Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Conscious Marriage

Adapted from Getting the Love You Want: A Guide For Couples, by Harville Hendrix

A conscious marriage is a marriage that fosters maximum psychological and spiritual growth; it’s a marriage created by becoming conscious and cooperating with the fundamental drives of the unconscious mind: to be safe, to be healed, and to be whole.

What are some of the differences when you become conscious? The following list highlights some of the essential differences in attitude and behavior:

1. You realize that your love relationship has a hidden purpose—the healing of childhood wounds.

2. You create a more accurate image of your partner.

3. You take responsibility for communicating your needs and desires to your partner.

4. You become more intentional in your interactions.

5. You learn to value your partner’s needs and wishes as highly as you value your own.

6. You embrace the dark side of your personality.

7. You learn new techniques to satisfy your basic needs and desires.

8. You search within yourself for the strengths and abilities you are lacking.

9. You become more aware of your drive to be loving and whole and united with the universe.

10. You accept the difficulty of creating a good marriage.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Serenity

As the holidaze approach, my thoughts turn to times when life was not so insane. Wait, that never happened. My thoughts wish to create a life where time moves slowly and cider can mull while the fire crackles. Where the soft winter music of Windham Hill floats through the house and the lights happily twinkle.

I came across a vignette written by author James Allen (1864-1912) about Serenity. If this man found what it takes, and he only lived 48 years, there is certainly hope for us all!

Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the result of long and patient effort in self-control. Its presence is an indication of ripened experience, and of a more than ordinary knowledge of the laws and operations of thought.

A person becomes calm in the measure that one understands themselves as a thought evolved being, for such knowledge necessitates the understanding of others as the result of thought, and as one develops a right understanding, and sees more and more clearly the internal relations of things by the action of cause and effect, one ceases to fuss and fume and worry and grieve, and remains poised, steadfast, serene.

The calm person, having learned how to govern themselves, knows how to adapt themselves to others; and they, in turn, reverence their spiritual strength, and feel that they can learn of them and rely upon them. The more tranquil a person becomes, the greater is their success, their influence, their power for good. Even the ordinary trader will find their business prosperity increase as one develops a greater self control and equanimity, for people will always prefer to deal with a person whose demeanor is strongly equable.

The strong, calm person is always loved and revered. They are like a shade-giving tree in a thirsty land, or a sheltering rock in a storm. Who does not love a tranquil heart, a sweet-tempered, balanced life? It does not matter whether it rains or shines, or what changes come to those possessing these blessings, for they are always sweet, serene, and calm. That exquisite poise of character which we call serenity is the last lesson of culture; it is the flowering of life, the fruitage of the soul. It is precious as wisdom, more to be desired than gold, than even fine gold. How insignificant mere money seeking looks in comparison with a serene life - a life that dwells in the ocean of truth, beneath the waves, beyond the reach of tempests, in the eternal calm!

How many people we know who sour their lives, who ruin all that is sweet and beautiful by explosive tempers, who destroy their poise of character, and make bad blood! It is a question whether the great majority of people do not ruin their lives and mar their happiness by lack of self-control flow few people we meet in life who are well-balanced, who have that exquisite poise which is characteristic of the finished character!

May you be blessed!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thanksgiving Dinner Style

Thanksgiving Dinner Style

Pioneer Spirit
When it comes to preparing a festival of thanks, you're aiming high and you're right on the mark. You are happiest embracing Thanksgiving traditions, so be sure to allow yourself enough time to do so. Consider incorporating some of the traditions that are important to your guests into your celebration.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Love hurts

I follow a blog written by an absolutely amazing young woman who happens to share the same first name as me. She runs a ministry for young women in the town where she lives and is doing all kinds of good for the people in her life.



She has also been very hurt by the sudden end of a relationship.



It's a heartbreaking place to be, but she is very strong and knows whom she can put her trust.



http://ministrysofabulous.com/2008/10/19/the-next-time-i-fall-in-love/

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dirty Dozen

See, once you realize that with publishing 100 posts you are obligated to create a "100 things about me" to put on your sidebar, all regular posting comes to a screeching halt while your brain shuts down in an attempt to prolong the work required to come up with 100 things about yourself that anyone else would find remotely interesting.

In lieu of posting my 100 things in this, my 100th post, I have decided to post a list of the fruits and veggies you should absolutely buy organically whenever you buy said fruits and veggies, and which ones you can assuredly get away with buying the cheapies.

So, here they are, the dirty dozen: Fruits and Vegetables you absolutely must buy organically, or not at all.

1. Peaches
2. Apples
3. Sweet Bell Peppers
4. Celery
5. Nectarines
6. Strawberries
7. Cherries
8. Lettuce
9. Grapes
10. Pears
11. Spinach
12. Potatoes

And here are the fruits and veggies which you can get away with buying non-organically:

1. Onions
2. Avocados
3. Sweet corn (frozen)
4. Pineapples
5. Mango
6. Sweet Peas (frozen)
7. Asparagus
8. Kiwi
9. Bananas
10. Cabbage
11. Broccoli
12. Eggplant

My theory is that because so many of the foods on the non-organic list have some type of peel, they are safer than the other foods on the organic list, which you don't normally peel.

(data from www.foodnews.org)

So, it wasn't a list about my 100 things, but at least it was educational and delicious. I'll get the 100 things post going right now. Promise.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Autumn prayer

Lord,
There is so much happening in our world right now.
In the midst of it all, it is so good to know
You're in control,
Your love is never-ending, and
You provide for us.

As the trees turn colors,
and the nights grow cooler,
may we be reminded that
every season of our lives
is part of Your loving plan.

Amen. ~ Holley Gerth

"For I know the plans I have for you,"
declares the Lord,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday funny - State of the Economy

You know it's bad when the Treasury department issues a dollar bill like this:



Thursday, October 2, 2008

A-Z about me

This is one I haven't seen before. Cute!

Attached or single? Attached to my loving husband.
Best Friend(s)? Jesse, Celia, Echo
Cake or Pie? Cake, German Chocolate please
Day of Choice? Saturday followed closely by Sunday, then Friday!
Essential Item? A good book
Flavor of Ice Cream? Goo Goo Cluster (do they even make that anymore?)
Gummy Bears or Worms? Bears, I guess, though I like Hot Tamales even better
Hometown? Born in Berkeley, CA
Indulgences? Play silly video games when Handsome lets me have the computer at night
January or July? July, it's warmer
Kids? Sorta
Last Movie I saw in theater? Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull thingy
Middle Name? Lynn
Number of Siblings? zero
Oranges or Apples? apples
Phobia or Fear? Crazy phobia about wasps.
Quote? “Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering.” - Winnie the Pooh
Reason to Smile? Every new day.
Season? Fall!
Title of your autobiography? Curly girl takes on the world
Unknown Fact about me? Chronic nail biter until the age of 27.
Vegetarian or Carnivore? Omnivorous and loving it!
Worst Habit? Grinding my teeth or clenching my jaw.
Xrays or Ultrasounds? Ultrasounds are so much cooler
Yummiest food? Avocados, I could eat them on cheerios, they're so good.
Zodiac? Scorpio baby!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Cycle-path

An interesting tidbit: In February, a TN woman was arrested for biking under the influence... on a stationary bike... at her gym. She got a BUI.

I loved to ride my bike as a kid. Handsome and I each own a bicycle. I was tickled when Handsome and I went on our first bike ride as a couple. It is just plain romantic to me.

Then, we bought a house and the remodeling hurricane ensued. We were plum exhausted after all the work we put into said house remodeling.

Our bikes now hang from the ceiling in "his" garage. With all the projects we've pursued over the summer, we never got to ride together. I consider bike riding an enjoyable fitness activity.

Handsome believes that because he stands on his feet all day, he gets all the fitness he needs. I believe he does walk a lot, but it's not like the cardio aerobic activity that bike riding, or walking, produces.

I've taken to going to the Rec Center to walk on the treadmill after work. I figure, if he won't take the time to go bike riding with me, I cannot let that stop me from going after my own fitness goals.

I do wish we could take this journey together. I do want to get that romantic exercise feeling back. Bike riding together is just plain fun!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Small changes can add up!

If 10,000 people go vegan for one meal a week, in a year we'll avert the amount of carbon dioxide produced by 548 pizza delivery cars.

Wild, huh?

As for me, I'll make my vegan choice be City O' City in downtown Denver. Check out their offerings here.

Some people are ascairt of the word "vegan", but with delectables like pizza with seitan sausage, carmelized onions and fresh sage... You can't live in fear for long!

Oh, and for my GF friends, all of their offerings can be made gluten free too!

Monday, September 29, 2008

100 things

1. I am a wife, daughter, birthmom, niece, daughter-in-law, half-sister-in-law, cousin and friend.

2. I am a textbook Scorpio.

3. I'm an only child.

4. At one point, I had four step-sisters, three step-brothers and a nephew two years younger than me, but none of them lived in the same house as I did.

