept locking up the computers of my Mac friends (bless your hearts!). Plus, I think it was probably an illegal link anyway. ;)

Music has been a huge part of my life since I can remember. It started as a child, listening to my Mom's John Denver and SuperGirls albums (a compilation of all the big girl acts from the 50s and 60s). In Middle School, I discovered my own music...Bryan Adams, Journey, Def Leppard, John Cougar, The Steve Miller Band, Pat Benatar, the Cars, the Police. In high school, music defined me... Pink Floyd, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Aerosmith, Crosby, Stills and Nash, James Taylor, the Eagles, Kansas, Boston. I discovered then that I was a generation too late. The music I loved the most had been recorded in the late 60s and 70s. As an adult, I've found that my tastes are a lot more diverse. I like SONGS rather than artists. Thanks to iTunes, I no longer buy records... er, CDs... instead, I buy songs. I'm not a fan of country music in general, but this song will go on my Life Soundtrack someday. I love it. Listen to the words:

Something Worth Leaving Behind
performed by LeeAnn Womack

Hey Monalisa, who was Leonardo?
Was he Andy Warhol?
Were you Marilyn Monroe
Hey Mozart, what kind of name is Amadeus
It's kinda like Elvis
You gotta die to be famous
I may not go down in history
I just want someone to remember me

I'll probably never hold a brush
that paints a masterpiece
Probably never find a pen
that writes a symphony
But if I will love then I will find
That I have touched another life
And that's something
Something worth leaving behind

Hey Midas you say you have the magic touch
But even all that shiny stuff
Someday is gonna turn to dust
Hey Jesus it must have been some Sunday morning
In a blaze of glory
We're still tellin' your story
I may not go down in history
I just want someone to remember me

I'll probably never dream a dream
and watch it turn to gold
I know I'll never lose my life
to save another soul
But, if I will love then I will find
That I have touched another life
And that's something
Something worth leaving behind

Hey baby see the future that we're building
Our love lives on in the lives of our children
And that's something
Something worth leaving behind

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Happy Birthday, Darren!!

Darren is a big Randy Newman fan, so when we got a glossy brochure last spring from the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra advertising the fall season, he was excited to see Newman's name on the schedule. "That's what I want for my birthday," he said. I remembered. :)

The concert was tonight, and it was fantastic. Randy Newman, probably best known for his '70s hit "Short People", is hilarious! But he's also a gifted composer and musician. He directed the orchestra as they played parts of his soundtracks from Toy Story, Monsters Inc, The Natural and Avalon. Clips from the movies played overhead while the orchestra played below.

For the second half, Newman sat at the piano and sang some of his biggest hits: Short People, Sail Away, Birmingham, Dixie Flyer, Great Nations of Europe, Political Science, You've Got A Friend in Me, Love to See You Smile...

When he started singing Louisiana 1927, I started crying. I'd heard it on CNN or something last week, with photos of Katrina destruction. It broke my heart then, and it broke again tonight. And it was so fitting, because as clouds from the westernmost bands of Hurricane Rita shadow the angels of Bass Hall, the easternmost bands are once again bringing floods to the people of Louisiana.

After the concert, we stopped in at Barnes and Noble for dessert and a CD of Verdi's Requiem. It's being performed at Bass Hall tomorrow night, Darren's actual birthday. If we were rich, we'd have taken in BOTH events. But we ain't. So the CD will have to do.

I love you, Darren! Happy, happy birthday.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A few of my favorite things

1. A Route 44 Diet Vanilla Coke from Sonic, on the way home from dropping the boys at Mother's Day Out, knowing that I won't have to share it.

2. long, chatty emails from Denise. They ALWAYS ALWAYS encourage me in some way.

3. When Darren calls me "Woman!"

4. the first cool snap of October, when I throw open the windows for the first time since April

5. my red enamel collander. I know. Weird.

6. the sound of laughter and giggling from the boys when they don't know I'm paying attention

7. having what's in my head come out on paper just the way I imagined it

8. singing with the Fortress gang

9. making Darren laugh

10. Canton with the girls

I have blog envy

I tried to give my blog a makeover.

It looks like a little girl who played in her Mom's makeup.
It looks completely amateurish.

