Cara's been scheming for a couple of months. Seems that Michael has long wanted a tattoo, and Cara has long said, "No way, Jose." For his 30th birthday, she decided she'd surprise him by giving her blessing for a tattoo after all.
Friday, March 30, 2007
Cara's been scheming for a couple of months. Seems that Michael has long wanted a tattoo, and Cara has long said, "No way, Jose." For his 30th birthday, she decided she'd surprise him by giving her blessing for a tattoo after all.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
"Pennies are copper," he said.
A few seconds later, as were were barreling down the road in a deluge of rain and between bursts of thunder, I heard him say, "Mmmm. This one tastes like copper!"
I couldn't turn and look to be sure, but I followed my gut and bellowed, "DO NOT PUT MONEY IN YOUR MOUTH!"
From the back, I heard a squeaky, guilt-ridden "Okay, Mommy", and I knew that my instinct had been dead on. The little urchin had been sucking pennies.
I'm not usually a germophobe. If something hits the floor, say, a piece of toast laden with apricot jam, I scoop it up, spread the jam around a little to cover the newly naked spots, and feed it to the kid anyway. If it's a good day, I'll go ahead and wipe the excess jam off the floor before someone steps in it and tracks it from here to kingdom come.
The other night, I was sitting on the floor at Cara's house, and my eyes zoomed in on a piece of candy between the cushions on her sofa. Ecstatically, I pinched my fingers around the blue gem and was almost ready to eat it when I saw that instead of the trusty white M printed on the side, it was instead a scrawny S. A SKITTLE! Blech! In my furor, I chunked that nasty piece of lint-covered carbohydrate across the room. But I'm here to tell you. Had it been an M&M, I'd have cranked open my pie hole and tossed that sucker in. Lint, dog hair and all.
Money's different, though. After Aidan's sheepish apology, I lit into him.
"You don't know where money's been. I mean, what if someone put their money in the underwear, and then you put it in your mouth??"
A chorus of "eeeeeewwwww yucks" exploded from the back seat.
"What if the garbage man put his money in his sock for safe keeping 'cause he didn't have any pockets, and then you put it in your mouth??"
More appropriate groans and throw-up sounds erupted behind me.
"What if..." I began, but Ian interrupted.
"What if a BABY ate a PENNY," he giggled, "and then he pooped it out in his diaper, and his Mommy found it, and she bought a piece of gum with it, and then you put it in your mouth and it still had BABY POOP ON IT! Gross! Ewwww! Nasty! Yuck!" Of course, merely typing it out totally loses the preciousness of Ian's delivery. Every single word was punctuated with giggles and groans, each word getting louder and more obnoxiously high-pitched, until the words "BABY POOP ON IT" came out as more of a squeal than a human sentence.
They were still beside themselves with giddy boyish glee over such a prospect that I had to yell to be heard:
"BOYS. That really happened."
Then I proceeded to tell them about baby Matthew, my long-ag0 friend Laura's baby, who swallowed a dime. Laura watched him swallow it, but was unable to stop him in time. So she dutifully inspected every single poopy diaper until the dime passed, at which time she washed it off and plucked it down in his baby album. At least THAT one's safe from my kids sticking it their mouths.
The boys were aghast. Truly, they were speechless. It could really happen.
I don't think either of them will be putting money in their mouths any time soon.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
I arrived home late Sunday night, and Darren flew out for a business trip to Chicago early Monday morning. He got home late last night, and I'm looking forward to finally spending some time with him. It's been almost a week since we've even had a real conversation! I miss my man. :) Hey honey. Wanna have a date? Gotta do it tonight, 'cause our babysitter's otherwise engaged for the rest of the week. :)
As good as it feels to get away sometimes, I feel so blessed that I have a family to come home to. I miss them when I'm gone! Don't get me wrong. I have a ton of fun when I step out of MommyMode. I don't weep and sigh about being away. I revel in it! But I do miss them, and coming home is always so, so sweet. Monday, Ian and I played several rounds of Battleship. It was fun just hangin' out with him; that little dude is a trip. That night, the boys and I had a date to Luby's. See, Aidan came home with this homework about plants. "Draw pictures of the plant foods you eat for dinner." Well. Seeing as how I couldn't convince Aidan that macaroni and cheese grows on trees (and I tried), I decided real quick that a trip to Luby's was in order. We met our friends - Michael and Cara, Brendan and Tristan, who's in Aidan's class and had the same homework - there for dinner. Later, we drew pictures of the things we ate: broccoli, corn, potatoes, strawberries.
