Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #21

Thirteen things we still need to do on our "new house". They won't be done by the time we move in, because we only have a month left, but I wish they could be. We're doing everything ourselves, with occasional help from family members who us. Hopefully 1-6 will be done by the time we move in, but 7-13 definitely won't.

1. Finish making and installing trim and baseboards.

2. Replace all windows. (16) We've bought three, and will start on those soon. (This one won't be done by the time we move)

3. Block out A/C window and put in new A/C.

4. Finish putting shelving in closets and pantry.

5. Put kitchen cabinets and appliances back in place.

6. Finish out back rooms, which includes numbers 7-13

7. Take drywall off of walls and ceilings and replace.

8. Strip off old siding and put on vinyl.

9. Fix studs that need fixing.

10. Re-level concrete floors and install flooring.

11. Extend half-bath walls to make full bath.

12. Build walls for laundry room and install washer and dryer

13. Take out part of small room wall and make walk-in closet with remaining small room.

There are many, many more things we'd like to do, and many things we've already done. Those could easily be separate TTs of their own. Maybe I'll do that someday.

Go here to see more Thursday Thirteens.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

No, I'm OK, Really.

I would just like to say...

Ahhhhhh! Chiggers! Aaaahhhhh!

What Have We Done?!

My crazy little engineer's son has almost beaten Super Smash Brothers Melee on the Game Cube. He understands and executes things like, "To get those targets you have to jump and then use the attack button." Oh the shame! How did this happen? What kind of future does a video game addict have in grade school? Instead of dropping out of college because of Everquest, he'll be dropping out of Kindergarten because of Mario Kart, or Noggin (which is an online site with way too many fun kids games.) That's certainly not all he does during the day, but probably because I won't let him, rather than his own personal self-control. We've had the Your-Brain-Will-Gelatinize-And-You'll-Fail-The-ACT talk, but he hasn't yet grasped the significance of working on his reading and writing instead of pressing the A and B buttons at just the right time.

I console myself with a new study that says surgeons who played video games before performing surgery were both faster and more skilled than those who didn't. What they didn't address in the study, of course, is how those video game playing surgeons ever made it through Med school. Much less remembered to show up for the surgery itself. They probably only made it to the hospital for this survey's study because they knew they'd get to play a game first.

All that to say, I myself am now addicted to a game called Puzzle Pirates. (There's a link on the sidebar, there, if you want to join. C'mon, everyone's doing it, and it makes you cool.) I believe I've mentioned it previously. I watched my mother and several relatives sink into this piratey mire a few years ago, and knew my time was coming. Now it is here. I spend my "free time" (when the kids are asleep) playing or researching the games online for tips and strategy guides. Ahhhh! What has happened to us?!

My husband says that if games like World of Warcraft and LOTRO are "internet crack", which is what people call them, then my Puzzle Pirates game is cheap internet beer. Addictive and pointless. Shows what he knows, though. Ha. I can quit anytime I want. Just like my poor little toddler. We're not addicted, we're just...umm...interested.. expanding our virtual horizons...that's it. Oh, and just so you don't worry Grandmas P and C, we don't play any of those other games I listed. I know they look a little strange if you follow those links.

Monday, May 28, 2007

All better!

Thanks to everyone for their cold advice. We had already tried Nyquil, which did work a bit at night, Chloraseptic lozenges and spray, which worked for a few minutes, and the vinegar and honey in hot water, which is one of his mother's favorite remedies for everything. Yesterday afternoon his sore throat just pretty much went away, and when he woke up it didn't hurt either. I'm not sure what did it, but probably all of those things mixed together with the prayer. Thanks again, all! I'll stock up on some lemon tea for next time, Auntie R.

We'll be working on our "new" house today since hubby has the day off. He cleaned the apartment yesterday while we all went to church in the morning. (Yes, he usually goes, but he didn't want to expose the entire church to his virus.) It was wonderful. I love having a husband who helps so much in the house and with the children.

After we work today, I hope to have all my closets ready for use and all the rooms in the front half of the house trimmed. The closets are very small, so it's a challange to find something that will work well. Hubby is making all the trim himself. He's worked a long time on it, but it's worth it. I'll have to post some pictures when all's said and done. (Because I'm sure you all care.) We're a little farther along on the kitchen than it shows in the picture above. This is what it looked like at this time last year, though, and we thought we only had a month or so before moving.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mamma Called the

Any surefire remedies out there for a sore throat? My poor, long-suffering hubby has had a sore throat for several days now, and can hardly swallow. He went to the doctor on Friday, and they say it's not strep. He can't find anything that cuts the pain very well, medicine-wise, so we're down to looking for folk remedies.

And forget the Southern Comfort with lemon and honey suggestions. We don't drink alcohol. (That's what my college friends talked about using when they were sick.)

Friday, May 25, 2007

What an Investment!

We have about a month left to get everything packed up here at the dorm and head to our new house. It's only a block away, so this isn't a huge crisis. I'm trying to pack non-essentials, and have started with the storage rooms. We have too much junk.

The boxes you see in the pictures are just books. What you can't see are two other cardboard boxes and six large Rubbermaid tubs that are also full of books. If you've had to buy diapers, you know those Huggies and Pampers boxes represent a lot of money. And those are by no means all the diaper boxes that have come into this house. They are only some of the size 4 boxes.

