Saturday, December 26, 2015

All Is Calm, All Is Bright

This is my favorite part of Christmas morning. I'm not only the first one downstairs, but I'm the only one awake in the house. Within the hour, there will be laughter and commotion, wrapping paper and boxes and gifts scattered about, Christmas candy being eaten, cats playing with the scraps of tissue paper and ribbon, and the smell of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven. But right now, all is calm. All is bright.

And then everyone comes downstairs, and in short order, it looks like this:

The cat's out of the bag....

Later, there will be cookies. And pumpkin pie.

Happy birthday, Jesus! I hope You enjoyed Your day as much as we did.

Join us this week and every week with Ten Things of Thankful. You won't be sorry.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Ten Things of Kittyful Thanks

A kittyful collection of thankfuls for this week's Ten Things of Thankful:

Kitties and boxes.
Fletcher can't resist a box. 

Same box, full of Pete.

Ruby's turn.

Kitties and Christmas trees (especially when the kitty is being picturesque and not climbing, getting stuck in, or knocking over the tree).

Fat kitties.


Sleepy kitties.

Precious princess....

Fat AND sleepy kitties.

I need a bigger lap.

Clean kitties.

Washing what he can reach....

1. Derail train. 2. Wash belly.

Fake kitties (really, you NEED to get the kitty collector app).

Kittylicious! How's your week? Got some thankfuls up your sleeve?

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Saturday, December 12, 2015

Oooh! Ahhh! Christmas Lights And More Thankfuls

Shhhh! My family is still asleep and I'd like to keep it that way for a little longer. Here are some thankfuls for the week:

1. We drove to the lake house yesterday. No one has been here since my mom fell right before Halloween, but everything was fine.

2. My parents have really great neighbors across the street. They keep an eye on the place and have a key, just in case (for example, just in case there's a tornado warning, as we have a basement and they don't). They turned on the heat and set the thermostat very low, so if the weather takes a dive, the pipes won't freeze.

3. Ordinarily, I am not a big fan of unseasonable weather, but the 70 degree day yesterday made for a really nice visit to Silver Dollar City last night to enjoy their spectacular light display. We didn't have to wear coats and hats and gloves, which meant I didn't have to carry anyone else's coats and hats and gloves when they didn't want to wear them.

4.  While there are shows to be seen at Silver Dollar City, such as a production of "It's A Wonderful Life," our plan was just to walk through the park, enjoy the lights, and get the free pewter ornaments we earned by using our season passes the correct number of times (don't ask me what that number is, because I have no idea; I just know that we qualified). I asked the kids if there was anything else they really wanted to do while we were there, and they both said, in unison, "decorate cookies" (we've only been doing this since College Boy was about 3, and I'm sure somewhere I have pictures to prove it, but I'm not where the pictures are, so use your imagination about how cute he was as a little guy, frosting a cookie with green [always green] frosting and sprinkles and devouring it.)

5. Turkeys were on sale for 73 cents a pound, so I bought two for the freezer.

6. The College Boy is finished with finals and home for a whole month.

7. He brought his (REALLY BIG) tv home with him, carefully packing it in the original packaging for the trip, fretting over making sure it stayed upright, per warnings on the box, carried it inside the house, set it in the living room, next to a wing-back chair that contained one Ruby, and was in the process of carrying some things up to his room when there was a big WHOMP from the living room. He returned to find Ruby sitting on the arm of the chair and the tv jelly-side down on the floor next to her. Hysteria ensued, and he rushed the tv up to his room to make sure it still worked, vowing there would be one less cat in the house if it didn't. It did, and Ruby's place in the family is still secure.

8. Emma and I are enjoying the perks of Area Appreciation pricing and going to see a music show tonight. (Branson is known for its music shows, among other things.) This is a big deal, because we don't go to shows; that's for tourists, as far as we're concerned; besides, tickets are pretty pricey. She and I are going to see The Haygoods, whom we love, and we will wish my Person and her daughters were with us, because we never would have gone to see them the first time if it weren't for them. Two thankfuls for the price of one!

