Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Word UP!

Oh my word.
Or more to the point, Oh my WORDS!

My little black book has been lost, but now it's found. Yippee!

I lost it in November at my annual ScrapShare Texas retreat. Or at least, that's the last time I'd seen it. I keep my Moleskine in my purse, because I use it almost daily. When I see or hear a quote I like, I pull out my book and jot it down immediately. When I scrapbook or write, I often reference the book for quotes and other thoughts that've inspired me. Without it, I've often felt lost.

I've paused at Barnes and Noble several times, contemplating buying a new one. But it's like Ian's cherished Wolfie that he lost in Colorado: there's no replacement. The empty, pristine Moleskines on the bookstore shelf LOOK beautiful, but they're all empty. I couldn't bring myself to buy one. Each time, I thought, "No. I must try harder to find mine."

A couple of weeks ago, I again went on a scrapbooking retreat. As I packed to go, I found my book hidden in the dark shadows of my album tote! I'd looked there before, but evidently not good enough. I whooped for joy, and from the other room, Darren asked, "WHAT?"

"I found my little black book!!" I answered, dancing around my scraproom with giddiness. He sat his laptop on the coffee table, got up from the couch and came to my room with arms outstretched. He knew how much it meant to me to find my book.

I've always SAID I was a word nerd.

I've added several new quotes, including "the best advice I ever heard", which took a place of honor of the very first page, which until now I'd left blank. (That'll be a blog entry someday soon.) Yesterday, Elaine emailed me a quote she knew I'd love: "My future starts when I wake up every morning... Every day I find something creative to do with my life." -- Miles Davis. That's in the book now.

And last night, while researching for a column I was working on for my other blog, I came across this gem:

"...messy desks are the vivid signatures of people with creative, limber minds...and messy closet owners are probably better parents and nicer and cooler than their tidier counterparts." (Read the whole NY Times article here. It's worth your time!) Let me tell ya. I must be one creative, limber-minded, nice, cool chica! I'm so taking pictures of my desk and closet today and adding them to the book, right beside Ms. Greene's quote. :D

Monday, January 29, 2007


I hinted around in a comment on Joe's blog today, but didn't think it was the appropriate place to say this outright: I sleep nekkid.

Don't think this is necessarily the appropriate place either, but since when have I been Miss Manners? heh.

When I was in college, a girl down the hall from me slept naked. I thought she was NASTY. I felt so sorry for her roommate. I couldn't imagine sleeping naked at all, let alone in the room with another GIRL. Bless my soul and cover my eyes!

But Stacy has grown more relaxed and less conservative in her old age, and these days, I can't imagine sleeping with clothes ON. Well, wait. I can imagine it, because from time to time, it's necessary that I do it. Last weekend, Darren and I spent the night in a friend's guest room, and though she might not have cared if we slept naked, we didn't. (The jolly gentleman who hosted our stay at a B&B the next night certainly didn't care, and we certainly didn't either. BWA!)

Occassionally, I share a room with 3 other scrapping friends when we go on weekend retreats. Sometimes, when necessity calls for it, I even end up sharing a double bed with one. Always, ALWAYS, I sleep in pajamas on such occasions. But even so, I always, ALWAYS dream that I've forgotten to wear them! Either I dream that I've kicked my covers off overnight and am exposing myself to a dozen girls and their flashbulbs, or that I've cuddled up against someone in my bare slumber and freaked the shedaisies out of 'em. In my half-awake freak-out, I grope my body here and there to confirm that, YES, I am wearing pajamas. Then I open one eye to make sure people aren't planning scrapbook layouts featuring my shiny hiney before drifting back to dreamland.

What do these dreams MEAN?
(Just kidding. Don't tell me.)

I know from where they stem. Before Darren and I were legally married, we were "doin' it". A few months before our wedding, we spent the night at his parents house, and out of respect for them (and because they didn't know yet), we slept in separate bedrooms. I was appointed to his sister's room. At some point in the night, I rolled over and draped my arm across him. Immediately upon touching that soft, nasty-warm skin, I jerked back in horror. It wasn't him, it was HER! I lay there frozen, my mind racing, wondering if she thought I was makin' a move on her whilst engaged to her brother, worryin' that she'd TELL ON US to her parents....

but she never flinched. To this day, I don't know if she felt that cuddle or not. But it set off a series of nightmares that I still experience when sharing a room with someone other than my honey.

