Monday, December 31, 2007


Lots of giving and getting. Lots of singing and laughing. Lots of just chilling and hanging out with Mom and Dad. LOVED that part. It was the first year I've hosted Christmas for my side of the family in this house, and even though the house wasn't as clean as I'd have liked, and even though we never did go out and cut down a real tree this year, and even though I only put out the barest amount of decorations, I decided right before they arrived that IT IS OKAY. And it was. Sweet memories.

Apparently, Dad read and paid attention to my Christmas letter. He came through and passed with FLYING COLORS! Although, when I squealed with delight upon opening a vacuum cleaner for Christmas, I had to wonder, aloud, "So this is what it's like to get old? Feeling giddy about a vacuum cleaner on Christmas morning??" Here's the one he got me.

Also from Dad: a big, thick book of NYTimes Sunday crosswords which have single-handedly changed my late bedtime habit. I almost can't wait to crawl into bed these days with my mechanical pencil in hand. WHOA BABY.

He also managed to find a fluffy bath towel big enough to wrap around this bod of mine. And the kicker? Two cigars. "Wow, Dad, these look like good ones."

"I doubt it," he said. "I went into the smoke store and asked for the nastiest ones they had." BWAHA!!

In other Christmas news, Darren came through with my most desired wish: a 50mm lens for my XTi. I've been a picture-taking fool again since putting it on. LOVE the results I get with that lens.

As for giving, Darren and I gave the kids a Wii. Couldn't be from SANTA, ya know, since Doofus Santa left it in the kitchen that one night. Instead, Santa gave the boys a soccer ball, a basketball, and a toy each. All of which have been long forgotten already, as the Wii demands everyone's full adoration. The boys also got a couple of smallish toys they'd been wanting, a new pair of tennis shoes each, and new shirts and jammies. Dani scored some new makeup, some cool posters for her room, Vans, earrings, a penguin speaker for her iPod, and other random stuff.

I gave Darren a new Dallas Stars shirt to replace the one he dripped bleach on last week, a running shirt, an electric beard trimmer thingy, and the biggie: I shaved my legs. Bwa!

I drew my brother's name, and bought for him a bluetooth headset thingy and the Guiness Book of World Records.

In other news...
You maybe oughta sit down for this.

As Dad and I were unloading his car, he handed me a laptop and said, "I can't remember if I told you about this or not." Immediately, my greedy little brain did a somersault and I thought, "SWEET!! A laptop for Dani!" Then Dad said, "It's Mom's." I promise you that immediately after that, we had to pluck gravel from my lips, 'cause my jaw hit the GROUND.

Get OUT! She's said for a hundred and one years that she'd NEVER get online. She wouldn't even TOUCH a computer. When I'd email photos, she'd make Dad print them out and bring them to her in her recliner, 'cause she refused to look at anything on the computer screen.

But now she's online. She brought her laptop here so I could show her how to use it. She bookmarked my blog. I taught her how to comment. And I BETTER SEE A COMMENT HERE, MOM, or I'm gonna come get that laptop and give it to Dani after all. LOVE YOU!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Santa is a doofus!

So. The box arrived yesterday. You know - the box with the WII in it.
The elusive Wii.
The Wii that I make sure we look for at Target every single time we're there, pointing out to the boys, "Oh, rats. Look. They still don't have any Wiis."

The boys know that Wiis are hard to come by. Still, they asked Santa for one, and Santa came through. Doofus Santa opened it up last night, and meant to take it upstairs to hide it, but instead, he got distracted and left it on the kitchen counter.

This morning, Ian came down for breakfast, and exclaimed, "HEY! A Wii!!"

Santa, quick on his feet, said, "That's not a Wii. It's just a box."

Then he grabbed it up quick and brought it upstairs.
I can't believe he had the guts to tell me about it. Doofus.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

HoSanta in the highest!

There's a song we sing at church that I love.
The girls echo the guys... "Lord we lift up Your name... with hearts full of praise... be exalted, oh Lord our God... Hosanna in the highest!"

The boys often sing along at church, and I'm regularly amazed at the lyrics they know. Last Sunday, though, Ian caught me off guard when I heard him singing, with feeling, "HoSanta in the highest!" bwa ha ha ha!

Speaking of Ian. He's been wicked bad lately. He screamed and cried at Dani when she gave him a birthday present he didn't want. He was ugly to Tenny and Gonna when they gave him a gift he already had. He's been generally spoiled and rotten. The other day, I said, "Ian, you sure are acting ugly, and that's a bad idea this close to Christmas."

"Why??" he demanded.

"'Cause Santa's coming, and he's watching you."

"Santa only cares about the rest of the year. He doesn't care about December."

"Oh, Ian. You're so wrong! He's making a list and checking it twice right now, and he knows if you're being naughty or nice. And truth be told, he's probably seeing a whole lotta checks in the naughty column lately. He probably won't even notice the rest of the year now."

At that, Ian fell on the floor in a puddle of tears and exclaimed, "Santa's not gonna come at ALL!!!!"

Am I mean?

His repentant heart didn't last long.

When we took all the kids' photos at Fortress on Sunday, this is the pose Ian gave me. You can almost hear the growl, can't you?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

More of the Same - Christmas Edition

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. I'm a freak about it too... I want it to all coordinate. Then I get sorta sad when Christmas arrives and people show up and put their gifts under the tree wrapped with SpongeBob paper and gold foil poinsettia prints that totally clashes with my stripes and polka dots.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Both. Real tree in the front window, and a fake tree in the family room.

3. When do you put up the tree? Fake tree usually goes up Thanksgiving weekend, but we've all been sick and haven't gotten it out of the attic yet this year! We usually buy the real tree around the 10th.

4. When do you take the tree down? Hmmm. Real tree gets undecorated pretty quickly, 'cause I hate the mess after it starts drying out too much. Fake tree? Depends. Last year, I think I finally took it down toward the end of January!

5. Do you like egg nog? Yep. From Braum's. With a shot of Bailey's and nutmeg sprinkled on top.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? my orange vinyl-covered record player that closed and locked like a suitcase. (I bet you young whippersnappers don't even remember record players. Or for that matter, hard-sided suitcases that had snapping locks!)

7. Do you have a nativity scene? No. I want one. Started looking at Fontanini pieces last year, after a friend sent me $30 to put toward my first piece. Still haven't bought anything yet! (Is something wrong with me that I don't love Fontanini? Someday, I'll find THE perfect nativity scene. I'll know it when I see it.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Darren's brother, Chris. If he wants anything, he could just go and and buy it without worrying about the cost. Problem is, he just doesn't want anything!

9. Easiest person to buy for? my sister. I'm always seeing things that make me think of her!

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. I still handmake 'em. Haven't started THAT this year, either.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? a black nightie from Darren that didn't fit. By a long shot. I don't know who was more disappointed - him or me!

12 . Favorite Christmas movie? A Charlie Brown Christmas. and Love Actually.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Whenever I find something I know someone will love. Problem is, if I buy too early, I can't wait to give it to the person, and end up having to buy them another gift closer to Christmas!

14 . Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? That black nightie? I gave it to Cara just a few days ago, tags still attached. lol!

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Mom's fudge

16 . Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear on the fake tree. Colored on the real tree.

17. Favorite Christmas song? What Sweeter Music, sung by the Cambridge Singers (with John Rutter conducting)

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? this year, my family is travelling to OUR house! It's different every year.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? Yes. Rudolph and Olive.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star.

21 . Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Depends which family we're celebrating with. With the Kocurs, everything gets opened on Christmas Eve, and then Santa leaves stockings and another gift overnight. With the Agees, everyone gets to open one gift on Christmas Eve and then mayhem ensues on Christmas morning. I like it both ways, actually!

22 . Most annoying thing about this time of year? traffic jams at I-20 and Hulen

23. Favorite christmas ornament? a birdhouse that Darren carved for me out of a tree branch when we were newly married.

24. Favorite thing for Christmas dinner? Honey Baked Ham with all the trimmings.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Late last summer, Darren started a training program called Couch to 5k. He ran his first race on Thanksgiving morning (the Fort Worth Turkey Trot), and his second race tonight (the Jingle Bell Run.) I'm so stinkin' proud of him for setting a goal and seeing it through, which frankly, has never been his forte. His calves are shaping up QUITE NICELY as a result, and I'm certainly enjoying THAT added benefit. Mmmm. ;)

A few weeks into the program, his coworkers got interested, and several of them started too. They all signed up as a team for the Jingle Bell Run and ended up raising $1200 for The Arthritis Foundation. It was fun watching all of them run together, and waiting at the finish line as each of them crossed.

At sign-up time, Darren mentioned to Aidan that the Jingle Bell Run included a 1 mile Fun Run. Aidan said he wanted to do it. One evening several weeks ago, the two of them ran to Aidan's school and back - an exact mile - just to see if Aidan could do it. On the home stretch, Darren said, "Let's race back home." Aidan turned on his jets and left Darren in his dust! There was no doubt that he could run a mile, and THEN some!

Tonight was the night. We didn't officially sign him up, so he didn't have a number or anything. Darren has been coughing up a lung for the better part of a week, so I didn't think we'd even go. We didn't mention it again to Aidan until a couple of hours before the race. He got so excited!

