"These happy golden years are passing by, these happy golden years." Laura Ingalls Wilder

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

He Read ... I Wept

I see a yellow car.

I see a horse and a boy.

I see a fish and a yellow ball.

These are the first words I've ever heard Nathan read. He brought home his first reading paper from school yesterday. (Even wrote his name on top of the page.) Little words, line upon line, little steps forward, one foot at a time.

(Nathan is my 10 year old son that has Down syndrome.)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Could You Be A D*O*V*E Girl?

I'm sure by now if you have a TV or magazine subscription you've seen the advertisements of middle age and older women clad in their birthday suits strategically posed as to not show too much "ECKS-rated" (rolf) skin. Now really, if the gender was reversed and they used old wrinkly skinned overweight men the company sales would take a fast nose dive. (Me thinks) I would have to return my magazine to the store shelf and/or cancel the remainder of my twenty-four month subscription. While I applaud this company for their efforts to show real women instead of stick-thin air brushed models, some things are best left covered in modest attire and relegated to be seen only under the marriage bed covers. But if you'd like to try a free sample of their newest line, go right ahead. I sent away for mine just this morning. If you haven't viewed the ads, you can before or after ordering your sample.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Does Anyone Really Care About The Oscars?

As a young child I remember watching the Oscars each year. My grandparent's had a color TV, so we usually watched from their living room. Not since the early 1980's have I even remotely cared about watching the parade of stars and starlets that disgrace the red carpet. I hate hearing about who's wearing what designer, and has borrowed very expensive jewelry ... and let's not forget what after awards party and which "Hollywood" chef is hosting a backstage bash these people attend. Do we really need a weeks worth of seeing so-and-so getting primped for the event. Do I really care what type of shoes or handbag are being worn? And then there's a week of post Oscars news to start flipping through on the TV. I may have to pull the TV plug for the next week lest I get a migraine from boring old Hollywood. Does anyone even know what movies are up for awards? Or best actress or actor awards? I haven't a clue ... do you?

Friday, February 23, 2007

All In A Name

If you had the stomach to follow all the nonsensical threads about my true identity in the comment section in the last post, it is possible for a person to have several names and still be one and the same. For security reasons, I try not to reveal too much personal info at any given time. HELLO PEOPLE, this is the big bad Internet and with only a few Google searches, it's possible to find just about anybody;) . And if you're willing to pay a small fee, someone can even get your address and phone number if you're not in the directory. Once they have your address, they can use Google Earth to zoom in on a picture of you hanging laundry in the backyard;). I may be a bit paranoid from being married to an officer of the law (ya think?), but I'd rather play it safe. Of course, when you are invited over for tea and scones all pseudonyms can be dropped. Now go have a safe day.

Photos: Will the real Mrs. Mac please stand up?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Time For Pampering

The past few months have taken their toll on my hands. From stripping paint, painting, using glaze, and getting a hole in my rubber work gloves, my fingers resemble a vagabond's or construction worker's scratchy stained hands. I've used scrub brushes, soaps, you name it, but my hands look dirty. Brown paint glaze has gotten embedded in my overworked dry winter fingers and I'm thinking of having to wear a pair of my grandmother's white cotton gloves until I grow some new skin.

Friday is my hair appointment; this is to "remove" any signs of gray hair and get a fresh stylish cut on the ends. I try not to be too vain, and Lord knows my closet screams simplicity, but I just can't let go of keeping up with my hair color. At what age should a woman go a la natural with her hair? This is not meant to offend those of you that have let nature take its own course with your hair ... more power to you. And some women actually age very gracefully with beautiful silver hair. But for me, my hair un-touched resembles a pad of steel wool, and the lack of color takes every bit of life out of my face. Your opinions are welcomed.

"Gray hair is a crown of splendor;
it is attained by a righteous life."
Proverbs 16:31

edit: No, those are not my hands, I don't sport any tattoos :),

Monday, February 19, 2007

My Shrinking Food Bill

With two out of the nest, and dh away, my food bill has gone way down! No more stocking two refrigerators/freezers, shopping for mega sizes at Costco, buying 48 rolls of toilet paper, etc. I've even been a bit lax about fixing a proper dinner at night. Some days we have a sandwich or breakfast for dinner. Easy meals are my new best friends. There was a time when I'd have made homemade everything: yeast rolls, salad dressings, cookies, etc. But my motivation has changed to making do with less and that which is easier. Now that my daughter Ann is looking for employment, that means just Nathan and myself for dinner ... cereal anyone?? I saw this same pattern happen with my mother-in-law when her husband passed away. She almost forgot how to cook for a crowd. Just to keep my cooking skills honed, I try to have my daughter and son-in-law over for Sunday dinner each week. And with talk about the "bird flu" still present in the local papers, I guess I should really do a little more emergency preparedness by stocking a supply of canned goods and medicine should we have to stay home for a period of time. So what about you? Are you at the stage in life that requires less cooking? Have you prepared for an emergency? It's pretty scary to think that most of us have only enough on hand for a few day's supply of food. Is your pantry pathetic or practical?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

I'm So Excited ... It' A CFD

CFD = Coat Free Day, YIPPEE!!!