Which is appropriate, seeing as I have NO CLUE what I'm DOING.

I want a fresh, snazzy header. I want SEVERAL actually, that I can rotate between. I want that header to fit the space correctly, and I want it to be crisp, not funky like it is now.

I wanna have a link that says "Hear the words"...with audio when you click on it.

Wonder if I can barter scrapwork with someone who does web design?


On a sorta related note (cause his blog has a fresh new makeover), follow this link to catch up with Baby Ira. Watch the video. Wipe the tears away, and then keep praying. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Autumn truly is what summer pretends to be: the best of all seasons. It is as glorious as summer is tedious; as subtle as summer is obvious; as refreshing as summer is wearying. Autumn seems like paradise.
~Gregg Easterbrook

This is how I know that autumn is coming:

Squirrels. They're going nuts in my backyard, knocking pecans out of the trees and leaving them half-eaten on my freshly-swept deck. They're furiously digging little holes in the lawn and burying the treasure there. They chatter back and forth, saying, "Over here! Over here! I've found the motherlode!", bouncing up and down and raining pecans down on my head like hail. When I look up, I hear them say, "chickachickachicka! chickachickachicka!"...and I know they're laughing. They do high wire acts, spinning one-armed around the cables and swinging from their toes. They scamper and skip from limb to bending limb... their weight arcing the highest branches until I'm sure they'll snap, and then they're gone....a vertical leap to another precarious branch even higher and bendier. "chickachickachicka! chickachickachicka!"

Today is the first official day of autumn. The temperature will soar to 100 degrees; it won't feel like autumn at all. But the squirrels give me hope.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


They say your body starts reacting differently to normal, every day things when you start getting old. I believe it's true. There was a time when I could drink as much caffeine as I wanted, and it didn't affect me. But I've noticed, for the past couple of months, that if I drink it in the evening, it affects my sleep. I've been denying it to myself, but tonight, as I sit here at 3 freaking 47 in the morning, after having flopped and flipped in bed for 2 hours trying in vain to make my mind SLOW DOWN ALREADY.... tonight, I must admit: the Grande Coffee Frappucino I downed at Starbucks 6 hours ago is most definitely affecting me.


And so, I'll blog.


Ian is a boy genius. I hate to brag, and I try not to do it TOO often, lest I make you guys wanna puke, but I SWEAR. He is. Sometimes, I catch him explaining things to Aidan, in terms and in ways that astound me. To watch him play is to watch a scientist in the lab. 'Cause he doesn't play. He inspects, studies, wonders, hypothesizes, investigates, experiments, and draws conclusions. His forehead wrinkles, his eyebrows furrow, his wheels turn.

The other day, his preschool teacher sent home Shapes and Colors, saying, "Have the boys study these tomorrow. We'll have a test on Thursday!" On Thursday, as we climbed into the car to go to school, Aidan saw the Shapes and Colors lying on the floorboard. "We didn't study!" he exclaimed. When I picked them up that afternoon, both teachers met me at the door. "Your boys are so smart!! They both knew ALL their shapes and colors. You must have really worked with them." I answered simply, "No. We just play a lot." I didn't have the heart to say, "Lady, we did Shapes and Colors 18 months ago. These boys are into addition now."

'Tis true. About six months ago, having mastered the recognition of the alphabet (upper- and lowercase), and the sounds that go with each letter, we moved on to simple addition. I don't remember how it came up, but it was Aidan who asked the question. "How many does that make?" And in true Kocur fashion, I answered with a question, "Well, if you have one apple, and I give you one MORE apple, how many apples do you have?" Before Aidan could process the question, Ian piped up. "TWO!" I thought it was a fluke. So I tried another one. "If you have TWO apples, and I give you one MORE, then how many do you have?" Immediately, Ian said, "THREE!" We played the game for several days, and even started throwing subtraction into the mix. Then he refused to play anymore. He started giving bogus answers. He will. not. be. my. monkey.

We've been working on reading...sounding out simple words like "go", "dog" and "no". One morning, Ian climbed out of his bed, toddled to my bedroom and said, "Mom. That sign in the kitchen says 'No'. Why does it say 'No'?" I could not for the life of me think of what he was talking about, so we both came downstairs, and he showed me. On the microwave, there are two buttons. One says "Off". The other says, "On."

