Thursday, November 21, 2013

DJ Names

Some kids have nick names.  Mine have DJ names!

DJ Bow Tie

DJ 'Stache (as in mustache)

DJ Scooby Snax

DJ Ewok

DJ Dark Eyes

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Life's pretty good

I finished my great novel.  I'm very happy with myself.  I've had three family members read it.  They are a great audience.  They have been helping me find mistakes, typos and generally making the story better.  It's been fun and now I'm working on the sequel.  Well, I have an idea for a sequel, but I haven't started working on it yet. 

Working at the parks is going well.  My job changed this month.  They call it a promotion.  Perhaps it is.  All I know is I'm still enjoying my job, working at the parks, driving county trucks around and looking all official. 

Kids are good.  We keep busy.  We get to celebrate two birthdays in one week in November!  Halloween with the gang was fun and we are all looking forward to Thanksgiving.  My oldest son is in a play at the high school.  Tomorrow is opening night.  I'm excited to go.  He is playing ten different characters.  It will be interesting to see how it works.

I started listening to Christmas music today.  I know it's awful early, but I just love it.

My mother, father, sister, youngest niece and mother-in-law all came for a visit this past weekend.  It was a full house, but so much fun.  I miss the rest of the family that couldn't be there, but my house was bursting as it was.  I never laugh harder than I do when my sister is around.  She is patient while I talk about my crazy ideas and latest interests.  We have a great time together.  I wish the visit could have lasted longer.

The chickens are good.  We've sold a number of our roosters, but it seems we still have more.  I wouldn't mind them, they are very entertaining, but they are so noisy.  The last thing I want to hear at three thirty or four in the morning are those dumb roosters crowing.  I sing to them most everyday when I go out to feed them.  "I've got to crow!  I'm just the cleverest fellow 'twas ever my fortune to know."  They aren't good about singing along, though.  We get 6-8 eggs a day from our lovely girls.  I take them treats (a slice of bread) every time I go out to see them.  It makes them happy.  Happy chickens are good!

Life is pretty good.  That's all there is too it.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Bruise

My left thigh has been covered in bruises for months now and I just could not figure out how I was getting them.  I'm not exactly the picture of grace, so I assumed I was running into stuff and not really paying attention to hurting myself.

Then, last week while I was working at one of the parks, and doing my park duties, I realized exactly how I was getting all those bruises:  it's the way I dump the trash cans!

When I dump the trash from a barrel into a bag, I hold the bag with my left hand around the mouth of the barrel.  With my right hand I lift the barrel, but the barrel is too big for me to just lift with the only the strength of my own right arm.  So, I counter the barrel's height and weight by using my left thigh as leverage.

No wonder the bruises are only on my left side.  I'm going to have to start wearing football padding on my legs when I dump trashes from now on.  Either that or get my right arm muscles big and strong so I can just lift the barrel without using the aid of my leg.  Or maybe I'll just put up with the bruises.  Summer's over.  Shorts and bathing suit season is over.  No one's going to see the purple spots.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Great Novel

I have been working on my great novel lately.

That sounds so impressive, doesn't it?  Truth is, I've been writing on a particular story as much as time and kids have allowed lately.  Years ago, I came up with a great idea for a book.  The problem was, I came up with a great idea for the middle of the book, without a good beginning or end.

I wrote down that idea and was very pleased with it, but put it aside for a long time because I was unsure of how to start or finish the story.  Since I began this story, I have written so many other things: several books, several plays, a few years of the blog, many essays and multiple "short" stories.  However, my mind was never too far away from this particular story.  Finally, I developed its beginning and I was very pleased with it.  I wrote the beginning of the story and was able to incorporate the middle that I had already written.  Then I got stuck in the middle and had no idea where to take the story.

For a long time, I thought and thought and thought and then one day - poof - an idea came to me and I was able to come up with the base idea that would finish the story.  With that base in mind, I have been writing.  In the past month alone, I've added over 16,500 words.  I'm not done and I'm missing several small sections that bridge various parts of the story together.

It has been exciting to write and I have to say that I am enjoying my story.  I think it's pretty darn good.  I'm reaching the end of the story and that is exciting.

When I am done, I will have the exceptionally fun task of re-reading it and look for major spelling and grammar mistakes along with any glaring plot holes.

I have this wild idea that someday my book will be published, become a best seller and Hollywood will be interested in turning my book into a movie.  I even know which actor I want in the main adult roll.  But, while I have fantasies, I am not delusional.  I know that this book will probably never be published and never be read and it kind of hurts my heart to know that.  Still, it doesn't stop me from writing.

I already have my idea for my next novel.....

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Differences in the mind

When I look at the world, I see the colors and hear the music of nature.
When my 9 year old daughter looks at the world, she sees the math and logic in nature.

She asks very difficult questions.  She wants to know how the human brain works.  She calculates the numbers she sees in the everyday world.  She has an interest in biology.  Today she and I talked about arteries and veins.  When she cut her foot and it started to bleed, we wondered if the blood came from a vein or an artery.  Then we cleaned up her foot and she got a Band-Aid.

She wants to be a Kindergarten teacher.  I keep telling her that she needs to become a professor at a university.

The funny thing is, she says she dislikes math and claims that she is not good at it.  It is so not true!  She is very good at math.  The problem with learning math, is that it is hard to see how the information you learn could be practical.  I told her that I hated learning fractions.  I saw no point in learning how to add and subtract fractions.  Little did I know, I would use it everyday in the kitchen when cooking food for my family.  I've told her to give math a chance.  Someday, when she is ready to become a great scientist, or a Kindergarten teacher, she will understand why it was so important for her to learn equations.

Until then, I hope she never looses her interest in the world.  I hope she keeps asking hard questions.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Busy summer

Life has been busy this summer.
We've done:

Parkour day camp
Boy Scout camp
Youth Conference
Summer school
Goofing off
A visit to the frozen yogurt place - YUM
Hikes in the local national forest
Tons of laundry
Monkee Marathon
Visits to many local playgrounds
Improv classes and a performance
Computer game playing
Writing (me) lots and lots of writing
Working at the parks
A birthday party
Caught a cough
Two 1000 piece puzzles
A trip to the pool
Sewed a purse
Kindergarten registration
Shopping at new malls
School supply shopping (cries)
4th of July BBQ
Went to see fireworks
Watched movies
Jumped on the trampoline
Canned salsa, tomato sauce and ketchup
Grew tomatoes, cucumbers, cherry peppers, 1 squash, 5 kinds of mint, and a few strawberries
Built a small chicken coop
Started collecting eggs from our chickens (hooray!)
Baked cookies, cupcakes and brownies

It's been a very busy summer and lots of fun!  School starts in 3 weeks and we all have mixed emotions.  Some of us are very excited and some of us not so much.  The Kindergartener is crazy excited!

