Thursday, May 26, 2011


Okay, I realize that I'm mixing my cartoons, but...

Doh!  What a maroon!

A hot, sweaty maroon!  I came into some cash today.  And as it usually happens when I come into a little  extra cash, my Verizon bill is due and we are about out of groceries.  Rather than make a special trip to the bank, I counted out enough cash to pay Verizon and to do the grocery shopping and drove the 40+ minute drive to BJ's in a car with no air conditioning on a 95 degree day.  Yes, we were that low on groceries!

I arrived at BJ's feeling like a huge puddle of melted lard.  I walked up to the Verizon counter and prepared to pay my bill.  I got out my wallet and....  no cash.  NO FREAKING CASH!

You have got to be kidding me!  And the mental image hit me in the face.  I had not counted out the cash  needed for shopping and phone payments and put it in my wallet.  I'd counted out the cash needed for shopping and phone payments, stacked it neatly, then put it back in the envelope with all the other cash, then stuffed the envelope in a drawer.  Crud.

Double Crud.

Triple, freaking, what a maroon, crud.

And back home I went.

The only good thing about the experience is that I'm so hot and sweaty and irritated with myself that I'm not the least bit hungry.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Going Savage

I just finished reading Two Little Savages, one of my father’s all-time favorite books.  Growing up, every time I ever mentioned that I needed something to read, Dad would shout out, “How about Two Little Savages?”  Every time I mentioned I was bored, Dad would say, “You could read Two Little Savages.”   So of course, I never read it.  In fact, I actively despised the book even though I was clueless as to what it was about.  Honestly, I’d never even cracked the cover and Dad’s copy didn’t have a dust jacket so there wasn’t a blurb on the back of the book to read.  And obviously, if my dad liked it, it must be something boring and stupid.  Right?
But ever since Dad died, I’ve been a bit sentimental about the things he liked.  I’ve taken a slight interest in Virginia history, the arrow heads we found together are now prominently displayed instead of being considered “rocks” and crammed in a drawer.  I’ve even made batter bread although I’d still rather drink toilet water than eat that stuff.  And one day, while at the library’s used book sale, I snagged a copy of Two Little Savages for twenty five cents.  Hee, hee, I giggled in that evil homeschooling motherly way, “I’ll make the kids read it for school.” 

Two Little Savages sat on my bookshelf along with 88 other unread books that I was busily ignoring.  Then came the 101 Goals list which included the dreaded list of books I must read before August of 2013.  Two Little Savages was on the list.  As fate would have it, it was also a freebie on my Kindle.
So I finally read it.  And now, I SO, SO, SO wish I’d read it while Dad was still alive.  I would give my eye teeth to talk to him about it.  The book tells the story a few boys who spend part of a summer living in a handmade tent in the woods and pretending to be indians.  There are actually several boys and a couple of adults involved, but there are two main characters, thus, two little savages. 
The boys lived as the indians did.  Their only “white man” possessions were an ax and pocket knives.  Using only those tools, they created the tools needed to build themselves a teepee, bedding, and even bows & arrows.  They learned to light fires by rubbing sticks together.  They hunted and they gathered and they had all kinds of grand adventures.  And I can just imagine my father and his brother, Ben, doing the same thing when they were kids. 
 My dad was just like one of the boys in the book.  Dad loved to hunt and gather.  He loved to bird watch and to study nature in general.   Like the boys in the book, Dad didn’t go to the store to buy stuff.  He made the stuff he needed/wanted by using what he had on hand.  It used to make me crazy!  I learned at an early age to be very, very careful about what I asked for for Christmas and birthdays.  Because if I asked for a new purse, for example, I didn’t receive a store bought one.  No, I got a handmade one.  And as a teenager, a handmade-by-your-father purse is NOT cool.  It also drove my mother insane because Dad had a tendency to use important things from around the house to build something else.  For example, the hose faucet broke so Dad fixed it by replacing it with the faucet handle off the laundry room sink.  He fixed the laundry room sink faucet by attaching one of the stove’s knobs to it.  He also found broom handles to be very handy.  Nine times out of ten, you’d go to sweep and the broom handle would be missing.  Occasionally,  Dad would go to the store to buy the parts he needed to build something, but he never bought the whole complete unit. He bought the individual parts and made his own.  He even built his own radios from scratch for goodness sake!  
Anyway, I read the book with the sensation that Dad was looking over my shoulder, reading along with me.  I SO wish he was still alive so I could talk to him about the story.  Did the book teach my dad to be the way he was, or was he already that way and loved the story because of the connection?  Did Dad ever build his own teepee?  I know he shot & killed a deer, then ate the meat and created knives out of the horns and a rug out of the skin.  The rug is in my house and sadly, the knives were stolen from my parents' home.  I also know that in his youth,  he dammed up more than one creek to make swimming holes.  I’ve heard the stories.  In fact, the pond he created as an adult still exists.  It’s called Mattawan and is located in Hanover, Virginia.  You can Google it.  

