Monday, May 31, 2004

Crying In Offices
Some of the more tortuous times of my life have been marked by a good cry in someone else's office. I certainly don't plan it that way. I don't even like it that way. But that's how it happens.

When I was in highschool, I was living with my mom and brother. The two of them were fighting all the time. I couldn't tell you why. But, he was a young teen, our parents were divorced...and Jeff had a trump card: he could always move in with my dad. So, one day when I was driving home from school I saw my brother walking down the street with a wagon full of treasures. I pulled over and asked him what he was doing. He was moving in with dad.

The fact that my family was split was hard on me, but I had "handled it well" as they say. I was mature about it. I went along. I stood strong. But, seeing my brother walk away was more than I could bear. Not one to shrug off responsibility, I went to my French horn lesson anyway. I got through the greetings and started to play. Three notes and it was over. I started sobbing uncontrollably. My poor teacher was a 20-something man who didn't have a clue what to do with me. Once I could speak and tell him what was wrong, he told me to go on home and not worry about the lesson.

A few years later, in college, I went to see a professor about an assignment. He casually asked me how I was doing. I said fine and then broke out in tears. He clumsily searched for his box of Kleenex and had a bewildered look on his face. You see, I was broke. But, I hadn't told anyone. I didn't intend to tell him, either. But, he was a kindly, fatherly type who made me feel hopeful. He told me money problems are not would work out. He was right, and he gave me the courage to trudge through on Bisquick and noodles.

Then there was law school. At the end of year one, my mother was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I was scared to death. The surgery was scheduled just a few weeks before the end of school, so I had to tell my instructors I would be absent a few days. I told each professor the news bravely, until I got to my favorite professor. I was doing just fine until a wave of compassion came over his face. The fact that he cared even a bit opened the floodgates. It was a little easier to cry that time because he already knew why I was crying. (You know that crying where the other person doesn't know and you're trying to tell them but you keep choking up and you can't get a word out so you get embarrassed and cry wasn't like that).

And today made four.

You see, my father has Parkinson's disease. He was diagnosed when he was 49. He is now 64. He lives in a nursing home and he just ran out of money. I have known this was coming for years, but the closer it got, the more I shut down. I just couldn't deal with it. It's too emotional for me to act rationally. Well, last week it all caught up with me. The pharmacist cut him off. I was sure the nursing home wasn't far behind. But, I couldn't figure out what to do! His disability income is slightly higher than the maximum monthly income you can have and still get Medicaid. But, its much, much less than his monthly expenses.

I have been walking around in a silent turmoil, half in denial and half shut down. I have been turning over the options in my head. Over and over and over. Nothing has been adding up. So, today I broke down. I just couldn't think any more. I couldn't deny the situation any more. I had to come to the table. I threw myself a pity party and cried to God about how I didn't want to do it. I felt a strong answer: you must walk through the fire to find your strength.

I drove to the nursing home and walked straight into the office. When I didn't recognize the gentleman at the desk, I almost left...but my feet kept walking right in. He asked how he could help me. I told him my situation and apologized for not addressing it sooner. He was so very kind. He thought for a moment and presented a possible option. It is a glorious option that will absolutely relieve the stress. Guess what? I started crying. The option may not work. But he offered to discuss it with the other owners and call me tomorrow. He was mercy and compassion. Who wouldn't cry? I deserved a lecture. I got grace.

So, now I recognize my pattern of holding things in until I arrive at a breaking point in someone's office. Those of you who know me probably think I wear my heart on my sleeve. Its true I wear some of it there. But, if you want to see the rest, I guess you may have to invite me into your office!
Soy Additives
I may never eat soy sauce again.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Always Low Down
As many of you know, I am not a Wal-Mart fan. I have been to Wal-Mart once in the last 15 months, and I'm not proud of myself for having gone that one time. There are many reasons I don't like Wal-Mart. First of all, I always feel miserable when I'm there. The workers are not happy and they don't even pretend they are. I've yet to see a Wal-Mart employee defer to a customer. They seem to expect us to move out of the way for them. I don't really know how Wal-Mart has grown into a mega-giant-unto-itself when I consider its poor staffing, bad management hierarchy, low pay, lack of service and unpleasant atmosphere. I once stood in line for an hour to return something. There were only 4 people in front of me when I arrived. What was the trouble? The "CM" was required to authorize each return. But the CM was not at the return desk. Indeed, each time she was summoned, it took about 10 minutes for her to show up. She would walk up, scribble her name on a piece of paper, and then walk past the long-suffering customers to disappear into the vast marketing wasteland. The "customer service" counter spent most of its time paging the CM, and the cashiers spent a lot of time paging the CM, and all the customers stood in neat little lines wondering what the heck the CM was doing!

And speaking of lines....there are lines and lines and lines. That's it. About 3 lines. There are 40 cash registers, but they seem to open about 3 lines at a time, no matter how long the lines are. I have discovered that it is faster for me to drive 15 miles further north to do my shopping at Crest, where there are NO LINES. I can drive to Crest and back faster than I can stand in line at Wal-Mart. And, the scenery is better, too!

