Tuesday, January 31, 2006

something about the way i look tonight

So. Veronica made me do it. I registered atMyHeritage.com so that I could see which celebrity I look most like. Here's how it works: you choose the most flattering photo of you that's already loaded on your computer because you're too lazy to go get the most recent professional portrait and scan it in... and you upload it to myHeritage. This is the photo I chose. It was taken 3.5 years ago.

And this, my friends, is who I most resemble:


WELL. In a huff, I decided that that.just.would not do! Let's face it: Elton is an ulgy woman. So I thought I'd be better off using a more recent photo, and I uploaded THIS one, taken last summer in Ireland:

MyHeritage worked its magic, and gave me this result:


Hmpf. Maybe it's the bangs. Yah. It's the bangs. I don't HAVE bangs anymore. So I decided to upload the MOST recent photo of me - one taken two weekends ago at a scrapbooking retreat:


I got the following result:


In one final, desperate attempt, I decided to upload the nastiest photo of me on my hard drive. I'm shooting for WOMAN here. Even hideously ugly woman would suffice.


You can imagine my dismay when this popped up as my look-a-like:


The bitch, oh the bitch, oh the bitch is back.
(Cold stone sober, as a matter of fact.)

I s'pose I'd rather look like Elton John than Jim Carrey.
But STILL. I was really, reallllly hoping for Catherine Zeta-Jones. That MyHeritage is jacked UP.

lolololol

new word in the Kocur boys' vocabulary

Aidan: Mommy, can I play in the sandbox?
Mommy: No. We're fixin' to go get Sissy.
Aidan: Lame.
Mommy: What?
Aidan: LAME.
Mommy: (laughing) Lame?
Aidan: LAYMuh!

then he huffed and walked off.

crack.me.UP!

Monday, January 30, 2006

one for the memory books

We attend church in the inner city - the GHETTO - and let me tell ya. Our song service isn't ordinary. We're on our feet most of the time, singing, having a good time, not bein' scared to raise our hands if the feeling hits us. And man, do we JAM. For a cappella singing, I must say: it is ROCKIN'! I love it.

Aidan and Ian generally don't participate. They mostly sit in their seats, pouty-faces to the crowd, refusing to be drawn in by the energy-enthused music. This, I readily admit, is my fault. I let them stay up too late on Saturday nights. Must get better about that.

So ANYWAY. They rarely sing along, and I'm always surprised when, at home, they bust in to song. "Hey!" I accuse them. "You DO know those songs. Let's hear some singin' next time we're at Fortress, okay?"

Tonight, we were cruisin' down the road in The Van, when Aidan started singing "Firm Foundation". Soon enough, Ian joined in. I was stunned. Really. I was. It's not a kid-friendly song like, say, "Get Right Church" or "Tell Me LOUDER, Where Your Jesus At (Whoop,THERE IT IS!)" or "View that Holy City" with all its choreographed fun parts. But nonetheless, Aidan and Ian were in the backseat, belting out "Firm Foundation" with their sweetest voices.

"...Jesus, you're my firm foundation. I put my trust in your holy bird..."

"NO, AIDAN! You're singing it wrong!" shouted Ian, completely and totally offended. "It goes like THIS: 'I put my trust in your holy WORM!"

They argued about it for a mile, while I struggled to keep the van on the overpass between rocking fits of laughter.

"Jesus, you're my firm foundation. I put my trust in your Holy Word." Maybe I'll correct them tomorrow. But tonight, I just had to let it slide. :)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Fifteen

Fifteen Reasons I'm Still Happily Married to the One I Love

1. He tells me I'm beautiful, and makes me believe it.
2. He makes me laugh, and he laughs at me.
3. He's hard-working and persistent about making our dreams happen.
4. He's compassionate and kind to other people. (that's HOT.)
5. He kisses me goodbye every morning while I snooze away, and never complains that I'm too lazy to get up and see him off.
6. He does selfless little things every day (like driving the un-air-conditioned van in the summertime so I don't have to).

7. He's full of surprises. (See the tulip bulbs he bought me last week? They bloomed just in time for our anniversary!)
8. He calls me from work, just because.
9. He doesn't own me.
10. He's the type of Daddy I'd have chosen for my kids if I had been able to choose. (Funny how that worked out, huh? I couldn't tell at 20 what kind of Dad he'd become.)
11. He's not afraid to evolve and change and try new things. (except for Japanese food. He won't give it a chance.)
12. He's forgiving (and gracious about it).
13. He takes care of me the way every woman wants to be taken care of.
14. He delights in seeing me happy, comfortable, fulfilled, etc.
15. He keeps growing and improving and stretching and dreaming, so that every year is better than the last.

