Sunday, April 30, 2006

God Moment

The closest I've ever felt to God was when I was 20 years old. I was facing seemingly insurmountable hardships with my family and in my personal life. I was at a breaking point emotionally, trying to hold everything together - even things I had no control over. One day, driving down the road in my yellow VW bug, (I still remember the exact spot in the town I was driving in), a song came on the radio. It wasn't a new song. I'm sure I'd heard it before. But that day, I heard it for REAL for the first time. I cried so violently that I had to pull off the road. That song spoke to me in a way I can't even explain. It awakened me. It shook me up and completely calmed me at the same time. I knew it was a God Moment. Later, I called the station in Dallas and asked them, "What WAS that song?" I told the DJ my story. He said, "There's a Christian bookstore near Golden Triangle Mall. Go there. They'll have the tape behind the counter for you." Sure enough, they did. I certainly didn't have the money to BUY the tape. But God made sure I had it.

After that, I laid it all at His feet - my worries, my fears, my desires, EVERYTHING. I gave it up. I was free of ALL of it. I can honestly (and ashamedly) say that it's the only time in my life I've been THAT trusting and willing to let go of the controls. And I can say with full truth that the reason I've never felt as close to God as I did that summer is because I've been holding back. He wants it all. He wants my worries, fears, dreams, desires, wishes, resentments, sins, joys, accomplishments... He wants it all. And he gives back tenfold. Why that's such a hard thing for me to remember and do, I'll never know.

The song was "Bound to Come Some Trouble" by Rich Mullins. Haven't heard it? I'll buy it for you on iTunes. Send me an email. You need it. I know you do, because I needed it.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

the week in pictures

Sunday: scrapbook day at Fortress
(these are the Middle School girls sorting paper that's been donated)

Monday: Bev in OH visits Cowtown! (she was here for a retreat that I had to miss, but I got to spend Monday afternoon with her) :)

Tuesday: a picnic of steamed crab legs in the family room.

Wednesday: Dani helped throw a surprise birthday party for her friend Chris - and because she IS my daughter, she took many photos. :)

Thursday: Aidan actually posed for photos - HIS IDEA! - something he grew tired of several months ago. *whew!*

Friday: 3 dates - Mom and Aidan to Taco Bueno and the bookstore; Daddy and Ian to Chili's and the Symphony; and Dani and friends to a Spring Formal at school. She looked beautiful, and she had SO MUCH FUN! Her knees and ankles ached from dancing, and that made me happy. :)

Saturday: afternoon at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Museum - SUCH fun with the whole family.

Friday, April 28, 2006

being real

the good:
I can't hide my feelings; what you see is what you get.
I'm fun. (Right, Cara? I'm fun. Right?)
I'm blessed with talent, and I credit it to God.
I love deeply and fiercely.
I dream big.
I have a happy heart.
I follow through. eventually.
People feel at home in my home.
I know how to say I'm sorry.

the bad:
I can't hide my feelings; what you see is what you get.
I have to say I'm sorry a lot.
I need approval.
I need validation. (Right, Cara? I'm fun. Right?)
I'm a procrastinator.
I can be very stubborn.
I hate to do laundry and dishes.
I still haven't written my brother, and I promised the letter 3 weeks ago.
I hate to "get ready", so I usually don't unless I'm going somewhere special. (Wait. Maybe that goes under "the ugly".)

the ugly:
I like me some good gossip.
I'm morbidly obese.
I promised Darren I'd start coming to bed at a reasonable hour, but I haven't kept it.
I get snappy and cranky with my kids when they don't deserve it.
When I'm hurting, I flee. I hide. I withdraw.
Because I can't hide my feelings; what you see is what you get.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

some days, everything just goes right

Today after school, I took Dani shopping for a dress. She's been invited to her first high school formal this weekend, and the girl.needed.a.dress.

Clothes shopping is usually not high on Dani's list of "fun things to do." She's like me in that way. It takes LOTS of trying-on before either of us can ever find something that's cut for our disproportionate bodies. It's not a happy thing.

So imagine our pure delight when the very first dress she tried on was PERFECT! Oh my. It made me wanna weep. The cut was perfect and SO flattering. She was beaming. We couldn't believe it.

After our shopping spree, we treated ourselves to Starbucks. Dani had a decaf coffee with caramel, and I had a fully-leaded Mocha Frap. We both got Talls. (Starbucks speak for "small".) Dani, who is mortified to still be only 4'11" at the ripe old age of almost-15, quipped, "Hey. I just thought of something. In Starbucks' world, I'm tall!" heh heh heh.

Sitting on our table was a stack of coasters. I picked them up and began looking through them. They each bore a different word and definition - promotional coasters for the upcoming movie "Akeelah and the Bee". I squealed out loud when I came across this one:

This word is especially meaningful to me because of this blog entry. (See Darren's comment.) I had to ask him what the word meant that day. Today when I saw it at Starbucks, I KNEW. I slipped two into my purse and will use them in my scrapbook. (Probably my Book of Me.)

Before we left, I saw a bunch of promotional magnets on the back of the cash register. I picked up "pulchritude" and asked, "Is there any way you'll let me buy this?" The young girl said, "I'm sorry, no. They're promotional items. I can write your name down, though, and maybe when the promotion ends...". Then she paused, leaned closer, and said, "Hold on. I think I have an extra set."

Thirty seconds later, she returned, handed me a pack of the magnets, and said, "SHHHH. Don't tell ANYone." Again, I squealed. Out loud. I probably would've jumped over the counter and kissed her on the cheek if it wouldn't have mortified my daughter.