Then there is the general atmosphere of Wal-Mart. With all that paging going on, and the general expanse of the store, it is just plain loud. You must always be on guard for the employees and customers of Wal-Mart, because they will not hesitate to run you down with their carts. It is a free for all! And it may be one-stop shopping, but if you wander over to the grocery section before you pick up your lotion, you'll have to decide whether the lotion is worth the 4-block walk!

So, this is my longest post yet, but I'm still not finished! I read law cases for a living. Let me tell you, Wal-Mart ain't pretty. They talk big about bringing jobs and economic benefits to communities, but the truth of the matter is the jobs do not pay well and the employees are not happy. I know I'm only reading about the unhappy employees, but I have read enough cases to get a glimpse into the corporate culture and let me just say, I wouldn't want to be working there. The looks on the faces I see at Wal-Mart only serve to confirm my suspicions.

And, finally, there is this: Wal-Mart is homogenizing America. All the towns are starting to look alike. The centers of the community are boarded up and the edges are filled with Wal-Mart strip centers hosting Old Navy, Ross and the like. On our trip to the beach a few weeks ago, we found that once we left the beach, it was just like being home in Oklahoma! All the stores were exactly the same!

I understand that low prices are a great benefit Wal-Mart brings us. But look at all we've lost. Service, community, personality, quality and local cultural differences.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Memorial Day at the 45th Infantry Museum, 2000
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Memorial Day 2000
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Old Glory
Memorial Day approaches. I hope you have plans to honor our military Monday. Our family always attends the ceremony at the 45th Infantry Museum at 10:00 a.m. on Memorial Day. There is a military band, a small parade (colorguards representing different companies and eras), a fly-over and a short speech. We usually take a small picnic and eat on the grounds after the ceremony. They have a beautiful park, an outdoor collection of aircraft and an indoor museum. I always cry.

Anyway, on to the purpose of my post: the rules and regulations for the American Flag. Let's just say many of them are broken. Especially by Old Navy. I'm afraid even I have broken some (she said shamefully). But I thought you'd like to know, so here they are.

My Corny Valentine
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Thursday, May 27, 2004

Still Don't Know
About a month ago I posted a list of things I don't understand. To be honest, I was hoping somebody...SOMEBODY...would know the answer to at least one question and clue me in! Alas, I remain clueless. So, this time I'll be a little more obvious:

I have comments now, so answer away!!

Oh, and here's another one. Why doesn't my spellcheck recognize the word "clueless?"

UPDATE: Thanks for the help, dear friends!! I have fixed everything! And, I had already added "clueless" to my dictionary. I just thought it was odd that it wasn't already there!! Now, if I could just get a handyman over here!

This is a "photograph" Colin just took of Spencer sitting at my desk in his pajamas. Spencer, as you can see, is wearing his pajamas and singing, "Larry Boy." After Colin took the photo, he got it "filmed" (developed) and went to the back yard to pick it up. "Did you know that?"
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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Let's Run Along Together Be My Valentine
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Ashes, Ashes
Back in 1980 (was it really that long ago?), my highschool band took a trip from Enid, Oklahoma to Portland, Oregon for the Rose Parade. We took four days to drive there and four days to drive back. I think we stayed in Portland for about 5 days. We marched in contests and a parade, spending the rest of our time sight-seeing, practicing and generally goofing off. It was a fun trip.

One Sunday in the middle of the trip, about half of us went to see a movie. When the movie was finished, the theater manager got on the stage and said he had an announcement. Mt. St. Helens had erupted!! There was no need to panic, but it was raining ashes very heavily outside. He suggested we all head "home." There was a great deal of excitement as we all exited the theater. Then my friend Julie announced that she had to go to the bathroom before we left! I told her I would stay with her, and then my boyfriend Mark, who was always the gentlemen, said he would wait for us so we wouldn't go out in the dark alone (it was dark as night!). Mark and I stood outside the bathroom for what seemed like an eternity. The theater was nearly empty by the time Julie emerged! We went outside and were surprised by the heaviness of the ash. It was like a blizzard, but if the ash got in our eyes, we could not see. It was like sand. We could not see more than a few feet in front of us, so we just started walking to the place where the buses dropped us off. We thought we would be able to hear them. We found nothing. We walked around and around, but found no bus. Finally, we decided to go back into the theater. There was one man left inside and he was waiting for a ride. We asked him if he had seen the bus, and he said he did see it leave the theater about 15 minutes before!! All we could do was wait for them to miss us! (We talked to the man and discovered his hometown was Enid and he had grown up one block from Mark!)