Fifteen years seems like such a long time, but it's just a drop in the bucket, really. Here's to the rest of our lives. I love you Darren!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Tagged

What were you doing 10 years ago?
*I was looking at elementary schools, trying to figure out where to move my family, because I didn't want Dani to attend the scary elementary school where we lived.

What were you doing one year ago?
* Ummm... probably the same thing I'm doing now. Sitting at the computer in the middle of the night when I should be heading to bed. Heh.

Five snacks you enjoy:
*Wheat Thins and cream cheese
*Chips and Salsa and Queso
*popcorn with plain M&Ms mixed in
*carrots and ranch dressing
*Cheddar Peppers with ranch from Sonic

Five songs, to which you KNOW all the lyrics:
*Faithfully (Journey) - and every other 80s Journey song, actually
*Running Just To Catch Myself (Mark Shultz) - it's all Dani's fault
*everything by James Taylor
*Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)
*728b

Five things you would do, if you were a millionaire:
*Pay off our house
*Have needed repairs and remodeling done
*Support a full-time adult minister for Fortress
*By a vacation home in the mountains
*Use it often, and let my loved ones use it often

Five bad habits:
*picking at my cuticles
*staying up too late
*interrupting people. I HATE that I do it, but I do it.
*saying "in a minute" to the boys all.day.long.
*sleeping too late

Five things you like doing:
*scrapbooking my own photos
*IMing with my scrappin' buds
*hanging out with my Fortress peops
*playing Scrabble with Darren
*just bein' with my kids

Five things you would never wear, buy, or get new again:
*a minivan. But even as I say that, I get a feeling that it'll happen anyway. Stupid practical, gas-friendly things that they are.
*low-rise jeans, even though the first time was by assident. WHY do they even COME in my size??? lol
*expensive shampoo. Love my Suave, baby!
*CDs. I buy by the song, now...not by the CD. :)
*blue eyeliner. GACK.

Five favorite toys:
*my camera
*my computer
*the 7" TV/DVD player Darren bought me for my office
*my new Tonic 12" trimmer that hasn't even arrived yet, but I know I'll love it
*my cell phone. I am naked without it!

What will you be doing one year from now?
*Probably sitting here at the computer, thinking, "Well, it's almost DAYBREAK. I might as well just stay up."

What will you be doing ten years from now?
*Getting ready to leave for our 25th Anniversary trip to..... huh. GREECE? Italy? New Zealand? African (photo) Safari? Alaskan Cruise? :-)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Mail from Oz



Look!!! Is this GORGEOUS??

It's KNITTED. Yep, you read that right. It's knit with wire. (Knitted with wire? You knitting word nerds help me out here.)

My sweet friend Veronica (from Australia) sent it to me. When she was here in November, she was knitting a wire bracelet with beads, and I was in awe. I immediately remembered a couple of necklaces I had hanging in my closet that I never wear... necklaces that I bought several years ago from my friend Victoria who was (is) a jewelry maker. But because of my stupid ugly thyroid goiter (ew, I hate that word!), I can hardly stand to wear necklaces anymore, so I don't. But anyway... I still have Victoria's necklaces because I couldn't bear to part with them. They're made of wonderful beads, including Swarovski crystals. I happily gave them to Veronica, saying that I'd love for them to go to a good home, and that I knew she would give them new life. I added that she could make me a bracelet with some of the beads someday. ;)

Someday came today!! I love it. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it.

In fact, i LOVE it! :D

Thanks, V. Makes me miss you all over again. MUAH!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Fortress Scrapbooking Retreat

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am... stuck in the middle with you.


Last weekend was our much-anticipated Fortress Scrapbooking Retreat. The fourteen of us accomplished a weekend page total of 169 layouts.


WOO HOO! There is so much talent in this group of women. Nikki has an all-around amazing artistic ability. At one point, Summer asked me, "How can I make a banana?" My answer: "Ask Nikki to draw one." And she did. A perfect banana. Her lettering is amazing. I think she made titles for everyone there!

Then there's Nookie. It's been so much fun to watch her style evolve. She's got a great eye for color, and her pages are always interesting and fun, busy with fibers and rub-ons and lots of texture. Kaki, a first-time-scrapper, blew us away with her artsy-fartsy pages. Kristi continued to kick butt with her patterned papers. She can TOTALLY make the most random assortment of papers look good together. Cara spent all of Friday night saying, "I quit. I don't know where to start.", but as soon as she got going, she rocked ON with her bad self, creating some masterpieces. ("Hot Rod", anyone?) Lety made some beautiful layouts of her adorable daughter, but it was her heartfelt journaling that made me beam with pride. There was a time when Lety wouldn't write ANYthing on her pages. Now her journaling is the focal point. Mel pumped out page after page, happily scrapping away without having to share her tools and stickers with her daughters. Ms. D discovered (to my dismay, but I'll get over it) decorative scissors. Nathalie started her son's college football recruiting album. Listen to me now: someday, when Anthony is famous, I can say I played a role in helping his Mom create his first scrapbook. Someday, when he's a multi-million dollar NFL dude, I hope he'll remember my name and hire me to do HIS family's albums! :)