9. I don't have pneumonia. I do have bronchitis (its name is Dayn). 

10. I didn't have to go to the doctor to get a diagnosis. We had our preschool Christmas program Thursday night, and Dayn the Cold, which started on Monday, had turned into Dayn the Horrid Cough and Dayn the Laryngitis. One of my preschool moms (yay for awesome preschool moms) is a nurse who is also studying to be a nurse practitioner. She brought her stethoscope to school the next morning and listened to my chest, pronounced that it was tight (it's been making a weird noise when I breathe), but it wasn't pneumonia. Whew!

Work hard and find some thankfuls for the week. If I can do it, so can you!

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Standard: A Six Sentence Story

"Well," he asked proudly, "what do you think of it?"

With little more than a glance, she shrugged her shoulders and answered, "It's sub-standard."

"What do you mean, 'sub-standard'? I've never had one complaint before about it being sub-standard!" he said with indignation.

"Then you've associated yourself with people who have very low standards. My standards are extremely high, and this," she said, opening the door to usher him out, "is not up to mine."

Linking up with Ivy at Uncharted for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "standard."

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Pure Randomness: Nothing More, Nothing Less

A random, stream of consciousness post:

My husband thinks I should have my own cooking show on the Food Network where I try to make things without reading the recipe all the way through.

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My cats are assholes. I was tired of the disgusting smells emanating from the litter box, so I got them a new litter as recommended by my friend Deena who has much experience with cats through fostering and owning her own. It's actually horse bedding, pine pellets that absorb all odor and make the basement smell like a hamster cage. They hate it. Hate it. HAAAAAATE it. One of them (or more, as they don't sign their work, it's impossible to know) has pooped beside the litter box on the floor and on the throw rug in the downstairs bathroom. I am shaken but not beaten; eventually, I WILL prevail.

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Speaking of hamsters, I once wrote that I had two dead hamsters in a toilet paper tube in the freezer of my downstairs refrigerator. They were awaiting interment at the lake house (where the ground is sandy and easy to dig in), but we kept forgetting, so there they stayed for, oh, maybe five years. A few weeks ago, the refrigerator died and everything inside the freezer thawed. Everything. The hamsters are no longer awaiting burial and are now entombed at the landfill. Sorry, hamsters, I meant well.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Anyone know an easy way to make the neighbor's car alarm stop honk, honk, honking the horn ENDLESSLY? Asking for a friend....

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

My husband just stood in front of me, looked down at me with my laptop open, my phone, my OLD phone, and my Nook lined up on the arm of the chair, and said, "You've got $1,000 worth of candy crushing machines sitting here in front of you." CANDY CRUSHING IS SERIOUS BUSINESS! WHEN WILL YOU UNDERSTAND THAT?!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

As I was getting gas this afternoon, I took a styrofoam cup out of the car to throw away and dropped the damn thing onto the pavement instead, at which time it promptly rolled under the car. Not barely under the car, either, but smack in the center. Most people would have left it there, but I'm no litterer, so I took the squeegee, got on my hands and knees, and eventually hooked that sonofabitch cup with the end of the squeegee and fished it out while simultaneously flashing my underpants to the folks driving past the gas station when my jeans slid down during my struggle. 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Have you ever been in a waiting room and the nurse comes to the door and calls your first name and you get up and start walking towards her at the same time someone else does the same thing, and come to find out, there are two of you with the same name, but you aren't the one they want, so you have to slink back to your seat with everyone watching? Yeah, me, either....

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

My husband and I were in the car the other day and passed a dog grooming business called, "Stylin' Doggie." I thought it would have been infinitely more entertaining if the name had been "Doggie Stylin'" instead, and my husband said I probably shouldn't be in the business-naming business.

