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This Week’s Headlines #18

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If you could weed through all the articles about powerball this week the other big trending item was Kate Middleton’s new bangs.  Really? We’re concerned about winning big and someone else’s hair?  We need to get a life.

  1. “Oprah’s Marriage Advise” – Obviously it’s ‘don’t do it’.  No offense to Ms. Winfrey but how does one give advise on something one has not done?  Oh….wait….we all do that.  The rest of us just don’t make millions doing it.
  2. “No Cost Dates” – I’m hoping there is a note in this article that this is a bad idea for the first one.  Unless you don’t want a second one.
  3. “5 Signs You Are Too Close To Your Dog” – Drool on your leg?  Doggie breath in your face?
  4. “DIY Blunders That Could Ruin Your Home” – As opposed to professional blunders.  I’m sure those add value.
  5. “What The New Superman Won’t Be Wearing” – Ummmm – T.M.I.??
  6. “Where U.S. Stashes Millions Of Barrels Of Oil” – Wait, we have some stashed? We aren’t busting that out because??
  7. “Teen Sentenced To Church” – I know some churches like that….
  8. “Signs Of Vision Loss” – Huh?  If you can read the article I’m guessing you are probably okay.
  9. “Most Useless College Majors” – Got to be a BA in Communication.  You couldn’t talk before college?
  10. “Ten Things Never To Say At The Office” – #1 – I have a bomb in my drawer and I’m not afraid to use it. #2 – Are you really that stupid?  #3 – I thought the food in the fridge was for everyone…..
  11. “$600 Car Issued $100,000 In Parking Tickets” – Is that because they couldn’t move it??
  12. “Push-up Mistakes Nearly Everyone Makes” – Trying to do one?
  13. “How To Botch An Interview” – I can do that without any help thanks.
  14. “Fast Food Items With A Cult Following” – The Holy Order of the McRib?
  15. “Missing Moon Rocks Found In MN Storage Site” – ‘Now where did I stick those moon rocks??’
  16. “Alligators Guard Pot Farm” – Where does one purchase a guard alligator??  That is brilliant really.
  17. “Ohio’s ‘Cleaning Fairy’ Gets Probation” – There’s a cleaning fairy?? I’m moving to Ohio!
  18. “Avoid Common Gym Injuries” – don’t go….
  19. “Is Your Fridge Making You Fat?” – Ummm….I’m guessing the stuff in it might be.
  20. “Best Decade To Date” – Just a thought, but if you’ve been dating someone for a decade that might indicate that the relationship is not going any further.

And from the “huh?!?” category:

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Better Than Winning Powerball

I found myself becoming amused yesterday at all the postings about Powerball.  My favorite ones were the ones that went a little something like “like and share this and we will share our winnings with you if we win.”  None of them said how much of their winnings they were going to share but I sure had some friends who were going to get in on that action.  $10 is $10 right?  We’ve all heard that money can’t buy happiness but there are evidently lots of people who are willing to test the theory.  I’ve often thought that I too wouldn’t mind finding out first hand if that saying is true but it occurred to me this morning that I can’t.  I’m already happy without a lot of money.

Tomorrow is my husband and my 22nd anniversary.  Notice I didn’t say “wedding anniversary.”  We didn’t really have a wedding.  We got married in a small ceremony with only close family and had a small reception with only close friends and family a week later.  Funny thing is that I’m just as married as if I’d have had the big wedding many people think is necessary to do it “right”.  In fact I’ve stayed married longer than a lot of people who did start “right” with a great big old wedding. Oops! I’m digressing again.

As I woke up this morning and wasn’t $580 million richer (because, you know, that would have required purchasing a ticket)  I realized that my life is richer than I could have ever dreamed it could have been 22 years ago.  We were just young kids who had no idea what they were getting themselves into that day.  Today we are  old kids who have weathered over half of our lifetimes together.  The good stuff.  The bad stuff.  The stuff in between.  It hasn’t always been easy but it has always been worth it. I love him more today than I ever could have dreamed I could love anyone that day almost 22 years ago.  I didn’t know I had it in me. I didn’t know he had it in him.  I didn’t know together we’d have all we’d ever need.  I am immensely blessed to be married to my best friend. A man who above all loves me and knows me like no one else can.  Who can be richer than that?

Last night I discovered this post on my Facebook wall:

“You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride. You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes….” Song of Solomon 4:9

This morning he posted this:

“Do You Ever!”

Scripture and an 80’s video.  Humor and a country song.  He melts my heart.  He makes me laugh.  I love this man!

Way better than winning Powerball.

