Wednesday, January 30, 2008

And Again

I'm opting out of Thursday Thirteen. Mim came down with the flu bug this evening, so I have more important things to do.

Mim got sick at the supper table. Needless to say, we didn't have much appetite for what I had prepared. God used my good buddy Tina, and she brought us some homemade Chicken Noodle Soup at 9:00. By homemade I mean, she did everything but raise and pluck her own chicken. She even made her own noodles. Delicious! At least three of us will enjoy it, and I'm optimistic about Mim being able to eat some tomorrow. (This flu bug has been lasting about eight hours.)

Pray for us. Art and I haven't had it yet.

This Little Light of Mine

Most of the money we received as wedding gifts went straight into the "survive at college" pot or the "fix up the junky trailer" pot. The first $20 bill, though, I took to Hobby Lobby in OKC and bought my very own lamp.

Not just any lamp, mind you, but a decorative lamp. It had a picture painted on the underside of its glass shade that shone through when you turned it on. I'm not even sure what kind of picture it was, but it was my picture, on my decorative lamp, and that's important when you're about to own your own "house" (you'd have to have seen our trailer to understand the quote marks there) and be a grown-up.

It really was possibly the most useless lamp known to mankind. It only used a 15 Watt bulb, which meant it wasn't bright enough to accomplish anything, but it was too bright to leave on as a night light. I don't know if I ever turned it on more than 10 times in its life, but I couldn't quite bear to part with it. It was the memory, of course, that I kept. It was that memory of going shopping with my mom, and being an adult, and choosing my own lamp for my own place. Several times I decided to give it away, and every time I faltered at the last moment, and found somewhere to put it.

Zaya made the decision for me yesterday. In an attempt to throw all the blankets and pillows off the bed, he hit the lamp with my wedge pillow and the shade broke irreparably. For the sake of teaching my toddler repentance I made a very sad face and said,
"Oh no, you broke Mommy's lamp Zay. It was a very special lamp."
When his little eyes started to tear up, though, I gave him hugs and told him that he was much more important than a lamp, because he was my boy. We reconciled and I started cleaning up the mess.

Zaya learned that you must be careful with other people's things, and I learned that it's OK to let go of things, because the memory is still there, even without the lamp. Mom and I still went shopping together and we still planned my wedding and sorted through all the stuff, deciding what things I would take for my new life, and what things would be left behind as part of my childhood.

A few minutes after the tragedy, Zaya came into my room and said,
"I know Mommy! We can go buy you a new lamp!"
Proving that he really is a child after my own heart. Maybe Mom will go with us to pick it out, and we'll all make a new memory.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Wait is Over

Well, it happened. Zaya was up all night with flu. I say "all night", but he really did do a good job going back to sleep between episodes. I called my Mom-In-Law this morning, and she says Uncle C has it and, probably worst of all, visiting Uncle J, who was supposed to fly out of state today.

This is a particularly virulent type, I'm afraid, so I'm going to be nervously watching Mim, Art and myself all day. (Art's at work, so I guess I won't actually be watching him, just worrying.)

Pray for us. Please. Stomach bugs are just no fun at all.

On a positive note, my new camera came in! I used it to take the above picture of a freshly showered Zaya playing Dora the Explorer this morning. (I spared you his bucket.)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Dressed to Kill

Mim comes up with something every day that makes me laugh. She still has her imaginary friends, Goki and Bobo. (They went to church with her yesterday in her dress pockets.) But she's added a new imaginary friend, which I have trouble even calling "imaginary". Her new buddy is Baby Jesus. It causes a little awkwardness here in the house.

For instance, the other day Mim said Baby Jesus was eating lunch with her. I sat down to eat my lunch and she said,
"No! Mommy you sittin' on Baby Jesus!"
And I had to move, of course, because there's just something disturbing about sitting down on Baby Jesus.