I happen to be in the market for new jammies. Must be satiny, 'cause that's cool to the touch. Must not stick to me if I get hot. Must not tangle around my legs. Must not bind in the arms or waist. Must not have spaghetti straps that slip off my shoulders and pin me in awkward positions. Must not have built-in boobie-holders, 'cause those just.don' for me. Must cover all the necessary parts but not parts that don't need to be covered. Methinks they don't exist.

what makes me tick

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.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

BLOG CHALLENGE: 16th Anniversary in California

This past weekend, Darren and I celebrated our 16th Anniversary in California. We toured the Gold Country and spent a day driving around Lake Tahoe. Getting away once a year has become a tradition for us. Sometimes, getting away has simply meant closing our bedroom door and leaving Cheerios out for the kids. LOL! But some years, it has meant leaving town and all worries behind. This was one such year.

It was a last minute trip, made perfect by last minute plans accomodated by friends who are as spontaneous and fun-loving as we are. Our friends Nancy and Norm & Martha and Greg made the weekend spectacular. From the comforts of Chez Martha to the day trips by Nancy in the Jetta, our weekend couldn't have been more perfect. I wish more people were as richly blessed with friends as we are. The world would truly be a better place!

I'd marry Darren again in a heartbeat.
Happy, fulfilled, warm, cherished, adored, appreciated, valued, and heck... even sexy. Yah, that. ME. I felt all those things this weekend. But the most glorious thing of all? I feel all those things almost daily. Me and Darren. We love hanging out with each other, and we enjoy the same people and activities. He's my best friend, and was before we ever fell in love. And that has made all the difference. :)

the challenge:
I've been wanting to do this challenge for a while now. I'm glad I kept putting it off, 'cause this was the perfect set of pictures to use for it!Here's your challenge: choose a group of photos and make a slide show! Choose key photos from a single event, or showcase a collage of photos from all over the place. It doesn't matter! But choose a grouping of photos and tie them together somehow with a story or an essay or a letter.TO make your slideshow, go to and set up an account. It's free, fast and EASY. Follow the detailed instructions and upload your photos directly from your harddrive or camera. will give you the code to copy and paste into your blog - just choose the blog interface you use. (Blogger, MySpace, Typepad, etc.) - and will tell you exactly where to paste it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Trash Day

I never thought the day would come when I'd be blogging about TRASH DAY, forevermore. So it's come to this. *sigh*

Today was trash day, and is blogworthy for these three reasons:

1. We had no trash or recycling to speak of, so Darren didn't bother to take the cans down to the curb. Either that means we've been living light for the past week, or my house is piled high inside with garbage. And no, Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout does not live here.

2. Darren got up this morning at 5:30, unwound the lights from the dry, brittle Christmas tree, and hauled IT down to the curb. I finally removed and packed all the Radko ornaments on it last night. What are YOU smirkin' about? It's only January 25!

3. Friends (I'm not naming names, Cara and Kristi) laugh heartily and make fun of my conscientious husband because of his ardent attention to recycling detail. They call him the Recycling Police, because he'll actually lecture anyone who puts, say, coffee grounds or a greasy pizza box or plastic bags or - ACK!!- unemptied bottles!!! "GET THEE BEHIND ME, RECYCLING CHEATER!!" into the recycling bin. Well. I want you all to know that this morning, as I returned from delivering my tardy children to school, there they were. REAL RECYCLING POLICE, donning real recycling vests, climbing out of a real "Fort Worth Environmental" car. I watched in amusement as they started rummaging through the neighbors' recycling bins. One neighbor walked outside to see what was going on, and why people were emptying her recycling onto the ground. The male Recycling Cop help up a plastic bottle, pointed to it, said something I couldn't hear, and then very deliberately removed the cap and poured out its contents. "Oh, I'm sorry," said the neighbor. Then she retreated back into her house. I wonder if they write tickets, those Recycling dudes. It took everything I had not to say, "Hey! Come into my backyard! My bin's not full, but my husband would be SO PROUD FOR YOU TO INSPECT WHAT'S IN THERE!"