My Sweetie and I:

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Christmas Traditions: Ornaments

 

 

We spent last Friday decorating our house for Christmas.  I’ve not always been one for diving into Christmas on the day after Thanksgiving but since all of our children were home and available we decided it would be a good day to do it.  The last two years our oldest hasn’t been home to help decorate the tree which caused no small amount of sadness for his mother.  You see we have ornament traditions at our home.

I mostly blame Hallmark for causing our ornament condition to begin with.  It all started 22 years ago when someone gave our son a “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament: an adorable year stamped teddy bear holding a candy cane.  (I am a sucker for teddy bears.) He was the first one in a series of “Child’s First Five Years” ornaments so me, being me, had no other choice than to buy one every year until we had the complete set.  The year of the fourth ornament our daughter was born.  In order to be fair and equal (every parent’s goal) she had to have her own ornament.  By that time Hallmark had started a new five-year series so we committed to another five years mostly because I can’t leave something undone.  Of course by the time she got to year three our poor son’s series was over.  It didn’t seem fair to buy her an ornament and not him so I searched for a special ornament for him.  I found a bear on a bike. Perfect! He’d learned to ride his bike without training wheels that year.  What I didn’t know with that purchase was that I thrust myself into years of buying ornaments “to be fair” for each child each year.   Some years we let the kids pick out an ornament that they liked so I have Jeff Gordon, John Elway, Disney Princesses and Barbies hanging on my tree.  Most years I rack my brain to find an ornament that symbolizes something that happened in that child’s life over the course of the year.  We have football ornaments, a flute and a trumpet, four ornaments with some sort of educational theme for the first years of school, a snowman with a coffee cup from my daughter’s first job, a Santa holding a hamburger for our son’s, cars for the year they got their driver’s licence and one ornament with our son’s college logo. Each of them are marked with the year they were obtained.   All of them make me smile when we pull them out of their boxes.  So many memories.   Each child knows what each of their ornaments stand for and each one hangs their own every year.  They get their new ornament and hang it on Christmas Eve.  It’s a tradition.

Our intention is to give the kids their ornament collection when they move out on their own so while our tree is looking pretty crowded and rather eclectic this year I know some year, probably a year soon, some of those ornaments will go to a new tree and mine will begin emptying.  The thought makes me rather sad and suddenly I understand why my mother changed her Christmas decorations the year we all got married and moved out.  I’ve never had aspirations to have a professionally decorated looking tree. I like our homey tree with the odd ornaments.  It just feels right for us. As I was thinking those thoughts last Friday while cleaning up after “D-day” something occurred to me.  We have ornament traditions beyond the one for our children.  I just hadn’t thought of it before.

I’ll share a few of them:

Every year my tree holds 18 of these bulbs loving crocheted by my grandmother.  She gave them to me for Christmas the year I got married.  These bulbs go on first every year.

Made by the same grandmother and gifted the same year are these snowflakes. All 18 of them are different from each other.  No two are exactly alike.   They go on last every year.  I smile each year as we hang these handcrafted works of love.  I can picture my grandma sitting in her rocking chair (the one that now sits in the corner of my living room) working on Christmas gifts throughout the year.  It’s a connection to my past that will always have a connection to my children’s pasts as well.  We talk about great grandma every year when we hang the ornaments she made.

From my other grandma I was given a great ornament idea.  Because she had nine grandchildren she had no small number of handmade ornaments given to her.  Because she liked her living room tree to remain rather formal she came up with a solution: a tree in her bedroom.  She hung all the ornaments we grandkids gave her on that tree “So I look at them last thing each night.”  Instead of a tree in the bedroom we have put a tree in the basement family room.  That tree holds all the handmade treasures the kids bring home each year.  The various frames with school pictures and church pictures.  The foam creations.  The odd assortment of ornaments that every mother struggles to know where to hang.  It’s the “kid tree”.  Hanging on that tree are these:

 

The almost 40-year-old ornaments that my grandmother (the same one who made the other ornaments) made and gave to me when I was quite little.  I loved “The Wizard of Oz”.  I can remember being so angry with my mom for making me pack them away with the other Christmas ornaments that year.  I wanted to keep them out and play with them.  All these years later I am thankful for my mom’s infinite wisdom.  They would have been ruined in no time had I kept them in my room like I’d wanted.  Now they hang alongside the other treasures on our family room tree.  The past and the present blended together.

There are some ornaments that have found locations in other special places in my home.

 

This fella was made by uncle and given to me by my mother.  He hangs above my kitchen window showing off  the beautiful craftsmanship and my love for bears.

 

This candy cane was made by our youngest son.  The one who hates to do crafty things.  (I mean HATES it.)  He made this at church one night and came home and hung it on the kitchen cabinet handle.  I’ve hung it there every year since reminded of how hard he worked doing something he didn’t like to do and is somewhat difficult for him so that he could help decorate our kitchen.