"Ian," I explained, "that doesn't say 'no'. It says 'on'. The letters are the same, but they're in a different order, so it spells a different word." He answered, "It's says 'no'. But they spelled it wrong."

A few nights ago, I came to bed after Darren had fallen asleep. When I snuggled up to him, he said, "The weirdest thing happened tonight. After I read the boys their story, Ian laid here looking at another book - that one about the bears on vacation. I'd read it to them sometime last week, and it was still here on the table. Anyway, he was thumbing through the book, and I heard him say, softly, without meaning to, "But don't go too far." So I looked down at the page, and that's exactly what it said! He saw me looking, and he got all embarrassed like he does, and quickly turned the page. Then he said some random thing about a rock, and added, "See Dad? I can't read! I'm just looking at the pictures."

Maybe it's the caffeine talking, but I think we have a winner here. I bet the dude CAN read and just doesn't wanna admit it. Just like he can ADD and won't admit THAT.

I bet he's upstairs right now, with a flashlight under his covers, checking Dani's geometry homework for the fun of it.

I better go check.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


4 Things To Do Before I Die
1. get published and paid for writing
2. spend Christmas in snowy Colorado
3. grow an herb garden
4. wear a size 10 again

4 Things I've Already Crossed Off The List
1. go white water rafting (rode "hood ornament" on the Snake River in Wyoming)
2. fly in a prop plane (over the Atlantic between mainland Ireland and the island of Inishmore)
3. dye my hair red (wish I could afford to have it done professionally more often)
4. visit New England in the fall

4 Things I'm Good At
1. making Darren laugh
2. praising my kids
3. making my dreams happen
4. making a house a home

4 Things That Need Improvement
1. bedtime - I need to go earlier
2. I shouldn't use the TV as a babysitter so much
3. cooking healthy meals vs. easy meals
4. my potty mouth

4 Things I Cannot Do
1. pretend nothing's wrong when there is
2. wear sleeveless shirts
3. whistle
4. be idle

4 Things I Say A Lot
1. Crack. Me. UP!
2. How cute/cool/funny is that?
3. Have mercy.
4. Just a minute.

4 Things I Loathe
1. Manipulators
2. Liars
3. Martyrs/Victims
4. Apathy

4 Things That Make Me Cranky
1. Sharing my drinks
2. Selfishness
3. Smug, judgmental people
4. Loud commercials

4 Things That Feed My Soul
1. Sunshine streaming through the windows
2. Close relationships. I am so blessed.
3. Well-blended and passionate acappella singing
4. Scrapbooking and journaling

4 Things that Crack. Me. UP!
1. Martha G - my hilarious friend!
2. Bugs Bunny. What a gullibull!
3. Ouiser in Steel Magnolias
4. Dooce. She's crass and offensive, but MAN is she funny!

4 People Who Enrich My Life
(besides the obvious. Darren gets his own category!)
1. Dani - a breath of fresh air, hugmonger, lover of life and people.
2. Beth Moore - she makes it real. She drives it home. She makes me think. She's sent from God. (I've never met her)
3. The Boys. I laugh, I cry, I swell with pride, I kiss owies, I get squeezy hugs, I'd be half empty without them.
4. The Bobs. They count as one. And they know why. They're real, and I love them.

4 People Who Inspire Me
1. Ira Lester Hays - he's but a baby. But he inspired me to start writing again. His parents teach me about unwavering faith - that it doesn't mean a life without questioning. It means a life of questioning, but believing without a doubt anyway.
2. Jake S. - his smile and laugh ignite a room with positive energy! He's random, crazy, laugh-out-loud funny.
3. Ginger and James L. - they're selfless, generous, deeply-commited souls. I didn't know that when I adopted a kitten, I'd get such sweet friends in the process. :)
4. Michael T - he's honest, he's real, he's modeling clay, and he does it all without pretense. It's awesome to watch the story unfold.

4 Reasons I'd Marry Darren Again
1. We share the same dreams and goals.
2. He's an awesome Daddy.
3. He loves me unselfishly.
4. He's gonna be fun to get old with!