I'm not sure what's more disturbing: the amount of books, or the amount of money spent on diapers. I wouldn't change anything about either decision really. Maybe that's what's the most disturbing. We love to read and I am not, repeat not, going to wash/smell/change/look at/think about cloth diapers. Glad it works for you, Lisa, but this girl's got to draw the line somewhere.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - #20

I spoke with my brother and he corrected a couple of my facts. The corrections are in italics.

Thirteen injuries of and facts about my little brother, Joshua*, who will turn twenty-one this summer, despite the predictions of several ER doctors and his grade school teachers. These different events are listed in chronlogical order, and I'm sure I'm missing some. He never once broke a bone, but only by the grace of God and some genetically thick bones. The picture is from fall of '05. He's seranading Mim. I don't remember what the big cut on his head is from. I doubt if he does either. Update: He says it was a rug burn from wrestling with some junior high guys.

1. When he was born the doctor nicked his head with the scalpel because he was in a big hurry to get him out. That was his first stitch.

2. He was jumping on his bed when he was three and leaned against the window to stop. Of course, being very old, the window just broke under his weight, and he got a sizable scar on his chin and several stitches.

3. When Joshua was about four years old, fate once again found him bleeding in the kitchen. This time he had been standing on an small headless rocking horse while playing "trumpet" with a hollow aluminum tent pole. (Old style. None of this fiberglass stuff) He fell off the horse and the tent pole scraped out the top of his palate, leaving it hanging down the back of his throat. It took twelve stitches to piece it back together.

4. Joshua's toy box was a large wooden box with louvered panels that had once been an entertainment center for a record player. He was sitting on the edge of it and fell in at exactly the point that a screw was sticking through the back. It scraped along his spine about 1 inch, or maybe a little less. The doctor at the ER, though, was nervous about it being so close to the spine, so he scrubbed it very hard and made it bigger. The scar is now huge; about two inches long, with large stitch marks. When Josh was in grade school he told a kid that it was where a caterpiller had crawled under his skin and attached itself to his spine.

5. In Kindergarten, Joshua was playing on what amounted to a square foot of plastic with casters, optimistically called a scooter. He was rolling along on his stomach and fell forward onto the concrete. The wound and the resulting stitches added about a half inch to his chin scar. He has a fairly heavy beard, and the scar cuts through it a bit. It makes him look like a pirate when he's stubbly.

6. We had a large swingset in our backyard. It was made by someone else for their kid, and then we ended up with it. The swingset was very tall, and had two regular swings and one tire swing. Joshua and I would stand up on the crossbar of one side (about 4 ft. from the ground) and Tarzan-swing across the four swing chains to land on the opposite side. Joshua usually did just fine, but once he fell and got a small cut right by his eye. We all just counted our blessings that this one didn't land him in the ER...again. Update: He says it was a large cut, and right on his eyelid.

7. At a children's swimming competition, Joshua, who couldn't swin, ran into the pool area and dived straight into the deep end, first thing. My father, who had come fully clothed and unprepared to swim, had to jump in and get him out. Update: He says he did that twice during that competition. Both times Dad had to rescue him.

8. Joshua acquired some wooden nunchucks from somewhere, and was playing with them at home. He missed with a swing and smacked himself in the forehead. That was the biggest goose-egg and the nastiest black eye I've ever seen. Update: He bought the nunchucks at a pawn shop.

9. In high school, Joshua and his friend were looking for insects down by the creek. Joshua was using a machete that he'd borrowed from a friend of ours. He missed with a swing, and cut a chunk from his shin. The scar wasn't deep enough for stitches, and too wide to make them practical anyway, so he just let it heal. It took a very long time, and left a large circle of scar on his shin. Update: The scar did have stitches, and still took forever to heal.

10. The parsonage has a chain-link fence in the backyard, and my brother likes to dive headfirst over the fence and end in a roll on the other side. He's been doing that for years, but one time he miscalculated and the chain link scraped across his stomach through his shirt. That was only a few years ago, and the scars are still evident.

11. Last summer Josh went on a mission's trip to Panama. He missed as he was jumping off a dock down there and tore a chunk out of his toe and toenail. We were very worried that it would have mysterious Panamanian bacteria in it, but everything healed up surprisingly well.

12. This is out of order, but when Josh was first learning how to ride a bike, he couldn't figure out how to make the brake work. This didn't stop him from going anywhere, of course. When he needed to stop, he would just run into the nearest large immovable object; like a fence, house or tree. I'm not kidding. He had the same approach to stopping in hockey skates a few years later. Luckily he'd figured out the whole brake thing before he got his first car.

13. My little brother is engaged. It's weird, and I don't know if I can get used to it, but I like his girl, and I think they'll be good for each other. I just hope she can keep him from hurting himself anymore. My sister and I couldn't do it, so I wish the young lady luck.

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*Name changed

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pa Kettle

My parents are leaving today for what is possibly the first vacation they will have taken alone together since their honeymoon. When they were missionaries, frivolous travel wasn't something they could afford physically or financially, and then when we kids came along...well, you know how it is.

