Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thankful Thursday: 26 (Or More)Things

I know I said I probably wouldn't write again till Friday, but I just can't stand the thought of Thankful Thursday passing by without at least some type of mention.

So, since the A to Z Challenge starts tomorrow, I thought I might tweak that idea today and state something for every letter of the alphabet that I'm thankful for. Here goes!

A- The Amazing Grace of God
B- Books and my Brothers
C- Coffee and Chocolate (in shameful excess!)

D- My Dog (when he doesn't hog the bed)
E- Elastic (especially on pants at Thanksgiving!)

F- Flowers and Friends
G- Germicidal hand cleaner (especially after a day of yard sales!)
H- My Home (be it ever so Humble)... and my Husband
I- Ice Water (that's all I drink besides coffee-and a margarita once in awhile!)

J- my sister Jewel
K- Kangaroo Bread (filled with strawberry poppy seed salad!)
L- my sister Linda
M- Microwaves and of course- Money!

N- Naps and Netflix
O- Oil of Olay (I buy it in 50 gallon barrels!)
P- Pay Day
Q- Quirky Art
R- Remote Controls

S- Second Chances
T- my sister Tina
U- Underwear
V- Volume buttons (okay-so I'm hard of hearing!)
W- Words
X- Xenops -a small tropical rain forest bird 
(Okay- so I looked it up!) 

Y- YouTube (some funny good stuff there)
Z- Zippers (can you imagine if everything had buttons?)

Wow! That was harder than it looks!

Please join me for the A to Z Challenge! It starts tomorrow and runs the entire month of April (except for Sundays). Let's see if I can show some real discipline and creativity this year and get through the entire alphabet. Over 759 bloggers are joining in for this fun and unique challenge!

See you tomorrow- and don't forget to be thankful this Thursday. 
And every day, for that matter!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Goodwill Wednesday: (Sorta) Fat Bird

I know I promised to post my Goodwill treasures today, but I only managed to upload one image- and I've been trying for three days. &%$##@))*!!!!
I know it doesn't look like a Goodwill find, but if you enlarge it, you'll see that it is painted on old print. 
I found a paperback book of poetry at Goodwill a few weeks ago and thought it would make for a soothing read at the cabin. 
It was so full of ultra-modern space-case poetry that I couldn't stand it! 
So, I tore it up...

I saw something similar in Pier 1, but I tweaked it with my own style and colors. I know the bird is kinda fat, but, hey- that's what happens when you're cooped up in front of the computer blogging all day and are frustrated with your crappy internet service for the winter.
I tore ragged pieces of the pages and dipped the edges in a watery mix of burnt umber paint. Then I Mod Podged it all onto a canvas.
I made the flowers from folded pages and glued on a mother-of-pearl button. Then I diluted acrylic paint and color washed the image.( I was going for a beachy-calming look.) Lastly, I outlined it all with a fine point Sharpie. I have it hanging in my back bathroom.

In case you think I'm being lazy, I should let you know that I have FOUR other projects that I've completed, but can't load pictures of. Next time I go to my daughter's house, I'll be sure to take my laptop and upload them for a future Wednesday.
I have a feeling this isn't going to be such a great day. I ran out of milk and am eating my Special K with evaporated milk, which tastes slightly sweet and thick compared to my usual shot of skim milk. I feel like a really nasty sugar bomb just exploded in my mouth...

Plus- it's snowing!
(Stupid groundhog!!)
I sprinkled a bit of cinnamon on my husband's oatmeal this morning. I bought the cinnamon at the dollar store and it really looked dark red- almost like ground cayenne pepper. Then it reminded me of when cinnamon colored pantyhose were the big rage.
Do you remember them? What were we thinking??! And do they even make pantyhose anymore? 
Well, that might be a topic for a future blog...
Have a great Goodwill Wednesday- and keep your eye out for treasure!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A to Z Starts Friday!

I guess I've lost my touch. Two comments? I thought that if I tried to write daily, I had a better chance of creating a steady following, but I'm thinking that maybe I should try for three days a week and keep things fresher...Your thoughts?

Anyway- I am going to try my darnedest- even if it kills me- to get this spring cleaning thing started. I cannot procrastinate any longer! It is really starting to irritate me.

That, added to the fact that Friday, April 1st, I begin the A to Z Challenge. If you two people followed me last year, you will know I made it through the alphabet and completed the challenge. No grand prize- no awards- just the satisfaction in knowing I finished the project and pushed myself farther than I imagined.

Arlee Bird from Tossing It Out created the A to Z Challenge last year and I'll quote his blog so you'll understand the premise.

   "  This challenge started last year to celebrate my reaching the 200 follower mark.  I had no idea that it would take off as well as it did in the short lead time I had in 2010.  Nearly 100 bloggers participated last year with many more keeping up with the progress.  In the end most of the participants were very satisfied with having been a part of the challenge.

How does the Challenge work?

             The premise of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge is to post something on your blog every day in April except for Sundays.  In doing this you will have 26 blog posts--one for each letter of the alphabet.   Each day you will theme your post according to a letter of the alphabet.

Sound easy? Well, it's not. But it sure puts on the pressure to think outside the box and to post everyday.

This year Arlee has 744 entries!!!! 
Can you imagine trying to read all those blogs? 
Well, you don't have to, friends...
Just read mine.

(That's a joke.) There are some super talented and fun blogs out there and they deserve to be read! And I'm going to try to visit them when I can and bookmark the ones I love. You should do the same.