Surprisingly, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Two Little Savages.  I am a bit concerned though.  I’m having the worst urge to go collect the sticks out of our yard and build something.  And do you think I’m too old to turn ‘savage’ and go live in the woods for a while?  Building my own teepee sounds like a lot of fun.   Want to join me?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Searching for a shtick

Blogging is tricky business!  First, you have to come up with something to blog about and next, you need to have a few photos and maybe even a link or two to match your topic.  As for me and my camera skills, I think I’ve already proved that they are a bit lacking.  Not to mention the early onset Alzheimer's that causes me to forget to take the photos in the first place.  
And of course, there’s the matter of what to blog about.  If you know me personally, you know that I can ramble on for hours about nothing.  But do I really want my blog to be about me rambling?  No, not really.  Besides, what do I tend to ramble about?  My life.  Doing the dishes, the laundry & scrubbing bathrooms, over and over and over again.  Hauling the kids up and down the road to their various activities.  Knitting other people’s patterns and reading.  That pretty much sums up my life.  No one wants to read about that.
I need a shtick.  Something for this blog to be centered around.  Granted, I’d still want to ramble occasionally about my daily life, but I need a focus.  But what?  Everything I’ve come up with has already been done.  There are plenty of knitting blogs out there already.  There’s the blog about the woman who stopped eating out and only ate home cooked meals.  There’s a blog about a couple who stopped shopping, there’s a blog about a family who cooked entirely from scratch for a year.  
What’s left?  What can I blog about?  I keep thinking I want it to be something to do with the kitchen and me learning how to cook.  My kitchen skills are worse than my camera skills!  And watching me destroy the kitchen while I burn the house down could be entertaining, I suppose.  And I do have that 101 Goals list of trying out 101 new recipes.  In the process of cooking 101 different things, I’d learn something, right?
So ok, there’s my shtick.  Me learning to cook.  Or at least attempting to cook.  If I learn anything remains to be seen.  
But blogging about my learning to cook is proving to be more difficult than I expected.  I made two new dishes last night and had fully intended to document the process with photos then blog about it.  
I got out all my ingredients, measured everything out and put the bulky Tupperware containers away.  Then realized that I should have taken a photo of all the ingredients.  Ok, I’ll do that next time.  
I chopped all the veggies up, started the milk boiling and the oil heating in the pan.  Now it was time for the big event - separating an egg.  Three of them in fact.  And I did it!  But I was also covered in raw egg goo and there was no way I could photograph myself at the moment.  
Next, I had to quickly wash the egg off my hands so that I could deal with the milk that was boiling all over my freshly cleaned stove.  Because yes, I had cleaned my stove top off so that nothing gross would show up in the photos.  Except I’m now realizing that the camera is still in my purse.  I haven’t even brought it into the kitchen.  Which is probably a good thing considering the boiling milk & separated egg that is now covering every surface.  And of course, the smoke alarm is now going off due to the oil in the frying pan smoking because I’ve been focusing on the boiled over milk instead of the stir-fry pan.  I should probably video myself learning to cook instead of just taking pictures.  Then you could get the sound affects as well.
Eventually, I got my dad’s Spoonbread recipe into the oven and the Broccoli, Black Beans & Garlic stir fry frying.  I decided that this time around, I’d photograph the finished dishes rather than the process of creating them.  And I’d blog about the fact that I successfully separated three eggs and proceeded to beat the whites of those eggs until stiff.  A first for me.  
Miraculously, both dishes finished cooking at the same time.  Another first for me.  I can NEVER seem to time the individual dishes properly.  One thing is always stone cold by the time the other dish is ready.  But not tonight.  Woo-hoo!  I am on a roll.  They are both ready to eat at the same time, they both look and smell delicious, and I’m starving.  I dug in.  And then realized I was supposed to take photos.  Crud.  Actually, I thought about the photos when I was about half way through eating what was piled on my plate.  So no photos of the fresh from the oven dishes and no  photos of a carefully arranged plate.  I’ll just have to remember to do that next time.
Boy, this blogging is tricky business.