This morning Mim put on her princess crown with the requisite plastic sparkly shoes and scepter and said,
"I hunting for deer!"
And she proceeded to stalk around the house on her quest. Zaya came in and said he was hunting for secrets, so I hope that their two expeditions don't cause a family crisis. The only way I can see out is if they find some very secretive deer around here somewhere.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Twilight Zone

Updated: I figured it out. My mother accidentally deleted all of them because I left myself logged into Bloglines on her computer. She's relatively new to this whole blogging thing, and thought that the feed she had just saved had thrown an extra 30 something feeds onto her account. She deleted everything she didn't recognize, which was quite a few of my contacts. It's all totally my fault, and know I have to try to figure out what happened and how to fix the problem. I've learned my lesson, though. Always log out when you're on someone else's computer.

I just lost 30 of my 44 bloglines subscriptions. I seem to still have all of my relatives, and several others that I visit frequently, but I'm missing a lot of the others. I have no idea what happened. I logged on to Bloglines just like I always do, but I suddenly had only 14 blog feeds.

Therefore, if I don't visit your blog like I used to, and you care, then please let me know your address again.

If you know what happened, or had the same thing happen to you, let me know.

Friday, January 25, 2008

So We Wait

Even though we knew the cousins had a cold yesterday, we let Zaya and Mim play with them at Grandma's house for about an hour in the morning. "It won't hurt them to get a little cold," I reasoned, "besides they probably won't because we'll be extra careful." It sounded good at the time.

Then came "the call." It seems Jaida woke up from her nap vomiting. Yeah. Panic ensued. What were we thinking? What if we all get it! Fear gripped my mommy's heart. Fear of being up all night, fear of cleaning up puke, fear of watching my children suffer. (not in that order, you understand) And it's just a stomach bug. I don't even want to know what I'd be like if my little ones were diagnosed with some kind of major illness.

You might as well just cart me off to the looney bin today, because I am not going to be fit for normal adult conversation. (Not that I'll have any of that until about six this evening.) I'm praying the shoe never drops, but I'll be a basket case until I feel like I know for sure.

Which brings me to that whole "faith" issue. I pray that they won't get sick, but I don't really believe that they won't get sick. I just hope. Can hope pull me through where belief fails? Can it be enough?

Update: Overnight baby Addy had it, as well as Jaida and Addy's Mom and Grandpa. Grandma was at their house taking care of the babies all night, and now Grandma says she feels pretty bad too. Of course, anyone would after being up all night with puking infants and toddlers. On the plus side, Jaida seems to be much better already, and Addy was drinking pedialyte by morning. Hope springs eternal.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #47

13 Dumb Predictions

(According to Uncle John's Biggest Ever Bathroom Reader)

1. "The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" - Associates of NBC president David Sarnoff (responding to his recomendation, in the 1920s, that they invest in radio)

2. "I think there is a a world market for maybe five computers." - Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

3. "We don't like their sound, and guitar music in on the way out." - Decca Recording Company 1962 (rejecting the Beatles)

4. "Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." - Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929

5. "Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction." - Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872

6. "640K ought to be enough for anybody." - Bill Gates, 1981

7. "If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can't do this." - Spencer Silver (on the adhesive that led to 3-M Post-Its)

8. "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895

9. "Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools." - New York Times editorial, 1921 (about Robert Goddard's revolutionary rocket work)

10. "Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." - Popular Mechanics, 1949

11. "A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make." - Bankers' comment to Debbi Fields (about her idea to start Mrs. Fields' Cookies)

12. "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." - Western Union internal memo, 1876 (after Alexander Graham Bell offered to sell them the rights to the telephone)

13. "Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899

Check here for more Thursday Thirteen. Especially check here for Mama Lilibeth's First Ever Official Thursday Thirteen. It's very, very good.

Just Doesn't Get Any Better

It feels like Christmas today for a couple of reasons. One is that we're having a real cold snap. (The high yesterday was 31 degrees.) Aside from that, though, I just got the greatest box full of stuff from our friendly UPS man.

Actually, it was from C'auntie J. She made me a beautiful quilt for my bed, and I absolutely love it. I told her that I might have to break down and decorate my room now that I have a color scheme to go with. I don't think you can tell from the picture, but the fabrics she chose have a lot of character, and I think I might actually enjoy trying to match them and making my room look like more than just the storage shed for the rest of the family.