The magnet is now showcased front and center on my magnetic board in my office. It'll be a good reminder that I'm beautiful - at least in eyes of the man who matters most.

I LOVE days like this, when everything just goes right. LITTLE things, yes. But I'll scrapbook 'em just the same.

on shuffle

Thursday night:
Ladies' Bible Study at my house. The dishes from that night STILL sit on my counter, because:

Friday: finished a job that was behind schedule (YAY!), then went to the ER at Cook Children's to sit with Lety. Her little girl Nivia had gotten very sick and couldn't move her neck. I was afraid it was meningitis, but it wasn't. Bad case of strep throat, and an absess the size of a man's thumb in her throat. Hydration, antibiotics and steroids did the trick, though, and she should be home by now. Late Friday night, I went to a friend's house for a retreat, but was only able to stay an hour. It was so good to reconnect with old friends, though. I'm glad I went.

Saturday, we attended Anne's wedding, then went back to Cook's to visit Nivia. On that same day, Kristi was at the ER with her 5-year old Kristopher, who'd cut his head open and needed 3 staples to put it back together again. We also visited Logan, our 13-year old friend who was diagnosed with leukemia in January. He's back in the hospital with pneumonia. :( Heard that a friend who's out of town on business (he's on an FBI trip) was grazed in the head with a bullet Saturday morning. He's fine - just needed some stitches. But hearing the initial report just about gave me a heart attack, because all Tanya said was, "Marcus got shot. He took a bullet to the head."

After several hours at the hospital, Darren and I went out to eat and then to Lowe's. We had planned to kick up our heels at Fort Worth's annual Main Street Arts Festival, but we wimped out. We were too tired.

Sunday, we went to church and then participated in Youth JaM afterward (Fortress's inner city kid's ministry). After that, the girls and ladies stayed for Scrapbooking Ministry. We hauled boxes, reorganized, sorted, filed, and cleaned the whole shebang. Then we scrapped 'til almost midnight. I was exhausted by the time I got home and actually fell asleep before Darren did! (Forgot to mention... During the afternoon, Cara ended up at Cook's ER with HER little boy! It was quite a crazy weekend for Fortress Moms!)

Today, I got to spend the day with my friend Bev, who lives in Ohio but was in town for the retreat I crashed on Friday night. We were both completely exhausted. I'd love to get together again when we're both energized. I know we'd have a blast! We came "this close" to doing something crazy and fun today (which involved a mechanical bull, but I shall say no more). I could see the gleam in her eye, and she could see it in mine, but when it came right down to it, we both knew we didn't have it in us today. Wah!

I dropped her off at the airport and made it back to Fort Worth just in time to attend Dani's Radio Shack Scholar banquet. (She and her fellow scholars were being recognized for having 4.0 grade point averages and/or being in the top 2% of their class. Go DANI!!) Bill Nye the Science Guy was the keynote speaker; he cracks me up. When he's not annoying me. LOL!

Now I'm home for the first time in days. Thursday's dishes are STILL sitting on the counter. And yet, here I sit on the computer, IMing with Jeanne, and Cara, and Sue, Martha, Kim and Nancy. Not the most responsible behaviour, but I wouldn't have it any other way. :)

Tonight, on the way home from Darren's Mom's house (she kept the boys tonight), I said, "They should've played "Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill!" when Mr. Nye came onstage. Darren said, "They DID play it. After his speech. But the applause was too loud, so you could barely hear it."

"They played 'Thomas Dolby's Blinded Me With Science'", I said.
Darren said he hadn't heard it, and what's more, he's never heard of it. Whaaaaat?? Then I mentioned another song they COULD'VE played. (Can't remember the song now, though... 'cause my brain is mush.) That prompted Darren to say, "I swear. It's like you have a whole music catalog in your head." Then Dani quipped, "Yah. Your brain is like an iPod. On Shuffle."

We all. cracked. UP!
Decided then and there that "on shuffle" would be the title of tonight's blog. 'Cause that's sorta how I feel after this crazzzzzy weekend.


Sunday, April 23, 2006

bluebonnet (not)

Oh Texas flow'r of indigo
You have not bloomed for me!
The fields, so bare
Without you there,
Lack any dignity.

I drive along the interstates
And, calling out your name,
See only grass.
No flow'rs. ALAS!
The drought last fall's to blame.

My camera mourns your photo ops
My scrapbooks crave your hues.
My spring's not sprung
My song's not sung
The season missed its cues.

I've given up all hope. I'm spent.
(I really am distraught.)
A bloom! Is it true?
In a gravel parking lot!

(Finally saw bluebonnets today...weak little scrawny things that they were...after Anne's wedding. Such a beautiful bride. Such a sweet, sweet wedding. Such a GLORIOUS way to end it!)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Aidan Aidan Bo Baidan

Usually, Aidan is my sweet child. He's the one who climbs up in my desk chair to stand behind me while I work, with his arms around my neck and his cheek against my cheek. He's the one who picks flowers in the yard and brings them to me. He's the one who says, out of the blue, "Mom. I love you!" Or, "Mom, I think you're beautiful." USUALLY.

Usually, he looks like this:

Isn't he a doll? Doesn't he look SWEET?