5. I have no idea what happened to any of them. (Update! Found one on Facebook!)

6. By the time I was 25, I'd lived in 22 different places in my life.

7. No, I was not a "military brat". I just had a very indecisive mother.

8. I have lived in four states: California, Oregon, Virginia and Colorado.

9. There are so very many things to love about Colorado, but my heart will probably always be in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

10. If I could live anywhere other than CO right now, I would move back to VA or maybe North Carolina.

11. There are tons of places I haven't been yet, so I can't say for sure where exactly I would live.

12. I have had the same best friend since we were ten years old.

13. I wish I had more friends like her, in both substance and longevity.

14. My folks divorced when I was 18 months old.

15. I don't care what they say, kids never have the same lives after divorce.

16. Because of that, I honestly believe I won't get divorced.

17. I went to eight different schools from K-12.

18. Going to so many schools growing up taught me to make friends quickly but not to cultivate deep friendships.

19. Through Facebook I have found kids I went to school with all the way back to kindergarten.

20. I have a master's degree in Sociology.

21. My degree doesn't really do a whole lot for me in my job or my life.

22. I freaking despised my entire grad school experience. The advisor, the classes, the thesis - what a waste of time and money.

23. I can't even say specifically what my thesis was about, but it was generally about open adoption.

24. I am a birthmom in an open adoption. I had a baby in 1998 and placed him for adoption with a wonderful family. We talk to each other every week and see each other several times a year.

25. It was the hardest but most amazing choice I've ever made.

26. Sometimes I feel God put me on this earth to educate people about how amazing open adoption can be.

27. I feel blessed to have a part in my son's life. His parents feel blessed to have me in their lives!

28. I own two cats: Marigold and Obi.

29. I don't think Marigold will ever stop peeing on the floor.

30. To me, dealing with the cat peeing on the floor is akin to changing a baby's diaper. However, it drives my husband completely bonkers.

31. I work at a prestigious law firm.

32. I actually like my job. It's ridiculous that they pay me so well for what I do.

33. Some days I get wanderlust and think about leaving my job and doing something more emotionally fulfilling. Then I panic because I don't know what else I would do.

34. I really wish I could get paid similarly for walking dogs and petting cats.

35. I love to cook. If I could get paid to cook, I would.

36. I also love to scrapbook.

37. I do not work for a big time scrapbooking cult corporation.

38. I lost invested a lot of money over time by working for such a corporation. But I got a lot of cool stuff out of it.

39. I've taken more personality tests and career tests than I care to admit.

40. Maybe I'm just afraid of change after all?

41. Once I thought that working in a high security government job was right up my alley.

42. I let that dream go after my husband freaked out when I shared the idea with him.

43. I thought it might be fun to tutor kids in math or Spanish. I just don't know how to get started.

44. I wish I had the creativity to write a book.

45. I did paint a really cool picture of a rose I saw in a magazine. That painting hangs on my wall today.

46. I bought my first home when I was 25.

47. I didn't paint a single wall for 6 years. Then I painted one bathroom really REALLY blue (like taskbar on your computer blue).

48. When my husband and I bought a house, I painted every wall a different color before we moved in.

49. I got my first credit card when I was 26, the year after I bought my condo.

50. I am going to be credit card debt free in 2010. (AMEN!)

51. I am blood type A. This means I should be vegetarian and should not eat red meat or dairy.

52. I do not like parmesan cheese or cilantro. I feel like I'm the only one who doesn't.

53. I have a weird crush on Eminem. I cannot explain what I like about him (certainly not his body omigosh)

54. My celebrity boyfriends are Matthew McConaughy and Kenny Chesney. I have asked for a pass from my husband if either of them wanted to take me on a cruise for the weekend.

55. I played flute and piccolo in high school and college.

56. Yes, I was in the marching band.

57. Everything they say about band camp is true.

58. I really really love to sing.

59. I met my husband while I was singing.

60. It was karaoke night, the song was "Travelin' Soldier" by the Dixie Chicks.

61. I'm a Broncos fan.

62. I think part of the reason my husband asked me to marry him was because I cooked him great meals and I could hold my own in a football-centered conversation. I'm okay with that!

63. I was really good at math in school.

64. My calculus teacher taught us by bringing in cheese, crackers and salami to demonstrate a problem. I thought if I were a teacher, I'd want to be like her.

65. My favorite fruit is the Honeycrisp Apple.

66. I drink at least half my body weight in ounces of water every day.

67. It started out as a weight loss tool but I'm not losing a bunch of weight and now, if I don't get that much to drink, I feel dehydrated.

68. I wish I could get rid of 15 pounds.

69. I did a summer project for Habitat for Humanity when I was in college and helped build a house from slab to shingles.

70. I can totally hold my own with a miter saw.

71. I didn't know either of my grandfathers. One took his life 4 years before I was born and the other died when I was one.

72. I became very close with my grandfather's sister-in-law.

73. She taught me a valuable lesson about time. We lost her to cancer in 2005.

74. Reading old journals I wrote both cracks me up and grounds me. I try to keep up with journal writing but I'm a slacker. Most of my writings when I was young were about boys.

75. When my husband and I were still engaged, we stopped using tobacco together on the same day in 2005. On a road trip. In a car. On the way to introduce him to my father. No stress! We still liked each other after that trip and haven't used tobacco since!

76. Spending six weeks in Mexico while getting college credit was the sweetest trip abroad EVER.

77. My favorite thing to do is read. However, I have a terrible memory, so even if I have read a book, I might not be able to tell you a darn thing about it.

78. I go to the library at least once a week because I never want to ride the bus to/from work without a book. I have bookshelves full of books I have read but don't want to re-read because of all the great books yet to be read in the library.

79. I got to drive my 1983 Mazda RX7 across the country when we moved from VA to CO the summer before my high school senior year. In Kansas, I put the cruise control on 110 mph and didn't slow down until I hit the Colorado border.

80. I'm learning to sew.

81. It's not as easy as some people make it seem.

82. I sewed two curtains for my living room, which took me several hours start to finish and I ripped out at least a foot of seams during the process.

83. I am determined to learn how to knit and/or crochet this winter. I have no doubt this will end in the production of a blue and orange blanket in the future.

84. My husband gave me diamond earrings for my first birthday we were together. Not being a big earring wearer, we turned them into my engagement ring.

85. We bought a 1976 Dodge Motorhome for $900. We call it the "Shaggin' Wagon"

86. The Indigo Girls have been my favorite group since 1989. Up until a few years ago, I knew every Indigo Girls song by heart. I haven't kept up with their new music as much.

87. I've been skydiving twice. Now, after taking off in a commercial jet, seeing the squares of land below, my stomach does flip flops. I'm not sure I could jump out of a plane again.

88. I like to travel in the winter and spend summers in Colorado. The Czech Republic is the farthest I've been, and it's REALLY cold and dreary in the winter. Hawaii, however, is beautiful.

89. My stereo wakes me up every morning at 6:00 playing the classical music station. The first song is always the "Sunrise Serenade" which is supposed to ease you into the day. It works!

90. I really like to turn the volume up LOUD while listening to classical music. It vibrates in my soul.

91. My husband is much better at making coffee than I am. I don't know why.

92. I have one cup of coffee every morning. Rarely two. Must have creamer (Vanilla, if I have a choice)

93. I used to drink tea only if it was iced and sweet. I'm learning to really like hot tea.

94. My first, and last, attempt at snowboarding was on a 13,000 foot mountain. It was comical and battering.

95. I went skiing down that same mountain later that year.

96. I haven't done either since.

97. Having a good hair day can make everything else completely bearable.

98. I struggle with my faith on a daily basis.

99. I realize that I the reason I adored Choose Your Own Adventure books so much as a kid is because life is a lot like them, except you don't get to see what would happen if you made the other choice.

100. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change anything. Or I'd change everything.

If you live in California

I strongly encourage you to vote YES on Prop 2. It is the modest measure that stops cruel and inhumane treatment of animals, ending the practice of cramming farm animals into cages so small the animals can't even turn around, lie down or extend their limbs. Here is a very cute video showing what the animals have to say about Prop 2 (HT to my mom)




Sadly (VERY VERY SADLY), the truth isn't as cute as even the worst parts of this video. The truth is that these animals lead horrible lives. Treating our food sources with respect will only reap bountiful rewards for us human beans in the long run. So, please, my California buddies, vote YES on Prop 2.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday funny

Redneck Fire Alarm



Thursday, September 25, 2008

Playing the numbers game

Isn't it funny how the littlest things can really blow up and change our thinking - about our day, about ourselves...?

Our company brought in representatives from our insurance company to run tests on employees who wished to have their numbers. They took measures for weight, blood pressure, BMI, body fat percentage, glucose and cholesterol.