The first one since I can remember when!!! Way back in the memory bank, perhaps early October is the last one I can think of.

Friday, February 16, 2007

A Spring-like Day

Warmth, sunshine, fresh air ... these are three things I've missed the past few months. But today turned out to be a glorious cloud free day. If I was a cat, I'd find myself a nice cozy windowsill to bask away the day. The life of a cat: nap a little, chase your tail, nap a little, eat a little, have your owner scratch behind your ears, take a nap again. Sounds pretty tempting to me ... but back to work I go ... well, maybe I'll take a nap first, meow!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

In Case You're Curious ...

You may or may not wonder what would make a family just pick up and move 1400 miles from home to a "foreign" land with few friends, no home, very limited family, and cold winters. I've asked myself that question often the past year and a half. What exactly possessed dh and me to do such a thing. Well, I think the timing had all to do with everything. Dh was nearing his final two years of his law enforcement career, we still had unmarried children that would/could relocate. Most police officers retire out of the environs of the town they served ... especially if it's a mega crime laden city, to "greener pastures" so to speak. But how did we come to choose our new town??? First and foremost ... we asked God to guide us. Then we started researching on line random areas. A website popped up called "Find Your Spot.com" ... and the rest is history. I took a quiz, said to search for towns in the northwest area with certain criteria, and up popped about 13 towns from Colorado, Montana, Utah, Oregon, Idaho and Washington. After settling on our current town as one to explore, Dh informs me that he has some buddies that retired there. One thing led to another and we contacted a realtor to show us some property. Of course there was the whole discourse between dh and myself, "do we build or buy something existing?" Buying property and building became our first choice. So with our property do's & don'ts list in hand, we visited the area, met with the realtor, looked at property for one day, fell in love with the lot we ended up purchasing ... it had everything that was on our check list btw ... made the offer on day two and received word that it was accepted the morning before we flew home. That was in September of '05. By late October we had listed our home and by February '06 we had it sold. During this time of listing our home, we (I) searched on-line through probably 1500 house plans. There were certain things we needed to accommodate Nathan ... such as having the bedrooms on the same level and together. You've read how I have to get up at night with him, can you just imagine having to traipse through the house (?) ... most newer plans have the master bedroom on another floor or end of the house. So we hired a draftsman to take our scratches on a napkin and turn them into a house designed for our needs. This whole process took a spark of vision, lots of nerve, steel guts, and a pioneer spirit. Any regrets? Nope! Would I do it again? Nope! (edit ... no need to do it again!)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Giving Notice

I'm giving my notice today by way of letter to my landlord. This has been a very long (nearly) year of living cramped in a small rental home, without a fenced yard, dealing with Nathan and his dog Miss Holly. Next month I'll be snoozing in my king size bed (ahhhh). Dh won't have to pull out the little trundle bed when he visits :). My dressers and nightstands will be in place, my clothes hung with care in the closet, no more rummaging through a storage box in the garage. The kitchen will finally be organized and my rolling pin and baking sheets will be unpacked! Cookbooks too will be resting on a shelf ... and I'll have plenty of bathroom space! I'm getting rather "antsy" to move and establish our home. It will be a tremendous amount of work, but the end result should be worth the hassle. All the cars will fit in the garage ... no more scraping ice and snow off the windshields in the morning ... and they should be much warmer to get into. One other benefit will be more exercise. Prior to moving I was used to running up and down stairs all day. Currently, I only have to walk about 25 feet or less to access any part of this rental. I really need the exercise! All I can say is that God has opened up so many doors and windows to allow us to relocate and build our home, that to be this close to moving is rather exciting. But, there's a lot of work to get done between now and then ... then being March 9th. Dh is expected to arrive on the 8th. During his stay we have four birthday's to celebrate ... unfortunately he will miss our grandson's arrival by about a week unless he is born early. Can you feel the excitement in the air?? Start sending me those extra packing boxes you have stashed away in the garage!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Day Tripping

Since a lot of you Canadian and Mid-Westerners are deep in a snow drift, or hibernating during the deep freeze, why not day dream about a few mini trips you can take during the warmer months that lie just ahead? The day dreams have to be of a semi local nature, and perhaps some place you've never visited, but always meant to see; in your own backyard, down the street around the corner, 20 ... 50 ... or ... 100 miles from home. Somewhere you can go and come back the same day or spend the weekend. I'm not talking about the save for ten years type of two week vacation, just the affordable, do-able on a shoe string budget type of trip. Here's my top three:

1. International Selkirk Loop: North America's first and only scenic byway. We can catch this about 45 minutes north of our home and will probably have to be a weekend jaunt. Too bad dh and I don't have Harley's ... vroooom, vrooom! Travels through Washing, Idaho and British
Columbia. Check out the link above.

2. Route Of The Hiawatha at Lookout Pass: This section of the bike route is an easy downhill grade of family friendly trail through some of the most scenic stretches in the country. You only have to ride it one way (I'm all for the easy downhill part :) This too is a day trip.

3.Cataldo Mission: This beautiful historic building is about a thirty minute drive. It's in an unspoiled area and boasts the oldest structure in Idaho.