Today, after I lectured "NO, you may not play with my PacMan video game, because you don't take of your toys. Just yesterday, you ran your brand new remote control car down the stairs and crashed it to bits, after Daddy told you NOT to run it down the stairs, and you weren't even sad that it was ruined. You don't take care of your OWN toys, so I'm not letting you play with MY toys.", he got mad. He cried, whined, begged, and finally resorted to throwing a tantrum. Then, from across the room, while I sat ignoring his behavior, he screamed, "NO!" I turned around and said, "Did you just scream 'NO' at me?" Telling Mom 'no' is the WORST offense, next to lying. He glared at me without saying a word. I was on to his game. He was trying to get a rise out of me. He was out to make me MAD.

"Are you trying to make me REALLY mad?" He very deliberately nodded 'yes' to me, glaring all the while.

I turned around to take a deep breath and count to ten, and again he screamed, "NO!"

So I put him in time out, 6 feet away from me in an uncomfortable chair and told him not to say another word. He didn't. Instead, he glared. And stomped. And beat his fists on the seat of the chair every 30 seconds. And glared some more. It was a sight to behold. His 5-minute time-out turned into 35 before he was over himself.

In the meantime, I said, "You better stop giving me that look, or I'll take a picture of it and put it in the scrapbook." He responded by growling at me. So I got my camera and snapped away.

Isn't he CUTE?
Too bad for Aidan, I'm WAY more stubborn than he is. He can't wear this Momma down!

Friday, April 21, 2006

what's good for the soul

1. Laughter. Much laughter, while chatting on IM with Marfy.

2. Concern, in emails from several friends, saying "Uh Oh. I've never known you to be this angry. How can I help?" I didn't respond, but I love you all for sending them.

3. Family. Eri, you made my week. Maybe even my month! Thanks for laughing with me and making me laugh and making me remember that life is good. I'm so glad my brother married you!

4. Karen saying, "I love you. I'm here if you need me. By the way, are you gonna photograph my wedding or not??" (YES! I am!)

5. Admonition, in an email from my sweet friend Colleen, who put a new spin on Jesus' command to forgive 70 times 7. Maybe he didn't mean "forgive your neighbor for 490 different wrongs against you". Maybe he meant that even if I have to will myself to forgive him, even if it takes 490 times before my heart actually DOES it... well then. I need to forgive 70 x 7.

6. Beth Moore. We're doing her "Living Beyond Yourself: exploring the fruit of the Spirit" study, and can I just say...sometimes that woman says things that hit me RIGHT.BETWEEN.THE.EYES. As in this: "And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees ..." (Ezekial 36:27). Move me, God. Move me! I want to forgive, 'cause you've commanded it. So put Your Spirit in me, and move me!

7. Confrontation. When it's needed. See what happened when I got over myself and confronted the print shop that so badly messed up my business cards that I'd spent WAAAAAY too much time fussing over? They reprinted them, perfectly, and I'm a happy camper, and proud of the result. And that's good for my soul, too.

8. Singing. With Darren on piano and Dani on alto... tonight, the song we sang last night - the one that brought tears to my eyes and ministered to me, is playing in my head. It goes like this:
"Lay your burden down, every care you carry and come to the table of grace, for there is mercy. Come just as you are. We are all unworthy to enter the presence of God, for He is holy. Lift up your heart, lift up your hands. Fall on your knees and pray. For the King of Kings and the love He brings is here in this place."
Listen to a snippet here.
You know what's awesome? That I serve a God who is Holy and perfect, but who allows me to fall at His feet anyway... in my tattered, soiled clothes and with my bitter, parched heart. 'Cause at his table is grace and mercy, laid out for even me. And THAT is good for my soul.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Waugh a Wittle

UPDATE: video works now! :)

Last week, Ian and I took a late-night dip in the hot tub and had the most wonderful conversations. So good, in fact, that I actually climbed out of the hot tub and ran in the house to get my camera. Ian's not usually big on conversation, so this was priceless.

We talked about what makes Ian happy. He gave some unexpected commentary on Simon Cowell. (Ian's a big American Idol Fan. His favorite was Bucky; he was very sad last week when Bucky had to go home. He has a new favorite, but he's keeping it a secret. Only Dani knows, 'cause she's the one who called in Ian's vote.) He also told me all about the Dawn Treader and what he wants to be when he grows up. But the underlying theme of the night was this: Ian is funny. He KNOWS he's funny.

He's also smart. Smart and funny are gonna be a fun mix to raise. Two days ago, we bought some supplies for a neighbor whose whole family was sick with a stomach virus - things like Pull-Ups, bleach, gatorade. For the fun of it, we added Chicken Noodle Soup and Crackers to her shopping list, and then looked for a get well card. I found a PERFECT one with a cartoon featuring a bowl of soup with two ducks swimming in it. Laughing, I said, "Look, boys! It says 'We thought some soup and quackers might make you feel better.'". Ian looked me square in the eye and said, "Mommy. That's a joke. It's funny, 'cause ducks say 'quack'. Get it?" Hmpf. He thinks I'm an idiot. He's ALWAYS making sure the rest of the family "gets it".

Without further ado, here he is, in VIDEO! (double click)

I've never edited video before, so this is choppy and messy. But you'll get the idea anyway. Turn up your sound! Oh - and before I forget - a spoon for Melissa:

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sweet Deliverance

...from this unseasonably oppressive heat. The cold front blew in a few hours ago, meaning that tomorrow will feel more like April and less like August. (This after high 90s and low 100s for the past several days.) Darren and I sat out on the porch swing in the wee morning hours and enjoyed the coolness. Our conversation was a deep and welcome spring in the parched desert that has become my heart.

There's a song running through my head that Darren's acappella group used to sing ..."in the arms of Sweet Deliverance, gonna lay my heavy burden down....".

