Friday, October 31, 2008

Earthquakes HERE in the DFW area Last Night

Wow ! Earthquakes here in the DFW area last night ! No kidding !

Small ones occur in Oklahoma north of us all the time, but this is the first time I can remember an earthquake here. We did not feel it. But, our local talk radio, WBAP is talking about it. Kinda nice to hear something other than politics. Surely, a security camera caught it at a store. Store clerks and police noticed it. Just a few shakes, they said. Amazing.

3.0 and 2.5

update: now they are calling it a swarm !!! They keep saying that it has nothing to do with all the natural gas wells. Most measuring equipment is hundred of miles away.

On another topic: I just walked out to the car to say goodbye to Bob as he heads to work, and there is this huge green worm crawling out of the rocks. Bigger round than your thumb, and four inches long. Light neon green. Looks like something that fits Halloween. Bob says its a tomato worm. Yikes

Yes, it is Halloween. All Hallow's Eve. Not my favorite holiday. I like the snack size candy, but not the scary stuff. There needs to be an age limit. We have a creepy old guy and his other strange relatives that show up without costume for free candy. I give out pencils. Ever since I was dubbed the pencil lady at PTA when it was my year to be in charge of the school know me as either the pencil lady or the lunch room lady. Soon as the pencils and kit kat snacks are gone, we turn out the lights.

No possum this morning.

update at 10pm

I had 72 pencils to give out, and a piece of candy with each pencil. By 8:30pm, I was down to 8 pencils, so we turned out the lights and went back inside. Bob had set up a light by the steps, as they are dangerous in the dark. And our street was dark. Neighbors on either side did not play, and that is okay. And the neighbor across the street was playing, but blocks her front door with a car, so most kids skipped her house. It was cooler outside than inside the house. So we sat outside and watched it get dark. Lots of big groups. Fairies, brides, and a queen of Egypt. A talkative group of little guys. And the horde of eleven grandkids that live in and around and visit Luke's house three doors down.

I think it is sad that a certain ethnic group does not bother to put on any costume, but sticks a backpack in your face and expects candy. Some just had plastic garbage bags. It is amusing to see the parents that keep track of kids from their cars. Some transport them from house to house, some just keep pace behind them. Our finisher remarked to her parents at the street that she thought we were fake. Fake people sitting quietly on our lawn couch. I was dressed in all white to be easy to see, and yet our steep drive and steps are hard to do, so when she got to the top and turned her attention to us, she thought we were stuffed fake people. Too cute.

We came back inside, with the front of the house dark, and played another game of Scrabble. It is Friday night, and we can hear the bands at UTA. It got up to eighty degrees here today, and 82 inside the house.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Quiet Thursday

I'm waiting for the phone to ring to tell me Bob is on his way home. Then I will go to Walmart an pick up the pictures I had developed with the throw away camera. Walmart does not do on site development anymore, so I had to have them sent "away" on their two day process. Time for a digital camera. James says we can use his, so maybe when he comes home for Veterans Day...

We were sitting here last night reading blogs, and sharing things we found when the oppossum trap slammed shut. Silly possum walked over four carrots to enter the trap and check out the lone carrot at the back of the trap. It was smallish, probably a teenager like the day before's possum. I made a mental note to call the animal control people at 7am this morning, and by 9am, the nice man came to collect number two and take him to play with is brother or sister at Village Creek Park. Possums have to be the stupidest animals to be so easily trapped. I am going to have to put the city animal control number on speed dial at this rate. When I commented to the man who picked up the possum that one lone carrot trapped this one, he said, "see you tomorrow morning." Maybe it was the scent of the other possum that also attracted this one.

I changed the sheets on our bed, and sorted the laundry, and started a load. My fancy washer has so many options. It is fun to press all the lights and light it up like a runway so that it goes through the "heavy duty", and "extra rinse" and "bleach" cycle for the white clothes. I believe in bleach. I trust in bleach to remove 99.9999 percent of the germs that cause athlete's foot. I put my faith in the bleach to guard my family from colds, viruses, etc. Bleach is a mom's best friend. Bleach removes the sin and stains and washes the clothes white as snow. Why, when my firstborn called from his freshman college dorm room and said unto me, "mom can I just splash bleach around the floor to get rid of the smell of wet workout clothes and musty marching uniforms?" I replied unto him, NO !! Splash NOT bleach upon thy floor for it will ruin the colored clothing hanging there to dry. Splash NOT I say, and do not do this thing. Bleach must be mixed very carefully in proper proportions to do the good work of removing germs, odors, and stains. And when my earthly father called from the hurricane ravaged Houston area where water had crept into their bedroom and onto their carpet, and wanted to know if it was okay to splash bleach about liberally, I was able to say unto him, NAY ! Never in full strength shalt thou splash, but only in proper proportions and never on bare wood. Being unable to consult his computer because of the ensuing power outages, I instead directed him to the bleach bottle label where he would receive wisdom, and enlightenment, and rest from his many questions. And I encouraged him to call the number and listen carefully to the calm and friendly lady explain the wonders that is bleach.

update---Hey, James go see the picture of your brudder on his birthday post. This picture is the one I submitted to Cake Wrecks just now. (and if you click on the picture, you can make the picture bigger. cool)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Little Boy In Our House Again

There is a little blonde boy in our house again today. My brother called yesterday and asked if I could watch their youngest, age 4, as he was running a fever, and hence, could not go back to school until fever free.

My little nephew is the sweetest little guy. He does not usually get to visit by himself, as his two older brothers who have been here more often, are usually with him to turn it into a three-ring circus.

The youngest in a family does not always get to have a favorite blanket or special toy because the older ones take it from him, so my nephew had all the toys to himself today. He took them all out of the first basket, and put them all back, I noticed later. We trooped out to the little house and fetched two more baskets of toys--the Chevron cars. And now it is dangerous to walk in here. And we have enjoyed all three of my Veggie Tales DVDs, and the movie BABE. I just love the music in BABE. The farmer sings it to the sick pig, and then dances to it, and the mice sing it at the end after the big finale. The colors are lush and beautiful in the film. I think it is shot somewhere in Australia or New Zealand?

Now my nephew is down for a nap. When my brother dropped him off this morning, he gave me strict instructions about the nap after lunch. Four years old, and he went to sleep pretty well. I let him choose which bed. He has been chasing the cat all morning, but Sallycat can only stand so much attention. My nephew is used to a little white haired dog they can haul around called Buddy Bear. Too bad our cat is not more ragdoll in nature.

Gorgeous day, gorgeous weather. Windows open after a cool morning of fifty degrees. I can hear distant ducks or geese. And a dog's bark punctuates the air. All is calm. All is bright.

An oppossom wandered past three carrots and got caught in the trap. A smallish one, probably teenager, and I called animal control at 7am this morning, and they picked it up before 9am. And they are so nice about picking them up. This one had an almost pure white furry face. The trap does not harm the animals. It trips and shuts the door when the possom walks across the back of the cage. I usually use catfood to bait the trap, but I had some old carrots and an old grainy apple that worked just fine. The neighborhood cats have all learned one by one not to enter the trap. They look embarrassed when I let them out.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

When I Turned Twenty-One

Reflecting on Ben's birthday yesterday, where he has decided the world is a mean place, and only your close friends and family make over your birthday...

And wanting to remember that in all the times I hug Ben hello or goodbye, he usually just humors me, but yesterday, seemed to actually hug back a little...

And whereas I have always wanted to use the word, whereas, in a sentence...

Hence, behold, thusly, too...

I remember my 21st birthday. I was still living at home waiting for my Prince to come. I worked for an orthodontist. And I must say, that I did a lot of growing up at his office. I was a late bloomer. Reluctant to learn to drive, as I knew I'd never drive good enough for my Dad. But, it was a good time in my life. I dated some, and mostly attended church every night. Church was more like a nightly college Bible Class where the pastor took apart a verse word by word, explaining the parts of speech, and teaching us a daily love of the Word, and the necessity of feeding spiritually even as we need to feed physically. Church was also our social life. We sat by the same people night after night. Visited, went out for coffee, and even invited folks over after for more visiting. My folks were very social, and my Dad liked to stir things up, as he was easily bored.