Tomorrow, we jet off to Tahoe. No skiing. Just lots of riding around in cars with two of my favorite friends evuh. Happy Anniversary to us! :D

Monday, January 22, 2007


I spent this past weekend in a cozy cottage with 15 beautiful women. Some of us are poor, some of us aren't. Some of us are black, some of us are white. Some of us are mothers, some of us are grandmas, some of us are aunties. Some of us wear our hearts on our sleeves, some of us bottle everything up. All of us are beautiful.

There was an incident Saturday night. Fists flew, tempers raged, hateful words were unleashed. Some of us used our strength to fight, some of us used our strength to put a stop to it.

At some point through it all, one of us opened the Bible and began reading. Under the din of the cursing and fighting and crying, she read. Her voice was a cool ointment on the wounds in our hearts. I didn't hear every word she read. Sometimes I was focused on the Retaliator - pleading, bargaining, encouraging. Other times I was focused on the Instigator - questioning, calming, crying.

But I heard The Voice - an undercurrent of steadiness and truth beneath crashing waves of fear and rebellion. I heard the voice - even-toned and submissive to The Word. Sometimes The Voice shook with emotion, sometimes it ached with longing, sometimes it whispered in prayer. Always, The Voice was solemn and mournful, broken and aching. Psalm 39: 12:
"Hear my prayer, O LORD,
listen to my cry for help;
be not deaf to my weeping.
For I dwell with you as an alien,
a stranger, as all my fathers were."

Suddenly, the tone changed, and I looked over. Her face was lit up from within. She smiled as she read, and her eyes danced across the text. Her voice was alive with joy and hope and eager anticipation. She read of Heaven and the angels and peace that passes all understanding.

I wept. In that moment, I understood what it meant to "pray the Word".

Some of us went to bed that night broken and repentant. Some of us went to bed confused and angry. Some of us gathered to pray for peace and forgiveness and inner strength and wisdom.

All of us woke up Sunday morning refreshed.
The cloud that hung over the cottage on Saturday night had passed.
Forgiveness and acceptance and grace slowly pushed out the resentment and pain and filled their voids.

I won't remember this weekend for The Fight.
I won't remember it for the scrapbooking.
I won't remember it for the gourmet meals, the laughter, the games.

I'll remember it for the beauty of God's Word, and the transformation it brought about. I've always loved the sentiment of the lyics to Jeremy Camp's "Beautiful One". After this weekend, I can sing it and fully, completely, totally understand it. I can sing it not because I appreciate the idea of God's beauty, but because I've SEEN it. I've been transformed by it. I've lived it. It is. He is. Beautiful.

Wonderful, so wonderful
Is your unfailing love
Your cross has spoken mercy over me
No eye has seen no ear has heard
No heart could fully know
How glorious, how beautiful you are.

Beautiful one I love
Beautiful one I adore
Beautiful one my soul must sing.

Powerful so powerful
Your glory fills the skies
Your mighty works displayed for all to see (beautiful)
The beauty of your majesty
Awakes my heart to see
How marvelous how wonderful you are.

Beautiful one I love
Beautiful one I adore
Beautiful one my soul must sing
Beautiful one I love you
Beautiful one I adore
Beautiful one my soul must sing.

You opened my eyes to your wonders anew
You captured my heart with this love
Because nothing on Earth is as beautiful as you (Jesus)
You opened my eyes to your wonders anew
You captured my heart with this love
Because nothing on Earth is as beautiful as you.

Beautiful one I love you
Beautiful one I adore
Beautiful one my soul must sing
Beautiful one I love you
Beautiful one I adore
Beautiful one my soul must sing.

And you opened my eyes to your wonders anew
You captured my heart with this love
Because nothing on earth is as beautiful as you.