Wonder what else we'll squeeze in these last few weeks.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The confused tree

We have a tree in our yard.  I don't know what kind it is, but it is season confused.

It's leaves have started to turn red and are falling to the ground.  It did this last July.  It was completely bare by September.

It's like how the stores get rid of pool toys and start putting out school supplies on July 5th. I just want to shout, "No, no stores!  It's only the middle of summer.  Put those school supplies away for another four weeks!"  I want to yell at the tree, "No, no tree!  It's only mid-July, keep your green leaves for another two months."

As much as I love fall, I'm not ready for it yet.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The cake contest

Mullet cakes, squished cakes, burning cakes.  This is the annual 4th of July cake contest!

Welcome, welcome to the annual Family 4th of July cake contest.  For the last number of years, Molly, her mom and her siblings (and their spouses) have taken part in this tradition.  This year was an especially good year.  The best so far.

First we have the " 'Merica Mullet" cake.  Liberty in the front, Freedom in the back!  Yeah, baby!

Next we have Big Tex.  For 60 years, Big Tex stood in the heart of Dallas Fair Park, welcoming all who entered the huge state fair.  Sadly, last year, his 60th birthday, he burned to the ground.  Here is a cake honoring the great Big Tex.

"Houston, we have a problem."  No, it wasn't Neil Armstrong who said that, but you know he wanted to when he saw Darth Vader pop out from behind his space craft.  "Houston, we've got an alien with a mask and a red pointy light standing next to the rover!" 

Next we have a homage to a great American tradition - hot dog eating contest.  Looks like he had a few too many.

And finally we have the beloved Texas road kill - an Armadillo.  No trip through Texas is complete without seeing one of these babies on the road.  No one in Texas has ever actually seen one of these things alive.

And that's it, folks.  Which cake will win?  Who do you vote for?

Friday, July 05, 2013

Let the canning begin!

I was very busy today.  I canned 2 jars of salsa from our homegrown tomatoes!  The funny thing is, I can't stand the touch or smell of any of the ingredients.  I don't like the texture of tomatoes and my eyes are still burning from the two onions I chopped, even though it has been more than 12 hours since I made the salsa.  However, I do like the smell of the cilantro I used.  The cilantro was grown in my herb garden.

I mentioned we had  two cucumber plants come up on their own this year.  They have produced at least 10 beautiful cucumbers and they aren't done.  This picture is from last week, when we first started harvesting from the garden.  There are also some pea pods.  Hubby cooked and ate those today.

We still have a ton of pickles that I made last year, but I didn't want this years cucumbers to go to waste, so I tried a new recipe tonight and made crispy refrigerator pickles.  They are cucumbers, garlic, dill, lemon juice and cold water.  We'll see how those turn out...

This is the jelly.  You can see the lovely colors.  The pink one is, of course, watermelon jelly.  The second is cover jelly and the third small jar is chamomile jelly.  Aren't they lovely?

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Summer garden

We have a garden again this summer and it has been great.

I wrote back a bit about my herb garden and the things we have planted.  Here we are a month later and I thought I'd update.  But no pictures.  I've been rather lazy about the camera lately and my computer isn't reading my camera's card.

I've made three kinds of jelly this season:  watermelon jelly, clover jelly and chamomile jelly.  The clover was made from the billions of clover flowers growing right here in my own yard.  The chamomile was made from the chamomile flowers in my herb garden.  (I bought the watermelon)

The clover jelly is a light golden brown and was so delicious.
The chamomile jelly is almost clear, but with the lightest hint of golden color.  It's lovely, but I haven't tried any yet.
The watermelon jelly (more like a jam really, as it has some texture) is the loveliest pink.  It is tasty, but a little odd to taste watermelon in jelly form.

The funny thing is, I'm not a big jelly eater, but I love making the jelly.  Once we make it through this jar of watermelon, we'll open a chamomile next. 

Our garden has about 20 tomato plants.  Every plant has several tomatoes, and they are just now starting to turn red.  I picked four yesterday.  We didn't plant cucumbers, but we've had two volunteer plants come up and they are producing beautiful cucumbers.  I've picked four of those.  I'm not planning on picking this year.  We've still got about 80 quarts of pickles from last summer.

We have one strawberry plant that has produced 3 strawberries.  They are kind of little, sad, withered things, but I hear it takes a year and a half for them to really get established. 

So, this is our gardening/preservatives successes so far for the year.  I'm looking forward to more as the summer continues.  With the many tomatoes I hope we will get, I'll make the Hubby a lot of salsa and I will try my hand at tomato sauce for pasta.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The herb garden

The herb garden!
Did you know chives put out purple flowers?  Neither did I, but they do!

Chamomile Flowers:

Last year I had almost no chamomile flowers and my parsley was only about three inches high.  This year is very different.  That's Chamomile and parsley next to each other in the picture below.  Since taking this picture a two weeks ago, they have both doubled in height.

Mint!  I've got peppermint, spearmint and chocolate mint growing.  The smell is lovely.  Also in this picture is cinnamon basil and lemon thyme.  It's not a great picture, but as you can see, everything is doing wonderfully well this year.

Next post:  The Backyard Garden...

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Here chickie, chickie, chickie

We've got more chickens!!

Last Thursday we got some new baby chicks.  These are Americanas. 

