Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bookworm-isms

We had an awards banquet for the end of basketball season. It was fun. They had a juggler for entertainment. He shared the story of man's fall into sin while he juggled, and then told the story of Jesus's birth, death and resurrection. It was really neat to watch him integrate different objects and methods of juggling to illustrate his story. At the end he had a pitch fork, and 2 giant knives he was juggling. He had one of the coaches come to the front. He had him lie on the floor then placed a blindfold over him. He said he was going to juggle the knives over the guy, and that the coach trusting him reflected our faith in Christ. We may not always see what's going to happen, but we have to trust it will be okay. Well, the juggler switched the knives out for toilet plungers. It was funny and thought provoking.

On the way home, Popcorn was talking about that mean trick the juggler played. I said I wasn't even sure if the knives were real. Bookworm said "Yeah, he should have sliced a tomato to show us they were real. He could have sliced thousands of tomatoes, and we could have given them to the poor. We would say 'Here you go, poor.'" I guess the poor would just show up, plates in hand ready to get fresh juggler-sliced tomatoes. Or maybe we would have to post a sign at the church: FREE sliced tomatoes for the poor. I don't know, but "Here you go, poor."

Last night Bookworm registered for softball. Don't tell Popcorn, but I did a happy dance inside when she said she didn't want to do softball. Well, Studmuffin picked Bookworm up at piano, took her to register for softball, and headed straight to Acadamy to get all of the paraphernalia she will need. She has never played softball, and truthfully, she's a wimp. I'm not sure how she's going to handle a ball flying at her. Or sliding into base. Or anything that risks injury. But, Studmuffin was a baseball player, so I know he can help her.

FYI, my kids both have crazy skinny feet, but Bookworm's are worst. It was a challenge finding a baseball cleat that was long enough, but wouldn't fall off of her heal. She had to have cleats, a helmet and face guard, a bat, glove, balls, a tee to learn to bat correctly, and some sort of thing that you practice batting with that involves tying something to the basketball goal, and it will swing around. I don't get it, but then it's sports....I typically don't get sports "stuff" and that's fine with me.

At the check out Bookworm expressed concern over the amount. She asked how much everything cost. Studmuffin told her the total of registration and the equipment. She was quiet for a minute and then...."Do you need me to help you pay for that?"

Isn't that sweet? She has some money in a savings account, and she keeps asking when she gets to use it. We keep telling her it's for college and maybe a car when she's older. She asked me how much college will cost. I said about $20,000/year. I know that's a big number, but I know it's not getting any cheaper, and I want her to realize that it's important to save for it. I also want her to realize that she will have to make good grades and work hard to go to school. She said "Ummm, Mom? That's a lot of money. You may have to help me pay for that. I don't know if I can save that much by then." I laughed. Of course she won't have enough money! And, she'll go to college no matter what. But, I'm glad she's thinking about it. Poor Bookworm. She's so earnest, and she usually has no clue why I burst out laughing at her deep thoughts. But, she's learned to be a good sport and laugh with me.

Oh! One more thing. My brother's kids stayed the weekend with us. They are 13 & 14. We were talking about being weird. Me, specifically, being weird. I told Kris that I have no problem with my weirdness-I've come to embrace it. Popcorn piped up, "Yeah, my mom's really weird. But I don't care. I like it!" Good to know.....Good to know. I may need to remind her of that in a few years......

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pear Butter

Studmuffin's aunt gave me a sack of pears this summer. We ate what we could, and then I decided to freeze the rest, get some more from her (free, of course) and make some jelly to give away as presents. Well, I never got around to getting some more pears, so this is what I came up with.

The Saga of The Pears

Eat as many pears as your family can. Notice they are starting to over-ripen. Peel and dice the pears, then place in freezer where you will promptly forget about them. In November you will remember the pears, but not get around to doing anything. December rolls around, and you will really need some homemade gifts for family, but again will do nothing with your pears, because there really is not enough for you to make jelly for gifts and still have some for your family, and while you want to be generous, you know yourself well, and you are really selfish with homemade treats.....