My soul, my soul must sing,
My soul, my soul must sing,
My soul, my soul must sing,
Beautiful One.

the challenge:
What defines beauty in your life?Look up the definition.Think about what "beautiful" means to you.Write about it.Maybe it's a person whose inner beauty inspires you.Perhaps it's a person whose outer beauty transfixes you.Maybe it's the mountains and waterfalls.Snow, icicles, glistening wintertime landscapes.Beaches, crashing surf, the endless horizon.Maybe "beautiful" to you is something no one else would see or understand. Maybe it's something you aspire to be. Maybe it's the look you see in your child's eyes.Whatever it is, be introspective and allow yourself to write from the heart on this one. Write it for YOU, not for your audience.Go. Write. Be beautiful!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Snow Day

I stayed up last night reading. I worked late, then went to bed and started a new novel (the fourth in the Traveling Pants series. Yes, I know it's for teens. Hush it.), and couldn't put it down. In fact, I read it in 5 hours! Just as I was turning out my light, Darren woke up. "It snowed!" he exclaimed as he gazed out in to the darkness.

We're like little kids when it comes to snow. We get so little of it that when we get ANY, it's a big event. And usually when we get snow, the ground is so warm it melts almost immediately. But this week is different. The temperature hasn't risen above 32 degrees in 5 days. The ground is nice and cold. So we knew the snow would stick around for awhile. YAY!

It was so beautiful at 6 o'clock this morning. Fresh, clean, unmarked by cars or kids. I stood transfixed by the falling snow, illuminated by the street light at is drifted to earth. Ahhhhh.
And somehow, crawling back into bed and snuggling under the covers never felt so good as it did this morning at 7, with the knowledge that school was cancelled and snow was falling outside. I slept hard and fast.
At 11:30, Darren woke me up. "Time to play!" he announced. Within minutes, we were outside throwing snowballs and building snowmen.
And guess what? Our snowman will still be there tomorrow. Heee!
Aidan nailed Darren in the face. The snowball went right behind his glasses! He laughed his head off. I think he was proud of Aidan's throwin arm. A minute later, Darren pelted the side of my face with a well-packed snowball. I didn't laugh. Apparently, I'm not as fun as I used to be.

I asked this beautiful kid to marry me again today.
"Mommmmmmmy," he said, rolling his eyes. Hmpf.

Ian threw his fare share of snowballs. His giggles and squeals of delight could be heard all over the neighborhood.

Dani rolled up the ball that would be snowman's head. It's too big and disproportionate the snowman's body. "It's okay," I said. "He looks like the rest of our family." roflol
Tonight, we roasted hot dogs in the fireplace.
Fine Dinin' at the Kocurs.
Betcha wish you were here.
Stay warm!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Daddy-Daughter Date

Darren and Dani have always gone on Daddy-Daughter dates. I love that. She does too. OR at least, she used to.

Until this last one.

Darren really wanted to see an exhibit at the Kimbell Art Museum titled "Hatshepsut: From Queen to Pharaoh". I didn't care one iota about this exhibit and begged not to go. So Darren invited his next favorite date, our daughter. She was thrilled. She and he are nerds like that. (Take me to an exhibit of paintings or photographs ANY day. Take me to see sculptures. But don't take me to see historic crap pulled from tombs and vaults. I'm just not interested.)

ANYway. The exhibit was near the end of its run, and the line was long. As they stood there in the bright Texas sun, they struck up conversations with the people around them. One woman was caring for her infant neice and was changing a diaper. Diaper talk ensued, and Darren and Dani both participated in the conversation. (Darren was always a hands-on Daddy when it came to diapers, and Dani was 10 when the boys were born, so she's grown up as a built-in babysitter.) The conversation continued, and the woman looked up and said, "So do y'all have kids?"

Dani just about choked on her tongue, and Darren blinked real fast, saying, "This IS my kid!"

Dani was mortified.

It's bad enough that she gets mistaken often for Aidan and Ian's mother. Now she's been mistaken for her father's wife.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

another A to Z thing

A - Available or taken? Depends. Available for lunch, dinner, drinks, scrapbook shopping. But I'm taken in the ways that count. :)

B - Best Friends? You mean like the ones who'll ride in the backseat just so I don't have to travel alone? Or the ones who'll spend the night in the ER waiting to hear how my sister's doing? Or the ones who call me just to check in - just to say hi - just to say 'way to go!' - just to say 'I'm thinking of you today'? How 'bout the ones who fight over whose house I'm gonna stay at, and who are gonna chauffeur me and Darren around Callyfornya? Yep. I've got best friends. Couldn't be more blessed.