"Aidan," I coached. "You'll need to save your energy for the whole race. Don't start out too fast. And if you get tired, just tell yourself, 'I can do it. I know I can! I know I can!"

He interrupted me, saying, "Mom, I don't need to say that. I already know I can."

"Yah, but just in case...." I started.

"Mom. I'm a winner. Winners don't quit. I'm gonna win. I know it already."

Talk about confidence!

While Darren waited with him at the starting line, I hiked a half mile down the course to wait, snagging a good spot for picture-taking and for cheering on my little winner. I gotta tell ya: as I stood there in front of the Tarrant County Jail ignoring the cat calls and whistles coming from its windows, I thought, "What the heck kind of parents send their not-quite-7-year-old running through the streets of downtown with no one to watch him? No one to make sure he didn't stumble and scrape his knees. No one to make sure he didn't veer off the course...."

But before I could worry for TOO long, here they came. A few adults, a handful of teenagers, and then..... AIDAN!! I can't even express the pride I felt. "You're doing GREAT, Aidan!! Keep running! I'm so proud of you! GO AIDAN!!!" The race ran along the main streets of downtown, where cars were parked along the sides and bicycle cops weaved in and out of intersections keeping cars from entering. Aidan kept running between parked cars to jump up on the curb, then he'd run down the sidewalk a bit, then weave back out on to the street again. He was having a BALL! I think he could've shave a lot of seconds off his time if he'd just stayed on the street. LOL!

After snapping a few pics, I high-tailed it to another intersection where I could cheer him on again on the second half. This time, he was running uphill and was dragging. When he saw me, he slowed to a near-walk. "AIDAN!" I yelled. "You're a WINNER!! You're a winner, Aidan! Keep running! You can do it!" And he turned on his jets, and did it. I ran behind him, cheering him on, for about 2 blocks. When I slowed down, I had to wipe my eyes.

At the finish line, the crowd cheered him like crazy. He was in the top 30 to cross... and the first little kid. Afterward, as we waited for Darren to run his race, people kept stopping to say, "Hey! I saw you running! You did great!" Aidan said he felt famous.

9:24. Aidan's first officially-timed mile.
I'm here to tell you: it won't be his last.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Stacy's Wish List

Dear Dad,

I was teasing when I said I have a long list. The truth is, I can't really think of anything I want. Well, wait. That's not true. I can't think of anything I want that anyone can afford to buy me. HA!

There's the VW bug that I'm still mourning - you know, the one that David burned up on the side of 121 all those years ago. I want another one still.

I've been coveting a set of Fiestaware for years. 8 place settings. Sunflower, Tangerine, Peacock and Scarlet. But that'd set you back a pretty penny.

I want my kitchen gutted and remodeled. I want to add a wall in the front room and turn that wasted space into Darren's library (with pocket doors!) and an entry hall. I want to paint my house. When we bought it, I said ,"I will not live in a pink house. We're painting it first thing." It's still pink. It's almost been 4 years. So you see, there's really nothing I want. HA!

It occurs to me that I've now lived OUT of your house for more years than I lived IN it, and since hundreds of miles have separated us for the last 17 years, you probably don't know me well these days. My family room is red and creamy white with black accents. I love brown and red together. My kitchen stuff is red. I love dark red - like OU red. Orangey-red, not so much.

I collect old hymnals, old promotional yardsticks with Fort Worth businesses on them, and the letters S and K - wooden, iron, whatever.

I don't wear slippers, but fuzzy warm socks are good.

I want a maid.

I keep losing the lens caps for my 35mm lenses.
I love a big fluffy bath sheet. Not a towel, but big enough to cover my wide hide. Bath. SHEET. I don't like bath stuff that smells like food. Darren once bought me a set of coffee-scented bubble bath, lotion, etc. I thought I'd throw up every time I smelled that stuff. He was sweet and took it back. To Sears. Never buy bath stuff at Sears. I never take baths anyway.

I love a hot, hot HOT shower. Hey! I'd love a new shower head that really pulsates and gives me serious water pressure. Installed. I want a tankless water heater or two, so I can get rid of the water heater in my scrap room that always makes me worry. If it explodes, that'd be BAD.

About three or four times a year, I get a hankerin' for a cigar. There's only one way to squash that hankerin', ya know. Sorry, Dad. I'm sure that makes you proud. HA.

My bedding is black and white toile.

I love NY Times crossword puzzles, but most other crosswords make me cranky.

I need a vacuum cleaner that's lightweight enough to cart up and down the stairs. The only carpets I have are on the stairs and two small area rugs.

I read every night. If I don't have anything to read, I'll go into the bathroom and read shampoo bottles and tampon boxes if I have to. I must read before I fall alseep.

I like necklaces that are colorful and funky.I don't own a nice pair of earrings, and I'm 38 years old. Dontcha think a 38-year old woman ought to own at least one pair of nice earrings? I don't like gold. I don't like brass. I do love silver.

I collect those old-timey alarm clocks with the hammers and bells on top.

Darren cooks more often than I do, and he prides himself on not using recipes. I wish he'd use recipes. Don't tell him I said that.

I love fresh flowers and wish I could afford to keep them on my dining table all year long. I hate to garden. I think it's David's fault, 'cause he used to stick worms and crickets down my shirt in the garden at The Farm.

We love to have friends over to eat dinner and play cards.

This year, I kicked my Sonic Diet Coke with Vanilla addiction again.

I love board games, but I haven't bought a new one in about three years.

I want a timer so lamps will come on and go off on their own, whether we're here or not.

I have a list. It's called "Things to Do In my Life", and on it are things like "skydive", "take a hot air balloon ride over Fort Worth and the surrounding countryside", "wear a size 10 again", "get published". I've crossed off a bunch of things already... "dye my hair red" (did that when I was 25), go to New England in the fall (2000, when I was 7 months pregnant with Aidan), grow an herb garden (actually, Darren does all the work. HA!), buy an old house (2004).

Some of my happiest memories involve The Farm (specifically, you letting me mow on the riding mower, and me going out of my way to run over snakes with it!)... (and also, weinie roasts and hauling water for the pigs, believe it or not). Some of my worst memories involve The Farm (specifically, walking into the woods and right into a sea of tree worms)... (and also, the cricket incidents I mentioned earlier).

I love my kids and actually enjoy being around them, which seems to be a rarity these days when I look at the world around me. Darren loves me even when I leave the dinner dishes for two days running, and even when he has to start a load of underwear 'cause I forgot. He gets up most mornings and gets the kids breakfast, giving me another 15 minutes to sleep. He supports me in everything I do and strive to be. Basically, he spoils me rotten and makes me believe that I'm beautiful and cherished. I'm a lucky, lucky girl!

If I went back to college, this time I really WOULD be there to learn, but I don't know for sure what I'd major in. I still love to write, but life has taught me that as much as I love my own kids, I don't so much like other people's kids. A teacher would be a miserable career choice for me, and frankly, that's likely where my English degree would've taken me. I love my friends' kids, but mostly only because I love my friends. And I'd rescue a kid from the middle of the street, but I'd call the pound or something immediately.

I love the teens and young adults at Fortress, 'cause love brings out the best in them, and they're starving for it. I never in a MILLION YEARS thought I'd be passionate about inner city ministry. I never dreamed I'd feel comfortable driving into and walking through the projects at dusk. No one could have made me believe that I'd fall in love with them so deeply that my heart swells with pride when they succeed, and crumbles with ache when they don't. I believe that God has blessed me richly - through friendships, marriage, my family, my hobbies - so that I have the experience, the compassion, and the time that Fortress needs. I feel blessed to have found my calling there.

My life motto is simple: Choose Joy.

(I still want a maid.)

I love you, Dad!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

need a giggle?

I do. I need a giggle. Here it is:

Nice evening out.
All dressed up.
Smile for the camera!

Look again:

Thursday, October 25, 2007

just the facts, ma'am

The rules:
A. Each player lists 6 facts/habits about themselves.
B. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.
C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 6 people and posts their names

I've been lazy about blogging. Today, I noticed on Nesa's blog that she tagged me, so here I go. Maybe this'll jumpstart me to start blogging daily again!

Six facts about me:

1. I'm a hard stick. Yep. I stopped giving blood because I got tired of being stuck several times, only to dry up and stop bleeding. I figured, if phlebotomists who spend their days drawing blood can't get me to bleed, who can? I had my annual physical yesterday, and the doc always checks my thyroid levels (I have a thyroid disorder)... so off to the lab I went. FIVE STICKS. They were finally able to get blood out of the the top of my left hand, in a vein right beside my ring finger knuckle. All the bruises are starting to surface today, and my hand is SORE! On top of that, I had a tetanus shot yesterday, and my arm still feels like lead.

2. I look young for my age. It's in my genes, I suppose. My parents neither one have gray hair yet, and Dad's 60 - Mom's 58. At the doctor yesterday, the nurse doing my stats commented that I don't look anywhere near 38. I still get carded regularly. I'll take it!

3. I always order the same thing. I can't help it. I WANT to get something different, I SAY I'm getting something different, I CHOOSE something different from the menu, but it never fails. As soon as the waiter walks up, I order the same ol'. At Chili's, it's the Chicken Crispers with gravy instead of honey mustard. And I always save the corn for last. IT'S the BEST corn on the cob I've ever had! At Macaroni Grill, I always ALWAYS get Penne Rustica. Always. At other restaurants, I manage to order outside the box, but not at these two.