In late January you will ask your daughter to put the sodas in the fridge which is in your garage. Two days later you will go to open the mini fridge, and find no sodas.....Hmmmmm.....

You will then discover the missing sodas that very evening as you go to get some meat out of the freezer....Unfortunately you will be unable to enjoy these Dr. Pepper made with Imperial pure cane sugar because they have now exploded all over the bottom of your freezer. You will make a disgusted sound, grab your meat, shrug it off, and go to make dinner for your family....

You will intentionally forget about the sodas exploded all over the bottom 2 shelves of your freezer, because you have a wonderful husband who cleaned the exploded soda out of your mini fridge just the week before. (The fridge was a freebie, of course. Your husband's work was throwing it out and he recycled it for our family's use! I'm tellin' ya...You are G-R-E-E-N!). The fridge has thermostat issues, and occasionally freezes all drinks inside with no warning.

But, I've digressed...You are ignoring the exploded soda's in your deep freeze...After all, it's only the bottom 2 shelves, and really, you are good at ignoring things that you don't want to deal with....Like dust. You ignore this very easily, until your 2 lovely children have a moment to do it for you! And, while they grumble and complain about it, you realize that making your children do things they don't enjoy doing is great for building character!

On a Saturday in late February your husband, who really is the most wonderful husband EVER, will clean out the deep freeze.....Patience pays off! He will discover the bag of pears. Wonderful! You are in the perfect mood to make something....What shall it be? You flip through several recipe books, and come up with this lovely and easy recipe, that is really a mixture of several other recipes, but hey it worked!

Pear Butter

6 c. finely chopped and peeled pears.
2 c. sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
salt (I didn't measure it, sorry)
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Place all in crock pot and cook on high 1 hour. Stir. Reduce heat and cook until mixture is thick and a lovely brown color, stirring occasionally. You can use your potato masher to smash them up if you like. Enjoy the lovely aroma of Christmas throughout your home during this process...Without the stress of the holidays!

I put the mixture in several small canning jars. Here's how I seal jars, just in case you care, and if not too bad, we've already established this is my blog and I can say what I want!

After cleaning the jars, I put them in my oven at about 200 (okay, that's a lie, I put them in at 400 because I was also baking corn bread at the same time....The point is to get the jars good and hot). I boil the lids in a small pan of water. Place jelly in your jar leaving a little room at top (about 1/2 inch) place lid and secure with ring. Turn jars upside down on a towel or rack. Say "Abracadabra Kernoodle, Kerplop! Make these lids seal with a small little *POP*!" And, magically, your lids will seal! Amazing, I know!

FYI: One year I made jalapeno jelly, and apparently I over cooked it a tad. I turned my jars over to seal, and went about my day, completely forgetting them. They sealed alright....But they also set up with all of my lovely jalapeno jelly stuck at the top and a big open space on the bottom of my jar. I still gave it away, but only to people who I knew wouldn't judge me for my scatter brained ways....They know I'm scatter brained and love me anyway!

Well, that's all the knowledge I have to give you today. Now I must return to laundry...Today is bedding day. Oh, joy. I can't wait until the girls are strong enough to stretch sheets into place. I know making up bed will be great for building their character! *snicker*