C - Cake or pie? Right this minute, cake would be my choice. Rich and chocolatey, with warm chocolate drizzle-sauce on top. Specifically, Bobbie's Chocoholic Pound Cake is sounding REALLLLY good right now.

D - Drink of Choice? Ice water. Slim Fast Low Carb Chocolate Crap. Those are the only two things I've been drinking lately. But I have the makin's in the freezer and above the fridge for White Russians and Lemon Drops. I wonder how many carbs THOSE have?

E - Essential item I use everyday? Internet, cell phone, hot water.

F - Favorite colors? I like all colors, really. Deep reds make me feel best, though.

G - Gummy Bears or Gummy Worms? No thank you.

H - Hometown? Greenville, Texas - although I haven't been there in years, and since I have no family there... no real cause to go back. 20-year reunion is upcoming. I've been notified. Don't think I'll make it.

I - Indulgence? magazines. I used to buy one everytime I went to the grocery store. I've cut waaaaay back. Now I just take subscriptions. ;)
J - January or February? January. The month of our wedding anniversary.

K - Kids and names? Dani, Aidan, Ian

L - Life is incomplete without... God. How can I not believe? How can I not worship Him? How can I not see Him and sense Him and depend on Him every day? My life simply would not be fit to live were it not for my Father God. He's cool. I love the way he proves that to me time after time!

M - Marriage date? January 25 & 26, 1991

N - Number of siblings? 1 beautiful & beloved sister 2 miles away, 1 talented & hardworking brother in Oklahoma City, 1 compassionate & insanely adorable brother in Seattle, and 1 lost but loved brother somewhere in Alabama.

O - Oranges or apples? Oranges. Clementines, specifically.

P - Phobias or fears? None.

Q - Favorite quote? "If you want to be happy, be." - Tolstoy

R - Reason to smile? Today was weigh-in. I've lost 17 pounds. Last week, I danced my pants off. No, REALLY! I said, "Hey, Darren, ya think I can dance my pants off?" He just looked at me. So I started dancin'. My pants were loose enough that I could slip them off without unbuttoning, so I figured I could probably dance 'em off if I boogied hard enough. Hips shaking, boobs flying, flubber flubbering, seismographs goin' off all over the continent.... but pretty soon, I danced my pants off. THAT was a reason to smile!

S - Season? Fall. I love everything about fall!

T - Tag? You're it.

U - Unknown fact about me: Huh. This is rather difficult, because I just blogged about unknown things about me last week. Let's see. Hmmm. I think farts are funny. Oh wait. I've blogged about that, too. Uh... okay. I need to shave. In. the. WORST. way. The hairs, they are about to start blowin' in the wind.

V - Vegetable that you don't like? raw spinach. I like it fine cooked in casseroles, enchiladas, and dips. But raw spinach salad? Take it away, please.

W - Worst habit? Staying up too late.

X - Exercise? Um, well, I....

Y - Your favorite food? 2 months ago, I'd've said potatoes. But I've given 'em up. Last week, I ordered a bowl of mashed potatoes at Cara's birthday steak dinner, and I only ate about 5 bites. What's up with THAT? Something's clearly come over me. My favorite food right this very moment, just because it sounds delish, is avocado enchiladas from Abuelo's.

Z - Zodiac? Cancer. I wish they'd rename that.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


There are songs that define my life.

Certain songs take me back to specific places in childhood. KISS's "Beth" takes me to our carport, and my orange naugahide record player, and a circle of kids standing around listening to the scratchy ballad... and of getting in trouble when Mom caught us listening to "that devil music".

Others transport me to high school and college; I can't hear Pink Floyd's "Us and Them" without thinking of Orion the Hunter and Swisher Sweets. Don Henley's "Boys of Summer" catapults me to Hwy 1570, flying down the road with my windows down and my hair whipping in the wind.