Those are just a few of the treasures our ornament boxes hold.  Treasures not because they are fancy or expensive but because of the memories they hold and the people they represent.  I hadn’t realized how special our ornaments are to me until I stopped and thought about it.  I’m glad that I did.  I’m no longer annoyed at Hallmark for starting me off on an “ornament tradition”.  I kind of had one started anyway.  I just hadn’t realized it.

Does your family have Christmas Ornament traditions?  I’d love to hear about them!

 

 

 

 

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Holiday Things I Don’t Get

I was walking into the grocery store today when a woman ahead of me stopped to talk to the bell ringer.  Now I love the bell ringers and think what they are doing is great.  I always smile and greet them.  I wouldn’t want to do their job.  I didn’t think much about the woman who was chatting until I got close enough to hear what she was saying.  It went a little something like this: “I just gave some the other day and I plan to give more once we get paid again.  I wish I had more change on me today because it is just such a worthy cause….blah….blah…blah….”  Now I understand that the poor little lady felt guilty because she didn’t have anything for the kettle.  I get that at some level but one has to wonder:  since when do we feel like we need to explain ourselves to the bell ringer?  It isn’t like these people are working on commission out there.  They don’t get a bonus for a full pot.  It’s nice to smile and greet them but for pity sake lady SHE DOESN’T REALLY CARE.  I really wanted to throw some change in there for the little gal and say, “There – I paid for you too. Now quit blocking the door.” but unfortunately I was also cashless and didn’t think dropping my debit card in there would be wise. Note to self: get a roll of quarters for just such occasions.  It’s too cold to be hanging around outside stores while people purge their guilt. Better yet, I think they need to have the bell ringers hand out tickets to people who put money in the kettle.  That way people could just wave their ticket and say, “I gave already!” when they walk by.  So much simpler.  Coincidentally, as I was walking out of the store I heard a guy telling the same bell ringer, “Oh – I’ll get some change and get it on the way out.”  Right.  I wonder how many times she heard that today? Seriously – relax people.  They aren’t tracking you.

While in the store I noticed they were stocking the oysters in the meat department which brings me to the next holiday thing I don’t get: Oyster stew.  Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a slimy sea creature with the texture of a sandy eraser boiled into a stew, right? Blech.  Before you ask: yes, I’ve tried it. Double blech.  I’ll just add that to my list of other traditional holiday foods I avoid like eggnog and fruit cake.  I know there are many people who love these delicacies but this is my list.  Make your own. After seeing the price per pound for oysters I’m willing to let others enjoy their stew and shake their heads at my uneducated palette. Just saying….

Finally: I only became aware of the “Elf On The Shelf” phenomena last Christmas.  I’m not sure how I missed it before but I was blissfully unaware such a thing existed until some of my friends with younger children began posting on Facebook about it last year.  The more I hear about it the happier I am that I missed the whole thing.  I wish i had thought of it, of course, but I’m not sad that my kids were too old for it by the time I found out about it. Now I understand it’s a cute book and a fun thing to do but – REALLY?  Parents need one more thing to take care of during the Christmas season?  There aren’t enough school plays and church programs and concerts and end of the year “boy we appreciate you so we’re going to take another night” parties to attend?  There isn’t enough to do to shop and wrap and mail cards and bake cookies and…you get the drift.  Now parents get to come up with fun and creative things to do with a stuffed elf every night. I have a feeling that had we an “elf on the shelf”  he wouldn’t move much unless there was a breeze blowing through the house.  The bright side of that is my kids would know that he wasn’t running to report their every move to Santa each night, because, you know, that isn’t creepy at all.  I’m thinking about coming up with two follow-up books: “The Elf Was Not Real: How to Overcome The Feeling Of Being Watched” and “It’s Okay That Your Elf Didn’t Move: Support For Underachieving Parents”.

I love Christmas lights.  We put up a nice display at our house every year but there comes a time when enough is enough.  The Griswalds have nothing on this family:

Hope these people have room darkening blinds!