4 Quotes I Love
1. If you want to be happy, be. - Tolstoy
2. Be silly. Be honest. Be kind. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
3. All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
4. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men. -Colossians 3:23
Dear Darren,

"The mouse has left the house" my FOOT! Daring little dude just RAN ACROSS MY FEET! I about wet myself, and dern near broke my kneecap on the bottom of the desk trying to get off the floor!

Now he's behind the entertainment center, making all kinds of racket with the cords.

Humane traps, your Momma. Tomorrow, we set spring-loaded traps loaded with peanut butter. This is WAR.

Love you,

Friday, September 16, 2005

Here I am, send me!

Got an email from a friend this week. She moved to Arkansas in August, just in time to settle in and then have her town flooded with Katrina evacuees. She's been busy helping organize temporary lodging, and says that every church camp in and around her town is full. I'm a little envious of her, actually. I have a burning desire to be there in the thick of it, but I can't be.

So I've done everything I can do from here... organized donation drives, given all I can give financially, encouraged others to give, registered my home with every agency under the sun, registered with Nancy and our teenage daughters for Habitat for Humanity... but I want to do more. I want to do more NOW.

I feel like the smart kid in class who ALWAYS raises his hand with the answer. "I know! I know!" He bounces up and down in his seat, waving his arms frantically in the air, and still the teacher calls on someone else. I feel like I've been bouncing up and down, saying, "HERE I AM!! SEND ME!"... and I'm being ignored. And that frustrates me.

But Kama's email brought home a point I hadn't yet thought of. God WILL use me. I've offered, he's heard. It might be an easy task, it might be difficult. Am I ready? Am I REALLY ready?

Her sister is a high school math teacher in the Dallas area. WHen school started, she had 30 kids in her class - the state's maximum allowable number of students. With all the evacuees, and because the DISD can't afford to bus them all to other schools, they're all at HER school. SO now she has 45 kids in each class. THere aren't enough desks, so some of them sit on the floor. She deals with accusations of racism everyday from the kids who take their turns on the floor. She's 6 months pregnant. She's being pushed to her limit on our hourly basis. She's IN THE THICK of it.

I say I wanna be there, but do I really? Do I really? Am I being tethered because God has something planned for me here in Fort Worth? I don't know. I'll go, I'll stay. I'll keep waving my hand and bouncing in my seat. I just wish He'd hurry up and call on me already.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A mouse by any other name

Have MERCY, the mouse has been found.

I was sitting here, typing up some terribly important opinion about having hardwood floors on ScrapShare, when Ashlie came running toward me at full speed. Only she didn't make it all the way into the family room. Instead, she ran straight up the glass-paned french door!! I thought, "WHAT THE FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER???", and, grabbing my camera, took the scenic route through the hallway, arriving in the front room a safe distance from where the commotion was taking place.

(side note. My camera just timed out and turned itself off, and the buzz from that made me jump out of my skin. Good thing I don't need to pee.)

Ashlie was still throwing herself against the panes, trying in vain to be SpiderCat. She stopped, looked at me, and begged, "meeeeeeeeYOOOOOOOOW." Then she tossed her head in the direction of The Mouse. I swear. The cat and I were speaking a language. I followed her cues, and looked up. And lo and behold, what did appear before my eyes but a FREAKIN' mouse ON TOP OF MY DOOR FRAME!!

(side note. A piece of hair just fell down from my claw clippy thing, brushing against the back of my neck. I swatted the CRAP out of my head, just in case it was the mouse attacking me from behind. And now I DO have to pee.)

Ever ready with my camera ('cuz I had just been uploading photos from today's birthday party), I grabbed a chair, hoisted myself up onto it and snapped a photo. Dang if that wasn't the cutest mouse I ever saw! PRECIOUS. In fact, so cute that I wondered, "Ok. That's a CHRISTMAS decoration, and I'm being PUNKD!" Thank goodness I still had pants on; often, at this time of night, I've already stripped down to my skivvies.

I didn't have to wonder for long, though. As soon as he twitched his little ear, I knew he was real. Ashlie lurched. I hopped down from my chair and moved it closer to the door, and invited Ashlie to climb up on it, which she did with gusto. The mouse didn't move a muscle. I stood and watched the game for several minutes.... Mouse Statue and Cat on Speed. Hilarious!