Still other songs point me to specific people. "Lady" by Kenny Rogers makes me think of Mom and Dad, and how Dad serenaded Mom one year. He sounded so, so beautiful to my 10-year-old ears. Journey's "Open Arms" reminds me of a certain red-haired boy from the Texas Coast, who was visiting our town the summer before 9th grade. Specifically, I remember walking down a tree-canopied sidewalk hand-in-hand with him, while Open Arms played on the tape player he carried.

But if there's one song that defines a specific place-person-time in my life perfectly, it's You're Still the One by Shania Twain. I remember the first time Darren and I heard it. We were dumbfounded, because it was written for us. Every word was our story. We went out immediately and bought the CD single. (Can you still buy CD singles in stores?)

When we got married 16 years ago next week, we were told we'd never make it. I was pregnant, and we'd moved our July wedding up 6 months to accomodate that. The elders at our church refused to acknowledge our wedding, because we were living in sin. They disallowed the ministers from marrying us. Three days before our wedding, we suddenly found ourselves without a minister. (A Justice of the Peace at the courthouse made it legal, and our Dads performed the ceremony the next day.) Those elders called a meeting with Darren and me and told us that we were getting married for the wrong reason. (Um, NO, we weren't. We were moving the wedding FORWARD for the wrong reason, sure. But that's not why we were getting married.) They told us we'd never make it. We knew better. We STILL know better.

Today, I came across the song on the internet, and turned up the volume. Darren was immersed in football across the room, but at the first note of the song, he said, "Stace....", and got up, crossed the room, and stood behind me, holding me and rocking to the steady beat until the song ended.
Yah. He's still the one. I'm still the one. Always will be.

Looks like we made it. Look how far we've come, my baby.

the challenge:
There are some songs that take you back to specific events, places and times. Choose one song (or a few!) that do that for you, and tell us about it.

Monday, January 08, 2007

I Am The Tortoise

I didn't have a donut.

Instead, I chewed a piece of Trident Green Apple Fusion gum. When the flavor of that wore off (after approximately 34 seconds), I popped in a stick of the new Extra Watermelon gum. That flavor lasted a little longer. Next was my favorite: a piece of Orbit Sweet Mint. Mmmmmmm. Crisis averted.

This morning, I weighed in. Two weeks ago, I'd gained two pounds. :(
Last week, I was too chicken to weigh.
This week, I was scared, but did it anyway. THREE POUNDS DOWN! So I lost the two I'd gained, plus another one that must've taken a wrong turn in Albuquerque, 'cause I was bad on Cara's birthday (realllllllly bad) and I didn't expect to lose three pounds. :)

After weigh-in, I high-tailed it to the grocery store and bought good stuff. Passed right on by the Krispy Kremes with my nose in the air. I don't need no stinkin' Krispy Kremes!

Slow and steady wins the race. :)

this is bad

I had a bout of Severe Stomach Upsettus and Rigorous Dumpus last night, and ended up not sleeping until about 7 this morning. I was feverish, crampish, tense....and I slept all day. I mean, ALL DAY. I got out of bed at 7 this evening!I feel fine now.

And I'm craving a donut.
I can't even remember the last time I had a donut. But seriously, I'm craving one so bad that I'm tempted to get dressed, hop in the car, and drive to the nearest all-night grocery store. Even a package of Hostess donuts would suffice. The craving is THAT intense.

I told ya this is bad.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Blog Challenge: Getting to Know Me

I love getting emails from blog readers, especially the ones who say, "I feel like I know you and your family." The world has become such a smaller place since Al Gore invented the internet! (bwahahahahaha!)

Maybe the reason I enjoy having that said to me is because it makes me feel less invasive of other families whose blogs I read. There's this guy in Brooklyn who feels like a younger brother to me, and yet, I don't know him in person. There's a news reporter in Portland whose blog I read, although I don't know why it draws me back exactly. We have nothing in common, he's sorta full of himself... but if I saw him around town, I'd say, "HEY! I know you!" ... and I'd wanna catch up.

I've often spoke of Ali Edwards, a fellow scrapper (she calls herself a Life Artist, which I LOVE) who exudes warmth and contentment on her blog. I'd love to meet her... have coffee... scrapbook next door neighbors. I feel as if I know her really well, and yet, she's never heard of me.