They are very different from out other chickens, which are red pullets.  They are cute and fluffy, but they are more skittish, faster and pretty good jumpers.  I can't tell who is who.  I haven't learned their names, but they include Blackie and Joey (the two black ones), Cinnamon, Papalapa Ding Dong, Kirk, Jean-Luc, and Cleopatra. They were a random pick after they hatched and we don't know which ones are males and which are females.  We'll find that out as they get older.  We only want hens, though.
They like to sleep in their food and they jump on each other's heads.  I still just call them all nuggets.
Our other chickens are lovely red hens now.  They have not started laying eggs, yet.  Still waiting on them.  We've bought two grown chickens.  For a while they were both laying eggs, but now only one of them is.  The other one had a bit of excitement this week.  She got out of her pen and flew off over the fence.  We couldn't find her or catch her.  For two days we kept an eye out and set traps to get her back.  Finally our neighbor saw her.  It took three separate attempts with no less than five people each time, but our wayward chicken was finally recaptured and her wings promptly clipped. 
I go visit the chickens every day and usually take a treat for them.  They LOVE bread.  They also love macaroni and cheese and spaghetti noodles.  When I come up to the pen, they all run to the door and start hopping, excited for their treat.  I'm certainly enjoying our chickens.  I hope they all start laying eggs soon and I hope more of these baby chicks are hens rather than roosters.  We'll see.....

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Cicadas!  Apparently, every 17 years, a species of cicadas comes out to eat, shed, grow, mate and die.  This is the 17 year.  These cicadas hatched back in 1996!  They are everywhere!  I grew up with cicadas.  They are part of the summer sights and sounds, but I've NEVER seen so many at once. 

Shells all over the ground in the front yard.

See the shells hanging all over the trees?

They are everywhere!!

I can not take credit for this photo:
Personally, I wouldn't want to get close enough to take this picture.
This is what they look like up close.  They are UGLY!  The cicadas I grew up with were green and white.  These are like Halloween nightmares - black and orange with red eyes.  Thankfully they are pretty stupid bugs (I guess that's what happens when you live underground for 17 years) and they don't bother me too much.  Cicadas are just a part of summer.

Also in bug land, I've started seeing lightning bugs in the fields in parts of the county as I drive from park to park.  Summer is just around the corner when the lightning bugs appear!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ruby Cube is Back!

Ruby Cube's latest episode of "Projects in Your Pajamas" is available for your listening pleasure.

This week she is talking about lawn décor and what to do when your broken mailbox is beyond repair!

Enjoy y'all!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Writers Block

I've been having writers block for quite a while.  The stories I want to write aren't happening.  I sit down and can't come up with two lines that I like.  It's been like that here at the blog.  I want to write.  I pull up a blank page everyday, but nothing comes to me.  Nothing.  I don't know where my brain is these days, but it's not feeling very creative.

I find it very frustrating.  Usually, if I start to feel this way, I just move on to a different project.  Unfortunately for me, I've been feeling this way for such a very long time now and I move from project to project feeling the same way with each one.  Perhaps I should try something new, but I would really like to finish one thing before starting more.

I don't know what it will take.  The muse is gone.  Hopefully she will return.  Until then, I'm feeling so unlike myself.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

When you just keep moving....

We've lived in so many homes over the years.  I can't find something in this house, even though we've lived here for about 15 months.  I can remember where it was in the house before this one and the one before that, but I can't find it here.

So frustrating.....

Ah well, I'll find it the next time we move.  (NOT anytime soon, thankfully, although I would like to find a few missing items - my bluebirds of happiness, a folder with some old play scripts I used when I did theater as a kid, a particular kitchen utensil.... you know, that stuff.)

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Ruby Cube's newest episode

Hey ya'll, my comedy home improvement podcast has 5 episodes now.  This newest episode is all about projects for the outdoors. 

What do you do with the old jalopy in the yard?  Ruby's got the answer.

Monday, April 29, 2013

List of questions

A list of interesting questions:
  1. Describe your note-taking style and habits.
  2. Do you believe that we are all here for a reason?  What might the reason be?
  3. What comes to mind when someone uses the phrase prolonging the magic?
  4. Have you ever done something just to feel the danger, or to feel alive?
  5. What is your favorite cliché?
  6. How do rainy days make you feel?
  7. What is the most amount of money you have had at one time?
  8. Write a celebrity crush list.
Definitely interesting questions.  Some inspire deep thought, some require very little, some are just feelings about something or an observation.  Just quickly to go through these eight questions:

#1 - Note taking.  When I was in elementary school, we had to learn how to take notes.  My teacher would write outlines on the board for us to copy.  I HATED it.  It was several years down the road when I realized how important knowing how to make an outline is.  Kids in schools don't learn this anymore.  It's too bad.  Important skill that is being lost.  One that can make report writing easier.

#2 - Of course we are here for a reason.  Why?  Too deep to go into.  There is also a very basic physical reason why we are here.  Don't understand?  Time to have a long talk with the parents.

#3 - "Prolonging the magic" - I guess is another way of saying anticipation.  Sometimes the anticipation of something is better than the actual thing.  It's like Christmas.  I love Christmas day, but the month long anticipation leading up to it is even better.  I guess in the phrase "prolonging the magic" is not quite the same.  It would be like waking up on Christmas morning and finding out you can't open presents or eat the turkey dinner until tomorrow, when Grandma is scheduled to arrive into town.

#4 - Have I ever done something just to feel the danger?  Not really.  Nothing dangerous anyway.  I guess I've done some things slightly on the rebellious side just to do it.  I suppose driving the golf-cart-like vehicle in the dark, at it's highest speed through the walking paths of the park I work at, just because I can, could be an example of this.  Not necessarily dangerous, though.

#5 - Favorite cliché?  "It never rains but it pours."

#6  - How do rainy days make me feel? I love rainy days.  They make me happy. They can fuel my sadness if I'm having a sad day.  They can make me feel nostalgic.  They make me think of magic, too.  Not magic tricks, but like magic in a wonderful fairy tale.  Hard to explain.....

#7 - The most amount of money I've ever had at one time?  I don't really know.  In my hands?  In my bank account?  Stashed away in a secret hiding place in my room?  Don't know.  Not telling.

#8 - Celebrity crush list?  Not putting that here.  I have one, don't get me wrong, but it will not be revealed here.  Sorry.

