Monday, April 30, 2007


And so it goes that when you have animals and children, there is always an adventure.

The children and I were playing outside at my parents' house. Dad had run to the store, and I was there with the children and the dog. Sass was digging in the dirt, and Spyder and I were throwing a ball when I realized that Molly, Dad's hound dog, was missing.

I started calling her, but no response. The neighbors two doors down called over that Molly had headed to another neighbor's house. Sure enough, I could see her waggy tail peeking out from the bush in front of the yard three houses down and across the street.

I called to Spyder for him to get the leash and follow me. I told Sass to stay where she was, then I took off after Molly. By this time, she was in front of the neighbor's fence, barking at their three dogs -- two Pit Bulls and a German Shepherd mix. And they're big. And not so friendly.

I was almost to Molly when I heard Sass scream and start to cry. I abandoned the dog, and ran over to Sass. She had tried to follow, and halfway through the yard next door, she stepped barefoot into a patch of stickers. She was scared to sit down on the ground, but she couldn't walk back to the driveway. I picked her up and carried her to next door's porch. She was still crying hysterically, and she wouldn't let me help pull the stickers out. And she had a lot of stickers in her foot. I let her get the stickers out, then I carried her back to my parents' driveway, again telling her to stay put.

Spyder had found the leash by then, and I grabbed it and took off -- again -- after Molly. By this time, Molly was darting in and out of the fence, alternately attempting to play with and not get eaten by the bigger dogs. Luckily, the dog owners came out and rounded up their dogs, so I was able to get Molly.

Molly and I walked back to the house, and my dad passed by in his truck. I couldn't see Sass or Spyder anywhere, and I had a panicky moment thinking, "What ELSE?" then I realized that Sass had situated herself on the couch. In true Princess style, she had gotten Spyder to fetch a wet washcloth for her foot, and as I walked in the door she was asking him to get her a cold drink.

Twenty minutes. In a span of twenty minutes, I had located and rescued a dog. Sass had run into a spot of trouble and been rescued. Spyder had been turned in a servant boy, and Sass had declared herself worthy of service.

All in a day's work.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Friday, April 27, 2007

Arrgh! It never ends!

Sass has decided on a Strawberry Shortcake theme for her room, since we're having to replace her comforter set anyway.

I've found the comforter online, and now I'm debating whether to spend $50 more and get the matching sheets and drapes, plus two extra pillowcases. My girl is all about pillows, so I'm thinking the pillowcases might be necessary anyway.

Decisions, decisions. I'll have to sleep on it to be sure, but I'm thinking yes. As my snobby neighbor would say, "It's only money."

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ah, memories!

Today I came across Smockity Frocks via Works for Me Wednesday at Rocks in My Dryer. Her post is on juggling, and I was immediately reminded of my own juggling days.

Juggling days (you ask, curiously)? Yes, I once learned to juggle, during those strange but memorable college days.

My friends Shannon and Gary taught me to juggle, in about six hours one Saturday night. I suppose it was efficient, mastering it in one night. But there is a disadvantage to mastering it in only one night.

In learning to juggle, I dropped the things for 4.5 of the 6 hours. The next day, my legs hurt so badly from the constant bending and picking up that I could barely walk up the stairs to my dorm room.

And now for the most interesting part of my juggling experience: I learned to juggle using breast implants. Shannon and Gary both worked at Dow, which made breast and testicle implants, and they had an abundance of the things. They used stuck them in the freezer and used them as cold packs for bruises and sprains. They filled an old throw pillow with them and used it as a footrest. And they used them for juggling.

By the end of the night, I even had favorites. They were the perfect size for my hands, and they were textured, so they had a better throw than the smooth ones.

Shannon and Gary gave me four of my favorites, and I used them throughout my college years. It was my favorite way to work out a problem with my schoolwork.