We had a FABULOUS time. It was the first Fortress retreat where we experienced true relaxation. I invited a guest speaker to come do our devos, so none of us had to prepare for that. We decided to let the cottage prepare and serve our meals, so we didn't have to do meal-planning, shopping, cooking, OR clean-up. All we did was sleep, eat, scrap, laugh, eat, laugh, scrap, laugh. I am not exaggerating when I say that I laughed until I ached. At one point, while literally rolling around on the floor in the bathroom, gasping for air between guffaws, with Cara leaning over me trying to catch HER breath, I had to ask myself, "Self? Are you sure you can't be pregnant? About 9 months pregnant? 'Cause this sure feels like back labor!" I'm telling you. The laughter hurt THAT bad. But man, it was fun.

We played the cup game, and the "It's a What" game, and some other game that I totally could NOT catch a clue on, which at 5 a.m. was a pretty hilarious thing. We busted into song at all times of day and night, we spent an hour outside taking photos. "Ok, now you and me." "Ok, now me in the middle." "Wait, get one with my camera." "Now let's build a pyramid." "Oops, take another one, my eyes were closed." SUCH FUN.


We also took a photo of our wrists, to send to Baby Ira. THe green bracelets say "Ira Lester Hays", and are meant to remind us to keep praying for him.

MAN, I needed that weekend. It took so long to get here and it was over too fast. And you know what? The whole purpose of the retreat was to minister to the ladies we love at Fortress. But I was ministered to just as much as anyone was. Sometimes, the middle's not such a bad place to be.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

On a lighter note...

Joe thinks he's uncool. *I* happen to think Joe is pretty DARN cool. He reads the latest books, is hip to the current music trends, and watches cool movies. I know all of this from reading his blog. PLUS, he lives in Brooklyn at the other end of the building from Heath Ledger. If that isn't cool, what is? Besides all that, I have to believe that Joe is cool, because if he's not, where does that leave ME?

I used to be cool. I did. No, seriously. I have the photos to prove it... me with my blue eyeliner perfectly applied to the inner rim of my eyes; with my jeans tight-rolled and the leather laces on my top-siders coiled tight. Later, in college... me with my funky shades and hot pink lipstick, blaring "In Your Eyes" so loudly from my jam box that the sound reverberated off the 8-story wall of Kerr Hall and bounced back, blanketing all of Kerr Beach in song; me zipping around town in my bright yellow VW bug, with the windows down, no matter the weather. Even a few years ago, when working at a hip store on the Boulevard, I was sorta cool with my manicured nails, highlighted hair, custom-beaded jewelry.

So what happened?

Last fall, a friend called and asked, "Are you watching Oprah? Turn it on! She's doing a show called "Women Who've Let Themselves Go." I tried not to be offended.

I married a geek (it's okay...he admits it, too), and I always thought I'd be the cool parent, hands down. But no. Dani says that DARREN is the cooler one. How did THAT happen?

I picked Dani up from school a couple of weeks ago, wearing pajama pants and sporting greasy hair. I prayed fervently that God protect me from any and all idiot drivers, 'cause if I happened to get in a wreck that day, I SWEAR I would not have gotten out of my car.

I drive a purple mini van, which to my credit, I've ALWAYs said I was too cool for. But I drive it nonetheless.

I listen to hip music, but don't be fooled... it's not because I'm cool. It's because I'm watching out for what I DON'T want Dani and my Fortress kids listening to. "My Humps", anyone? "Laffy Taffy"?

I admitted to the whole world wide web that I like John Denver.

I'm so not cool.

Once, a few years ago, Karen and I decided we wanted Starbucks. Cool enough. Standing in line, I saw that they had cigars for sale at the register, and being COOL, I bought one. I love a good cigar. Sitting outside at the dark table in the cold winter air, I tried in vain to get that thing lit. Over and over, I tried, striking the match, puffpuffpuff, to no avail. Finally, I realized that it was a chocolate cigar. Karen still busts into laughter when we recall that night. Looking back, I think that's when my coolness went right out the window.

So it all boils down to this.

If Joe's not cool, then maybe I never was.