Do mice climb walls?

Dang. What a life. A dentist appointment AND a mouse. All in the same day. Am I lucky or WHAT!


Not 3 days ago, I was musing to Darren, "Amazing that we haven't had a mouse in this house yet. As old as it is, with all its cracks and crevices, I can hardly believe we've never had one."


Ashlie is, at this moment, prowling around like a lion in the front room - meowing, pouncing, stalking, bristling....

I might think it was just a gecko or a bug, except that this morning while Dani sat at the computer, she watched a little mouse run across the floor in front of her feet.

My feet are up on the chair right now, thankyouverymuch.

I half hope Ashlie catches and destroys the mouse, and I half hope she doesn't. I'll make sure my bedroom door is securely latched when I go to bed. I don't wanna invite any middle-of-the-night gifts from the cat. EEK!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I am...

...tired. I should be in bed.
...satisfied. I just ate the last mozarella stick from tonight's party.
...stressed. I have a job due and I don't wanna work on it.
...hopeful. For Nikki, who's fulfilling a dream and moving to College Station next week.
...worried. About the burning smell that permeated my scrap room again tonight. Darren promises to look into it tomorrow when there's light.
...shocked. At the blogs I just discovered, written by kids who go to Dani's school.
...remorseful, after snapping at Aidan, "What are you doing down here?!" Turns out, he was coming to give me a night-night kiss.
...frustrated. There's so much I want to do, but so many ropes that keep me tied down.
...agitated. Darren's been short and snappy with me this week, and I hate it.
...sorry. That I'm such a selfish wife. I have bad weeks, and he deals with it. But when he has a bad week, I don't WANNA deal with it.
...tired. I should go to bed.
...reckless. I'll probably regret this blog in the morning.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Funeral Songs

I know. You think I'm a freak for thinking of such things. But I don't see it as morbid... I see it as hopeful!

A year or so ago, I knew that Kristi and I would be lifelong friends when I heard her say, "I want this song in my funeral. Don't forget." Whoa! Someone else thinks about stuff like this too! And even better... it was a song on MY list of funeral songs that she was talking about. It's energetic, fun to sing, and uplifting. We sang it last night at a devo here at my house... goes like this:

Well, if you're missin' me singin' down here
And you can't find me nowhere nowhere,
Just come on up to bright glory,
And I'll be singin'/laughin'/scrappin'/prayin'/etc up there....

Also on my list is John Lennon's "In This Life", followed immediately by "If We Never Meet Again This Side of Heaven." I want Selah's version of the medley played. The CD (Press On) is in the champagne crate in my Family Room.

There are places I'll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

Soon we'll come to the end of life's journey
And perhaps we'll never meet anymore
Till we gather in heaven's bright city
Far away on that beautiful shore

If we never meet again this side of heaven
As we struggle through this world and its strife
There's another meeting place somewhere in heaven
By the beautiful river of life

Where the charming roses bloom forever
And separations come no more
If we never meet again this side of heaven
I will meet you on that beautiful shore

The next one is completely unfuneral-like, but I want it anyway.
Something Worth Leaving Behind by LeeAnn Womack:

Hey Mona Lisa, who was Leonardo?
Was he Andy Warhol?
You were Marilyn Monroe
Hey Mozart, what kind of name is Amadeus
It's kinda like Elvis
You gotta die to be famous
I may not go down in history
I just want someone to remember me

I'll probably never hold a brush
that paints a masterpeice
Probably never find a pen
that writes a symphony
But if I will love then I will find
That I have touched another life
And that's something
Something worth leaving behind

Hey Midas you say you have the magic touch
That even all that shiny stuff
Someday is gonna turn to dust
Hey Jesus it must have been some Sunday morning
In a blaze of glory
We're still tellin' your story
I may not go down in history
I just want someone to remember me

I'll probably never dream a dream
and watch it turn to gold
No, I'll never lose my life
to save another soul
If I will love then I will find
That I have touched another life
And that's something
Something worth leaving behind

Hey baby see the future that we?re building
Our love lives on in the lives of our children
And that?s something
Something worth leaving behind