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Winter Fun

As many of you know, we had an ice storm a few weeks ago. Bookworm and I built this seal. You see, it wasn't snow, just inches and inches of ice with a little snow peppered in here and there. The day it started to thaw, we worked quickly to form this little cutie. And for anyone who doesn't remember, Bookworm hates the sun in her eyes, so we settled for a closed eye shot to document her creation.
Kelsey was put to work. I had the girls hold one leash and I lead her with the other and she easily pulled them on the ice. This shot is on an old box, but we ended up using a laundry basket and it seemed to work the very best. And, for any animal rights activists, we did this just a few times because I was afraid it would hurt her neck. I'm totally considering a harness for next year. The dog really didn't seem to mind as long as she was pleasing me, and the kids loved it!
Of course, the puppy tended to get in the way. I scolded her twice for getting in the way, and the third time I scolded her, Kelsey took discipline into her own hands. Holly stayed out of the way after that!
Believe it or not, the pool floaty was the best sled we had. Of course we didn't have a sled, so we were making do with whatever we could find. Unfortunately the floaty only lasted about 30 minutes before it popped. You'd expect more from a dollar store floaty!
Yep, Holly stayed out of our sled dog's way....But she still ran around like a maniac the rest of the time....And most of that time she had Popcorn's stocking cap in her mouth!

Holly update: She is not house trained. She stays outside. She does come in the garage to eat, so I can be sure she gets to eat. She is actually well mannered. She sits politely while you scoop her food, and then doesn't actually eat until you scratch her, then tell her to eat. Then, when she's done eating, she sits at your feet with her head cocked to the side, waiting expectantly for her scratch behind the ears! Yep, she's turned out better, so far, than I expected. I think having an older dog who is well mannered helps. Also, it helps that we refuse to pet her if she's running and jumping all over the place. So, all in all, she's pretty good for a bird dog. But, she does have that unfortunate "bird dog" smell. Oh well, I guess I can't have everything!Holly showing her good manners while she waits to be let out of the garage.

Kelsey, wondering why anyone would be even remotely interested in a pesky puppy when she is obviously more trustworthy and better mannered! Quite frankly, she's disgusted by the whole thing.

Sunset

Psalm 104:2-3
He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.



Okay, I didn't take this picture. As you can see from my posts I am NOT a photographer. This photo was emailed to me by my mom, and it was taken at Lake Hefner by Michael Danielson. But, for anyone who doesn't know, Oklahoma is known for glorious sunsets and sunrises. With all the open prairie, and nice flat plains you can see for miles. No hills or trees to obstruct your view! I guess there's something to be said for the lack of trees. Anyway, I love sunrise and sunset. We have great views of both out our back yard (it faces north), especially since we back up to a lovely field with no houses to obstruct our view. I love to sit on the deck of our pool on summer evenings and watch the sunset. It's great to be back in Oklahoma. So, there is no point to this post. Just a picture of God's amazing handiwork to share with you this morning! Praise him for his excellent works!

Friday, February 20, 2009

The American Way

Want to read an inspiring story about one town pulling itself up by it's bootstraps? A story of a community with a true sense of responsibility and unity? A story of a town that takes matters into it's own hands? This is a town that will truly inspire you.....

But wait!

This town is not an American town....

No, it's not.

It's a town in.................................................Australia!

Check it out!
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090220/ap_on_re_au_an/as_australia_wildfires

Go ahead and be inspired by a town that has been completely devastated. A town that doesn't wait for someone else to come in and rescue them. A town that is not sitting waiting for a government or any other kind of handout. Nope, no FEMA cards given here. They developed a plan of recovery, and they are working together to get it done. Imagine that.

More Spring Fever


Can you guess what my girls are dreaming about? They have spent more time fantasizing over this little sale bill than I used to spend staring at the JCPenney Christmas catalogue! What do you think the odds are that we can convince Studmuffin to get baby chickens? Never mind that it would involve building a coop when we need a fenced in back yard for the dogs....Or that I happen to own a known chicken assassin....Still, it sure seems fun in theory!



My tomatoes are doing well. I just stuck them in some old pots and put them in my kitchen window. The girls have loved watching them grow.



Now to see if I can keep them alive until May when they can be planted outside!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cleaning a Shotgun

Bookworm was full of smiles and sparkling with excitement when I picked her up. She was practically glowing.....I was smiling just looking at her....but then she told me......And my smile became a little more strained.

Studmuffin is cleaning his shotgun.