She also sent me a bunch of stickers and die-cuts for my scrapbooking attempts, proving that she knows me pretty well. My approach to decorating scrapbook pages is: 1. Put the pictures down. 2. Put stickers around them. Voila. I can just feel the future accomplishment as I hold the envelope.

Anyway, for someone whose primary Love Language is "Receiving Gifts", this has been a wonderful day. I feel very loved.

Thank you C'J! I love you, too!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Even the Cat Wouldn't Touch It

I threw some pre-cooked shrimp and green onions into the rice cooker last night, and we had an Asian supper. (OK, actually we also had grilled cheese sandwiches, because we're gourmets like that.) It wasn't that bad, but didn't have a whole lot of shrimp because most of it was freezer burned. (Like rubbery bright white patches) Rachael Ray needs to visit western Oklahoma before she writes her next book. ("They'll have pancetta in your deli section and Romano cheese in the specialty cheese aisle." Yeah right!)

As much as I love my life, there are definitely frustrating things about living out in the sticks. I've mentioned that we don't have a grocery store or convenience store of any kind in our town. We have to drive to W'ville for anything like that. But W'ville, as grand and glorious as it is, has its own problems. There are two supermarkets, so plenty of food is available, with lots of selection. However, you never know about the quality. Things like milk, eggs, bread and the basics are fresh because they get rotated out, but you're on your own for "specialty" things like whole-wheat flour, shrimp, and fresh produce. They have them, but they may have been there for a while.

Maybe every grocery store has problems with that kind of thing. I don't know. It's really not a big deal, in the grand scheme of things, but it can be annoying when you've planned to cook or bake something, purchased the ingredients, and started mixing things up, only to discover that one of your ingredients is "off" as the British say.

Anyway, we ate what I could salvage from the freezer-burned shrimp, and I gave the rest to Gatito, thinking he would be in kitty heaven. (Isn't shrimp a flavor they put in cat food?) He wouldn't touch it. He sniffed it a second or two, gave me a dirty look, and turned around and sat with his back to it on the porch.

Some fat, lazy cat is getting too big for his own

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Perks of Belonging

I live in a tiny little town of about 500 people out in western Oklahoma and it's widely acknowledged here in this community that our greatest strength is also our greatest weakness. We are close-knit.

In fact, it's still a bit of a surprise to me that I say "our" and "we" because I moved into this community from "elsewhere", and there were moments at the beginning when I felt like a bit of an outsider; now, in so many ways, I find that I am comfortable and loved here. It helps, of course, that I married a hometown boy, but I really think I would have been anyway after attending high school and being involved in the church.

For instance, a friend, who also happens to be our church custodian right now, dropped by today to ask me a question about the set up for our ESL seminar tomorrow. She also brought by a little clear folder for my scrapbooking stickers, because she knew I was looking for one and she ran across it in the city. That's not an isolated incident either. People here care. It's nice.

Even though I live in what Marla Cilley calls CHAOS, (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) I just thrive on people dropping by to visit. It would be nice to have a thirty minute warning so I could speed clean the living room, but even with no notice I'll welcome in a visitor. I also love knowing that, if anything were to happen, my family could go to any of several hundred people in this area who would call us by name, take us in, and feed us something (delicious). Yes, most of them would somehow be related, but even the few that aren't feel like family and treat us as if we are.

Not everyone likes this much familiarity, I realize. I think Mama Lilibeth, despite her love for and role in our community, would be perfectly happy if she could spend a part of every year up in a little cabin that was a good brisk walk from anyone but the immediate family. I've never needed that much solitude, though. I would love some peace in the morning to spend time with God, but beyond that, I need people. I just bore myself silly because I like to talk. (Ask poor Art.)

I only hope that our relationship with this town is symbiotic and not parasitic. I hope that we are returning as much as we are taking, and that if God ever calls us to leave, we'll be able to take the spirit of belonging with us, instead of mourning its loss.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

We interrupt this broadcast....