Tomorrow I will post a photo of one of my Goodwill creations because I miraculously got a picture to load!
But after that, I probably won't check in till Friday- April Fool's Day- with the start of my alphabetic challenge!

Please join me for the fun!!

Monday, March 28, 2011


This weekend we had a beautiful, wet snowfall. It gathered on the branches and grass like diamond powder, but by noon yesterday it had disappeared. I try to tell myself it was just winter's way of a flamboyant exit, and he will not come back until the other seasons take their turn.

The house breathes...creaks with excitement that the sun once again touches its roof and windows. It rejoices in the green grass around its foundation and the buds of trees tossing tiny new shadows on the sidewalk. 
I will try to do my part this week to un-clutter and organize my spaces here. I think to myself how much better would it breathe!... how much sweeter will the sunlight be through crystal clear windows- and more cheerfully it will dance upon shiny floors!

This year has fused together like a lump of days. I have no outstanding memories- no goals reached, no promises kept, no dreams made true....I have wasted time and I regret that three months has been lost to me.
I am hoping that I will gather strength and motivation to begin utilizing my time and talent and determination to make a mark on the seasons...that they will not pass me by without  totally bestowing  all their beauty.

I have so much I want to accomplish. but I've always been one to have too many irons in the fire. The house needs work, but I want to write. The yard needs attention, but I want to paint. My diet needs activated, but I make excuses. I dream of afternoon naps, but I should be balancing my budget. I love my house, but I want to be at the cabin. 
I am like puzzle pieces that never quite come together. I'm not even sure who I would be if everything was finally put into place.

At least the hope of spring comes to rescue me. It unbinds my cold heart and frees me from this rusted attitude and chilly atmosphere. 
Spring gives me the resuscitation, the transplant, the uprooting that I need to be whole again.

I watch the sun rise above the treetops and I hear a song bird calling to the wind.
I'm almost there. Just fingertips away from touching life again.
Hurry, Spring. 
Please hurry.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Awakenings

Who could not be thankful after this glorious week? Spring walked in, did a little waltz, and then left down the back stairs and disappeared again. But, oh, was the music wonderful while it lasted!
I love the night air when it is warm. And this week the huge moon hung in the sky like a Halloween ornament, casting shadows of the still bare trees and on grass becoming green.
I stepped out the back door in the darkness- breathed deeply- and imagined a yard bright with a summer party...of ice tinkling in tea glasses...of brats sizzling on the grill...of laughter and music and a family full of love.
(Family love is a comfortable love. It's where you can wear your ugliest jeans, your most comfortable shoes, your worst hairstyle, and lay in the lawn chair and nap if you want. Because family understands... and they don't care what you wear or how you look.
They are there for the memories.)

I walked out to the pond this week..saw tiny bluegill popping near the surface... tufts of sprouting vegetation beginning to frame the banks...bold little birds picking straw from the garden spot...the neighbors cat lapping the cool water near the crooked dock...
And I felt the wonder of the sun- the touch of it as it saturated my face, curled around my shoulders, and blinded my eyes. It was a peace that overtook my weary winter soul, and I am thankful that spring is on its way. Even if it teases us just a bit...

I am thankful for grandchildren- for their funny, awkward innocence..for their boldness- their creativity...for their soft hugs and little-kid smells...for their honesty and yearning for knowledge...for their unending imaginations and their restless energy...

I am thankful for my children...yet- I see so many changes ahead for all of them.

My step-daughter is going through a separation and my middle daughter just got a divorce. I'm thankful that I have a God that I believe in and know will protect and guide their lives into happiness again.
Then, my other daughter and my only son have weddings planned.
As a mother, I'm experiencing both ends of the spectrum. My heart is full of joy, but spills with sorrow also.
But, I continue to be thankful that they are all healthy and beautiful and intelligent.

I am thankful for those afternoons when I can grab a cup of coffee and a Russell Stover Strawberry Cream Egg and not allow myself to feel one iota of guilt.

I am thankful for new dishcloths and towels.

I am thankful for a new bottle of dish washing liquid. It looks so much better than the almost-empty one with the green crusty-dried-up soap on the tip. The new one has hand moisturizers and Oil of Olay and smells like the beach.

I am thankful for my husband. His feet have hurt so much this week, but every morning he gets up and goes to work, no matter how he feels. And he hugs me every night and he loves me -even though I don't make a single penny by blogging or shopping at WalMart- and despite the fact that my feet are slippered or enveloped in soft socks all day- or cranked up on the footstool...

I'm thankful for blogging buddies who stop by and say hello even though my internet seems to keep me from commenting on their blogs...for talented writers who inspire me and kick major butt with their woven words and God-given creativity...for people I don't even know, but keep me going everyday...

I'm thankful for another week- another weekend- even if it's cold and rainy...we'll go to a movie or order a pizza or just sit and dream of spring waltzing in again...

Hopefully, this time to stay.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday Rerun

Yesterday I was away from the computer all day- and today I have grand kids again. So, I decided to post an old favorite of mine. I'll hopefully be back on Thankful Thursday with something Fresh!

Your Memory Wallet    (Originally posted October 20, 2008)

I was reading this morning
where a woman's wallet was found
sixty years after she lost it.
Construction workers found the missing
wallet in the basement of the university
where the woman had attended in the '40's.
It was returned to her family.

This got me to thinking...