*Note:  The Broccoli, Black Beans & Garlic recipe came from    and my favorite Tupperware dealer is  And no, these are not paid advertisements.  I'm not benefiting in any way by mentioning them.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lounge Puppies

Ahhh, the joys of summer.  While the kids haven’t finished all their school work yet, they have finished all their out of the house classes.  We now have no where we officially have to be.  This is my favorite time of year.  I think I enjoy this first week of not having to be anywhere even more than I enjoy Christmas.  And you know how worked up I get about Christmas!
This year, the first week of not having to be anywhere is even better.  It’s been raining!  Every morning has been slightly stormy.  Perfect sleeping weather.  And we don’t have to be anywhere so we get to stay in our PJ’s, under the covers and enjoy the rain blowing in the windows that we are too lazy to get up and shut.  I am absolutely loving it!
And what’s even better is that by mid afternoon, the sun pops out.  I can sleep all morning and run in the sun in the afternoon.  And I don’t have to feel guilty about not going for that long run because the sun doesn’t stick around.  It’s only a few hours before the clouds reform and another T-storm blows through.  I really am loving this weather!
Of course, I’ll probably be bored out of my mind in another day or so.  And I do wonder if I’m starting to mold.  And it won’t be long before we are extremely hungry.  I tend to do the grocery shopping while the kids are at their out of the house classes.  With no where to be, we don’t go to the store.  I just keep saying that we’ll go the next time we are out.  But we don’t go out.  Before long, I’ll be trying to figure out how to feed a family of four on a jar of olives, some celery salt and a package of Jell-o.  But hey, as long as we have toilet paper, life is good!
And now, it’s raining again.  I think I’ll crawl back under the covers.  Have I mentioned how much I enjoy the first week of summer vacation?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The best way to blow $246

Two months ago, I went into the dermatologist's office for my routine Rosacea checkup & prescription refill.  While there, as always, I made her look at my "cancer spot" that she insists is an age spot.  We've been round and round about it for a a couple of years now.  I'm convinced it's cancer.  For one thing, I'm way too young for age spots.  Besides, I think I'd flat out rather have cancer than age spots.  But every single time, she insists, kindly of course, that it's not cancer, it's just an age spot.  But two months ago, I also casually mentioned that what had been a white scar on my shoulder from a previous mole removal had suddenly turned brown.  At first, I thought I'd gone over board with the self tanner, but it's been a few months since I've used any and the spot is still brown.   She attacked.  Whipped out her trusty magnifying glass and scowled.   Then the questions started flying.  How long ago was it when the mole was removed?  Was a biopsy done?  What were the biopsy results?  Who was the doctor that had removed it?  She was shouting out questions so fast I was struggling to keep up.  And basically, I couldn't remember much.  I remembered that Zack was an infant, or maybe it was Sarah that was an infant at the time.  Somebody was an infant.  And I thought I remembered going back to have stitches removed, but maybe not.  I really wasn't sure if the mole had been cut out or shaved off.  I also didn't remember exactly what the doctor had told me about the biopsy other than it was pre-cancerous and he didn't seem to be the least bit worried about.  I do remember a friend, you know, one of those wonderful friends who tells you all the bad, horrible things that could possibly happen to you, going on and on about how lucky I was to be alive after having a pre-cancerous mole removed.  But for the life of me, I couldn't remember what type of cancer it had been.

