Thursday, March 31, 2011


Learning about insects in kindergarten.
  Antenna, head, thorax, abdomen, wings, 6 legs.
Color them, catch them, cut them out of paper. 

I thought I knew all I needed to know about bugs.

Until today.

Him:  You know how to tell an insect from a bug?

Me:  How?

Him:  An INsect is a bug that's INside.  But if it's not INside, it's a bug.

I get it now. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Our Wine Club Has a Book Problem

...a quote from one of the ladies last Book Club.

The last time we met I was the hostess and the book we selected to read was this.....

I had already read it at that time and didn't reread it, so needless to say I had pretty much forgotten what it was about.  While it's not the best book I've ever read, I did find it enjoyable and very interesting to learn what Mennonites' religion and culture is really like from an insider. The book's a personal memoir by Rhoda Janzen.  Raised as a Mennonite in California, she left her family home and religion and spent the next years in the non-Mennonite America that most of us live in.  She married a bipolar atheist which resulted in a rather difficult marriage.  Her marriage ended after 15+ years and she was seriously injured in a car the same week. Rhoda makes the decision to go "home" to heal.  Returning to her Mennonite roots make for some funny observations.  I loved this author's wit and her character descriptions. 

The real reason we picked this book for our selection was our connection to the author.  One of our members was also raised in a Mennonite fact, the same Mennonite community in California as Rhoda Janzen.   Rhoda's father was the officiating minister (not sure if that's what you call him) at our friend's wedding in the 70's.  So we had our very own authority of that culture in our midst.

So this month's gathering at a different home, as we discussed this book, the topic of religion  came up...of our own religions related to or opposed the Mennonites.  The conversation became loud and controversial at times.  Perhaps a few political beliefs were thrown around.  Maybe even a discussion about morality.  Let's just say that opinions were not all the same.

  The only forbidden subject not covered was s*x.   
(hint: not six)

It was a this point that our wonderful hostess pulled out the chocolate cake. 

That will quiet a crowd quick.
Suddenly everyone was in agreement. 
Chocolate is good like that.

On a different note.......
As the world is worrying about the devastation from the earthquake in Japan, the leaking radiation, the situation in Libya, and drastic budget cuts to the education system, this is what I want y'all to know...

A local family was on their way back from a Spring Break trip to Florida.  The 15 year old son was driving.....taking advantage of having his permit.  For unknown reasons, he lost control of the SUV and it rolled several times.  The 11 year old brother and both parents were ejected. 

The 11 year old died and the mom and dad are critically injured and in a hospital in Tallahasee, Florida.  Apparently no seatbelts for those three.
I don't know this family but several people I know do.   I'm not telling this story to make you feel sad....although how could you not?  But I know this situation makes me put my daily stresses in the right perspective.

Radiation?  Budget Cuts?  I have no control over that.  But I can use my seat belt. I can be more attentive when driving.  I can pray for this family.   

Life can change quickly. 
Wear your seat belt.
Focus when you're at the wheel.

Stay in this day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beef....It's What's For Dinner

After the incident of the purse in Marshall's yesterday, I continued to shop....far away from the scene.  I found a Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade cookbook.

 I love Sandra Lee's cookbooks, so I picked this one up for 4.99.  If you're not familiar with her style of cooking, she takes store bought products (canned and packaged goods) and turns them into good she says "that taste like they're made from scratch."    I read cookbooks more than cook from them...but I already found a recipe in this one that I'm trying tonight.

*I added an egg in the cornbread mix and cream-style corn mix...

This recipe reminds me of one of my all time favorite meals my mother used to cook...and I cooked when my kids were little.  The meat mixture is made with cooked hamburger meat,  a jar of spaghetti sauce, sauteed onions and green bell peppers, then topped with a layer of canned corn (drained) and jiffy cornbread prepared as directed on the box....then cook at the degree and time on the box for cornbread. Yum. 

Tonight's meal will be with a Mexican spicy flare....... 

But first, I need to find a beautiful Mexican shirt like she has on to serve it up in.

Post Script:  Wednesday morning: This was delicious!  Served with a salad and a Margarita.  Yum.

Monday, March 14, 2011

My Purse....

I went to the eye doctor today.....then on to the place in the mall to get eye glasses in an hour.  Because I'm impatient like that.   They were having a buy one pair, get a spare I ended up with 2 pair of glasses.  Let's call these driving glasses.  My vision is 20/ it's not very bad unless I need to read the menu on the t.v. or a street sign at night. But I've been squinting more and more lately and it was good to get the eyes checked out. (I almost didn't pass the eye test when getting my driver's that was the first clue my eyes were getting worse.)

