Friday, September 30, 2011

15th Anniversary

It's the Hubby and mines 15th Wedding Anniversary tomorrow! 

Did you know: the traditional gift for a 15th wedding anniversary is crystal.  The modern gift is glass.  The alternate gift is a watch.  The flower is the rose (my favorite) and the stone is ruby.
Just a little fun fact.

I don't think we'll get to do anything special tomorrow.  There is too much going on.  Maybe we can have a date next week.  Fifteen years.  Wow.  How did so much time pass?  I remember about two or three weeks after we were married meeting a couple who had been married for nine whole months.  That was an eternity in my newlywed mind.  Now we have gone way beyond nine months.  Here's to 15 years and an eternity to go.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Keeping busy

I keep busy all day long with various projects.  Unfortunately, most of those projects do not involve cleaning the house.  Peanut's not helping either.  She loves to look at her books, but to find the perfect book to read, she feels she must pull out every single book and spread them on the floor.  She did that with a row of DVD's today, too.  Now they are in a circle on the floor.

This week began my official first week of school with Robert Gordon University.  So far, it's going well.  I'm caught up with all the reading for the week and have joined in various discussions.  I need to watch one video, but it's 59 minutes long, so, I'll schedule an hour tomorrow to sit and watch a dull interview.  My assignment for one class isn't due until December, but looking at it, it's going to take that long to do.  However, it is on a topic that I adore - names and onomastics - so it won't be a difficult project to do.

I want to do more for my theater, Auntie M's, but without a location, it's hard to do. I have a great play written that would be perfect for October, but I couldn't find a venue for it. Commercial spaces are so expensive and all other ideas I've had for the theater just haven't worked out.   My son has been asking for months for me to start an improv group for him to participate in.  I figured that we could try that.  We'll hold it in our home.  He has been gathering friends that he thinks might be interested.  We have our first meet tomorrow.  My son wants to play all sorts of improv games, but I've told him we'll have to work our way up to most of them.  He is the only one among his friends with any experience and that has been limited to family games.  We'll see how it goes.....

Over the past year and a half, I've sent query letters and the first three chapters of my book that I've written to about 20 publishers and agents.  If any reply has come back, it's been rejection notices.  I keep them all.  They are pasted in my journal.  I've been on the verge of giving up, but decided I'll just keep trying.  There are hundreds of publishers.  I've only just scratched the surface.  When I've been rejected 100 times, I'll think about giving up again.  So, today I sent off query letters to three more publishers. Now we wait.  It can take 2-6 months for a reply.

Well, back to work on more projects.  This afternoon's project WILL include cleaning the living room, rotating laundry and starting dinner.... maybe, if I don't get distracted by something else.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Flowers on the Move

Our garden among the rocks was quite successful this year.
We had about 50 onion plants.  My hubby loves onions, but even that was a lot for him.  He made a lot of French Onion soup and put onions on just about anything he could.  We ended up freezing a lot and we dehydrated and froze the rest. 

Our one little strawberry plant produced four strawberries.  They were little, but so good.  After we removed the rest of the plants that were sharing the bucket with the strawberries, they just started to spread.  They are still alive and well and we will care for them over the winter so they can begin again next spring.
We also had a few small planters with flowers in them.  They were the only color around our house.  We had them away from the rest of the garden and put them on our front porch.  They did fantastic and we had lovely blooms all summer.

In August, I noticed something unusual; we had flowers blooming in the rocks next to the porch.  Somehow, the flowers had spread.  They left the fertile plant box and have thrived in the rocks.   I’m so pleased with our little garden we had this year.
The flowers migrated from their box and into the rocks.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dumb Criminals

The other day on the radio I heard this funny story.
A man goes to the blood bank to donate blood. (Sounds like the beginning to a bad joke.)  He notices at the front desk a 51” TV that the blood bank is giving away in a prize drawing.  That night he broke into the blood bank and stole the TV.  He used a taxi to make his get-a-way.  The TV was too big to fit into the taxi properly, so part of it was poking out.