During the trip, we had always taken roll call before the bus would leave. This time, however, everyone was so excited about the ash they forgot! About 30 minutes down the road, the band director noticed we were missing and they turned around to get us. Meanwhile, Mark was beginning to steam! By the time the bus returned, Mark was red hot. We went out to the bus and the band director started to give us trouble for missing the bus, but Mark turned on him and dressed him down for not doing role call before leaving and for putting the lives of two young women in jeopardy! It was really all I could do not to laugh at Mark's intensity (as if our lives were really in jeopardy!), but I dared not laugh. I actually wasn't sure how the band director would react, but I have to say Mark won that battle! He was right, after all.

For the next few days we were required to wear masks and rain ponchos to keep from breathing in the ash. The ponchos just kept us "ash free." We also had to clean our instruments quite often! Thankfully we had some rain a few mornings later. It certainly was a trip to remember!

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Things That Go Interrupt in the Day
I think most husbands of stay-at-home mothers come home at night and wonder why so little seems to have been accomplished. After all, you can do a lot in 8 hours! Indeed you can....if you actually get 8 hours. The trouble is, a mother rarely gets 5 minutes together to complete a task. That's why mothers can seem a little scatter-brained sometimes. We don't even have time to organize our thoughts! I'm not complaining (well, not much), just explaining. Children can come up with innumerable ways to need you. Here are some:
"Look at me."
"Mommy, I'm thirsty."
"Mommy, I spilled my juice." (You're lucky if someone notifies you)
"Mommy, can I have a snack?"
"Where are the crayons?"
"I'm painting the living room couch, but I can't find the purple paint."
"Mommy, what makes rain?"
"Will you read me this book?"
"I need a band aid."
"Can I play on the computer?"
"Where is Daddy?"
"Where is Grandma?"
"Will you tie my shoe?"
"Mommy, Spencer is not sharing!"
"Mommy, Colin hurt my feelings!"
"I need a snack."
"Mommy, well, well, Mommy?"
"MOMMY! I dropped my toy in the water!"
"Mommy, when will Daddy be home?"
"Can I print 300 pictures from the printer? Why not?"
"Mommy, look at this!"
"No, Mommy, watch ME!!"
"Mommy? Mommy? um, well, Mommy?"
Bah Humbug
I'm not getting email (except from Kyndal...???) and I can't see my blog (or Kyndal's) and I'm getting frustrated with it all. I guess I could find something else to do. Meanwhile, if you can see the photos I posted, I just thought you'd like to know that you can enlarge them by clicking on them. ('Cause I know you really want to see them up close...)

Nature Walk park we visited frequently during our vacation in Navarre.
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A Veggie bookmark Colin made for me. One of my prized possessions.
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Monday, May 24, 2004

Veggie Tales by Colin
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E-Mail Goes Snail
For the second time in so many months, my email has slowed to a near standstill. This morning (Monday) I received a message sent to me last Friday. Indeed, Friday's messages have been coming one at a time about every 12 hours since Friday. So, if you're trying to reach me, you may want to leave a comment here or just give me a call! I sent an e-mail to Cox explaining my troubles. They replied, "We understand you are having troubles. We are having troubles. Thank you." Very helpful, don't you think?

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Keeping Up Appearances
Two of my favorite shows air on Sunday nights, at 10:30 and 11:00. The first, Keeping Up Appearances (and here). It is a British comedy about Hyacinth Bucket (boo-kay) and her attempts to impress everyone else with her superior lifestyle. Patricia Rutledge (Hyacinth) is a wonderful comedic actress with hilarious facial expressions.

The second is As Time Goes By, starring Judy Dench. It is a subtle British comedy about two lovers who lost each other when they were 18 and 20, but found each other again 40 years later. Oklahoma's PBS has just recently begun again from the beginning of the show, so if you start watching now, you can watch them fall in love again.

I also like to watch the Vicar of Dibley starring Dawn French at 11:30, but I am rarely able to stay awake so late! The best thing about this show is its crazy cast of characters!

Do I have any other fans out there?

Friday, May 21, 2004

My Cluttered Mind
I used to have deep thoughts. Now I just try to remember what I'm supposed to be doing. I have tons of things racing through my head at all times and they keep me from going below the surface much. I think that's why I loved BSF. It gave me time to go deep. It was refreshing. I know I've been posting a lot of lists lately. I'm just in the list mode. Here's my list of things I want to get done (in no particular order):
Organize photos
Organize scrapbook supplies
Scan photos and scrapbook pages to disk
Take disk to lock box
Cut the boys' hair
Take my dad to the doctor
Go to the dentist
Apply for new health insurance
Plan VBS decorations
Organize pantry
Finish painting my kitchen
Change lightbulbs in chandalier
Clean basement floor
Make a quilt for Spencer
Work on scrapbooks
Make a family history book
Take donations to mission
Pay bills
Balance books
File papers
Paint bedroom
Plant flowers
Clean house
Hire a handyman
Detail van
Fix sandbox
Study Bible
Play with my children
Prune roses
Have van's oil changed
Treat wood on back porch
Have a painting framed
Buy a new car seat for Colin
Buy birthday gifts
Clean off my desk
Take cat to veterinarian
Young Love
Colin just came and said, "Mommy, me and Samantha fell in love with each other. Do you know what that means? It means we love each other very much and we are friends. Isn't that wonderful? But I still love God the mostest."