They do this because they want to encourage healthy lifestyles for employees so that we may work for the machine longer. I get it.

I feel quite healthy in general. Low blood pressure, which is odd for a law firm secretary.

My blood glucose level was well below the normal range. This is great news, because I was borderline gestational diabetic 10 years ago. I'm always suspect regarding those levels and how my blood sugar may fluctuate throughout the day. It's good to know that I'm not diabetic.

Apparently I'm just fat. I always struggle with my weight, it's so easy to struggle with! I would like to drop 10 pounds but would LOVE to drop 15. Using weight and height, they calculated my Body Mass Index. This number doesn't tell you anything except what your weight divided by your height is. Frankly, I think they should toss out the BMI number entirely.

Then they took my body fat percentage. Apparently, one out of every three cells in my body is a fat cell based on the results of that test. How much does that suck? For females, 18-39 years old, the ideal range is 14-23%, 40-59 years old it's 18-30%, and I'm up there with the 60+ year olds. Actually, it's off the chart. Sad, isn't it?

I have been really focusing lately on getting healthy. The truth is, I eat really healthy. I have ever since I found out high cholesterol runs in my family. And I knew I could lose the weight if I just exercised more. So I've been hitting the circuit at the Rec Center after work, and that has really been great.

I would advise other people to not base their self-esteem on what some numbers on a sheet of paper say. But I have a hard time not doing the same thing. I guess I need to view it as a personal challenge: to lower every one of those numbers each month.

So, wish me luck. It's time to take charge of my health. I want a HOT body, but more than that, I want low numbers all around. Lower the numbers, the body will follow?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Natural Weed Control

WFMW

Are you spending more time pulling weeds than enjoying the garden you've doted on all summer? Are you worried about the effect on the health of your family by using awful toxic pesticides?

My alternative? We use fabric. Fabric groundcovers block sunlight which deters weeds while simultaneously keeping the soil moist so you don't have to water as much.

Any fabric will do, really. They sell the weed fabric at the big box stores for about $10-12 for a 50 foot roll. You thought gas was expensive? Try a gallon of Round Up for $20!

If you have an old army blanket in the basement that's half eaten by moths, throw that out in the yard! It will even compost over time!

You can lay fabric under decks, or gravel pathways, or brick/stone patios. If you use it in the garden, all you do is cut circles out of the fabric where you want to plant, throw some mulch over the rest of it and voila! You're green!

Fabric in the garden definitely works for me!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Haiku

Cleaning house like mad
Mom-in-law staying tonight
Please, y'all, pray for me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Guess what I'm doing today?

I am oh so fortunate to be attending my favorite conference of all time!

The Women of Faith conference has come again to Denver. Hallelujah!

I have been to this conference off and on for the last five or six years. I get something different out of it each time I go.

There were the years that my heart has been broken. I felt so alone, dejected and rejected. The WoF conference allowed me to realize that I could sit there and bawl my eyes out with 10,000 other women and not feel like a freak. It allowed me to know that any time, I could just lay my head on the chest of God and weep. The conference showed me that I was not alone.

There were the years when everything in my life was going pretty okay. Max Lucado taught me how to really delve into my soul to find my "Sweet Spot." How to use my own uniqueness to make a BIG deal out of God every day of my life.

What is Women of Faith? They describe it best:

It’s two days, 10½ hours. It’s refreshment, reality without reproach, and relationships.
    Refreshment – Imagine getting together with your closest girlfriends for a weekend. Think of the laughter you’d share, the tears you’d shed, the FUN you’d have. Now multiply that by 10,000 or so. You’re starting to get the idea.

    Reality without Reproach – We’re not perfect. We don’t expect you to be perfect, either. Our speakers are real women who share stories from their real lives. We’re here to encourage women, not to condemn anyone. Even those who have never set foot in a church feel comfortable at our conferences. You can check your mask at the door. You’re welcome just as you are.

    Relationships – Connecting with God and with each other. At Women of Faith we believe that God loves you – no matter what your situation in life may be. We also believe that He wants a personal relationship with you. Through our conferences, more than 150,000 women have indicated decisions to start or renew that relationship. Relationships with each other are important, too. At a Women of Faith conference you’ll have the chance to connect with other women – even if you go there alone!

Over the course of the conference, you’ll have the opportunity to:
Renew your spirit with messages of hope and humor from the Women of Faith speaker team
Recharge your spiritual batteries with drama that tickles your funny bone and touches your heart (at the same time!)
Rejoice with music from top Christian music artists
Reconnect with God and each other as the WOF worship team leads an arena full of women in praise to God
Revitalize your life with resources that will help keep the conference experience alive all year
Relax in the comforting knowledge that God loves you – right where you are!


Oh, this year promises to be just as good if not better than the previous ones! The hilarious Anita Renfroe is joining the women on stage. It should be a riot!

You have probably seen her Total Momsense video on YouTube:




But you might not have seen the complementary video - Total Dadsense. Too funny!



Have a GREAT weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

House guest

My mother-in-law and brother-in-law, who live about 75 miles away, are staying with us Saturday night. This has prompted a necessary whirlwind cleaning session in our house.

Handsome was completely apathetic about it.

What are you worried about? All we need to do is change the sheets, vacuum, sweep, mop, do the dishes, clean the bathroom, clean the other bathroom, and I should probably hook up the plumbing in the basement so we can do laundry.

Um, yeah. Oh, and I'm going to be out of the house all day Friday and Saturday. *sigh*

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Change your thinking, change the world

I wish the United States would lead the charge in innovative, sustainable energy. We could so change the world.

Chevrolet announced the unveiling of its electric car, the Volt (cute, huh?), which will be available in 2010. Of course, the gas-free, zero emission vehicle comes at a price tag of about $40,000.

It's a start, even with the hefty cost.

The line of thinking that we must drill everywhere we possibly can just isn't the right one. Even if we utilized all the oil and gas leases that are currently out there, oil and coal are finite substances. They just won't renew and thus, if we exhaust them, we'll be at this EXACT same spot down the road.

Why is it so difficult to move away from the destruction of our blessed mother earth and figure new ways to transport ourselves from point a to point b? With hybrid technology and electric vehicles, we should not be so dependent on oil.

The candidates in this year's election are making a big deal out of the viscous liquid. I just don't think drilling is the answer.

Even Bush's administration has admitted that, should we drill in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, we'd only see a 4 cent per gallon decrease, and that would be around 2020.

That is unacceptable to me. Why bother assaulting the land, the animals and the seas just for a savings I can get with my Safeway card at the pump?

Some ways to help yourself in this energy quagmire we've found ourselves:


  • Pump It Up. Check your tire pressure. More than a quarter of all cars and nearly one-third of all SUVs, vans and pickups have under-inflated tires, according to a survey by the Department of Transportation. Properly inflating tires or buying low-rolling resistance tires could increase fuel economy by 3 percent or more.
  • Get in Tune. Take your car in for regular maintenance (check your owner's manual to find out how often your car needs a tune-up). Following the recommended maintenance schedule keeps your car running better and longer. A poorly tuned or poorly maintained engine can increase gasoline consumption by as much as 4 percent.
  • Use Good Motor Oil. Use the motor oil grade designed for your engine and choose a fuel-efficient oil marked with the "Energy Conserving" label by the American Petroleum Institute. Using a friction-reducing formula in the right grade can improve fuel economy by up to 2 percent.
  • Lighten the Load. Removing heavy items from your trunk and roof racks can improve fuel economy by 2 percent.
  • Slow It Down. Ease up on the pedal. Slowing down from 75 to 65 miles per hour will drop your highway gasoline consumption by about 15 percent. In town, avoiding rapid acceleration and aggressive driving can improve fuel economy by up to 5 percent.
  • Cut the Engine. If you're waiting to pick up a teenager or trapped in a huge traffic jam, turn off your engine. Across the country, idling cars waste millions of gallons of gasoline every day. If your wait is longer than 30 seconds, restarting the engine uses less gas than leaving it running.

Some day, Mother nature will shrug us off like a water from a wet dog. I just hope we don't badly damage her in the meantime.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Best Friend

My bestest friend in the world has created a blog to celebrate the birth of her son.

Check it out!

Congrats!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

A "W" is still a "W"

I heart Jay Cutler. Can I just say that right now? As a Broncos fan, yesterday's game was as exciting as they come.

The home team took the lead early in the game and didn't let it go until late in the fourth quarter. In typical Broncos fashion, it was a nail biter at the end.

Sure, people are screaming about the botched call(s) by the officials. But c'mon, it's football! Things will go your way sometimes, other times you get hosed.

However, this kid is simply unbelievable.




What he's done with the team is amazing. And he's so darn confident. Oh, Jay, thanks for being a good kid and a great QB.



Unlike your nemesis in yesterday's shootout.