Lastly, I want this one played. It marked a turning point in my life, and its message is beautiful:

Bound to Come Some Trouble by Rich Mullins
There's bound to come some trouble to your life
But that ain't nothing to be afraid of
There's bound to come some trouble to your life
But that ain't no reason to fear
I know there's bound to come some trouble to your life
But reach out to Jesus, hold on tight
He's been there before and He knows what it's like
You'll find He's there

There's bound to come some tears up in your eyes
That ain't nothing to be ashamed of
I know there's bound to come some tears up in your eyes
That ain't no reason to fear
I know there's bound to come some tears up in your eyes
Reach out to Jesus, hold on tight
He's been there before and He knows what it's like
You'll find He's there

Now, People say maybe things will get better
People say maybe it won't be long
And people say maybe you'll wake up tomorrow
And it'll all be gone
Well I only know that maybes just ain't enough
When you need something to hold on
There's only one thing that's clear

I know there's bound to come some trouble to your life
But that ain't nothing to be afraid of
I know there's bound to come some tears up in your eyes
That ain't no reason to fear
I know there's bound to come some trouble to your life
Reach out to Jesus, hold on tight
He's been there before and He knows what it's like
You'll find He's there

Then, I want y'all to wipe away your tears and PARTY!! Eat lots of Mexican Food. Play lots of music. Look at my scrapbooks and thank God for the awesome life I had.

Are you completely freaking out now? I am too, sorta. Last night, I had this dream. My house burned down. Darren and I couldn't get out of our bedroom - had to jump from the windows. Then we had to climb up to the kids' windows, break through them, and rescue them. When we broke the windows, the kids freaked out and ran into the hallway, toward the fire. It was chaos. I'm sure I was huffing and puffing and crying in my sleep.

Once the kids were safe (watching from the street), I went inside to retrieve Vaune's (one of my clients) photos. I crawled through the front room, into the family room, and saw that my whole scraproom was engulfed in flames. At that moment, I understood why we couldn't get out of our bedroom... it sits directly above my scraproom. I don't know what happened after that, 'cause Aidan came into my room, said he'd had a bad dream, and I cuddled with him until he fell back asleep. After that, I couldn't fall back asleep myself. I tried to figure out why I had dreamed such a thing. During the devo, when we sang "If You're Missin' Me", Kristi again mentioned, "I want this song in my funeral. Don't forget." And then an hour or so later, as she and Cara were in my scraproom cutting Sizzix letters, we smelled a burning smell. We checked the stove, the water heater, and finally decided it must be a smell coming through the vent. I'm sure those two things combined to form the dream I had.

So yah. It's sorta freaky. But it didn't prompt me to think about my funeral. I've been thinkin' about that for years. Call off the men in white coats. I promise, I'm FINE. LOL!

Friday, September 09, 2005


(door bell rings)

Salesman: Hello, Ma'am. Do you like steak?
Me: Uh, yah.

Well, then. If I may take just a minute of your time, I have these high-quality steaks from Cattlemen's that I'd like to show you.

(stepping back and closing door) No thank you.

Wait! You said you like steak.

I do, but I don't buy from door-to-door solicitors.

If you'll just give me a minute, Ma'am. No pressure. (Opening box of meat) I just want to show you our product, and give you a brochure.

I'll be happy to take a brochure, but I'm not making a purchase today.

I understand that, Ma'am. These here are our finest Ribeyes. You'll get six of 'em. Aren't they purty?

Well, yes, they do look good. BUt I'm not buying. (closing door again)

Ma'am! Just look at these 10 bacon-wrapped filets. These are the only ones you can't cook from frozen.

I'll be happy to take a brochure and look it over, but...

And look at these Delmonico Ribeyes. Some people use 'em for breakfast steak, but they make great fajitas. Oooo-EY! The New York Strips are right here... but my favorites are these large bone-in strips. Then, you'll also get 24 chopped sirloin steaks. Great for burgers.

No thank you.

You eat out, don't you? You enjoy a good steak out?

Well, yah. But not often. Can't afford it.