What if things in the past
could be returned to us?

And not just material things,
but memories and moments.
Is there a special day in your life
that you'd like to see and feel
and live again?

I can think of several.

I would like to have back
a hot summer day when my sister
Linda and I played Barbie's
in the shade.
I was about eight years old
and she would have been ten.
The grass was cool beneath our legs
and our imaginations were endless.
We had all day to play and laugh
and be ourselves.
I would look at her and say-
"Let's never lose this feeling.
Let's never let problems of

the real world find us."

And I would remember
what it was like to be carefree
and innocent.

I would like to have a day back
before my mother got sick.
A day when she was smiling
and cooking something great-
or hanging clothes on the line-
or laughing at TV.
She would brush my hair for me
as we sat on the couch
and I could smell her
talcum powder
and feel her soft hands.

And I would say,
"Mom, don't ever get old and sick.
Be here for me when my children
and grandchildren need you.
Let them know how wonderful
your love is."

And I would remember what
is was like to have a mother's love-
all warm and perfect.

I'd like to have the day back in high school
where I missed a step in Algebra class
and never again understood
formulas and fractions
and simple equations.
And I would say,
"Slow down and explain that,
Mr. Childers. I think I'm lost."
Then he would make it easy
to figure out.

And I would remember what
it was like to be smart with numbers
and not hate math.

I would like to have back
the day that I met my husband.
I would hold on to every moment
and memorize every word.
I would feel
for the first time in my life,
that sudden stir inside of me-
that electricity-that chemistry...
And I would say to him,
"I am going to marry you
and we are going to be happy forever."
I would relive the first kiss,

the first touch,
the first day we shared.

And I would remember what
it was like
to not be afraid of the future.

I would want the days back
when I gave birth to my children.
Even with the pain, I would want
to experience that awesome feeling
of seeing their beautiful crunched-up faces
for the first time,
of holding them in my arms
with their baby-lotion smell.
Their milky little faces looking up at
me after a feeding...
their perfect fingers and toes
and newborn cries.
And I would say to them,
"I love you, babies of mine.
I will love you forever and ever."

And I would remember how it feels
to know that
little lives depended on me.
And I would remember how
quickly they grow up-
and to make sure to relish the journey.

But, in the scheme of things-
I think we all know
our "memory wallets"
will never be returned.
That they are somewhere
in the basement of our minds
where the contents can
never be touched or felt again.

So, hang on to your wallet.
Spend whatever is in it wisely.
Fill it with lots of photos
and keepsakes
and smiles that will last
through times of tears.
Don't ever let hate or regret
squeeze into the folds.
Treasure it as though
it is full of gold and silver.

But, whatever you put into it,
be proud of it.
That way, if anyone ever finds it,
you will never be embarrassed
by what's revealed.

Tomorrow we will probably
want today back.

Savor the moments.
Look, listen, touch,
taste, and embrace your life.

Think about it.

What's in your memory wallet?

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Circle Of Love

One of the greatest joys in a mother's life is to see their children fall in love and marry.
There is a certain comfort in knowing that your child will experience that blessed bond- the ultimate commitment of sharing passion, happiness and love.
But their is also a quiet relief to know that they will not face misfortune, sadness and disappointment alone. A mother wants to know that when she leaves this earthly life, her children will have the support and strength of their spouses in order to continue reaping the bounty of this beautiful life.

My firstborn, Erin, became engaged this weekend, and there are no words to describe this tranquilizing happiness that floods my being! I have prayed so long that she would fall in love and marry someone who appreciates her beauty and her kind heart. Erin has been through some tough times in the past few years( see old blog post) and she deserves to be happy.
We all love her fiance, too, and welcome him into our family with open arms. He is a great guy and I know he really loves my daughter.

But I also get a bonus prize! His five year old daughter! Whom we already love dearly!
 I am truly blessed!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Has Come!

I wrote this poem several years ago, and this time of year I always see this happening right outside my window. 

Have a great weekend!

It started as a green spark
near the old fence row-
And everyday I watched it
as it began to grow.

Soon it spread- this emerald flame-
Across the field- into the lane-
Pushed up between the stone and brick-
It stretched
and climbed
and curled
and licked.

Like velvet arms, it reached across
the winter world I thought was lost-
Till as far and wide as I could see-
GREEN was staring back at me!

I just stood and smiled
when all was done
and shouted gladly-
"Spring has come!"

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 3: Diversions

You know how sometimes you're on a smooth highway- traveling toward a great place?... Like a restaurant that serves perfect cheesecake, or a party that has the funnest people, or a vacation that promises to be restful?
And while you're minding your own business, listening to great music, loving the scenery, chilling out behind the wheel- then all of a sudden...THUMP! You hit a pot hole.

I hit my pot hole.
After one good day of cleaning and a pitiful attempt on Day 2, I've found myself waylaid on Day 3. It happens. There's no legitimate excuses. There's no apologies accepted. Life just gets in the way sometimes... of even the best laid plans.
(Of which I really had none to begin with.)

I've got to get my "town" stuff done today. The groceries, the errands, the Goodwill, the WalMart...because tomorrow I have my grand kids all day since they don't have school (for some reason).
Have you ever tried taking a ten year old and an eight year old to WalMart?

I'd rather have my fingernails pulled out with rusty pliers.