My birthday falls next door to the 4th of July. And as a little girl, my birthday was linked to fireworks just for me. My Grandpa would haul me to the stadium in the huge college town near his farm, and we would enjoy the fireworks. But, at 21, we were living in Houston, and my folks did a sorta coming out party for me. They printed up little invitations on their copy machines (the year of the copy machine business) and the 4th of July also meant a special conference at the church which meant Bible Study twice a day, and finger foods during the breaks, and a salute to the military. The pastor was a retired Colonel, WW2 era, and instilled in us a love of country, patriotism, and a desire to support those in uniform. I learned more about our country, its history and heritage, in Bible Class than I ever learned in high school.

My birthday party fell during that 4th of July Bible Conference, so I got to pick out my favorite foods, and picked up these two feet long subway sandwiches from Andre's, and cut them in half, and I think about thirty or forty people came over between Bible Classes and ate with us. (this may have been my 20th birthday party, as I get the 20 and 21 mixed up) There was no alcohol. My siblings were all younger, hence, we needed to set a good example. And alcohol was never plentiful or even an issue in my home ever since my Dad's conversion when I was ten years old. Dad threw out the keg of beer in the frig way back then.

Anyway, I remember a good time had by all. Good friends of all ages attended, and may have wondered at the strange sandwiches, but hey, on your birthday, you get to be selfish and pick your favorite food. I did not meet my future husband until later that same year, and on my 22nd birthday, I was happily married, and living in Savannah, Georgia as the wife of a 1LT. So, little did I know, but my 21st birthday was my last one with my parents and siblings. And once I got married and moved away, my sister flew the coup shortly after getting her own apartment, and my brothers would put my folks through a few years of hell as they experimented with alcohol causing my mom to exclaim that if they had had the boys first, they would have stopped and never had us girls. I put my parents through a few sleepless nights, being hard headed, but they just don't remember. But, I was the first to leave the nest, and my parents, being young when they had me, were only 42 and 43 years of age when I got married. They were still young and energetic when blessed with that first grandchild three years later. And a big help to me when our boys were small. And our boys were so cute and adorable that my sister got married and had a few, and then my brothers found wonderful wives and had little blonde children, too.

Sometimes, my youngest son, Ben reminds me of my youngest brother, Jay. He gets tired of hearing about it. But, sometimes it is startling to me. On the phone, his voice reminds me of my brother, and his mannerisms---quiet, intense, and occassionally wild and loud and bigger than life. And that gives me hope, that my wild child will be okay. Hopefully, he will find a life's work...but, as the "experts" warned us, Ben may flit from job to job as things interest him. And being a hard worker, it will be okay. He may not choose the path his father did, working for the same company for almost 30 years. Bob has had and held different jobs inside that same company, but I can't see Ben doing something like that.

There is still this fight, this push-pull of interpreting history with Ben. He says we sheltered him. As if that was a bad thing? Bob smacks an "S" on the word, "MOTHERING" whenever I dare play it on the Scrabble board. I was preaching, lecturing Ben last night about how we'd rather he go to college, and then be too busy studying at night to bar hop. And then get married, and be so busy enjoying married life, and all that is involved in pleasing a wife, and kids, and the challenges of that lifestyle, that he does not need to be out at 3am on an Alpine street looking for something to do. At least he was polite to the policeman. And Bob says we need to send that man a thank you note. I only received two tickets in my life. One for not walking my bike across the street in Monticello, Illinois, my freshman year of high school. (I came home crying, and my sister laughed, but she got one the next day!) And once, when Andy was a little guy, I'll never forget his big-as-saucer eyes and questions and excitement telling Dad about the policeman that stopped us and gave me a ticket.

So, I was full of questions when we got this letter from the Justice of the Peace in Alpine, Texas. I thought Justices of the Peace just married people. I did not think Ben had a new wife somewhere. How exactly does one receive a ticket for walking across the street at 3am in the morning in Alpine, Texas??? At least he was not driving?? At least he did not murder someone driving drunk?? I should be so grateful? I failed somewhere as a mother, and I let him know. And writing a letter to God, my Heavenly Father sure helped.

I am so naive. I am so slow to notice stuff. This new stage of parenting adult children means we are here when/if they need us. And we will always be their parents, and we will take care of them if something bad happens and they are disabled or sick and dying, but we are not needed today, and I hope we have raised independent gentlemen. And from a distance, I do notice some things about Ben that I had not before---for example, he gets excited about a new job, works hard, then gets frustrated when he perceives they are not doing things "right", and then falls into a cynical, don't care attitude, where nothing matters. Working with him or living with him day to day is like riding a roller coaster. And when he concentrates on something or tries to figure something out, or when his mind is busy planning---he gets that distracted, faraway look. He has these bursts of creativity. I need to keep praying for his future wife, as she will need to be a special lady that can roll with the ups and downs, and who can live with the loud, and maybe even channel the creativity, and realize Ben gets bored with a job and needs to move on. I just hope and pray he sticks with the wife, and no matter what, give any future children the stability of an intact marriage and home so that they can thrive and grow. Only that spiritual connection of putting God first would save any union. And while God designed marriage and family---we all have to look to Him for the power, energy, humility and love to not irritate the crap out of each other. Just my opinion.

Time to vacuum. Thanks for listening to an old lady rattle on.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ben's Birthday Was Fine

Bob was working downtown Fort Worth today, so he got off a little early, and did not have to ride the train. He went and voted ! Yeah ! He said there was a little line. Not too bad.

Ben worked in Bowie today taking a system off the roof so roofers could redo the roof, and enjoyed talking to the lady about how her system has been working. Not too good on cloudy days, or early in the morning. But, she was saving a bundle all summer using solar to heat her hot water. Ben showered after work, and came over, and rode with us to an eating establishment of his choice. Macaroni Grill. We had a good time visiting, and Ben liked his cake. He put the neat candles in it, and we sang to him, and took lots of pictures. He talked about some of his struggles through junior high and high school. And Bob brought up plumbing or electrician school again. It was a good visit. He put up with us for a while.

What is another good thing--I sent the cake and leftovers home with him !!! What a deal. The cake tasted good, but best to get it out of the house, and not staring at me all the time...or calling to me. I even slipped in a candle, and an apple and a banana.

I got a wonderful email from Bob's cousin who not only remembers Beruit 25 years ago, but was there ! Wow. Some family history I had no idea. Wow.

Time for Bob to beat me at Scrabble.

UPDATE: I won !!! 292-251 I won !!! Did you know "CHURCHING" is a word in the Scrabble dictionary??? It is. And in under fifty minutes, too.

Birthday Candles come in packages of 24

Kinda scary to think it would take more than three packages to have enough for my birthday next year. Wow

Happy Birthday Ben-Ben. Now you are 21

Twenty-one years was a foggy morning. I had scheduled the C-section on an easy day to remember, 10-27-87. Say it out loud. A fun number. Having had our middle son 14 months earlier, in an emergency C-section, I knew what to expect, in fact, I was recommending C-sections to all my friends.

Bob and I walked to the hospital. It is only three miles from our house. And it was fun walking in the fog. My folks had come up from Houston to babysit the middle baby and make sure our firstborn made it to kindergarten.

An emergency C-section means they put you out fast, and deep, with gas. They were in a hurry, as James' heart rate had dropped.

But,a planned C-section means they take their time, and put you on a drip to put you out. And they don't want to give you too much or the baby will be groggy, so they put you out just deep enough...but, remember, I had just been on a three mile hike. My metabolism was up, and somehow my liver metabolized the anaesthesia and I felt like I was down in a well. I could hear everything, and feel everything, and wondered to myself why the monitors were not letting them know that I was awake and aware. I felt them cut me open, and pull Ben out. I knew it was a boy. Our third son. I heard the doctor and nurses talking, and thought to myself as pain washed over me like waves, that something was not right. And yet, I remember claiming that promise that God does not put more on us than we can bear. This C-section was different than last years. It was a nightmare I would re-live every year for 21 years. At first, I questioned, why? What happened? When I questioned the doctor and nurses, they brushed it off with something about how the anaesthesiologist gave me a "forget" drug that obviously did not work. Once the baby was out, I think they put me out deeper, because they cut my tubes, as planned, but I don't remember whether that was before or after they sewed me up. Bob got to watch them clean Ben up, and take him to the nursery. When he joined me in recovery, he told me we had had another baby boy, and I said, "I know. I was awake for most of it." I don't know if he believed me or not. But, I was distraught. On the one hand, I was thankful Ben was okay, but on the other hand, I knew that what I experienced was not right. And I wanted to figure it out. Later, I would research it, and find out I was not alone. But, that would take a few years, and newspaper articles about it, and research on the computer would help explain it, but I think the practice of giving people a "forget" drug is still practiced, and we don't forget. Stuff just gets pushed down into our subconscious, but that does not mean we are not having to deal with it on other levels. Doctors and nurses probably like the drug because it means they don't have to watch their language in the operating room. And I guess helping them concentrate is more important than the patient's mental health.