Thursday, May 20, 2004

Open For Business
I just went shopping in Colin's General Store. Everything is 5 cents, except tomorrow he is going to have some handmade Veggie Tale's for just one cent each! He sells animal figurines, videos, glitter gel pens, and a few knick knacks. He just informed me that he'll be selling food tomorrow, too! I laid out 5 cents for a blue glitter gel pen and got 28 cents back in change! He stood behind a tall table and wrapped my purchase in a small paper bag, then told me to have a nice day. Now that's service!

Waddle I do to prove my love? (1942)
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A few months ago I found an old scrapbook at a junk shop. It spans 1942-1958 and chronicles the social life of a young girl through valentines, newspaper clippings, announcements, thank you notes and a very few photos of friends. The original owner of the book was Leta Ray from Mt. View, Oklahoma. She graduated in 1958. The book itself, which is large, red and has a gilded title, cost 89 cents when she purchased it. Most of the entries are valentines, which is why I couldn't pass up the book. I love old valentines. I can't imagine why the book was in a junk shop. As a scrapbooker, I found that extremely sad. I have decided to post her valentines from time to time, and maybe a few other treasures from her book. Thanks for the memories, Leta Ray!


I Love You the Purplest, by Barbara M. Joosse
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I Love You The Purplest
"Julian scooped the dirt to find the fattest worms. Max jumped on the shovel and flung dirt in the air until a tangle of worms filled his can. 'Mama, who has the most worms?' he asked."
Jan Wetsel gave me this book when Spencer was born. It is a beautiful book about how a wise mother deals with sibling rivalry. I recommend it!
Nine Years
Today is our anniversary: 9 years! They have gone quickly. Marriage is not easy, but we are both learning and our marriage improves with age. If you're going through rough times, I encourage you to push on through and try to learn your lessons. Strength really does come through adversity...if you choose to grow in the midst. One of my favorite lessons I've learned about marriage is that we should react with mercy at all times. It is somehow easier to react with mercy to friends and strangers than to our own spouses. So, be merciful today!

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

A judge in Beaumont has upheld a ONE BILLION DOLLAR verdict in a Phen-Fen case. One billion!! For ONE PLAINTIFF. The plaintiff's attorney is John O'Quinn, a famous (infamous?) plaintiffs' attorney from Texas. The jurisdiction is Beaumont, one of the most plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions in the country (according to my own personal research IN BEAUMONT (which is a whole other post) for my employer). My prediction is that the court of appeals will knock down the verdict, but uphold most of it. The Texas Supremes will most likely overturn it.
Things I Love About Oklahoma City
45th Infantry Museum
7 Minutes Later Scrapbook Store
Bahama Breeze
Cattlemen's Steakhouse
Deep Fork Grill
Hobby Lobby
Lake Hefner
Martin Nature Park
Metropolitan Library System
Myriad Gardens
National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
Oklahoma City Art Museum
Oklahoma Railway Museum
Redhawks Baseball
TerraLuna Grille
The County Line Barbeque
The Oklahoma City Zoo
Whitewater Bay
Wild Bird Center
Will Rogers Park (and new water park)

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

100 Things About Me
Dan and Angi posted their lists, so I was inspired to post mine. It was written last year. I hope each of you will send me your list!