Apparently, the blood bank realized very quickly what had happened.  The man was arrested while still in the taxi.  The blood bank recognized the man as having just been in there that day and for goodness sakes, they had all the DNA on the man that could ever be asked for.  After all, he had just donated blood.  Thanks to the stolen TV sticking out of the taxi, the police were able to find him pretty quickly and arrest him.
I guess the guy was too desperate to get the TV to think about who he was stealing it from.  Maybe he wanted to really watch the new fall line-up on primetime TV.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Hobbit Day

I have the greatest sister in the world.  I love to laugh and that is good because I laugh my hardest when I’m with my brothers and sister.  There was one week about seven years ago when my sister came to visit.  My hubby was out of her town.  She left her hubby at home because he was working.  It was just her and me (and several children).  We laughed.  I can’t think back to that visit without laughing.  The week involved stories about piƱatas,  electric screwdriver home improvement projects, a noise at the side door late one night, and a day at a children’s museum where she and I had more fun than all the children at the museum.
My sister can do a dead-on Katherine Hepburn impression.  She calls me on the phone and suddenly I’m speaking to Katherine Hepburn.  Dahling, you will never know the amusing things we have to say to one another.

Yesterday, Katherine Hepburn, I mean, my sister called me and we discussed making seed cake for the day’s Hobbit festivities.  She told me a story about her husband and a party with his family that had me rolling on the floor with laughter. 
She is an awesome mom too.  She sings crazy camp songs and speaks in fake English accents to annoy the heck out of her children.  I wish I were as awesome as her.

Anyway, back to Hobbit Day.  I fixed porridge for breakfast that only my husband ate.  I wore the closest outfit I have to a Hobbit dress and an apron.  For dinner I fixed a dinner of bread, cheese, crispy bacon, and seed cake.  Wash it all down with white grape juice.  Mmm…. A great meal.  I wish I were an elf, who floated about in beautiful homes in beautiful forests, wearing beautiful clothes, but I realized that I am a Hobbit at heart.  And I’m OK with that.
PS, Happy first day of fall!  I love fall.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Dear Bagginses and Boffins....

Happy Hobbit Day!  May the hair on your toes never fall out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A bit of a blow

At the end of August, we welcomed into our home an exchange student from Brazil.  She was having a hard time adjusting.  I realized this and did everything I could think of to help her along.  I thought things were going along pretty well.  After dropping her off at school on Monday, I was thinking of some of the things I could do with her this week, and I was determined to look up a Brazilian recipe and try to cook something that she would like.

Monday evening, we were expecting the local representative for the program to come to our house and give us some orientation.  Instead, she came to our home, told us that our student was unhappy and wanted to leave our home. 


What? One moment we were talking about school and soccer like normal and the next moment we are told that she doesn't want to stay with us any longer? (It's because we had rules about her curfew and she didn't like that.)

I was hurt.  I was personally attacked.  They phrased it to us like, "You guys have been great, but you are very different from what she is use to at home and she has requested to be moved to another family."  Let me tell you, I felt like someone had just slugged me in the stomach.

She left yesterday evening.  I spent yesterday (Tuesday) very hurt.  By evening, I was over the hurt and I was angry.  Today, has been better.  I've been able to think about things more clearly and realize that my hurt and anger were well founded.  What the local rep. and our student did to us was completely out of line.  My husband and I had no idea this was going to happen.  The rep should have worked with us.  She should have said, your student is having these issues, lets decided what we can do to help her.  Her job was to help us work through problems and instead, she created a lot more.

I could go on and on and if you really want to hear the entire story, just ask, but be prepared, it's a long, crazy story.

So, we are back to our regular family again.  The Hubby has already suggested that we consider getting another student.  I said NO THANK YOU!  I'm not doing that again.