So, Ben's birthday has always been a mixed blessing for me. Bittersweet. I figured I went through what I did so that I would shut up about C-sections. They are not the best thing ever. Sure, they prevent the tearing and stitching necessary from a vaginal birth like I experienced with my firstborn nine pounder. And it probably saved James' life, as he was in some kind of distress. But, I have to make a conscious effort process the memories, and then set them aside to turn and celebrate with Ben. It helped to journal. And talk about it. And try to warn others. But, then I hallucinate whenever I use Advil, so I know that I process drugs differently.

Ben doesn't read my blog, so I am safe here. Adult children. Sounds like an oxymoron. How does one parent adult children??? They don't think they need it, and parenting becomes more of a cheerleader slot. Homebase. We are here if we are needed, but a drag on their time and energy. We worked our way out of a job. As it should be. I hope we raised independent men. I hope we raised warriors.

But, I am still a mom. Always will be. I remember when the boys were in grade school, I felt like I lost my first name. I became a mom. Andy and James and Ben's mom. Teachers would greet me with, "oh, you must be Ben's mom."

Ben was the clingiest baby of them all. He felt secure hanging onto mom, and the world was a scary place. How come the clingiest makes up for it by becoming the most independent?? And wildest? And the one who drives you to your knees petitioning heaven to protect the rest of the world from your son?? And the one I'd love to sell to the Marines if they'd only take him.

Ben was gifted with spacial talents, and the ability to put things together by sight. Since some things came easy, he learned to avoid the hard reading. He fooled his kindergarten teacher, and overcompensated throughout grade school, but the teachers started making ADD noises in first grade, and started the rounds of testing and diagnostics. We learned that Ben learned differently, and under the huge umbrella that is dyslexia, he was labeled early as "learning disabled." Small ld. We fought against drugs, and thankfully, had a pediatrician who did not think Ben was learning disabled, because, as he explained it, Ben could concentrate for long periods of time on things that that interested him. Ben was easily distracted in a classroom situation, but put him in the science place at the hands-on museum, and he would swear up and down that we had only been there ten minutes when I had been happily reading a book in the corner for two hours.

We were assured that Ben would do fine in college with modifications---and we were promised that if we took the reams of diagnostics with us that he would have no trouble getting in. By then, we were used to special ed, and textbooks on tape, and ARD meetings. But, curiously, when Ben turned 18, WITHOUT our permission and WITHOUT prior notification, they pressured Ben to sign something stating he was no longer learning disabled, in fact, miraculously, did not need their services. The bastards no longer needed funding, in that sink hole that is public education.

Ben made good grades at the local community college. But, the second semester of classes he picked was not so fun, and Ben planned on moving out. Ben made good money as a pizza deliverer, and jumped at the chance to climb on roofs and install solar panels when he got that job. We would have preferred he stay at home, and finish college. We had helped his older brothers through college, and wanted him to get a degree, too. But, he wanted to move out and planned it for months. He chaffed at our rules, and did not like his Dad's random checks on his laptop.

It broke my heart to see him move out of our home, and move into an apartment with a drunk. It is sad to see your son learn things the hard way. And even though we had taught him about friends and associations, and how they affect you, Ben decided to check things out himself. He decided he had been sheltered long enough, and he was tired of a worse-case-scenario mom and strict dad.

My prayer these last few years has been thankfulness that Ben has supported himself, but I hope and pray God sour that friendship with a drunk. And I am thankful that God has answered the prayer that my sons get caught whenever they do something wrong so that they suffer the consequences and learn from it before it becomes and ingrained bad habit.

note to Bob: how come, when I check words on spell checker, and click on the correct one, and it appears to change it, that when I "publish" the misspelled word still appears?? Yikes. Here I thought I was correcting my spelling all these years.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Great Movie

Last night I clicked on Atlas' movie, "Jamaca Inn" introducing a very young Maureen O'Hara, and the evil Charles Laughton. A movie made in 1939. Great movie. Thanks, Atlas.

Things are pretty quiet around here, and after a game of Scrabble (Bob won, 256-249), we sit around reading blogs until time to go to bed. Bob would probably sit around until midnight reading blogs if I did not nag him that we need to go to bed because we have church in the morning. And we'd like to be bright eyed and bushy tailed for that song service. (snork) (Don't get me started on my opinion of "praise" seven-eleven songs---eleven words repeated seven times, and including more "I"s than thanks or praise to God)

Man, they put Maureen O'Hara through the wringer with that first movie. Ocean swim, horseback riding, hiding in a cave, and being tied up. Yikes. I wonder how old she was when she made that movie, and where was it filmed?

Time to get cleaned up for church. More later.

Update: Later, we ate lunch, and Bob went to Carrollton to check on a Business Continuity drill. It got up to 83 degrees inside the house, and I was watching the weather websites and saw that the cold front was almost we played Scrabble Sunday night, and Bob bingo-ed twice and beat me 336 to 233. Ben dropped by to get his mail from Alpine. The wind picked up, and we had to close windows before going to bed.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dad (Bob) Painted the Cat

Tony and his crew from Gold Star Roofing did a pretty good job on the roof. But, they did a horrid job painting the outside. No prep work at all. Even though they assured Bob that they would.

Bob has spent the last three or four weekends sanding, hammering in nails, caulking, filling, and painting the house, with kilz and then paint. And of course, the gallon with the same label from a different Walmart turned out to be just a tad lighter. So, more painting today. No wind. A beautiful day for painting, really.

But, Sallycat threw up on the carpet in the living room. So, seeing as how we were outside most of the morning, I let her out to be with us. And I noticed she was eating grass---a sign of an upset tummy, so I was none too in a hurry to let her back inside. When Bob painted near the front door, Sallycat thought if she stood there and looked pitiful, that he'd let her back into the house. But, no. His hands were (tied) painted. And Sallycat got paint dripped on her back. Now she has another reason to throw up. I am wondering if when she ingests a sticker, if that is what makes her throw up. Stickers get stuck in her fur, and when she licks them off, where do they go? I wonder if maybe she swallows them, and that is what makes her tummy upset. She slept all night at our feet, so its not like she was out hunting and killing and eating any critters.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Now I am hearing things

Maybe it was a conversation in a dream. Maybe it was Bob's gentle snoring. And I do have very vivid, active, wear-me-out dreams...but I awoke this morning to one of the boys calling, "Mom". Sounded like James when he would come home late and wake me up to let me know he was home okay. But, it was tempting to call around and see if everyone was okay. As I pondered which one it might be, I realized I would not be falling back to sleep, and best to get up and make the coffee. So I did.

And I had been putting off window cleaning for days now. It was time. Assembling the tools, and the taking down the south window heavy black drape we use to block light for computer screen viewing, I slipped the huge black velvety cloth into the washer and set it going. I don't know if it was heavier with dust or cat hair. It did not seem hot enough to need a sweatband, but soon sweat was dripping down my nose. So, on with the sweatband, and that headband is proof I can knit something other than dishrags.

Even after a good scrub, there is a fine paint spray on the windows that I will have to leave for him who can use the razor tool thingy. But, it was good to take down the screens and give them a good brushing, and it was amazing how dusty they were. Spiders like to leave their little white cotton-ball-type nests. It is not a perfect job, but I did my best. And they sure look better. By the time I was done, the washer and then dryer had the huge black drape ready to rehang. Looks nice all dust and cat hair free. Sallycat wanted to jump up into that window and check out the yard and re-install her hairs on it, but I discouraged her for today. There are other windows in the house she can do her patrol work from. Wow---if the blue star two star flag was not hanging in the kitchen window, I would think there was no glass. Hum...analogy there---God scrubs us so clean that we can show more of His Son??