Well, after several morning phone calls that mashed my ear to the size of communion wafer, I was totally out of the mood to start on my kitchen. I tried to convince myself that it didn't look too bad. Most of the problem areas were hidden. Such as inside the fridge, cabinets, and under the sink.
A good wipe of the counter tops, a load of lemon Cascade in the dishwasher, a quick sweep of the floor, and a fresh tablecloth did wonders.

Yet, after lunch, guilt hit.
Surely I had enough time and energy to at least clean out under the sink...
So, I did.

If you didn't know me -and had to draw a conclusion by the stuff under my kitchen sink-
here's what you would think:
1. She stinks
2. She has lots of windows
3. She loves sports

Number 1: I have five cans of Glade/Febreze air freshener in my cabinet. Lilac, Spruce, Hawaiian, Spice, and Apple-Cinnamon. I rarely use them. Probably because I forgot they were there.
I bought the Hawaiian spray back in 2009 when I hosted a Luau party. (Funny how one spritz of that can bring back memories of flip flops, The Beach Boys and beer pong...)

Next: I had three spray bottles of Windex. Three.
What's so ironic is that my windows are not clean. My mirrors are not sparkling. Nothing in my house even comes close to shining.
But being the very practical woman that I am, I combined the bottles into one and now I'm set to actually do windows.

Some day.

Number 3: I found a yellow croquet ball under there. What?! Yeah, I said the same thing, but with a bit more flare. What is a yellow croquet ball doing under my kitchen sink? And how long had it been there?

Mysteries, people... That's what you get when you attempt to be some cleaning goddess pumped up on caffeine and the smell of Lysol.
Mysteries, my friends. They're everywhere.

It's scary to think what might be lurking in the other areas of my house.
What have I got to look forward to? Twelve weeks of questions and brainteasers and perplexities beyond my comprehension.

So, today, I'm taking a detour.
It just might be the difference between my sanity and a total meltdown if I don't step back and just crawl into that comfy pot hole.

Besides, no telling what's in there...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 2: Ray Of Hope

On Day 1 of my twelve step Spring Cleaning process, I decided to tackle the laundry room.
It's a room with the washer/dryer, a cabinet/shelf/pantry area, and all my pots and pans.

Too bad I can't seem to post takes away from the full effect. You have no idea what it entailed.
Let's just say- I started at 8 a.m., took an hour break at 11, and finally sat down about 2:00. I removed two big bags of trash, one bag for Goodwill, and still have a couch covered in laundry that needs folding.(That will be top priority of Day 2).
But, let me tell you- it looks amazing!
In fact, I wanted to stay in there all night because it was the cleanest room in the house!

There is something so peaceful about organization. The way that cans of carrots and peas line up perfectly- and pots fit inside pans, and empty drawers make room for scissors and tools and quickly sought after items.
There is something wonderful about dusted counter tops and swept floors and lint traps free of lint...of open spaces and empty corners and places for everything...

I actually sat down and cleaned out the four junk drawers in that room. Yes! You heard me right- FOUR JUNK DRAWERS!
I'm that kind of person. Hand me a hair tie or a rubber band or a Chinese menu or a stray light bulb- and I'll toss it in a drawer. Along with dead batteries, ball point pens, bullets, mismatched earrings, and marbles.

I found some flower seeds in one drawer. You know, the kind of seeds that are already embedded in a wood fiber material, ready to roll out in the soil and covered up. It's a Morning Glory Climbing Roll. And I must have been crazy when I chose that- because do you know hard I fight to keep those darn morning glories out of my garden?
Anyway- I bought it because my daughter was selling that sort of thing for her eighth grade class trip. It was either the seeds or an angel statue that looked like Daryl Hanna.

Speaking of my daughter, she just celebrated her birthday last Tuesday.
She turned 30...

One good thing that came out of it was a Ziploc baggie full of change.
Now, I really don't know how much is there yet because I have to wash the battery acid, spilled glue, packet of duck sauce and Morning Glory seeds from them- but I'd say I have enough coins for a good start on yard sale season.

The great thing about Spring Cleaning is that it snowballs.
In comparison to the clean rooms, all the other rooms look like crap. So you have no choice but to carry on.
My next step is the kitchen- and although I plan to paint it again, I'm still going to tackle some much needed organization here today and save the painting for another time. Hopefully it won't take me long because I have a little homely kitchen- with no junk drawers.
(Unless you count the silverware drawer that is full of nut crackers, oyster shuckers, ancient cork screws, deer skinnin' knives and some sort of animal shaped cookie cutters.)

So...I better get started on Day 2.

Before I change my mind...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 1: Confession

Today I start my seasonal yearly infrequent top-to-bottom spring cleaning. 
I know to some of you, it is like a sweet waltz...cute, pink rubber gloves, a shot or two of Febreze, the mist of fresh lemons, fluffed up pillows and sunshine on polished floors.
But, I confess. For me it is like the demolition derby. It's mean -and dirty- and someone is bound to get hurt.

Now before you jump to conclusions, I am not a hoarder. I throw my empty egg cartons out on a regular basis, I don't own cats, and you can actually find the extra toilet paper.
But I do have a slight problem with organization. Add to that -the fact that I like to keep things because I may need them some day. 
That, my friend- is the greatest of all cleaning sins.