Guess why?





A FOURTH GRADER WANTS TO BE HER BOYFRIEND, THAT'S WHY!!!!



Bookworm: Hey Mom! Guess what Tyler said today! *giggle*
Me: What?
Bookworm: Well, we were on our way to pick up Nanna (Tyler is the babysitter's son...Nanna is the grandma), and Brady had Tyler ask me to be his girlfriend, *giggle* but I said 'I'm not allowed' so Tyler told Brady *giggle* and then Brady had Tyler ask me if I would like him if I was allowed to have a boyfriend, and then I said 'I don't know!' *giggle, giggle, giggle*

Okay, so I'm inwardly freaking, yet of course, there's this little burst of happiness because she's so excited that a boy wants to be her boyfriend. But, I don't want my 3rd grader to have a boyfriend....

Me: So, do you want to have a boyfriend? If you were allowed, of course.
Bookworm *giggle*: I don't know!

Oh....Gentle Reader.....I think I know....

I think she's flattered that someone wants to be her boyfriend....Yep, my baby is growing up.....

Just a few short months ago she didn't think it was funny that someone wanted to be her boyfriend... In fact she was furious that some boys asked her if she was Ethan's girlfriend. She told the teacher that "2 boys in the hall were being mean and said that she was Ethan's girlfriend, and she's not, and you don't say that to someone when it's not true!" And then, she "gave them the meanest look ever and she showed them!"
Yep! Those boys didn't mess with her anymore!

So, we've gone from giving boys the "meanest look ever" to giggles. Yikes.

Excuse me now....I'm going to go drown my sorrows in a giant bowl of ice cream. Thank you.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spring Fever in February

I'm ready for summer. I hate to admit it, but I'm even missing Texas. Of course, I miss my friends daily, but now I'm missing the planting season. If we were down there I would be a few short weeks from planting my garden. I would not be worrying about a freeze undoing my work. In fact, one friend who was an avid gardener insisted everything be planted by spring break, and certainly before Easter, or you missed a big growing window. I gotta admit, I seldom made the Easter cutoff. And I was sick of the growing season by late September. Heck, I was sick of sweating in the garden by late July, and then I still had at least 2 months left!

Studmuffin and I went to Lowe's on Valentine's day while my parents had the girls for the evening. We love Lowe's. I bought tons of seeds for vegetables and flowers. I bought dahlia and daffodil bulbs. I bought a clematis root. I bought cosmo, alyssum, sweet pea, echinacea, shasta daisy, coreopsis, larkspur, and hollyhock seeds. I also bought spinach, mesclun, basil, oregano, and parsley seeds. Oh, and I bought a blueberry bush. I didn't know they grew here. Now I don't know where the heck I'm going to plant it, or if I can keep it alive until after the danger of frost, or if I should put it in a pot inside for awhile, or just stick it in the ground and see what happens. I'm starting to doubt the wisdom of that particular $6.97 purchase. Oh well, if it works, it will easily pay itself off. If not, lesson learned.

Yep, I'm ready for spring. I'm ready to be outside and get dirt under my nails and freckles on my nose. I'm ready for the smell of fresh turned dirt. I'm ready for the special smell of your garden when you just turned the sprinkler off after an early morning watering. I'm ready. I'm ready for dew on the green grass and lady bugs on my arm. I'm ready to play with lizards, and put frog houses out for toads. I'm ready for nests with eggs that will become scrawny birds with wobbly necks and mouths open wide. I'm ready. But sadly, Oklahoma is not.

Popcorn is ready for summer. She's been talking about it for over a week. She wishes it were hot enough to confuse the teachers into thinking it were summer, so she wouldn't have school. As a matter of fact, she talked about it all morning, and it was so cute, I had to share! Hope this doesn't take forever to load, because it sure took forever for me to upload to my blog!


video

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More driving adventures for your entertainment and my humiliation

We started driving young on the farm. I can remember driving the pickup while my dad scattered hay, or sacks of cake off the back of the feed wagon long before my feet could reach the pedals. We also all learned to drive standards. My dad was a very patient man.