Just don't tell my daughter. She doesn't need any more proof.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Maybe Just Ain't Enough

They say that bad news comes in threes. If that's true, I'm done. Yesterday, the letter. This afternoon, word that Baby Ira has indeed reherniated - an almost unheard of recurrance. Click on Joe's blog link to the right to read more. And then 2 hours ago, news that my friend Sherlyn's (not Sherilyn...two different people)13-year old son has just been diagnosed with leukemia. My thoughts immediately went straight to Elaine, my friend in high school who was diagnosed the day after a slumber party (at which she was unusually fatigued) and died 5 weeks later, a week after her 15th birthday. Leukemia has scared the crap out of me ever since. I ache for Sherlyn and Sharon (her Mom, who is also a dear friend to me), and I lift Logan up in prayer as I type. Oh, Lord, send us a miracle! WE NEED A MIRACLE!

Sometimes when I can't find words to pray, I simply say, "God. Be here. Be real to me. BE REAL TO ME." I know that He hears my wimpers and moanings and makes sense of them. Other times, when I fall to my knees, a song will pop into my head. Truly, I think it's the Holy Spirit, giving me words when He knows I have none of my own. It happened as I typed this... the words as Rich Mullins sang them all those years ago....

this, Joe and Laura... and Sherlyn and Sharon and Allie... and E, A, A, V, B, R, and C... this is my prayer for you. Hey. It's my prayer for me too.

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

words and music by Rich Mullins

Bottled

Today I received a letter that changed my life. It came from someone I love with ever fiber of my heart, from the deepest depth of my being. It bore a message that shook me, scared me, and left me reeling and fumbling for balance as my vision blurred and my mind numbed and my thoughts ran the gamut from shock to sadness to bitterness to anger to confusion to worry to... where I am now.

And I'm not entirely sure where that is.

The message the letter brought is something that has been bottled for far too long, allowed to fester and spoil, dropped on hard concrete and shaken up, carefully stored at the back of the cupboard until an unknowing party popped the cork and sprayed the unsuspecting with shock and sadness and bitterness and anger and confusion and worry and...

I know this isn't making much sense. Don't ask me any questions. Simply pray for the ones I love. God will know for whom you're praying. Pray for clarity, for courage, for honesty, for understanding, for release, for repentence and forgiveness, for calm and sanity, for wisdom, for peace.

For me, pray specifically for courage, clarity and long-suffering. For I've been caught in a place no one ever wants to be: the middle. And although I'm here as an unwilling participant, I'm here with everything that IS me, with every ounce of love this heart can muster. But me isn't enough. I can't go into this battle alone. I can't go in with Darren. I can't go in with anyone but God. Pray that I'll remember that when Goliath starts taunting. 'Cause he will.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Lots of Jolly



Dear Aidan,

It's been almost a month since Christmas, and you still bust out into song on a daily basis, singing, "Deck the hall with lots of jolly, fa la la la la la la la la!" You sang it that way all season long, and I never corrected you, 'cause why NOT deck the hall with lots of jolly. I aspire to me more like you!

You are a funny little man. You know how to make people laugh and you take great pleasure in that ability. Your little brother thinks you're the coolest thing since those light-up swords from the dollar store. I love to watch the two of you at play. You don't see it, but I do: the way Ian watches you, the way his eyes twinkle and his nose crunches and the way his little mouth twitches just before he falls into gales of laughter over something you're doing. He anticipates that laughter. He knows it's coming. He trusts you to tickle his funny bone, and you never fail him.

For the past two weeks, you and Ian have been obsessed with The Little Rascals movie. I've dubbed the two of you Alfalfa and Spanky. Ian LOOKS just like Spanky, but YOU, sweet Aidan, you ARE Alfalfa. You're so romantical! Sometimes, when you climb up on the couch and give me an unexpected kiss, I call you "My Alfalfanator". You always screw up your face and say, "Don't call me that, Mom!"... but I think you secretly like it. You're affectionate and so congnizant of people's feelings. You know what to say and how to say it, and you have a natural gift of making people feel better.

As much as you enjoy making people laugh, I think that even more, you love to laugh yourself! The happiest noise I've ever heard in my life is your laughter. It's music. Sometimes it's a symphony, sometimes it's an electric guitar riff, sometimes it's twinkling chimes carried on the wind... but it's always music. In this photo, it's the chimes leading up to the riff. I was taking photos of you at Trinity Park, and you said to Ian, "Make me laugh!" He stuck his tongue out, and you loved it. He turned around and shook his bottom at you, and you laughed even harder. I'm surprised the photos came out in focus, 'cause I'm sure there was some camera shake going on. I was laughing too - but not at Ian's antics. I was laughing at your laugh. It's infectious.

You are joy personified. I love you, Aidan!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Cuz I didn't do the last one

Four jobs you've had in your life: radio station promotional mascot - an elephant - hot, huge, heavy head, HATED that job (high school), night manager at Payless Video (college), custom invitation designer (during my 20s), professional scrapbooker (now).

Four movies you could watch over and over: The Princess Bride, The Three Amigos, all of Oiser's scenes in Steel Magnolias, Grease.