Needless to say, the fact that my pre-cancerous mole had returned after 15+ years concerned the doctor.  In her words, re-removing it wasn't "an emergency, but I should NOT wait 60 days."   And the fear set in.  Oh!  Em!  Gee!  My doctor is concerned!  The doctor who has begun to actively laugh at me and my "cancerous" age spots is concerned.  Crud!

I went out to the reception desk to make an appointment to have the mole re-removed and of course, it was over 30 days before I could get an appointment.  Needless to say, I spent those 30+ days totally convinced I was dying of cancer.  I could literally feel the cancer cells swimming around in me.  I started thinking about how I was going to sneak back out of the house all the yarn that I've spent so much time & energy  sneaking into the house over the years.  Mike would kill me if he ever realized the extent of my yarn stash.  I was NOT dying and leaving the evidence for him to discover.  He'd dig my cold, dead body up and re-kill me!  That was NOT going to happen.  The yarn has got to go before I die.

After a week or two of these horrible, morbid thoughts and trying to figure out how to sneak the yarn out and who to give it to, the doctor's other words finally sank in.  After she told me not to wait 60 days, she told me I wouldn't be able to run for two weeks, until the stitches came out.

What?  No running??  For two whole weeks?  Double crud!

As luck would have it, I fell down and hurt myself the week before the mole surgery was scheduled.  My knees were so banged up and swollen I couldn't run that whole week prior to the surgery.  In fact, I showed up for the surgery with both knees and my left elbow still horribly scabby & swollen.  I joked that the doctor was going to turn me into a paraplegic because the surgery was taking place on my right shoulder.    And I sort of was.  I still couldn't bend my right knee or straighten my left elbow and for several days after the surgery, I couldn't lift my right arm out forwards.  Nor could I reach across my body with it.  In fact, there were a few days where I couldn't even pick up my coffee cup in my right hand.  I was a mess!   Basically, I spent the week after falling down and the two weeks after the surgery sitting on the couch throwing myself a pity party.  I couldn't run and I was dying of cancer.  Triple crud.

But the surgery itself had gone well and the incision healed quickly and cleanly.  Today was stitch removal & biopsy results day.  Yesterday, I was slightly nervous about the biopsy results but mostly just excited to be able to run again.  Even if I was dying of cancer, I should at least be able to get one or two runs in before the chemo starts.  And as long as I can run, life is good.  But this morning, good Lord!  I was a wreck.

I got to the doctor's office and they called me back into the examining room.  The nurse walked in reading my chart and said, "Has anyone called you to discuss your biopsy results?"  And I started to panic.  Panic even more, that is.  But, it turns out, I'm fine and will live to tell another tale.  There is no cancer.  Turns out, it was a freckle on top of scar tissue.  Great!  I  have a visible non cancerous age spot from Hell and yet I just paid $246 to have a freckle removed.  But I actually mean that Great!  It is great!  It's fantastic!  I'm not dying!   I don't have to worry about trying to run while taking chemo!  I do NOT have cancer and I am NOT dying!  Super!  Fantastic!  Woo-hoo!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

On becoming a writer

Several of my Facebook friends have recently been reading Stephen King's On Writing and because the book is on my 101 list, I decided it was time for me to start reading it.  Except Sarah has hijacked it and is holding it hostage in her room.  And since Sarah is your typical teenager who likes to sleep until dinner time and it was only 9:00 a.m., I didn't have access to it.  But being the determined, impatient person that I am, I decided to download the free preview on my Kindle.

I'm not sure why I've never read this book.  I bought it when it was first published and it's been sitting on the shelf ever since.  Although I love Stephen King's books, I never seemed to get the urge to read about how he writes.  And of course, I'm now wishing that I'd read it sooner.  In typical Stephen King fashion, he immediately sucked me in by telling me relatable stories.