The first time I drove the tractor all by myself I was probably about 12. My dad drove me to the field, 2 miles from our house, made one circle with me, then said he'd be back to pick me up in time for dinner. Then he left me. With no cell phone. No CB radio. Nada. Alone. Just me and a ginormous tractor and an entire field of dirt that needed turned so we could drill wheat.

I cried. Seriously. I was so scared I was doing it wrong. I was afraid I would mess something up. I hadn't dared to tell my dad I was scared. I didn't want him to think I was a baby or anything. After all, I was 12 years old! Practically an adult! So...I cried....For about 15 minutes. Then, I realized....It was kind of fun! And it's not rocket science! You drive around in circles, one terrace at a time, then finish out your corners, and move to the next terrace. And it's not like I hadn't been raised riding the tractor with my dad while my mom worked. I had really been "driving" the tractor my entire life. Just never alone. And dad thought I was grown up enough to do it all by myself! Imagine that!

Dad came and picked me up in time for dinner. He went on and on about what a great job I did, and how much I got done, and how proud he was. I was so proud I could burst. I loved driving the tractor.

Until I hated it. You see, driving the tractor is just what I said...driving in circles. While trying in vain to pick up a radio station. You quickly learn every single country song they are playing. Then you learn to sing the harmony for every country song they play. Then you start counting how many animals you scare up...rabbits, quail, snakes...whatever. You count the hawks and vultures circling the skies. Then you run out of diversions.... Yep, eventually, I hated driving that tractor. But at 12? I loved it. I thought I was the smartest, best tractor driver in the world.

I also thought I was a great feed wagon driver. This was about the time my oldest sister Dawn had my niece Sarah. Sarah was just about 6 months old. I know her age, because my grandparents were spending their summer in Laughlin, (sp?) Nevada, and it was my job to keep Grandma's plants alive while they were gone. I loved being an aunt. I wanted to spend every spare second with that cute little baby. I hated that I had chores that took me a whole 3 miles away and kept me from being with my precious niece. So, I was in a hurry. At 13 years old. Driving down dirt roads in a feed wagon (this is a pickup, usually 4 wheel drive, with a flat bed put on it, and a feed bin that has a spout on it so you can pour feed out to your cattle. This solves the problem of needing one person to pour cake out of the sack while another drives.)

Did I mention I was in a hurry? Well, I was. I was driving that old pickup as hard as it could go back to my parents. I hit a sandy spot. I slammed on my brakes. I went into a skid, and slid down an embankment, landing the pickup on it's driver's side.

There was a terrible rumbling sound. I shut off the key. The rumbling continued. I panicked. Oh no! It was going to blow! I stood on my door, rolled down the passenger window (by hand of course) clamored out, and took off running. I got a ways away, and realized: Oh no! The rumbling sound was the feed! My knee must have hit the switch on the dash when I wrecked! Dad will kill me if I waste all of the feed! I ran back, climbed in, turned OFF the switch, climbed back out, and took off running again. I cut through a field to shave off some time. Did I mention I was in a panic? Why I felt the need to RUN the entire mile or so home is a mystery. Through uneven fields with shoots of feed coming up. In my cowboy boots I ran. Never pausing. Through the yard. To the front door. I burst through the door where Mom, Dawn, and Les are sitting, having a chat.

"I WRECKED THE PICKUP!" I gasp out with tears on my face, panting and sweating, and....panicking. Dawn is nearest to me. She jumps up to see if I'm okay. Mom stands up and begins to bear down on me. I cringed behind Dawn, sure wrath is about to be poured out on me.....

Mom walks right past me, out the door, gets in the car and drives to check on the pickup!

What the......?