Four places you've lived: rural SW Kansas, small-town East Texas, college town Denton, Fort Worth

Four TV shows you love to watch: American Idol (did I just admit that out loud?), David Letterman... I don't watch TV much, especially since we don't get HGTV and VH1 anymore.

Four places you've been on vacation: Paris, Yosemite, Yellowstone, New England in the fall

Four websites you visit daily: ScrapShare, a whole slew of blogs that I've bookmarked (always starting with Joe's, then Dani's, then Bobbie's....), Fox news, twopeasinabucket

Four of your favorite foods: baked potatos (loaded), Darren's burgers on the grill, Mom's chicken and shrimp gumbo, deviled eggs

Four places you'd rather be: Colorado ('cause I miss the mountains), NYC ('cause I want to meet Ira), Tennessee ('cause I wamma play with my sister), upstairs (where I'm heading soon, to snuggle with Darren)

Four CDs you can't live without: Rich Mullins' Songs (I and II), Sting's Fields of Gold, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, the ScrapShare Texas II compilation CD

Four magazines you read: I subscribe to Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion, Texas Monthly (my favorite!), Family Fun and Paper Kuts (a scrapbooking mag)

Four cars you've owned: '77 baby blue Lincoln Versailles, '82 reddish Plymouth Laser TURBO, '72 bright yellow VW bug, '04 midnight blue Toyota Corolla

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

What makes me laugh

I was watching Letterman tonight, and he had Albert Brooks on (who completley cracks me up!), and in a clip of his latest movie, he asks a hotel clerk, "What makes you laugh?". The clerk answered, "Animals that act like humans. You know... like a dog writing a letter, or a chicken on the phone." Aidan fell out on the floor laughing. "A CHICKEN on the PHONE!", he exclaimed between giggles. Animals acting like humans makes Aidan laugh, too.

Yesterday, Darren called me "The Chuckler". He says I chuckle a lot. My former boss used to tell me that I have a laughing voice. My friend Victoria W. says I have Betty Rubble's giggle. I guess I laugh a lot more than I realize. And I realize that I do laugh a lot. I find humor in everything. The best exercise I get is a good belly laugh - throwing my head back and letting the laugh come tumbling out, eventually running out of oxygen and, doubling over, slowly allowing it to peter out in a body-rocking, belly-jiggling, side-splitting, headache-inducing quake. MAN, I love laughs like that.

So without further ado: Things That Make Me Laugh

1. The latest Nextel commercial, where the office guys are dancing like freaks to that song from the 80s, "Oh Baby Baby, ooh babybaby..."... and the boss comes in and, freaking out, says, "We don't know how many converters we have! We don't know where our shipment is! And I can't find Koffman anywhere!" The guys stop dancing long enough to pull their Nextel phones out of their pockets and give him the answers he's looking for, then they resume dancing. I espcially love the Asian guy sitting on the desk running the jam box. His expressionless expression is SPOT ON. Cracks. Me. UP!!You can watch the commercial HERE.

2. Ashlie the Cat. I swear, this cat knows she's being funny. Sometimes when I walk into the room, she's waiting for me. As soon as I round the corner, she jumps out at me, then, just like in the cartoons, she peels out on the hardwood floor, running like mad but frozen in space, eventually blazing across the room like a canon shot. Then, she waits for me to look up and she does it again! Cracks. Me. UP!

3. Ian. The things that come out of his mouth astound me and make me laugh at the same time. This weekend, while Darren and Dani were out of town, I took the boys to our favorite local dive: Ol' South Pancake House. The boys ordered Pigs in a Blanket, because it had a funny name. As SOON as our food was delivered, Ian announced to the restaurant, "I HAVE TO POOP!" I said, "You're kidding me. Well, you'll have to wait. You should've told me before our FOOD came." I picked up my fork and he announced, "MY POOP WON'T WAIT." This is not what struck me as funny. This is: While in the bathroom, I muttered, "I hope my food isn't gonna be COLD when we get back." Thirty seconds later, Ian said, "Mommy. You're gonna be sorely disappointed." "Why's that, Ian?", I asked, while wondering WHERE he picked up that colloquialism. "'Cause your food's gonna be cold, alright." Cracked me right up. Ian says things DAILY that send me into gales of laughter. He doesn't have to try to be funny. He just is.

4. Craig Ferguson, host of The Late Late Show on CBS. I can't help it. He's just FUNNY. The best late night host to come down the pike since Dave. (And you know I love Dave!)

5. Martha in California. Have MERCY, that woman is funny. If I'm on the computer and Darren hears me chuckle, he says, "Martha?" Yup. Every time.

6. Go Fug Yourself. My laughing friend Ginger turned me on to this blog, which criticizes in a totally rude and mean but completely HILARIOUS way, the fashion disasters caught on film in Hollywood. Read it and wheeze.