WBAP here at 2pm is warning of a "frost advisory" tonight again. Wow. Is frost dangerous? Slippery on grass, but unless you have tropical plants like a banana tree or something growing in your garden, what other dangers doth a frost bringeth?

I see painting in our future this weekend. In the bright, bright sunlight of midday, Bob will spot the places that need more covering with the new paint. There are a few spots out front, on the wall on on the facia, and a few spots in the back of the house. I was tempted to glue up the stars on the front of the house, but they would be in the way just yet of painting.

Beautiful weather here in Texas. We close the windows at night, and our house stays at a comfortable seventy degrees. Then, I open them mid-morning, and it feels great in here. Our back wall is brick, and gets full sun from the south and heats up all day, and will possibly make us close up and turn on the AC this evening, but maybe not.

I got so tickled yesterday reading a new military blog called, Embrace the Suck. This guy is headed on his first deployment, I think, and he writes beautifully. But, he also writes honestly, and tells all. Even less than flattering things, and life in a barracks of guys can get crude, but he ends each posting knowing his mom is probably reading this with, "I love you mom". Sounds like something my boys would do, too.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Twenty-five Years Ago...

Thanks to all the good conservative military blogs to remind us that twenty-five years ago today, we lost precious Marines in Beruit. Was it the first suicide murderer ? Was it a wake-up call our country ignored? Or is it one we now see clearly as the beginning of a struggle with terrorism. Does it matter when we mark the beginning of the war on terrorism?

We need to remember. Michelle Malkin lists all 241 names. They had wives, children, moms, and dads.

Those men were in harm's way while I chased a toddler. Two of my sons had not even been born. Now that toddler serves in the Air Force, and our middle son is busy doing homework at chemical corps school in the Army.

Twenty-five years ago, parents of military servicemen and women did not have blogs to journal on, nor email to communicate immediately with their loved ones. We are so blessed to live in the greatest nation on earth. But, our freedom is not free. Each generation has to purchase it, guard it, teach it's worth.

“It’s the soldier, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press.
It’s the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech.
It’s the soldier, not the politicians that ensures our right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
It’s the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag.” Wish I knew how to link to Neptunus Lex---found this poem there, and he has a great quote from a brave man calling the media on their bias on the bailout/mortgage crisis. (Orson Scott Card)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cold Front

We made it onto the wind chill map again. And actually had to close windows, as a cold front blew through. We even got a few sprinkles of rain, and are thankful, as our yard needs watering. This morning, as the front approached from the west, the radio helicopter lady, Laura Houston, reported seeing a beautiful rainbow.

And our vanity license plate story made the vanity plate site. Now we are famous. It is a cute story about James, our middle son. And a way to honor Mrs. Farnsworth. I'll never forget seeing her at Kroger one day when the boys were a little older, and it bothered them to see their teacher at a grocery store. They were only used to seeing her at school. I don't think it occurred to them that she had a life.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dear Governor Sarah Palin,

I voted for you today. I wish I could tell you.

And then I went out to my car and cried. I cried for my country. I wish they inked our fingers just like in Iraq. I wish we could wear those inked fingers like a badge of honor.

Our country is so divided, and only God can take away the hate and the anger and the delusion. While I don’t agree with President Bush on immigration or government bailouts, he has kept us safe, and has done his best, and it is sad to see him so hated, and so misunderstood. He does not defend himself, and I think it was the way he was raised. But, when you do not point out the lies and combat the slander, you allow the office of President to be harmed.

Thanks to you, Governor Sarah Palin, and Cindy McCain, and dear Meghan McCain who showed us the human side of John McCain through her blog, I was able to vote, and I know, if something bad happens to John McCain, I know you will do fine as President of this great nation. But, I tremble for you, because it seems like half the country is angry, and to have to be that check and balance with a democratic congress, whoa. It will not be an easy job. And with the press (MSM) against you, you will have to daily do your job as unto the Lord. Only God sets what is right and wrong.

It is not the government’s job to rescue or run the economy. And let us quit sending money overseas to countries that don’t like us. Let us stand for justice and helping the helpless. And let us finish what we set out to do in Iraq, and only bring our troops home when that job is done with honor and use words like victory. And let us continue to pursue terrorists wherever they hide with all the manpower and weapons at our disposal. I know you will and can do these things, Sarah. Most of your job will be one of national teacher. Teach our children that we live in the greatest nation on earth because we are guided by Biblical principles that God set in place. Teach our enemies that they need to respect our rules, our borders, and our freedoms. And teach our democrats that we must live within our means, and that means a balanced budget, and cut wasteful government spending, and fund a strong military.

Thank you, Sarah for your courage, and heart of service. It will be our privilege to pray. Even as we have counted it an honor and privilege to pray for President Bush, we will pray for God to give you wisdom, and protection, and guidance. We will pray that God surround you with godly people.

2 Corinthians 4 warns that “we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed, perplexed, but not despairing, persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed” and I have heard you say sometimes you are perplexed, and I remembered these verses.

Maybe God has orchestrated this whole campaign, so that Sarah, like Esther, “for such a time as this”, can make good decisions for our country.

Whatever the outcome, I believe God is in control.

And as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5: Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord—for we walk by faith, not by sight—we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore also we have as our ambition whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in our consciences.

We are not again commending ourselves to you but are giving you an occasion to be proud of us, that you may have an answer for those who take pride in appearance, and not in heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this , that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things passed away; behold new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us, we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Stephen Fortunato, American Hero

Go over to Knee Deep in the Hoohah and read the story of a true American Hero, Stephen Fortunato. Michelle Malkin linked to the letter about him, and Brietbart TV read his letter out loud.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Twenty-one years ago on the 27th

I am sure we only set newborn Baby Ben in his brother's arms for a second...hence, the extra pair of hands.

They were the best buddies growing up. Built in playmates. Only 14 months apart. We even had a twin stroller for them to ride in high style to pick up their big brother in kindergarten.

Now that baby is almost legal. He has been Mr. Independent for almost two years now. Today, he let us buy him lunch. He can't stand us for too long. We are pretty boring parents. Bob beat me at Scrabble today. But I went out first.


I just love this picture. I have not added pictures to my blog much lately, and this one makes me smile. That is my son. Learning to do stuff without us laundry, and cooking, and shooting a gun. Thanks for calling today, James. Love, mom

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More Sanding and Scraping

And painting. Bob bought a gallon of kilz and another gallon of the gray-white paint. And he sanded the east side, and everywhere that needed it with his belt sander electric tool. Good thing I did not hot glue on the stars. They would have been in the way.

Sad news from firstborn. Their dear cat, Jack had to be put down. So sad. He was the cat we were entrusted with when firstborn was in basic. And this cat ran away at one point and was miraculously found. Jack had indeed nine lives. And Jack was one of the grandchild's first words. Jack and cat were synonymous to the grandchild. Andy said he ate something like a rubber door stopper that blocked his intestines.

The neighbors on the east side have their charcoal grill going. And the wind must be out of the east. I made Bob a bag of Marie Calendars' skillet meal, the one with turkey and sweet potatoes. Cooked up quickly on the iron skillet. I should have timed it better around Bob's painting of the outside of the house. We googled Marie Calendar---and there really once was a Marie. And Bailey's Irish Cream--invented the same year I graduated from high school. 1974. I bought some Bailey's Irish Cream Ice Cream. Bob wanted to know whatall was in it. Google helps us improve our minds.

Back to the weeding---stickers abound. Window washing may have to wait until next week once the paint is dry.

Mom means flexible, alert, ready at the drop of a hat...

Last night, Bob had to work late and missed the next train, so instead of him waiting around dark downtown Dallas, I drove downtown to pick him up. I don't drive much anymore, as Bob does most of the driving. My driving consists of trips to the store, and never at night. So, it was an adventure to grab my purse and head out the door in the dark and drive to downtown Dallas. I know one route into downtown pretty well, and having done it the other day to bring Bob his keys, it was still fresh in my mind. Listening to Laura Ingraham on radio, our wonderful local WBAP, the hardest part was finding the headlight switch. As I said, I don't drive much at night. And we have only had the Toyota van a year.