My brain knows that I'll probably never need that tub of scrap fabric because I'll never get around to making a quilt.
It also suspects that all those buttons and bows and stickers and beads and bangles and bobbles and boxes of stuff... will never be transformed into darling jewelry or an amazing scrap book.
My brain is also pretty sure that those fifteen pair of jeans will be out of style before I ever fit into them...that my son will never miss his old history notes...that I will never need seventeen disposable Glad containers...that those thin, left-over slivers of soap don't amount to a nickle...and it knows with almost perfect certainty that I will never break out the blue champagne flutes on New Year's Eve.

I should listen to my brain. It's real smart.
(When it doesn't listen to my heart, that is.)
My heart wants to cuddle old magazines and used picture frames and decorative pillows with needlepoint Santas. My heart wants to save worn loafers, torn nightgowns, holey socks and cowl-neck sweaters. My heart wants to preserve the electric skillet, the giant blender, the Jerky Shooter and the spice rack with the dried up cloves.

But today, dear heart of mine, you lose.
Today, my brain will rule! 
And someday you will thank me...

My new issue of Woman's Day says to take on Spring Cleaning as a series of twelve weeks. Hence, a 12-Week program. (Just like all other physical and mental abuses!) 
They say to only focus on one room a day, allowing some type of time limit to decide what to pitch and keep. And to place the "not sure" items in the garage.

Silly people! Where will we put the car?

I confess that I need this 12-Step therapy. 
I- at this very moment- have a huge 30 gallon trash bag in my front closet. No- it's not full of extra blankets, or seasonal tablecloths or crisply folded sweaters.
It is full of the contents of a junk drawer. 
A drawer in my kitchen island that we removed when we laid laminate flooring. 
Six years ago.

I have makeup in the vanity from my days with Amway- when I color coded a group of wanna-be-millionaires and painted my face with Artistry cosmetics. Yeah. That was 1993, folks.

Don't be a hater. 
I'm trying to reach out here...
I'm confessing.
And that's the first step.

The next step is getting off this computer, snapping on my cute, pink gloves and gassing up my demolition mobile! 
Come back tomorrow for Step 2: Anxiety.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Insomnia Sucks

The following dialog is courtesy of my brain between the hours of 1:57 and 4:04 a.m. this morning.'s only 2:00...can't sleep...
...I think I hear rain...
...I wonder what size these windows are? I really need new     blinds...
...should I paint these walls a soft white? Or a gray-blue?
...thirsty...a glass of water would be good right now...
...and some Cinnamon Toast Crunch...
(toss), he snores loud!...
...wonder how much money is in the bank?...
...did I start the dishwasher? ...
...I hope that stain comes out of my good jeans...
...God, please bless Daniel and the kids....
...wonder how much weight I can lose in 6 months?...
...Gee, it's hot in here!...
...wonder how many times Matt Dillon was shot?...
...I hope Goodwill has some good stuff today...
...Oh, I need to buy bananas...
...Great-now I"m freezing...
(roll over)
...what did I do with that gas receipt?...
...probably cook chili for supper...
...shouldn't have eaten that caramel cake...
...I think the dog needs some flea medicine again...
...I bet Jake and Cindy are having fun....
...I'm burnin' up!...
...wish I knew how to make pie crusts...
...I smell eggs...
...wonder what I'll blog about this week...
...I need to finish my painting...
...I need to get garden seed soon...
(curl up)
...spring cleaning is top priority this week...
...why can I feel my heart beat in my big toe?
...wonder if I could have a yard sale?
...did I buy chili beans? I ever going to get to sleep?..., I'm not....

Started a load of laundry and made coffee at 4:10 this morning. 
It's gonna be a long day!

I'm going to try to post this week (if I can), but I do need to step away from the computer for a about a week and get my spring cleaning started. Hope I can get motivated somehow...

And in case I get on a cleaning roll and don't have time to blog- you all have a great week!

Friday, March 11, 2011

On my Honor

Tomorrow is Girl Scout Day. And other than conjuring up giant thinking bubbles above my head - (full of yummy, delicious cookies)- my thoughts wander back to those innocent days when I wore the uniform of a scout.

Somehow I skipped right past the Brownie part. Maybe it was the unattractiveness of the brown dress and the ridiculous beanie. 
But, I truly suspect that it was because I hadn't worn my Mom down enough to let me join this giggly group of girls who created miracles from milk cartons and pine cones.

That took a few years.

And when she eventually agreed, everyone my age was going green... Gloriously moving up to the emerald berets and light green dresses- accessorized with knee socks, a flashy sash- and the great Girl Scout Handbook.

However, I was one of the few girls who couldn't afford the proper official attire. I usually wore a white blouse with my troop sash, and...I don't know...some goofy skirt, maybe? I do remember getting a pair of knee socks, which- instead of comfortable cotton- were stretchy nylon- and they crept down inside my penny loafers even before the Pledge of Allegiance was over. 

I hated those socks.

I have come to believe (in my middle aged wisdom)- that I might have been a wonderful seamstress, a wildlife biologist, or a famous storyteller if I hadn't spent almost all the meetings pulling up and fussing with those darn socks! And that stupid sash that kept slipping down over my flat chest till it rested partially cockeyed around my waist. 

I must have looked like a ragamuffin.

I suppose I envied those girls with the fancy uniforms- their sashes crowded with gobs of badges -(the edges attached with perfect French embroidery)-that proclaimed their efficiency in everything from hiking to cake baking..
In comparison, there was my badge. drooping from four or five little round badges that had been safety pinned in place.