No reason for this post.  I was looking through a list of journal-prompts.  Some of them inspire deep thoughts.  Many I found among the list, I wouldn't want to answer, such as "If you could tell the world one thing, what would it be?"  First off, I don't really know.  Secondly, I know it could never happen, so why torture myself with the idea.  Thirdly, if I could, most of the world wouldn't care what it was I had to say.  Fourth, I don't think it is a question that should ever have an answer.  If we only have one thing in our lives to say, our minds aren't thinking creatively anymore and I couldn't bear that.

Friday, April 26, 2013

More Bluebirds of Happiness

Some more funny pictures I took of my Bluebirds of Happiness back in 2009 and 2010:

Very patriotic Bluebirds of Happiness!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Don't you love the big bluebird, who is about to eat a TUMS?

The Bluebirds of Happiness with a bar of soap that just makes you happy look at.  I don't know why I took their picture with a bar of soap.


Growing tomatoes with the Bluebirds of Happiness:

Preparing for a rainy day - The Bluebirds of Happiness and food storage

Nothing like sharing a fresh home baked cookie with the Bluebirds.

Getting ready for a new school year:

Visiting friends at the family castle:

Spring flowers make even the Bluebirds happy.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Toally Useless Possession that makes me smile

I found the quirkiest writing prompt recently and I had to try it:

Name a totally useless possession and how you came to acquire it.

I have a Bluebird of Happiness.  By itself it is completely useless as it is a bit of blue glass in the shape of a bird.  Even more useless, but adding to the fun, is I have two of these blue glass birds - a normal size and a baby size.

I wish I could remember exactly how they came to be in my possession.  I only know that I got both of them from my mom.  I believe mom acquired them (or at least one of them) from a student when she taught school, many years ago. 

We laughed about these little Bluebird of Happiness knick-knacks.  It became something of a joke between us - the useless glass birds and the fact that we possessed two of them.  In all honesty, the Bluebirds of Happiness have brought my mom and I just that: happiness.  They make us laugh.  I smile every time I see them.  They make me think of mom.

These are my Bluebirds of Happiness.  They are playing in the pool on a hot summer day.  Can you see them?  They are rather camouflaged in the blue pool.
One day I might share the reason I took such funny, ridiculous pictures of my Bluebirds of Happiness. :)  Until then, I hope they have made you happy today.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My hand's weird skin issue

I haven't written much here.  For whatever reason, I'm not thinking terribly creatively anymore.  I don't have my funny little random thoughts anymore.  I'm not sure why, but I come here, to my blog everyday, trying to think of anything to write and come up with zero.

My life isn't bad.  My kids are generally really great and I love my job.  Because of my job, however, I haven't been an active part of my improv group anymore.  I always ask for those days off, but every improv night, they call me up. Someone has called in sick and from what I can tell, they don't have many of us available to work at the large number of  parks that need to be staffed daily.  I'm always happy to help out, but it has prevented me from participating in my theater group.  I miss it.

One thing that I've been dealing with for a while is the skin on my right hand.  It started a little over a year ago, a small rash on the knuckle of my index finger that has gradually spread across the top of my hand, and up the sides of my fingers.  It is now spread to the underside of my fingers as well, but thankfully it hasn't reached my thumb or my palm.  Weird, isn't it?

I don't know what it is.  Eczema maybe?  That is the closest thing I can find to a diagnosis.  My hand not only itches all the time, but the skin is very painful.  It is hard to make a fist or straighten my fingers without cracking more of the skin and causing more pain.  The skin of my hand is covered in open sores.  The skin is dry and flakes constantly.  There are tiny blisters up and down my fingers.  They hurt when they are full and itch when they pop and it takes very little to make them pop.  Just moving my hand or my fingers rubbing against each other can make the blisters pop.  Lovely descriptions, I know.  My skin is red, itchy and painful.

Daily activities are sources for pain - hot water stings and is painful, so washing dishes and taking showers are tough.  Opening jars or bottles tear the fragile skin up.  The dry, flaking skin gets caught on clothes while I'm folding laundry.  The most mundane of tasks are a pain to my poor right hand.  What can you do?  Do the chores anyway.  They have to be done.  It's sad, but I've learned to live with the constant itching and stinging in my hand.  Perhaps that is just what I'll have to do.

I'm trying different things.  Some friends suggested tea tree oil rubbed onto the rash.  I've tried and will continue to try until the bottle runs out, but all it seems to do is dry out the skin more, making it more painful.  It stings like crazy too when it gets into the open sores.  I have used creams meant to relieve eczema and I have a cocoa butter stick that is soothing (and smells great.)  The creams don't take away the pain, in fact they usually add to the stinging, but they relieve the skin of it's dryness for a little bit.  And when I say little bit, I mean 10 - 15 minutes before my hand has dried out again.  I've started slathering my hand in cream and wearing a glove to try and keep the moisture against my skin for longer.  It works in it's own way.  However, I feel very silly walking around with one glove on and I can't do chores that involve food or washing with the cotton gloves on.  I've wondered if a pressure glove, like the ones burn victims wear, would be helpful.  They are tight on the skin and would prevent friction from anything else touching my sensitive skin.

I'm also trying a few herbal extracts that are suppose to be helpful.  So far, nothing has helped.  I'll get through these bottles of herbs and if nothing changes, I won't take them again.  I'm trying to cut sugar out of my diet.  I went four days without sugar this week.  Let me say that was not a good four days.  Despite getting rid of sugar and eating any sugary snacks, thus lowering my caloric intake by a good deal, I managed to gain four pounds.  WHAT'S UP WITH THAT???  I know that four days is nothing, but I had hoped it might make some sort of difference to my health, weight or skin, but all it accomplished was me being an awful witch during that fourth day.  Sometimes emotional health is more important.  Sooooo, I'm trying to go three days with no sugar and one day to enjoy a special sugary treat.  I think I can do that.  Three days is about my limit.  :)  Pathetic, I know.

OK, long post for my weird skin issues, but it is a 24/7 thing I deal with.  What a pain.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Life's funny little joys

One of life's funny little joys, by Molly - 

Reaching into your purse for one thing and finding a chocolate kiss.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Smart vs. Beauty OR Mom vs. Too-Smart of a Four Year Old

My soon-to-be 5 year old is smart.  She knows she is smart.  But, she loves to hear me tell her how smart she is.

She comments on how she was a smart baby. She requires that I agree with her.