OK, I've gotten this off my chest.  Thanks for letting me rant a bit.  You can go back to your lives citizens.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Among my friends

I accept that I get older each year when my birthday rolls around.  It doesn’t bother me, but I occasionally say to myself, “I’m how old?  When did that happen?”

Several days ago, eight friends and I got together for dinner to celebrate a friend’s birthday.  While we were there, we realized that four of the nine of us had all had birthdays in the past week, myself included.  An odd coincidence for nine friends, I think.  We sat there at the restaurant, chatting and eating delicious Mexican food (a perk about living in New Mexico).

I looked around at each of us and realized only one other mom had a teen, like me.  Her son and mine are both 13 years old.  From there, the age of all of the kids go down with the youngest two being only 3 months old.  So, I sat there, listening to the stories of kids, school, and activities and I noticed something that amused me and slightly depressed me.  I was the oldest friend among our party.  Oh man….

I guess I’m older and wiser. Right?  Well, maybe just oldest.  I’m not sure about my being wise.

Time to get out the cane young whippersnappers!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Can I live in Middle Earth, please?

After a mostly dry monsoon season, we've had some weather the last few days.  We were told to expect an epic storm last night.  Perhaps what we experienced last night was epic for the area, but it was nothing more than a thunderstorm that lasted for about 5 minutes.  I love a good thunderstorm and last night's was just too short.  I guess I'll take what I can get out here.

I love the woods.  Living in a small cabin, deep in a green forest with a stream running close to the cabin is, to me, a lovely idea.  If I could, I would have a summer cabin like this.  I want to sit under the eave of the cabin, with my loom and weave the hours away while listening to the wind blowing through the trees and the stream gurgling as it runs past the cabin.  At night, I would drink hot chocolate while reading and/or writing by the light of the fire in the hearth.  Doesn't that sound idyllic? Of course, I might get bored weaving every hour of every day, so I would also have a garden to tend, I would learn to spin and I would take long walks through the woods.

What a lovely idea.  Of course, I know that living this way has its hazards.  There are wild animals to fear, one must hunt for food, there are the elements to fight, and I suppose after a while, I would get lonely.  I don't really like the idea of wild animals or being at the mercy of the elements, but to live that way I would have to accept such realities.  Plus, I like clean clothes, but I don't fancy the idea of hand scrubbing everything.

After much thinking, I realized I want to be an elf who lives in Tolkien's Middle Earth.  They live in beauty and have much control of their environment.  The elements do not bother them and they are skilled in protecting themselves if something evil should cross their borders.  Yes, I want to be a Rivendell Elf.  Surrounded by beauty, art and music. 

September 22 is Hobbit Day.  I plan on celebrating Hobbit Day by not wearing shoes, making and eating seed cake and not having any adventures or doing anything unexpected.  Since I'm not into the brewing of ale or the smoking of pipeweed, I will brew root beer and light a scented candle in whose fragrance I can enjoy.

Of course there will be real life to attend to and I will be required to drive kids to school, home from school, and to the various activities that several of them have that evening.  No matter.  A Hobbit does not let such things dampen their spirits when it is a day of celebration.

My dream home:
Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
photograph by Nuno Silva

Thursday, September 15, 2011

more scrat attack

Here are more of my daughter's amazing scrat creations!
Army Scrat
(don't you love his camo helmet?)

Ballerina Scrat
So lovely on her tippy toes.

Howday y'all, it's Cowboy Scrat.

"This acron is highly illogical," says the Vulcan Scrat.

Stay out of his way, young whippersnappers, it's Grandpa Scrat.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Scrat Attack

Have you ever seen the movie(s) Ice Age?  If so, you are familiar with the little character known only as "Scrat".
There he is.  Well, several months ago, my 7 year old daughter saw a short episode about how to draw Scrat.  She developed and perfected her own version of Scrat.  I would like to present, for your enjoyment, several of her Scrat characters.