We did not see the huge, orange three-quarter moon until after I'd picked up Bob. His cell phone was outa juice, so he was waiting outside his building. And he let me drive back to Arlington ! We drove back to the train station near Bell Helicopter and picked up his car, and then home for some cereal for a late supper, and bed.

There was a wild teen birthday party three houses down. We could hear the girls squealing and screaming from our house. Yikes.

What to do today---more weeding or window washing?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Breakfast Cookies??!! What will they think of next.

A Fun Way to Eat Oatmeal

Oatmeal on a Stick

Oatmeal Cookies: Here is what you’ll need: Assuming you have been married thirty years and the heavy-duty mixer bit the dust. And the cheap little Black’nDecker works fine, but two of the beaters broke a spoke.

Start with a big mixing bowl. Whisk four fresh, raw eggs. Add a cup of sugar. Brown or white. Soften in the microwave in a microwaveable measuring cup a stick and a half of butter (broken, then stirred) for 22 seconds. Add cooled butter to the sugar and egg mixture. Add a package of Pilsbury Pumpkin Cake mix. And more cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Have fun. Sprinkle away. Brush spilled cinnamon off your shirt. Those newly opened spice jars can be tricky to get off the glued paper seal. Dump in oats---old fashioned or quick. Four cups or more. Mix. Dump a cup of raisins out on the counter or table top and pick through them to remove any offending little stems or debris. Add raisins to the cookie dough if you like raisins. They are good for you. A good source of iron, you know.

Now you are ready to bake your cookies. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place a spoonful of cookie dough on your cookie sheet spaced at least two thumb widths apart. Cook for fifteen to twenty minutes or until done. Test for doneness by pressing the hot cookie lightly. If it springs back, its done. If your imprint stays, cook a little longer. Store cookie dough in a buttered baggie in the freezer and carefully cut chunks of the dough to bake a fresh batch. Or, cook up the whole batch and freeze the cookies you do not plan on consuming in the next few days.

A sweet neighbor gave me a tub of Otis Spunkmeyer’s breakfast cookie dough. Since I was unable to find more of the dough at the grocery store, I decided to make my own.

Chocolate chips and chopped nuts would be a good addition to these cookies. And they can be mixed with basic bowl and spatula, so good for guys living on their own without a lot of huge kitchen appliances. You do need an oven, however. Even a little toaster oven is needed to cook cookie dough. It will not work in the microwave, sorry.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Because I am the Mom of Sheepdogs

I am re-running a letter that helps my attitude because I am the mom of sheepdogs

This letter was written by Charles Grennel and his comrades who are veterans of the Global War On Terror. Grennel is an Army Reservist who spent two years in Iraq and was a principal in putting together the first Iraq elections, January of 2005.

It was written to Jill Edwards, a student at the University of
Washington who did not want to honor Medal of Honor winner US MC Colonel Greg Boyington. Ms. Edwards and other students (and faculty) do not think those who serve in the U.S. armed services are good role models.

To: Edwards, Jill (student, UW)

Subject: Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs

Miss Edwards, I read of your "student activity" regarding the proposed memorial to Col. Greg Boyington, USMC and a Medal of Honor winner. I suspect you will receive a bellyful of angry e-mails from conservative folks like me.

You may be too young to appreciate fully the sacrifices of generations of servicemen and servicewomen on whose shoulders you and your fellow students stand. I forgive you for the untutored ways of youth and your naivete. It may be that you are, simply, a sheep. There's no dishonor in being a sheep - - as long as you know and accept what you are.

William J. Bennett, in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy November 24, 1997 said: "Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident." We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

Then there are the wolves and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy. Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

Then there are sheepdogs and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf. If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the unchartered path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.

We know that the sheep live in denial, that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world.

They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids' schools. But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard, and so they chose the path of denial.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports, in camouflage fatigues, holding an M-16.

The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa." Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.

The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough high school students, and under ordinary circumstances they would not have had the time of day for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they just had nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack, however, and SWAT teams were clearing the rooms and hallways, the officers had to physically peel those clinging, sobbing kids off of them.

This is how the little lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is at the door. Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel? Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be.

Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed, right along with the young ones.

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day.

After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, "Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes." The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, "Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference." You want to be able to make a difference. There is
nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but he does have one real advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population.

There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.

Some people may be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe that most people can choose which one they want to be, and I'm proud to say that more and more Americans are choosing to become sheepdogs.

Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001, Todd Beamer was honored in his hometown of Cranbury, New Jersey. Todd, as you recall, was the man on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his cell phone to alert an operator from United Airlines about the hijacking. When they learned of the other three passenger planes that had been used as weapons, Todd and the other passengers confronted the terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation occurred among the passengers - athletes, business people and parents -- from sheep to sheepdogs and together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an unknown number of lives on the ground.

"There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men." - Edmund Burke. Here is the point I like to emphasize, especially to the thousands of police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the sheep, real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, and so are wolves. They didn't have a choice.

But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be whatever you want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision. If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you.

If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love.

But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior's path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.

This business of being a sheep or a sheepdog is not a yes-no dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of degrees, a continum. On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep and on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on one end or the other. Most of us live somewhere in between.

Since 9-11 almost everyone in America took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The sheep took a few steps toward accepting and appreciating their warriors, and the warriors started taking their job more seriously. Its ok to be a sheep, but do not kick the sheepdog.

Indeed, the sheepdog may just run a little harder, strive to protect a little better and be fully prepared to pay an ultimate price in battle and spirit with the sheep moving from "baa" to "thanks".

We do not call for gifts or freedoms beyond our lot. We just need a small pat on the head, a smile and a thank you to fill the emotional tank which is drained protecting the sheep. And when our number is called by "The Almighty", and day retreats into night, a small prayer before the heavens just may be in order to say thanks for letting you continue to be a sheep. And be grateful for the thousands - - millions - - of American sheepdogs who permit you the freedom to express even bad ideas.

We Made It Onto the Windchill Map !

Fifty-eight degrees ! Wow. Windows open. We love it. Feels great. Had to dust off my slippers. And pull out a long-sleeved shirt. And not to keep off the sun, but to stay warm. Wow. Our first cool front.

I love looking at the weather website maps. Some you can even animate. And after a week of envying the western half of the country, the cool front made it down to us. Parts of northern Mexico are briefly red--the windchill touched down there briefly.

God air conditions good. And it is free.

Happy Dance Time. Our long summer of discontent is over.

Halelujah !

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Monarch Butterflies are Migrating

Light rain most of the day. Now we are on the backside of the front and the Monarch butterflies are using the north wind to trek south. It is not unusual to see one or two these days, but on my trip to the mailbox, there were one or two every six feet. Like floating flowers. Windows open. AC off. at 5pm---usually our AC is on at this time of day !

The weather has been so strange, with the country truly divided: hot in the east, and cold in the west. The rain seemed to track from west Texas all the way to Canada but it got closer to the DFW area today and we got some much needed rain. Whew. The weeds out front pulled out so much easier being rain soaked. But, I did not even make a dent in them. We have levels of rocks that have not been weeded all summer. Stickers abound. I gave the purple Lantana breathing space. Sallycat wandered out and fussed at me. Didn't I realize it was sprinkling??

We will not blog about Bob locking his keys in his car at the train station. Because I will need rescued another day. I will say that the air filter inside the car was almost overwhelmed on that drive to the train station. I saw a new gas well, and stakes in preparation for widening the road called Greenbelt that winds through the bottom lands over the Trinity River. Wow. With more traffic going to the train station, and people using other roads to get to the airport, that two lane road has needed widening for years. It was no fun driving to downtown Dallas to give Bob his keys because of the rain. Rain on a heavily traveled freeway is dangerous. Parts of I-30 are under construction for the Dallas Cowboy Temple being built in Arlington, and the lanes are thin. It is terrifying to be caught between two huge semi-trucks, and in a rain cloud and the lanes curve, and you cannot see a thing. Lanes come and go, and people change lanes without looking. Yikes. Even a light rain is rolled up like a curtain, dirty and bouncing off trucks and tires. It was like driving in a car wash. The windshield wipers could not keep up. You'd think in such conditions that folks would slow down. You'd think.