There's a reason it's playing in my head. Stupid broken record. Those same words over and over and over. The only other part of the song I can remember right now is this: "and I will rest by and by." Yah. That sounds nice.

I have heavy burdens tonight. I've been pushing them aside for weeks, thinking I'm better off ignoring them. I've been mad. I got over the anger only to be washed over with apathy and indifference. I don't like ANY of the feelings I've had. I want to move on, knowing that things will be better if I do so, but without feeling any regrets. It means that I need to lay my heavy burdens down. At a specific place. At His feet.

But that means I'd have to pray about it. And the truth is, I'm still too angry. I SAY I'm over it, I THINK I'm over it... but I'm not. How can you pray for someone with whom you're so angry that the mere mention of their name makes you curl your lip and wanna spit? That's how I know I'm still angry. 'Cause when Darren suggested that I pray for this person, I immediately bristled. I didn't want to pray.

So. This is the burden I carry. Anger. It's a heavy weight. It's not one I'm accustomed to carrying, and it's weighing me down. I WANT to let it go, and yet, I don't. Because as long as I hold the anger, I don't have to feel the loss. I need sweet deliverance. I'm just not sure I want it yet. Somehow, the anger feels safe. It's justified.

I know I could have the deliverance my heart thirsts for if I'd just pray. I know He'd provide me with rest by and by, if I'd just pray. The ugly truth is, I'm rebelling against the song in my head.

And that makes me ashamed. 'Cause God ALWAYS uses songs to speak to me. He always has. I've always listened. Tonight, I keep changing the channel.

Some of you will think you know what I'm referring to. In fact, several of you will think of completely different scenarios that it COULD be. It doesn't matter. What matters is, I'm in a dry and weary land, and I see the spring, but I'm making no attempt to get there.
I don't want reconciliation. I just want...

I don't even know.

Please pray for me. I need Sweet Deliverance.

Monday, April 17, 2006

99 cents, baby. 99 cents.

I've made a decision. So has Nancy. And the cool thing is, we made it unbeknownst to us that the other was making the same decision.

Life is too short to iron shirts.

I bought a cute new outfit over a month ago... brown capris and a blue button-down shirt. I brought it home from the store and washed it, only to have it come out of the dryer with permanent wrinkles. Shoulda worn it right off the hanger, but instead, it hung in my closet for 5 weeks, mocking me every time I looked for something to wear. Saturday, I decided it'd be perfect for Easter. Very robins-eggy, know what I mean? So Sunday morning, I dragged out the iron and the ironing board, and set Darren to ironing. (LOVE THAT MAN. He mops too. I have photos.)

Took forever to get the permanent wrinkles out of the pants. By the time he was starting on the shirt, I said, "ENOUGH! This is ridiculous! I'll wear a t-shirt!" And so I did.

Life's too short to iron shirts. I'll be taking mine to the 99 cent cleaners down the street....

Some other Easter photos for your viewing pleasure:

Easter dinner with Grammy, Pappy, Gonna and Tenny...

Our "aygs". (I never pronounce eggs "aygs", but for some reason, I did it over and over and over yesterday. Crazy talk.)

Thursday, April 13, 2006


When I was young, I registered as a Republican, 'cause that's what my parents were. But as I've matured, I've often wondered: "What am I, really?" It's a question I've been unable to answer. That fact annoys me. I mean, should'nt it be clear to me by now? Shouldn't I KNOW how to answer when someone asks, "Are you liberal or conservative?" I always answer the best I know how, by saying, "It depends on the issue. And sometimes even on one issue, I'm divided."

Tonight, I came across this quiz (when I stalked jgf's blog), and I got excited, thinking, "FINALLY. I'll know what I am!"

Not so. I'm still divided!

Your Political Profile

Overall: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Social Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

Ethics: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

I'd make such a terrible politician!
(But I have a feeling I'm gonna make a darn good politician's Mom someday.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


I have a cool blog entry in my head about ads and images and how they're neato mosquito, and I have another sweet blog about Ian that will require a spoon for Melissa in Oz... but I don't feel like uploading anything so I'm gonna do this silly little quiz instead... stolen from one of Dani's blogging friends.

"List the last fifteen people who have commented on your blog. If someone has commented twice, skip to the next new commenter."

1. Jenny in TX
2. Cara and Michael
3. Stacie
4. Annie
5. Bobbie
6. Jackie
7. Veronica
8. Desiree
9. NancyD
10. Karen
11. Darren
12. Mel
13. jgf
14. Dani
15. Angela

Q: Have you ever kissed 4?
A: Hmmm. I can't remember. I think so! On the cheek maybe. Or was that JennyP?

Q: What's the best memory you have of 10?:
A: Oh my! SO MANY! Chocolate cigars, tent camping, karaoke-ing as dead rock stars, directing VBS together, being there when Audrey was born. Looking forward to adding her upcoming wedding to this list....

Q: When's the next time you're gonna see 6?:
A: Now see, that's a tricky one, 'cause we've never actually met yet! She's one of those people I know from my scrapbooking board who I FEEL like I know. I mean, I've prayed for her daughter since last summer, I always enjoy her posts on the board... so when we DO finally meet, it'll feel like we're meeting AGAIN, not for the first time. Maybe in November. Jackie? Will you come this year??

Q: What do you like about 8?:
A: She's a sensitive spirit. She's generous and giving, even though she's suffering through personal tragedy right now. (Her house burned and she's dealing with the aftermath of it all - and yet finds time and energy to support and encourage others!)