Smack talkin' P-Riv. Not liking you so much. Frankly I think you got what you deserved yesterday.

And Norv? Really? I thought he was going to pop a gasket or a heart valve on the sidelines.

I'll take that 2-0 record. Leading the division. I'll savor it as long as I can.

Thank you Broncos. It's good to be a fan again!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Concentrate on this

The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Stuffy haiku

Left nostil is plugged
No, wait, now it's the right one
Cold meds do not help.

Friday funny

My Texan girlfriend Melissa was railing on her blog against Hurricane Gustav.

Oh, you are a nasty one, Gustav. And what kind of name is that, anyway? Gustav? Seriously, if you were all that nasty they would have named you Chucky, Freddie, Jason or Cujo. Gustav makes you sound like you are going to hit landfall, break into a rousing rendition of a Walt Disney theme park number and have your shirt unbuttoned down to your navel.

Take THAT Gustav!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering

Remember September 11, 2001


In Denver, it was 6:46 a.m. when the first plane hit. I was out of the shower listening to my favorite morning show, Dom and Jane. They usually had the Today Show on in their studio and suddenly, they were talking about how a plane inexplicably just flew into one of the buildings.

17 minutes later, the second plane hit. I continued to listen in shock, not turning on the TV for fear I would miss my bus to the office.

Everyone on that bus was talking about what happened. Those who hadn't heard were filled in. Those who had watched news channels that morning relayed the horrific scene in New York.

As soon as I got into the office, I pulled up Mapquest to get a picture of the buildings. The buildings imploded shortly after.

I called my boss, who just the night before had supper with me because he was leaving town to go be with his family. I cooked for him when he had no one else to eat with. I caught him on his cell phone, cruising oblivious down the highway toward Phoenix.

"Turn on your radio, find a talk radio station." We got cut off.

The head honchos at the office determined that we were not fully safe in our office building, being so near one more than 50 stories high. We didn't yet know whether all skyscrapers in the country were being targeted or if the damage was yet complete.

They told us to go home.


So, we did.


Most of us spent the next eleventy hours glued to the television, watching replays of what happened that morning. The planes, the smoke, the fires, the ash, the horror.

This morning, I woke up and looked around my neighborhood. There are flags flying today where there were none yesterday.

I thought about the women who were pregnant at that time, whose babies lost their fathers that day. They'd be in first, maybe second grade this fall.

It was incomprehensible then. And no less so now.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

News which made my day

When Handsome and I bought our house, it needed quite a bit of work to make it work for us.

The itty bitty kitchen was very cut off from the itty bitty living room by a 3/4 wall with a barely there window cut out above the sink. The kitchen counters were pomegranate red and the floor was flesh colored. The carpets were dingy and the light fixtures were ghastly.

We worked every night after our "real" jobs for two months straight fixing that house up. We knocked down the wall between the kitchen and living room and made a breakfast bar out of what was left. It opened up the space tremendously.

We built a cabinet to house a double oven given to us by my father-in-law (oh, how I love that double oven!). We purchased new tiles for the kitchen floor, the entryway and bamboo flooring for the living room, hall and office area. While looking into kitchen countertops, we thought that wood would look splendid in the rustic Tuscan kitchen we were creating.

There was a problem. Nobody had wood countertops.

We couldn't find butcher block countertops for as much space as we needed for anything under $1000. We didn't have $1000 to spend on wood, for our counters.

But I was in love with the idea of wood, so we kept searching.

My search led me to IKEA. They had wooden countertops. For much less than $1000. Unfortunately, there are no IKEA stores within 500 miles of our newly remodeled house. Why does Texas have three and California have eight of these stores yet Colorado has NONE? *sigh*

Smack dab in the middle of our remodel project, we took a trip to Montana to celebrate my dad's wife's 60th birthday. The drive up to Montana is never as cool as the drive back, usually because we head up at night and are totally exhausted and then drive all the next day to get to their house. We usually drive up through Wyoming and cut across the vast expanse that is Montana. Sometimes we drive back the same way, varying slightly for sight-seeing purposes. This time, we had a whole house remodel to come home to, so no sight-seeing was in the plan.

However, as we were planning for this trip to Montana, an idea struck.

There was an IKEA not too terribly out of the way back from Montana. You know, in Utah.

Yep, we got our wooden countertops, loaded them up in ol' Ruby (our Jeep Liberty) and drove those 800 miles home with our new finds. Actually, the only way they would fit in Ruby is by laying the passenger seat back and stacking them on top of each other in the vehicle.

Visualize it.

I spent most of the ride home in the back seat, directly behind my awesome chauffer husband.

By the way, those countertops (96 inch long, 26 inch wide) were only $70 a pop! I KNOW!

Soooooo.... the reason for this entire post, besides cementing the memory of redesigning our kitchen and scoring the most awesomest kitchen countertops for a steal is this:

THEY ARE BRINGING IKEA TO DENVER!

I am a happy happy girl! What works for you?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Question about baby showers

My girlfriend is pregnant with number 3. Her eldest, a girl, is 6 and her youngest, a boy, is 3.

I'd like to throw her a shower for number 3. My cohorts are questioning the etiquette.

Do you think it's okay to throw a shower, even if it's just a diaper and onesie thang, for the mom-to-be of number 3?

Me? I like a party! I believe each child's life should be celebrated! I know diapers are expensive! I am positive that this mom-to-be would appreciate the gesture.

Please, weigh in. Thank you!

Quote of the day

Feeling kind of funky today and already arguing with my boss about something that he specifically instructed me to do, which turned out to be wrong instructions...

So, this quote struck me as funny and very apropos:

Whatever you give a woman, she's going to multiply.
If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby.
If you give her a house, she'll give you a home.
If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal.
If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart.
She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her.
So - if you give her any crap, you will receive a ton of sh!t.

Have a glorious day!

Friday, September 5, 2008

What am I doing?

Do you ever have that feeling like you have NO idea what in the world you are doing here? Generally, specifically, physically, metaphysically?

I read something recently that applies just to that feeling.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours; yours are the only hands with which he can do his work; yours are the only feet with which he can go about the world; yours are the only eyes through which his compassion can shine forth upon a troubled world. Christ has no body now on earth but yours. ~St. Teresa of Avila


Now, when that feeling of confusion, hopelessness, or wonder hits you, just remember that you're here for a purpose and you don't have to know what it is.

All you have to do is the best you can at whatever it is, and do it all for the glory of God. That should be enough!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Waxing nostalgic

What has happened to the drive-in movie theaters across the country?

Why do people not think that these icons of Americana are worth saving?

We had a drive in theater about 10 miles down the road from our house. It was old, with two screens, one on each end. You could settle in with the speaker through the window or tune your car's radio to the AM station which broadcasted the sound from the movie you were watching.

They leveled that drive in this year. I hear they are putting up condos in its place.

'Cause that's what we need, more condos.

The number of drive in theaters open in the United States is steadily declining. Only 70% of the drive ins open a decade ago are still in operation. They haven't built a new drive in theater in this country since 2004.

Does this make you as sad as it does me?

We have a recurring party with our friends we lovingly call "Redneck Drive In". This constitutes dragging a big ol' 1970s tv set to the bottom of the driveway and inviting everyone together to watch a movie. We pop popcorn and have a potluck (of course, the beer's usually flowing steadily as well). It's a hoot!

This is already a world where the kids who graduate high school this year don't know that Michael Jackson used to be black. Can't we do something about the fact that they may never visit a drive in theater?

Friday, August 29, 2008

My t-shirt will read...

"I survived the DNC!"

This city of mine has been incredibly busy this past week. The powers that be assured locals that there would be no more influx here in Denver that we normally see at a Broncos game.

Oh, how they jest.

There are TONS of people on the streets. Protesting, campaigning, schmoozing, walking, eating, yelling, marching, rioting, rollerblading with hardly a stitch on them...

OK, it was just the one lady. And I liked her style, if I didn't understand her point. See, she was shouting "More ass, less gas!" which I'm sure was some relation to the argument against drilling for oil. I just don't know how to put her thought into action. Or how to run my car off it.

**sigh**

The most frustrating part of being in town during this highlight in history, is the star power, and the effect it has on me. Movie stars, politicians, comedians, they are all here! Within sight!

Yesterday I had the opportunity to chat with stare at John Kerry, who dropped by our office to give a small speech.





However, that's nothing compared to who I missed, walking out of the Hard Rock Cafe...





Oh, bestill my heart....

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Prayer

Lord, work through me
To plan with wisdom
To guide with vision
To lead with humility
To listen with understanding
To work with excellence
To succeed in a way
That honors you.
~Roy Lessin

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Apparently it's just me

I really thought Mercury was in retrograde this week. Every communication I've been having with anyone in particular has been particularly difficult.

People are appearing to be most thick to me.