4. I sleep like a dead person. I never hear the alarm clock, ever. I don't hear the kids. Last week, I didn't hear it when Nathan's friend was BANGING on the piano downstairs at 3:30 a.m.. It woke my kids up, but I didn't hear it. Darren used to have to wake me up to take care of the babies when they woke up for a feeding. As a kid, I slept through fire trucks sitting in our driveway, putting out a fire across the street. And I slept through an ice storm which caused a HUGE pecan branch to crack and fall, right outside my window. My parents heard it from their bedroom in the back of the house. I snoozed right through it.

5. I pray a lot, but I'm mostly a silent pray-er. I wear my faith on my sleeve, but I don't push it down others' throats. But I do pray a lot, usually when I'm in the car. For others, for me, for the world in general. I believe deeply in prayer. My "wishes" aren't always granted, but that's okay with me, because I believe that God hears my prayers, and answers with what's best for me in the long run. Even when I disagree or don't understand, I have faith that His wisdom and compassion and grace is good enough. And I'm glad it's not my job to understand.

6. I have to read at bedtime. No matter how tired I am, I must read. I've been known to read the back of a shampoo bottle when nothing else was available. Recently, I've taken up crosswords again; Darren's been printing out old NYTimes ones and I do THOSE at bedtime. They seem to reliably fill that "reading" need, at least for now.

I'm tagging the following six people:
1. Heidi
2. Tracy B
3. Martha C.
4. Veronica
5. Beth
6. Nancy D ('cause she claims she'd never blog if not for me. lol)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

things you learn at Open House

(click images to enlarge)

Things that make Aidan sad:
when Brendan calls him a doo doo butt. (His teacher said he's not allowed to say "butt", so he changed it to "head".)

Things that make Aidan happy:
apparently, Christmas. And people saying he's nice. He's exactly like me.

Yay for Nathan. Aidan considers him part of our family. (So do we, actually.)
But where is poor DANI?

I know that Aidan loves to read.
I know that he loves pasta.
I did NOT know that his favorite place to go is 7-11!
Let me tell you how HARD I cracked up in the classroom tonight, standing in front of this poster. All the other kids wrote "Six Flags", "Stars games", "the museum". One kid wrote Target. MY kid wrote 7-11. Ya know, it's just more proof that he's mine all mine. 7-11 sells Slurpees and CANDY! :) I'm happy to see that Dani has rejoined the family, but apparently, all of the Kocur men need haircuts.

The ant in this story refers to Aunt Bobbie. Here's to you, seester! We all miss you!


He and his friend Collin have it all planned out. At midnight, they'll walk to the stockyards. They'll wait for the train. Nevermind that it doesn't arrive until 10 tomorrow morning. Then they'll rob it and get off at Granbury. They haven't realized that it stays at Stockyards Station for a good while before turning right around and going back to Grapevine. Silly boys.

I said, "Aidan, your plan will never work. You're not allowed to go outside at night."
"I'll sneak out."
"Oh no you won't. You're not allowed."
"I will anyway."
"Oh. No. You. Won't. You're not allowed. And besides. You don't know how to get to the Stockyards."
"Collin's Mom will drive us."
"Ohhhh. So Collin's Mom is in on this little escapade?"
[giggling] "Yes!"
[with hand up to ear, as if on phone] "Collin's mom? This is Aidan's mom. You stay away from my child. And keep your hoodlum kid away from him, too."

Many more giggles.
I'm sure you're relieved to know that the Train Robber is upstairs asleep, and if I know my kid, he won't MOVE until we roust him out of bed in 8 hours. :)

Good times, good times. :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Riddle me this

If I am so busy all the dadgum time, then why am I so fat?
Seriously, last week, I forgot to eat lunch several times because my days' schedules were so packed.

Why is it that every time I attend a pro game (any sport), the team loses? I was Michael's lucky date Friday night to the Stars vs. Flames game. We lost in overtime. I hate sudden death. It's so... sudden. Other than that, though, what a BLAST it was! We had awesome seats, on the second row, right beside the opposing team's penalty box. Lucky for me, Cara was out of town and couldn't attend, and Darren loves me so much that he deferred to me when the opportunity came up. ("I got to go last time," he said. MAN, I love that man!)

Why is it, at Fuzzy's Taco Shop, when I request garlic sauce, they get all snarky and insist that garlic sauce is a GIVEN on their tacos - you don't have to request it... and yet, the reason I always request it is because they always forget to put it on! (Have you ever had a Fuzzy's Taco? Despite the disgusting innuendo in their name and slogan ("If it looks like a taco and smells like a fish, it must be a tasty dish" - they're famous for their fish tacos. Ahem.).... despite all that, I love the place and can't get enough! Tempura Shrimp Tacos are the BEST. I turned Michael on to them today, and he was a happy boy.

There's a new employee at Fortress Youth Development Center (see the link in my sidebar) who loves to say "good times".
"Hey, Tiki, how are you likin' your job?"
"It's GREAT. I like it a lot. Good times, good times."
"Tiki, do you want me to bring you some lunch when I come back?"
"No, thanks. I brought a sandwich today. Good times, good times."
At first, it was kinda funny. But now I've grown to like it, and I've caught myself saying it, too.
Last week KICKED MY TAIL, but I got so much stuff accomplished. Good time, good times.

  • went to dinner with my dear friends, the Glenns
  • afterward, met other friends for the Eli Young concert at Billy Bob's (met up with an old high school friend there, too)
  • spent all day Saturday with Kristi at Recollections' Open House, then we stayed and cropped there 'til midnight
  • Took photos of the Fortress high school girls in front of each of their schools
  • Kids were out of school Monday for State Fair Day (officially called "Columbus Day, but we all know why local kids are out of school on that day each year, and it's not 'cause Columbus sailed the ocean blue.)
  • 2 doctor's appointments
  • 1 teacher conference
  • haircut for Dani
  • volunteered at the boys' school
  • created a Save the Date card for a client
  • created a flier for Fortress YDC
  • FWSO for Darren and Dani, and the Stars game for me
  • baby shower on Saturday
  • going-away party for sweet neighbors that night
  • taught Bible class Sunday morning
  • hosted 40 or so friends from church that evening for dinner and football
  • continued planning details for the big annual ScrapShare Texas crop
  • completed a scrapbook job that was due
  • managed to see a lot of Cara and Kristi, which is always good for my soul
  • surely I'm leaving something out
  • cleaned house and caught up laundry

So again, I ask you.
How is it again, that I'm overweight?
On second thought, don't answer.
Good times, good times. :)

Monday, October 08, 2007

out of the mouth of Ian

(Bear with me. This is another crude post. I promise, no more talk of poop or boobs or wienies after this. I'll be pulling this blog out of the gutter in a matter of minutes. Ahem.)

Word to the Mommas. Dani never asked questions like this. The boys were in the kitchen eating corn dogs for lunch. Then they started talking about Beanie Weinies. I was mostly tuning them out. Aidan must've fed Ian a line though, 'cause the next thing I heard was this:

"Mom," asked Ian, "are weinies really pee pees, or are they pieces of meat?"

While choking on my tonsils, trying to suppress the laugh that came barreling up from my gut, I squeaked out, "Weinies. Are pieces. Of meat."

Then I took a deep breath.

"They're hot dogs. Hot dogs are weinies."

Satisfied with that answer, Ian went running back to the kitchen table to set his big brother straight.

And I collapsed on the floor, wheezing.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

the lady's stacked, and that's a fact

It's pretty well known that when certain friends of mine call my cell phone, the Commodores' alert me by singing a portion of "Brick House".

... "she's a Brick. Howwwse. She's mighty mighty, just lettin' it ALL hang out. She's a Brick. Howwwse. The lady's stacked, and that's a fact, ain't holdin' nothin' back...". Sometimes, when it rings, I miss the call entirely 'cause I'm too busy doin' the upper-body arms-in-the-air chair dance.

Today, I took my Fortress friend Royleesha up to her high school to get some paperwork done so that she could get enrolled in another school. While she shuffled between the Attendance Clerk's office and the Counselor's office, I decided to hang out in the hall and take some photos. The school (Arlington Heights, for you locals) is such an amazingly cool building. I was shooting the lockers when the bell rang, and the hall immediately filled with students. I'm a pretty confident girl. I don't often feel out of my element. But during that class change, I gotta tell ya: I felt conspicuous - me, a big, middle-aged Momma, wearing old lady jeans, a t-shirt with "creative genius" emblazoned in rhinestones across it, and a big ol' camera around my neck.

Finally, after five minutes, the halls cleared and the tardy bell rang. And then they came.

Two big dudes, shuffling down the hall with that familiar swagger that kids their age seem born with, shades on top of their heads even though they haven't seen the sun in hours, bling around their necks, wifebeater shirts peaking out from the required button-downs that they'd rebelliously unbuttoned down to their navels, pants barely hanging on to their 17-year old arses, and huge tennis shoes, untied. I watched them as they approached, and felt myself lean back tighter into the lockers I was leaning against.

Suddenly, the one nearest me pulled his shades down to his eyes, then to the tip of his nose, then back to his eyes, then to the tip of his nose again, and demanded,

"You fittin' a come to this school?"