Last night was the much anticipated celebration of Poor Rich Folk's new CD release! I've been looking forward to this night for months. The band members are precious to me. I love them all like brothers, and I'm not ashamed to declare my love to anyone who'll listen. Luke asked me a while back to review the CD, and gave me an advance copy. I listened to it probably 30 times in a row before I wrote the review. (Click here to read it.) I wanted it to seem unbiased. Instead, it came off as written by a stalker/uberfan/proud mother. Oh well. It was sincere. I can't help that I love those guys so much. Last night, one of the guitars was wonky... all out of tune and way too loud. It sorta ruined one song in particular, but I didn't even care. I'm telling you. Poor Rich Folk could play "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and I'd be dancin' and hollerin' in the audience.
I love the song "Nuts and Bolts". It's just fun. Andy - who I totally left out of the original review because I temporarily lost my mind but I've since completely kissed up and probably scared his wife with my devotion but she's seen me in person and is therefore UNAFRAID, rofl - is amazing on that song. And well, on EVERY song. I wish I had some better pics of him.
"To End This Quiet" is a favorite as well. The emotional energy in that song brings me to near tears every time. So well done.
The best thing about these guys is that they're just so darn likeable in real life. Humble, gracious, honest. I really am blessed to call them my friends. OH. And lest I forget. When I got my paws on the actual CD, I opened up the sleeve and started reading. Each guy had a section of thanks. Then the band as a group had a section of thanks. I was reading along, minding my own business, when my name leapt out at me. "the Kocurs". Be. Still. My. Heart.
Like I said. I love these guys. You will too.
Give 'em a listen.
Buy their CD.
They deserve it.
And besides, I said so.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Last year in Minnesota, while Jenny's DH was still in recovery after his brain surgery, she and I went down for "breakfast". It was 10:30. We each ordered a DOUBLE FILET-O-FISH. Cracked me right up that at one of the best heart hospitals anywhere, we were feasting on double filet-o-fishes for breakfast. At least we'd've been in good hands should a double filet-o-coronary have reared its ugly head that morning! It was good eatin'. I knew at that moment that we were friends for life.
Tonight, I was reading along on ScrapShare, minding my own business, when I stumbled upon a thread that rehashed old McDonald's jingles.
and apple pies..."
And now I'm jonesin' for a Filet-O-Fish! BAD!
Monday, March 19, 2007
I am 37.
She seemed 60.
I thought to myself, "Man, Stace. You're pretty young for your age."
Later that day, I was chatting with my friend Jenny, and I quipped that maybe my "youngness" has to do with the fact that I'm immature. She said, "I wasn't gonna say it, but since YOU did..."
A week or so ago, I was chatting with Joe, my friend in Brooklyn whose blog is linked in my sidebar ----------->, and I said, "I can't believe I wrote the word "fart" in my comment on your blog. I wonder how many people I offended." (See, Joe's a preacher, and lots of preacher-types read his blog.) He replied, "Who cares?" Then we talked about my penchant for things like airplanes and mud puddles and... farts. "I bet your boys have a blast with you as their Mom," he said. I glowed. Yes. Yes, they do.
Yah, so I'm young at heart.
I wouldn't have it any other way.
Today was our monthly scrapbooking gig at Fortress. After dark, the Fortress neighborhood gets pretty scary. Often, we have homeless people, or high-on-crack-people, or various other unbalanced people knocking on the windows, wanting us to give them money or a sandwich or a ride. Since it's only us women up there on scrapbooking nights, we sometimes slide a sandwich through the mail slot, but we never open the doors. We've been cussed out and flipped off and had the windows kicked at because of our refusal to open the door. Hey. We're generous. We're kind. We're loving. But we're also careful. And because we're also immature, we use that constant being-on-guard-healthy-fear against each other. heh heh heh.
Tonight, Kristi and Nikki left to go get dinner. When they came back, they rattled the windows and screamed and made all kinds of racket. I nearly peed myself. In fact, I think I might have dribbled a little in my pants. I mean, really. People have broken into the Fortress building before and made off with a CASE OF JUICE. Crackheads are crazy. C.R.A.Z.Y. So I jumped. Sue me. Kristi and Nikki laughed their cute little heads off.
Later, Cara and Nikki left to give someone a ride home. Kristi and I lit upon a GREAT idea. We'd scare them when they got back. Except... they'd be expecting me to retaliate for the earlier scare. So we had to get creative. We creaked open the door, looked both ways, crossed the street, and hid behind Kristi's car until Cara and Nikki returned. Every time a car came into view, we'd start giggling and getting ready to run. When it was finally Cara's car, we waited until she and Nikki got out, and then we went screaming back across the street at a full sprint.