Check out what a junior high teacher goes through when she tries to grade papers in class. Mama Lilibeth gives a verbatim report from her crazy junior high Bible class. It's funny stuff.

Thursday Thirteen below.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #46

This is another guest post from my friend Tina. (I'm feeling much better, by the way.) Thanks Tina!

Today my Malaysian co-worker brought me a little gift and it made me think of this topic:

13 Souvenirs from Other People's Vacations (in no particular order)

1. Hot air balloon shaped picture frame from my mom when she and my grandma went to Albuquerque for their hot air balloon festival.

2. Wooden "Texas" postcard from when Joe went to San Antonio for a conference.

3. Small leather giraffe from when Joe went to his cousin's navy basic training graduation in Chicago.

4. Large wooden giraffe from Joe's parents' trip to Disney World Animal Kingdom. I had gone there the previous year and purchased the same giraffe from the gift shop, so I now have a pair.

5. Ceramic leaf shaped bowl from my sister's honeymoon in Jamaica.

6. Red bell pepper salt and pepper shakers from one of my in-laws' trips to Branson.

7. Gold Mickey Mouse ears and a large Christmas snow globe from another of my in-laws' trips to Disney World.

8. Wooden giraffe carving from one of my student interns who is from Africa. He didn't actually bring it back from a trip specifically for me, but he already had this and found out I liked giraffes so he thought I would like it. I have it hanging in my office.

9. Two "El Paso" refrigerator magnets Joe brought home from a business trip.

10. An alien snow globe one of Joe's co-workers got for us in Roswell, New Mexico.

11. A Las Vegas snow globe our friends brought us from--where else--Las Vegas.

12. A pair of wooden salad tongs and a tapestry my dad's cousin, who works in Saudi Arabia, brought me on one of his trips back to the states.

13. A pear shaped keychain and ceramic trinket box my co-worker from Malaysia brought me from her trip 3 week trip home. I took care of her plant while she was gone and she gave me these as a thank you gift.

Check here for more Thursday Thirteens.

Change of Plans

I was supposed to be in the City right now, at the GE's, but I came down with some kind of stomach bug last night. It was mercifully brief, actually, but I didn't want to risk driving to the city today, so here I am.

Luckily, Art had taken off work to go with me, so he's here helping me putter around the house and play with the kids.

I just hope and pray no one else catches it. Blech!

When I could finally fall asleep last night, I kept dreaming about Polish WWII battalions riding around in K'nex vehicles. Specifically, in the Chuck Wagon, which is what Mim and I built yesterday evening before bed. You really can't get more appropriate.

I'm going to do a little reading and then take a nap. May it be dreamless.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ahh, the Memories

I was reminded of a book tonight that was one of my favorites in childhood. The book is called Dear Rat. I found it stuck in one of my parent's bookshelves one day many moons ago, and read and re-read it throughout the years.

The main character is a sort of Archie Goodwin of the rodent world. He's got spunk, attitude, a sensitive side and an all-American sense of humor. I won't give you a plot summary here and now, but suffice it to say it's heady stuff when you're in grade school.

Now that I see the other kind of fiction I've enjoyed throughout life, I'm not surprised at that selection all those years ago. It was like finding my literary destiny. Not for me those great children's classics. Give me a tough American rat fighting criminals in the sewers of Paris any day over some ignorant stuffed bear. (Sorry, all you A.A. Milne fanatics.)

I don't know what ever happened to that original copy, but after I was married and had discovered the joys of the internet, I found another used copy on It's not longer in print, which is quite sad, but at least I have a copy for my own children to enjoy someday.

Now I've just got to get started on a Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys collection...

In other book news, I finally finished The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Yep, all 1,500 pages. Hitler dies. We win. Who'd a thunk it?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Funny Stuff. (At Least I Thought So)

Look! It's a U.F.B.


An Unidentified Flying Banana!

That may not sound funny to you or me, but apparently it's hilarious if you're three. That "joke" is found in The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System. Zaya kept making us go back to that page so we could read it again and again. After we finished the book I just gave it to him and let him read the joke to his hearts content. He cackled and cackled about it. The picture above is his face as he got to the punch line for about the 16th time.