Q: Is number 5 pretty?:
A: Why, yes! My sister is drop-dead gorgeous! She always has been. My whole life, people would say to me, "That's your sister??? She's so PRETTY! oh. But you're CUTE!" It always sorta pissed me off. But now, it makes me proud and happy. She's beautiful, and she's MY sister!

Q: What was your first impression of 7?:
A: FUN! We laughed and hugged in the airport like long lost sisters. I was wearing a silly pink Halloween wig and she walked right up to me, laughing her head off. We didn't stop laughing for 7 days after that!

Q: How did you meet 3?:
A: Another airport story! WOO HOO! I was coming down the escalator at the Minneapolis airport wondering how I'd find my ride, and all of a sudden, I saw Jamie Lee Curtis flashing a camera at me and a cute little boy standing next to her with a sign that said, "the Queen of Scrap, aka Stacy Kocur". Instant friends, we were. :)

Q: Do you think 13 could kill someone?:
A: Well. I gotta be careful answering this one. I know NOTHING about this person. I don't have a clue who they are at all. I've never heard of them. For all I know, this person is an internet axe murderer! (But I followed their link from their comment, and I'm thinking that NO, they probably couldn't. Or perhaps they COULD, but probably wouldn't. Then again... you never know about internet stalkers!) :)

Q: Is 11 your best friend?:
A: Ohhhh. I got a big ol' smile when I scrolled up to see who my #11 was. Yes. Absolutely. WITHOUT A DOUBT. That's why I married him! I'd rather spend time with him than any other person on earth. We always have a blast together and laugh our heads off all the time. We are the same person inside, 'cept he's smarter and I'm cuter. BWAH!

Q: Have you seen 15 naked?:
A: Uh, no. She's my sister-in-law. I don't need that burned into my retinas! I hafta share Christmas dinners and such with her for the rest of my life, ya know.

Q: Has number 9 seen you naked?:
A: Uh, maybe? Welll..... uh.... er.... she's at least seen my boobs. Does that count?

Q: Do you think 2 has a crush on you?:
A: Cara? No. Michael? Definitely no. I think Michael finds me annoying. Although, he DID agree to be my Chinese food boyfriend. (YOO HOO, MICHAEL... Pei Wei is open now!)

Q: What is the last thing you did with 14?:
A: We sang Blackbird together tonight for the boys, at their request, at bedtime. Dani played guitar as we sang. :)

Q: Have you ever been to 3's house?:
A: nope. But I've been invited!

Q: Would you ever kiss 8?:
A: probably if she'd let me. :)

Q: How do you know 4?:
A: She's near and dear to me. We first met years ago online...we share an obsession with scrapbooking. We've shared emails for years, and met for the first time in person last November, and it was truly like catching up with an old friend. I recently spent another 4 days with her in the cold snowy North, and I miss her as I type this.

Q: Have you ever slept with 10?:
A: What IS this, a high school quiz? Oh yah. It is. Ahem. YES. I've shared a bed with Karen. I think. Karen? Have we?

Q: Do you think 12 is sexy?:
A: not particularly. (Sorry Mel!) LOL!

Q: Where is the last place you went with 9?:
A: you mean besides to hell in a handbasket? To Austin and back in a big white van. OH the memories. Those are good ones!

Q: Are you real close to 1?:
A: I don't know her in real life. But she seems very nice, and I like to think we'd be good friends if we ever get the chance to meet!

Q: Have you ever been to the movies with 11?
A: Yep. uh huh. Our favorite movie memory is seeing "Maverick" in an old theater in Bozeman, Montana.

Q: Have you ever gotten in trouble with 2?:
A: Cara and I are generally trouble when we're together, yes. ;)

Q: Would you ever make a move on 14?:
A: She's my daughter. This is a nasty disgusting quiz!

Q: What do you and 4 talk about the most?:
A: I plead the 5th.

Q: How long have you known 15 and do you consider them a good friend?
A: I've known Angela since she married into Darren's family about... what? 11 or 12 years ago? I count her among my friends, yes. But I wouldn't say we're GOOD friends. That's probably more my fault than hers, though. :(

Monday, April 10, 2006

So squirrelly

We just THOUGHT the birds were cleaning us out...

Bring Yer Own Meat

Darren and I hosted a "bring your own meat" party last night for Fortress in our backyard. We provided corn on the cob and baked potatoes, and everyone brought their favorite meat to throw on the grill. We gorged ourselves on a gargantuan feast of ribs, steaks, hot links, chicken, and fried fish, followed up by cakes and cookies. The weather was PERFECT, the food was delicious, and the company was enjoyable. After everyone left and we cleaned up the backyard and kitchen, Michael and Cara, Dale and Kristi, & Darren and I relaxed on the deck with a crackling fire and cold drinks, just visiting and laughing and wondering why we don't kick back like that more often. SUCH a good way to end the weekend!!

Saturday, April 08, 2006


At 4:45, someone knocked on the door. It was my next-door neighbor stopping by to deliver this little tidbit:

"One of your tree limbs just fell on my roof."

Uh Huh. Sure 'nough.

It could've been much worse. It could've taken out the neighbors chimney or vent pipe. (See how it landed ALL AROUND THE PIPE??) It could've landed on my car. It could've smashed through the neighbors windows. It could've landed in my BOYS, who play there along the fence on the railroad ties EVERY DAY. We're lucky.