I have wanted to tell people who frustrate me that they are dense and frustrating. But I didn't.

These types of days make me appreciate yoga. In fact, my yoga teacher put our class in meditiative shavasana today and one of us fell asleep. Like, snoring and all.

Totally wasn't me, though. It did break my concentration, however.

Which means that I wasn't doing shavasana right.

I wanted to giggle instead of just laying there, meditating in shavasana.

I did get a great workout during class, which helps to alleviate some of the murderous feelings I experienced before the class.

Yoga really benefits more than just me!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Life ain't like Ozzie and Harriet

I read a statistic recently that only 25% of families in America are of the "nuclear" variety. (That's nu-cle-ar, not like Homer Simpson's "nu-cu-lar") Mom, Dad and a coupla kids, all in the same house.

At first, I found this statistic to be kind of sad. My mind automatically wants to think that this is the appropriate family structure. Any other kind must be missing something.

I thought about single moms raising their kids. I was raised by my mom, by herself, for many years. I think I turned out okay. Bucking the statistics...

I thought about step-parents loving their blended families. Statistic shmatistic.

I thought about the new generation of grandparents raising their grandbabies, for whatever reason. Although I am eternally thankful that my grandma did not raise me while she was my grandma, I know that many of the grandparents did not have the proper choice as to whether or not they wanted to raise their grandbabies. And they're doing the best they can.

I thought about Matt Logelin, and others like him. Thrust into single parenthood without any say or choice. It makes my heart hurt.

Then I thought about what I go home to every day after work. Wait a minute, I'm not in a nuclear family! It's just Handsome and me at the ol' homestead. And it might be that way for a long time.

And I'm okay with that.

I wonder what effect watching Ozzie & Harriet (or Leave It to Beaver, or The Cosby Show, etc.) had on people who were not themselves part of a nuclear family. Did they think something was wrong with their family, because Dad had blazed out of the picture early (or, worse, stayed in it but in an alcoholic hurricane)?

Or maybe The Brady Bunch was the true trailblazer, showing that there is life after ... widowhood? divorce? Mike Brady was apparently a widower but there was never any mention of what situation Carol survived.

What's more intriguing is that that show was inspired because of a statistic from the Los Angeles Times produced in 1965 saying that 40% of marriages had a child, or children, from a previous marriage.

40% !!

But they never talked about it on the show. It was taboo.

So, news folks, don't make me feel like I'm some kind of weirdo for not having the proper American nuclear family. Apparently, it's never been that way.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Refreshment

We had the rainiest weekend of the year. It was wonderful.

It rained off and on all day on Friday and torrentially on Saturday. The flowers perked right up and welcomed the life giving water deep into their roots. The cucumbers are bulging, hanging on their vines.

The grass is greener than ever. The crickets chirrupped in the night.

It's as if each member of the land has taken a collective inhale, and then a sigh of relief and rejuvenation.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Naming rights

The men in Handsome's family named their sons after their brothers. Handsome's cousin is named after my father in-law.

While honeymooning, Handsome and I were talking about names for our future children. Thankfully, he wasn't terribly excited to continue the tradition of naming our kids after his father's family members. The proverbial well was pretty dried up at that point, with Handsome and the cousins being the last of the lineage for a while.

Being of Greek heritage, Handsome wanted a son to have a heroic name, one with ferocity and fortitude. Something like Zeus or Hades. I'm kidding, not Zeus or Hades.

Actually, Handsome wants to name his son after his grandfather: Achilles.

I'm okay with familial names. But Achilles?

Maybe as a middle name.

At the time I was pregnant with the boy, I took great pains into picking out the perfect name for him. It was a family name, incorporating my great-grandfather who came to this country from Portugal. I never met that man, but he had a cool name and I changed it enough to suit that baby.

I knew his parents would change his name when they adopted him, but I do have a birth certificate showing the name I gave him and it does still hold significance to me.

The Duchess has a post about naming of babies and how some people don't seem to realize the significance it can have for the parents.

Handsome and I have agreed on names of our future progeny, and we've been keeping those names mum for just the reasons mentioned in The Duchess' post. I'm curious if any other folks have naming insecurities or other examples of blatant plagiarism when it comes to your kids' name?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Does this banner make me look thin?

Do you like the new header up top there? Cute, huh?

I found a new site called Scrapblog (HT to Midwest Mommy!) which allows folks to create digital scrapbook pages ... for free!

I scrolled through their designs and picked one I just adore. Mixed some features around, put in my own title and voila! Personalized uber-cuteness!

This weekend we are picking up the boy and heading to Heritage Square.
Heritage Square is a unique, delightful replica of a Western village with Victorian architecture and provides an affordable, fun experience for the whole family.
The boy has never been to Heritage Square so I'm excited to take him there. There is an alpine slide which you ride by taking a tram to the top and sitting in these wheelie scooters screaming all the way down. It is a blast!

There's also amusement rides, go karts, good food and ice cream... Can't wait!

Then, another Water World day on Monday. It has been in the 90s most of July and August, so spending a day in and around the water sounds delightful!

Have a terrific weekend!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Date night with Harrison Ford

Handsome and I went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull last night.

We have a theater near our house which shows movies for $3.50 (the matinee's are $2.50). So, we tend to wait several eons weeks after a movie's release if we want to see it in the theater.

Our grocery store has coupons for the theater printed on the back of the reciept, as well, for a buy one ticket, get one free. Last night, two tickets and a medium popcorn cost us $6.50. What a deal!

::SPOILERS ahead::



I liked the fact that Indy recognizes that he's older. He's just not the young maverick he was in Raiders of the Lost Ark. That's good, shows he's human.

The action scenes were exciting, but the entire tenor of the movie was much more subdued than the previous flicks in the series.

Take the worst parts of Last Crusade and that's what made up most of Crystal Skull. It just didn't make a whole lot of sense. The chronology within the movie was confusing.

And c'mon, Spielberg, aliens? Even if the entire world knew about the theories of other worldlies coming to visit and impressing their knowledge upon the Maya, did you have to make the movie so hokey?

In the scene where the ship takes off, with the complete whirlwind of debris flying everywhere, how is it possible for Indy to just stand there and not get clocked in the head by a flyinging meso-american brick?

::Spoilers end here::



It was a great date night, though, for the fact that we got to go to an actual movie theater and eat actual movie theater popcorn. Although today, my belly is reminding me that I'm not built for actual movie theater popcorn all that often!

Anyone else have fun date nights lately? How about your own critique of the movie?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Milk isn't the only thing that does a body good

Do you ever have those stupid fights with your spouse? The ones that, while they are occurring, you're thinking to yourself, I need to blog about this to get perspective because I can not believe how asinine this is?

Handsome is the type of person who tends to run late for appointments. He just doesn't have a concept of how long a task will take him. When working at a side job (he is a plumber), he'll tell me the job will take him an hour; I'll immediately place the time at 2 and a half.

I hate to be late. I feel like my life is out of control and I get all panicky and breathless if I am running late. I know how ridiculous that sounds, but that's just the way I am.

Last night, I left work early to catch a bus which would get me home early, because I volunteer at our church youth group at 6:00 on Tuesdays. Handsome was supposed to get off work (the punch-a-clock real job, not a side job) at 4:00. At 5:30, as the bus passed Handsome's place of employment, I see our vehicle in the parking lot.

Uh oh.

I call him, get his voicemail and leave a message. Something like "hello, you're supposed to be home right now, why are you still at work, you need to come home as soon as you get this message, it's important, I love you, call me, bye."

Of course, he didn't get home until 10 minutes to 6:00. And I was late to youth group.

I must be PMS-ing because I go from zero to ticked off in no time flat. All I wanted was an apology from him saying anything like "I'm sorry that I was late and made you late."

But NOOOO. I got silence. And brooding. And evil stares.

But apparently I had no right to be angry. I got the whole spiel about how he had no intention of staying at work an extra hour and a half past his shift, it's not like he WANTED to be there. Blah blah blah.

Finally, around 9:00, he gave me the sarcastic apology for making me late. But I was still supposed to feel sorry for him for having to stay late at work (his choice, not a boss's).

ANYHOO...

I feel better for having written it all down and living through the experience. I know I cannot control him or make him on time for things. I have tried (really, I have!) to be less anxious when it comes to keeping a schedule. It's just a character flaw in me, I guess.

This morning, a daily email I receive was just what I needed to read. Here it is.

Forgiveness is good for you — in fact, it may be the most selfishly selfless thing you can do. Study after study has found that forgiving those who have hurt us isn't weak — it's actually one of the best decisions we can make for ourselves.

People who are able to forgive experience lower rates of depression and have less chronic pain and stronger immune systems — as well as better relationships. Part of this can be explained by a decreased stress response. When you dwell on bad experiences, your body registers it as stress and launches a cascade of biochemical reactions. High blood pressure and elevated cortisol levels can result.