1. From 1976-1983 it was my every intention to become a famous French horn soloist, traveling from town to town playing horn concertos with the symphonies.
2. My second choice was principal hornist with the Chicago symphony.
3. My first date was to see Madame Butterfly with Buzz. (Our parents weren't sure where they went wrong.)
4. I have lived in Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Texas and Oklahoma.
5. I played basketball from 6th through 9th grade.
6. I can make a delicious lime cheesecake with a raspberry coulis, but I cannot fry chicken. I am fascinated by home cooking.
7. My middle name at birth was "Lynne," after my father's old girlfriend.
8. I never had a curfew because I was always home before my parents.
9. I cried almost every night my junior and senior year in highschool because of my homework assignments in advanced mathematics (a two-year program with a really tough teacher).
10. I spent a summer at Interlochen studying music. 10 minutes before auditions I changed my mind about what I would play, and I bombed the audition.
11. I auditioned for the Oklahoma City symphony in 1992. I bombed. Couldn't even breath. I just wanted it too much.
12. When I was in grade school, my friend Stephie and I looked for geods in the fields near our houses (in Iowa). We also picked blackberries from the trees that lined our schoolyard. We ate buckets of them.
13. My dad worked for Anchor Hocking (which makes glassware), Kleenex Corporation, Koehring (backhoes, trenchers and drilling rigs) and Dopplemayr (Quad Ski Lifts and Gondolas). Our family has hundreds of photographs of heavy equipment and ski lifts.
14. Most of my family are corn farmers in northern Indiana.
15. I went to law school in hopes of combining my Hotel & Restaurant Administration degree and Law degree to be an in-house attorney for Sonic, in charge of franchising agreements.
16. I was a registered lobbyist for the state of Oklahoma.
17. I was president of the youth group for the First United Methodist Church in Enid, Oklahoma.
18. One time my friend Meg and I wanted to play a French horn duet for the school's talent show, but we knew it would be boring. To remedy this problem, she dressed as a pumpkin and I dressed as a tomato. The audience did not laugh, but Meg and I laughed all the way through.
19. Rachmaninoff piano concertos move me to tears every time.
20. I was the first female band president at Enid High School, and the first ever woman to crown the band queen (my friend, Angi Anderson). We were in the paper.
21. I taught myself to play bassoon.
22. I am married to James because of a how-to-find-a-husband book Jeanne gave me.
23. I thought I might hate being a mother, but I love being a mother.
24. I have too much stuff.
25. Before I got married, I preferred to hang out with the guys. Now I prefer the women.
26. Fletcher Ownbey led me to Christ.
27. I think brass players are the most fun of all musicians.
28. If you play with my hair in just the right way, I will be your servant.
29. I do not like the telephone.
30. I don't answer the door for strangers.
31. I prefer not to show my knees or elbows.
32. I love snow.
33. When I lived in Iowa and Wisconsin, some of my friends had ice skating rinks in their backyards. One friend lived on a farm near a frozen pond. We also went skating at city parks outside. I miss that.
34. I love wordplay.
35. I have romantic notions about patriotic parades and picnics on July 4th.
36. I love a clean and organized house. Maybe I'll have one someday.
37. My first boyfriend, Buzz, got me my first job at Katy's Pantry in Enid. I made pastries, sandwiches and salads. Only 5 or 6 people worked there.
38. I performed on stage in Camelot and The Music Man at the Gaslight Theatre in Enid.
39. In 1976 I ate a pound of white chocolate and can't even think about it to this day without feeling ill.
40. I have been to dance clubs where people dance in cages.
41. My first car was a red-orange Volkswagen Superbeetle.
42. My parents were divorced when I was in 7th grade. First I lived with my mother and then later with my dad.
43. I went to school at OU, OSU and Phillips University.
44. I was in the Pride of Oklahoma marching band at OU.
45. I worked for a caterer on Lower Greenville in Dallas. We made business lunches for delivery to the boardrooms of Dallas. The caterer was called "Nooners."
46. Buzz died at the age of 29 of liver failure. He always said he never wanted to be 30.
47. All of my boyfriends' parents loved me way more than my boyfriends did.
48. I have a thing for light fixtures and hardware.
49. I believe I would not have lived to be 39 were I born before air conditioning.
50. I have no thyroid.
51. I am painfully modest (physically).
52. My mother used to say I can't flirt.
53. I have trouble concentrating on conversations when other people are present.
54. When I'm home alone, it is very, very quiet.
55. I love to be on a boat.
56. I once went to a student conference on international affairs as a representative from OSU for one week at West Point Academy in New York.
57. I love taking photographs.
58. I was at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing two hours after.
59. I think I have a lot of exceptional women friends.
60. When we started a student newsletter for the Hotel & Restaurant School, we had a contest to name the letter. The OSU student paper was named The O'Collegian, so I proposed The O'Collander. I won!
61. James and I have never missed an episode of Survivor or Lost.
62. I love estate sales and auctions.
63. I was exceptionally rotten at dating.
64. I sold shoes for 7 years at Pappagallo.
65. I paid for 3 ½ years of college and 3 years of law school.
66. All of my favorite instruments play in the same range: French horn, bassoon, cello and trombone.
67. I like to see drum and bugle corps competitions.
68. I always appreciate good food presentation and good gift wrapping.
69. In 8th grade I earned a Tumbling letter for Emerson Junior High. I did things I never did before or since. I wanted that letter because my mother always teased me about my lack of flexibility.
70. In 1986 I made a plan to go to Washington, D.C., to work a few years before attending law school there and eventually become a lobbyist for the National Restaurant Association. After packing up and saying goodbye to friends and family (I was excited, not scared), I woke up 4 hours before departure and realized I couldn't go.
71. I was in Oregon with the Enid High School Band in 1980 when Mt. St. Helens erupted. The ash storm was so thick, Mark and I couldn't find our bus. Turns out the bus had left without us.
72. I love developing forms. I also enjoy completing forms.
73. We lived across the street from a bird sanctuary in Enid. I used to go there and sit in a tree just to be alone and relax.
74. I'm easily moved to tears when others show even the slightest emotion. I used to ask God to remove that trait from me. It embarrasses me.
75. An older lady at church that I don't know approached me last year and told me that I had a gift from God of empathy and emotion and that I could use that gift for intercessory prayer. Now, when others are hurting, I cry freely and open myself up to God, imagining I am crying for the other person.
76. I had a tan in 1982 and 1986 and now.
77. I love the beach. I always play in the water more than I sit on the beach.
78. I like the kind of friends with whom you can be comfortably silent at times.
79. I have felt like a 35-year-old woman for about 24 years now. Its nice to finally have friends my own age.
80. In the summer of 1986, I took an intensive French class, which met for 8 hours every day for 2 months and required about 2 hours of homework every day.
81. I have trouble not buying old glassware and bowls.
82. I don't like to talk on the phone if anyone else is in the room.
83. I lived alone for 8 years.
84. I am a sorority girl.
85. Most of my friends in college did drugs. I was the token nice girl.
86. I evaluate appellate judges for a living.
87. Reading cases every day for 7 years has increased my paranoia. It is amazing how many things have gone wrong!
88. Starting when I was in 1st grade, I got up on Sunday mornings, put on a dress and went to the church down the block all by myself.
89. My mother flat-lined while delivering me. (She was revived.)
90. My brother was hit by a car when he was in kindergarten and he was in a coma for a week. I saw him on the pavement, but they (the hospital staff) didn't let me see him at the hospital.
91. I grew up thinking sarcasm was funny. Now I don't think so, but it's a struggle for me to change.
92. I don't believe "older" necessarily goes with "wiser."
93. I used to practice my penmenship by tracing other people's handwriting.
94. I expect younger people to give up their seats for adults.
95. When I was in 3rd grade, I heard my mother's friend say she was addicted to coffee. I decided I never wanted to be addicted to anything, so I never drank coffee. I wish they had told me about Coca-Cola.
96. I never changed a diaper before Colin's first diaper.
97. I learned to whistle in college because my French horn professor told me I had to.
98. I like to make lists and sort them on the computer, but Word only sorts the first letter of the first word. I miss WordPerfect.
99. I have smoked one cigarette in my life. It was hand-rolled.
100. I have never been drunk, but I got tipsy at Mike's Christmas brunch.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Colonial House
The new Colonial House will begin tonight on PBS (7:00 in OKC). I'm really looking forward to it!
Woe Unto Walgreens
I took all my 8 rolls of film to Walgreens this morning. I have been a MotoPhoto girl since Colin was born, but finally got tired of it, so I recently tried Walgreens. They seemed fine enough, so I trusted them today. The young chick who does the processing told me, when I arrived to retrieve my photos, that she had accidentally removed the film too early and lost 9 photos to overexposure! In her youth, she clearly did not understand the gravity of her mistake. There was no way to regain the photos. They were gone forever. Although I took hundreds of photos by the sea, she lost the precious few photos I took at the Naval Cemetary. I wanted to wring her neck! I wanted her to understand what she did. She apologized, but she clearly did not understand. So, what would you have done?