Anyway, they'll be travelling to visit Dad's family in Arkansas, and then touring the land between the lakes in Kentucky and the bottom edge of Missouri. It will be one of those trips where they stop at all the historical markers and sights (and tackle shops, if I know my father). When we were little, the goal was to get where we were going, which was mostly my fault. I hate stopping along the way, because I hate driving, and I just want to get there already. Now that they're on their own, they can afford to take time to smell the roses, so to speak.

This, then is the perfect time for me to post about my father, because there is little or no chance of him ever reading it. Just in case he ever does read this, (ie Mom's mad at me and shows it to him) I love you, Dad!

The first thing you have to know about my dad, is that he and mom will probably not leave their home today until at least an hour after they have planned. Dad always thinks of things he should've done or brought or checked right before it's time to go. Yes, this bugs me. From the distance of my own family (and car and schedule) I can afford to be amused by it, but it used to annoy me greatly. We would be in the car with it packed, and Dad would say, "Hold on a minute. I forgot I wanted to change the brakes before we left." So, out we all tumble (and grumble) one...more...time.

I remember once leaving our church in Colorado for a trip back home to see Grandma (13 hours away, yes) and after we were actually out of town about half an hour (time means more than miles in the mountains) we had to turn around and go back to the church. Dad had suddenly remembered that the last few inches of water in the baptistery hadn't drained and he wanted to drain it. Why? Because he was afraid someone would break into the church, go up to the baptistery, and drown in what I promise you was less than a foot of water.

All those infant Coloradoan criminals. No one's pacifier is safe. Isn't that the first place you would head if you were breaking and entering?

This post could become interminable, so I will leave the next episode for Friday. I know, I know, you're all hanging onto the edge of your seats. You'll just have to wait.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Clean-up Time

My children had a very messy weekend.

Saturday lunch was spaghetti, which I should really know better than to serve to my little animals. Mim approaches spaghetti (and everything else, really) like a lion in the pridelands with a feisty antelope. It's frightening. After that lunch Daddy just plopped then in the sink. We don't usually do that, so they thought it was about the coolest game ever.

Saturday afternoon, after several hours of playing out at Grandma's farm, in the sandbox and probably the garden, we went on a walk to the creek and they picked fresh mulberries with Daddy. Then, yesterday at Great-Grandma's farm, they picked (and demolished I hope I need not add) many more mulberries and some sour cherries from her trees. Their feet looked like they had been mashing grapes in some toddler winery. (Someone was kind to mommy and took their shoes off when they started turning purple.)

Then to cousin J's house in the evening, where we had a cookout and they jumped on the trampoline, dug in the sandbox, fought over toys and carried gravel from the drive to the Big Wheels John Deere (a toy). When they got home they were covered in dust, juice, ash, dirt and goodness only knows what else. Most importantly they came home exhausted. Is there anything sweeter in the world than healthy, happy, tired toddlers? Not in my experience.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

In Which I Brag...but just a little

Here are a few of the crazy things that have come out of Zaya's mouth recently.

To his sister, after her kind postprandial invitation of, "Aiya, Blobby too?" (Which means, "Dearest brother, would you care to adjourn with me to the Lobby?)

"I would love to go to the lobby with you Mim. Just a minute."

Yesterday when he was trying to get his way at Grandma's house (ie the parsonage):

"Well, here's my idea: we can go to the church and play in the nursery."
To which my poor tag-a-long Mim replied, "Mimi neesy too, neesy too?" How can you ignore pleas like that, so we went to the nursery for a little bit.

My husband's sister's husband's sister (Yeah, try to figure that one out. We're all connected here in Oklahoma) just had her first baby. While my sister-in-law (my husband's sister, that is) was holding him, Zaya said,

"Oh, a baby! What shall we name him?"

"He already has a name, Zaya. His name is Aiden."

"Oh, that's a very good name!"

(To which the sleep-deprived new mother said, "Thank you!")

Those are just some of the cute things he's said recently. There have been lots of moments when he said things like "Well, I'm the boy, and I say yes!" or "Well, but I think it is time for the park!" which didn't strike me as nearly so adorable at the time. I'm prepared now, though. My Aunt MP just mailed me a shirt that says "I'm Always Right: You're Always Wrong" While my husband has logic issues with it (ie That really can't possible be true. At the very least it should say, "I'm mostly right: you're mostly wrong.")I think it's quite funny and plan to wear it on those days when I just can't take it anymore. Sure it's not the most successful parenting motto ever penned, but at least I'll feel like I'm expressing myself.

The first picture is Zaya trying to look diligent. The last here is Mim with her frightening green Hitler stache. She really takes fingerpainting to a whole new level.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #19

My mother wrote these thirteen reasons for switching back to Juno. I had just set her up with a free e-mail account, but apparently it wasn't all she hoped it would be.

From here on out it's her voice:

The truth is: "I don't ENJOY learning newest-fangled things just when I've finally managed to get used to new-fangled things and am feeling quite proud of myself for mastering the tools of the current generation, only to have another generation appear out of the unbelievable whirl of time, flaunting spangles and sparkles of MORE technology." AARRGH.