But forgiveness is also emotional — even spiritual. Many people learn to forgive when they are older and have perhaps had to come to terms with their own mortality. As we age we gain a different perspective on our problems and, often, on the person who has caused us pain. We are all human and we all make mistakes.

However, be careful of associating "forgive" with "forget." Forgiveness does not mean you forget what happened. Rather, you direct your energy to the future and leave the past where it belongs. Don't forget where you've come from, just keep moving forward.
So, Handsome, you're forgiven. I still love you, even if you totally drive me crazy sometimes.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The girls have their own agenda

I peed on a stick today. Just to check. You know, because after tracking my temps for 13 cycles I thought that Handsome and I had finally done the trick this month.

My girls are making themselves known to me, in a way no other PMS cycle has before.

Alas, only the control line showed on the stick.

Betrayed by my boobs. *sigh*

Part of me wonders if I'm not subconciously sabotaging my chances of getting pregnant. I had wanted to be in a much better financial position before we lost all control of our lives brought a baby into the world. I talked about this with Handsome, who is 7 years older than me and apparently has his own biological clock clanging loudly in his ears.

He just really wants to go ahead, plans be damned.

But I like to plan, and I like to feel in control. I'm open to a baby, I just think I'd be more open later this year, or next year.

Yeah, that doesn't sound convincing, does it? I recognize that wanting to be in control doesn't jive very well with being open to a baby. I recognize that having a baby means that in a lot of ways, your life is truly out of control.

There are so many unknowns when it comes to babies. We cannot afford to have one or the other of us stay at home with baby. We probably cannot afford daycare either! Handsome has so many dreams of beautifying our home and yard, making it hospitable for us and a family, if that's what God plans. I can't imagine much progress being made when we're sleep deprived and totally broke.

Maybe it's just not the right time.

Is it okay that I'm fine with that?

Friday, August 1, 2008

5 things

Artified tagged me for my first meme! (Is it "may may" or "mee mee" anyway?)

What are five things on your to-do list for today?
1. file some documents at work that have been sitting on my desk for way. too. long.
2. yoga
3. finish fixing dinner (some sort of Indian chicken dish simmering in the crockpot)
4. take a walk with Handsome
5. send a birthday card

What are five snacks you enjoy?
1. apples
2. peaches
3. nectarines
4. peanut butter and crackers
5. pistachio nuts

What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?
1. buy our houses outright
2. same with the vehicles
3. pay off all the credit cards
4. travel the world
5. make a healthy donation to Humane Society

What are five of your bad habits?
1. gossiping
2. procrastinating
3. sarcasm
4. spending more than I should
5. mindless eating

What are five places you have lived?
1. California (5 different houses)
2. Oregon (1 house)
3. Virginia (3 different houses)
4. Colorado (9 different houses)
5. Mexico (does 6 weeks count as "lived"?)

What are five jobs you’ve had?
1. Waitress
2. Manager at Dairy Queen
3. Customer Service at satellite dish company
4. Hostess
5. Legal Secretary

And that's where it stops. Swear! I won't tag anyone because some folks love meme's and others hate them. I think I will be a pick and choose type of person because that's how I roll.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A prayer for our home

Lord,

We invite you into our house.

We desire for Your presence to be with us always.

Please fill these rooms with Your love, every corner with Your peace and each moment here with Your joy.

May this be a place where we live in Your grace and may all who enter here be blessed by You in a special way.

We commit this house to you and we ask that you truly make it a home as we live, laugh, and love together.

Amen.

(lovingly borrowed from the folks at Dayspring)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mamma Mia!

Handsome and I saw this musical when it was in Denver this past May. It was such a HOOT! The energy of the cast was palpable. The costumes were amazing.

But the singing, oh wow, was terrific! The producers said that the songs were just waiting for the musical to be written, even though they were conceived years apart.

I'm not a die hard ABBA fan, so I didn't know all their songs by heart. But I did totally groove out to the ones I knew (hello? Dancing Queen?)

This past Monday I went with several girlfriends to go see the movie. It was set in Greece so the scenery alone was breathtaking.

The movie did not disappoint. It followed the musical quite closely and the actors were all adorable. I particularly adore Christine Baranski, although in this movie, it seems her nose was approaching Michael Jackson proportions. What is up with that?

There were moments in the movie I thought Meryl Streep looked super great (she turned 59 this summer) but there were some shots that made her look just old. It was sad to see. I mean, she's a knockout, really. I thought she was fantastic in Manchurian Candidate and inspiring in Angels in America. I felt like this movie wasn't her best, but damn, at least they could've made her SHINE!

Oh, and I totally fell in love all over again with Pierce Brosnan. Yum.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Are we ALL having fertility issues?

Handsome and I have been on the "practicing for baby" train for some time now. It's been fun! Of course, he seems to think it's a "quantity" issue, while I'm concerned it's a "quality" issue. We have yet to know the definitive answer to this question. I am not worried in the least about it!

Last night, I showed him the multitude of flowers on the squash and zucchini plants in a container we have in the yard. (I do container gardening because it's easy, controllable and easy.) The container has a couple yellow squash plants and one zucchini plant. We finally have a zucchini that is growing happily amongst the leaves and flowers in the container.

Handsome was awed. He said "Ah, we have a child!"

Then I cracked up.

The squash plants are not so productive. They have big showy flowers but haven't produced any fruit. I dutifully water them, love on them, whisper sweet nothings to them out of earshot of the peppers, but still - nothing but flowers.

Of course, I went to my trusty source for all garden information - the internet. The internet tells me that I may only have male squash flowers. The girls aren't out. (Yet?)

So tomorrow morning, I have to really look at all the flowers to determine if any of them are actually female, or if this is container is strictly boystown. If I find female flowers, I have to pretend I'm a bee.

I will actually have to pollinate the girl flowers with the boy flower parts so that they get their act together and PRODUCE ME SOME BABIES!

Ahem. I mean squash.

::sigh:: I hope the cucumbers learn from this experience.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Alaskan Adventures

Several summers ago, I took a trip to Alaska. My great aunts and uncles used to live in Fairbanks. When my great aunt and uncle were in their 50s, they decided to leave the life they'd known and travel to the greatest state in the north to join their brother and sister-in-law in the wild life of the frontier.

I can't even imagine doing anything so life-changing at 50. I'll get back to you when I'm 50 and tell you how boring my life is then.

I flew up to Fairbanks the day of the summer solstice. I got up at something like 4:00 a.m. Denver time and arrived in Fairbanks, via layovers in Seattle and Anchorage, around 3:45 p.m. Just in time for a midnight golf tournament. Seriously, we had a 9:00 p.m. tee time and in my bleary-eyed state, I drove the golf cart with a box of wine beside me until 3:00 a.m. when our scramble was over.

What? What day is it? What TIME is it?

It never got dark that night, or any of the nights I was visiting. It was weird, because we were staying in a house that was being rennovated and I was the only one sleeping in it. The rest of the folks had their own motorhomes. So the windows of the house were covered in black plastic trash bags to keep the light out in the middle of the night.

There was a beautiful twilight sun-dip every night. There were huge flowers and vegetables which just loved all the sunlight. People started their gardens in greenhouses to take advantage of the growing daylight hours in the springtime. Lots of mosquitoes and other chirruping bugs.

Seeing as how I was used to sleeping, you know, in the dark, I had some troubles adjusting to light nightimes. So I would get up and go carouse the neighborhood. Sometimes the dogs would bark, and I would shush them. I encountered no other animals in my ventures.

In fact, I saw no moose or bear the entire trip. I thought all the advertisements were misleading!

My great uncle and great aunt built a "cabin up the river" which we attempted to visit that summer. For me, the term "cabin" evokes an image of logs and cozy nights around a pot-bellied stove and getting real friendly with your cabin-mates. From the pictures I've seen, this cabin could house a sorority. It looks fantastic and spacious and perfect for the true getaway.

Unfortunately, due to river water levels, we didn't make it to the cabin that summer.

With the health of my great-uncle failing, I doubt I'll ever see the cabin now. That makes me sad.

The entire trip was blissfully relaxing and stunningly beautiful. I loved it so much that when Handsome and I decided to get married, we honeymooned on a cruise around the Inside Passage.

However, that is a post for another day, as cruising the Inside Passage is nothing at all like driving around a Fairbanks golf course at 2:30 a.m. with a box of wine by your side.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I think it was in the fine print

Sometimes in a marriage, you end up doing things that you never thought you would do before you got married.

Handsome has gotten a bloody nose a time or two and, somehow, our entire bathroom ends up looking like a war zone. If I were to post pictures, it would look like a slasher film. Scary, but I dealt with it, because that's what a spouse does.

Recently, I had, shall we say an "angry pore" in a location that I could not easily reach, or even see for that matter. But that pore surely made itself known to me. I let it be for at least a week when finally, I could not stand the pain and pressure caused by the pore.