Will and his friend met up with me for lunch at the mall then we went our separate ways and I ended up at Marshall's. Looking for nothing, just enjoying the freedom of being out running the streets on a Monday.  Spring Break freedom.

I stopped to look at a pair of shoes.  Ended up trying them on.  Leaned down to buckle them.  Stepped back to look in the mirror.  Decided they were a no.  Leaned back down to unbuckle.  Put them back in the shoe box.  Then turned back to my basket to move on.

My purse was gone!  Panic set in quick! 

I yelled out across Marshall's.....



I had everyone's attention.....stopped the store in its tracks.  Then I looked around in a panic.  And right there on my other side was my basket with my purse.

I somewhat yelled out:  Never mind.  sorry. whoops.

 (pointing to the empty basket, then my basket.)    

A couple of people may have rolled their eyes at me.  And one little girl continued to stare at me way past a normal amount of time. One lady walked up to me and told me her heart just about stopped.  And then went on to tell me her stolen purse story. 

sorry.  sorry.  sorry.  CARRY ON. 

But hey!  It worked.  If it had been stolen, I got everyone's attention.  Perhaps someone would have caught the thief.

Y'all I had 2 new pair of glasses in that purse, not to mention my wallet.  No cash though....never any cash. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Memories Are Made of This

Letters, quotes and words seem to be all the rage right now.....on pillows, artwork and frames.  When things become all the rage you'll know it because it will be everywhere.  I usually like something until it becomes so "everywhere in your face" then I can hardly look at it.   I think letters and quotes and words on decorative accessories are getting there.

However, I bought a frame while in Atlanta that caught my eye because of the colors and then for what it said.  I knew just where I'd put it and what I would put in it.  If I get sick of the lettering, I can always paint this frame.

But for now it hangs at my kitchen desk drop-off point....cleaned up for this photo.

See the big frame?
To the right of the black sign with words on it....
Uh, oh....all the rage has crossed over to "everywhere."

Memories are made of this.
Sounds sweet, doesn't it?

I looked through old albums for a picture of my 3 kids when they were little. 

This one brings back lots of memories. 

This photograph of my 3 kids was taken at the hotel swimming pool when we went to Disneyworld in 1998. I'll just go ahead and say this.....

                                                   This trip was one of the worst trips ever.

I can laugh now but at the time it was very stressful to be so miserable at Disneyworld when all I had ever heard from others was what a great experience it was for families. Stressful to be so miserable when we were in the middle of spending a lot of money for this "good time."  Stressful to be coming to the realization that maybe we were a very dysfunctional family after all.

My kids were at an age where 2  of them (5th and 8th graders) were in to the daring rides and wanted to get on them over and over, while the remaining kid (a 2nd guess which one) would stand in the hour long line with us, then start to cry right as it was our turn to get on.  CRY.  And glue his feet to the in "not getting on that ride."

Because he was scared.  After waiting in line an hour. Really?  He couldn't have told us this earlier?  Like an hour earlier?

One parent was telling him with clenched teeth to stop and get on the dang ride, while the other parent with the fake smile was saying I would just sit it out with him on the bench and meet up with them afterwards.  All the while knowing the long line of people behind us as well as the people already loaded on to the ride and the cheery workers were watching this circus show we were putting on.

This happened over and over, one ride after another until I may have lost it publicly in the park (ala Kate as in Jon and Kate plus 8) and said we were going back to the hotel and they could just play in the pool for all I cared!  Forget Disneyworld ....forget Universal Studios!  Forget that we had 3 day park passes that had cost us an arm and a leg. 

Funny thing now....this picture was taken during the best, calmest moment of the whole trip.  The kids got along and played in that pool for the whole afternoon.

We could have saved a lot of money just renting a room in a hotel in Houston.  You know, for an afternoon of swimming in a hotel pool.

Yes.  Memories are made of this.

Post Script:  The little scared 2nd grader is the same kid who jumped out of a moving car in 10th grade.  Didn't see that coming.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

March Madness

As of yesterday at 4:00 pm, Spring Break began!  There's a lot of nothing going on around here but I have 2 college kids in the house this morning and a week of relaxation in front of me making me a little giddy. 