Mim has an imaginary friend named Goki. Today, she drew a gift for him on paper. (It was lots and lots of circles and spirals) It was a sleego-sleego. (slinky) The conversation went something like this:

"I dwaw pwesent for Goki! It's a toy. It's a sleego-sleego."

"Do you mean a slinky, Mim?"

"Yeah! A Slinky!"

I think Goki enjoyed it. Later this evening she emptied her trash can into her laundry basket because he wanted to play in the trash can and it was full of junk.

I can see Goki (and his friend, Bobo) being the cause of a lot of trouble in the future.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #45

13 Things That Give Me the Willies.

Some of these cause actual fear, some revulsion, and some discomfort. In my opinion these feelings are all summed up by the term "willies". Some are (relatively) frivolous, and some are shared by almost all of humanity. By its very nature, this post is slightly negative. Don't worry I'm not depressed or even upset about anything.

1. Cordyceps Fungi - (pictured at right) This is a newly discovered fear. This type of fungus is specific to different species of bugs. The one that lives in ants, for instance, causes the ant to lose its mind and crawl up high on a limb to die. Then the fungus grows out of the dead ant's head and eventually bursts, causing its spores to dissipate over a wide area. It can wipe out an entire ant colony. (Thank you Planet Earth by BBC for this latest willy.)

2. Turnip Greens - If I were starving, I'm sure I'd eat and love these...well, eat them. I am not, however, starving, and they frankly do not look like something that should be ingested by anything that doesn't live in a swamp. Which brings me to...

3. Murky Swamp Water - I still have nightmares about falling into water that is full of weeds and slime. It's not because it's gross. It's something deeper and more primitive. I can't explain it. Those patches of sea with kelp growing in them.. yeah, wigs me out.

4. Styrofoam - I hate the sound Styrofoam makes when you rub it against other Styrofoam or cardboard. It really makes me want to scream. The textures and sounds are almost more than I can take.

5. Spiders/Cockroaches - Yes, this one is very common, but the only time in my life when I've ever really, actually screamed was when two monster cockroaches crawled out of my drain in the dorm. Spiders too. I don't like any of them. Not even the cute little fuzzy black ones that Art likes to hold in his hand.

6. Large Animals - I've always been very nervous about large animals that are on the same side of the fence as me. The buffaloes that you can meet on the trail at the Wichita Mountains in western OK were always the scariest part of the hike for me. My farm-raised husband thinks I'm ridiculous to be afraid of the cows, but I am. If he's with me, I'm OK, but it terrifies me to walk through a field with cows or horses in it.

7. Precious Moments - I just don't like them. I'm sorry. I know that they're supposed to be cute, and I realize that lots of people are obsessed with them. Not me. Not ever. The big eyes, the weirdly shaped heads...can't do it.

8. Vomit - I don't even want to hear about it. If you've been sick, just keep the details to yourself. When my children urp, I pray to God that Art is home. I'll comfort the child, change their clothes, whatever, just don't make me clean up the puke. (On a funny note, Mim calls it "Kupe".)

9. The Princess Bride - A certain unnamed cousin (who happens to have her own blog) used to make me watch this with her when I was 5 or 6. Let me just tell you how very little one can grasp irony and satire in the kindergarten year. Not at all. I still can't watch this movie, cult classic though it may be. Count me out of that cult. (Love you anyway, J =))

10. Reality TV - Can we say "totally worthless"? I have yet to find a reality show, (and, granted, I've watched very little of very few) that doesn't make me want to SCREAM! Do they really think we're that stupid? Does anyone really believe that the way these people are behaving for the cameras is any indication of their true personality? The pettiness and the grotesque plays for fame make me sick.

11. Dry Skin - Please just put on socks. If your dry feet are making those awful scraping sounds against the carpet, I might just tackle you to the ground and gnaw your feet off. Art learned this the hard way. (He still has feet, but that's just because I love him so much. Oh, and I need him to carry out the trash.)