7. Late night infomercials. There used to be one on at about 3 a.m. featuring male enlargement wonder drugs. Oh. My. FlyingSpaghettiMonster, those cracked me up! The first time I saw one of those was right after SHerilyn moved back from Holland. We were having a scrapbooking marathon here at my house, with the TV on in the background. We almost died laughing that night. My sides hurt thinking about it!

8. Farts. But I've already blogged about THAT, so I won't bore you.

9. Darren. You wouldn't think it, 'cause he's sorta quiet. But he is a very funny guy. He makes me laugh all the time. :)

10. Bill Waterston. I miss Calvin and Hobbes. Wow. Just googled to make sure I had his name right. I can't belive it's been ELEVEN years since he retired! My favorite strip... the ones where Calvin was getting his school pictures taken and the ones where he built headless snowmen and made it look like his Dad had hit them with the car and the ones where he got into it with Suzy and ... and... and...

11. Aidan and Ian repeating lines they learned from watching 1995's "The Little Rascals" over and over and over. (It's their latest movie obsession.) "You're a barf-encrusted jumbo jerk. You're scum between my toes." Sunday morning, after giving the boys a dollar to put in the collection plate at church, they sat their in their seat, quietly singing, "I got a dollar, I got a dollar. I got a dollar, hey hey hey hey." I laughed. Out loud. In church. And I didn't even try to hide it.

So. What makes YOU laugh?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

While You Were Sleeping

... we were hot tubbing!

Just the boys and me.
2 o'clock in the morning.
44 degrees outside.
103 degrees in the hot tub.
Plenty of steam.
Fair amount of stars.
Lots of whispering.
Good times.
One for the memory books.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Sitting Duck

On December 20, Aidan started barfing. Poor little guy. We'd eaten at a Chinese buffet that night, and he was the only one who'd had the sausage, so I sorta figured he had food poisoning. Within 24 hours, he was back to his healthy, happy self.

In the early morning hours of December 24, Darren got hit by it. We were at my parents' house, and Darren spent the next 30 hours quarantined in their bedroom, shivering under layers of blankets except when running to the bathroom to upchuck again. He missed all of Christmas Eve and most of Christmas Day. I started thinking that maybe Aidan's WASN't food poisoning.

Four days later, on December 29, Ian threw up. He was at my Mom's house, 3.5 hours away. "Ian just threw up," she said on the phone. "What are you gonna do about it?" There wasn't much I could do long-distance, so I went and got him the next day.

At this point, I was starting to realize that this was a funky-weird virus with a long incubation period. Aidan's probably wasn't food poisoning at all. It was also at this point, after having cared for three throwing up boys, that I started feeling like a sitting duck.

We cancelled our New Year's Eve party, in case we were still carrying the bug, even though on that day, none of us were barfy. Flash forward to January 3. I was downstairs on the computer at 3 a.m. when I heard it: Dani had become the latest victim. I flew up the stairs and held her long hair out of the way while she blew chunks into the toilet.

Yesterday, I bragged to a friend that my whole family had had the barfs since before Christmas, and that I must've worked up a big-time immunity to it, having taken care of the all, because I was the only one who hadn't gotten it.

Then. This morning, about 3 o'clock (WHY do these things always happen in the middle of the night?), I ate my words. Twice. Today, every time I cough, I can taste those words again. Gross.

So. My weekend plans are officially TRASHED. I am so sad. I was gonna spend the weekend with Jeanne and Ginger down in San Antonio.

But instead, I'll hang out here and bleach the house again.

BLECH!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

published

Huh. I googled my name for the heck of it (do you ever do that?) and this was #2 on the list. A scrapbooking article written by me! I remember writing it, but I cannot for the life of me remember the circumstances surrounding WHY I wrote it. It had to have been within the last 4 years, because I mention "my sons", and Ian just turned four. Bizarre. That's certainly not long enough to have completely forgotten something. Must've been RIGHT after Ian was born, when I was still suffering from Pregnancy Brain. I have a vague memory of being asked to write an article about Christmas scrapbooking ideas, but I can't remember by whom or why. LOL! Anyway... I've been published, and I don't think I even knew it! :)
I don't know where it was originally published, but evidently, this Lisa chick copied and pasted it here at some point...