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Cara instantly went into Kung Fu mode, and posed as if she was gonna take someone down with a thwack and a hmpf. Nikki, on the other hand, hotfooted it into the building and locked the door behind her.
It took me 10 minutes to catch my breath from the laughing.
It's no wonder I feel so young.
the challenge: This week, write about the last time you had a really good laugh. A belly laugh. A laugh that took your breath away. A laugh that starved you of oxygen and gave you a headache. A laugh where you tossed your head back and really let 'er rip.If you can't recall a time when you've laughed that hard, then figure out WHY NOT, and write about that.Laughter.It's good for the soul.If only it burned more calories.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
She's one of my oldest internet friends, and I've been online for over 10 years. We've never met.
I remember the first one-on-one conversation we had. I said, in a public forum, "Hey Sue! I like you!" She replied, "Hey Stacy, I like you too!"
We've talked on the phone numerous times.
We've instant messaged more times than I can count.
I know her kids, and she knows mine, though we've never laid eyes on each other's.
I know her dog, Truman, and how often he poops, and where.
She knows my cat, Ashlie, and watched her grow from fist-sized bundle of fur to the fat, lazy slobcat she is now.
She painted her dining room red, I painted my family room red.
She and I are word nerds together. If I have a grammar question, I ask Sue. (Punctuation questions go to Elaine. lol)
She's Sicilian. She's fiery. She's snarky. She's loyal. She's funny. She's smart. She's my friend.
And I get to meet her IN SEVEN DAYS!!! :D
Monday, March 12, 2007
And get this. I didn't even work last night.
As soon as I blogged, I puttered around on the computer for a little while, then realized we were out of milk. I knew I wouldn't wanna go in the morning, after working all night, so I decided I better go "right now". (Plus, I needed caffeine for my all night stint.) So at 10:30, I headed out to Albertson's. A gallon of milk and $30 later, I got a call from Cara...
"Stace, will you be my bodyguard?"
Turns out, 6-year-old Tristan left his beloved blue bunny at the park earlier in the day, and Cara was on her way to search for it. This is the second blue bunny Tristan has loved. It took Cara a year to find another one after the first one was lost. She wasn't about to let this one go without a good search!
So we drove into the Fortress neighborhood, and thanked God for the rain, which was no doubt keeping the prostitutes and drug dealers inside for the night. Even so, I pulled my Xterra up on the curb and turned on my high-beams as Cara traipsed around the park, while keeping an eye out for sinister-looking characters. At one point, I decided it might be helpful to drive out onto the lawn so Cara could have better light. I inched my front wheels onto the grass and quickly decided that, no, Darren and Michael probably wouldn't appreciate a call at 11:30 saying, "Could you come pull us out of the mud?" lol!
Blue Bunny wasn't at the park. Cara was worrying about how to tell Tristan when I remembered that there was a group of Harding University students up at Fortress. (They're here for a spring break campaign.) Sure enough... they were still awake, and guess what? THEY HAD BLUE BUNNY! One of them had rescued him and brought him to the building, knowing he probably belonged to someone at Fortress. YAY!
So I finally got home after midnight, and then just didn't feel like working. Hold on to your seat, 'cause you'll find this hard to believe. I ACTUALLY WENT TO BED. What is the world coming to?
This morning, I hit it hard and early. I worked for 13 hours straight, with only a short break for lunch, a few very breif email checks, and an hour break for 24. At 11:00, I came to the computer to print a couple of titles, and here I sit. But for real... all I have left to do on job #2 is print and adhere the two titles. Job #1 is wrapped up and ready to ship. YAY!!
As I type, my silent giggles are making my chair bounce, for across the room, Darren, Aidan and Ian are playing some silly hampster computer game, and they all three keep cracking up. It's the sweetest sound EVER.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
- Church, lunch, Bible class - all at Fortress. I'm committed to that, and had to be there. (Besides, I WANT to be there. My week is never quite right when I skip the Fortress part of it.)
- Work. I have two jobs due Tuesday. Meeting that deadline (and I must meet both of them) meant putting my nose to the grindstone today.
I got off to a good start by arriving at Fortress on time.