I cracked right up. Heck NO, I ain't fittin' to come to this school, I was about to say. I'm 38 years old!

But before I could get a word out, as I laughed and shook my head no, he said, "That's too bad. You stacked."

I was still laughing, but it tapered off to a snicker and then a "Heh????" as they swaggered on down the hallway, the one nearest me nearly tripping on his shoelaces as he bent at the waist and did some sort of "rolling" thing with his arms.

And then, I looked around for the hidden cameras.


Smelly Cat, smellll-ly cat... what. are. they. feeding you?

From the scrapbooking message board where I spend my days:

Thread Title: What's wrong with my cat? She STINKS!

Me: If you have a sensitive stomach, go ahead and just CLOSE THIS THREAD. No, really. Ok. If you insist, then there better be no whining. Got it?

Ashlie's poop smells worse than any man's I've ever known. It's worse than mine after a night of broccoli and beans. It's worse than fresh dog poop on my shoe. It's worse than up-the-back and out-the-leg toddler diarrhea. I swear. When I walked into the house tonight, it hit me in the face. I thought one of the kids had just gone #2 and not flushed. But nope. It was the cat. In her litter box. BURIED, even. And it STILL stunk up the whole house. It's this way every time she goes, for about the last month or so. We haven't changed her food. What could it be? I'm sending her back to Ginger if the board can't fix her.

Julie: change the litter, use one with charcoal and/or baking soda

Me: It's not the litter. It's her poop. Litter is scooped at least once daily. There's a charcoal filter on top of the box (it has a lid), and we always sprinkle special cat baking soda in the litter when we scoop it. Try again.

Julie: I know it's the poop...poop is supposed to stink (sorry, I dont have a ton of cat experience, that's all I got in my bag of tricks)

Me: Cat poop isn't supposed to stink up the entire house, after it's been buried in the sand. If this is the new normal, then I'll be poking a bunch of holes in the Priority Mail box I have sitting here, and putting her out for the mailman tomorrow. Marked "Julie, Colorado Springs".

VeronicaAus: OK - gross question coming...Is her poop solid or runny?

Me: solid.

VeronicaAus: Oh.Thought it might be runny. That's when my cat's poop was stinkiest. OK - you say you haven't changed her food...maybe you need to. Maybe she needs to eat something different?

Me: Like rat poison?

VeronicaAus: No, no, no. Does Ashlie ever go outside?

Me: Only when she tries to escape out the front door, at which point I either kick her in the gut, no, no. Just kidding. I scoop her up gingerly and then chunk her back in the house and watch her land on her feet.

NancyD: If she's not going outside, grow her a bowl of grass. Just regular ol' grass that you get the seeds for at the hardware store to overseed your lawn. Ryegrass. Wheatgrass. Whatever. Leave it where she can eat it. She will.
Me: Hmmm. Don't cats eat grass when they need to barf? 'Cause she barfs plenty already. Cat yack, we call it. Furballs, says the vet. We have her on special furball-reducing chow, which maybe sorta a little bit seems to have helped.

VeronicaAus: For the fur balls - a little oil for her to lick up will help. My cats like the oil from a can of tuna.

Lissa: Ok, so am I the only one who started humming "Smelly Cat" when she saw the title to this thread? I am wondering if some well-meaning little boys haven't been sneaking the kitty some treats.

VeronicaAus: I sing that song to my cat ALL.THE.TIME. His breath is RANK.

Me: It's the tuna.

Ginger InGer: I am sooooo NOT a cat person.. but I felt bad for ya, so I googled. (by the way, did you know there's a website called ick! ok, i found this... and i'm not looking anymore LOL i cant believe Ive been googling cat poop..:*

Marcia: You may not have changed her food but the company may have changed their recipe. Try another one (preferably dry), can't get any worse right?

Cat-Scrapper: Changing her cat food may help.

Goodie: "Smelly cat... smelly cat.... It's not your fauuuuuuuuuulllllllt!"

Elaine: What kind of food is she eating? (Brand) Some make the poo stink worse than others. Significantly so.

Me: Meow Mix Hairball Control

wannaBrich: I would try changing her food. I agree with the others who mentioned feeding her a higher quality of food.

Carrie: Blaming the poor kids for not flushing. Shame on you! :) I'm with those who are suggesting changing the food.

Melissa: Am I the only one who thinks Cowtown Stacy does not like this cat?

Tonya: Get a better food.

Jacy: My mom works part time at a vets office........I'm awaitng a call back from her, and I'll let you know what she has to say.

Amy: She might have an impacted anal gland that is trying to fire off. That is the worst stench ever out off a cat's rear. Best bet for something like that is for the vet to give her a quick rotorouter job with his finger. Gross, I know, but it works wonders. My Meiko has had this happen a couple times. I also agree that she needs a better cat food.

Lori: This was my first thought, too. Does her rear end smell too? Not just after she's gone but other times? I don't mean you need to stick your nose right near her butt, but when you are petting her, scratch her back near her tail. She should raise her butt up and you'd smell it right away. We thought she had just gone poop, but it ALWAYS smelled, even if we bathed her. Turns out, she had a plugged anal gland. Vet said it was one of the worst he'd seen. GROSS!

Lindsay: My kitty's impacted anal gland ruptured through his lower abdomen. Talk about gross and stinky! Had to have surgery to repair that one....rotorouter wasn't going to do the trick.

Fran: Ok...I have no advice on your stinky cat, but this thread is CRACKING.ME.UP. Seriously, I have tears running down my it just me?!

Heidiinak: NO, its not only you! I am dieing here. LOL!

Jacy: Okay Stacy....recommendation from mom....If there's been no change in food, and if she's not having loose stools, it could be that she's under some stress and that alone could be the cause.

Me: 'Tis true that lately, I haven't liked her very much. Maybe she's stressed out 'cause she can tell! LOL!

Kim: I would do a diet change to a higher quality food. let us know how poor stinky kitty is doing!

NancyD: So many posts over stinky cat poop......I'm LAUGHING!!!!!!!!!!!

AmyJoy: WHY am I reading this??I don't have a cat. I don't even LIKE cats...What's wrong with ME!?!?

Teresa: Ditto. This thread is very entertaining!

Emmylou: Another vote for switching from Meow Mix.


So. I'm switching her food.

If *that* doesn't work, the last person to comment will receive a nice, rank, 14-pound box in the mail. Maybe with airholes, maybe not.

Methinks this blog has just sunk to a new low.


Sunday, September 30, 2007

BLOG CHALLENGE: Autobiography

I recently read the authorized biography of Texas oilman and entrepreneur Clayton Williams. The book it titled "Claytie", but it's the subtitle that gives more of a hint as to the contents of the book: the heights of glory... or the depths of hell.

When I was in college, majoring in Social Life and English on the Side, I often joked that my first book, a memoir type of thing, would be titled "Heifers in the Kitchen". I still haven't published (let alone written) that first book, but when I do, that title will still be in the running, I'm sure.

As I finished reading Claytie, I found myself brainstorming. What WOULD the subtitle be on my autobiography? Would it reflect my funny, light-hearted side? Would it reflect my deep faith and spiritual side? What about my career as a work-at-home Mom? What one phrase would sum up my life in a nice, neat little package?

I'm gonna brainstorm here, just for fun.
The challenge? You do the same, for you. :)
(And heck... if you can think of a subtitle for MINE, feel free to comment.) :)

STACY: I said smile!

STACY: Heifers in the Kitchen

STACY: Life, Friendship, and the Pursuit of Scrappiness

STACY: Picnics, Parades and Pumpkin Guts

STACY: Choose Joy! (or else)

STACY: Just Lettin' It All Hang Out

STACY: An Open Book

STACY: Still Stacy After All These Years

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


My friend Joe (in Brooklyn) (linked in my sidebar) blogged this morning about worry.
Without his permission, I'm copying and pasting his text here, and making it my blog challenge on ScrapShare for this week. I think it's an interesting topic to explore, and that it will open some good dialogue about how we handle the situations life throws at us. Here's his post:

I worry about money - of having it and not having it. I worry about my kids -
their health and their behavior. I worry about my health - my already tired joints and bones. I worry. A lot. Too much. At times, it dictates how I live. Out of desperation I attempt to make my world smaller hoping that I can do a better job of managing all the things and people I worry about. This, of course, isn’t helpful as it is painstakingly clear that I’m unable to manage it all on my own. In fact, things only get worse when I reign things and people in.
Has this been your experience?
And let’s just have a little alter call:
What do you worry about?

Here's the comment I left for him:
I’m not a big worrier. In fact, just this week, my 16 year old daughter accused me of being overly optimistic all the time. Somehow, she made it an insult. LOL! BUT… I do suffer from unnecessary guilt. If I spend too much at the grocery store, or use too many cell phone minutes and have an overage, or if I overeat to the point of discomfort, or lose my patience with the kids, etc etc etc, I don’t just feel guilt. I feel IMMENSE guilt that quite literally makes me sick. I don’t know that it’s a form of worry, per se, but it’s just as unhealthy.

And now, to elaborate.
This summer and now into early fall has been an emotionally exhausting time for us. As we've battled depression, the new school year, health issues, and a recent near-tragedy, our family has really been through the ringer.