EXACTLY! You CAN afford to eat steak when you buy it from Cattlemen's! Look at this price... $329 retail for all of this. Now, break it down by portion, and you're lookin' at $5.50 per serving. Cain't get no restuarant steak for THAT price, can ya Ma'am?

No, you can't. But I'm not...

Tell you what. I'll make you a deal. I'll bring that price down to $299. Deal of the century.

Well, sure. It might be a good deal, but I don't have $300 to spend on meat.

We take credit cards.

I don't use credit cards.

We take checks.

You know what? Just 'cause I have $300 in my checking account doesn't mean I can allocate it all for MEAT. Sorry. (start to close door.)

MA'AM! Look. I'll shoot straight with ya. I'm just tryin' to earn my bonus. If I can sell one more case of these steaks, I'll win $100. I promised my wife I could do it. I tell you what. I'll help you out, you help me out. I'll give you the whole case for the cost of the chops, bone-ins and delmonicos.

Er.....I don't have room in my freezer.

They stack like decks of cards, Ma'am. It's a good deal. You're practically robbing me blind. No way could you get this deal in the grocery store, and these here are RESTAURANT quality steaks.


You can post date that check.

I'll be right back.


($143 dollars later)
Watching through the window, I pray that my neighbors don't see this dude carrying a case of STEAK from his pickup truck to my front door. Buyer's remorse sets in and it hasn't even been 30 seconds.


(freezer stocked)
I start justifying it. My parents are coming to town. SURELY we'd take them out to eat a couple of times. And that would defintely add up to at least $143. So instead, we'll grill steaks and burgers. Money saved. Ok. I'm alright.


(phone rings)
"Stacy, this is Mecca down the street! I just bought the steaks, too! The guy showed me your check, and I thought, "Well, GEE. If STACY thinks it's legit...."


(phone rings)
"Hey Stace, it's Cara. What're you doing?"
Trying to figure out if I just got scammed by the meat man.
I did.
"NO! Don't you know that drug addicts sell those things? My BROTHER sold those things!"
Oh. Crap.


(Darren comes home, sees meat)
I nonchalantly explain to him that I got the deal of the century, and that he should be proud. I stood there and figured the math in my head, and HONEY, I SAVED US MONEY!

You paid $7 a pound for this stuff, he says. When's the last time you ever paid $7 a pound for MEAT?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Busy Busy

Here's what we've been up to recently:

Our whirlwind weekend in Houston, visiting two sets of old friends, was wonderful.
Here's Blake and Kelly and their boys:

and here's Gheath and Kristin and THEIR boys:

On Saturday, we took my parents and our neice Savannah to the rodeo at the Fort Worth Stockyards. Darren and I had actually never been in the almost 15 years we've lived here. We'll definitely be going back. The boys LOVED it! There was a "Mutton Scramble", which involved kids ages 3-7 and 2 lambs, all running like mad around the arena. The goal was to be the first one to grab the ribbon from one of the lambs' tails. The boys thought it was the coolest thing EVER. They were the last ones to come off the floor and back into the stands. LOL! Ian's favorite thing, hands down, was the cowboy hat I bought him. He's worn it ever since. :)

On Labor Day, I set up a SnoCone stand (with supplies donated from Fortress Youth Development Center) and invited the Fortress Youth to raise money for Hurricane Katrina Relief. It was a good opportunity for them to give back. The kids did an outstanding job and were able to raise $160 to aid families who have come to Fort Worth for refuge. My boys came by for a couple of hours at the end of the day...not to help, but to nosh....

Aidan and Ian started Mother's Day Out on Tuesday. I spent the day sitting at the computer, not fetching drinks and snacks, and not having anyone backwash into my Diet Vanilla Coke. I didn't bother to make or eat lunch. I listened to the silence. I got to hog the computer all day, and never once had to log on to It. Was. A. Good. Day! And today is Thursday... meaning, they're at MDO again! What a concept! I get to spend the afternoon helping my friend Julie pick out wedding invitations. Woo woo!

Here are the boys this morning, on their 2nd day of school. They LOVE it. It's a new school for them, and we're all very happy here. This morning, when I woke the boys up, Ian, who has NEVER greeted the day with a smile (he's just like me in that regard. growl.) sat straight up in bed, asked, "Is it LIGHT outside? Is it time for SCHOOL???" He couldn't get dressed fast enough...