Before lunch, Kristi and I went and picked up some of my favorite little kids and brought them back for JaM (Fortress's youth-focused worship time). After JaM, we took the Fortress kids (including my three) to the park. I really only intended to spend 20-30 minutes there, but before I knew it, I didn't care about my deadline anymore. I was loving being there with the kids. I threw a frisbee, kicked a soccer ball, watched two of my very favorite people on EARTH flirt with each other, and wrestled 3 teenage girls to the ground over a cell phone. (What text messages on that cell phone were so private that they were willing to wrestle me, Cara and Nikki - three grown women - unabashedly? Oh, what FUN memories those are... grass stains and all!)
When we finally left the park at 3:30, Cara and I drove some of the kids home and then spent 90 minutes sitting on my front stoop - brainstorming my landscaping, analyzing weird dreams, and gabbing about our weekends. We talked about tattoos and piercings, weight lost and found, and getting back on the wagon tomorrow. As soon as Cara drove away, several neighborhood kids showed up, my own kids came outside, and I supervised foot races and who-can-make-the-loudest-fart-sound-on-your-forearm-contests. Darren and I wandered over to the neighbor's house and checked out her newly-planted flower beds, making mental notes about which species and varieties would work in our yard. We chatted with various neighbors as they meandered out of their own yards and into ours. We took note of the baby green buds on the azalea bushes and the new growth in the herb garden.
The birds dipped and darted around the pecan tree branches.
The pear trees, awash with white blossoms, swayed in the breeze.
The spring-blue Texas skies began to darken.
A neighbor quipped, "Looks like the rain's finally rolling in."
A drop hit my arm, and another plopped on my head.
The sun hovered low in the sky, finally melting into the horizon.
The neighbors called their kids in.
I looked at the clock.
A whole afternoon of work hours? History.
The extra hour of daylight? Spent.
Spring Break begins tomorrow.
There is much to do, many days to fill, many memories to make.
And there is still that Tuesday deadline.
I'm off to Sonic now, to acquire 44 ounces of Diet Coke with vanilla. I'll nurse it all night long, as I crop and cut and paste and play in my scraproom. For I've got promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.
We had an "extra hour" of daylight today. How'd you spend it? Any regrets? If so, describe how you'd spend it differently, given the chance. ('Cause you have another chance tomorrow!)
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
She has a 7-year old girl.
Who's a Girl Scout.
Mecca was the beginning of my downfall, because she showed up on my doorstep with cute little Ella and a Girl Scout cookie order form. Curses on Mecca.
Being the good neighbor that I am, I felt compelled to order. 2 boxes of Samoas. 2 boxes of Tagalongs. 1 box of those new lemon cookies, because they looked scrumdillyumptious.
See, all through November and December, I was on a mission to change my way of life. I lost 17 pounds in those two months. That's Thanksgiving and Christmas, people! THANKSGIVING. AND CHRISTMAS. Seventeen pounds.
Then January came along. I ordered Girl Scout cookies.
I ate 'em, too. Because, after all, Girl Scout cookies only come once a year. (I didn't even allow myself to order Thin Mints, did you notice?? That was my feeble attempt at retaining control. HA!)
Here's what happens when you order and eat Girl Scout cookies after refusing empty carbs and refined sugars for two months: Your body screams with delight, starts jiggin' all over the house, then enthuses, between hysterical fits of maniacal laughter, "SCREW THIS LIFESTYLE. I WANT MORE CARRRRRRRRRRRBS! Mwahahahaha. MWA HA HA!"
And so it began.
With one little Samoa, it all came crashing down around me.
I've gained back 9 of those dadgummed 17 pounds in the past 2 months.
And I blame Mecca. ('Cause surely it's not MY fault.)
I wish I had Thin Mints in my freezer.
Monday, March 05, 2007
Yesterday, I asked that question of three teenage girls at Fortress. They were paralyzed by having to describe themselves with one word, and in fact, couldn't do it. So I went first.
Creative. It's not something I try to be, it's just what I am. It's what makes me happy. If I go too long without letting my mind and hands be creative, I get cranky. Seriously, it's true! Sometimes, I get supremely fed up with everything around me, and almost without fail, when I sit back and try to analyze what's going on with me, it comes down to the fact that I haven't given myself creative playtime. It doesn't have to be obviously creative, although most of the time it is - scrapbooking, doing a photo shoot, blogging, doodling, decorating. Sometimes, creativity happens in the everyday mundane things: arranging playlists on my iTunes and burning CDs for people, changing up the route I take when picking up Aidan from school, making lesson plans and teaching Bible class and scrapbooking classes. Even sitting at Barnes and Noble with an Iced Mocha and a stack of magazines and books is creative time for me. I file away little tidbits in my creative vault - color combinations, kitchen designs, plants I want Darren to incorporate into our garden, quotes that inspire me.