As much as it would've made sense to worry about it all, I can't say that I did. Well, let me check that. Of course, there were aspects of things that I DID worry about. But it wasn't the kind of worry that dibilitated me, or held me back, or caused me stress. Quite the opposite, I found that in those times, I felt a sense of hope and calm - a calm that didn't even make sense to me. I believe that the calmness and lack of worry/fear was a gift from God, but that's another post.

However, I suffer from such deep guilt that it sometimes keeps me in my bed, causes me to lose my appetite and then later, to binge. When I had pneumonia, I didn't feel worried about the things I was unable to accomplish on my list of THINGS THAT MUST GET DONE NOW THAT THE KIDS ARE IN SCHOOL. Instead, I felt dread and guilt that I was letting the family down, and my church down, and my clients down, and my friends down, and even the dumb cat down.

Throughout the aftermath of the near-tragedy (which I haven't blogged about, and won't, for the sake of privacy of those involved), I felt guilt that I could've done more, prevented it from happening, etc. (In my heart of hearts, I know I couldn't have; it's just the process with which I deal with things.)

When we're at church, and a volunteer group comes, I feel guilt if the singing sounds weak, or if the lunch served isn't hot, or if the Fortress kids are especially unruly. None of those things are within my power to control, and it makes no sense for me to feel guilty about it. But I do.

Maybe guilt's not even the right word. Do you have a better one?

When I was an older teen, I made many, many mistakes. By the time I got to college, I'd given up my damaging lifestyle and returned to my faith, but I couldn't let go of the guilt. My friend (in fact, to this day, one of the best friends I've ever had, and I'm posting his full name in the hopes that someday he'll google his name and find himself here, and thus, find ME, 'cause I lost him and would love to reconnect) Eric Reynolds (who I've heard lives in Georgia now, to help wih the googling, LOL), gave me advice that still speaks to my heart all these years later. He said, "Stacy, why do you keep asking for forgiveness for that? Why can't you let it go? Why don't you trust God? You've asked Him to forgive you. He has. So now, everytime you bring it up again, He's like, 'Uh, Stace? I have no idea what you're talking about.' 'Cause He's forgiven you. It's gone from his memory. It's wiped off the chalk board. He has no recollection of it. You're forgiven. The only thing you can do now is forgive yourself."

I've struggled with guilt my whole life, I guess.
Remorse isn't quite the right word, either, because it's stronger than that.

Your turn. Self-analyze. What do you worry about? On the count of three, go.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

a glimpse into the heart of me, January 2007

I made this list 8 months ago, and found it again today. I'm posting it here so I'll be able to find it when I'm ready to scrapbook it. I think it'll be a cool page in my Book of Me!

1. I procrastinate everything. If there's a deadline to be met, I wait 'til the last minute. Always.

2. I tend to do my best work under pressure.

3. I'm lousy at finding the right words when speaking out loud, but if I can sit down with pen and paper, the perfect words tumble out with no effort.

4. I'd rather go hungry than have to make lunch for myself.

5. In general, I don't much like kids, but I adore and cherish my own and can't imagine my life without them. I love my friends' kids from the depths of my heart too, but only because I love my friends so much.

6. I have a huge circle of friends, but only a dozen or so who really know my heart, and only a handful who are real enough to hold me accountable when I need to be held accountable.

7. Darren and I both have 4 siblings apiece.

8. Between all that family, and our multitude of friends, we can't think of anyone we'd want to raise our kids if something were to happen to us.

9. I'd rather eat potatoes in any form for dessert than dessert itself.

10. I wish I could afford a housekeeper. I wish it daily!

11. Sometimes, I forget how overweight I've become. I still think of myself as a cute, slightly chubby girl, and when I pass a mirror, I think, "What the...."

12. I'm a voracious reader. I can't go to sleep until I've read something... whether it be a few chapters of a book or a magazine or even the back of a shampoo bottle if that's all that's available.

13. I can't dance. I wish I could, but it's just not in me!

14. I'm proud of the relationship I have with my daughter. She's mad at me right this minute, but I'm proud that we can talk about it and that she can be honest with me about being mad at me!

15. I feel too young to have a 15-year old daughter. I'm 37.

16. I never finished college, and it's my one life regret.

17. I dream of getting my degree someday, but in my head, even after all these years, I *still* keep changing majors.

18. I married my best friend, and that has made all the difference.

19. I keep a tin of Altoids on my bedside table.

20. I'm deeply faithful, but I wouldn't call myself "religious".

21. I get cranky with people who can't make decisions.

22. Being spontaneous keeps me young.

23. I have no patience for people who refuse or are unwilling to change circumstances which make them miserable.

24. Farts are funny.

25. The best days are those when the weather allows the windows to be raised, and my music is blaring, and the house is clean. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

rut roh

I think she was my first crush. Well, no. That's not true. Davey Leineweaver was my first crush. I used to place my 5-year-old self on the street corner in front of my house and watch him play across the way. Until he threw sawdust in my little brother's face. I hated Davey after that. But I digress.

First crush or not, I did love Mrs. Wright. She was my 2nd Grade teacher, and I thought she was so GLAMOROUS and BEAUTIFUL. And to top it off, she was so incredibly NICE - soft-spoken, encouraging, but authoritative at the same time. I loved her. LOVED her. Her classroom was decorated with bright yellow smiley faces everywhere you looked. The clock was a smiley face - I remember that specifically. On Fridays, we played Bingo, and the prizes were pieces of Super Bubble bubble gum. She had a huge container of it underneath her desk.

I was shy in 2nd Grade. No, really, I'm serious! I was PAINfully shy. (Decided in 8th Grade that life would never be fun if I didn't come out of my shell.... so I came out and never looked back.) But in second grade, I was so shy - and so in love with Mrs. Wright - that I wouldn't even ask permission to go to the restroom. Instead, I sat at my desk and wet my pants. Twice. Maybe three times. I still feel the heat in my cheeks when I remember how humiated I was. Even so... it was too much to consider asking permission.

At some point, my mother got tired of bringing new clothes up to the school, so she and Mrs. Wright cooked up a plan. Folded neatly in a brown paper bag in my locker at the back of the classroom was an outfit. A green jumpsuit. A double-knit green jumpsuit. A HANDMADE, puke-green, double knit pantsuit that I ABHORRED. I cried every time Mom made me wear that horrendous monstrosity of an outfit. So she thought it'd be the perfect thing for my locker. The new rule was, I'd have to change in to THAT if I wet my pants again. It fixed me. From that day on, I found the courage to ask to go potty.

I may have to check eBay for a comparably horrendous double-knit jumpsuit for Ian, 'cause today, I got a call from the school nurse, who had Ian in her office. With soiled pants. I asked him later, "Why didn't you ask to go to the bathroom? Were you too shy?" (Ian, you know, is TERRIBLY shy.)

"No," he said. "Well, actually, I was too shy. Because I knew she would say no, because another kid asked to go pee right before I had to poop, and she said no to him, so I knew I couldn't go either."

I'm fairly certain that Ian doesn't have a crush on his teacher. I mean, after all.... Ms. Collins is a GIRL, and Ian hates girls. Which gives me an idea..... I don't need to search for a puke-green double-knit jumpsuit for Ian's locker. Anything pink will do.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

the week in pictures

Ian's teacher said
that if he's gonna
wear tie shoes
to school, he needs
to learn to tie them.
Okay, then. Darren
showed him how,
and he's doing great!

Dani got her first-ever
paycheck. GO DANI!
Too bad for her, though.
Since she ran her cell phone
bill SKY HIGH last month,
she had to sign the
whole check over to me.

Aidan brought his first book home from 1st grade. His homework was to read it to me. I love hearing him read. His inflection - especially when he does the "voices" of the characters in the story - is FANTASTIC. The kid's gonna be in drama class as soon as it's available to him. Mark my words.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

accepting gifts

Tonight, I was offered a very generous gift, and my first impulse was to say, "I can't accept it." Why? I don't know. I always feel unworthy of gifts, especially when they come at unexpected times and from people I'd never expect them from.

And tonight wasn't the first one. Last week, one of my best friends offered to buy me an airplane ticket to come see her. I turned her down. I can't afford to go on my own dime, but it seems so ... I dunno, presumptuous isn't the right word, 'cause I never thought about HER paying when I decided I couldn't afford it... but I think you know what I'm saying. Don't you? lol. I can't explain it. I don't feel deserving of such a gift. Even though she offered and WANTS to do it. I feel weird letting her.

And tonight's gift - I accepted it, although reluctantly at first, and then GREEDILY at last, LOL... but I still feel awkward about it, even though I know that the giver feels joyful about giving it and was so pleased when I accepted it.

I've always been a terrible receiver of gifts.
I always feel unworthy.
I always feel greedy, even if it's something I haven't asked for, or even dreamed of.

Tonight, I feel overwhelmed. Humbled. And yes... totally unworthy of the gift bestowed upon me. I tried to be gracious, but MAN. I don't think I pulled it off. Mostly, I was just speechless.

the challenge:
So what about you?
Are you a gracious receiver?
Tell us about a gift you've received, and how you reacted to it.
Tell us about a gift you've GIVEN, and how the recipient's reaction made you feel.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

avoiding a relapse... and "Never Wanted Nothing More"

Yesterday, I went in for my 2-week follow-up x-ray and doctor's appointment. I guess the x-ray was clear enough, because the doc didn't call in a new round of antibiotics today. (He mentioned that he might need to, after hearing a faint crackling in my lungs yesterday.)