Thirteen reasons why I like Juno better:

1. It's on my computer instead of on the Internet so I can access it to
read old messages or compose new, even if my connection is down.
2. Its little folders are full of messages I've saved.
3. It fills the computer screen and I don't have to read around a bunch
of commercial messages and pictures.
4. It's familiar; I never have to hover the mouse over a bunch of buttons
to see which one I want.
5. It has a web link, but that's nicely on a a file cabinet
folder that never gets mussed.
6. The attach file button is easier to find.
7. The spell check is automatic.
8. I can touch a button that says "print" and it prints. I don't have to
use the mouse. (see number four)
9. All my addresses are stored in it along with the cutesy little
nicknames I've given everyone that they will never see, but that give me a
10. I never forget the password and have to try several.
11. It's neat and clean.
12. That's where all my daily devotionals are set to appear.
13. When I exit and forget to send the message I was typing, it saves it
for me to send next time and even lets me work on it if the Internet
connection goes down.

Check here for more Thursday Thirteen.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

And the winner is...n't

Several of you discovered what was technically wrong with my plant, but no one got exactly what was wrong, so I'm going to declare it a draw. Since there's no clear winner, the prize will be my undying gratitude for playing along. Please, no stones, they hurt. If you feel horribly let down, I'll try to come up with something.

Someone appears to have planted a bean in my Pothos plant (Also know as Devil's Ivy). (Thanks Aunt M and Crystal for the name.) My husband promises it wasn't him, so my next guess is my brother or my young cousin. The bean halves have shriveled away, and all that's left is the shoot. I'm not sure how long I should let it go. Any ideas? Maybe I'll try to re-pot it. It's destiny was to be eaten, but instead it was planted and grew. I'm sure there's some deep spiritual significance there, but I'm not in the zone right now. I'll leave it to you to find the leguminous allegory.

Ready, Aim......

My father has been a preacher since I was very young (missionary before that) and we were always in fairly small churches. (Sometimes very small). (20-100 people) That means we had to do a lot of things in the church ourselves, because there simply weren't enough willing people to get them done. For instance, I started to teach Sunday School when I was in the third grade. There have been only a few years since that time when I haven't been teaching either Sunday School, Children's Church, a Wednesday night program, or a combination.

I was specifically thinking of a time when we had to install a new thermostat in a church in Colorado. The sanctuary was large, and took up the second and third stories of its section of the church. The heater was on the third floor at the back of the sanctuary, and we need the thermostat down by the pulpit. My father and I crawled up into the attic above the baptistry and looked across the sanctuary's suspended ceiling to the heater. It was much too far to just snake the wires. My father, whose many hobbies will someday be a blogpost of their own, had a great idea.

He brought his bow up, and tied a thin string onto an arrow shaft. He tied the other end of the string to a wire, blunted the tip of the arrow, and had me watch for tangles as he took aim. It was perfect. The arrow flew right through the air above the tiles, and rested in the section with the heater. If it had been any closer it would've hit the heater. Dad went to find the arrow then pulled the wire on through. It all worked just as he'd planned, and I remember thinking what an original thinker my dad was.

That's one thing my father has taught me. Think outside the box. In fact, I'm not sure Dad has a box sometimes.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day in Green

I got my first potted plant from a child for Mother's Day. Zaya's very brave sunday school teacher helped all the preschoolers pot Geraniums for their mommies. It was very sweet, and I even managed to keep it from being kicked over out in the service.

The plant next to it came from a cutting. It started out as just a couple of leaves, but is now doing quite well. I think that's the only potted plant that has flouished in my care. I'm not kidding, either. (See Prev. Post) There's something strange about it, though. See if you can figure out what's wrong with that plant. I'll have a prize for the person who notices the problem first and leaves the answer in comments. (Those who I've already told are disqualified) I've left the picture at a very high resolution for easier viewing. (I can't remember what the name of that plant is, either, so if anyone knows, I'd appreciate the information.)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

I love you Mom, Mom-in-law, Grandma P, Grandma C, Grandma T, Granny, Aunt JB, Aunt MT, Aunt MP, Aunt RB, Aunt BC, and all the other mother figures in my life.

We women need a lot of support, don't we?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Beau Tranell

My dorm boys just left last night for the summer. I am officially not a dorm mommy anymore. It has made me a little bit sad, even though I do not regret our decision to move on. I'm going to post a little bit more dorm stuff in the next few weeks, while it's all still fresh in my memory. Since the year is just over, I'm having a hard time knowing when to use past and present tenses. Bear with me as I'll probably mix them.

I think Tranell probably had the clothes iron on most of this year. I'm not kidding either. He used to come out into the lobby to iron his clothes every morning, and every morning I'd go find the iron still on. I confiscated it, I harangued, but to no avail. I could have just refused to let him have it, I suppose, but I had such a hard time telling him, "Tranell, you cannot iron your clothes anymore. Stop dressing so nicely." The novelty of a teenage boy caring that much overcame my frustration at finding the iron on all the time.