She comments on how she is smart now because she can do _________ (fill in the blank with anything she knows how to do.)  Once again, I am required to agree with her or she will say it over and over again until I do.

She asks me things like, "Am I smarter than Sister?" to which I usually end up replying, you are both smart, but Sister is older and knows a lot more than you do.  And then she reminds me how smart she was as a baby.

She will announce to me some reason of logic she has come up with.  You can't tell her it is anything otherwise, even if her logic is completely off.  She will simply say, "I know, but___ (and restates her own logic.)  Arguing with her on this point is futile. I just smile and nod.

I didn't want my daughters to grow up with the idea that they should only be beautiful (even though they both are.)  I once read an interesting article written by a Dr. Mom in one of those highly over-priced parenting magazines that:  If we only tell our daughters how beautiful they are, they will think that beauty is the most important thing and they will not work to learn, go to school, or do anything of value with their life.  So, throughout their lives, I've told my daughters not only how beautiful they are, but how smart they are as well.  I've encouraged them to learn anything they want and become whatever they want because they are smart enough to do so.

I think I've created an overly-smart-smarty-pants of a four year old monster.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Growing Nuggets

Our chicken nuggets have grown a lot.  Each day they change and get bigger.  After the first week, they started to change.  They were quite ugly as their adult feathers started to sprout under their baby fuzz.  We joked at how they are going through the awkward teen stage.  They aren't quite so ugly anymore.  They still have some baby fuzz and sound like baby chicks, but they have many of their adult feathers. 

They are speedy fast and getting more difficult to catch.  We take them out of their bucket to clean out their stinky bucket each day.  If they day is sunny, we put them in the yard while we wash the tub.  They are happy chickies when we do this.  They are very unhappy when we catch them to put them back into their bucket.

Really, they are getting too big for their bucket, but we don't have anywhere else to put them yet.  We are hoping the weather will turn warm soon.  They keep pecking at their bucket, trying to escape.  We've also had to put a chicken wire lid on the bucket because they can hop out now.

We can't tell them apart anymore, not since they've gotten their real feathers.  I call each one Nugget.

A little time in the yard.

Really, they've changed a lot since this picture was taken 3 days ago.  It's amazing how fast they are growing.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

The improv group's latest show

Today my teen improv group had their 4th performance.  It was at the local mall, on a stage, with sound equipment.  Yeah, we're going for the big time here!~

We had some technical difficulties and the first few sketches the kids did were completely inaudible.  But, with a little help from a friend, the mics started to work.  It was a lot of fun and a good learning experience for us all.

Check out my theater's website for pictures:  Teenprov! Performance

Monday, March 04, 2013

Meet our nuggets

We've got ourselves six little chicken nuggets.  They have survived two days and two nights with us.  They are getting lots and lots of love.  They have been given names.

Oldest son named his Mary Elena
Second son named his Berk
Oldest daughter named hers Fluffette
Youngest son named his Frosty
Youngest daughter named hers Rosalinda
I picked the final name and it is Nugget

They are almost impossible to tell them apart, but Berk does have a different pattern on her back that makes her a little easier to distinguish.  My husband attempted to 'mark' the chicks by dyeing two of them.  Frosty has some blue in his wings and Rosalinda is pink.  You can kind of see them in the pictures.  I just call them all Nugget.

I was getting ready to clean out their stinky bucket when I took this picture.  They didn't like the box I had for them....
They live in a bucket in the bathtub and will live there until they are big enough to be outside. I've never dealt with chickens before, so I don't know how long that will take. Three weeks, maybe??  Until then, they are super cute and oh so fluffy!!!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lesson in sharing

I got a cold in my doze.

Thank you, my children, for showing me you have learned the lesson so well that I've spent so many years trying to teach you.  You have learned to share.

Unfortunately, you have learned to share your germs and I really didn't need those shared with me.

If you need me, just look for the pile of tissue.  I'm somewhere under there.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Peter Davison

This past weekend, I got to meet and get a picture with the actor Peter Davison.  I used to watch him back in the 80's on TV.  My Mom was a big fan of All Creatures Great and Small.  I would watch it with her. In the 80's I didn't know all that was going on in the show, but I remember the three main characters very well -James, Siegfried, and Tristan.  Tristan was always my favorite.  Years later I re-watched the show and found Tristan was still my favorite character. 

Peter Davison as Tristan Farnon
Later I found out he was also the 5th Doctor in Doctor Who, a favorite TV show in our family. 
So cool!  I got to meet Peter Davison!

Peter Davison.  Still a good looking guy.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Fog

One Sunday, I was scheduled to park sit and woke up to a thick fog.  I carefully drove to the park to have the gate opened by  7:15am.  The park was covered in fog.  I couldn't see to the other side of the park.  It was cold, misty and just plain foggy.  Imagine my surprise when at 7:30, I see cars in the parking lot and people jogging along the trail.  I just wanted to shout, "Go home people, it is a foggy, miserable day!"

Thankfully for me, I had the park's maintenance office to spend the day in.  I'd go out every hour to check on things around the park.  I would make sure the bathrooms were clean, the trashes were empty and no one had started a fire in the shelter's fireplaces.  The shelters have fireplaces, but you are not allowed to have fires in them.  Go figure.

The fog didn't lift until about two in the afternoon and it was back by five.  It didn't matter, though.  The park was filled the entire day with dedicated park goers and joggers.  When the park closed at 5:30, it was almost dark and a thick fog laid across its open fields.  I actually had to go kick people out of the park.  Go home!  It is time for a blanket and a mug of hot cocoa.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The park sitter observes football

I am a park ranger.  Well, more of a park monitor or park sitter.  I work in county parks.  Not the great lovely national parks.  County parks, which are complete with baseball diamonds, soccer fields, play grounds, walking trails, wide open spaces to run in and shelters with picnic tables.

I've seen and done some interesting things.  I've only been working this job four months and only in the fall and winter.  I'm sure spring and summer will only bring more stories as people come out of their warm homes to the fresh, warm, humid air.

I came on in October.  The days were getting shorter and the nights cooler, but many days were still warm and pleasant.  It was mid-football season.  Football.  It is a highly misunderstood sport - by me.  I don't get it at all.  Why would anyone want to put on 10 lbs of plastic gear and run head first into someone else wearing 10 lbs of plastic gear? 