Unfortunately, someone took two of them from my dorm about halfway through my senior year. I was both appalled and saddened by the theft. By then, both Shannon and Gary had graduated and moved away, and I didn't know anyone who had quite the stash that they did, so I was never able to replace my juggling supplies. I tried working with "normal" bean bags, but they never felt right, so alas, my juggling days came to an end.

But after this ramble down memory lane, I think I may look into those bean bags again.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Sometimes it just takes the right person, and a handful of clover flowers feels like a dozen roses.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Um, yeah, like that

I was in the back yard at my parents' house watching Sass and Spyder playing with a variety of bugs when I overheard the following conversation.

Spyder: Make sure that you're gentle with the bugs. They're smaller creatures. Since we're bigger, it's our responsibility to treat them gently. You don't want to squoosh them. Treat them like you would treat a friend.

(Mom smiles proudly and puffs out her chest.)

Sass: A friend?

Spyder: Yeah, a friend. We need to show others that smaller things are special too.

(Mom smiles even bigger, thinking her talks have paid off.)

Spyder: And if they ever mutate and get monster-sized, they'll know you as the girl who was nice and didn't squoosh them. We'll be king and queen of the mutant monster insects.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The joys of being a boy

Flarp: Slimy goo that makes flatulence-like noises when squished, much to the delight of boys everywhere.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

All is well in the world or, Bill Bryson writes again

Bill Bryson is one of the few -- very few -- writers who can publish absolutely anything and I will read it. Bryson's latest book is a memoir, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid, which chronicles his childhood in De Moines, Iowa in the 1950s.

Bryson's style is personable and fun, and the reader feels like a friend. And if you listen to him read the audio version, you can imagine being a friend who is sitting across the booth at a coffee shop, just listening to the story unfold.

The Thunderbolt Kid (as Bryson was dubbed by his father) brings to life a time that is foreign to me, the time in which my parents grew up, but I never really understood. As a child of the 1970s, I never thought about bomb shelters or future space accommodations. It wasn't part of my world, and I couldn't really comprehend how it could have been believable at one point.

The memories that brought about The Thunderbolt Kid exemplify the intensity and innocence of childhood, a time unlike any other. And it doesn't matter whether childhood occurred in the 1950s or the 1970s, many of the emotions are exactly the same.

Very highly recommended.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: 'Fess Up

Booking Through Thursday

  • Okay, there must be something you read that's a guilty pleasure . . . a Harlequin romance stashed under the mattress. A cheesy sci-fi book tucked in the back of the freezer. A celebrity biography, a phoned-in Western . . . something that you'd really rather not be spotted reading. Even just a novel if you're a die-hard non-fiction fan. Come on, confess. We won't hold it against you!
I sometimes read chick lit. Yes, I've said it. I do. It's what I read when I want to read something, but I don't want to think about it. Going through the motions of my evening read is comforting, but I don't always want to be invigorated or challenged by it. On those nights I turn to chick lit.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Is it acceptable to blog about nothing? I'm feeling tired and uninspired. (But I like the way that I unintentionally rhymed that last sentence.)

The past few days have been spent with everyone in a regurgitative state. At least it wasn't everyone all at once. Sass began it on Saturday, then it moved to me on Sunday. I really thought it might stop there, but alas, no. Spyder started with it on Monday morning, then Skeeter brought it to a close on Tuesday.

I thought that Sass might have restarted the festivities again early this morning, but it seems that it was only sinus drainage. We managed to get through the 5 or 6 moments on Saturday with the "dry clean only" comforter that she had gotten for her birthday unharmed, but the drainage problem ruined it. And, oh yes, it's ruined.

She was quite upset at first, but she gets to choose a new comforter now, so that (sort of) makes up for it. We're looking for another set just like the one she has now, but no luck so far. Sass mentioned tonight that she may go for a Strawberry Shortcake theme instead.