Actual photo of my sash
In 2009, I wrote the following blog about my Girl Scout memories:

Oh, that takes me back....
Way back to about '67 or '68
when I stayed after school
to be part of the Girl Scout pack-
to learn the art of twisting pipe cleaners
and paper mache'
and how to tie a tourniquet in case
someone got snake bit.

I was part of history.
Of Troop Number 44.

I liked holding up my three fingers
and reciting the pledge
like I was going away to war
or something.

I think mostly that
I liked having cookies and Kool-aid
so I could go home and tell all my
brothers and sisters
and make them jealous.

"Na-na-na-noo-noo! I haahadd Koool-Aid
Aaaaand you-ooo-ooo di-dunt!!"

But it was also pretty cool
that one of our Girl Scout Leaders-
-Mrs. Bugal-
had blue hair.
She was nervous sort of woman
with clothes that smelled like moth balls
and a little sweater chain that
held her sweater on her shoulders
while she thumbed through
the Girl Scout Handbook.

Of course the highlight
of the whole scouting year
was camping out at the
Girl Scout Little House.
We cooked bacon
on an inverted coffee can,
learned to fold a flag,
and sang really neat songs
that I never heard in church.

It made the summer fun.

I earned about five badges
during my time as a Girl Scout.
One was for story-telling,
one was for gardening,
one for camping and exploring
and the last one for sewing.

I cheated on that one.

I had my Mom sign a piece of paper
that said I sewed on a button,
hemmed a pillowcase,
and mended a sock.

Any moron with half a brain
could figure out
that I really couldn't sew-
because most of my badges were
safety-pinned to my sash!

(Let's just say I wasn't the
neatest little scout
in the pack).

And, yes, there was the thrill
of Girl Scout Cookie Time.

(I usually sold two boxes).

But I loved going home
and telling my brothers and sisters-
I baked these coo-ook-ies
and you-ooo-ooo di-dunt!"
Happy Girl Scout Day.
Hope your memories are as
cool as mine!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Dare To Let The Sun Shine

 I almost decided not to post this morning, but then I remembered it was Thankful Thursday.
How could I ignore a day when all of us should look around and count our blessings?

I know. Sometimes it's hard to see the good parts. Sometimes there are giant "monstery" clouds blocking the way, the rain is falling hard, and you are lost without the slightest idea of where to find a map.
Sometimes it actually feels good to wallow in pity, sit in the darkness, let that little pain or big heartbreak rock you to numbness.
Personally, I've crawled into a day-cave more than once this winter. I've marinated in laziness and self-doubt and disillusionment. I've closed the blinds, locked the doors, and grown stagnant. I've been beaten up with my own hands and silenced by my own will.

But, sometimes, you just have to crawl to the window and dare to let the sun shine. Sometimes you have to move to a place where happiness can find you. Uncover yourself. Break those imaginary chains. Be free.

Today there wasn't that bright pink sunrise that I was waiting for. There weren't sweet birds chirping special songs. There wasn't green warmth, new excitement, or an aura of promise.

There were only gray clouds and cold raindrops and the earth seeped with the weariness of winter.

But, I pulled up the blind and sat in my chair and drank my dose of morning coffee.

Suddenly I saw three deer prancing across the back yard, their white tails flipping cautiously about, their long necks dipping every so often for a bite of something green.
They made their way around the fence and into the field and disappeared beyond the neighbor's pond.

Then I saw a Cardinal- its bright red wings floating over the brown landscape- its head tilting as if to question the bits of cracked corn I tossed out yesterday. 

Those gifts of  nature were a soft spot in my hard world. 

They were symbols that life must go on- even when the sun doesn't shine. It reminds us that we must all persevere, face our battles, and stand tall against any negative forces that blind us to God's beauty and our blessings.

There is no sunshine today. But I'm pretending. 
I'm drawing a map of my life and I'm taking that first step out of this winter cave.
I'm reaping smiles, singing songs, shedding old skin...

It is time to be thankful.... And I am.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Goodwill Wednesday: Inspirations

Well- wouldn't you know that someone in the internet world does not like me! They don't like my blog, my Goodwill Wednesday, or my overpowering need to Show and Tell. Yesterday I had no problem posting pictures of babies in cakes, but today when I want to show you my Goodwill Treasures- my internet service just spits out errors on my screen. I rarely get mad, but my temper is somewhere in the boiling range right now. 

So, I think that the best way to cool down is to post something else today. But still keep with the Goodwill theme. And I can post pics from other sites! Go figure....

In case you think that all my creative ideas are born in my head, I'll admit right now that I seek out other bloggers who amaze and inspire me. They share some of the best ideas- (with pictures!!!!) and I'm in awe of their talents.

Isn't this pure genius? Photo courtesy of this blog site
Confessions of a Curbshopaholic is a blog packed with eye candy and smart projects that will make you rip up your autographed photo of Martha Stewart and replace it with one of Rose. I love her thrifty and low-costs ideas for recycling and re-purposing ordinary things.To get the full enjoyment from her blog, click on some of her past posts and be ready to inspiration to kick you in the butt!

Sometimes I spend the entire afternoon looking through the posts of A Few Pennies.

I never get tired of the crisp, professional photographs, the artistic displays, and the obsession she has for pre-loved things. Patty has a keen eye- and I envy her obvious talent for finding the most wondrous treasures- without spending a fortune.