I summoned Handsome. Popping his head into the bathroom he asked, "What's up?" I said "I need your help." I proceeded to tell him what he needed to do.

(I'm saving you from all the gory details; I'm sure you are very thankful!)

As he was assisting in the meticulousness that is required when dealing with an angry pore, he muttered under his breath "I did not sign up for this." And I giggled, thinking in a small way, this was exactly one of the reasons I married him!

And oh, the relief! So, thank you Handsome, for taking on a miniscule operative task which saved your wife from tremendous pain and agony a bout of adult acne. You are my hero.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My neverending quest for knowledge

I do not watch reality tv. I stopped watching reality tv looooong before The Real World came to my very own city. I probably haven't seen a talk show since Sally Jesse Raphael was hosting hers. Seriously!

Actually, I don't watch much tv in general. If I happen to be flipping through the channels without forethought on what I actually want to watch, there is only one program that I would actually watch regardless of whether it is new or a repeat: Alton Brown's Good Eats. Dang if I don't learn something new every single time I watch that show.

If that's not on, I may watch reruns of 90210 but that's only if my husband is out of the house. I saw that they are remaking this show using a new cast but same intro music (it really is unforgettable). I don't know how I feel about that. The kids who may watch the remake are much too young to remember the original and with all the extra drama they've been exposed to in their lives, it simply will not have the same impact it did on mine.

Anyway, I could care less about what's going on in the lives of celebrities. I just don't care who the best singer/dancer/otherwise talented person is in the country. I'll hear them on the (country) music channel if they are that gifted.

I figure I have enough reality in my own life; watching it on tv is redundant. It doesn't even make me feel like "Jeez, I've got a pretty durn good life going on here! Look at these freaks!" It makes me feel like I just wasted a half hour when I could've been sweeping scrapbooking.

So, seeing the celebrity magazines laying on the table in our office copy room kind of, I don't know, insulted me. Who left them there? Why?

Then, for some reason, I started thinking about some articles I've read recently in our local paper. Specifically, the words the journalist uses and the target audience for which the journalist writes. I don't think they're all watching the same shows.

It made me realize that I didn't feel educated enough to read the paper without having a little dictionary nearby. So, I'm feeling dorky but really, we've all had a moment where we want to use a word but aren't sure if it's the right word in the right context. I'm going to throw a few out there.

Idiosyncrasy:


  1. A structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group.
  2. A physiological or temperamental peculiarity.
  3. An unusual individual reaction to food or a drug.

Anachronism:


  1. something or someone that is not in its correct historical or chronological time, esp. a thing or person that belongs to an earlier time: The sword is an anachronism in modern warfare.
  2. an error in chronology in which a person, object, event, etc., is assigned a date or period other than the correct one: To assign Michelangelo to the 14th century is an anachronism.
Pragmatic:
  1. of or pertaining to a practical point of view or practical considerations.
  2. Relating to or being the study of cause and effect in historical or political events with emphasis on the practical lessons to be learned from them.
Thus ends my tutorial of words for the day. Gosh, I feel smarter already!

Dear God

I pray for the cure of cancer.

Amen.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It's my party and I'll invite who I want to

I don't know how I feel about this story. The kid tried to invite whom he wanted to his birthday party. The school intervened.

Remember Valentine's Day in school? Either you were in a school which promoted every student receiving valentines (equality and fairness) or you were in a school which blatantly showcased the popular kids and those less-popular. If your class had to create boxes in art class to receive valentines, you were probably in the former school.

The less popular kids probably hated Valentine's Day because they didn't get many valentines.

I feel like birthday parties are a different ballgame, though. Why should kids have to invite the whole class when they don't want to? Why should kids have to invite the bullies in the class just so they can be totally inclusive? Why should parents have to put on a birthday party production for a zillion kids instead of the four or five their child really likes?

***Disclaimer: I don't have kids so I'm just spouting off with no personal experience. I trust my bloggy friends to give me their opinions on the subject!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Where I talk about my hair

I have just discovered Naturally Curly. I love this site.

I have naturally curly hair. When I lived in Virginia, I had humid hair = frizz. I would comb/brush it out and I could seriously rival Buckwheat.



buckwheat


If I put the right products in it, I would actually have curls! Then I moved to Colorado. Other issues, like the complete and utter lack of humidity, made my curls practically disappear.

Oh, and I never. ever. ever. use a hairdryer.

One time, in college, I got my hair professionally cut (did you ever spend any kind of money on anything like that in COLLEGE? What was I thinking?) I went to the "salon" and sat in the chair and the lady, seriously as old as my grandma but not as sweet, gave me a fairly cute hair cut. And then, she did the unthinkable. She brought out the blowdryer. And proceeded to turn my hair into a mushroom-shaped afro-looking white girl.

I can't think of any good reason why I did not thrust my hand up when she brought out the hair-gun. But I let her do what she did, possibly because, you know, she was the PROFESSIONAL. And I walked out of her shop looking like I stuck my finger in an electrical outlet.

I had to go to the grocery store after that and I was literally in tears. Mortified, I ran into someone. I. KNEW. Ah, yes, in a town of a couple hundred, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. I should have just run home and taken a shower and prepped my hair. Except, you know, I had just paid for that lady to do that!

Anyhoo... As I got older, and have relayed that story a million couple times, I got to thinking about that lady who gave me the funky Buckswheat look that day. If I were a hair stylist, I would NOT want someone leaving my shop, looking like I looked, because if anyone asked where I got my hair done, I would have to tell them! I mean, I was some BAAAAD publicity that day!

So, anyway, back to the hair in question. It's like I have two sets of hair on my head. I have a kinda wavy overlay from the crown to the ends on the outermost layer of my hair. Underneath, it's Shirley Temple ringlets all the way.

I really wish all my hair would be like the underside. I like the curls, they are cool. You can pull on a ringlet and let it go, and it will bounce!

So, anyway, the girls at Naturally Curly have a whole new idea of how to take care of your curls. I'm going to try it. I will post before and after photos to see if my hair undergoes the revolution I hope it will!

For more WFMW ideas, please visit Shannon's site!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Buzz

Denver is gearing up to host a big ol' politcal party in about 6 weeks. The Democratic National Convention is coming to town and it's causing quite a stir.

There is much anticipation to see what the town will turn into during the DNC. Denver is still trying to raise the money to pay for its party, too. In fact, I kinda work for the fella who is the chief fundraiser for the convention.

Yep, it's going to be interesting. The police presence will be noticeable. There will be protesters everywhere. All the hotels in town are sold out and all the restaurants will be booked during lunch hour.

It's a bunch of hoopla, but I heard something that brings it into perspective. Even though there will be lots of people here for the convention, it doesn't amount to the number of people coming to a regular Sunday Broncos game.

Really?

As exciting as hosting a {Insert political party here} National Convention is, it's getting to be a headache. I think by September, I'll say give me the Broncos anytime!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Waterlogged

What fun we had at Water World! The boy is 9 1/2 years old (and isn't that "and a half" so important when you're that age? I'm still trying to figure out what the heck happened to thirty!) and Handsome's sister, Shorty, is 12 1/2 years old. The two of them get along like peanut butter and jelly.

As we were driving to Water World, Shorty asked the boy if he was one of the more popular kids in his school. The boy thought to himself for a moment, and answered, "at least one of the top 5."

I giggled to myself and then kept quiet and listened.

Shorty followed with "You know, rich kids are usually more popular than middle-class kids or poor kids. I figured you were probably pretty popular."

I was floored. Did I think of that stuff when I was that age?

I wanted to fight the assumption that rich kids were more popular, but I couldn't. I thought about the schooling I endured in my life and, especially in grade school, it was very apparent that the more affluent kids were considered more popular. I can remember being made fun of because of the outifts I would wear (obviously, I wasn't the most popular, nor the most wealthy).

Finally, in college, I realized that none of it mattered. Sadly, it wasn't until then that I finally got on my own footing and realized everyone else was just as screwed up as I was and it was a pretty level playing field. I didn't go to an ivy league school, I went where I felt comfortable and it was a wonderful experience.

I just hope that I can instill a sense of pride in both of these kids, teach them that money doesn't define who they are any more than whether they write with their right hand or their left. They have immense value regardless of where they buy their clothes or what's in their school lunch.

I want them both to feel popular and proud of the wonderful people they are.
I'll make sure that your children flourish—like stars in the sky! like sand on the beaches! (Gen. 22:15)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Splish Splash

I am taking my son and Handsome's youngest sister to Water World tomorrow. (Please pray for me!)

The two of them are only about 3 years apart. Handsome was 26 when his baby sister was born. Many people are very surprised at this.

It's always fun when the kids get together. People look at me, then at the kids, assuming I'm mom of all. I could wax poetic on the intricacies of each relationship, but I don't.