Mr. King starts off by telling memorable stories from his youth.  One story revolved around his fat, farting babysitter he called Eula-Beulah.  She liked to sit on him and fart.  I had a boss like that once.  We called her Tons of Fun.  Her favorite past time was waddling into my cubicle, farting, and waddling back out.  She's the only boss I've ever had that I don't have fond memories of.

Another relatable story was that as a child, Mr. King suffered from ear and throat infections.  He tells the story of going to the ear doctor's office in a taxi to have his ear drum lanced.  Repeatedly.  I had the same experience.  I even went in a taxi once.  I'll never forget that.  It was cold and snowy and our Rambler's car door had somehow frozen open.  Open?  Why was the car door frozen open?  I guess that will have to remain one of the great mysteries of my youth.  Anyway, I remember riding in that taxi, snuggled up to my mom, crying from both the pain and the knowledge of what was to come.  Luckily for me, I liked my doctor.  Actually, I was in love with him and planned to marry him when I grew up.  He looked just like Dr. Spock from Star Trek.  Another difference in Mr. King's & my experiences is that he says he has been terrified by the smell of rubbing alcohol ever since.  For me, it's the smell of Bandaids.  I really, really do not like the smell of Bandaids.

And that was the end of the free sample.  Now, I just have to wait until dinner time when Sarah gets up so I can finish reading the book.  I wonder how many more similarities we'll share.

I also wonder why I hate the smell of Bandaids so.  I'm pretty sure they didn't slap a Bandaid on my ear drum.  Weird.

Hmmm....  Since Mr. King and I seem to have so much in common, maybe I should become a writer too.

Or maybe I should just finish reading the book.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Perfect Score!

Would you take a look at that!  Zack bowled a perfect game today!  Unfortunately, it was during practice so it doesn't "count" but, hey!  A perfect score is a perfect score no matter when you make it.   Several hours later and I'm still so excited I feel like I might hurl at any moment.  Meanwhile Zack scored that 300, accepted a few congratulations from other bowlers, and continued on like it was just another day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Kindle Experience

My new favorite thing...

The Kindle.  I love, love, love mine!  I am so ecstatically happy that I finally bought one.  I'd hemmed and hawed about it quite a while.  I thought I probably only wanted one because everyone else had one.  I'm an old fashioned kind of girl and I like old fashioned ways.  I still keep my schedule on a paper DayTimer calendar which lives in a 3 inch notebook that I carry around with me obsessively.  If I like paper enough to suffer that nightmare on a daily basis, why on earth would I want a paperless mechanical book?  As I said, probably only because everyone else has one.

I obsessively Googled Kindles, which, by the way doesn't really take all that long to do.  I read every single thing I could find to read about them.  I drove my favorite Best Buy salesman absolutely insane with my questions.  And the poor guy - he probably thinks I have a crush on him or something because I visited him about eight different times in order to ask all those questions.  I asked my real life friends what they thought about theirs.  Then I asked my Facebook friends.  And then, I asked my sister.  She was the deciding factor.  No one else had ever mentioned that you could play games on the Kindle.  

I immediately rushed out to Best Buy to visit my favorite salesman once again.  But common sense took over.  Momentarily, at least.  I mean, it is a lot of money to plunk down on another device that allows me to play Solitaire.  And that money could be spent in so many other more important ways.  So I once again left Best Buy without making a purchase.

I went home and made a list of the pros and cons.   Basically, the only cons were the cost and the fact that I'm old fashioned and enjoy the feel of a book.  Well, some books.  A book printed on good paper is SO much more enjoyable than a book printed on icky feeling paper.   The pros list, however, was ever growing.  E-books are cheaper than printed books.  There are many, many free e-books.  There's that whole 'another chance to play Solitaire' thing.  There's the fact that you can make the font bigger so if your eyes are tired and you are struggling to see, you can make the words really, Really, Really big.  I'd also thought that it might bother my wrists to hold the Kindle but my sister had reported that she is much more comfortable holding the Kindle than a real book.  The Kindle is lighter.  Another pro - you can get a case that comes with a light so you can read in the dark without bothering others.  And as it turns out, you can use that light as a flashlight in an emergency.