Sherlock Holmes Scrat

Mummy Scrat

The Pink Panther Scrat

Indiana Jones Scrat

Then, today I found one more page of her scrat drawings.  We are Whose Line is it Anyway? fans.  So, finding this page was too funny.  Among the Whose Line Scrats, you can see:
Ryan, who is often seen drinking his glass of water through out the show.

Colin with his amazing crazy shirts.

And Greg with his totally awesome hair.

This daughter has drawn so many of these fantastic scrat characters.  There are princess scrats, grandpa and grandma scrats, a Hobbit scrat, a Spock (Star Trek) scrat, a Sith Lord (Star Wars) scrat, a Boy Scout scrat and many more.  What talent. Who knows... maybe she will do art for animated movies when she grows up.  Until then, she keeps us very entertained with all her many scrats.

(Picture of Ice Age Scrat from

Monday, September 12, 2011

Getting what she wants

I had such a fun birthday.  Having my mother here was great fun.  The fondue was fantastic!  I've tried a lot of cheese fondue recipes, but this years was by far the best one.  And then, you can't beat a chocolate fondue.

Things are going pretty well here.  Keeping very busy, that's for sure.  The calendar just fills up.

Peanut (who is 3 years old) has a remarkable gift of communication.  This girl can talk.  And talk in the most complete, complicated sentences.  She has another talent and I can't find the word for it, but let me see if I can describe this amazing talent.

Last night, as I was letting the cat outside, a birthday package was sitting on the front door for me.  I opened it and found a small purse with a box of Whoppers candy.  It was late at night and we had finished our chocolate fondue not too long before.  Peanut saw the candy and she wanted some.  I promised her that I would share with her tomorrow because it was too late tonight to eat candy.

Her one-track mind wasn't going to take that for an acceptable answer.  Over and over she brought me the small purse and would in her most sweet voice say, "Happy birthday, Mama."  My heart would melt and I would give her hugs and kisses.  Then, she would tell me how much she loved that candy.  "Remember, Mama, when I had this candy?  I loved it, but I lost it.  I need more candy."  She would say something to that effect over and over.

I couldn't help but smile and the incredible way she was trying to manipulate me to give her that candy.  When that didn't work, she tried a new tact.  She brought me the purse.  "Happy birthday, Mama," she would say, while holding out the purse.  "Thank you, baby," I would say and showered her with hugs and kisses.  She looks at me and says, "Now it's your turn.  You give it to me and say, happy birthday."  She figured if I went along with the game, I would give her the candy, say happy birthday, and then she would be the owner of the candy and could eat it.

Oh my, little girl.  What a creative thing for her to come up with. I guess now it could be called manipulation, but I think in 20 or 30 years, she could be a women of high position.  She will be able to use these skills and flatter her employees to do whatever she wants them to do.  That's not a bad thing either.  What an amazing leader she will be.

For now, though, it's funny to hear her try these different tact's with me to give her what she wants.  As promised, this morning, I did share some of the candy with her.  She was so sweet when I did finally give her the long promised candy.  She took her candy, hugged me, and said "thank you, Mama," in the sweetest voice. 

There are days (weeks, years) that being a mom is tough.  But, it's moments like "Thank you, Mama" that make the roughest days worth while.  It's the greatest reward as a mom.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

9/11 vs. September 11th or Remembrance Day vs. Party!

As 9/11 approaches, I have a very different take on the day than most people.  For me, the day has always been September 11th.  What's the difference you ask?

9/11 is the awful day that so many people were killed on American soil by terrorists.  It is now also know as Patriot Day and Remembrance Day.

September 11th is my birthday!  PARTY!  Every year for my birthday, I have a fondue.  I love to fondue.  We always do a cheese and a chocolate.  Mmmm.  I'm so excited.  Really, though, I haven't planned it very well this year.  I'll do that tomorrow so I can go shopping for all the necessary ingredients on Friday or Saturday.