Our friend Walt happened by just in time to help Darren and the neighbor get the limb down. They tied a rope around it, supported its weight with a ladder so that it wouldn't take out the fence on the way down, and pulled with all their might. It was literally tug-of-war. There was much grunting and beating of man breasts when it was over. rofl. Michael came by later with his chainsaw, and was disappointed to have missed all the fun. (The neighbor had cut the branch into manageable logs by then.)

Turns out, the limb was rotten and hollow, but only at the point where it connected to the trunk. The rest of the branch was healthy; Darren's going to use the cedar to build the deck on the boys' playhouse.

The roof may have been slightly damaged - we'll have to wait and see what a roof inspector says about it. But the worst news is the tree. The breakage revealed an even more dangerous problem: the whole main trunk of the tree is hollow and rotten, too.

A stiff wind would send it crashing into my house. It must come down. All 60+ feet of it. And soon. Darren and Michael have grandiose plans for Sunday afternoon. To save costs, they're going to attempt to take some of it down themselves. This scares the holy cannoli outta me. But a professional tree man will cost an arm and a leg, so I'm going to close my eyes and pretend not to see.

(and just 'cause this will make Cara happy: here's her sweet little Brendan, who came along with Paul Bunyon. Er, I mean, his daddy.)

Friday, April 07, 2006

controversy and confrontation

I don't like it.
Confrontation, that is.

Nor do I much like controversy. Mostly 'cause I'm no good at debate. Which is why I avoid the debate board except on days when the other boards are really, really slow or when I'm up in the middle of the night looking for something interesting to read. I can't be trusted to effectively argue, no matter how strongly I believe or how well-versed I am on the subject. I swear to you, I could lose an argument with the cat.

"Human, my water bowl is slimy."
"It most certainly is not! I cleaned it an hour ago!"
"Human, I said my water bowl is slimy."
"No, it's not. Do you really think it's slimy? I could refresh it. Would you like some lemon zest?"

"Cat, I'm sorry, but you just scratched the living DAWG outta my leg for no reason whatsoever, and you must be punished."
"Human, you deserved it. And GROSS. You need to SHAVE!"
"Right you are. So sorry to have troubled you, Cat."

Even when I've been wronged, I hate to stir anything up. I'd rather let it simmer and boil over and have to clean up the resulting sticky mess than have the person who wronged me feel bad for wronging me. Is THAT the stupidest thing you've heard all day, or what?

It takes every ounce of me to tell someone they've screwed up. It takes all that and more to tell someone they've wronged me. (And that, my friends, is a heck of a lot of ounces!) So rest assured - if I ever work up the nerve to say anything to you, know that I've stewed about it long and hard.

Well, wait a minute. That's not entirely true.

Sometimes, when I've taken all I can take and I can't takes no more, sometimes I go off without warning. When I've been "this close but not quite close enough" to having the marbles to confront someone, and they say ONE MORE STUPID THING, it might appear that I go off half-cocked. But truth is, my finger has been on the trigger for awhile. This is not a healthy way to live. I realize that.

And sometimes I'm just plain mouthy. I go completely off and it's totally out of the blue. It shocks even me, that cloud on the far horizon that's upon me in 3 seconds flat. It starts swirling out of control and without warning, chews up and spits debris 30 yards afield. Sadly, I only do this to people I love and trust. Darren? Oh, my. Poor man. He's taken full-force Hurricane Stacy winds while holding an Umbrella of Sanity in one hand, clinging to the Doorframe of Doom with the other, all the while looking out the window and wondering what in the world just blew in, and trying to pacify me with chocolate at the same time. So rest assured - if I ever blow in unannounced and let loose with fury and wrath and flooding, it's only because I love you THAT MUCH.

But mostly, and I say this with all seriousness, I hate confrontation. When the carhop at Sonic brought me a Diet Vanilla Coke WITHOUT FREAKING VANILLA IN IT, I couldn't bring myself to press the red button and lodge a complaint. I didn't want to be any TROUBLE. Even though I'd paid my 15 cents for a shot of vanilla and how hard can it be for my local Sonic to get an order all the way right once in a while?? Instead, I drove home and knocked the cat out of my chair.

Which brings me to this:
My daughter was conceived and born of aliens and dropped on my front porch as a babe and I just don't remember it. That MUST be what happened. 'Cause she sure as heck ain't mine. I know this because she's going into her communications class tomorrow morning prepared to deliver a persuasive speech on the subject of, of all things, the new immigration bills. She knows her stuff. She's excited to open up a can of whoop on the kids in her class who walked out of school twice last week to protest stuff they have no clue about. (Mostly they were tired of the neighborhood Taco Bell and wanted to eat at that trailer taqueria between here and downtown.) She's not scared at all. She's excited about the CONTROVERSY AND CONFRONTATION. Freak.