Colin in Navarre
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Spencer in Navarre
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Sunday, May 16, 2004

Beachy Keen
Hi friends! We've just returned from a fabulous beach vacation in Navarre, Florida! The weather was perfect (about 85 degrees and sunny), our beach home was spacious and had two glorious views of the gulf. Our planes were on time and the boys enjoyed earning their wings. Unfortunately, the red flags were out for 5 of our 7 days, which means we could not get in the water!!! That was a bummer, but we still had a good trip. One hour before we were due at the airport, we found a nice sound-side beach where we could have spent the week. Next time we'll go there!

We could see dolphins jumping out of the water from our beach! It was very excited to see them swimming so close to us. In fact, they were close enough we could have gone out to swim with them!

We took the boys to Destin for a day to revisit our honeymoon spot. We didn't even recognize the place. Once a quiet and quaint little beach spot, the place is now all glitz and glamour with million dollar homes lined up along the seashore. Frangista Beach Inn was wiped out by a hurricane and our favorite little dive, the Crab Trap, burned down and was replaced by a big, fancy restaurant. The town is beautiful, but we missed the old days.

Across the sound at the bottom of the bridge was a great little nature park with a sound side beach, a bog, a pond, a playground and a butterfly house. We spent a lot of time there watching the local birds (herons, cranes, turns, sandpipers, ducks....) and photographing flowers and butterflies. James even caught a couple crabs for the boys to examine!

We also spent a day at the Naval Aviation Museum. We spent 4 hours inside, but could have stayed all day sans children. It is an amazing museum I highly recommend. We also went to the military cemetary on the naval base, where James' uncle is buried. It was beautiful and humbling.

All in all, it was a great week. We're rested and tan and glad to be home.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Posted by Hello

Friday, May 07, 2004

Mothers' Day
I'm not much of a fan of mothers' day anymore. It all turned sour six years ago when my mother-in-law was killed on mothers' day. Her mother-in-law accidentally hit her with a car. It was the kind of thing that seems as if it was "made up." It was the kind of thing that you don't get over.