Apparently, Mom got just out of the driveway, turned to Les (who of course jumped in the car with her) and said "What is wrong with me? I didn't even ask if she was okay! Well, I guess she's fine, she walked home." She proceeded to go see about the pickup.

I was fine. Just some glass in my hair and a small sliver in my hand. Dawn patched me up before she left with them again. They had gotten the tractor to go right the pickup and see if it was drivable.

Guess who called?

Dad.

I answer the phone. "Hi, Andi! How are you?"

"Fine." It was the truth.

"Is your sister still there?"

"They haven't left for home yet." Still dodging details.

"Can I talk to her? I wanted to know if they would be there when I get home from checking wells."

"They're not here." Give as little information as possible.

"I thought you said they were?"

"They had to go somewhere with Mom." Evade. Evade. Evade.

"Where did they go?"

"THEY WENT TO CHECK ON THE PICKUP BECAUSE I HIT A SANDY SPOT ON MY WAY HOME FROM GRANDMA'S AND I WRECKED THE PICKUP!"

Silence. Just for a moment. Then, "Are you okay?"

I burst into tears. Again. Apparently there were lots of tears in my life at this point. "I'm fine." I stutter out.

"Good. I'm sure it will be okay. I'll see you later!"

And that was that. Not another word was said to me about the wreck. Bless my parents and their self control. No nagging. no lectures.

I used to wonder why I never got in trouble for driving too fast down dirt roads. Not paying attention to my surroundings. Not being more careful.....Then one day I realized something...

Many years later, of course....

I WAS 13 YEARS OLD! What, exactly, do you say to your 13 year old daughter that you let drive all over the county checking cattle, watering her grandma's yard, driving back and forth from the field......What do you say to that? You're not going to take away the keys. Then she couldn't do all of the work that had to be done!

Now, years later, people have attempted to tease me about the wreck. I calmly reply....
"I WAS 13 YEARS OLD! WHAT DID YOU PEOPLE EXPECT?!"

Apparently the penchant for drama is not completely gone. But at least I don't burst into tears! Hey! Progress is progress!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Rodents on the Run

Studmuffin can be pretty smug. He read my True Love Story. He said he knew I was in love with him that night. So much for thinking he's modest! He reminded me that he gave me a little peck good night, and I grabbed his face and planted a big ole smacker on him. I'm sure he exaggerates. That seems more forward than friendly....I'm sure I was just....friendly!

My mom saved me from complete Valentine Chocolate deprivation. She showed up with some Lindt truffles. Thank heavens. Now I don't have to harbor secret bitterness about that for the next 12 months!

Our day got off to an exciting start yesterday. Ava was missing from her cage. It seems her cage door was left open at some point Saturday. Studmuffin had been dreaming about hearing a mouse chewing....We found a gerbil dropping in the hallway...Another in the living room. It was almost time for church, and I was really dreading spending my Sunday nap time looking for a gerbil that could really be anywhere. I had finished getting everyone ready and was ironing my shirt. A dark object ran out from under our bed, then darted back. I screamed. Of course. Then I cheered. Yay, now I know where Ava is! Apparently that dream about a mouse chewing was Ava chewing under our bed! She ran back out and under again. I couldn't help it...I screamed again. I couldn't help it. I'm not at all frightened of Ava. It's just the suggestion of a rodent running out from under my bed that makes me squeal like a girl. Studmuffin came in, and caught the little booger. She's normally very slow and awkward. It seems she had the taste of freedom, and she wasn't giving up without a fight. We ran her out from under the bed. She ran behind the night stand. Then she ran under a pile of pillows. Studmuffin trapped her, lifted her, and she LEAPED out and dove under the chest of drawers, but fortunately came out the other side. We finally got her cornered under the flap of a box. Studmuffin reached in and grasped her very firmly while returning the little escape artist to her cage.

So, the trauma of Ava's escape reminded me of a story....Aren't you excited?