Apparently, I am not the only one baffled by this sport.  Each week, hanging out on the playground next to the football fields were four girls who looked to be the ages of 9-11.  They would sit on top of the monkey bars and talk.  I imagine they met at the first football game and formed the "I'm Stuck at the Playground and Bored Out of My Mind While My Dumb Brother Plays Football Club."  Similar clubs exist during baseball and soccer seasons.

My own brothers played soccer.  The first couple of years, I had to go to all the games.  Luckily for me, my best friend lived next door to my brothers best friend, who played on the same team as my brother.  She would often come to the games and we would hang out together.  Is that a best friend, or what?  She didn't have to come to the games, but she did, just so we could hang out together.

There were no bleachers at the field my brother played on.  You brought your own lawn chairs and blankets.  My friend and I would alternate watching the game, walking around the field, or sitting in the grass, making clover flower necklaces.

So, I feel for these sisters - drug off to games they have no interest in, sitting on the monkey bars with other sisters, plotting their revenge on their brothers.  Just wait until drill team starts, mister!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Texans Talk Weather

Texans love to discuss the weather.  When we greet each other, it goes something like this:

"Howdy, Buddy."
"Howdy, Joe."
"Quite the weather we've been having."
"Yep.  It's been nice today.  I'm glad it got up into the nineties to melt all the ice from yesterday's hail storm."
"Did you hear there is suppose to be a tornado tomorrow?"
"Yep.  Got my storm gear already set up in the bathroom."

Texans will even discuss the weather when they aren't in Texas.  I live in Virginia.  My grandmother lives in New York.  We are both Texan, born and raised.  When we talk on the phone, we take the time to discuss the weather in our states.  Then, we discuss the weather in Texas, where my parents still live.

When I talk to my dad, he will ask, "So, y'all been having some weather?"

I think Texans fascination with the weather goes back to when our lively-hood was depended upon the success of our cattle herds.  A close eye had to be kept on Texas's highly variable weather to ensure the safety of the herd.

"Hey Joe, did that tornady cause you any problems?
"Well, the house is gone, my wife was found in a tree two miles away, the barn is destroyed, but the herd is safe."
"Thank goodness for that."

Perhaps Texans discuss the weather because it can change from day to day, even hour to hour.  I remember, my childhood home faced north.  We would get these northern cold fronts and more than once, I watched storms as they approached the house.  You could stand on the door step, feel the wind pick up and watch as the storm travelled down the street towards the house.

"The storm is at Lizzie's house," I would announce to my mom.  "Now it's at the Johnsons.  Now it's two houses away.....  and now here it is!"  Cold wind and rain would rush through the door.
"Molly! Close that door.  You're letting the storm into the house!"

When I started driving, I had to drive my brother to an activity one summer afternoon.  It started pouring rain and rained so hard, I couldn't see the car in front of me.  The rain pounded on the car's roof, deafening in its noise.  I drove quite slowly, watching for the red lights of the car in front of me.

Texas weather.  There is nothing like it and Texans love to discuss their beloved insane weather.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Park Maintenance

Thankfully maintenance is not my job.  I have no interest in the upkeep of baseball fields, performing repairs, checking sprinkler systems, and the like.  Especially in the cold winters or hot summers.  I wouldn't mind mowing the grass on the soccer fields, IF it involved a riding lawn mower with a roof.

However, on the days I park sit, I am responsible for the trash cans.  I learned that certain parks, during football season, managed to collect tons of trash.  Ten huge trash barrels surround the field.  During the course of the day, each barrel fills with trash.  These barrels are as high as my waist and when full of trash, are quite heavy.  My job is to empty the barrels.  Somehow, I am required to maneuver  holding a trash bag over the barrel, pick the barrel up, hold it upside down and shake it until all the trash falls from the barrel and into the bag.

I am not strong or coordinated enough to do this successfully.  Most of the time, I manage to dump half of the trash onto the ground thanks to the bag slipping off the rim of the barrel while I was holding it upside down.  When this happens, I mumble a "gosh dang-it" and I stoop down to pick up the trash and throw it into the bag.  There are people all around, watching football games.  I'm sure that they find me much more entertaining than the game.  I'm waiting for them to bring their folding chairs over, sit in a semi-circle around the trash barrel and sip from their cans of soda while watching me as I attempt to be a good park sitter and empty the trash cans.  I am the new spectator sport. 

I developed a deep dislike of coffee one fall day.  A competition of cheerleaders was scheduled to begin at nine.  This meant that by 8:30, the parking lot was full and the park was populated by little girls in cheerleader costumes with their shivering moms in coats, clutching cups of gas-station coffee and cursing themselves for signing their daughters up for cheerleading in the first place.

By the end of the competition, at lunch-time, the day had warmed up to a pleasant temperature.  Coats had been shed, cheers had been cheered and trophies handed out.  They went home.  Football games would be starting soon, so I decided it would be a good time to collect the trash.

The trash barrels were filled with the coffee cups that had previously been the cold cheerleader mom's life line.  I'll never understand why they paid for a large coffee, only to drink half of it and throw the rest away.  By the time I had dumped the first trash barrel into the garbage bag and ground, I was covered in coffee.  The trash bags, which had no holes in them, were dripping cold coffee.  It just seeped through the plastic of the bags.  I put the trash bags into the bed of the park's golf car-like maintenance truck and drove them to the far side of the parking lot to the dumpsters.  I proceeded to toss the bags into the dumpsters, successfully managing to get even more coffee on me.  The truck bed had pools of tan-colored coffee in it. I left that mess for the park's maintenance people.  They can wash it out later.

I'm looking forward to summer, when the coffee cups will be replaced with sodas and the trash barrels will be swarming with bees.  Good times are yet to come.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Getting kids to bed is a nightmare.

There is no "sweet dreams" when bedtime comes around.


Suddenly there are books to bed read and notes from school to be signed.
Suddenly they are hungry for a night-night snack.  Pop-tarts are toasted and eaten.
Suddenly the kids have deep questions about life to ask.  What kind of home does a skunk have? What does a warthog eat?  Can I draw a picture of a spaceship tomorrow? What is a Mobius strip?  Are germs bacteria?  How do you manufacture things to be smooth?  Can you tuck me in?