Random enough fer ya? 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Because I'm No Quitter, Here Are Ten Things Of Thankful

I'm trying to be brave this week, but I'm struggling. I didn't want to find ten thankfuls this week, and I was thisclose to skipping it. This week marks the 129th week of Ten Things of Thankful. I have participated 128 times. How do I give up a streak like that? Here's my list:

1. Peppermint ice cream, but only during the Christmas season. Any other time would be just wrong.

2. Kid-made Christmas ornaments.

3. Former President Jimmy Carter. What a kind, resilient, humanitarian he is! 

4. Coconut oil. I use it on my face twice a day, and it has greatly reduced breakouts (I KNOW! Makes no sense, does it?)  When my feet are dry, I slather it on them before I go to bed and put on a pair of socks and wake up with soft tootsies. I use it to clean my make up brushes. I guess I could actually cook with it, as that is its original use, but nahhh.

5. Really bad hair days, so I will appreciate the good ones more. Three guesses what kind of hair day today is.

6. Six Sentence Stories. They are quite fun. You should try your hand at it. Seriously.

7. Friday Night Video Chat. I haven't done one in for-evah and nearly didn't get to participate, as I had technical issues (I ALWAYS have technical issues when I try to do the Video Chat), but I finally got it worked out and it was lovely. (By the way, I know you were all laughing at my failure to thrive, ahem, Clark.)

8. Chicken pictures.

9. Senders of chicken pictures.

10. My daddy. I have the best daddy in the world. 

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Lie: A Six Sentence Story

He was pleasantly surprised when she sidled up to him at the craps table, cheering lustily for him as his stack of chips grew, and when her hand accidentally brushed against his arm, he felt a jolt of electricity course through his body; he had never before attracted someone so deliciously sexy, and when he ran into her again at the elevator shortly after cashing in his chips, he boldly invited her to his room and was ecstatic when she accepted.

Inside his suite, drinks in hand, they both sat on the sofa, and as she kicked off her shoes, casually tucking her feet under her, she leaned towards him and said, "Let's play a game called Two Truths and a Lie. I'll go first and you guess which is the lie: I always get what I want, and I wanted you from the moment I laid eyes on you in the casino; I'm not wearing panties under my dress; and I poisoned your drink."

"The last one is the lie," he said, but his tongue seemed surprisingly thick as he spoke, and as he tried to reach his hand out to brush her cheek, he slumped forward instead. 

Smiling, she rose and pushed him onto his side, deftly removing his wallet from his pocket as she whispered in his ear, "Wrong, loser, it was the first one; I never wanted YOU, just your money."

Slipping her feet back into her shoes, she sauntered out of the suite, took the elevator back down to the casino and resumed her watch near the craps table.

Linking up with Ivy at Uncharted for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "lie."

Sunday, November 29, 2015

In Which I Find Thankfuls But My Cats Don't

Of all times, Thanksgiving weekend should be the easiest in which to write a list of thankfuls. As such, I should have written this before my daughter called up the stairs that the oven isn't working, before my son was up in the attic, retrieving the Christmas decorations, and notified us that the roof has been leaking there (that's not the only place, unfortunately), before my brother texted me that he had called our mom and she was very confused about everything when he tried to talk to her, before the cats rebelled about the new litter I got for their litter box. So I'm going to do the equivalent of holding my hands over my ears and singing "LALALALALALALA" at the top of my lungs and ignore all but the thankfuls. Deep breath. Here goes:

1. The College Boy's pneumonia has responded well to medication. He is still coughing, but it's not the horrid cough from earlier in the week, and the wheezing seems to be gone.

2. I got a Get Well card from my sweet friend Kristi from Thankful Me, as in a real, delivered by the postman through the slot in my door, card. How can you not feel better after that?

3. I had a long, lovely chat with Christine from In The Coop. We laugh a lot when we talk on the phone, and it's wonderful.

4. I made it through another year of dressing like an Indian for the Pre-K Thanksgiving feast and like a Pilgrim for the Primary feast.

5. We went to my brother and sister-in-law's house for Thanksgiving, minus my parents, who weren't able to make the trip this year. It's about a four hour drive from here (we're in the southwest corner of the state, and he is in the middle), but my dad let us borrow his Sequoia, which was nice, as our cars are not in the best condition (even though mine does have heat now, and we would have needed it). Not only did we get to drive a car that is only a couple of years old...

6. has Sirius XM Radio. My daughter rode shotgun and deejayed and I drove, with the boys in the back with their electronics and headphones, ignoring us, and we sang all the way there (including lots of showtunes).