So... I spent the remainder of yesterday celebrating my newfound "health"; I spent the day at Kristi's and then at Cara's. I'd missed my friends SO much. I'm no good at staying cooped up in the house. Hmpf! But by mid-afternoon, I was wiped out. I actually fell asleep on Cara's couch.

Last night, I had to take Dani shopping for the final touches for her Homecoming dress. She needed shoes, a strapless bra, and jewelry. We managed to knock out all of the shopping in only 4 stops and less than 3 hours, but by the end of it, I could barely keep my head on straight, I was so fatigued. I was in bed before ten o'clock.

I slept all night.
After the kids were off to school, I went back to bed for a nap, and woke up at noon.
At 12:30, I fell asleep again and slept 'til 3. I feel like I could sleep again right now.

A little while ago, I got up and unloaded the dishwasher. By the time I finished the top rack, I was sweating and short of breath. They're not kidding when they say that pneumonia takes a long time to get over. It makes me cranky that I FEEL fine, but have so little energy. I'm ready to GO again! But making myself slow down. I do NOT want to relapse. I can't wait 'til I can gogogogo like I usually do. This fatigue is for the birds!


In other news... I watched Good Morning America this morning and caught a couple of performances by country great Kenny Chesney. Let me assure you: even though I'm a Texan through and through, I'm not a country music fan. But one of his songs this morning just made me SMILE. I've been singing it all day. I love love LOVE the lyrics. I'm gonna buy it. Heidi, are you SO PROUD of me?? :)

Every single verse is sweet, but it's the chorus I've been singing all day.

Well, I'm what I am and I'm what I'm not
and I'm sure happy with what I've got
I live and love and laugh a lot
and that's all I need

I never wanted nothing more
and I never wanted nothing more

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Dani woke up sick that day. I can't remember what was wrong with her, only that she went back to bed, and so did I. Aidan slept in his crib down the hall. He was 9 months old. I was 7 months pregnant with Ian, and happy to have the extra sleep.

But it was short-lived. My phone rang. It was my dear friend, Karen. "Turn on Good Morning America," she said. I did. Just in time to see the second plane hit. I remember saying, "Terrorists." And I remember it being so WEIRD, that the word came off my lips so easily - a word I'd probably never mumbled before. A word I'd rarely even heard. But my heart knew, just as the hearts of hundreds of thousands of Americans knew that bright September morning.

Darren's building, the tallest in Fort Worth at 40 stories, and situated near the Federal Building, evacuated. He came home. I was so thankful to have my family together, watching the footage, crying, unable to clear the lump from my throat. But we were all there, all safe. All scared. Where next? Were there more planes in the air?

And for days afterward... I couldn't tear myself away from the TV. I wanted information. I wanted resolution. I prayed that survivors would come out from under the rubble. I wept a lot... for the child I was carrying - Ian - and for my two other children... that they'd grow up in a new world where Terrorism was a real threat. We all lost a lot of innocence that day.

We took down our flags last week - the American one and the Texas one that fly on our two stoops all summer. Darren hadn't yet gotten around to putting them in storage, though I kept nagging him to do so. Last night, he took the American flag and put it back in its holder. "WHY?" I asked.

"Tomorrow's 9-11," he answered.

I'm ashamed that it hadn't occured to me.
How many of us woke up this morning, turned on the TV, and said, "Oh yah. This is 9-11."

There are those who think the footage shouldn't be shown every year... that we should move on without reliving it... that's it too hard, too unbearable... that it somehow glorifies the terrorists.

I disagree.

I think we NEED to see it. I don't think that showing the images in ANY way glorifies the terrorists. I think that one week every year isn't too much to have to bear. Without those images, we become callous. Not because we're uncaring people. We just become numb to the pain; we forget the loss. In this instant gratification world, where we move so fast we often don't take time to EXPERIENCE things, I'm glad that, for these few days each year, we're forced to slow down and really REMEMBER. So it makes us uncomfortable? Good. We SHOULD be uncomfortable.

God bless the families who were forever changed on 9-11.
God bless America.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Ian is such a shy kid.

No, really. PAINFULLY shy.

He hates compliments, hates kisses, hates ANYthing that makes him stand out.

He even sorta hates people. LOL! At least, until he gets to know them.

I was really afraid of how he'd handle Kindergarten, because he's such an introvert. He's done a great job, though. He finds his "quite me time" on the playground at recess, and that seems to be enough for him.

Every day, I ask him if he's made any friends. Usually, he growls at me and says, "NO." Yesterday, he offered a bit more info.

"Well. There's this one kid who I think is cool."

"REALLY! What's his name?"


"Olaf, huh? So you wanna be friends with Olaf?"

"No. I just said I think he's cool."

"What makes him cool?"

(tucking chin in his "you're embarrassing me" way) "I just think he looks cool."

"Well, why don't we invite Olaf to play at our house after school?"

Ian, to my surprise, thought that was a FABULOUS idea.
We sat down right then and wrote a note to Olaph.
Ian picked blue construction paper.

"To Olaph", he wrote.

"Olaph? With a p-h?" I asked.

"Yes," said Ian. "I saw it on his folder." lol

"To Olaph. You're invited to play at my house after school." wrote Ian. Then he handed me the marker and said, "You write the rest."

So I wrote, "Your Mom can call my Mom and make plans. Our phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx."

Then Ian finished it with, "From, Ian."

He tucked it in his backpack and had big hopes for a playdate with Olaph.

Today after school, Darren asked, "Did you give your note to Olaph?"

"Yes," Ian answered, then he broke into tears.

"But he just made a Picachu sound and said he didn't want to come!"

Oh, the heartache. Took so much courage for Ian to write and deliver that note. I hope he'll try again!

Monday, September 03, 2007

the best laid plans....

About 10 days ago, I got an idea. When I get an idea, I can't sit on it. I becomes TOP PRIORITY and I obsess about it until I see it through. This time, the idea was simple: paint the molding in my scraproom.

See, I'd already coerced Darren in to installing the brackets for the shelves I wanted to hang, and one night, I decided that NOW was the time to paint the molding. BEFORE he installed the shelves. How hard could it be, right? The molding was already primed (it's been primed for 3 years!), and I had the paint, so long as I just painted the molding the same color as the walls. As much color and texture as I have going on in my tiny space, I decided that using all one color wasn't a bad idea. So I emptied my scraproom, depositing piles of scrap paraphernalia into the kitchen, the butler's pantry, and the family room, and got to painting. It went GREAT, until the next morning, with the sun shining, I realized that the paint was a different color entirely. How could that be?? I KNEW I'd used the same paint as was on the walls. But the walls suddenly had a pinkish tint, while the molding had a garish greenish-yellow tint. Side by side, they both looked disgusting.

So. I repaintd the entire room. With a brush. Now it all matches. THEN I decided to paint the ceiling, too. It's all a creamy white. (Behr Pot of Cream if you wanna get specific.

But... things can never be that easy. No, of course not. I'd had Dani paint the shelves for me, and I handed her the paint I wanted... Cranberry Whip... the same paint I'd used on the window frames and in the adjacent family room. She painted away. When we brought the shelves in to install, I realized, with a sneer on my face, that they didn't match my window frames. HOW COULD THAT BE?? I knew I'd used the same paint as was in the family room. I KNEW it.

I was wrong. Silly me. My scraproom was the first room we painted when we bought the house, so that that I could get right to work and start making some money. We didn't do the family room for another SIX months. Couldn't have been the same paint. No wonder the cream didn't match the cream, and the red didn't match the red.

It's all matchy matchy now, though! And I'm a happy scrapper.


last Monday, while at Cracker Barrel with the kids after school, I started feeling bad. Achy. Run-down. Headache. By 6 o'clock that evening, I had chills and fever. I went to bed at 8:30 that night. ME! The next day, the fever was out of control, and I started feeling that familiar "crinkling" in my lungs when I breathed, so I made an appointment for the next morning, and an x-ray confirmed my suspicions: pneumonia. I can't believe how quickly it came on! But I caught it early, so hopefully it'll be a much easier recovery than 4 years ago. But because of the pneumonia, being weak and feeling awful and short of breath, but mostly because of doctor's orders to stay off of my feet ('cause I'd've pushed myself to the LIMIT to get this room done), my scraproom remained in a state of disarray. The ladder was still standing in the middle of the room. The dining table was stacked with piles and piles of stuff. You could hardly get through the back door for all the junk.

Darren and Dani spent the weekend with me sitting in a cushy chair directing them where to put what. They've been SUCH troopers. My room is almost back to normal, except now it has some new features. I can't wait to get everything just like I want it. I'm ready to PLAY! And I reallllllly need to work. I've got several jobs waiting, and bills to pay.

Here's a sneak peak. It's what I see from my perch at the computer desk in the family room. It makes me happy. :)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

first week of school

Ian started Kindergarten last Monday. I didn't expect him to love it. He didn't.

But he didn't HATE it, either. He was even excited that morning, and as I brushed his hair, he said, "Hey. I look like a pretty good Kindergartener!" He had a spring in his step as we walked up the street to school, and was fine all the way down the hallway to his classroom. But when we stepped inside and heard two other little boys crying their heads off, he stopped in his tracks and refused to go another step. I'd nudge him forward, and he'd take three steps back.