Heh. Don't know why it surprises me; she sure isn't scared to confront and controverse ME most of the time. Must mean she loves and trusts me.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

POSSUM = 10 points

martha: ok...last game was just a warm up.
stacy played 'GEODE' for 18 points.
stacy: alrighty then!
martha played 'MOUND' for 9 points.
stacy played 'PUTRID' for 17 points.
stacy: I hear that sound again. I heard it last night and thought someone was breaking in. be right back.
martha: 'k.
martha played 'BAIT,BI,AD' for 22 points.
stacy: maybe something's under the house. It sounds like scratching.
stacy played 'ME,VALE' for 29 points.
martha played 'GRACED' for 18 points.
stacy played 'CHEW' for 24 points.
martha played 'MAD' for 12 points.
martha: oh fer cryin' outloud...I should have exchanged tiles last time!
stacy: dang. I think there's definitely something under the house.
stacy: probably a possum.
stacy: We had a family of 'em last year living in our cedar trees.
martha: Hope it's not a skunk!
stacy played 'PANT,PI,AT' for 24 points.
martha played 'GRAM' for 11 points.
stacy played 'QAT' for 24 points.
martha: guess I can get rid of that u now...
martha played 'BEET' for 18 points.
stacy: It's LOUD! I can hear it thrashing around.
stacy: brb. I gotta go wake darren up.
martha: why? to investigate the noise?
stacy: yah. it's something big. sounds like its running and slamming itself against the house.
stacy played 'CHEWS,SOLED' for 34 points.
martha played 'VOX' for 13 points.
stacy played 'LENGTH' for 14 points.
martha played 'RUSH' for 14 points.
stacy played 'FREE' for 14 points.
martha exchanged 4 tile(s).
(several minutes go by while Stacy and Darren discuss the sounds and wait for them to happen again...)
martha: HONKS
martha: heh, heh, heh!
stacy: sorry
martha: np
stacy: steve irwin is on the job
martha: excellent!
stacy: man, i wish you could hear this thing.
stacy: darren thinks it's inside the air ducts!!
martha: ewwwwwwwww!
stacy: you can hear the metal flashing sound when it's jumping around.
stacy: of course, ol' steve irwin wants to get it himself instead of callin' in the experts.
martha: heh, heh, heh!
martha: Do you hear it during the day?
stacy: Idiot. He's goin' outside. Maybe i should get my camera ready.
martha: Is he in his boxers? LOL!
stacy: no. he put some pj pants on tho
stacy played 'IF' for 5 points.
stacy: oh lord. I think he's going under the house!!
stacy: if he gets mauled, I'll kill him
martha: LOL!
martha played 'ENTRY' for 16 points.
stacy: have mercy. he's under.
stacy: 1:30 in the mornin, and my husband is crawlin' under the house with a flashlight and no other weapon.
martha: oh boy...
stacy: to investigate a HUGE noise coming from probably a BOBCAT for all we know
stacy: or a wild turkey - either way, not good.
martha: It's prolly a lion
stacy: (both have been sighted in our neighborhood recently)
stacy: (but not a lion)
stacy: oh. it's my turn again. sorry.
martha: Odd...I would have thought that you're too urban...
stacy: they think it's 'cause of the river that runs at the bottom of the bluff, 1/2 mile from here
stacy: they come upriver
stacy: the turkey may be an escapee from the zoo, 1/2 mile the other way
martha: Could be a beaver

stacy: rofl
stacy: call my cell
stacy: then you can hear this beast
stacy: nevermind. cell is dead.
martha: that too would require that I get up...LOL!!
stacy played 'NAME' for 6 points.
stacy: you're not taking this as seriously as I am! how ruuuuude!
martha: heh, heh, heh!
martha: If I was there, I would have gone out and slayed the beast for you!
stacy: darren says it smells like a nasty barn under the house.
stacy: grrrrreat
martha: I think thats a normal smell
stacy: i dunno. Darren never smells ANYthing. Remember the gas leak? Remember the rotten potato? Dude never smells anything at all.
martha played 'AYE' for 18 points.
stacy: So if he smells a barn, I'd likely pass out from the stench.
martha: oh yeah. forgot he can't smell!
cowtownstacy played 'NICE' for 7 points.
martha: He hasn't determined what kind of visitor you have?
stacy: he's back out there again. didn't see anything under the house. He has a new idea.
martha played 'SAID,FREED' for 16 points.
stacy: he found a nest. doesn't know what made it
stacy: but he can see the tunnel going under the house from the outside a/c unit
stacy: and there's insulation strewn about around and in the tunnel. probably a possum
stacy: a GIANT ONE! lol
stacy: possums are mean son-of-a-guns, too.
martha: OMG!!
stacy: there's yer excitement! FINALLY!
martha: Can he pull the nest out?
martha: Piss off that possum
stacy: NO WAY!
stacy: he'd then have to get a rabies shot which would set me back 40 bucks!
stacy played 'WET' for 14 points.
martha: Gotta get the nest out, then seal up all ways to go under the house
martha played 'FOLIO,ON' for 18 points.
stacy played 'ZOO' for 24 points.
stacy: Mr. Genius has a plan
stacy: God help us all
martha: what is his plan?
stacy: he's gonna spray wasp spray down the hole tomorrow and try to drive it out!!
stacy: rofl
martha: heh, heh, heh!
stacy: i told him I'd google a better solution that doesn't kill the thing. I don't want it DYIN' under there. Then he'd have to dig it out, and ewwwww.
stacy: he thinks it's a momma possum makin' a nest for her babies-to-be.
martha: I'm thinking of Bill Murray in Caddyshack
stacy: Darren is ROFL!
martha played 'ON,JO' for 13 points.
stacy: He says, "I'm changing my mind. I'm gettin' some dynamite!"
martha: excellent plan...
stacy played 'IVY,XI' for 22 points.
martha played 'KEG' for 8 points.
stacy played 'US,GRAMS' for 20 points.
martha played 'ONUS' for 4 points.
stacy played 'RE' for 4 points.
martha played 'ID,LI' for 5 points.
stacy played 'RID' for 4 points.
The System challenges cowtownstacy for word 'All Words'.
Word All Words is valid.
The System lost the challenge. The System loses a turn.
Stacy wins the game!!
martha: another whoopin!
stacy: sorry for taking so long every time!
stacy: I was sorta distracted.
martha: np!
martha: Hittin' the sheets!
stacy: i'm gonna google
martha: google possum? LOL!
stacy: yup
martha: hope you figure it out!
martha: MUAH! be continued.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

bloglifted from Dani's Xanga

by Dani

There's something about me and new books. Maybe it's the writer/reader in me, or perhaps it's that the idea of having a new world concealed within the pages of new literature that is just waiting for me to explore it. Whatever it is, I eat through books. It is a hunger that can never be fully satisfied, and whenever I am presented with new books, I devour them thouroughly, barely pausing for anything else. I can finish some books in a single sitting, or depending on the length and the difficulty of the content, it may take me about a week.