One daughter goes to the bathroom about 6 times before she settles in for the night.
The same daughter will hug the Hubby and myself when we tell her it is bed time.  She will return later to ask us a question of sorts.  (See one of the questions above.)  She hugs us again.  She goes to use the bathroom for the first time and comes back to tell us good night.  We ask, did you brush your teeth?  She goes to brush her teeth.  She returns to tell us goodnight and get another hug.  If I happen to be wandering the house putting toys (laundry, dishes, etc.) away, she will come and find me for another goodnight hug.  As I walk past her room, she will call out goodnight again and blow me a kiss.  She gets up to go to the bathroom for the second and third time, each time returning to say goodnight.  JUST GO TO BED, ALREADY!

It's not that she is lonely, she shares a room with her 4 year old sister.  If she leaves the room too many times, little sister gets tired of waiting for her roommate and comes to find Hubby or myself to hold her.

Then, we hear them walking around for another half hour.  What are they doing?  My kids walk like elephants and you can hear their every footstep in the house.  It doesn't matter where you or they are in the house, you can hear them walking.  The 14 year old with size 12 feet is particularly bad about that.

We should send them to bed an hour earlier than their bedtime because it takes them that long.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Turtle Monkeys

Each morning, my kids and I hang out at our bus stop, waiting for the school bus.  We live in a forested area.  Being winter, all the leaves are gone and we can see into the dense trees, something you can't do during the other seasons.

I love to look for birds and squirrels as we stand there waiting for the bus.  As far as birds go, we have blue jays, robins, cardinals, sparrows, finches, and woodpeckers.  Squirrels run around the trees and we love to watch them.

For whatever reason, my youngest son began calling the squirrels 'turtle monkeys.'  Today he kept trying to tease me by pointing somewhere in the trees and calling out "There's a turtle monkey!"  And of course, I would look and he would laugh at me.  He asked me if turtles can jump.  No, I say, they can't.  The funny little ideas that go about in kids minds....

Several weeks ago while waiting for the bus, we saw a robin get run over by a car right in front of us.  Miraculously, the robin survived and flew away.  It must have gotten in between the wheels and tossed about by the wind current the car made.  Despite the happy outcome, it was rather traumatic to watch.

Stand at the bus stop.  Learn about life and death, jumping turtles, and the effects of cars on robins.

I can't believe it is February already.  If the groundhogs prediction is in any way accurate, the trees will start to bloom soon.  Spring was early last year and I remember by the end of March, I was planning my garden.  By April, I had been able to plant some things.  I guess it's time to start thinking about those things soon.  Happy Valentines Day!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Growing up

My kids are growing.  I keep telling them to stop growing up, but just like I ask them to keep their rooms clean, they are not doing what I've asked.  They continue to grow.

I like to hear my four and seven year olds have conversations.  They can be each others worse enemy, but they can also be the best of playmates.

For years, my seven year old has been wearing the same clothes.  Really, there are pictures of him when he was 4 and 5 and he is wearing the same clothes he is in today.  He has grown very little.  Last month, we realized his diet was mostly cereal and bread.  He dislikes most everything else.  There was very little protein going into his tiny body.  We started buying him those Boost shakes.  I noticed this week that the pants I bought him at the beginning of the school year are too short.  He's actually grown!  Still, I don't want him to grow up.

My twelve year old has reached my height.  He wasn't allowed to get taller than me!

I'm glad they aren't little anymore, though.  I like this age we are in now.  My oldest is a teen, but he can't drive yet.  My youngest isn't in school yet, but she's not a diaper-wearing toddler.  The others are nicely in between.  It's fun.  They are great.  I'm glad they are growing.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dreaded birthday parties

I'm not a fan of birthday parties.  Never really have been.  Oh, I've done a few, especially when my first two children were small, but now, we hardly ever have them.  (This is one of those sad cases where my first children got special things like birthday parties and kids number 4 and 5 are lucky to get a frosted cake.)

My kids come home from school periodically with birthday party invitations.  If we're lucky, we've got something else going that day and they can't go.  Occasionally I'll "loose" the invitation or as I have with the last two parties, "forget" to RSVP.  I feel bad about doing that.  I really do, but the truth is, I hate taking my kids to birthday parties!

I hate shopping for a kid I've never met (as is the case with 90% of the invites that come home from school.)  Then, for the actual party, I either have to drop them off and remember to pick them up two hours later (yes, I forgot to pick up a kid once) or interrupt other activities with the other kids or family because it's time to go pick up the party kid.  OR, worse, I have to stay at the party, sitting with a paper cup of lemonade while a bunch of kids and parents I don't know run around like crazy.

Then, there are those parties where an event center is rented.  The food is good pizza, sodas and a huge hand-made fondant cake.  The mom looks calm and happy and is easily directing kids to various games and activities.  She never breaks a sweat as she hands out homemade designer cookies and goodie bags to make the Academy Award winners jealous.  You know the kind.

I am not one of those moms.  My kids laugh because for the last three years, or so, any and all attempts I've made at decorating a cake have been disastrous.  Really.  I tell them to quit complaining.  The cake might be ugly, but it tastes good.  So eat it!  One year, when my youngest son turned 5, I couldn't find any birthday cake candles.  I was sure I had some, but I could not find them.  Determined that he would blow out five candles on his cake, I got five red taper candles.  They put some massive holes in the already pathetically decorated cake, but he got to blow out his candles and make his wish.

Somehow, I think his wish was that I not make him a birthday cake in the future.

I never put pictures of my kids on my blog, but oh, if you could see my son's face in this picture....  He was not happy about this cake.

This past year I got smart with his birthday.  I bought him a cake!  Yes, one chocolate supermarket cake that cost $15.  I could have made him one for less than $4, but it wouldn't have been so beautifully decorated. I also made sure I had nice, little, normal birthday candles.  He was thrilled.

I got a little off topic, birthday parties.  I don't like them!  I don't do them for my kids, I probably won't attend the one for yours.  Don't take it personally.  It's not you, it's me.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sometimes you just have to talk it all out...