I said, "Ian, you can sit anywhere you want. How 'bout in this chair, at this table with all these boys?"


"Then how 'bout at that table over there, where no one is sitting yet?"

"Okay," he said.

"But you know, with all those empty seats, a girl might come and sit by you."

He immediately took the seat at the boys' table. lol!

He was timid, hesitant and a little unnerved, but he didn't cry. I reminded him that Aidan would be right down the hall the whole day, and then I walked away. He would not say goodbye to me, and wouldn't give me a hug. TOUGH GUY. Hmpf.

After school, I took the three kids to Cracker Barrel for dessert, a tradition that Dani and I began when SHE was a Kindergartener. We've done it every first day of school since. Aidan told us about his day (he LOVES 1st grade - no surprise there), and Dani told us about hers, but Ian had nothing to tell.

"I don't remember," he answered when I asked what he did.
"Did your teacher read any books?"
"Yes. Three."
"What were they?"
"The first one was called The Kissing Hand."
"And what were the others?"
"I don't remember."
"Hmm. What else did you do?"
"I said I don't remember."
"Ian, surely you remember SOMETHING."
"Don't ask me what I did at school, because I DON'T REMEMBER."

So I asked him if he liked it. He replied with an emphatic NO. At bedtime, he said, "I think I really DID like Kindergarten." Then he grinned sheepishly, tucked his chin, and shielded his eyes.

Ian is a clone of his daddy. They look exactly alike, they're both scary smart, and they're both painfully shy. Darren has largely outgrown and learned to deal with his shyness, but he still has a hard time in crowds and at large parties. Ian is exactly the same way. One time last year, I invited a neighbor girl over to play with him, shortly after Aidan started school. Ian spent the whole time hiding under the coffee table, and refused to come out. I never made THAT mistake again! (Ian HATES girls!!) His favorite thing about the school day is recess, but not because he gets to play. It's because he gets to be ALONE. Every day, I ask, "Who'd you play with on the playground?" He looks at me like I'm stupid for asking again, and says, "Myself."

He's gonna do just fine. :)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

BLOG CHALLENGE: Senior Moments 1987

Thanks, Nesa, for this fun quiz. I stole it from your blog. :)
The Challenge, for those playing at home: In honor of the new school year, think back to your senior year of high school, and answer these questions accordingly:

1. Who was your best friend?
Brent G. Truly, he was the single best friend I had in high school, and when I think back to those days, I realize how lucky I was to have him. I had a huge circle of friends, and some of them were very close, but Brent was special. He'd have done ANYthing for me, at any time, and did. We lost touch somewhere along the way, after I got married and moved further away.... I regret that. I've googled him several times, with no luck.

2. Did you play any sports? nope!

3. What kind of car did you drive? My first car was a light blue 1977 Lincoln Versailles that Dad bought from my Grandpa. I was horribly embarrassed of that car, because it looked like something an old lady would drive. HUGE LONG front end, with pointy fenders. Its redeeming quality? I could cram 12 other kids in it: 4 of us in the front seat, 4 in the back, one person laying in the back window, and three kids sitting in each of the windows, with their legs and feet inside the car. If there was anyone hood surfing (and there often WAS, on my huge expanse of hood), the number went up another 1 or 2. This is why I don't allow Dani to ride with her driving friends yet. I remember how STOOPID we were! lol

4. It’s Friday night. Where were you? During football season, at the games... and afterwards, at my church for "5th Quarter". The rest of the year, I was cruising Wesley Street, vying for the front parking spot at Sonic.

5. Were you a party animal? My senior year? No. I'd gotten that out of my system by then. ;)

6. Were you considered a flirt? I dated the same guy for 8 months of my senior year. One of my biggest regrets, actually. So no... I guess I really wasn't a flirt that year. Although... my nature IS to be a big flirt. :D

7. Were you in the band, orchestra or choir? A Cappella Choir. My best friends (except for Brent) were in choir with me, and that made it SO much fun. Our choir was incredible - we took 1s in every competition that year. Funny story: when I did UIL Solo and Ensemble, my solo piece was in German. I didn't practice very much, and went into the audition poorly prepared. I knew the music, but I didn't know the words for verses 2 and 3. So i sang verse 1 and the chorus with the correct German words. For verse 2, I made up something that sounded German. For verse 3, I repeated verse 1. I knew I'd bombed. But when the scores were posted, I had a ONE! I couldn't believe it. The notes from the judge said, "Very musical. Beautiful job. CLEAN UP THAT GERMAN!" bwahahahahahaha

8. Were you a nerd? no. But I had friends who were. LOL!

9. Were you ever suspended or expelled? I was a rule follower, so no.

10. Can you sing the fight song? The fight song? Wow. I can't remember it. I'm singing the school song in my head now, though. "We hail from GHS, she is the best....."

11. Who was your favorite teacher? My Senior year, I didn't really have a favorite teacher, although Mrs. Fincher, our choir director, was awesome. My favorite teacher of my whole high school career, though, was Ms. Brown, my sophomore English teacher. Here's why: my freshman English teacher realllly disliked me for some reason. When it came time to make recommendations for the next school year, she refused to recommend me for Honors English, even though my grades in her class (an honors class itself) had been good. I was DEVASTATED to be in regular English my sophomore year. DEVASATED. Ms. Brown recognized my potential immediately, and she single-handedly restored my faith in my own ability and creativity, and she cultivated my love for writing at the same time. She'd give me special assignments. She entered me in college writing contests without my knowing. (I won 1st place for a poem I wrote at ETSU that year!) And more importantly, she made sure I was placed back in Honors for my Junior year. I loved Ms. Brown!

12. What was your school mascot? Lion

13. Did you go to the Prom? Yes! I finally broke up with Jeff about 4 weeks before Prom, and I knew it'd be too late to get a date at that point. But Brent, the hero of SO many of my high school stories, took me. He helped pick out my dress and we double dated with Clayton and Sonja to Dallas before Prom.... ate at The French Room, the first time I'd ever KNOWN that restaurants that nice even existed. I remember that there were no prices on the menu. That scared me to death. LOL!

14. If you could go back, would you? Hmm. I have regrets about that year, and I often wonder how my life would have been different had I not made those mistakes. At the same time, I LOVED high school. Seriously. I did. Even so, no. I wouldn't go back.

15. What do you remember most about graduation? It's the afterward that I remember. A group of us went to Dallas to go dancing. Except that I was still 17 and the clubs wouldn't let me in. That SUCKED. I stayed up watching cheerleading competition videos at Yufen's parents' house while everyone else went out dancing. Miserable night.

16. Where were you on Senior Skip Day? Um.... at school. LOL! (Told ya I was a rule follower!) They threatened us that anyone who skipped that day wouldn't get to walk the stage for graduation, and I actually believed them.

17. Did you have a job your senior year? Yep. I worked at National Video, our town's first video store.

18. Where did you go most often for lunch? the salad bar. We had a closed campus, and couldn't leave for lunch.

19. Have you gained weight since then? uh. Yah.

20. What did you do after high school? I lived at home and went to ETSU for a semester and hated it... transferred to UNT, moved to Denton, and LOVED it.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dirty Politicians

Hello! Dani here, filling in for my mother.
*Cue Hallelujah Chorus*
Listen to that sweet sound of, oh, WHAT'S THAT, nothing?!?! Yes, the house is perfectly quiet at the moment, save my stupid cat prancing about. My mom and brothers have gone to East Texas for the next three days with Cara, and possibly Kristi, and their boys, which leaves my dad and me with the house until Wednesday afternoon. No cries of "Ian, give it back!" or "Boys, no more screaming!" or "But he started it!". No tattling or whining or too-loud TV. No sharing the computer. This is the first time in my recent memory that both my mom and my brothers have been gone simultaneously, so to celebrate this strange but gladly welcomed phenomenon my mom has asked me to blog in her stead.


My junior year is approaching quickly, and I'm ready to welcome it warmly. This has been an abnormally long summer. The school year ended at its usual time, - around the later side of the middle of May - but the school year is starting about two weeks later than usual, and will now run slightly into June. I'm not exactly complaining. Who wouldn't be grateful for an extra two weeks of vacation? But I'm also anticipating seeing my friends again, going out to lunch, having a reason to get dressed every day, and, *gasp*, starting my new classes.

I went to get my schedule this past week, only to find that for the second consecutive year, the school counselors had succeeded in giving me several classes I definitely didn't ask for. This year's conflicts weren't nearly as hellish as last year's, though, and I was able to resolve them over the phone. My correct schedule now consists of: Honors Pre-Cal B/Calculus A, AP (Advanced Placement, or the equivelent of a college level course) Chemistry, A Capella Choir, PE, AP Psychology (the latter two are semester courses), AP Latin 4, AP Us History, and AP English 4. Whew. Full schedule. But, being the nerd that I am, I'm looking forward to it. I'm only worried that I'm going to be juggling five AP classes...that includes studying for them all at the end of the year so I can pass the AP tests and get actual college credit. 0.0

I think the reason I'm looking forward to this year so much is because I can finally see how the next six years of my life are shaping up, and I'm ready to begin them. Since last year's spring semester, I have taken an interest in politics, and am planning on pursuing that as a career, whether as a politician or simply in some sort of field where I can affect the way things are done. I've been shaping my own opinions, but I remain fairly moderate on most issues.