Tranell always matches. Always. He's not wearing collared shirts and slacks, far from it. But he always color-coordinates everything, and makes sure his personal appearance is spotless. He has a large collection of Livestrong bracelets, and chooses one or two of them with care for each outfit. He also uses some sweatbands for his head (which he wouldn't dare actually sweat in) in the same way. (As in the photo) He does (did) his laundry here at the dorm, but doesn't like to use the dryer for his shirts because they wouldn't be quite up to his standard anymore, so he lays them out flat on various surfaces in the lobby. This past year I would often find him with a bowl full of soapy water and an old toothbrush, scrubbing at his sneakers, which he also took great care to color coordinate with his outfits.

He told me it was a cultural thing. Tranell is the only African-American at our school. The only one. The boys figured out that I can't see worth anything without my contacts, so they would try to confuse me if I came out late at night to encourage them to "get their behinds to bed and stop all that racket." Poor Tranell would try to join in, but we both had to laugh because I could always tell which one he was. All of that must have been a little difficult for him, but I never once heard him mention it. He goes to a church in the city with the other dorm guys and several girls from the school(all four of my dorm guys were from OKC this year), so that familiarity might have been why there was no awkwardness. Whatever the reason, I'm so glad that prejudice was not an issue at all the last two years when he was here. He must have felt a little lonely, being the only person from his culture within 20 miles. In fact, when Zaya was a baby, we saw another African-American man in the supermarket and he started yelling, "Twaneww, Twaneww!" The kids both love(d) him and I hope they remember him and all the other dorm guys.

Tranell left right after school yesterday while I wasn't here, so I didn't get to say goodbye to him or his mother (who was very supportive and so kind). It's left me feeling a little bit melancholy today, because Tranell and I were good friends, even though I constantly had to get after him for his grades and his dorm jobs. I'll miss him a lot. I guess that's why I've started my dorm biographies with him

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Virus err....Meme

Once again I have been tagged for a meme. This time by Crissybug. Sort of like catching a virus that you're socially obligated to pass on to an astonishing seven other people. I never did play well with others, so I think I might only pass it to four or five. Anyone with a simple grasp of math sees the problem with these things. If every blogger passes it to seven others the entire blogosphere will be inundated in a matter of days. I'm just trying to save the world, that's all. Just so everyone knows, I have the same issues with the Thinking Blogger Award which, thanks to dedicated non-participants, seems to have slowly piffled away.

For those of you that I do tag, and you'll just have to love me anyway, you should copy and paste the following paragraph into your post.

Here’s how it works: Each player starts with 7 random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to write on their own blog about their seven things, as well as these rules. You need to tag 7 others and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them that they have been tagged and to read your blog!

I don't know anyone who has trouble talking about themselves, and I'm no exception, so this is long. If you don't want to read the whole thing, just scroll down to see if you got tagged. I'll try to leave comments at your blogs letting you know like I'm supposed to. Here goes -

1. I have this weird aversion to certain sounds and textures. Think fingernails on a chalkboard, except it's things like Styrofoam rubbing together, dry hands touching each other, the sound of dry feet scraping on the carpet, metal on metal, sandpaper and many others. I can't even write on a chalkboard without trying to bite my tongue in half. I can't even pick up a piece of chalk, let alone right with it. It makes me want to scream. Oh, and another thing like that is the wooden sticks in popsicles and corn dogs. I promise you it makes me cringe just thinking about it. All the nerves in my face try to curl away. eeaawwww.

2. People think I'm reliable, but I'm not. They give me lots of things to do, at church for instance, but I frequently forget all about whatever it is. Instead of learning from this, they just ask me to do something else, too. I have nightmares of suddenly realizing that I was supposed to be somewhere or do something and I forgot about it completely. Sadly, this happens in real life too. For example, as I'm writing this I suddenly remembered that I had a meeting on Tuesday which I didn't go to at all. Ooops. Sorry Mr. R.

3. I play the drums at my church, and have played drums in a church or at school since I was 14 years old, but I only really know one or two basic rhythms. Let me just tell you that small Mennonite communities have lots of people who play the piano, but no-one who will give drum lessons. No-one. Luckily the people in my church don't want anything fancy, so they're happy with the fact that I use the three toms on my trap set as music stands instead of playing them. (Well, the kids aren't, but they don't pay the tithes and fill the committees.)

4. I've always been an early riser. I wrote about this a while ago. Even when I was tiny, I would get up very early and go eat some cereal. There was just so much to do that I couldn't stand to lay in bed and sleep. Even now, I can't sleep past 7:30, and usually not past 6:30 if I got to bed at least by 11:00. I like to go to bed early, but lately I've been staying up much later because.....

5. My mother got me hooked on internet gaming. We, and several of my aunts, play Puzzle Pirates. My mother and her sisters have been playing for a couple of years, but I decided to wait until I didn't have a child under 1 to worry about waking up etc. It's a lot of fun, and you should go check it out. Let me know if you do and I'll look you up in the Puzzle Pirate world. Not only are there lots of puzzles to play, but you can buy your own home, clothes, furniture, ships and pretty much spend as much time as you want to. You see the problem there.