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Happy As I Choose To Be

 

As I woke up this morning I could sense that I had the potential of a real funk coming on.  I truly believe that Mondays after a four-day holiday weekend should be outlawed. They just have no redeeming quality really and no one looks forward to them.  Well….no one I know. Actually maybe we should outlaw four-day holiday weekends.  If it weren’t for them we wouldn’t spend all of Sunday night saying, “Wow that really went fast.” or “I really don’t want to go back to work tomorrow.” Wait.  That’s every weekend.  Never mind.   I’m going to stick with Mondays following long weekend being cruel and unusual punishment.  Or at least what feels like cruel and unusual punishment when the alarm goes off.  In fact alarms on any Monday are cruel and unusual.  Necessary I realize but cruel none the less.  Judging from the number of times I had to call up the stairs this morning to get our youngest son moving for school I’m guessing he would agree. He wasn’t too impressed with his “human” alarm this morning either.  (Thankfully he knows better than to hit me on the head or throw me across the room.)  In fact I’m pretty sure none of my kids were impressed with the whole thing this morning.  Not a lot of happy faces headed off to school this morning.  Not grumpy really, just not happy.  It was kind of like Monday morning blues on steroids.  That’s what long weekends do.

After dropping off my less than excited youngest at school and heading to work in the lightly falling snow I found myself slipping deeper into “grumpy land.”  I live in Nebraska.  You would think people would remember how to drive in snow. They never do however.  The first snow of the year always brings out the worst driver in half the population around here. It wasn’t even a heavy snow I might add.  Just a light little snow that was sticking but wasn’t doing too much to the road conditions.  It doesn’t matter.  The mere presence of white stuff in the air causes some people’s gray matter in the head to go into a snow coma.  They do things like stop in the middle of the street to let people walk across.  Now I know it’s chilly out but I really do think that it isn’t too much to ask for someone to walk the extra 1/3 block to the corner to walk across in the cross walk.  That was I see them and don’t almost hit a pedestrian.  Just pointing it out.

By the time I arrived at work I was in less than the best of moods and actually working up to a true pity party.  My husband left for his four-day stretch of work this morning. My oldest child left to go back to college this morning.  My other kids were grumpy and I didn’t want to be at work.  Yup.  I was on my way to a great big funk of a pity party.  Then I remembered that I can’t stand pity parties when other people throw them.  Why today had I decided that it was okay for me to throw my own?  I am not a fan of hypocrites. When did I become one?  At about that time the Abraham Lincoln quote from above popped into my head.  I realized I had a choice to make.   We all do.  Every morning.  And afternoon.  And evening.

Sometimes it’s just good to be reminded of that.

 

 

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Christmas Vacation?

This is actually something I wrote last year around this time.  I didn’t have a blog then it was just something running through my head so I wrote it down.  A friend read it and encouraged me to send it in to our local paper.  I did just that and much to my shock they published it shortly before Christmas last year.  While it may be cheating to “re-blog” this year as I read it over recently and I realized that a lot of it remains true this year.  I think perhaps I’ve learned a Life Lesson so I thought I’d share it with you.  Here is to kicking off the season with the right perspective.

While watching a family favorite Christmas movie last night, I was struck by the parallels of the movie and the way my life is playing out this Christmas.  For those unfamiliar with the movie “Christmas Vacation”: it tells the story of a man who wants to have the “perfect family Christmas” and the often hilarious things that happen to him and his family as he strives to achieve it.  Despite all his planning, all his dreaming, all that he does to make things “perfect”, nothing goes right for him and the family Christmas falls apart: ending with fires and swat teams invading the house.  Most of us laugh throughout the movie because somewhere in us we can all relate to at least part of his struggle: whether it be odd relatives or just the sense of “nothing is going right.”   This year, the movie made me ponder the question: “What IS the ‘perfect Christmas’?  What does it look like? What is essential for Christmas to be perfect?”

We all have an image in our heads of what the perfect Christmas suppose to look like, sound like, taste like, feel like. We all have a standard, whether it be considered high or low, of how we think things should go to make them “perfect.”  To some of us the perfect Christmas starts with the perfect tree or the perfect decorations. Every light has to twinkle, every ornament glimmer, every hall must be festively “decked”, or it just isn’t Christmas.  For some it is finding the perfect gift for everyone we know.  It has to be the most astounding, mind-blowing thing that no one else on the planet would even think to get them.  Or it must be the most thoughtful, the most handmade with love, the most special thing they have ever received.  For others, it’s all about the food. Perfect cookies, perfect appetizers, perfect dinners, perfect eggnog (is that even possible??) all add up to us hosting perfect parties that people will talk about for months to come.  Some want to perfectly implement traditions, that their parents didn’t implement perfectly in the first place, while others want to attend every perfectly festive function and make sure our kids experience the perfect Christmas season by attending every kid-friendly perfect function.  For most of us it is a combination of some or all of those things that make for the “perfect Christmas.”  Is it any wonder that by the time we finish unwrapping our perfectly wrapped gifts and cleaning up after our perfectly cooked meals we have lost our perfectly sane minds?