When I was in high school, I always slept until the last possible moment. My mom was my bus driver, so I had to be on the bus at 6:50 in the morning. I would do my makeup on the way to school, and even had a butane curling iron to help me achieve the appropriate 90s big bangs. I would usually eat a very nutritious breakfast of chocolate cake, or something equally healthy. Anyway, I am not a morning person. I don't do well with intelligent thought in the early moments of waking...This particular morning was no exception.

I woke up to my alarm, and my mom's usual chipper "Good morning!" Sometimes she even SANG! Ugh!I resisted the urge to throw something at her, and stumbled out of bed to the smell of fresh pancakes and hot maple syrup. My mom made pancakes every morning, and she used to even make her own syrup...But, by this point she had fallen from her tower of idealism, and resorted to buying maple syrup and heating it in the microwave. I hated the smell and taste of maple syrup for years. Remember, I'm not a morning person, and I associated that smell with early mornings and chipper parents...Not a good combo for a cranky teenager.

So, I digressed. Forgive me....

I stumbled out of bed, and went directly to the bathroom across the hall. I assumed my usual position. Elbows on knees. Head in hands. Eyes closed. Something ran across my foot. I cracked one eye open....There was a mouse between my bare toes and the wall. I shrieked. This startled the monster, and it ran BACK across my foot, and squeezed between the hamper door, and disappeared (we had a built in hamper.)

I totally freaked out at this point. I jumped up on the toilet, with one foot on either side of the bowl and continued to scream and shriek. My dad came busting in the bathroom, sure I was dying a horrible death, to find me in my Donald Duck nightgown, with my panties around my ankles, standing on the toilet, screaming....For no immediately apparent reason.

"M-m-m-m-mouse! Mouse! MOUSE! MOUSE!!!!"

"Where?" he asked.

"It r-r-r-r-rannnn u-u-u-u-under th-th-th-the h-h-h-hh-h-h-h-hammp-p-p-p-perrr!" More crying and wailing and general hysteria.

Dad opens the hamper. No mouse. He unhinges it, so it can open up flat. No mouse. You see, the access to get under the house was under the hamper. The little devil had done his duty of scaring the daylights out of me, then disappeared under the trap door (okay, this is really just a piece of plywood over the opening), to make me look like an over reactive crazy teenager. Which I'm sure I wasn't.

Dad started laughing.

And laughing.

And laughing some more.

Tears rolled down his cheeks.

His face turned red.

His laughter went all silent, like it does when he's so tickled he can't even breathe, his face turns purple, and you are sure he is going to have a stroke right then unless he stops and breathes.......which he finally does with a little gasp, and then this begins again with the only sound escaping being a little whine of air that comes out occasionally. The laughing goes on and on and on....Until it is finally finished with the official family finale... A big sigh.

I did not laugh. I was not amused. I was horrified. I was mortified. I was embarrassed. I was furious. My DAD had seen me standing on the toilet with my panties around my ankles, screaming about apparently.....NOTHING!

Dad laughed every time he looked at me that morning.

I was so embarrassed. Eventually I recovered. And even laughed......A little.

So, there you have it. A story to brighten your Monday morning. Hope your day is humiliation and rodent free!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Where's the Chocolate?

So, where is it? Not in my daughter's Valentine bag from school! What the hey-diddle is happening to young people today? Where is the little chocolate crisp hearts? The Kisses? The Hugs? The Reese's Peanut Butter Hearts? The KitKats? The Snickers? Where have they all gone?

I tell ya, we need to be very concerned about a generation of children in love with Sweettarts, Warheads, Laffy Taffy's and Tootsie Pops! Seriously... Don't they understand that their mommies have been planning on partaking of their bounty of chocolate since we realized we had to buy supplies for Valentine's? Don't they understand the sense of euphoria and well-being that comes from a chocolate fix? Plus, chocolate has anti-oxidants! Don't they think about anyone but themselves and what THEY like? Kids these days...They think it's all about them, them, them! Sheesh!