: Holiday Scrapping Traditions
Posted bylisa on Tuesday, November 12 @ 13:36:01 EST
Contributed by lisa

by Stacy Kocur

The holidays are my favorite thing to scrap each year. In fact, I have an album dedicated to just Thanksgiving and Christmas! Our Holiday albums come off the bookcase each year and become part of the holiday d├ęcor, taking center stage on top of the piano. It’s fun to look back over past holidays and reminisce! Every event and activity we participate in each year gets a place in the album, from decorating the tree to baking cookies to caroling around the piano. But aside from the activities I highlight in the scrapbook, there are several other traditions I’ve included. These are my Five Favorites:

1. I’m Thankful For...Every Thanksgiving, I predecorate a page and set it out with journaling pens. The idea is for each family member to jot down what they’re thankful for and sign their name. Sometimes it takes some prodding to get everyone to participate, but I won’t take no for an answer! Even the little kids participate. If they can’t write yet, they still get to say what they’re thankful for, and someone else writes it down for them. It is awesome to go back and read what we were thankful for in years past! I cherish the page on which my Grandpa wrote: “I am especially thankful for all my family. Just keep on keeping on- striving to do God’s will in all that you do. I love each and every one of you. Grandpa Lewis.” He died the following August, and I am grateful beyond words to God that I have a lasting remembrance of Grandpa for my sons who never knew him!

2. Recipes...With the pictures of Thanksgiving dinner (don’t forget to get photos of everyone scurrying around the kitchen in preparation, and of the table before everyone digs in!), I always include a recipe of one of the dishes. If I can get it in my Mom’s handwriting, or an Aunt’s, that’s even better! Christmas cookie recipes go in as well, sometimes on the baking cookies page, and sometimes on the Christmas Eve page, alongside a photo of the cookies we leave out for Santa.

3. Christmas Cards...Making and sending Christmas cards is one of my favorite things about the season! The card we send out always gets a layout all to itself, along with the postage stamp we used that year. It’s also fun to include a layout of all the Christmas card photo rejects!

And for the cards we receive, I do a 2-page spread - if you send us a photograph in your card, it goes in our album! I cut out the signatures and personal notes from the cards and mount them next to the photos. Every once in a while, if there is an exceptionally sentimental note written in a card, even if it doesn’t include a photo, it goes in as well. And I always make room for my favorite card we received that year...uncut. Some years it’s a whimsical Santa Claus-y card, and sometimes it’s a reverent Christian card. Either way, it’s always fun to look back at the cards we received!

4. Dear Santa...the first time I let Dani write in one of our scrapbooks, I was a nervous wreck! She was writing crooked, and misspelling words, and I about hyperventilated! I’m so glad I learned to chill out about things like that, because that first page was a letter to Santa. And even with it’s misspelled words and crooked lines, I wouldn’t change it for the world! It became a tradition...now she writes her wish list in the album every year!

5. What we gave and what we got...Some of my favorite pages are about the presents we give. We always draw names because both my husband and I come from large families. So every year, we’re buying for someone different. I like to journal about what we gave our “secret Santa” each year, along with their reaction to the gift. And of course, it’s nice to look back and be thankful for what we received as well. Some years I include receipts for the gifts we bought - it’ll be interesting to future generations!

I hope this inspires you to start a new scrapbook tradition or two this year! Stock up on film and always have your camera ready to capture those magical holiday moments!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Groupie

Random Memories. I just read one of Veronica's and it reminded me of this one:

Growing up, Saturday was CLEANING DAY. I hated Saturdays. With. A. Passion. Each of us kids had a specific chore, and when we finished that, Mom always had a list ready of more work to do. Our Saturdays belonged to her. The only good thing about Saturdays was Mom's record collection, which we faithfully played over and over each week. One of the albums was called "SuperGirls", and featured hits by the girl groups of the 50s and 60s. I know every word and beat to "Leader of the Pack" (vrooom vrooom!), "My Boyfriend's Back", "It's My Party"....

We also listened to John Denver. Every record he ever made could be found in my Mom's collection. She loved John Denver. LOVED him. And for that reason and that reason alone, I had to pretend that I didn't. The truth was, I loved John Denver, too, but I wouldn't have dared admit it to my Mom or anyone else for that matter. I pretended to be disgusted by the rocky mountain highness of John Denver's music. But I knew every nuance of every verse of every song by heart.

When I was about 13 or 14, I was talking with a group of adults, and for some reason, John Denver came up. I chirped, "My Mom is a John Denver groupie!" I remember that their eyes got big and that someone repeated me, "A John Denver GROUPIE?"

"Oh yah!" I enthused. "She has been ever since she lived in Denver when she was in college. She LOVES him." I went on and on. The grown-ups laughed. I took that as permission to keep going on about what a HUGE groupie my Mom was and how she was trying to make me a groupie too.

It was YEARS later that I learned what a groupie really is. Have mercy. I was embarrassed for myself. All those years later, and I felt sheer mortification for what I'd said all those years earlier.

So just to set the record straight: my Mom is not and never was a John Denver groupie. And I am no longer ashamed to admit it: Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. :)

Monday, January 02, 2006

Resolutions

This year, I resolved to not make any resolutions. It's just a waste of time, really, since I never seem to adhere to them anyway. And by cracky, I can't even seem to keep a no-resolution resolution, 'cause here I go makin' some!! (Just didn't seem right to blow 'em off so coldly.)