Once, I went to my sister-in-law's fourth grade play. Afterward, she showed me a mask project the kids in her class had done. As I was ooohing and ahhhing over her mask, one of the fathers came up to me and asked if I was her mother.

I laughed. And said "No, her sister!"

He said "Yeah, right." And walked away. I was a little stunned, but thought it funny that people assume I'm lying about my age, or my relationship with my sister-in-law who is 20 years my junior.

She peppers my son with questions about adoption in ways only kids can. No adults would feel comfortable talking or asking questions in the manner she does. It doesn't have much tact.

But he answers them, although as he gets older, his answers are more thoughtful and reserved. I think kid talk is great, assuming it's in a positive light. They know how to ask questions in ways that adults just stumble over themselves trying. I don't believe that my sister-in-law would ever purposely try to be hurtful to my son with respect to the fact he's adopted. I think she realizes that we are all different, and come from different families, and it's all working out okay.

So, tomorrow I will have another experience which validates my decision to pursue adoption as my own pregnancy alternative.

And I am certain I will have a blast doing it!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Angels at the Post Office

This is from the email archive and it brings tears reading it now. I wish it to be true!

"The day after our dog, Abbey, died, my 4 year old, Meredith, was SO upset. She wanted to write a letter to God so that God would recognize Abbey in heaven. She told me what to write, and I did.

Then she put 2 pictures of Abbey in the envelope. We addressed it to God in Heaven, put two stamps on it (because, as she said, it could be a long way to heaven). We put our return address on it, and I let her put it in the drop box at the post office that afternoon.

She was absolutely sure that letter would get to heaven, and I wasn't about to disillusion her.

On Labor Day, we took the kids to the museum and when we came home, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch. It was addressed to Meredith.

She took it inside and opened it.

Inside the package was a book, When Your Pet Dies, by Mr. Fred Rogers. Inside the front cover of the book was the letter we had written to God, in its envelope (opened).

On the opposite page was one of the pictures of Abbey taped on the page.

On the back page was the other picture of Abbey, and this handwritten note on pink paper:

"Dear Meredith, I know that you will be happy to find out that Abbey arrived safe and sound in heaven. Having the pictures you sent to me was a big help! I recognized Abbey right away!

You know, Meredith, she isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me (just like it stays in your heart) young and running and playing. Abbey loved being your dog, you know.

Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep things in-- so I am sending you your beautiful letter back with the pictures--and you will have this little memory book to keep.

One of my angels is taking care of this for me; I hope this little book will help. Thank you for your beautiful letter. Thank your mother for sending it. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. God blesses you every day and remember, I love you very much.

Signed, God, and one of his special angels (who wrote this letter after God told HER the words)."




How wonderful is that!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Word of the day

Jenna is a blogger I enjoy reading. She has two beautiful children and a loving husband.

Recently, I was reading another blog, What About Mom?, who lists various "Things That Must Go" and offers it up to her readers to contribute.

Jenna's contribution cracked me up!

Tanorexia. Once your skin starts looking like a leather saddle bag, it’s time to get out of the sun.

Amen, sister!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Can you own the rain?

Apparently not. In drought-prone water-starved Colorado, it is illegal to have a big ol' bucket on your property to use to catch rainwater in order to water your lawn, flowers and vegetables.

Handsome wants to hook up a contraption which would use the rainwater collected to run our washing machine. I thought it was a great idea.

Now I found out it is illegal.

This is the ridiculous truth of the day.

Evidently, there are water rights to rivers and streams in place which by withholding the rain, which may or may not EVER make it to those rivers and streams, would be denied.

Dumb. Dumb dumb dumb.

Denver Water has this amazing and creative campaign "Use only what you need." Last week, I was waiting for the bus at the bus stop (imagine that) and a giant toilet came walking down the street, waving to people. The idea was that he was walking, not running, because "running toilets waste water."

Get it?

So, we try to be more green. We try to live sustainably. We even try to do what Denver Water tells us to do, use only what we need.

By reducing, reusing, recycling, we could get fines up to $500 a day. A. DAY.

Wake up Colorado. Your resources depend on it!

Wherein I am given big kudos




Artified has bestowed upon me a bloggy award! I can't believe it! I am so blessed! Artified is a very crafty lady. We have been corresponding for a couple months and I'm quite impressed. Go check her out.

On to the kudos!

From the Arte Y Pico website:



What is the meaning of the expression: Arte y Pico?
What is the meaning of the expression: And basically, ironically, it translates into a wonderful phrase in Mexico, “lo maximo.” LOL! It will never find its counterpart in English, but if it HAD to, it would be something like, Wow. The Best Art. Over the top.



The Arte Y Pico award has 5 rules associated with it:



  1. The recipient has to pick 5 blogs that she considers deserving of this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also contribute to the blogging community, no matter what language.
  2. Each nomination has to have the name of the author and a link to his/her blog to be visited by everyone.
  3. Each winner has to show the graphic and put the name and link to the blog that presented her/him with the honor.
  4. The winner and the one who has given the prize has to show the link Arte y Pico blog so everyone will know the origin of this wonderful honor.
  5. Show these rules.

My five recipients:

  1. Heather at OMSH. She is wonderfully creative and honest.
  2. Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer. She's like my favorite-aunt-internet-sounding board.
  3. Amy at Ministry So Fabulous. This girl's enthusiasm is infectious.
  4. Christine at Welcome to my Brain. The pastor's wife who is anything but ordinary.
  5. Sarah at Ordinary Days. She too is creative and honest.

Thank you so much Artified for giving me my very first bloggy bling!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Making time for fun

This weekend Handsome and I had dinner dates outside of the home for each weekend night.

It was so exciting!

And free!

Saturday, we went to friends of Handsome's from high school. I love that he is still friends with people he knew in high school. And they are GOOD people. I laugh with them and have intelligent conversations with them and it is really refreshing!

Well, for her birthday, this couple bought a Wii. Handsome and I have never even seen a Wii.

We didn't know what we were missing.

We played tennis. And bowling. And baseball. We had such fun and laughed so hard. It was like exercise for our insides.

Sunday, we had dinner plans with my mom and her husband and my aunt who was in town for her 40th high school class reunion! Handsome and I had a couple of hours to kill before dinner.

Somehow, I talked him into putting on some comfy clothes and playing real live tennis with me.

It was pretty comical, us out there on the tennis court for the first time this year (and maybe even longer). It had rained and was still spitting lightly which made it cooler but definitely added some liquid weight to that tennis ball.

We had a couple of decent volleys between us. I was impressed.

Man, does my shoulder hurt today! We decided that it was great exercise (tennis, yes; chasing after all the errant balls, most definitely) so we'll do it again. I am excited!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

On being human

Sometimes I have this inner war happening between my earlobes. I think that in order to be a good, pious and faithful person, I have to know bunches of bible verses by heart, volunteer for every volunteer opportunity presented, give lots of money in the collection plate, not ever argue with my husband, never cuss, et cetera ad naseum (insert other Latin verbiage here)

I wonder what makes us human, though, if we're all striving to be like God?

Some of us have tattoos. Some smoke cigarettes. Some women (I've heard) even have wine at their kids' play dates!

In response to some of her readers' questions, OMSH says it best:

Christians have “lives” too. We like good times, good movies, good food, and some of us even like a good margarita.


Amen, sister.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Handsome and I celebrated two years today. We booked a trip to nearby Indian Springs hot springs in Idaho Springs, CO. It was a wonderful anniversary.

We drove the scenic route to get to the hot springs which took us by way of Echo Lake and Mt. Evans. We picnicked at Echo lake and made friends with some birds and a duck who were very interested in our tortilla chips.

A short while later we pulled into Idaho Springs which is a lovely quaint town just a half hour outside of Denver. The Indian Springs resort is on the east end of town and it's quiet and peaceful there.

There is a covered giant pool fed by underground hot springs so the water was a wonderful 97 degrees. The area around the pool is surrounded by all sorts of tropical plants. It was truly like being in paradise for a couple days.

We participated in a mud bath, too. A 10 foot by 10 foot area was filled with two inches of cold clay mud, which we applied to all exposed skin. (Bathing suits required!) Then, we lay on the beach chairs to dry the mud and pull any toxins out of our bodies. Off to the shower afterward to get all the mud off. Man, does that mud like to hang around! Then, back in the pool. Ahhhh.

We dined at a great little Italian restaurant, Mangia, and sat outside on their back patio. We had excellent dinners (stuffed shells for me and tortelloni for Handsome) and then lounged by the fire pit with an italian soda and tiramisu. I'm glad the restaurant was in walking distance to the hotel so we could walk off some of the calories.

Handsome and I played Scrabble in the room while a light rain fell outside. I whooped him two games to none.

It was a great relaxing anniversary.