I've begun reading Barak Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope, mostly because many of my friends support him, but don't really know why. I like what he says in his book, and he's unquestionably an excellent writer, but I can't help but notice an enormous amount of hypocrisy in what he says. Being moderate myself, I can see where he, as a Democrat, is constantly bashing his opposing party and making his own party out as the poor, downtrodden do-gooders. Obama doesn't stand alone in this political standard of name calling and negativity. There was an article today on FoxNews about the other Democratic candidates bashing Obama himself.

But that's politics, I suppose. There's been a few times when I've watched the news or read an article on the presidential hopefuls, and thought to myself, "What on earth am I volunteering myself up for?" But being somewhat naive about most of today's issues, I still plan on changing the world and being a peacemaker. That's something I hope I don't lose with my naivety.

Inspired by all these recent happenings, I wrote a song about the downfall of politics as I view it. Although somewhat satirical, I genuinely believe that these lyrics have some truth in them.

Beauty is irrelevant
In this world that's going blind
You know the so-called love you seek
Is the one you'll never find
We put our faith in TV ads
But remove "In God We Trust"
Who cares about the problems?
Let's just satisfy our lust

I say we kiss and make up
We should all just get along
If nothing else, we can all agree
That the other party's wrong

Freedom's just for crackheads
And those sitting on their throne
You cry independence,
But you don't dare to stand alone
We elect the dirty politicians
To lead this dirty nation
We've all just stopped caring
And tuned in to our own station

I say we kiss and make up
We should all just get along
If nothing else, we all can agree
That the other party's wrong

Good morning, America
You've all slept in
Haven't you heard,
It's not World War III we're in
It's the civil war all over again
And we can't win

So I say we kiss and make up
Why can't we all just get along?
There's nothing we can seem to agree on
Except that the other party's wrong

© Dani Kocur 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

end of summer - GO GO GO!!

School starts one week from Monday.

Yesterday, we braved the crowds and went school clothes shopping on the first day of Tax Free Weekend. (Here in Texas, school clothes, shoes and backpacks are tax free for three days prior to the first day of school.) I'm just not so sure that saving 8.25% is enough incentive to do that again next year. I swear, the picked over racks and the crowds were worse than Christmas shopping!

Last night I spent 6 hours with 3 of my best friends at Recollections, our favorite scrapbook store. It's so much fun to scrap there, because you can just walk out into the store with your photos, find the perfect paper, and go back to your table to use it. It's dangerous, though. I went with a budget of $25 in mind, and totally blew that when my total came to $45. Fifteen of that was on a book that I didn't think they had in stock, though, so I hadn't planned on spending that. It's a book I've been looking for and waiting on! It was $15 well spent, I can already tell.

Darren was busy around the house today. After his morning run, he came home all energized to get some projects done. He cut the shelves I've been wanting for my scraproom, replaced the garbage disposal that broke on Thursday, figured out how to hook up the ice maker (had to cut some pipe and add a piece or two to make it work), and changed the air conditioner filters. I was so hot and bothered by all of his hard work that I insisted he take me out on a date tonight. Bwahahaha! We went and saw The Bourne Ultimatum and ate at a new restaurant downtown that has become my new favorite.... "Cantina Laredo". I had the Enchiladas Veracruz and Darren had the Shrimp Poblano Chimichanga. Yum yum and more yum!

We didn't have reservations, and had to wait almost an hour for a table, but managed to have a lot of fun people-watching. It's definitely the hip, happening place to be these days, and I'll admit that I felt old and frumpy in the midst of it all. There were many, many wobbly stick legs in too-high heels, WAY too much back-combed and shellacked hair, and a bit too much cleavage, even for me, who's generally not bothered by cleavage at all. I even had the displeasure of seeing one girls' black panties when a breeze caught the hem of her shirt-dress and lifted it a hair. Yah. It was that short. In fact, I'm sure it was a baby doll SHIRT, and not meant to be a dress at all. It was like living inside, but without the hilarious commentary.

It cracked me UP being able to tell which girls were there to be seen. They'd fluff and preen and constantly look around to see if they were being seen. HILARIOUS. The two couples at the table next to us at dinner provided more entertainment. The two women were completely TOASTED, and got louder and louder as the meal went on, to the point that everything they said came out as a shout. When they went to the restroom ('cause you know, girls can NEVER go alone to the restroom , their dates ordered them more drinks. Methinks a couple of guys are gettin' lucky tonight.

Which reminds me. My newly-working ice machine just dumped a load of ice.
Homina homina.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Binding. And letting go. Or something.

Someone once said that Motherhood is the hardest job in the world, and the most rewarding. Amen, sister.

It's been a week of...

  • Immense heartache on Friday.
  • An episode of "Monster Mom.... Save Yourself! Hide in the Hamper!" on Saturday.
  • Some measure of silliness on Sunday.
  • Annoyance and snarkiness on Monday.
  • Oooshy-gooshy cutesy-wutesy mushy wuv and kisses on Tuesday.
  • Unspeakable joy on Wednesday.

    • ...all at the hands of these three:

      Too smart for her britches, unfathomably intelligent, and yet completely and utterly BRAINLESS at the same time. Brilliantly talented. Passionate, faithful, beautiful, authentic. Brutally honest. Wacky. Whacked. Defensive, argumentitive, beligerent. Spoiled and self-centered. So much like me it thrills me and terrifies me at the same time. And yet.... so different from me that it amazes and mezmerizes me. And terrifies me. lol

      This daughter of mine... such a gift.

      She writes more eloquently at 16 than I do at 38.
      She's more comfortable in her skin than I've EVER been in mine.
      She's got my buttons memorized... knows which ones to push and when to push 'em, and she's a persistent button pusher, too.
      She trusts me.
      She enjoys me, likes being with me,
      and what's more,
      I enjoy her, too.
      Although, there are days when I contemplate leaving her bags on the curb with a note that says, "Stick a fork in me, I'm done. Good luck. I hear that Chili's is hiring. With affection, your Mother."

      She once wrote on her own blog, about me:
      "She's made me laugh harder than anyone, and cry more often than anyone."
      It hasn't escaped me that I can write the same about her now.

      She knows herself - knows her limitations, knows her heart, knows how to balance it all, but also knows how to fool herself into thinking she's got a better handle on life than she really does.

      She's not afraid to ask for help, not afraid to tell someone else when they need it, not afraid to say she's sorry, not afraid to end a toxic friendship, not afraid of your opinion, not afraid to piss you off, not afraid to say she loves you.

      She's been dating Brian for 1 year.

      I, like every Mom, have dreams for my daughter. I, like every Mom, know that one bad choice can lead to another bad choice, to another and another, until those dreams become vapors on the wind. I can't make Dani's rules for her anymore. I mean, I can. But she's sixteen. She knows how to break rules and how to hide that she did it. I wasn't such a good kid as most people thought, see. I was just The Master of knowing how to fool Mom and Dad. I want so much more for - and from - Dani. And so she's had to come to understand that my guidelines and rules are meaningless until she buys into them herself. Wait. Maybe it's ME who had to come to that understanding.

      Whatever. What matters is, I think we've reached that point. I asked her and Brian to come up with their own rules.... rules that no one can enforce but them. Rules that they're ready to buy into. Rules that matter to THEM as much, or more, as they matter to me.

      What matters more is this: She's God's. I used to tell her as she left the house, "Don't just be good. Be God's." (Heard that from Rich Mullins, the late singer/songwriter.) Tonight, I'm singing a song on her behalf.... "She's Yours, Lord. Everything she is, and everything she's not. She's Yours, Lord, try her now and see. See if she can be completely Yours." It takes a lot of faith to raise a teenager. My faith stores have been depleted as of late. But it's been raining all week; the drought is over.

      Oh - about those rules. Here they are, posted with Dani's permission.
      Crack me UP. I love that kid, Dani.
      Love her, love her, love her!

      By the legal and binding power bestowed upon me by no one in particular, but
      rather by self-declaration, I do hereby forbid the following activities as
      specified by the Parental Units and by God Almighty, as dictated by his
      servant Paul in the decree of I Corinthians, section 7, lines 12-20:

      I. No below the belt. If there is no belt present, the belly button shall be
      the deciding factor.
      II. No under the clothing.
      III. No off with the clothing, unless, in a gentlemanly manner, the male subject offeres to take the female's jacket.
      IV. No horizontal kissing. ('Nuf said.)
      V. No horizontal ANYthing. In case of any question, a protractor will be procured to
      ensure any angle of togetherness is well above 45°.
      VI. No touching of any articles covered by undergarments. These are specified as the following:
      a. the "hoo-ha"
      b. the "tallywhacker"
      c. the "ta-tas"
      VII. No sex. Duh.

      On the 16th day of August in the year of our Lord, 2007, the following
      signatures do hereby confirm this document as legally binding and signify
      their acceptance of any consequences that should come in the case of the
      breaking of this oath.

      X Dani
      X Brian

      Here's hoping for no immense pain this week, and a little less Monster Mom. (Bring on the hugs and kisses, and a little more random silliness, please!)