Skeeter and I decided today that we were going to redo all of the bedrooms anyway, starting with Spyder. I took his two bedding sets in today to consign. They were only still there out of habit, since he's long outgrown both Bob the Builder and the Wiggles. We wandered around Target today, and he found a couple of sets that he liked, but he didn't make a final decision. All of the sets were simple stripe patterns rather than themes, which makes it both easier and harder to redo the room. He's pleased about getting to choose the colors though.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


You do the best you can and that is all you can do and don't worry about living up to someone else's expectations or ideals. Never give up and try your best. Sometimes you will far exceed the goal, sometimes you will make the goal, and sometimes you will miss the mark all together but none of that matters ... what matters is that you take a chance.

-- Janice LaBella

Saturday, April 14, 2007

My birthday can only mean one thing


It's become a huge joke over the years. It rains on my birthday every year. Well, that's a slight exaggeration. I can remember two birthdays where it didn't rain. But still, I'm zooming upon 40, and you'd think that I'd have at least a few more rain-free birthdays to my name.

This year's rain has been the most spectacular so far though. Hard rain, hail, and a huge lightening storm. This year felt much more like a winter birthday than one full of "spring showers."

All in all, it was a good day, full of family and fun.

The children and I spent the day together, as always, but the grey day made us cozy up together more than we usually do. We left the house only once, in the late afternoon, to return books due at the library and to pick out our weekend movies there. Normally we walk to the library, since it's only about two blocks away, but the cold rain made us all decide that it was just better to drive.

Spyder and I decided that we should join the Friends of the Library. We're some of their most frequent patrons, so it seems only right. They're hosting a book sale within the next few weeks, and Spyder, Sass, and I will be helping set things up.

We spent the evening feasting picnic-style on the living room floor while a fantastic storm pounded outside. We did our family movie, then Sass and I played Operation and Spyder played Mario Sunshine on the GameCube while Skeeter did some prep work on the computer.

I put everyone to bed slightly later than usual due to a last minute birthday call from my mom, and I stayed up to read a bit (my favorite unwind activity).

A day well lived!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday

Have you ever missed an important appointment because you have become so engrossed in a book you forgot the time or were up so late reading that you didn't wake up in time? Been late to work because you couldn't resist the temptation and left the house too late?

I can't remember ever actually missing something important (school, work, or the like). However, I can definitively say that I haven't been at my best on many occasions because I've been up too late reading.


[Many people] live as though they depended, not on God, but on themselves alone. They do not deny God's wisdom in theory. They simply disregard it in practice.
- from "My Daily Bread"

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A little step back

I grew up in a small town, but it was the largest small town around, and we were lucky enough to have a movie theatre. The name -- "Twin Cinema" -- says it all.

There were two screens, and if you were lucky, whatever movie you wanted to see would be playing on one of the two screens. The show times were 7:00 pm and 9:15 pm daily. When I was a senior in high school, they went crazy and started showing 2:00 pm matinées on Saturday and Sunday.

To be honest, they probably didn't need more showings than that. One of my best memories in that theatre is going to see Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure with Michael and Michael Ann. We were the only ones there, and we had gotten there a few minutes after the movie started. The guy in the projection room called down, "Don't worry! I'll restart it for you!"

We've started going to an older theatre here that reminds me of that theatre in my hometown, with the heavy draperies on the walls and the close seats that are placed on an incline toward the screen.

Last week I took Sass and Spyder to see Meet the Robinsons on opening day, and we were the only people in the theatre. The only people. As we were walking in, Sass cut her foot, and the lady running the place (from whom we had just bought our tickets) said, "Just take her in the bathroom and wash it. I'll bring a Band-Aid and some Neosporin." And she did.

Today we saw Firehouse Dog with The Michael, and again, we were the only ones in the theatre. The lady who sold us the tickets served us our popcorn, then she started the movie. And I'll bet if we had been late, she would have restarted it for us.

For a long time I think I bought into the idea that newer and nicer was always better. Not consciously, but I did go to the bigger and nicer chain theatre for a long time without really questioning why I chose that one.