And so I kinda get it when people say they "know" me because of this blog.

Here are five things you probably DIDN'T know about me. They're five things my closest friends may not know about me!
You're challenge is to do the same on your blog. Tell us 5 things about you that we don't know. Go! :)


1. I was really quiet and shy until 8th grade. 7th grade was a miserable year for me. I was a wallflower... lonely, timid, afraid. The summer before 8th grade, I decided to reinvent myself by marching into school and being FUN and OUTGOING and FRIENDLY. Loud sorta came with the package. I never looked back. :)

2. I love John Denver's music. Stop laughing! My Mom made us listen to his albums every Saturday while we cleaned house. I hated him back then. But now... ahhhhh. LOVE it. Pretty funny coming from the girl who also adores Pink Floyd, huh?

3. Bananas give me gas. Not the nasty smelly kind (farts are funny!)... but the bloaty, hurty kind.

4. I keep a pack of Swisher Sweets on hand. I don't smoke 'em often - in fact, rarely ever - but when I get a craving for one, I always have one on hand. The taste (gotta have the regular tip - no plastic tips, man!) and smell and burn takes me back to nights on the golf course, listening to Pink Floyd, picking Orion out of the sky.

5. I've lost weight, and my bra is too big. Oprah says my boobs need to be sitting somewhere between my elbows and my shoulders. Honey, mine are hanging halfway down my forearms, and that's nasty. I look like Medea. My bras gap on the sides, gather in the cups, ride up my back... the other day, Cara stood behind me, hoisted The Girls up to where they oughta be by putting her thumbs under my shoulder straps and lifting... and voila. Looked like I'd lost an instant 20 pounds! There was great rejoicing in the land! Bra shopping is on my short to-do list! (All you man readers, I do sincerely apologize for the discomfort you just endured by having to read about my boobage. It won't happen again. Until the next ones get too big, and then I'm at liberty to blog about it if'n I wanna!)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Night Owl

For as long as I can remember, I've been a night owl. I come alive around 8 o'clock at night, and I don't like to slow down after that. If a project's to get started, or a chore's to get done, late evening is when I'll start feeling inspired. Tonight, for instance, we watched a movie after dinner. After that, I helped Bobbie burn a couple of CDs, and after THAT, I undecorated the Christmas tree and packed it all away.

Several nights ago, around 10, I finally felt inspired to start working on a small job that had been sitting on my desk for a week. I dove in and worked all night, finishing the job at 7 the next morning. I wanted to stay up all day, but I just couldn't do it. I slept for 90 minutes late that morning, and only woke up because I had a lunch date that I didn't want to miss. I arrived at lunch looking like Death on a Cracker.

The problem with my night owl tendencies is this: I'm getting old. I can't do it like I used to. In the good ol' days, I could go all night and through the next day with no problems. NOW, I can go all night, but by mid-morning the next day, I'm swervy.

The other morning, as I sat at my desk and watched the sun rise over the houses behind me, I thought, "This morning gig is pretty cool. I should start getting up early." I made breakfast, greeted Darren and Bobbie when they came down the stairs, surprised the kids when they woke up and discovered that I was human already. I actually thought I might be able to change, and planned to hit the sack early in anticipation of an early morning.

Ha. It didn't work. Late the next night, I got all inspired again. Finished some personal layouts, blogged at Scrapropos, organized some scrap stuff, answered some forgotten emails. Before I knew it, it was 3 a.m.

In high school and college, my best schoolwork was always done at the last minute and late at night. As an adult, my most creative inspirations occur after everyone else on the block is fast asleep. Sometimes, if I go to bed too early, I'll just lie there while visions of layouts and decorating ideas and fundraising events flash through my head. I can't seem to shut it off.

But I must learn to. Because on Monday, the kids go back to school, my life falls back into a morning routine, and I've been noticing in my little magnifying mirror that I have NOT-SO-FINE LINES AND WRINKLES around my eyes and mouth.