The clip on earring is attached to a piece of old drawer hardware.
Betsy from My Salvaged Treasures has a blog bursting with her personal creative touches, jewelry, fantastic finds, and gift ideas. She can take the most ordinary things like keys and trays and hardware- and transform them into priceless pieces that defy description.
Read her post about using old camera parts to create unbelievable jewelry!


Diann at The Thrifty Groove is just that- thrifty! And nifty! Not only does she display her secondhand goodies in a formal and unique way, but this lady cooks! Drooling over pictures of a delicious piece of pie or a spot of tea- served with her china collection- makes me just double jealous!
We can all stand to be a little more thrifty nowadays, and Diann makes it absolutely painless! And fun!
52 Flea is another of my most favorite "found treasures" blog. Laura is not only talented and creative, but she processes a sophisticated "junk market" style that makes you want to ditch the Pier 1 for her innovative decor. Chock full of amazing photos and finds, you may end up spending an entire afternoon reading her blog!


Even though Delusions of Grandeur has some French words and various unknown languages on the sidebar- it doesn't matter. When her blog unfolds, it captures you and invites you into a magnificent world of wonder. Her style is posh without being pretentious and wild without being artsy. Although her budget is well above my Goodwill change purse, her love of beautiful things is contagious and universal.


Since I couldn't share my Goodwill Wednesday pictures today, I hope you'll take time to visit all the above blog sites, leave them a nice comment, and reap tons of inspiration from their unselfish efforts.
My childish-looking projects are lame in comparison to these ladies who all have a definite style that I envy.

Enjoy your Goodwill Wednesday- and keep your eyes open for treasures!

Note: Most of these blog authors/artists do not even know I exist. However, I want to thank them for allowing me to use their images and names in order to promote their vast imagination and brilliant accomplishments to my readers- whom I love. Thank you.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pancakes, Baby Cakes and Beads

Someone told me that today is Fat Tuesday and when I looked in the mirror this morning- by golly- they were right! 
It really didn't help that I was wearing my gray Saran Wrap pajama pants, my husband's 2XL shirt, holey socks, and donning a giant. static, pillow-induced fro.
I tried that old trick of lifting the jowls and tucking them behind my ears, but then I looked like a fat oriental woman/chipmunk.
But, I brushed my hair, pulled on my trusty green sweater and decided to give the day a good try.

Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday" - referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday
It is also Pancake Day (which explains the fat part). I like mine with tons of real butter and saturated with high-quality syrup. (And then I'm miserable for three hours).

Fat Tuesday. That idea sounds so familiar. I do believe I've celebrated several Fat Sundays... Eating rich, fatty foods before the fasting diet starts on Monday.

My sister-in-law from Baton Rouge once brought a huge King Cake with her on a visit. (It's another one of those Catholic traditions associated with Lent- and since I'm southern Baptist- I'm not even going to try to explain what it symbolizes. Google it if you don't know).

Anyway- inside this unattractive-looking cake (that is an oxymoron, isn't it?)- there is a little plastic baby. The person who finds the baby gets special privileges and must buy the next King Cake.

(I tried to start my own tradition like that- if you find the egg shells, you have to make the next cake- but it didn't take off as well as I had hoped.)

We know all about Mardi Gras- the festive masks and costumes- the celebrations in the streets- food and fun -the girls showing their boobies for ten cents worth of plastic beads. 

I had a dream last night that I was in a Mardi Gras parade. And- NO!- I wasn't dancing for beads on the street corners!

I was eating my way through a King Cake, trying to find that poor baby...

So, enjoy your Fat Tuesday, Pancake Day, or whatever religious connotations that this day holds for you. 

Make life fun- even if your reflection says otherwise!


Right now I want to say thanks to everyone of you who have taken the time to leave me comments. I know personally how time consuming it is to blog-hop and leave a note on every blog you read. 
I try to start my day reading all my favorite blog sites so that I can steal your ideas motivate myself. And although I don't always leave a comment, I always enjoy what is being shared. I truly respect those who have taken the time to write from their hearts, post photos, or give instructions. You all have brought laughter, tears, and wisdom to my otherwise dull and dreary world. Thank you all.
Next, I want to thank my sister Linda for being a faithful follower even when she would rather have been sitting on the porch smoking cigarettes, drinking Mango Margaritas, or watching Nascar. Linda, I treasure all your comments and it keeps me going on days when I think I couldn't type another word. Love you! (And you, too, Jewel!) (And Tina!)
I know there are others out there that lurk around, but seldom comment- and that's okay. I hear you breathing and it brings new life to my writing. I appreciate your presence.
I know this sounds like some sort of goodbye, but it's not. It's actually a great big "Hello!" that says, "I hear you, I see you, I thank you, I love you."

Now...let's carry on.

Pass the syrup, please.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Girlhood Memories

I was twelve before I learned to do a cartwheel.

And even then, it was a wobbly, uncoordinated twist of unladylike effort. 

On lucky days, I landed on my feet. On not-so-lucky days, my hip bones or back side would take the brunt of twirling legs gone awry.
And even after an entire summer of diligent practice, there were days when I'd get a mouth full of grass or a skinned elbow.

But it didn't matter.
I wanted to be a cheerleader.
Teeth full of asphalt or playground sand in my hair would not deter me from my dream.

Apparently the judges overlooked the not-so-perfect pirouettes and the awkward- (almost embarrassing) toe jumps and torturous-looking splits that I presented on Try Outs Day.

Because my eighth grade year- and I became a cheerleader!