A couple of  other things that are making me giddy.....

First thing...

Yesterday I was working with one little on one.....because this particular boy cannot finish his work in the classroom.  Ever.  As in "no finished product thus far this year" unless he is assisted by someone.  This boy is sweet, cute and smart.  But his focus is always on anything but the paper in front of him.  He can spend 20 minutes staring into his crayon box with a wondering look on his face like, "what did I come in here for?"  Boy, do I relate to that.

This boy also has a lot of spit in his mouth.  Like the kind of spit that makes bubbles and hangs at the edges of his tongue and the corners of his mouth.  We might too, if we didn't have the involuntary mechanism to swallow now and then. 

So as I'm working with him, he looks up to say something to me and a huge spit ball flies out of his mouth and on to my sleeve....right below my shoulder.  I see it flying out with my peripheral vision, but I continue to look at his eyes. 

He looks at my eyes, at my sleeve, at my eyes, at my sleeve, at my eyes, at my sleeve.

Me:  (with a smile and a very nice voice)  You just spit on me didn't you?
 (not fussing, just asking)

Him:  (looks me in the eye, looks at my sleeve, looks me in the eye, looks at my sleeve)

He never said a word.....just all that eye movement for like 30 seconds.

We just moved on.........but I'm still laughing about that. About his eyes darting back and me, at the spit, at me, at the spit.  And the good news is he finished his work in record time with me sitting on him (figuratively speaking).

Second thing.......

Lady Antebellum last night!  70,000 of us were in an intimate setting to watch the concert.  I wish I would have brought my good camera with the zoom lens and my binoculars...but all I had was the camera on the cell phone.  

In my head, I still feel like the young girl I was....but it's times like this that I realize I have aged and am over some of this kind of stuff.  It took longer to get to the rodeo and get home from the rodeo than the whole thing lasted.  Lots and lots of being herded into lines.......lines of cars in traffic on the freeways to waiting to get on the Metro Rail to walking in lines to get in to Reliant Park........blah, blah, blah..........then within a couple of hours reverse it and do it all again.  Getting 70,000 people in to this place and out of this place takes a lot of lines.  Moooooooooo.  Moooooooo.  I know how cattle feel.

We were treated to some great food and cold beer and leather I am thankful for that.  Just wish I would have brought my binoculars.  If you're going to see something like this...I like to see the detail. 

It's amazing to watch the transformation of the place from being a rodeo arena one moment then a concert arena next.  Modern technology.  High tech rodeo. 

One last eyes.

I got glasses in 3rd grade, contacts in 7th grade and Lasik eye surgery at the age of 41.  I was legally blind without correction and the Lasik surgery was the best thing I ever spent money on.  I have loved being contacts or glasses free for the last 12 years.  But recently I have been squinting to see detail and my night vision is worse.  I have an appointment with an opthamologist on Monday (whoo hoo!  Spring Break outing!). My eyes are dry and my vision clears up as soon as I put drops in.........but the second the drops are dissolved....which only takes vision is about 20/40.  Not so bad....but not so clear either.  If I'm going somewhere at night and I need to see the name of a street in a neighborhood, I'm crawling up to the intersection like the little old lady who only takes her Cadillac out on Sunday mornings.

So last night I dream that I go to the eyeglasses place and spend hours picking out some frames.  As I go up and down the walls of frames, there is a little dog hanging around me.  I ask about him and they say I can have him because he just showed up there.

I leave without the dog because I know Chuck will be so mad if I come home with a dog.......then the place calls to tell me my glasses are ready and I'm so excited to pick them up! 

I get there and they are clear glass in the frames.  Yep.  I picked out the frames BEFORE I went to the eye doctor.  ha. 

That was one scary dream....because the dream continues and I had to tell Chuck that I got the frames before the prescription.  I just knew he wasn't going to I spent a good part of the dream scheming how I was going to tell him about this mix-up.  Oh, and how I was going to tell him about the lost dog that I ended up bringing home with the new frames.  How could I was still there....and was so happy to see me when I returned. is said that our dreams are made while filing away all of our conscious and subconscious thoughts.  True here.  I've been thinking alot about this eye doctor appointment and mourning the thought that I will be going back to glasses or contacts...and one of my co-workers lost her dog for 24 hours this week and we were all in pain for her.  An honest person found it and the dog was returned. 

My dream was a huge mix of all of this.  Sorry to bore you with it here...but I wanted to write this one down. 