I took an impromptu poll of my Facebook friends and posed the question: “What do you need to have the perfect Christmas.”  Interestingly enough every person who answered said something that in some way related to family or relationships. I can honestly say that I was expecting those answers.  We all say “I just want to be with my kids” or “I just want my family together” and for the most part, that is true. However I have to ask: is that really all we want or is that the answer we feel expected to give?  If all we had were our family in a room with no decorations, no gifts, no special food, nothing but time to just spend together, would we really consider it a perfect Christmas?  I so appreciate my two friends who answered, “my family and….” went on to list things like snow and hot cocoa and games and twinkly lights.  That’s an honest answer:  “I want relationships AND….”  Clark, from the Christmas movie, wanted his family around him AND all the stuff he believed would make Christmas perfect.

This year, because of circumstances related to a job change and an extended training time of less income, we are forced to either cut back the things that we regularly do for Christmas or not pay our bills.  Since the thought of not having heat for Christmas and the New Year is more disconcerting to me than the thought of not having the correctly scented candles burning or the proper Christmas goodies stashed, the bills are being paid and Christmas, well, it just isn’t going to be “perfect.”  I have for weeks struggled with the things that I wish I could do, love to do, want to do, but am not able to do this year.  It’s been a walk through sorting out what is really important and what isn’t  It has been a wrestling with coming to grips with my perceptions of a perfect Christmas. What we can live without and what we can’t. And, oddly enough, what I do because of my pride and what I do because I truly want to bless others. OUCH!

For years, I have spent a good part of the month of December baking an assortment of Christmas cookies and candies and then overloading friends and family with goody baskets.  I love to bake: a love that was handed down from my grandmothers and makes me think of them as I pull out their tried and true recipes every year at Christmastime.  I love passing down that tradition to my kids. It makes me feel a connectedness to the past and the future: one of those warm fuzzy Christmas-y feelings.  This year the baking list has been cut from dozens of recipes to about three, which is all we will be able to afford to do.  I asked my family for their most favorite treats and that is what we are making.  That’s it.  That’s the extent.  There will be no goody baskets to hand to friends, teachers, co-workers. Just a few favorites for my husband, kids and our respective family get-togethers.  I thought I could live with that.  I’m struggling.  I wonder why I’m struggling.  None of us really needs the extra calories and everyone gets plenty of goodies from friends, right?  In the midst of my wrestling of feeling like this year’s baking would be less, far less, than “perfect”, the thought hit me:  this is a PRIDE issue.  I like being the “cookie lady”.  I want people to look forward to the “Wedel Cookie Basket” that they get every year. I have turned my yearly baking bonanza from an act of fun and tradition to part of my value as a person. How did that happen?  It’s my AND!

Are we less of a person because we don’t have a perfectly decorated tree? Does it mean we like people less because we didn’t have the funds or time to find or make that one perfect gift for them?  Does a less than perfectly turned out Christmas feast mean we just don’t care?  Will Christmas be less than perfect if we don’t get our “ands”?  I suppose that is up to us.   Because of our circumstances, my focus has had to turn from all my “ands” to the one thing that I know truly makes for a “perfect” Christmas.  It has little to do with everything looking right.  Nothing to do with how much money I spend or how many cookies I can bake. It has everything to do with relationship, the one common thread in my Facebook friend’s answers, though not the relationship of family which everyone thinks of first.  It has to do with my relationship with the Perfect Savior: the One whose birth Christmas is supposed to celebrate. With my attention turned to Him, the rest of the “ands” just don’t seem as important. Don’t get me wrong: there is absolutely nothing wrong with the “ands” or the family traditions or anything else that is special to you at Christmas. I just realized this year that all of those things had been distracting me from what should have been MOST important. Do I still wish for them? Sure! But because of my hope in Him I know that the “ands” will come again someday and that whether I have them or not my Christmas will be “perfect.”

At the end of the movie the main character stands on his lawn watching his plastic Santa flying through the air after one final large explosion while listening to his family celebrating happily in his nearly destroyed house and he says, “I did it!”  Meaning that even though things did not go as planned, he felt he had the “perfect” Christmas.  My goal this year is to stand on my lawn Christmas night (Nebraska weather permitting of course) and say, “God, YOU did it!!”

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This Week’s Headlines #17

Despite having to pick through all the Black Friday Ads that continue to attack my screen yet today (isn’t too late for all that??) I did manage to fight through and find my headlines.  So those of you who are, like me, not out killing people and still spending too much money  shopping, sit back, relax, enjoy and remember that at the end of today you will not need therapy (both emotional and physical) and you still have plenty of time to go Christmas shopping.  For those of you who are reading this later – like on “Black and Blue Saturday” – I hope you had fun. You are braver than I will ever be.