Cara, my co-teacher in the girls' class at Fortress, went next, and described herself as "loyal". And then the girls took their turns. It was a beautiful thing, watching them analyze and look into themselves as they searched for the one word. "Talented". "Talkative". "Good at drawing".
The next question I posed was my favorite, though. After everyone described themselves with one word, we went around the room, describing each other with one word. I was described by inner-city African-American teenage girls as "funny", "country", and "having good fashion." Country? Country?? I'm still shaking my head at that one, and we all laughed pretty hard. I wanna to be ghetto-fabulous, not COUNTRY, forevermore. The "good fashion" description made me laugh. I don't fancy myself a fashionista, and it cracks me right up that a ghetto-fabulous girl from the 'hood thinks I've got it goin' on. LOL!
The girls described each other with words like "tender-hearted", "friendly", "cool to hang out with", "good attitude", and the oft-used "ghettofabulous".
It was a fun exercise. As women, we need to spend more time recognizing and celebrating the talents and positive traits we've been adorned with. Whether we're suburban upper-middle class moms or urban, poor, living-the-moment teens - we all have one thing in common: we're beautiful women with amazing talents, unbridled potential... and we're fabulous, baby. Fabulous.
Go ahead. Describe yourself with one word. Then ask three other people to describe you, too. Celebrate yourself. I dare you!
Have you ever tried to describe yourself in one word? One word that sort of sums up who you are, what makes you tick, what sets you apart. It's not as easy as you think. As women, we need to spend more time recognizing and celebrating the talents and positive traits we've been adorned with. Whether we're suburban upper-middle class moms or urban, poor, living-the-moment teens - we all have one thing in common: we're beautiful women with amazing talents, unbridled potential... and we're fabulous, baby. Fabulous.Go ahead. Describe yourself with one word. Then ask three other people to describe you, too. Celebrate yourself. I dare you!
Saturday, March 03, 2007
I've curtailed my computer time drastically this month, so I haven't been chatting as much as I usually do, but I've had long phone conversations instead... with friends from Oregon, California, Ohio, San Antonio and Alabama, to name a few. I generally dislike the phone, but this month, I have to admit that I've enjoyed the conversations it has allowed me. :)
Dani and I have gotten back into the habit of having regular date nights, once a week. It's so good for our relationship. It gets us out of the house so that I'm not distracted by my stuff and she's not distracted by her phone. :) I love those date nights with my daughter. I know that when she's all grown up, we're still gonna love hanging out together, and that is just the most wonderful feeling. She's gonna make a great friend for me in my old age. LOL!
My sister moved away, and while that broke my heart, it's all good. She seems happy every time we talk, which ISN'T OFTEN ENOUGH, BOBBIE! Your turn to call, you turkey! And you haven't blogged, either. Hmpf! Don't MAKE me take a road trip!! How lucky I am that my sister is also my friend. I bought her a Valentine's card that I still haven't gotten mailed. It says that very thing.
Today, I was going to make a quick trip to Louisiana to surprise a group of my online friends who are at a scrapbooking retreat there. But ALAS!! Darren was in a car accident on Wednesday and now we're down to one car for awhile, so I had to call off my trip. WAH!! I so wanted to surprise Jo, Kris, Jackie and Theresa and hug them all tight. And I was excited about meeting new friends there, too. Oh well. There'll be other times.
Then there's Karen, my beautiful best buddy from long ago whom I still love from the very depths of my heart even though we seldom see each other anymore. Our lives have gone off in different directions, and we never seem to get together, even though we talk of it often and WANT to see each other. Karen comments on my blog more often than anyone, and it's almost like getting to see her everyday. Thanks, Karen. I love you!!
Michelle and Walt (Grammy and Pap to you locals) are always here, loving my kids and caring deeply about our family. I still thank God regularly for bringing us all together six years ago. It's as if we've known each other forever. I often regret that we don't spend more time together, because when we ARE together, I love it so much. They encourage me without trying. They love me without conditions. They are simply one of my life's greatest blessings.
It's amazing to me when I think about the abundance of friends I have. I really am hugely blessed in that area. Thanks to God for lavishly gifting me with so many beautiful people who love me and make me a better person because of it. :)
Thursday, March 01, 2007
A couple of weeks ago, Dani asked me out of the blue,