I loved my mother-in-law. Before I ever met her she sent me a gift. I suppose she could detect a certain seriousness about James when he told her about me. So, I liked her before I ever met her. She was a petite Japanese woman with many talents, of which she never boasted. She was a tailor, a gardener and a cook. She spoke two difficult languages fluently. She was ever so kind to me. I cherish the memories of the conversations we had at her kitchen table. We usually left the table to explore her garden, which was brimming with iris, peonies, roses, Japanese cucumbers, figs and apples. She taught me how to make origami planets. She delighted in having me taste strange Japanese foods and watching my reaction to her line-up of Japanese pickles. And we never left without a cooler filled with roast beef, fried rice, sushi and chocolate cake!

I am thinking about her this mothers' day. I hope she knows how much I loved her. I learned so much from her about how to be a good mother-in-law, and I hope I can carry her way forward someday.
But, What If The Surface Is Wallpaper?
This in from the Queen of Clean: "To remove crayon from hard surfaces, spray with WD-40 lubricant and wipe off. Wash with 1 quart warm water and 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid. To remove crayon from fabrics, spray both sides of the fabric with WD-40. Let sit 15 minutes, then work-in undiluted dishwashing liquid, flush under the hottest water allowable for the fabric and launder as usual."
Although I'm sure most of you know this, now is a good time to check your computer for the Sasser worm and install protections against future troubles. For information about all this, go here.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Anny's Corn and Black Bean Buffet Salad

16 ounces frozen corn
16 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 ounces chopped mild green chilies, undrained
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup thinly sliced celery (optional)
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

5 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Toss salad and dressing together. Allow salad to sit at least 15 minutes before serving.
Salad Dressing by Amber
As promised, here is Amber's delicious salad dressing. This makes enough for 30 or more, so you may want to cut it in half:

Mix together:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Drizzle in:
1 cup canola oil (or vegetable oil)
Just in case you're not already reading Dawn Eden's blog every day, may I direct your attention to this entry. I don't know about you, but I had no idea what Planned Parenthood was up to. In addition to the marketing "tools" Dawn has revealed, you may want to view this and this.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Pack It In
My boys have found a suitcase and are packing for a trip we're planning. I love to see what children pack. Here's the list so far:
7 socks (that don't have mates)
3 underwear
4 slacks
1 blankie
40 engines
1 gecko
4 birds
1 Khalil
2 goggles
1 bathing suit
5 swim diapers
1 headphones
1 flannel pajama top
1 cotton pajama pants
1 sunglasses
1 blue star
1 water gun
1 chapstick
1 eye drops (for Daddy)
5 cups
4 plates

Colin says, "We're going to have such a happy time together!"
The Old Man and the Siege
So, the other day I was driving down the street. I was in the left lane with two cars ahead of me. Beside me was an older man (about 65) in a pick up truck with two cars ahead of him. We were traveling on a busy city street with several stop lights. Every time we had to stop, he looked impatient. If the car ahead of him did not start on the gas just before the light turned green, he would become highly agitated. No matter that she would not be able to go faster than the car ahead of her, in his mind she was an idiot. I could see him yelling and gesturing. She was oblivious to him. She looked like a very nice person and she was talking nicely with her passenger. She kept a safe distance behind the person in front of her and generally drove perfectly. If she saw him yelling at her, she didn't let on. The six of us were driving sure and steady....and happily, except the man beside me.

Suddenly, he pulled in front of me, slammed on his brakes, flipped me the bird and turned left into a bank!! I was surprised!! What did I do? I assure you I did not let on that I could see him. He never showed a turn signal or a need to get in front of me, and he certainly had plenty of room to get behind me since nobody else was there! He squealed on into the parking lot, stopped and turned around to flip me the bird AGAIN while he yelled obscenities at me.

The truth of the matter is, nobody did anything to provoke this man. He is simply a bitter old man taking out his anger on strangers. He is a punk and a coward. And you'd think he would be old enough to know better. He looked ridiculous yelling at everyone and no matter who he called an idiot, you can bet everyone knew who the real idiot was.

I hope none of my dear readers display this sort of behavior behind the wheel (or anywhere else, actually). There is nothing to be gained from getting worked up over small things. Just let the other guy go, give others the benefit of the doubt. Call a mistake and mistake and leave it at that. We ALL make mistakes, but even if you don't, give the rest of us a break. The loser in the whole deal is the one who gets angry. Don't give others, especially strangers, the power to sour your day.