I'm going to go count butterflies.

Update: For ten minutes, I counted, and over 200 Monarch Butterflies flitted by. Some float like falling oak leaves. Some pump their wings as if that will make them sail faster. When they get too close to each other, they circle and whirl in a dance, as if saying:

"Madge, is that you?? Oh, Madge, could you believe that freeway? I almost got sucked in, Madge."

"Betsy, Betsy, where are we going? Does anyone know?"

"No, dear, probably Mexico. It doesn't matter that we know. We just go." "Try to keep up, dear."

"I wonder how Sam did as he flew right over DFW and the planes are landing to the north." "These oak trees are pretty." "They sure are tall."

"Look out for that cat---a tiger in the long grass over there---don't dip too low."

"Look at that silly lady knitting in the lawn chair. Did you see her, Henry?"

"She had better close her mouth when looking up, as a flock of grackles are headed this way."

"Why don't the birds eat us, Francis?"

"Because God made us taste nasty to them, Sweetie."


"How do they find out?"

"Each bird probably has to find out the hard way; its best not to think about it."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cleaning the Oven

It is time to clean the oven when every time I cook, the oven smokes.

It is time to clean the oven when it is cool enough outside to open the windows.

We have a "self-cleaning" oven. It is wonderful. I don't use the oven much in the summer as it seems silly to run the AC and the oven. And the AC runs here in Texas at least six months out of the year. Our self cleaning oven comes with a locking mechanism, and three dials that must be set just so to make it go. It pumps smoke out into the kitchen as it burns off the grease, grime and spills. And one of my muffin expressions overflowed, so there is muffin poop on the bottom of the oven.

With the windows open, and the fan set up blowing to the north having checked the weather websites to see which way the wind is blowing, the oven is working away. My eyes are smarting. But, most of the smoking seems over.

Sallycat, however, is not convinced. She meowed to get out. She meowed to get back in, but then took one sniff, and stayed out. She is meowing at me now as if fussing at me for staying inside. I may pull the white plastic couch out front and watch the dawn. The birdies are starting to sing, and the sky has that inky-purple color.

I remember back in my Mother's Day, before the invention of self-cleaning ovens, you had to buy this nasty toxic stuff in a can, spray it on the walls of the oven, and scrub away. It was best to wear rubber gloves and not breathe. I remember that sometimes, it took two cans to get the oven clean.

I'll never forget one cold, winter day when I decided the oven just needed to be cleaned and could not wait until another day. I needed my head examined. We opened windows, and the smoke was still so bad that we had to go outside, and wouldn't you know it, but these people show up at our front door for a visit. They had kids our kids age, but it was not a pleasant visit. Those people moved to Clear Lake, so we have not seen them in years. I wonder if they thought we started cleaning the oven when they showed up just to get rid of them. It made it memorable.

I have been drooling over the weather maps. There is this cold side of the country just a few miles to the west of us. Wow. And rain, just out of reach headed the other direction. It is colder in Dalhart, Wichita Falls, and Sweetwater than here. Talk about a divided country. Envy is a sin. Our six months of cooler weather is coming.

And we are suppose to be memorizing Psalm 117 this week: Praise the Lord all nations; laud Him all peoples! For His lovingkindness is great towards us, and the truth of the Lord is everlasting. (some translations say, "tower over us" instead of "great towards us") I had to look up "laud", too. Applaud? Only God can give us the spirit of thanksgiving and praise. Anything I try to do on my own and in my own power is pitiful, and suspect. I marvel that God even gives us the ability to learn about Him and that He goes to a lot of bother to get through to us, don't you?

Update: The thermometer on a stick says the oven is pumping out 180 degrees out the vent. Wow. No wonder I am sweating. It is seventy degrees outside, and I have the fans going, but the inside thermostat says its 78 degrees in here. I should have waited until a much cooler day to do this. Oh, well. One more hour oughta do it.

Sallycat stuck her nose in and went right back out when I was putting clothes in the dryer in the garage. She is a smart cat. Smarter than me.

Uh-oh. I had a thought. Look out. How about a Texas version of Psalm 117?? Is that blasphemous? Here goes:

Praise the Lord, y'all. Yes, all y'all. Because His lovingkindness towers over us and His Truth is forever.

I don't know. What is the Texas word for lovingkindness? watchcare? supervision? or, in Texican, would God say, "don't make me come down there!" That would be the t-shirt version. But, He is already HERE. He sees everything. He is as close as a sigh. And He knows your are gonna sigh from eternity past. Abraham's Friend. King David's Strong Arm. Solomon's Wisdom.

Creator. And I just love that story of how God uses pirates to protect His Special People, Israel. There is this ship from Iran loaded with radioactive material and explosives that Somali pirates captured. Blogger Blackfive wrote about it. The pirates hair started coming out. The pirates started suffering radiation symptoms.

Go to and scroll down to read it yourself. He also links to the story at another site at stop the aclu.

9:30am update: I survived. It got up to eighty degrees inside the house. And the oven pumped out 185 degree hot air for an hour. But, it is coming down now. I sat outside for a while as it was cooler out there than in here. Sallycat is trying to escape the neighbors overly friendly cats. She is too smart to come back inside just yet. And I saw her eating grass--so I wonder if that lunchmeat Bob gave her is causing a tummy upset.

Lunch with my friend, Mary today. We plan on going to Chick-fill-you-up. Good salads. I will pick her up at noon. Doesn't my life put you to sleep? Boring enough? If they are giving a boring prize, I'd win. I think that is why Ben moved out almost two years ago. We were just too boring.

Monday, October 13, 2008

362-242 I won !!!

Bob recited the day ritual for James:

He gets on a train, and goes to work, and at 4:50pm, he calls me and says he is headed home. He walks in the door at 6:10pm and I have a hot meal ready and waiting. Then we play Scrabble. And James calls. And I knitted a dishrag while we played Scrabble.

Since I gave a box-of-dishrags to a friend at church Sunday morning, I knitted one for my sink, and five more to give away to someone.

I don't want to forget Bob smooching me on the back of my neck while I was making coffee this morning. I have been thinking about that all day.

Thirty-one years ago we met, and started writing letters to each other, and a Scrabble board was one of our first purchases as a married couple. We did not play much when the boys were little. But, now we try to play each day. And every once in a while, I win ! Bob lets me have as many letters as I want. I can make big words. And there are funny two letter words we use a lot to build other words. Tonight, I wondered, what does OE mean?? (a whirlwind off the Faeroe islands)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bob 407, me 209

Scrabble score.

We went to church. We ate lunch with Ben-Ben. fish. We caulked and painted. Rather, Bob caulked and painted. I was his assistant. I fetched stuff, and held the paper towels. And I was very useful in remembering where a certain tool was hidden. We hide stuff in the garage so that they do not walk off. Some tools come in these handy suitcases, and have been known to grow legs and walk away. I swear I am going to write what they are in big letters with a permanent marker. 'Cause Bob will ask, "where is the band saw?" And I have to hold up a few suitcased tools, and possibilities before I get the right one. Or, I will unearth the suitcased tool, and ask, "is this it?" Bob's old boss once made fun of us when he noticed our washer and dryer labeled in big letters when our boys were little. But, he has not been in our garage in years, so I think its safe to label stuff for my brain. Why don't tool come labeled?? "Stanley" did not help me locate the awl.

Now the house looks better. There are a few places left to sand and paint, but Bob will wait for a cooler day. It got hot out there this afternoon. I got so sweaty-sticky, that I took a bath before Scrabble.

I gave the lady at church sixteen dishrags. Hope she likes them. Hope she finds a color she likes. And she said she wanted to give some at Christmas.

The sermon this morning was on Amos 6. Danger of complacency. Arrogance. And abusing poor people.

Lots of sirens tonight. Wonder what is going on.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday Morning

A day we can usually sleep in, but I got up early because my back was hurting. Reading blogs. Improving my mind. I watched Brietbart TV yesterday afternoon, but showed it to Bob yesterday evening, as Scott did a good show all by himself. Liz was sick with a cold. I knitted a dishrag for a lady at church while we watched it on the computer. I have a whole box for this dear lady at church. She can have them all--over a dozen I have done up for her, to keep or choose a color she likes.