6. I lived in a dorm for my junior and senior years of high school. My school, which shall remain nameless, has dorms for high schoolers who live too far away to make commuting possible. (ie Four of the girls right now are from Indonesia.) My mother taught here for five years, and then my family moved to Colorado when I was a freshman. I went to the high school there for one year, but developed all sorts of health problems as a result of stress and general terror. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. I home schooled the next year, and then was allowed to come back to my old school to live in the dorm for my last two years of high school. It was wonderful, although I wish my family could've been here too, of course. They moved back the summer after I graduated, and my mother has taught here again since then. My husband and I became Boy's Dorm parents three years ago, but this is our last day of it, because graduation is tonight.

7. I hate make-up. Hate it. When I was home with my family between my junior and senior years of high school, my father said, "C, I think it's time you start wearing war-paint." I had finally had my braces removed after four long years, and he decided it was ridiculous for me to not fix up a bit. I guess it worked, because my future husband and I became great friends that year. He insists the make-up had nothing to do with it, but I tell him he wouldn't really know, because it would've been subconscious anyway. I only wear make-up now for church or "events". Blech.

I'm going to tag Bramblerose, Estemoa, Sara from GF&W, JAM, Lisa from Our Seven Qtpies, and Kilikina. Wow, that's almost seven. Looks like I'm practically a full participant.

Thursday Thirteen - #18

13 Great Quotes and Examples from "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" By Lynne Truss

Please be aware that this does not mean you will find perfect grammar on all posts here at this blog. Only that I find this book hilarious, and have my own little grammar pet peeves, like most English majors.

1. It's tough being a stickler for punctuation these days. One almost dare not get up in the mornings. True, one occasionally hears a marvellous punctuation-fan joke about a panda who "eats, shoots & leaves," but in general the stickler's exquisite sensibilities are assaulted from all sides, causing feelings of panic and isolation.

2. Everywhere one looks, there are signs of ignorance and indifference. What about that film Two Weeks Notice? Guaranteed to give sticklers a very nasty turn, that was - its poster slung along the sides of buses in letters four feet tall, with no apostrophe in sight.

3. I just remember a period when, convinced that an apostrophe was definitely required somewhere, I would cunningly suspend a very small one immediately above the "s", to cover all eventualities.

4. While other girls were out with their boyfriends on Sunday afternoons...I was at home with the wireless listening to an Ian Messiter quiz called, Many a Slip, in which erudite and amusing contestants spotted grammatical errors in pieces of prose.

5. (Talking about the lack of grammatical training in decades past) It is arguable that the timing of their grammatical apathy could not have been worse. In the 1970's, no educationist would have predicted the explosion in universal written communication caused by the personal computer, the Internet and the key-pad of the mobile phone.

6. (cont)But now, look what's happened: everyone's a writer! Everyone is posting film reviews on Amazon that go like this:
"I watched this film a few days ago expecting the usual hugh Grant bumbling...character Ive come to loathe/expect over the years. I was thoroughly surprised. This film was great, on of the best films i have seen in a long time. The film focuses around one man who starts going to a single parents meeting, to meet women, one problem He doesnt have a child"

7. (cont) Isn't this sad? People who have been taught nothing about their own language are (contrary to educational expectations) spending all their leisure hours attempting to string sentences together for the edification of others. And there is no editing on the Internet!

8. To those who care about punctuation, a sentence such as "Thank God its Friday" (without the apostrophe) rouses feelings not only of despair but of violence. The confusion of the possessive "its" (no apostrophe) with the contractive it's (with apostrophe) is an unequivocal signal of illiteracy and sets off a simple Pavlovian "kill" response in the average stickler.

9. Readers grow so accustomed to the dwindling incidence of commas in public places that when signs go up saying "no dogs please", only one person in a thousand bothers to point out that actually, as a statement, "no dogs please" is an indefensible generalisation, since many dogs do please, as a matter of fact; they rather make a point of it.

10. Assuming a sentence rises into the air with the initial capital letter and lands with a soft-ish bump at the full stop, the humble comma can keep the sentence aloft all right, like this, UP, for hours if necessary, UP, like this, UP, sort-of bouncing, and then falling down, and then UP it goes again, assuming you have enough additional things to say, although in the end you may run out of ideas and then you have to roll along the ground with no commas at all until some sort of surface resistance takes over and you run out of steam anyway and then eventually with the help of three stop.

11. Of the objections to the colon and semicolon listed above, there is only one I am prepared to concede: that semicolons are dangerously habit-forming. Many writers hooked on semicolons become an embarrassment to their families and friends. Their agents gently remind them, "George Orwell managed without, you know. And look what happened to Marcel Proust: carry on like this and you're only one step away from a cork-lined room!" But the writers rock back and forth on their office chairs, softly tapping the semicolon key and emitting low whimpers.

12. Inverted commas (or speech marks, or quotes) are sometimes used by fastidious writers as a kind of linguistic rubber glove, distancing them from vulgar words or cliches they are too refined to use in the normal way.

13. Overtly disorganised thought is the mode of most email and (mobile phone) text communication, and the dash does an annoyingly good job in these contexts standing in for all other punctuation marks. "I saw Jim - he looked gr8 - have you seen him - what time is the thing 2morrow - C U there."

Check here for more Thursday Thirteen.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

What's That Smell?