  1. “Worst Dating Advice Of All Time” – So publishing it is a good idea?  What if someone reads that wrong and thinks you are giving him great new ideas?  Be responsible people!
  2. “Careers For People Who Don’t Like People” – Ummm….Undertaker? Monk?  Is “Hermit” a job?
  3. “Make Your Own Twinkies” – Where do you buy all those chemicals ?
  4. “Fan’s Obituary Slams Terrible NFL Team” – Talk about getting in the last word.  Wow!
  5. “The Perfect ‘Twilight’ Vacation Getaway” – If you like hanging out with werewolves and vampires. Oh…and are a girl under the age of 16 or a woman who wants to be.
  6. “Little Tricks That Make Thanksgiving Easier” – #1 – Weasel your way into an invitation somewhere. #2 – If that doesn’t work call a caterer…..
  7. “Simple Steps To Great Wheat Bread” – More simple than picking it up off of the shelf?  The word “simple” makes me nervous by the way….
  8. “Public Nudity Ban Considered In San Fransisco” – They need to consider that? It isn’t already banned?
  9. “Bieber: This Is For All The Haters” – Soooo….you are talking to anyone who isn’t an under 13 year old girl?
  10. “High Paying Jobs No One Wants” – Proctologist?
  11. “Why Black Friday Is Losing It’s Meaning” – Wait? It had meaning?  Could it be because now it starts on THURSDAY?
  12. “Study Finds Apes Have Mid-life Crises” – How can you tell? Do they buy new vines? Start parting their back hair differently?
  13. “Expiration Date For Twinkies Extended” – They have an expiration date?  Who knew? I honestly thought they would outlast cockroaches….
  14. “Avoid Holiday Fights” – Check into a hotel room alone.
  15. “Weirdest Holiday Gifts To Give” – Oh yeah because I want to be that aunt.
  16. “Secrets Of Those Who Live To Be 100” – If they’ve kept them secret this long shouldn’t we just leave them alone?
  17. “What Not To Ask A Kid” – ‘What were you thinking?’
  18. “Treadmill Desks Might Be The Next Office Health Trend” – Are you KIDDING me? Who are these people working for Jack LaLanne?  Oh…wait….
  19. “Man Accidentally Gave Bags Of Cocaine To Cop’s Kids on Halloween” – Two words – EPIC FAIL!
  20. “Three Signs You Are An Oversensitive Employee” – Those pesky nervous breakdowns in the employee restroom, the super size box of Kleenex on your desk and the candy wrappers in your wastebasket.  Just guessing here.

And just to prove that not all goodwill in the world is lost, I stumbled upon this bonus headline: “Store Gives Away Free Groceries After Registers Stop Working.”  Of course that had to be way easier than returning all the stuff to the shelves but….hey….that was nice.

And from today’s “some articles don’t really need to be written” category:

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A Message of Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving in the USA.  A day to stop and be thankful.  A day to celebrate a small group of people who traveled and survived in adverse conditions all in the hope of freedom to worship how they chose.  A celebration of the friendship that helped them survive.  A day of thanksgiving to God for seeing them through.   It’s an important day really but it seems to be getting more marginalized every year.  Because I’m a purest who believes we celebrate one holiday at a time my pilgrims, turkeys  and cornucopias will stay in place for one more day. Tomorrow the ornaments come out of the boxes.

Today I had intended to spend a day with my family enjoying food and fun and being grateful for all with which I have been blessed.  Unfortunately a minor stomach bug has me sidelined today so I will pack up my family and send them off to celebrate. It made me cry for a moment but in the end it’s the best thing and I’m thankful that I figured out I wasn’t feeling the best before we took off on the two-hour drive and before I exposed my extended family to any viruses. Now I will spend the day being quiet and recuperating while I am grateful for all my blessings.  In the end, I don’t think it’s bad to spend a quiet reflective day.  I think we all need to do that from time to time whether sidelined by a “bug” on a  holiday or not.

So…

To my American Friends: Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you spend it in a way that is meaningful to you and you have a great day.

 To my International Friends: Happy Thursday! I hope you spend it in a way that is meaningful to you and you have a great day.  

I am thankful for each of you with whom I have connected in some way this year.  You’ve all added a new dimension to my life.

May you be blessed today and every day!

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The “Did That Just Happen?” Pause

You know how sometimes something happens and your brain pauses for an extra moment?  Like staring for an extra second is going to make you comprehend it better.  I’ll give you an example.  When my oldest children were quite small the front of the trunk of our Christmas Tree (unbeknownst to us) got soft and suddenly the whole tree fell over one evening.  Right in front of the walker my 3 month old daughter was sitting in.  I remember distinctly standing from my vantage point in the kitchen watching it start to fall and being unable to move.  It was like my brain needed a moment to wrap around what was happening before I could respond. Or there was a time when I accidentally touched one of the burners on my stove and it took the extra moment for it to register “Hey! That hurts! Pull it back!!” Not that I cognitively thought those words.  I just remember that split second of looking at it before I pulled my hand back.    I guess this is why I never pursued a career in emergency response. My brain pauses when something happens in front of me. It needs a minute to catch up to what I just saw.   I had a day filled with brain pauses yesterday.