1. Build my business. This includes some smallish details that must be accomplished THIS MONTH:
a. decide on a business name. Nothing cutesy. How does "CowtownStacyDoesn'tSleep" grab ya? No? Suggestions welcomed.
b. Secure the domain name.
c. Design the website and find someone to do the techy stuff.
d. Have brochures and cards printed - FINALLY. Been putting this off for two years now.
e. Call my almost-clients and turn them into definite-clients.
f. Connect with current clients after the holiday craziness.

I've already made some giant strides on the website front... and tomorrow, I'll make those contacts. :)

2. Go walking with Darren 3 nights a week. I think we'll actually DO this. :)

3. Take my medicine every. darn. day.

4. Cook more often than not. Egads.

5. Drink water BEFORE my mouth starts sticking to itself.

6. Get quasi-regular pedicures for my ever-nasty hoof feet.

7. Spend more time with my girlfriends. Life is busy. SO WHAT?

8. Increase my income enough to add a car payment to the budget.

9. Host a dinner party for my neighbors.

10. Host a murder mystery for my best buds.

Hairball

This week while painting the kids' rooms, I passed the 10 o'clock hour listening to a classic rock radio show called "Hairball", which features the Big Hair bands of the 80s. I sang along with Journey (Stone in Love: "Those crazy nights, I do remember in my youth...I do recall, those were the best times, most of all"), Quiet Riot (Cum On, Feel the Noise), Scorpions (Rock You Like A Hurricane). I was surprised at how readily the lyrics sprang back into my head after all these years.

Then tonight, while sitting here at the computer, I started singing along with something that was playing on the TV in the background. Truly, I wasn't even aware that I was singing until Dani said, "MOM. How do you know this song??" I had to stop and think. What was I singing? "...I'll stop the world and melt with you....".

"It's an '80s song," I said.
"WHAT? Who sang it?" she demanded. She was offended that I knew a song that her beloved Bowling for Soup guys were singing.

"Huh. Was it The Police? No. The Cars. No, that's not right, either. Huh. I can't remember."

A google search reminded me that it was Modern English (what did I EVER do before Google??)

Everything comes back around. In the 70s, brown was THE COLOR, but I thought it was hideous. Appliances came in brown, avocado and harvest gold, and they were ugly. This week, I painted Dani's room... brown... and I love it.





In the 80s, Big Hair was the ONLY hair. I had poofy peacock-plume bangs and teased roots, and spent my allowance on superultramegaAquaNet to hold it all in place. I had these things on the side of my head that can best be desribed as ... man. I can't even think of a good description. But I remember how I acheived the look. I'd take the chunk of hair that fell in front of my ear, drench the roots of it in AquaNet until it dripped, then lean sideways and blow-dry the life out of that chunk, so that when I stood upright again, that chunk of hair remained at a 90 degree angle to my cheekbone. It was AWESOME.


It took me years to get over big hair. By the time my 10-year reunion rolled around in 1997, I was beginning to feel okay about going out in public with stick-straight hair. But I STILL felt the need to give my bangs some poof. Jennifer Aniston had stick-straight hair without an ounce of poof, but I still couldn't get past it.

I've been growing my bangs out since July. I've never not had bangs, and since mid-October, they've been on my very.last.nerve. I kept thinking that I'd get used to them. I kept telling myself that if I let them grow just a little bit longer, they'd behave themselves. But the week before Christmas, I'd gotten over it. I went in to see Madalyn, told her that if she couldn't cut my hair and make me like my no-bangs in the process, I was gonna chop the whole mess of it off myself. So she trimmed off 2 inches, gave me long layers again, and said, "Let 'em keep growing. In a month, they'll be where you want 'em."

I don't think I can make it that much longer. Today, it took everything in me not to take Ian's play sword and start hacking away at the bangs. Instead, I went to the bathroom, pulled out the bottle of AquaNet (it comes in a plastic bottle now, not the purple aluminum can with silver fishnet stripes across it), sprayed my bangs down, and gave them the ol' blow-dry. Darren walked in and without meaning to, let his eyes pop. "You're all fixed up," he said. I think what he meant was, "Your hair is big! But I'm not gonna say a word."

For an hour, I was happy. My bangs were AWESOME. Then the molecular structure of the AquaNet broke down, and so did my bangs. Right into my eyes.

Now that I'm finally over the nekkid feeling I used to get when I wasn't weighted down with AquaNet, Big Hair will probably come back. But I won't care this time around. I'd probably fall over and crack my head on the toilet seat if I tried to achieve The Hair these days. So I'll just settle for stick-straight. And when I'm feeling nekkid, I'll crank up Hairball and sing along like it's 1985.