Word to the Mommas. This just will not do!
I've never been much on "beauty sleep", but friends, the time has come. I may have to get Darren to bonk me over the head with a 2x4 or somethin', just to knock me out.

I'm heading up to bed. I just hope nothin' shiny distracts me on the way.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


I recently discovered a blog that I immediately bookmarked and check daily. Recently, she suggested a "Year-End Round-Up" of memories. Here's mine.

What books and/or magazines did I read this year?
At the beginning of the year, I got into short stories and read volumes by Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Toward the middle of the year, I read novellas that I'd always meant to read: Of Mice and Men, The Pearl, Shopgirl, The Old Man and the Sea....
Toward the end of the year, I found myself frustrated with no books on my bedside table, but I occupied my late night reading hours with issues of Texas Monthly, Home Companion, and various scrapbooking mags.

What movies and/or tv shows did I watch this year?
I'm not much of a TV watcher, but I rarely miss American Idol when it's in season. I caught enough episodes of Boston Legal to know that I think it's really funny in a weird-funny sort of way, and the few Grey's Anatomy episodes I saw looked good. The last week of the year, of course, I discovered 24. :) As for movies, we rarely go out, and we keep our Netflix DVDs for weeks and weeks at a time before we remember to send them back. This week, ironically, I've seen two movies - "Dreamgirls" with my Fortress homegirls, and "Charlotte's Web" with Aidan and Ian. But before this week, the last movie I saw in a theatre was "Cars", way back in June.

What special days did I celebrate and how?
Birthdays with friends and family. All low-key, but all fun anyway. On the boys' birthdays, they both opted to bake their own cakes rather than pick fancy ones from the grocer's bakery. THAT was fun. :)

What gifts did I give and/or receive?
Birthdays: I gave Dani permission to get her cartilege pierced; Darren got season tickets to the Fort Worth Symphony; Aidan and Ian got $20 shopping sprees to Target. (Aidan bought a Gingerbread House kit and a book. Ian bought a pop gun, a book and a Power Ranger toy.) For my own birthday, I received my cool red Xterra from Darren!

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
I spent the first 1/4 of the year wondering if the huge goiter on my thyroid was cancerous. A sonogram, nuclear scan, fine needle biopsy, and many blood tests later, we rest assured that it isn't.

What fun things did I do with my friends and/or family?
Cara, Kristi and I made a couple of trips to Canton. I attended four scrapbooking retreats. Our family vacation was spent in Colorado (OH how I'd missed the mountains!). The kids and I took a road trip to Tennessee to visit Bobbie and family. Darren and I sat through many an antique auction. The Fortress gals and I scrapped together once a month. Dani and I spent the fall taking weekly "Mom and Dani dates", usually to PeiWei or Starbucks. Somewhere along the way, we stopped doing that. Need to get back into the habit! In general, we spent a lot of time hanging out with our friends Cara and Michael, and Dale and Kristi... and all of their kids and ours. GOOD TIMES. :)

What new foods, recipes or restaurants did I try this year?
Thai food (LOVE IT! Even learned to love the tofu in my favorite PeiWei dish.)

What special or unusual purchases did I make?
Honestly, I can't think of any.

What were this year's disappointments?
A friend let me go unexpectedly, but the real disappointment came in realizing that it was better this way. I found out about two of my brothers' dispicable behaviors, but out of that turmoil and disappointment, God has given me a greater capacity to forgive, and a deeper understanding of what that really means. I suffered with a dear friend as she waded through the shock of marital infidelity (her husband is a dear friend, too), but she blessed me by facing it with grace and peace and unwavering faith, and he blessed me by showing true repentance and humility.

What were my accomplishments this year?
I vowed to not speak publicly about a doomed friendship, and I kept that vow. I didn't fight back when false accusations were made, though my body and soul yearned to. I learned that the high road, though lonely, is worth the view in the end. And I learned that I am strong and independent, and can set a goal and stick to it for the first time in my life. OH... and that it's okay to lean on Darren and let him help me stick to it.

Anything else noteworthy to record?
YES! I launched a website for my scrapbooking business (linked in the sidebar over there ---->), and I made a good friend out of the deal, in the web guru who coded the site for me. (Hi, Tracy!)