As I drove away from the old man in the truck, my first inclination was to turn around and go ask him what his problem was. But, the better side of me decided to say a prayer for him. He obviously needed one!
Planned Prom Sex
Please see Dawn's update on the Planned Parenthood website, Teenwire.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

A Spot of Tea?
Colin is planning a party for tomorrow afternoon. He will call his friends after school and, of course, they will come right over. He will serve tea and put everyone in jail. After that they may play free-style tag. His grandmother is invited. She is the only one who can bring a present, and it needs to be a snake. Before she left our house tonight, he said, "Don't forget to go shopping for a snake tomorrow!" Sounds just like the kind of tea party I would plan!
Our communion prayer Sunday got me thinking about blood. Andy thanked God for the blood that gives us life. He meant Jesus' blood, of course. But, I thought of the blood that actually flows through our bodies. It is necessary for physical life. We can NOT live without blood. So, why does such a precious thing scare people? The sight of blood makes many people faint. People find blood "gross." But it is life-giving. It is GOOD!! I suppose one reason we don't like to see blood is that blood is supposed to be contained within the body, not visible to us. But, I think there may be something more. Perhaps Satan has twisted what is most life-giving to us by making it gruesome through violence and horror. What a great way to ruin the witness of Christ. When we talk about being "cleansed by the blood," that can be "gross" to many people. They may envision something akin to Carrie and wince.

But, God understands that blood is life. Blood connects family. When Christ died, innocent blood was shed. When we accept Him, His blood flows through us. He is our life. We enter His family. "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." 1 John 1:7

Thank you, Jesus, for the blood.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Let's Pretend
Colin just came in the kitchen to do some "grocery shopping" for Master Spencer. It seems Spencer put a belt (a leash) around Colin's waist, which made Colin into a servant. Spencer wanted groceries, so Colin obliged. (The list included a tomato, celery, bread, juice and goldfish).

I decided to see what this master-servant relationship was all about, so I spied and found Spencer ordering Colin: "Hey! I need some brand new leaves from that tree so I I need some water." Colin ran in the house and said, "Spencer needs water!" He then ran outside with water, which he gave to Spencer, and then he ran to the tree for leaves. Spencer is sitting in a chair on the porch saying, "And, now....."

I'm surprised this is working so well for Spencer. I'm going to have to try that belt trick soon!
More Prophecy Fulfilled
"They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as...for a firstborn son." Zechariah 12:10 (Old Testament)

"Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water." John 19:34 (New Testament)
Glee Club
I have this wonderful little song book called Golden Glees: A Prize Song Book for Schools by S. C. Hanson, copyright 1895. The songs reflect the era, and sometimes make me giggle. Here's one from page 114:

A Queer Boy
He doesn't like study, it weakens his eyes,
But the "right sort" of book will insure a surprise;
Let it be about Pirates, Indians, or bears,
And he's lost for the day to all mundane affairs.
By sunlight or gaslight his vision is clear;
Now, isn't that queer?

At thought of errand he's "tired as a hound,"
Very weary of life, and of "tramping around;"
But if there's a band or a circus in sight,
He will follow it gladly from morning till night.
The showman will capture him some day I fear,
For he is so queer?

If there's work in the garden his head "aches to split,"
And his back is so lame that he "can't dig a bit;"
But mention baseball and he's cured very soon,
And he'll dig for a wood-chuck the whole afternoon.
Do you think he plays possum?
He seems quite sincere;
But is not he queer?
Fun in the Sun
Today was a beautiful day in Oklahoma City! After school this morning, Colin and several of his classmates, along with mommies and siblings, went to a park for lunch. We sat there for two hours chatting while the children played. The park was covered with sand, so we kicked off our shoes and dug our toes in. The sky was blue and it was just the right temperature. It is such a blessing to have these "school friends" who are Godly and not embarrassed to talk about the Bible. They don't gossip. They build others up. They are kind to their children. That luxurious two hours at the park has really given my soul rest.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Miss Me Much?
Sorry about the delay in blogging these past few days! Did you have time to try the oatmeal bread? My friend Laura's mother makes it every week and it is delicious!!!!

I spent all day Friday with my friend from Japan. She learns about crazy American housewives by hanging out with me. We did lots of exciting things like carpool, swim lessons, going to the bank and the post and the pharmacy and the photo shop. We were really living it up!

Friday night I worked on our scrapbook at Colin's school. I had to leave early because Gary England kept scaring my husband with stories of baseball sized hail. Okay, he scared me, too. But, I still met some nice women and got 5 pages completed, so it was a good evening.

Saturday was national scrapbooking day, which means one thing: SALES!! Kayo and I made a day of finding scrapbooking bargains. We were all over town collecting wonderful little trinkets and papers and the like. Great fun!

Then, last night, I was in for a real treat. One of James' good friends recently married and moved into a new home in the country. They had us over for dinner. We had a spectacular dinner of steaks, potatoes, garden-fresh (mmmmmm) corn on the cob, hot rolls and a great salad! Man oh man, it was good!!! Of course, what made the evening special was making new friends. A few old acquaintances were there, too, so I got to catch up with them. Amber (the hostess) shared her salad dressing recipe, which I'll post soon.

So, there are my reasons for my absence from the blogosphere. Just been more busy than usual!

By the way, I'm observing the Sabbath again, today. I'm discovering that its kind of hard for me to "rest" all day, but I DO like it!