Your assignment should you accept is to report back with your top three summer destinations in your own back yard. I can't wait to check out your areas.

Photos: Rout of the Hiawatha and The International Selkirk Loop

PS: You southern belles are welcome to day trip along with your northern pals. Share the wealth :)

I'll even post a link if you provide enough info:

Cheryl's Top Links: Tybee Island, GA; Nantahala Forest; Dahlonega, GA
Miss Terry's Links: Banff, Alberta; Golden, British Columbia; Alberta; Prairies of Manitoba
Gramma_s Links: Leslie Gulch, Oregon; Silver City, Idaho; Balanced Rock & Shoshone Falls
(near Twin Falls, Idaho)
Pat's Top Links: Frankenmuth, MI; Frankfort, MI; Greenfield Village & Henry Ford Museum, Dearbor MI (metro Detroit) You can't forget Mackinac Island & Fudge Shops
Margie's Links: Cedar Point, Sandusky, OH; Put In Bay, Lake Erie

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Country Music Rocks

Do you have a music preference? I didn't, that is, until recently. I grew up during the rock and roll
rebellion of the 70's. Once on a date at a rock concert I actually fell asleep. You see, my brain is not wired to "appreciate" loud NOISE. My poor date must have thought, "what a dud"! Most of the music that shaped my youth came from the Hi-Fi record player at my grandparent's home. Some of their favorites were: Tony Bennet, Engleburt Humperdink, The Ink Spots (!), and let's not forget watching the Lawrence Welk show each week :) ... just to name a few. My dad listened to country music ... the old school country music ... sad twangy songs usually. That was not "my bag" ... but I heard it along with Glenn Campbell, Tom Jones, Mitch Miller (and the "bouncing ball" to the lyrics on tv), Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Neil Diamond, etc.
So all of a sudden this gal without her own music taste, discovers more recent country ... and the whole subculture of country gospel. Maybe it's the down-home-simple-easy-lyrics that touch my soul that I can relate to. By the way, my kids think it's cool to listen to Frank Sinatra ... What's your favorite music of today and yesterday?

Monday, February 05, 2007

News Flash: Cyber Snowball Fight Called Off

My friend, Miss Terry (aka Canadian Blogger) has made a peace offering in our ongoing cyber snowball fight. While she did get snow up in Ontario, it was too powdery to make a snowman, let alone a snowball. Hence the photo she made for me (that I borrowed without her permission). What a nice friend to make such a greeting card. She really is such a dear. Go ahead and pay her a little visit and see some of her other photos too! Thanks Miss Terry

Saturday, February 03, 2007

In The Dark? A One Eyed Mother

So Thursday, Nathan (as is routine) enjoyed his 1 cup purchase of popcorn at school. This is his limit as it just does wonders to his intestines. In fact, when he was about 3, our older kids watched him while dh and I went to sign papers for a new car. I later discovered that they had sat him in front of the TV and he devoured an entire bag of microwave popcorn. This led to a partial bowel obstruction and he was in the hospital for a week pooping popcorn, thus my 1 cup limit with him. Not to mention that at birth his colon ruptured and he had to have many surgeries to finally get him "hooked up" ... now the popcorn at school seems to be slowing down his digestive track too. Nothing too severe ... but I know that by Friday, things seem a bit sluggish :) And last night pushed me to the limit of ever allowing him another bite of popcorn; I've lost track of how many times I had to get up to tend to him ... over popcorn! But sometime between 1 and 2 AM, I decided to give him some sleepy medicine ... aka Benedryl. You know, just to give him a little chance to relax and fall asleep. (OK so it was for my benefit too.) My eyes were not working properly, in fact, only one eye would even open at this point of my exhaustion. I soon discovered that our liquid Benedryl was all gone. Next best thing I thought was a teaspoonful of NyQuil. Foolish me ... what did I go and do ... but with my one eye open ... I ended up giving him DayQuill instead; this only wired him even more! So this morning I have raccoon eyes and disheveled hair to match. Is he tired? No, he's still wired from my failed mission. Lesson learned: Take the time to fully wake up before giving your child sleepy medicine during the night and NO MORE POPCORN!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Just Call Me Gramma

I have a secret to share. Of course now it's not a "secret" ... but out there for all to read. After reading Pat's post yesterday about her love for babies, I thought it a good time to claim my soon to be grandmahood status. You know I'll have to post and boast about the new addition sooner or later, so how 'bout sooner? You say when? Well, towards the end of March to be exact. You say from whom, how bout me saying my daughter that got married last year. You say, but she just got married in December, I say ... do the math. Yes, she was expecting before her nuptials, and I must admit I was disappointed in her & him for not waiting until they were married, but that's water under the bridge so to speak. She did have the wherewithal to not move in with her beloved, and to want to make a wrong a right, so I have to give them credit for that smart move. Hence the rush, rush of a shortened engagement. It's to be a grandson. His name is Jacob. Maybe Miss Terry will be so kind as to find out the meaning of his name and get back with me. Excited? Me? Of course!

Photo: Baby Jacob being "knit together" in his mother's womb. He has his mother's nose :)

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth

psalm 139:13-15