12. Old Food - My mother, Lilibeth, mocks me for this on a regular basis. (As does Art) I don't care. Call me crazy; call me obsessed. I don't want to eat bad food. Does the phrase "food poisoning" not cause anyone else concern? If it's years, or even months, past the expiration date, I'm not going to eat it. Sorry. I don't care that there are still canned goods found from the arctic expeditions one hundred years ago that would be edible. Not doing it.

13. 3/4 Time - I would like for a real drummer to just show me how to play 3/4 time on a trap set. The only thing I can come up with is a terribly pathetic, basic rhythm. I need help, but apparently I'm the only person in my entire town who plays the drums, so there's no one to teach me. The only help I get is the occasional guy at church who says I need to just "let it go" up there. Hard to "let it go" when you're playing worship songs, fella. I'm pretty sure I want to keep "it" right where it is, thank you very much.

Check here for more Thursday Thirteen.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Of Slugs and Swarovski

Something very tragic happened here at our house on Sunday morning. I accidentally shattered a star point off of my lovely new Swarovski pendant. I was trying to put it on and it slipped off the chain and hit our tile in the bathroom. I HATE tile! (Just for the record.) Art threw it away for me because I couldn't do it myself and would probably have started bawling.

My poor, long-suffering husband was actually great about it. He said, "Easy come, easy go" alluding to the fact that it hadn't actually cost him anything since it was a 'business courtesy gift' from a vendor at work. But still..!

I just feel awful about it, even though it's been three days now. It was so pretty and it just re-emphasized my basic inability to take care of anything. It's only by the grace of God that I have not inadvertently caused permanent injury to my children or spouse.

Oh, and I still haven't found my wedding ring. I feel like a slug. A clumsy slug.

I tried to upload a cute video to cheer us all up, but it didn't work. Figures.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Loverly Day

Today was beautiful (like yesterday) with little or no wind and temperatures in the 70s. Yes, it's January. I checked the calender.

We went for a walk to the school to see Grandma Lilibeth and then walked by the little horse paddock at the end of our street on the way home. Mim and Zaya decided that they had some pet horses too. They each have two of them. Mim's horses are called "Booboo" and "Meeba". Zaya's horses are "Conpantry" and "Meadow". I had nothing to do with any of those names.

Now I know where to take the carrots, apples and other produce that we never get around to eating, though. The horses have been down there for a couple years, but it never occurred to me that the kids would enjoy tossing the occasional bruised apple into their pen.

Mim is calling for me to come sit on the porch with her while she visits with Gatito. Why not? Art will forgive me if he comes home to a crazy house just this one more time, right? I'll have it all clean from now on. Really. Maybe.

Friday, January 04, 2008

It's All Part of the Fun

Sure it looks cute from the front...

but this... why I wonder at the Divine decision to give me a daughter.

The poor little girl's going to have to learn how to do her own hair by the time she's three, purely out of self-defense.

At least it's now long enough for pig tails etc. It'll help with the craziness, I hope.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


This is the kind of thing that can happen when I take my evening soak. Art "watches" the kids after supper while I go have a nice quiet bath and do a little reading. I'm so glad he lets me enjoy than brief respite, but it's best if I just don't think about what might be happening out in the living room. At least he cleaned most of it up before I got out of the tub.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #44

13 Presents I received this year. (Not all, just 13 of them. If I missed yours, don't be offended.)

1. A new computer chair. - From Mom and Dad. It's a nice black leather chair that I am sitting in at this very moment.

2. A brown leather purse - This is from my mother-in-law. She was nervous about choosing the right kind because there are so many options out there. I told her I'd much rather she or her daughters pick it out because then I think it's probably in style. (I have no clue about that kind of thing myself.)

3. Season 1 of Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain - Mom's been looking for these for her three "kids" for a long time. She finally found them on and gave us each one season of each series. (We were big fans as kids and young teens.)

4. Disney's Robin Hood - This was from my husband and was originally on my amazon wish list.

5. The Muppet Movie - Also from Art and also on my wish list

6. A wind-up radio flashlight - From Grandma and Grandpa P. This flashlight doesn't need batteries so it can be used in emergencies. Call me a boy scout, but I like to be prepared.