Ben dropped in yesterday afternoon. It was so good to see him. He seemed to have a little better attitude about work, but sees the company folding. Ben says he wants to do the solar panels right but, his boss does not see the need to protect them from a freeze. On the one hand, Ben seems glad to have learned the solar trade, but cynical on the other hand, as it takes years for a system to pay for itself, and maintenance is expensive. Ben told me about giving a Christian a hard time at the coffee shop. And saving a baby bunny story where he gets a lady's phone number. Ben remembered a CS Lewis book Bob had read them, and asked for the title so that he could pass it on to his Christian friend. Little does Ben know that its an answer to prayer to see God bring Christians into his life. I had to restrain myself from a happy dance right then and there. Ben turns 21 in seventeen days. He said he wants a vacuum for his birthday. I told him how much I am enjoying my Walmart one. And I hope he lets us take him out to eat.

James called, and has Monday off for Columbus day, and gets to be Platoon Leader next week. And he cooked himself a steak for supper and had a salad. I wonder what he is eating in the bread/grains department. Maybe cereal for breakfast? And from the fruit group?? When Ben moved into his own apartment, almost two years ago, he figured stuff out, and learned a lot of lessons the hard way. With James, we are enjoying all his adventures in learning to cook, do laundry, and I think we were on speaker phone when he washed his first dish. I told him I needed to put the date in his baby book, but he said I did not have one. I guess he has checked the shelves. He does not know that I have a lifetime of baby book memories in my head. And a whole box of journals of when he was a toddler... I am amazed how different each of my boys are. And our experiences with each of them have been so different.

Andy flew the nest first. Andy went away to college, and there was the band experience from sixth grade through college. Andy woo-ed his future wife that senior year of college, and graduated and got married and entered the military all in one month. That whirlwind month of May 2005. They figured stuff out on their own. We were not a part of Andy's day-to-day military experiences. We did not even know what to ask. Nowadays, we are blessed with calls from the wonderful toddler grandbaby. And wish we lived closer so that grandbaby could know us. And I am so thankful Andy is enjoying being a hands on dad.

Ben was and is Mr. Independent. And enjoys working with his hands. We are hoping he is interested in plumbing school and getting his license, as we know he'd be good at it. He has two black kitties he rescued, and is enjoying. He said that one of them head-bumped him awake yesterday morning wanting to be petted. He has built them climbing apparatus and regales us with their adventures. He says no burger is safe around them.

These cool Texas mornings are wonderful. It will get up into the eighties this afternoon, but we can enjoy the windows open for a while. Sallycat is pestering Bob to be petted as he tries to work at his laptop. Sallycat will walk through the Scrabble board. And across the laptop, or in front of the computer screen. She will then jump down another way, but the only path up is through. And she likes her Greenies in the morning.

A lazy Saturday---time for a bath to stretch out those back muscles, and a walk, for exercise. The sky is a pretty baby pink and baby blue this morning.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Bob went out first, and bingo-ed once, but I beat him by three points. It has been a while since I have won at Scrabble. And Bob lets me have as many letters as I want.

Bob re-installed the vents in the overhang thingies. We had run them through the dishwasher to remove twenty years of dust and grime after a good hand scrubbing. Every time Bob uses his cordless screwdriver we remember the story of taking toddlers to the hardware store. When we were not looking, baby Ben pulled a cordless screw driver off the shelf and into our cart. When we got up to the checkout, Bob thought I had put it in the cart as a gift to him. I did not know he had been wanting one, and this was when they had first been invented, and to me, sounded wussy.

We had eaten cereal for supper, and even though that is quick, we only had 45 minutes before sundown to get the screens re-installed. Four little screws each. By dusk's early light...and the step stool, and the ladder for the end of the house.

I am still having trouble standing up straight, even though I went to the chiropractor the other day. Oh, well. Yesterday, I went out to lunch with my friend and her cute little 2 year old grandson, but my back was hurting before we were done. She had seen the yarn we use on sale at Michael's for one dollar each, and we could not resist stocking up on my favorite colors. I am well-stocked on yarn now. This should last me through the winter ! It sure was nice paying one dollar for the cream color instead of 1.69 !!! And I usually do not buy the smaller skeins at 1.69, but at one dollar, I picked up a few "stripes". And I don't know when I have had so many shades of green in stock. These will make pretty dishrags.

It is Friday. I'd love to blog about female stuff, but it would gross out people. I am convinced there is a female/menstrual connection to my back hurting.

And what is it with memory tricks in your fifties?? Bob and I don't dare buy milk and set it in the back seat. We will get distracted somehow one the way home and forget to take the milk out of the back seat and put it in the frig ! What is with that?? And I will make notes to myself and leave them all over the place...and then forget to read the notes. So, I ride home from Braum's (milk purchase place) with a gallon of milk between my legs. Too funny. We are losing our minds.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Bob beat me at Scrabble again last night. 375 to 219. The board was more open, but he bingo-ed twice. He is a most happy fellow. He is a basically happy fellow, anyway...that is why I was attracted to him 31 years ago this weekend.

We met Columbus Day weekend. Bob was helping an Army buddy move some of his furniture back to Houston, and Bob jumped in the car and attended the same church my family attended because Bob was being fed spiritually from tapes from that same church. Not only did he get some face-to-face teaching, he met a future wife. We started writing letters, and dated at Christmas, and he proposed the end of January and we married that April.

I remember that first meeting as he had no socks. He did not pack an extra pair, and was going sockless rather than wear dirty socks. But, his great sense of humor also caught my attention. And his letters were so witty and so well written that I could read them aloud to my folks, and so our romance flew under their radar.

I wonder what First Lieutenant Robert B. would say if a little birdie had whispered that weekend that his life is about to change. And for the last thirty years, he would never sleep alone. My snuggle bunny. My furnace. My light sleeper.

It was just after the Rice-A&M football game... (and I don't think those two colleges even play anymore)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Your Chiropractor Knows

Your Chiropractor can tell when you have been sitting on your behind at the computer and not getting enough exercise. Your Chiropractor can tell when you have been worrying. Your Chiropractor can tell when you have not been doing your sit-ups.

I was raised on chiropractors. Whenever we suffered a cold or injury, my folks took us to the chiropractor. I can remember in junior high doing a vault wrong, and wrenching my neck. My folks picked me up at school, took me directly to the chiropractor, and then took me back to school all fixed up.

And since I am such a klutz, and fall over my own feet, and since I lift stuff I should not, and love to re-arrange furniture, and actually vacuum under furniture every once in a while...I often need to go to the chiropractor. But, as a Christian, we are taught that worry is a sin. We are suppose to confess it, and let go, and let God handle it. There is that verse that talks about body slamming our cares back on God. But, my tense muscles in my neck, and stomach give me away.

It is just too beautiful outside to be hurting. So, thanks to the chiropractor, he put things back in alignment and I can stand up straight again. And I took a walk around the block. And tried not to trip over my own feet.

October in Texas means we get to open the windows, and listen to the birdies sing.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Windows open

Our temperatures dropped into the sixties. And a good rain washed the air or some of the pollen. I could not resist, and opened windows.

But, I was shocked at the number of people wearing coats, jackets and sweaters at Walmart this morning. Good grief. I was sweating inside the store. They keep it eighty degrees in there. I finished getting items I needed to pack a box, and then went to the post office and stood in line and sweated. They keep the post office warm, too. Texas in October is beautiful. You would not know it from the dour faces about the long lines. Our trees have not begun turning. Just a few brown ones that are exhausted from the heat. The Asian Jasmine by the mailbox has orange and red leaves. And James says the leaves are turning outside his room in Missouri.

I woke up rudely at 4:44am with a cramp in my calf. Yikes. I think I will alternate vitamins one day, and antibiotics the next. The antibiotics have this warning about not taking them with vitamins. My foot does not hurt anymore. And trying to keep track of the eight hours around taking the antibiotics is too much for my brain.