This year will be special.  My Mom will be joining us for the first time in, well, I don't remember the last time I celebrated my birthday with her.  It's been a very long time and I'm looking forward to her visit.  Because of her visit, we will be doing lots of fun things and playing tourist around town.  Usually when she visits, it's only for 24 - 48 hours.  Quick trips.  This will be five days and I'm so happy.  Five days to play, five days to stay up until midnight just talking, five days to laugh until my sides ache.  The kids are excited too.  Five days to show off their latest skills, jokes, dance moves or songs on the musical instruments that they play.

This is going to be a great weekend.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Working the textiles

Last week I got the crazy idea that I wanted to sew my daughters some skirts.  I am not a seamstress.  Skirts are fairly easy, though.  I opened the pattern and picked out the size I wanted for my youngest.  With the cat sitting on top of the fabric and Peanut bringing me her own scissors offering to help cut the pieces out, I spread out the fabric on my floor and began to work.

The fabric was awful to cut.  It was only two piece to make the skirt, but they ended up being quite different in size.  A battle with the sewing machine began and after a little trim here and there and I finally made the skirt.  I actually made two.  The girls love them.

The sewing machine was put back into closet!

I've been weaving more.  About a month ago I decided to do a project as big as my loom would hold.  It's been kind of slow.  I don't spend nearly as much time on it as I could.  I have one little complaint, though.  My bobbin's are small and the project is large.  I go through a lot of thread very quickly.  I wind three bobbins at a time.  It's really cool looking, though. 
The loom, fully warped.
See the little white bobbin?  It doesn't hold much thread.
The underside of the loom so you can see the pattern
At the bottom of the picture, you get a glimpse of the
underside of the weaving.  It looks just as good, maybe better.

Last night I pulled out my cross stitching.  I haven't done any in a very long time.  Each of my children have a beautiful, elaborate Christmas stocking that I cross stitched.  Peanut is three and this year will be her 4th Christmas.  Her stocking isn't even halfway done. 
I've got a couple of months. Maybe I can finish it for her this year..... maybe.

To see more pictures of the weaving, go to my weaving blog, The Tangled Weaver.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Happy September 1st

There is a lot going on around here, but nothing to really talk about, yet. So today is going to be a bit of a ramble.

Can you believe it is September already?  What happened to this year?  Well, my favorite time of the year approacheth.  I love September and October!  I'm going to start cooking with pumpkin.  Peanut has been asking when I'm going to take her to the pumpkin patch.  I love going outside and not baking in the 100 degree weather.  Yesterday it got to 100 again.  Today we are only suppose to get into the mid 90's!  This weekend, a major cold front is suppose to come through and we might get into the high 80's! 


My birthday is coming up.  That means in Dallas, Texas, there will be a storm.  Really.  Every year, right around my birthday, either the day before, day after or day of, there is a storm.  Mom told me it stormed the day I was born.  Perhaps that is why I've always loved thunderstorms.

My oldest son, Stonehelm, as he is now known in Blogland, got braces on his top teeth a couple of days ago.  Honestly, the experience was more traumatic for me than him. (But that is a story for another time.)  His mouth hurts a lot right now, poor guy.

As I have mentioned many, many times, I have a million great ideas.  What holds me back from doing many of these great ideas?  Money.  I don't have money.  That's really a bummer, you know?

I've been doing some weaving.

Thanks to instant streaming on Netflix, Peanut has been watching a continuous streaming of Blues Clues.  It's a good thing for me that I find Blues Clues to be a fun kid show.  If I found it half as annoying as some of the other kid shows on, I would be going crazy about now.

An observation:
This year we choose to take the kids to school, rather than putting them on the bus.  I've noticed while passing the various bus stops along the road, that the kids who are waiting on the curb for buses, all have their cell phones, iPhones or some other kind of thing like that.  They are listening to music and texting.  Do you remember back in the not so distant past that kids waiting for the bus would read a book?  Would that texting alternative even cross the minds of kids these days?

OK, I'm rambled enough.  Perhaps I'll think of something interesting to say or something brilliantly funny to share for next time.  Until then, happy September 1st!