Last post I questioned whether I should write or not.  I decided that I would keep writing until I didn't want to anymore.  And that happens.  I go in waves.  I'll go weeks or months and just write, write, write.  Then I'll go months without an idea.  Or I'll decide to work on another project.  Then I go back to writing.  It's all fine and good.  So, for now, I'll write until something else catches my attention.

I was feeling rather down, though, about my writing.  It's not the greatest literature out there, but it's not so bad either.  I've definitely read worse..... but today I got a bit of a boost.

At church, one of the ladies approached me and told me that her book club wants to read my book for next month's meeting and would I come to their meeting and talk.  REALLY??  Be a guest speaker at a book club? Awesome!  OK, she told me there are only 4 or so ladies in the book club, but still....  it's cool.  I was flabbergasted.  She told me she had just finished reading it last week and she thought it was a cute book.  That was certainly a boost I really needed.  It made me feel happy.

It's not easy being a mom.  Ninety nine percent of what we do goes completely unnoticed and unappreciated.  I have felt that I (that Molly) has almost ceased to exist.  Everything about who I am has been put on hold to raise kids and it might never resurface because it's been tucked away so long while.  We (I) need those little compliments once in a while.  Today I got a compliment for being Molly and it felt good.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

To write or not to write

I love story writing.  I write stories constantly.  I've got about four I'm working on and each is very different from each other.

Over the last three weeks I hand wrote, in a spiral notebook, 108 pages of story.  It's a fun story and I have since typed it up onto my computer.  I tweaked the story some as I typed it and corrected a lot of spelling errors.  I'm a terrible speller.  Of course, when I type fast, I make a lot of typing errors too and have ended up with some funny typo mistakes.

Now that that story is finished, I can concentrate on some of the others.

But the thing is, do I continue writing or not?  Is it worth spending that amount of time on something that will never be shared?  No one will ever read my stuff.  It's not that I don't want anyone to, I do!  I want people to read my stories.  I've submitted my writing to publishers and magazines.  Rejected.  I've self-published my book and sold about 15 copies (mostly to family).  I've added my stories to websites that are for that purpose (I've read a lot of stories from those sites, too.  I couldn't just add my own stuff and expect someone to read it without reciprocating.)  I've even started a blog for my stories.  I'm the only one who reads my own stuff.  My hubby and kids won't even read my work.

So, is it worth my continuing to write if nothing I write is ever read?  Perhaps I should put my efforts and energies into something else.  I'm not sure what, but I could be more productive in my life.....   I should be more productive with my life.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Chocolate Covered Bacon.... wait, what?

There had been a party at my husband's work the other day.  He got to try chocolate covered bacon.  When he came home and told me, I couldn't believe it.  It sounded just wrong.  What's more is he said it wasn't bad.

How can that be?

That night we grilled burgers.  I had a pack of bacon and I fried it up to have bacon burgers!  Hubby mentioned to the kids about chocolate covered bacon.  They wanted to try it.  I pulled out the chocolate almond paste, melted a few chunks and we all had our try.

It wasn't bad!  Almost like a chocolate covered pretzel, sweet and salty.

My 12 year old son thought he was in heaven.  He has found his new favorite food.  Good thing I don't buy bacon often.  So, if you should ever get the opportunity to try chocolate covered bacon, go for it.  (In small chunks, obviously.  Don't go for an entire strip.)

picture: Choclate Covered Bacon from My Kind of Cooking

Monday, January 14, 2013

Baptism by Fire: Basketball

Years and years ago, I probably surprised my family by studying recreation in college.  I hated sports.  But to me, recreation was more about camping and being outdoors than sports.  I had dreams of being a camp director, living and working in the forests and teaching kids how to cook on a 'buddy burner.'

So I got my degree in recreation and did some work along those lines, but not much.  Instead I fell in love, got married and had kids.

Now the kids are older and I decided to look for a part time job.  I got one with the local park and recreation department.  I had come home to my degree.

Sort of....

I enjoy working at the parks, even when I'm emptying trash cans filled with baggies of dog poo.  But last week, the parks and rec basketball season began. I don't like sports and I know very little of the games.  I thought I would simply be monitoring the gyms, leaving the game to the players, coaches and refs  But no, that is not quite what it turned out to be.

Come to find out, I have to make sure the scoreboard and clock are run correctly and that the official score book is kept.  I don't have to work these things myself, the teams provide one parent to do these two jobs.  However, guess who has to train the parents on how to run the clock and keep the book:  ME!  Yes, the girl who knows nothing about basketball has to keep track of the game, the clock, the possession arrow (don't even ask me to explain it, I'm still trying to understand the arrow), the points, and the fouls.  In three days last week, I sat through 14 games.

I'm learning a lot about basketball.  By the end of the season, I imagine I'll be quite the expert in parks and rec basketball.  It is fun.  I enjoy cheering for both teams since I'm on neither side.  I love the 8 year olds who run the same court and shoot the same hoops as the 17 year olds.  There are a lot fewer points in those 8 year old games.  Their games run a little slower.  It's good.  It has given me the chance to learn the game.  Saturday I watched a game where the players were 15-17 years old.  That was a fast moving game with lots of points.  I couldn't keep up.  Thankfully, the two guys running the clock and the book were TOTALLY into basketball and knew exactly what was going on at all times.  I quit trying to keep up and I just sat back and watched the game. 

Who would have guess that I, of all people, would be working a job with sports.  My mother is getting a good laugh over this one, I can tell you that.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

New year, good year

I have been so uninspired lately for my blog.  I'm writing constantly, but stories, not blog stuff.  It's not that things aren't going on here, they are.  They always are.  There is always something going on.  Kids, concerts, chopping up tree stumps in the yard.... there is always something. But it's been good stuff. We had a nice Christmas and a nice new year.  My job is going well.  The kids are good.  The Hubby's job is secure for another year.

My four year old has been rather funny lately.  She is very interested in talking about marriage and children.  All of her baby dolls get married to each other - every day.  She loves to take care of her babies, dress them, feed them, carry them around the house.  She keeps asking me when we are going to have a baby.  There are lots of ladies at church having babies, why not us?

I keep telling her she is my baby.  The end.

She is concerned about who she will marry one day.  She wonders if she can still live with us and she is also worried that she doesn't know how to cook.  I've assured her that she will find a nice man to marry one day, she won't want to live with us and I've promised I'll teach her how to cook.