I tried keeping the windows open yesterday, but humidity was so high and it got up to 81 degrees inside. So, I turned on the AC before Bob got home. So thankful for the good rain. My violets have perked back up.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Scrabble on Sunday,
Scrabble on Monday,
Scrabble at suppertime.
Won't you play Scrabble?
And he bingo-ed twice tonight.

And a good rain this morning. A little shower this afternoon. More tonight? Warnings on the radio all around us.

And a lady at church called wanting some dishrags.

And I got to play with a toddler this morning, as my friend had to attend a funeral of her next door neighbor. Her grandson is such an easy one to watch. Easily entertained with our bin of toys. He wanted to connect the trains to their cars. And he liked climbing onto the bar stool and jumping on me in the rocker. Too cute. Big brown eyes. He wanted to play outside so much, but it was raining, so we had to stay inside.

It is fun to spoil little kids. Let them have three bowls, three cups, three little sandwiches. And he wanted me to sit and eat with him. Little kids are so social. Learning all the time. Observing how the world works, and not at all scared of the toy elephant that moves and makes noise. He was able to find the button on his own with just a few showings.

Time to go throw the clothes in the dryer.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

My Day

Stepped on a nail. It pierced the bottom of my foot. Went right through my shoes. Only bled a little. Went and got a tetanus shot. (short version for those who are in a hurry)

Bob mowed the backyard, and put the shed back on its foundation. The painters had moved it out of the way. I helped Bob haul stuff from the garage back to the shed. And I set the sprinkler going, as the back yard grass is dry, dry, dry.

Left over shingles, the purple spreader of seed or fertilizer or all things grainular/grandular (spell checker don't like neither), the propane torches for welding, and the lawn mower and its accessories. Those accessories include the bag, the plug (for when you don't wanna bag), gas cans, and the oil pan with reservoir. Things that can and will get dusty...all neatly packed away in their shed behind the little house. The painter guy was a slob when it came to clean up. He had installed new siding around the bottom two feet of the little house, and left a construction nail in the yard. I found it. I stepped on it. It went right through my shoe. Bob had to pull the sucker out. So, now that paint and repair job just got even more expensive. A trip to doc-in-a-box to get a tetanus shot because I had not a clue as to when my last tetanus shot was. The nurse practitioner said that nails drive the bacteria from your shoes into your foot more than carrying tetanus. But the neighborhood cats think our back yard is their litter box.

I went to doc-in-a-box because they are open on Saturday. I don't go to the doctor often. This was my first visit there. They wanted to give me pain meds, but it did not hurt that bad. Most of their customers looked like they were in for allergies. And they were very friendly, efficient folks. They warned me it would be an hour, and I had brought my knitting. The TVs were playing Akeesha and the Bee movie. Saw the whole movie. They soaked my foot in cold stuff, and said my blood pressure needs watching. Just watch it, they said, and if it says high, come back for a chat. Dear husband is already on those expensive pills that make you tired. Looks like they are in my future, too. Anybody had any success with that amealBP they advertise on the radio?? And I am covered for tetanus and diphtheria !

I usually avoid Walmart on Saturday. Too crowded. I can go anytime. Why get in the way of folks that only have Saturday to shop? Too many piercings of ears, nose, and what is with the lobe widening stuff? I used to read National Geographic as a kid, and these ear lobe widening things were popular in Africa. Are lips next? And tattoos---whoa---so many tattoos. Call me old-fashioned. But, it is cute to see little kids stare at the old lady knitting. Children shopping with their parents stop and stare at what I am doing with two wooden knitting needles and yarn. And I smile back, because I don't always have to watch my stitches. Little girls walking backwards bump into their mother as they stare at this strange lost art of knitting. And one little girl trapped in a stoller paused from sucking on her doll to stare. I am sure that doll action figure was not suitable for her age range, nor was it designed as a chew toy, but...what do I know?

I found some heavy duty bandaids at Walmart, so Bob affixed number three for the afternoon. Bob is busy getting a Sunday School lesson ready for tomorrow. So, I am trying to be a good girl and be quiet so he can study.

And I found two new flavors at Walmart of Peaches and Creme yarn !! Salmon Royale. and Lilac Ombre. When they use "ombre" they mean varagated or mixture.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Governor Sarah Palin is HAPPY

Watching the debates last night, I was amazed at Governor Sarah Palin's poise. She was able to keep smiling no matter what complicated, stupid question or statistic was thrown at her. And her opponent was creepy. Over fourteen of his lies have been accounted for, and so anything he said was suspect.

I enjoyed reading the blogs and most of the blogs I read declared her the winner. And I like how one declared her a basically happy person, and the negative press does not like that.

As a Christian, I am so glad her joy is shining through. It will give folks a choice on Nov. 4th---to vote for the dour, sour, mean, angry side or the side where the Vice-President will be a HAPPY person, renewed, refreshed each day from above, no matter what happens. And she will see tragedy. A Veep attends lots of funerals.

God's Will Be Done in this election. That is my prayer. He knows best. But, it looks like God snuck one in under the radar---a HAPPY Christian, who believes marriage is defined by one man married to one woman, and that babies have a right to be allowed to live from the moment of conception until God takes them home at the ripe old age of 99 years or more...and it will be our honor and privilege to pray for her. Even pray that she gets along with Senator McCain---who just voted for pork and earmarks in a bailout bill that passed the Senate, and now has sadly, passed in the House.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


One of my favorite sites to check each day is Cake Wrecks. It is funny, well written, and the comments are hilarious.

All that reading about cake, even ugly cakes, and I was in the mood for cake.

Pepperidge Farm has a few offerings. A coconut concoction of three layers, but when I scraped off the icing, the cake was kind of tasteless.

I looked up a recipe on the website called: Cooking For Engineers. The pecan coffeecake sounded good, and while I did not have any pecans, it would help me use up my jar of blueberry jelly and Braum's new cream cheese that has a soupy consistency. Not being able to waste Braum's cream cheese, I figured I could cook with it, and I could not very well enjoy my blackberry jam until we had used up all the blueberry.

My Mother will laugh and shake her head to know I used a recipe as the basis of a creation. To me, recipes are the start, the jumping off place. I was kinda surprised that the cupcakes fell. They taste pretty good. I suspect my dough was too thick. And I did use three eggs instead of two. More protein, right?

Now I have plenty of ugly muffins/cupcakes in the freezer, and one shaped like the pyrex measuring cup as I had way too much batter. Maybe it would have been better to make or shape the dough into those crispy cakes you dunk in coffee. When the name come to me, I'll insert it here.

It has been eight days since we played Scrabble. Yikes. While supper was in the microwave, I set up the board and pulled the table into the middle of the living room floor so that we would not forget to play tonight. Some women meet their husbands wrapped in saran wrap. I meet mine with the Scrabble board at the ready.

Bob and I were tied at 261 each, but he went out first, so he played a final word for eight more points, and got my eight points from tiles I had left. Strange looking board. I was racking my brain for words that end in "C" or "P".

And its always a good day when I find my Lily Sugar'n Cream yarn on sale at Walmart for $1 each. I hope Walmart is not discontinuing the yarn. Maybe they were getting rid of an overage.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Soft Creamy Colored Cotton Yarn

That trip to the yarn store (Michael's) paid off big time today ! They finally have the soft off-white-yellow-creamy colored yarn I had ordered and had been nagging them about for a month. (Sugar 'n Cream, Lily's brand) Yippeee !!!!!! I don't know why, but that color sings to my soul. And it looks like it will make some other colors look even warmer, and richer.

I have been carrying the label around in my wallet for months--color number 102001, soft ecru. (not to be confused with the more oatmeal colored plain old ecru)

And this is the first day of October. In just 27 days, our "baby" will be legal age. He has been out on his own for almost two years now, and doing fine.

Now I am going to go all political on you. Soap box at the ready: Is McCain insane? The calls are coming in 100 to one AGAINST the wall street bail out, and he does not get it?? We are a county of free enterprise, and whenever government gets involved in the banking industry and economy, they make things worse. Amazing. Yes, I will vote for McCain. I will hold my nose and take a barf bag because hopefully, he will choose a conservative supreme court judge. And I know he will be a great commander-in-chief of the military. (better than you-know-who)

Pelosi and the dims are delusional. They blame President Bush for everything and refuse to take responsibility for anything. And the media (MSM) cannot be objective to save their lives.