While driving our younger daughter to school yesterday a mother (who was obviously in a hurry) decided that the “no left turn” sign out of the high school parking lot didn’t apply to her.  She whipped out of the lot, turning left of course (because those arrow signs with the red circle and a line are so hard to understand) right in front of oncoming traffic.  Me and the high school driver who was drag racing me to get into the correct lane to turn into the parking lot to be exact.  Squealing brakes, horns blaring (not mine) and everyone managed to avoid an accident but I had a moment of “Did she really just do that?” as I tried to calm my spiking heart rate. Thankfully it was only momentary because I was driving at the time.  After a few more “who taught these people to drive” incidents I managed to make it out alive and headed back home to pick up our son for school.

Arriving home I discovered that our fourth grader wasn’t in fourth gear quite yet.  I had to hurry him along.  To help I opened the freezer door to get out the ice pack for his lunch and one of the cakes that I baked the night before started to slide out.  Thankfully the “pause” didn’t occur until after I caught the thing before any damage was done.  Again with an elevated heart rate I breathed a brief thanks to the Lord.  At least I was the one who opened the freezer instead of him. I don’t have time to bake that thing again.  Then I realized my hands were getting really cold.

Once at work I loaded some paper to run the monthly newsletter. Backwards. It took a minute for my brain to catch up enough to hit the “stop/cancel” button on the printer. (Don’t you wish live had a stop/cancel button sometimes?  Hmmmm…..that’s a blog for a different day.) Did I just waste fifteen sheets of paper? Because my brain was pausing – yes.  Things were not looking good.  Thankfully the rest of the morning went without further incident or office supply waste.

Home for lunch I was tidying up the kitchen and bumped the coffee carafe against the sink.  Sure enough:

I really didn’t think I’d bumped it that hard.  I stood and stared at the silly thing for quite some time.  As if my vision would somehow meld the glass back together.  Or if I looked at it long enough it wouldn’t have happened. Life without coffee first thing in the morning? Oh – I don’t think so!  (I have mentioned that I don’t see in color until I’ve had my first cup of coffee – right?) Somewhere in my frozen brain I started wishing for that stop/cancel button.  Or maybe a rewind button.  Since they do sell replacement carafes I realize that this wasn’t the world’s greatest tragedy. It just felt like it for that moment of pause.

After managing to complete my work day without any more destruction I headed home enjoying the unseasonably warm 62 degree day.  I glanced over to see a gentleman walking down the sidewalk without a shirt on.  My brain froze.  Really?  Did I just see that?  It’s 62 degrees outside.  Is that warm enough to shed your shirt?  I might add here that this young man should probably keep his shirt on at 162 degrees, but that’s just an opinion.  I had barely unstuck my brain to turn left at a light when I (thankfully) noticed that a F350 with a really large trailer was making no indication he was planning to stop for the red light.  Again my pulse spiked and I slammed on my breaks.  This time I did use my horn.   Did he really just blow that light?  I unpaused long enough to get home with body and vehicle in one piece.  I’m beginning to think that was more of an accomplishment than I thought.

Logging on to Facebook I noticed that our oldest son had posted about feeling great because he has been able to spend more time in the weight room again lately.  He posted some numbers: squat – 615lbx2 Leg press – 1260×4. My brain once again paused trying to grasp those numbers.  Then it kicked into high gear. “Who in the world needs to be able to put that much weight on his back and squat?? He’s going to pop every muscle in his leg…..”  Okay – maybe that should be filed under ‘Things a mother doesn’t need to see or know’ rather than ‘Did that just happen?’.  Either way the boy elevated my heart rate for a moment. Again.

Thankfully the rest of the evening was incident free.  We managed to attend our daughters’ jazz concert without anything messing with my brain. (No small achievement considering how my day had gone.) Their dad had a moment of elevated heart rate but that had more to do with some choreography than anything odd happening.  It didn’t faze me as much which is good.  I don’t think my heart could have taken any more quirky spikes and pauses yesterday.  My pulse was elevated enough  just trying to survive the stuff I kept doing.  Who needs aerobics anyway?

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Inspirational!