7. One of our Thanksgiving traditions for the past four years or so is to attend a Mizzou volleyball game. This year, they played Texas A&M. They lost, but they took it to five games, we sat really close, and I got my picture taken with Truman the Tiger.

8. We all make relentless fun of my brother for using a spreadsheet when he makes Thanksgiving dinner, but he pulls off one heckuva meal, and it was delicious.

9. My daughter picked up my phone when I left it lying around and took some selfies. Always enjoy a chance to post pictures of her, especially ones like this:

10. I returned the College Boy to school this afternoon. Of course, I had to feed him before I left town, and while we were eating, a woman from another table came up to me and told me I had the most beautiful hair, so thick and healthy looking. I was taken aback, because I look in the mirror and see a curly mess, so she really made my day, and I told her so.

The oven still won't work. One of the cats pooped on the floor NEXT to the new litterbox. It's been raining since Thursday morning and not expected to stop until tomorrow night. I can only find one control to my kids' electric mattress pads. The icemaker is only making about 8 cubes a day. But there are still thankfuls. Find yours.

VERY leery of this new litter. 

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Invincible, He Isn't

For the first two years of his life, my son, the College Boy, was in day care, and he was sick all the time. He caught EVERYTHING. He had ear infections, cellulitis in his eye, bronchiolitis (they call it RSV now), regular colds, stomach viruses, and tonsillitis. He had acid reflux from birth, spitting up gallons until he was 17 months old, and his diapers? Holy shit! (No pun intended.) Out the legs, up the back, EVERYWHERE. We never went anywhere without two sets of clothes in the diaper bag (unfortunately, we went to a wedding when he was two months old where HE had a change of clothes, but I did not, and let's just leave it at that). He was a real peach.

After he turned two, he was rarely sick, but when he was, he did it up right. He had strep throat when he was in first grade. He got a light case of the chicken pox five years AFTER he had the vaccine (there was an outbreak in his second grade class). He had the stomach bug maybe once. That's pretty much it. He decided he was invincible, like Bruce Willis in "Unbreakable."

That worked until he was a freshman in high school.

It was Friday, October 2, and it was homecoming. The football game was that night, with the homecoming dance the next night. He even had a Date for the dance. We had purchased a tie to match his Date's dress. And ordered a wrist corsage. But he came home from school that Friday with cold symptoms.

"I don't think I want to go to the game," he said, and I told him to stay home, take some ibuprofen, and get some rest, and he'd feel better the next day for the dance. He was asleep when we got home from the game, and he seemed a little warm, but he was snuggled into his bed, too, so of COURSE he'd be warm. Saturday morning, he felt worse.

"You're just not used to having a cold, buddy," we told him. "This is how the REST of us feel when we have one." And I gave him ibuprofen all day, took him to pick up his date that evening, and drove them to the dance (they were too young to drive). They were both pretty quiet when I picked them up later and took his Date home (he's shy, after all), and he went straight to bed when we got home.

Look how sickly and pale he was.

Sunday morning, he woke up blazing hot with fever. Oops. Throat sore, body aching, coughing. I took him to the urgent care clinic with a whole lot of other people who were coughing and miserable-looking, and when he was called back we got this happy diagnosis:

Swine flu.

It was the third official day of flu season.

Plus, he exposed everyone at the dance with whom he came into contact. Including his Date. Did I mention his Date was the Superintendent's daughter? Guess who came down with the Swine Flu two days after the dance? (He also gave it to his sister.) I SWEAR I had no idea he was that sick, or I never would have let him go to that dance. I honestly thought he was just being a sissy about having a cold. My bad.