7. The Quote Verifier and Sink Reflections - From Art's cousin's fiance. Ok, I know that sounds strange, but we drew names at Grandma T's house, and he got my name. This book was from my wish list. Sink Reflections is the Flylady's book about how to manage/clean/organize your home. I like to read it and pretend that I'm going to put into practice. Tomorrow.

8. Bread Machine - From my mother-in-law. I made a loaf with it this morning, and it turned out just right. Mmm. Nothing like fresh-baked bread and a minimum of effort.

9. Stretchy Scarves - These were from Aunt Hazel. They're lovely and warm

10. Swarovski Snowflake Necklace - This was from Art. Sort of. Actually it was an ornament from a vendor. (A business courtesy gift) Art went to Wal-Mart and bought a silver chain for it, so now it's my genuine Austrian crystal snowflake necklace.

11. Scrapbook Stickers - From my sis-in-law Lizzy. She knows me well. I'm all about the stickers for scrapbooking. Making those special little borders and designs out of cut paper is all well and good, but it's just not going to happen here. Sorry.

12. Digital Photo Frame - This was actually a birthday gift from my mother-in-law, but since my birthday is so close to Christmas they tend to run together. Art loaded up an SD card with pictures from the last 3 or so years and it plays a constant running slide show on my piano now.

13. Planet Earth - Also a birthday gift. From Art. I've already watched almost all of it, and it's very interesting. The kids like it too. (As long as I fast forward the predator scenes.)

Check here for more Thursday Thirteen.

West Texas Christmas (On New Year's Day)

Well, we survived a total of 5 1/2 hours in the car with the kids yesterday. They were actually very good, because we left home early in the morning and left Texas late in the evening, so they were tired.

The kids loved opening presents from Grandma and Grandpa P and all the aunts and uncles, even though we didn't actually get to see everyone. We enjoyed getting to meet Hazel and hope to get to know her better in the future as she adjusts to us and learns more and more of the language.

I have a few great quotes from this weekend. If you don't know my grandparents this may not be funny, but since most of my readership consists of family members, these shouldn't need much explanation. The quotes are from memory and may not be verbatim. I don't think Grandma and Grandpa would've appreciated my putting a digital voice recorder in front of them and asking them to repeat themselves. A little awkward for the flow of conversation.

Grandma P

"I don't know why so many women think making pie crust is hard. It's just like playing with playdough." - Grandma makes those absolutely perfect pie crusts that are just the right texture, color and taste. According to Grandma, it's easier than it looks.

"I can't believe it's January and we're still eating tomatoes. We literally had thousands of those things this year." - The Victory Garden still lives in my Grandparents home.

Grandpa P

"They had peas and corn 3 for 89 cents so I bought a couple cases." This would be par for the course at my grandparents house. Grandpa is always on the hunt for a good bargain.

"I wonder what's in this can." - Grandma wanted Grandpa to get a can of green beans out from the shelf, but he wanted to see if one of his label-less cans might have green beans. After finding one full of spinich and one full of some strange tomato/green stuff he gave up for the time being and got a can with a label on it.

"That carpenter's glue was all gummed up; you couldn't even pour it out. When I put it in blender the blades wouldn't move, so I put it in the mixer instead and added a little hot water. I think it'll work now." - There is no effort too great if it saves a little money. (I would be comparing the cost of a new blender to a new container of carpenter's glue, but maybe there's something I don't know there.)

"I had seven eggs for breakfast yesterday. Of course, 6 of them were Banty eggs and the other was a pigeon egg." - I think I can safely say that my grandpa is obsessed with birds. He always has chickens, and almost always another type of bird as well. In the past there were ducks, geese, turkey, quail and others. Now it's just chickens and pigeons. Art calls them Grandpa's Random-Acts-of-Kindness Pigeons. The flock started when Grandpa rescued pigeons here and there. Some from under an overpass, and the first one from a hawk that he yelled at. Now he's got a little flock that lives with the chickens and, apparently, provides eggs, although Grandpa said they cooked up strangely.