Yesterday morning I received a special surprise: a nomination for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award” from my friend facelikeafryingpan  whose blog The Embiggens Project inspires me to laugh. Hard. Seriously. Every time I read it.  The woman is hilarious.  So hilarious in fact that she finds my blog inspiring.  I’ve been called a lot of things before but never inspiring.  I’ve inspired people to leave the room screaming or to go take an extra dose of their meds but no one has ever said to me, “Hey. You inspire me.”  Thanks my friend.  It isn’t everyone who can hang with the strange thoughts that come from my angle.  I feel a little less odd and a lot more special now.

As with most things in life there are rules to follow in order to accept and pass along this Inspirational Award.

 1. Display the award logo on your blog.

2. Link back to the person who nominated you.

3. State 7 things about yourself.

4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.

5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

Steps one and two: Check!

Now to thrill you all with seven things about myself….

  1. Obviously I am a check list person. (see above.)  I have been known to write things down on my check list that I have already done just so I can check them off. It’s an illness really but if I didn’t check-list I would never get things done.  It’s how my brain works.
  2. One of my other “illnesses” is the inability to tell anyone no.  Well…unless you ask my kids.  I have no problem telling them no most of the time.  It’s everyone else I struggle to say “no” to.  I am currently knee-deep in baking cake for 100 people because of this infuriating disease.   The disease that makes me say later, “Why did I say I would do this? Never again.”  Over and over and over.  You’d think that I’d learn.  I think my family is looking into institutions which offer therapy for this condition. I’m working on it….but not fast enough.
  3. I find myself asking “What was I thinking?!?!” all the time.  Part of it has to do with the above condition.   Part has to do with the fact that I have really great ideas….in theory.  For example: several years ago I was helping at my children’s school and decided that for the grandparent’s Thanksgiving dinner everyone needed a turkey made with Oreos,  malted milk balls and candy corn.  They were soooooo cute!  Oreo Turkeys (Thanksgiving Snack). Photo by NcMysteryShopperThey are cuter when someone else makes them let me assure you.  Most sane people would have said, “Change of plans!” Not me because….
  4. I can’t ever leave things undone.  I will kill myself, and on occasion several other people, in order to finish what I started.  I don’t care how long it takes me I will get it done.  I currently have a half done counted cross stitch picture that I thought would look wonderful in our dining room.  It is huge and done in tiny little fabric.  It’ll look great on my wall in the nursing home  I’m sure.
  5. Yes! I cross stitch. I know that it is no longer a “cool” thing to do seeing as how there are a million other crafty things that are much more mod, but I enjoy it.  It probably has something to do with the fact that when I was young my paternal grandmother and mother both taught me to sew, embroider and do “fancy work”. (Cue “Little House On The Prairie” music.)  I think of them both when I do things like that.  I also can’t just sit and watch TV or ride in a car without something to do.  So I cross stitch.
  6. I love musicals.  I have a particular love for the old ones.  I really do think that life should work like a musical.  I think we should all burst into song at the pivotal moments of our lives. I’ve done it from time to time. Seriously.  Click here for more on my thoughts about this subject.
  7. I have an addiction to mugs.  I love all mugs but I have a particular fondness for big over sized heavy mugs. Because people know this I have an almost embarrassing amount of Christmas mugs.  My family is ready to call the mug intervention team.  I can’t get rid of any of them because I always think of the people who gave me the mug when I use it.  It would be rude to throw someone’s gift, and therefore memory, away, right?  Besides – they are so cute and festive and I love them.  We were in Starbucks this weekend and I absolutely fell in love with a snowman latte mug but I walked away feeling virtuous.  Of course I posted something about it to Facebook in hopes that someone will take the hint and give it to me for Christmas this year.  Then it isn’t my fault.  Yes.  I scare myself sometimes.

If I haven’t scared you off yet, join me for step four: my favorite part of blog awards.  This is where I get to list some of the many blogs that inspire me.  Some of them inspire me to laugh.  Others make think a little deeper.  A few remind me to look at life from someone else’s perspective. A couple are just inspirational because of the talent they display.  All of them brighten my day and inspire me in some way. If you’ve read much of my blogs you know that some days I am silly and some days serious.  This collection of blogs reflects that part of my personality. In no particular order, I nominate:

Ambling and Rambling

In This Life Mrs. H.

The Way Everlasting

The Bumble Files

In-House Councel

Motherhood Is An Art

My Men And Me

Canadian Hiking Photography

How’s Your Love Life

Post Departum Depression

The London Flower Lover

Bucket List Publications

Nincompoopery

A Detailed House

Playful and Hungry

Check them out my friends there is some great stuff in that list.  Now I am off to notify my nominees before I return to cake baking purgatory while I do my latest mental exercises: “No. See you can do it! No!  Better! Try again. NO!!!!”

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