I would just like to say, for the record, that scented Play-Doh was a bad idea; on the part of the manufacturer, and the part of the consumer. First there are the scents. These include: Shampoo, Pinemania, Shaving Cream, Rose Garden, Pinktastic, Splurple, Explorange and Funshine Sunshine. You see part of the problem immediately. Most of those are not actually scents - you tell me what a splurple smells like.

When they realized that they couldn't add real scents to the play-doh, they should've stopped right there with the idea. It should never have made it out of the brainstorming room. I don't care how nostalgic you might be about your own childhood, or that of your grown kids, Play-Doh just stinks in it's natural state. You can't add wonderful scents to something that already stinks. It's like a tween using perfume to cover where they should have used deoderant. It doesn't work. Do you hear me Hasbro? It doesn't work! I know this because I and my children smell like it for at least a couple hours every day. My hands, right now, smell like "Shampoo" scented blue Play-Doh, and let me tell you, it does not remind me of a nice warm shower and clean hair. It reminds me of trampling on rotten flowers. The "shaving cream" is even worse. We haven't opened more than three "flavors" (as my kids call it, and they would know.) so I'm still not sure what Funshine Sunshine smells like.

Let's just say this whole scented Play-Doh thing was not my most brilliant parenting move. Zaya begs for Play-Doh every time we go to the store, every...single...time. In fact, several times a day he begs to go to town just to buy Play-Doh. Never mind that he's got an entire container full of every color in, under and over the rainbow. (Thank you, well meaning relatives) We must have new Play-Doh. I bought this box as an attempt to forestall these requests. Whenever he does something especially nice, like take a nap when Mommy has a headache, he gets a new tub. I don't know how much more of these "special new scents" that I can take, though. Maybe we'll just take them to Grandma's House for summertime fun. What do you think about that, Mom? Do you want your house to smell Pinktastic this year? I'll let you get back to me on it.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I Have Cooler Gadgets than the Engineer

When Hubby came home from his last business trip he brought me the coolest little apple green iPod. Yes, I now own an iPod. Coincidentally, and conveniently, our extended family cellphone plan just expired, so we all got new phones when we renewed for the next cycle. So now, I've got a Razr and an iPod. The physical laws of coolness are bound to kick into action now, so I'm expecting an outbreak of acne or maybe falling on my face in front of a lot of people sometime soon.

I had my dorm boys show me how to use my new phone last night. They gave me some ringtones, too. Several of which I did not ask for. Big goobers. They were hoping I wouldn't notice and that my phone would go off during church. Now I'm trying to figure out a way to get pictures of all my family so that I can add their pictures to their profiles. (That means that when they call, their picture will show up.) You just can't beat that, really, for an evening of entertainment. Oh and did I mention that this Razr was much cheaper than it would normally be? Mom? Did you hear that? Much cheaper. I'm not becoming a money-wasting, materialistic slug. (Just for reference, my mom would never call me that. I just know the thought crosses her mind, because goodness knows she didn't raise me to be cool. That was a bad word at our house.)

As for the iPod, there's no feeling of freedom like listening to my own music while my children listen to the Fisher Price Little People singing "Alice the Camel has Five Humps." Again. I've loaded a couple hundred worship songs and hymns, both instrumental and vocal, onto my little green music machine, and I'm enjoying the freedom to listen to songs about peace, love and patience while my children are listening to Blue's Clues. Ahhh.

My husband told me that I should call this post, "I'm Cooler Than The Engineer" but I pointed out that, although I think he is very cool, most people on reading that title will not be impressed; engineers not being notoriously cool. He said I only think he's cool because I'm a geek too. Probably true. Apparantly our children also have geek tendencies. Below is a picture of Mim enjoying "God is Good, All the Time." The iPod is clipped to the back of her nightgown. She won't hardly let me listen without giving her at least an earphone if not the whole kit and caboodle. I thought that wouldn't be a problem until the teen years, but no such luck. She also just grabbed my Razr off the desk while I was typing and said, "My Phone!" They learn so young.

Antique Mommy experienced both the increased coolness, and the physical coolness laws, and I'm trying to learn from her experience. Read these stories. She's hilarious.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Now here's a mental image you don't get everyday. (Mental is all you'll get, too, because I forgot my camera yesterday and I wouldn't have posted it anyway.)

After playing in the sandbox at Grandma Thiessen's house yesterday, the kids had to get the extra sand hosed off of them before they could go inside. Like all children everywhere, no clothes means great fun. They immediately ran off to the garden and started picking strawberries. Where they got the inspiration, I don't know, but it looked so funny. Two totally naked toddlers sitting in the strawberry patch. Zaya knows to wait before he tries to eat the strawberries, but Mim can't figure it out. She just pulls them and eats them immediately. We picked a bowl full of them to wash, and the kids stuffed those things in their mouth faster than I do with mini-Snickers.

It almost makes me want to grow my own garden. Almost.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Youth

I've always begged God to not give me a ministry with teenagers. I just don't "get" them, and tend to be impatient and sarcastic, which is not really a good teaching technique. I did not marry a youth pastor or a coach, which was one of my greatest fears. Instead, I'm a junior high sponsor at church and a high school dorm mother.