So, the pros far outweighed the cons.  I decided what the heck.  I may as well plunk down the money, and stop stressing about it.  I was going to be near Best Buy the next day so I was forcing myself to wait.  Besides being old fashioned, I'm also impatient.  I did have to go to BJ's, our local warehouse club, that day and low and behold - they had Kindles!   At a reduced rate!  The covers were reduced too.  It was a sign.  I HAD to buy a Kindle.

And so I did.

And I am SO freaking glad.  I really do love the thing.  All of the reported pros really are pros.  There are a few more things that no one had mentioned, or at least I hadn't considered.  First, I keep it in my purse so when I'm standing in a long line at the grocery store, instead of getting irritated at the other customers' whiney, loudly crying children, I can whip out my Kindle and soothe my nerves & pass the time playing a game.  So far, I've gotten five games, all of which are free.  And sometimes, the kids and I play the word games instead of doing spelling.  It's a great way to pass the time with them when we are stuck in a traffic jam.  Which seems to happen frequently.  I love my Kindle!

The other thing I'm absolutely crazy about is the dictionary.  Ok, I'm going to show my ignorance here, but....  I either never read the classics or I never understood the ones I did read.  So much of the vocabulary was over my head that I didn't get the gist of what the author was saying.  And sorry, but I am way too lazy to get up to look up a word in the dictionary every five minutes.  But with the Kindle, at the press of a button, the meaning of the word pops up on the screen.  And you know what's even better?  Most of those old classics are free!  In the last few months, since being a Kindle owner, I have gotten a better education than I ever did in high school!  I just love my Kindle!

Oh, and one other pro that was rarely mentioned.  The Kindle will read to you!  Not every book has that capability, but most do.  I can "read" and knit at the same time now!  Ok, granted, the reader's voice is a little flat and they don't read with any inflection.  It's just a computerized voice saying the words.  And that computer doesn't always pause at the periods & commas.  Sometimes it's a little hard to follow because of the lack of punctuation acknowledgement.  But still.  I can "read" while I knit!  Oh, and you know what else I can do?  When I'm trapped in the car with Hubby and he starts yammering on about all things political and I start contemplating jumping out the window, I can plug the earphones into my Kindle and "read."   I can't read a normal book in the car - makes me instantly, horribly car sick.  But I can "read" with my Kindle.  Have I mentioned how much I love my Kindle?

Another thing I'd stressed over was the cost of buying the e-books.  I already own SO many books that I've never gotten around to reading.  And I can get books for free from the library.  Did I really want another device to use to spend money on books?  Yes!  As it turns out, I'm actually saving money using my Kindle instead of the library.  Now, granted, this won't be true for everyone, but we live about 30 minutes from our library.  So by the time I've paid for the gas to drive to & from the library to pick up a book and then to and from the library to return it, I can easily have just bought the book on the Kindle. And once I own the book, I don't have to worry about due dates or worse, loosing a library book.  And did I mention how many great books are free with the Kindle?  I've already read and thoroughly enjoyed several freebie books that I'd never have chosen from the library.  But because they were free, I gave them a try.  I love my Kindle.

Oh, and that thing about the Kindle's battery lasting a month - well, it actually does!  Who'd have ever thought that marketing ploy was true!   And you know what else it does?  If you fall asleep reading or you set it down for a moment and forget to come back to it, it shuts itself off after a while.  That's a great feature for me!

And one final feature to mention.  The page turning button.  In the advertising, the Kindle had been touted as having a faster page turning feature than the Nook.  At the time, I didn't give it any thought.  Actually, I did, and I thought it was a sort of silly thing to brag about.  But as I thought more about it and how frustrating it can be to read something on our slow internet when you have to wait and wait for the new page to appear, I realized that the page turning feature probably is important.  And the Kindle's is fast.  Almost too fast.  When reading a paper book, it's my  habit to start turning the page as soon as I start to read the last line on the page.  That's a hard habit to break with the Kindle.  I start to read that last line, hit the page turner button and instantly, I'm on a new page.  It doesn't give me time to finish reading that last line.  Good thing it's got a back up button that works just as quickly!

I really, really LOVE my Kindle!