In the most recent case, it took me just under four days to read Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice. In fact, I got it Friday night around 9, and I finished it this afternoon around 6. I spent the majority of my Saturday on my bed reading, then as much time as I could spare Sunday. Then, when I couldn't sleep last night because I was feeling sick, I could not resist the temptation to turn on my lamp and spent the otherwise idle, wasted time reading further.

I have always been an avid reader. Parts of my room have always been dedicated to displaying my somewhat small collection of books. I have come from Dr. Suess to Babysitter Club to Harry Potter to my now extremely varied assortment of literature. However, I have started collecting Barnes and Noble's series of classic books, which are small, fabric-covered red hardback books with little bookmarks. I own Pride & Prejudice, Emma (also by Jane Austen), and two Sherlock Holmes books, and am looking forward to continuing my collection.

The high I get from books is short-lived, probably due to the speed at which I read through my new books. However, for tonight I am still entranced by the world of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy.

(for Jenny's reading pleasure, 'cause she requested a fresh entry and I ain't got nothin' to say tonight. Besides... I'm proud as can be that my daughter's an avid reader. She does me proud. :) )

Monday, April 03, 2006


When Dani was a baby, I sang to her all the time. One of my favorite songs was something that you church of Christ types will recognize by its chorus:
The greatest friend you'll ever find is on a lonely mountain.
The highest high you'll ever reach is when you kneel to pray.
The brightest light you'll ever see is when you close your eyes.
Oh Lord you are my first love, at last I realize.

Somewhere along the line, I stopped singing. Basically, for most of Dani's preschool years, I, suppressed by a dark cloud of depression, stopped living altogether. When Dani was about 4 or 5, she (completely out of the blue) said, "Mom, please sing the mountain song." I had no idea what she was talking about. I questioned her and questioned her, but couldn't think of any mountain songs that she might know. I remember singing the first lines to several John Denver songs, but she screwed her face at every one of them. Finally, she said, "The one you sang to me when I was a baby."

Oh, how well I remember the tears that sprang to my eyes that day. I was shocked that she held that memory; it had been so long locked away. I sang it right then, and every night for years after.

When the boys were born, Dani sang to them often. "The Mountain Song", as our family affectionately refers to it, was the first one in her repertoire. The boys are 4 and 5 now, and they still request that song every night at bedtime. Tonight, though, after I sang it, Aidan had a second request:

"I don't know a song called Blackbird," I said.
"Yes you do!" he voiced with exasperation, "it's DANI's song!"
AH! The Beatles. Dani learned to play it recently at guitar lessons.

Immediately, I gave myself a mental thwump to the head and googled the lyrics; meanwhile, Ian broke into song, perfectly in tune and tempo: "Blackbird singing in the dead of night..."

Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.
Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly
Into the light of a dark black night.
Blackbird fly, Blackbird fly
Into the light of a dark black night.
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

I'm no Paul McCartney, but that sure was a fun song to sing.
I hope they request it again tomorrow night. :)

Saturday, April 01, 2006


I love my teenager.

Tonight, we had a mom-Dani date. First stop was Victoria's Secret, where she was fitted and whisked into a dressing room with a box of 2 dozen bras to try on. An hour later, after plunking down serious dough on good-fitting undergarments, she was one happy camper. (And you know... traditionally, and as recently as last Tuesday, bra shopping has been a detested chore that resulted in tears and frustration, so this was a very welcome experience.) And before you get all testy on me, and start thinking I'm a horrible mother for blogging to the world about my daughter and her bra shopping experiences, let me just clear the air and tell you upfront that she's okay with it, and in fact, plans to blog about it herself. There. Calm down. :)

I remember well being her age and hard-to-fit. I remember the stinging tears that I couldn't fight back as I tried on bra after bra after bra. None of them minimized enough, and back then, most of them resulted in a pointy silhouette, which was horrid. Back then, I wouldn't let my Mom into the dressing room with me, because she had instilled in me a modest streak as rigid as brick. After one shopping trip that ended in crying fits and hurt feelings, my Mom's friend Carla pitied me and took me shopping herself. She, a card-carrying member of the Well Endowment Club, understood me, whereas my Mother, President Emeritus of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee, did not. Carla introduced me to Bali, with whom I developed a decade-long friendship.

But Bali and Dani never got along.

Dani's never gotten along with ANY bra brand, until Victoria's Secret. Her reaction to the fit and comfort of her new Body By Vic bra was reminiscent of my reaction to Bali all those years ago - elation. She was hilarious. It made me happy.

I love that she's modest yet not ashamed, self-conscious yet not abashed, discreet yet not wary. She's not afraid to walk proudly with her shoulders back, not horrified by the thought of me seeing her half naked in a bra fitting room. She's not a freak like I was. I like to think it's 'cause she doesn't have a freak for a Mom like I did. :)