Fast forward six years. He is now a junior in college, and hasn't been sick* since the Swine Flu Epidemic (that he started). It was the week before Thanksgiving, and he had a cold. A bad one. He kept texting me that he didn't feel good and that he'd never been sick without his mommy there. I told him to take ibuprofen and go to the health center if he didn't get better. Of course, he did neither, and came home Friday evening with a horrible cough. HORRIBLE. I bought him some cough and cold medicine. He coughed and wheezed and slept a lot. He was sure he had a fever, but the thermometer was missing. On Monday, in spite of his protests ("I'm fine! I'll be better tomorrow! I don't WANT to go to the doctor!"), I took him to urgent care. His temperature was nearly 101 degrees (oops). We got an almost immediate diagnosis:


So, he's not so invincible after all. Oh, he's going to be fine. He is loaded down with a Z-pack, steroids, and cough syrup. Thankfully, he managed to get sick when he had a week off of school in which to recover, and hopefully, he'll be able to rally in time for finals in two weeks.

And we finally found the thermometer, perhaps a little too late THIS time, but we're prepared the NEXT time he gets sick, which shouldn't be for another six years or so.

*My son did have a rather ugly encounter with a sea urchin while on a mission trip to Puerto Rico, which you can read a little about here, but, while he had to go to the ER, plus several other doctors, before he was better, it wasn't like he got sick. And in the interest of full disclosure, now that I think about it, he also went to the ER when he was 8 and split his chin open at a water park. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Little Thankfuls Mean A Lot

Life isn't exactly bleak, but it could be better. I still have my stupid cold (day 13). Money is tight. My mom isn't very well. But if I were to dwell on the negative, I'd never see the many, many thankfuls I have in my life, including these:

1. The smell of turkey roasting in the oven.

2. Little indulgences like home made cream puffs.

Oh, my, these turned out well.

3. Friends who live far away and therefore aren't annoyed by my nose blowing and coughing and MAYYYYBE a little whining brought on by the endless cold and instead check to see if I'm feeling better (I'm not). (cough cough Kristi cough cough)

4. Two day work weeks. Okay, one of those days, I have to dress like an Indian and the other like a Pilgrim, but still. TWO DAYS.

5. The heater is fixed in my car! It was not a cheap fix, as the motor that makes it work had to be replaced, and THAT required pulling the radio out of the dashboard to get to it, but I HAVE HEAT.

6. The neighbor's dog has barked unceasingly for about an hour and a half now. I did not know that was possible, so I guess I learned something new today.

7. A brand, new toothbrush.

8. Quiet time with a sleepy kitty.

The liiiight's in my eyyyyyes.

9. Bath & Body Works had Wallflowers on sale today for $2.75 each (they are air fresheners that plug into a wall outlet, in case you didn't know, and I wanted to put some in my parents' house for them). That's a deal and worthy of its own thankful, but it gets better. I forgot my coupon, which is not exactly uncommon for me, although I would like to take this moment to say not only did I not lose my grocery/errand list today (which I usually do before I even get to the first store), I got everything on the list. Anyway, when the girl at the register asked me if I had any coupons, I mentioned that I did, but unfortunately it was still sitting on my kitchen counter where I left it, and she gave me the discount anyway. $10 off of a $30 purchase. Nice! 

10. Spending the evening listening to talented high schoolers sing at a fundraiser for show choir. 

With Antwon, a good friend of my daughter's
and my "other son". I'm going to miss
this face when he graduates in the spring.

Even when life is bad, it's still pretty good. I may have leaks in my roof, but I HAVE a roof. Not everyone is so lucky. Count your blessings. List your thankfuls. 

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Division: A Six Sentence Story

She was never very good at math, but division was the worst. She vividly remembered sitting at her desk in fourth grade, one long division problem taking up an entire sheet from her Big Chief tablet. The page would be grey and smudged from all the erasures, and there were spots in the paper where her eraser had nearly rubbed completely through it, and still, more often than not, the answer was wrong, and she would have to start all over.

Math still wasn't her strong suit, but, she thought triumphantly, she was having no problem with division today. She smiled to herself as she clipped through the starched oxford cloth shirts, the dress pants, the suit jackets, even the briefs and undershirts that she had spent years laundering and folding just the way he demanded. As she divided each piece of his clothing in two with her sharp shears, she placed the pieces inside his suitcase before calling him and letting him know his things would be waiting for him on the front step whenever he wanted to take the time away from his mistress to pick them up.

Linking up with Ivy at Uncharted for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "division."