I've decided that the smaller theatre really is the better one for me, if only because it allows me to take a little step back into my past.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Works for me Wednesday: Gift tags

I find that as my children get older, they are invited to more and more birthday parties from casual friends. These friends are ones that they see at classes or functions, so the children know each other, but the parents don't necessarily know them well enough to put a name to a face.

Our solution for these situations? Picture tags! Now I use my digital camera and color printer to make an oversized tag (usually about 4x6 total) with a picture and a Happy Birthday and "From Sass" or "From Spyder" inserted.

The (rather boring) example pictured above was done in Paint, but I've also used Word, and even a blank email. Just print and cut it out. I use one of my patterned scrapbooking scissors, just to make it a little cuter. And of course, my children are much cuter than Mr Skookum Man. :o)

I've done this since before I had my nifty digital camera though. Pre-digital, I would get duplicates of cute snapshots of my children and attached one of them to colorful card stock paper using scrapbooking tape. I'd use one of my scrapbooking pens and a few stickers to liven it up and say "Happy Birthday."

We always get comments on how cute the tags are.

Works for us!

Check out the rest of the Works for me Wednesday tips at Rocks in My Dryer.

New old entertainment

Sass, Spyder and I made a trip to the bookstore today. We were nearby -- Spyder took a class on sharks at the science and history museum -- and we decided to stop in for a bit.

One of the employees saw me reading Fancy Nancy to Sass. A few minutes later she came by and handed Sass a Fancy Nancy paper doll and outfits.

Sass has had such a great time with them, all day. Paper dolls have never even occurred to me before, but I'll definitely keep them in mind for the future.

US Geography

We've been doing a fun little study on US Geography this term, and I've found a few internet resources to share.

Awesome America.

A great fact-filled website that shows a state map, plus the state flag, symbols, trivia . . . loads of clickable information in the site.

This has been a great site for us in an "I didn't know that!" kind of way.

Make your own map of states you've visited.

Spyder thought this was particularly cool. Just check the states that you've visited and you can see your own map. Ours was particularly heavy on the South and East, and we've never been further west than Oklahoma.

Test your knowledge!

A click-and-drag map to place the states within a certain time. (I think it's three minutes, but I can't remember.)

Another test!

Answer questions on the right side of the screen by clicking on the correct state.

And yet another test for state placement!

What I like about this one though, is that you can do it either with or without the state outlines as a guide. It's more challenging for those who've been doing it for a while and can get bored with the same old stuff.

I truly appreciate the work that goes into sites like these. They make learning interactive and fun, and make my job a little bit easier. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter, the highlights

I have a rotten sinus infection, so bullet points seem easier at the moment.
  • I am brilliant! I hate the plastic Easter grass. I find it everywhere for weeks afterward. This year I was determined not to use it. I decided that I'd run by Target and get green tissue paper. Well, Target was so crowded that people were parking in the Kroger parking lot. Considering that I had both children with me, and my nasty sinus infection was making an appearance, I decided not to go. My completely from-the-hip solution? Construction paper, run through the shredder! I used all different colors and shredded them. It looked lovely, and it's SO much easier to clean up!
  • It was cold this year. I think the overnight low was 29. Sass couldn't wear her cute little Easter dress. Maybe next week. It did end up being chilly-but-sunny in the afternoon, so we got to hide eggs.
  • We had the Easter feast at Mom & Dad's as usual. Sass spent the day playing with Dad's dog Molly, who was quite sad that she had to be in the pen during the egg hunt.

  • Spyder spent the day shooting the BB gun, as any Southern boy should. :)

  • Uncle Richard took his usual post-feast nap, although I didn't hear snoring this time.
  • My Memaw and The Michael had a hilarious discussion about nothing. What made it funny was that Memaw is losing her hearing, and kept misinterpreting what Michael was saying. He'd have to explain and redirect her to the actual conversation. Michael and I had an entire discussion about this during his discussion about nothing with Memaw, and she never knew a thing.
  • I took a nap at Mom & Dad's, which is something I never do. When I woke up an hour later, I realized that I've passed the "stuffy" and have moved on to "sick."
All in all, a very satisfactory day!