It's been a week of turmoil.

Turmoil in the Gulf States, where thousands of families are mourning unimaginable loss.

Turmoil in the marriage of two people I love with all my heart.

Turmoil among some of my closest friends as we all bring to the surface tensions that have been lurking in shallow waters for far too long.

Turmoil in my heart as I've stepped out and started saying what I mean and meaning what I say. That's a scary thing.

Generally, I'm a wimp. I hold back for fear of causing hurt or anger. I go along and get along. I don't know if the Katrina catastrophe brought something out of me, or what. But recently, I haven't been holding back. You have a question for me? You're getting a straight answer. You make a comment that hits me wrong? No holds barred. I'm not sure what I think of this new me.

My parents were here for 4 days this weekend. Usually, just prior to a visit from them, I bust my tail cleaning the house. I'd hate for my Mom to know that I don't do the dinner dishes as soon as everyone gets up from the table. And I don't want her to see the dust that collects on my baseboards between visits. Thursday night, I decided, pbbbt. I don't care. I didn't go to great extremes to impress her. It was wonderfully freeing, letting go of that need. And then, over the weekend, I didn't ignore snide comments; I met them head on.

Aidan's Jeckyl and Hyde Phase reared its ugly head when Mom and Dad were here. Darren and I handled it well, I thought, but afterward, Mom said, "You kids would've NEVER acted like that. You knew better. You were good kids." Oh. How I'd have loved to have heard those words when I was a kid! I was always reminded how BAD we were, never encouraged to keep being good. But I digress. I looked my parents straight in the eyes and said, "We weren't GOOD kids. We were SCARED kids." The weekend was different after that. I think they couldn't wait to go home. If they'd had their own car (they came down on the train), I think they'd have left early. But I don't regret saying it. I'm glad I did.

My best friend in the world and I are polar opposites on life's biggest issues: politics and religion. We've always sort of had a mutual understanding that we just don't discuss those topics with each other, and if we do, we treat the subjects with kid gloves. But recently, we tossed the gloves and came out swinging. Maybe it's the turmoil in the world that's bringing it out of us. I don't know.

I've been in so much internal turmoil that I haven't blogged in a week. And now I have so much to say, I hardly know where to begin.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

it's the little thing. It's always the little things.

Check this out.... it will make you smile. It made ME cry. Such a seemingly small gesture. But yet, such a HUGE one. I'm proud of my little hometown museum. Makes me know, without a doubt, that I'll be renewing our family membership with them.

And speaking of displaced families in Fort Worth. Dani told us tonight at dinner about a coach at her school. He has 38 people living in his house - all family members displaced because of Katrina. I'm gonna call the school tomorrow and offer our guest room. It'll sleep 4 in beds....6 if we move another bed in there, and even more if we put people on the floor. I hope they'll take us up on it, 'cause this is something we can do NOW. And we want to.

And I'll take 'em to our awesome museum.


I've been planning to attend the Urban Missions Conference in Memphis, in mid-October. It's a great opportunity to get educated, encouraged and equipped to do the inner city ministry which is so important to me.

But Tuesday night, I blogged, then started brainstorming. I decided I'd skip the conference and instead, spend that week a little further south than Memphis... along the Mississippi coast.

Wednesday morning, I received an email explaining that the conference has been cancelled. The cancellation has nothing to do with Katrina. I am convinced that God used that cancellation to say to me, "Go. THis is what you're supposed to do. Now you have NO DOUBT."

So I'm going. I'm establishing communication with churches and elders in the Biloxi area, and hopefully, we'll have some idea of what we can do... and where... within the next few weeks.

Wanna come? Just let me know. Let's overwhelm them with help!


Yesterday marked a very sad anniverary for me... the anniversary of Donna's death. Most of you know the story, but for those of you who don't, or who want to read it again, here it is. I scrapbooked the photos last week; the layouts are at the end of the online album.


My parents are coming for the weekend. They'll be here in the morning. There is much to do before they arrive... including cleaning that will pass Mom's white glove test. Or wait. Maybe I don't care if I pass anymore. hee hee. That's a liberating thought. I oughta consider it some more! :D