What I've discovered is that, taken one or two at a time, they're not too bad. Take my cousin, for instance. Rebecca* is just about to graduate from the eighth grade, and has been living with my parents for her junior high years so that she could go to our school here. (She went home on the weekends.) She'll be leaving next week when school's out, and will be staying home in Texas for high school. Rebecca was a huge help last year when Mim was newborn, and Zaya was an overactive Babe-ler (Half baby, half toddler). She would come over almost every day after school and play with Zaya, and help with Mim. (The picture is from one of those days last spring.) Both kids love her, and get so excited when she comes over to play. This year I've got things a little more under control, so I haven't had her come help as much, but yesterday when our messages got crossed and she was waiting here at my house while I was running errands in town, she cleaned my kitchen and living room. That's right. A teenager. Cleaned. I walked in to hear a running dishwasher and see clear cabinets. Clear! I was quite excited. Now, she did this after I made her give me her facebook password so I could edit her "profile" and "about me" page last week. (I couldn't handle the chatspeak and lack of punctuation) See, teenagers aren't all bad.

Which brings me to my dorm sons. I really will miss them next year. We've only had four this year, and they've been good sons, for the most part. Of course, I did have to confiscate about four different aerosol cans this week. If you don't know why, then enjoy living in your blissful ignorance. (Let's just say I'm not assuming they don't have a fire source, despite its longstanding prohibition.) One of them is currently ineligible again, but he's been working on it this year, and did quite well. I'm proud of all of them in different ways, and am actually sad to be leaving them to new dorm parents next year. Now, leaving my dorm apartment,...that's a different story, but more on that later.

*Name changed

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #17

13 of My Son's Favorite Books
These have been his favorites over the last year, so, roughly, between two and three years old. We have a very large children's library, because of a vicious combination of parents who love to read, a great-grandmother who is in charge of the books for a local thrift store, and the Books are Fun company, whose displays are accessible by both Grandmothers and Mommy.

1. 1001 Bugs to Spot - There are several other 1001 things to spot books that he also enjoys. I'd say this one is the favorite, though. Especially the Dung Beetles. He's a toddler and male, what can I say?

2. The Little Lamb - As mentioned previously, Zaya thinks he is a shepherd, and has always had a soft spot for sheep. Maybe he'll be a pastor someday. This book has a picture of a little girl cuddling a sheep, and he used to stare and stare at that page, smiling.

3. The Potty Book for Boys - Actually, Mim loves this one too. I don't know if it actually helped in the slightest bit with potty training, but they enjoy reading it.

4. Ebb and Flo and the Baby Seal - He doesn't really care much for the other Ebb and Flo books, but loved this one.

5. John, Paul, George and Ben - Don't ask me why, but we had to read this one a ton, and finally hid it so he'd forget about it for a while. I ought to pull it out again, because it's been almost a year.

6. Oh the Thinks You Can Think - Classic Dr. Seuss. We still have to read this one, and his Daddy reads it backwards quite nicely, which Zaya thinks is hilarious.

7. Sitka Rose - This one is boring and annoying, in my opinion, but he loves it. Thank goodness it was a library book.

8. Jump, Frog, Jump - Another library book that saw a lot of lovin'. A classic tale of a frog escaping peril. On every page.

9. Oh the Places You'll Go - My husband received this as a gift when he graduated from high school. It's long, so I really don't know what led me to pull it out, but we have had to read it to Zaya many, many times now. At one point I could read it in the dark with no troubles.

10. How do Your Senses Work? - An Usborne "Flip-Flap" Book. He loves reading about how the body works, and we read this one over and over and over. Thankfully, another library book.

11. What Happens to My Food? - From the same series as the previous book. It has very basic explanations of digestion, complete with pictures of a child on the potty, completing the final digestion process.

12. David and Goliath - He loves any version of this story, this just happens to be one that I knew I could find a picture of. He loves that David was a shepherd, and used to tell this story, complete with full body drama, to anyone who would listen when he was first talking. Imagine, if you dare, a two-year-old saying, "And de wock hit Gowiauf in de head, and he fe-oh over, and hit de gwound. Den David cut of his head wif a sword!"

13. Jonah the Moaner - Once again, he likes several versions of this story. This one happens to be the most annoying, and the one he likes the best, because that's just how consistent toddlers are.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Can't Fool a Canine Nose

So, my sweet little toddler asks me if I will come snuggle with him and Lupe (his stuffed wolf). I join them in their snugglefest, thinking what a sweet Mommy moment it is. When Lupe starts making sniffing noises, I ask Zaya if Lupe has a stuffy nose.

"No, he's just smelling you."

"Oh, really? What do I smell like?" (Everyone who has or works with children knows this is an exceptionally dumb question.)

"Hmmm. You smell like some kind of fish."

Great. As if I needed another thing to be paranoid about. Fish? Oh well. Zaya smells like a Crunch Berry, and I still love him, so I guess we'll be okay.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Warm Fuzzy Feeling

Only a Grandpa would put up with something like this. Zaya and Mim just kept bringing him stuffed animals while the adults all talked in the kitchen. He didn't even really react at all to slowly being covered. After the kids forgot about it, I removed his new plush friends. This is my husband's dad, and he's very easy-going. I can see a lot of great pictures in the future.