It's also funny that I worried about Chuck getting mad.  That guy doesn't get mad.  But if there is anything that gets him a little would be spending money wastefully (my full time hobby ...wink) and too many animals in this house (hello?  Have you met our family pets?).

To all my good friends and co-workers in the area.......I hope you have a wonderful week off! Here's hoping the days are a good way. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Day at the Spa...

...for the dogs. 

I should preface this by saying I completely understand if you click away.  And roll your eyes.  And say, "Really?"  But this is for my kids.  Who call home and ask how the dogs are doing.  Not how I'm doing.  How the dogs are doing. 

I can say that 2 out of 3 of them are doing way better this evening after their day at the groomer's.  Chuck treated them (really me...the resident cutter......groom doesn't really describe what I do to them) to a good grooming.  This isn't something we do very often so it was a real treat...for ME.

These dogs aren't very pretty to begin with (although very lovable), but they are way prettier now.  And I should be ashamed that I let them get this bad.......but we've had a cold, cold winter and they needed their fur. I did cut Maggie's bangs one night because she couldn't see out of them.  But other than that it's been awhile. 

Maggie...Before.  She looks like something related to Big Foot. 

Maggie....After.  She's feeling extremely light.

Dixie....Before.  I called her name so she would look at me as I took the picture. 
She took the name calling to mean I would play ball with her. 
She stays ready for someone to play. 

And we're sooo over it.


Sadie...Left out of the fun.
She looks depressed here but that's her everyday look. 


"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog.
 You are his life, his love, his leader.
 He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart.
 You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."
- Unknown

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Giddy Up Cowboy!

All things Texas this week in kindergarten.  Wednesday was Texas Independence Day and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is in town.  It might surprise most of you outside of Texas to know that not all Texans ride horses and rope cattle.  But we can put on our boots and bandannas and head to the rodeo and act like cowboys and cowgirls for at least a week or two out of the year.

Chuck and I have been invited to attend the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in an executive suite in Reliant Stadium next week to see the rodeo and Lady Antebellum in concert.  That's how we do the rodeo in Houston, Texas.  Airconditioned suites, giant screen t.v.'s and all you can eat buffet.  And the shopping!  Miles of shopping in the Reliant Center.  It's tougher to be a cowgirl than you think.

Our invitation was to either attend on a Tuesday evening or a Friday evening.  I immediately said Friday because this cowgirl doesn't do late nights on matter how good those cowboys look in their tight Wranglers.  I found out after choosing Friday that the band would be Lady Antebellum.  I bought their c.d. this week so I could listen to their songs....other than their hit song "I Need You Now."
Last night while on our way out to eat, I plugged in the c.d.  Chuck asked who it was....I told him Lady Antebellum...the band that's playing next Friday when we're there.  He said he recognized the song. 

And then he said with a sigh of relief, "Oh, good.  I thought it was Lady GAGA we were going to see."

Pop culture and Chuck don't really mix.

So back to the kids....

Thursday's Listening Lesson: A Cowboy

This was one of the most complicated lessons yet.  Lots and lots of pieces of construction paper involved....meaning there were a lot of scraps left behind from cutting the previous pieces.  The finished work is always so telling.  Some hang in there for the whole activity.  Some just start doing their own thing.  Some excel in cutting and gluing.  Some would rather be doing anything but cutting and gluing. 

A cowboy has 8 seconds to hang on to the raging bull let out of the pen.  See which cowboy you think made it and which ones got thrown.....

Thrown....lost one arm and a boot. Remaining arm dislocated. 
 Looks a little scrambled but still smiling. 
Probably that heart flower on his hat that makes him happy. 

 Thrown...Lost his vest, his leg, his gun holster and his bandanna....but still smiling.
This is one tough cowboy.

Thrown...Despite his very tiny head and elephant legs, this cowboy survived.

Who knew Jason with the Hockey Mask from the Friday the 13th series was a cowboy?
I bet the bull was scared of this cowboy.

If you can't find a crayon for the eyes and nose, just dig a hole with your pencil.  

Thrown....but survived with only a scattered bandanna
....and some floppy bunny ears.

And we have a winner!  8 seconds on the bull and still on...
half a bandanna...but the rest intact.

I was feeling real good and real manly. 
 Until a real cowboy walked by and
told me I had my hat on backwards. 
 So much for my career as a cowboy.

~ Michael Biehn ~
American Actor