That was the epitome of happiness...
...Cheering on the sidelines in my red jumper and white sweater- the big, woven letter"S" sewn tight against my chest like a gold medal...
...Screaming words like "Go! Fight! Win!" till my throat was strained to a whispery croak...
...Going home to bed after beating the Hornets or the Terriers...the smell of popcorn in my hair...the remnants of pompoms on on floor...the memories of half-time buzzers and the cheer of the crowd...
...bus rooms...the slap of tennis shoes on the gym floor...
...and once every so often- the thrill of a perfect cartwheel.

I was a cheerleader for one school year. A brief nine months that embedded itself in my memory like a soft cocoon. Pieces of days that shine like treasures- even after all these years.

In high school I envied those girls who stood straight and tall like robots and clapped in unison for the basketball heroes. They were pretty. And popular. And performed perfect toe touches. 
...And their hair flipped like golden honey as they cartwheeled across the floor and landed like an agile cat on the free throw line...
While those girls pranced around at pep club assemblies in their pleated skirts and pony tails, I went off to the basement journalism room and helped lay out the school paper.

For years I regretted never having been anything better than a girl with dreams and a head full of poetry and flowery words. I regretted never pushing myself- never trying new things- never traveling outside my comfort zone to a place of ...greatness.

It took years for me to realize that those cheerleaders are just like me now. 
They struggle with their weight and their relationships and their identity.
They have money problems and health issues... and they color their gray.

I am still a cheerleader.
I'm on this crazy-imaginary sideline watching my family...
...Cheering them on and jumping for joy- and demanding that they secure their victory in this place called life.
Sometimes I just sit back and watch...and sometimes I am so overtaken with pride and love- that I do perfect cartwheels in my head ...
and my heart leaps with gladness.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Is Ken Cool?

I just heard that Ken turns 50 this month...

Which seems practically impossible because he was a mature young hunk of a plastic man when I played with him at age nine. If he was 19 or 20 back then ...and I'm going to be....
Oh, well...let's just say the math doesn't add up!

In my opinion, Ken is a metrosexual- which according to the dictionary is:
   metrosexual  (ˌmɛtrəʊˈsɛksjʊəl)
1. a heterosexual man who spends a lot of time and money on his appearance and likes to shop
I really don't think he is much of a ladies man, to tell you the truth. It almost makes me question his masculinity. He and Barbie dated for years and years and he never even bought her an engagement ring! Poor Barbie- she keeps buying those wedding dresses, but Ken still doesn't get the hint! No wonder they broke up! 

He seems to cave from peer pressure- always longing to have the latest styles and fashions. Even with his hair....
Ken originally had felt hair, then got a plastic molded doo, and finally got some natural looking hair plugs that have been coiffed into everything from a mullet to a "Bieber "bob.

I suppose the guy has issues. What man would let his girlfriend buy a pink Corvette, a dream home, and allow her to prance around in public- dressed in only a bathing suit and heels?
According to Barbie's Facebook, however, she and Ken did get back together on Valentine's Day this year and her status now says she's "in a relationship".
Here's her Facebook profile information to prove the rumors are true!

Barbie's Basic Information

March 9, 1959
In a Relationship
I’m a modern doll with a classic sensibility. I’ve had over 125 careers and truly believe that if you can dream it, you can be it. I’ve traveled to the moon and multiple Fashion Weeks, been featured on the silver screen and the Twitter homepage, experienced both a highly publicized break-up AND reunion.

Inside the Dream House, things are about the same – besides all the new gadgets I’ve picked up as a Computer Engineer. You’ll find pink heels lined up in neat rows and framed pictures of all my... (read more)
Personal Information
I love my a-mazing family, my sweet boyfriend Ken, and all of you fab dolls.
Personal Interests
Glamping (glam-camping), Dining out, Volunteering, Aerobics, Performing arts, Museums and Concerts… and fashion, of course!
(Seriously- just "friend" Barbie and you can read all about it.)

  I never really thought Ken was cool, even at age nine when he lived under my bed and took baths with me. He just never seemed very dependable or successful.
And here's a lineup of all the jobs he has had. Fifty years old- and still doesn't know what he wants to be when he grows up:

Actor '63-'65 '74 '88 '99                      
Cowboy '80 '82 '89 '93    
Impersonator '94 '95 '99    
Roller Skater '80 '02
Alternative Lifestyle '92   
Ice Skater '89 '97 '02
Airforce '93    
Dancer '80 '88 '89 '91 '92    
Lifeguard '94    
Sailor '63-'65 '84 '92
Army '92     D
Football Player '63-'65    
Olympic Gold Medalist '74 '97    
Snow Skier '63-'65 '73 '90
Best Man '90    
Fraternity Member '63-'65    
Photographer '00 '01    
Student '99
Birthday Boy '86 '01    
Gymnast '83    
Prince '89 '94 '97 '99 '00 '01    
Tennis Player '63-'65 '74 '85
Body Builder '81    
Hair Stylist '91 '92 '99    
Pilot '89    
Tourist '78 '83 '87 '88 '90 '93 '98 '99 '01 '02
Brother '96 '99     J
Jogger/Runner '79 '80    
Pizza Delivery '88    
Campus Hero '63-'65    
King '99    
Roller Blader '91 '94     

I mean, really? Do little girls even play with fashion dolls anymore?
Especially some gender-challenged loser like Ken whose middle aged crisis has reeked considerable and irreversible damage to his reputation.

My vote:  Not cool.