I think we're born with it

SASS: Dadda, could you please make sure the toilet round thing is DOWN? I just went, and it was up.

SKEETER: You mean the seat?

SASS: Yes, Dadda. The seat. I can't sit without it. I fall in!

SKEETER: Can't you just put it down?

SASS: Well, I could, but it takes longer. You don't want me to wet my pants, do you?


She's never even heard me fuss about the toilet seat. I actually prefer having both the seat and the lid down, so when I do fuss, it's about the lid rather than the seat. :)

Friday, April 06, 2007

The heart bowls

Two years ago I bought four of these little ceramic heart bowls from the dollar spot at Target. They had them at Valentine's Day, and I got them specifically to make heart shaped cakes for the family for a Valentine dessert. I did use them for the intended purpose, but I honestly never thought we'd still be using them two years later.

They're just perfect though. The picture shows Sass's snack afternoon snack a few days ago -- a Laughing Cow cheese wedge and some whole wheat crackers -- and it's just the right size.

It seems like it's always just the right size, for just about anything. Almost any time someone says, "I want a snack," I respond with, "Grab a heart bowl and I'll make something."

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Because I'm all cheezy like that

Skeeter got new cell phones for both of us this week, and my ringtone for him is tobyMac's "Made to Love."

I had really wanted "No Ordinary Love," but I couldn't find it. :)

Booking through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday

  1. Just out of curiosity, as we enter into Passover and Easter season... have you ever read the Bible? Just the odd chapter or Psalm? The whole thing? (Or, almost the whole thing? It's some heavy reading, of course, and those "begats" get kind of tedious.) I've read most of it. I use The One Year Chronological Bible, which is a wonderful "read the bible in a year" resource. It also makes me realize correlations between books that I wouldn't have otherwise. I've never made it all the way through because I sometimes get behind, and I've decided that it's better for me to just keep going rather than lament over where I got stuck.

  2. If so, was it from religious motivation or from a literary perspective? Stuck with nothing else to read in a hotel room the Gideon's have visited? Any combination? Religious motivation. I studied portions as literature when I was in college, which was fascinating, but honestly I got more out of it when I did it for spiritual reasons.

  3. If not, why not? Against your religious principles? Too boring? Just not interested? Something you're planning on taking care of when you get marooned on a desert island? N/A

  4. And while we're on the subject... what about the other great religious works out there? Are they more to your liking? I've read the Apocrypha, which is not included in my Protestant bible, and I've read small portions of the Mormon bible, but I can't think of any others.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Jack and the Beanstalk, operetta style

The urchins and I went to see a performance of Jack and the Beanstalk today, done operetta style.

One would immediately think, "Operetta and children? No way!" Yes way! The performance is engaging, and there portions of spoken dialogue that reiterate the lyrics so that children can understand what's going on even if they don't quite get the lyrics.

Spyder (age 8) and Sass (age 5) both enjoyed it and understood it. Afterward, the organizer told us about next year's performance, and both of the children wanted me to add it to the calendar right then so that we'd be sure not to miss it.

I absolutely love taking them to live performances. I love the dynamic of a live show. There is an interaction between the performer and the audience that is like nothing that a movie can duplicate. We try to take in a live performance at least every other month, but each time we do, I'm reminded that I should try for even more.

Monday, April 02, 2007

A stellar substitute

Baking soda! Sass and Spyder played "sandbox" in the house today with baking soda. What started out as a simple magic trick (with a promise of "I won't get it on the floor!") ended in a mess. An expected mess, but still a mess.

They did have a blast though, and it wasn't cleanup wasn't too awful. Maybe I should let them do this more often. Sand would have been much more irritating!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Words to live by

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

Psalm 143:8, NIV