I've been planning on raiding my children's chocolate all week. What do I find? Just boring candy! And boring valentine's! Durnit, I wanted a giant chocolate heart! I wanted chocolate flowers! I WANTED CHOCOLATE!

I'm disappointed. And a little upset. Just in case you didn't notice. I guess I'll just have to comfort myself with a Redneck Tall Mocha Capuccino and a Dove chocolate. The sacrifices I have to make!

This rant has been brought to you by:
MWSTCC (mothers who steal their children's chocolate)
and
MWI (mothers with issues)
and
MWOHTMTOTHSTBEDOL (mothers who obviously have too much time on their hands, so they blog every detail of life).

If you would like to support any of these totally fictional foundations, please contact Andi @ andi-rambling.blogspot.com. She will gladly accept anything free. Thank you for joining us today.

Yes, this rant was utterly pointles...But I feel better now.


Thank you for your time.

A True Love Story Part Three

Well, Studmuffin and I only ran into each other occasionally for awhile. I knew he had a thing for me. I know that's terribly conceited, but I did know. For some strange reason this was the very reason I didn't want to date him. I thought I'd just walk all over him. However, you must realize how incredibly nice Studmuffin is.

Seriously, he is very nice. Example: I'm laying on the couch snuggled under a blanket last night. "Don't you wish the overhead light was off, and some lamps were on instead? That light is hurting my eyes." Studmuffin gets out from his warm blanket on his warm couch, adjusts the light, and brings me a drink while he's up! I KNOW! I totally don't deserve someone that nice! (Studmuffin has been heard to say: Yeah, I let her think she wears the pants in the family. But just about the time she starts to button them, I RIP THEM OFF! Yep, he shared that in CHURCH! I was so embarrassed. He loves to embarrass me.) But, back to our topic.

Unfortunately, that seemed to truly be my mindset in high school. I only liked nice boys for friends. If you treated me bad, had little to no respect for my feelings, then I was sure to be madly in love with you. Sick, I know. Anyway, Sabra, was sick and tired of it. She loved Studmuffin (as a friend, silly, don't be adding drama to this story!). She thought he was a great guy. She thought we should be together. She was obviously way smarter than me. Of course, I think I forgot to mention she had known Studmuffin before I did. For quite awhile. Sabra had moved a lot growing up, and I swear, that girl knew EVERYONE!

So, Sabra took matters in her own hands. She arranged a movie night with friends. There were going to be 6 of us going. The obvious people, and 3 other people who I forget. We were all to meet at her house at a certain time (probably about 5 o'clock or so) and head to the big town for dinner and a movie. I need to give you some background on where I lived. I lived 26 miles from the town I went to school in. Actually, I lived 26 miles from any town. I lived 55 miles from the nearest movie theater. Okay, quick flash forward: Do you realize Studmuffin lived 40 miles from my parents? He would drive to pick me up, drive me to our date, return me home, then return to his home. That was roughly 200 miles per date! Yipes!

So, the Big Night comes. Sabra calls at about the time I should leave to meet everyone on time. It seems she forgot she had to work. As a matter of fact, suddenly everyone can't go. Except me. And Studmuffin. And, she simply doesn't have time to call him to cancel. Can I do that for her? I call him. He still wanted to go. So did I.

"Do you want me to come pick you up?" he asks.

"NO!" I reply, rather forcefully. "It's not like this is a real date or anything. We'll just meet up at Sabra's as planned, then carpool to the show."

We did. We took his new white Chevy step side short wheel based pickup. It was way cooler than my Escort, let me tell ya! We went and ate at Mazzio's Pizza. He paid. We went to the movie. He paid. We got popcorn and cokes. He paid. (Do you think this felt like a date to him?)

I can say in all honesty that was the best time I have ever had with a guy. I laughed so hard I had tears running down my face. He told story after story to make me laugh. Stories directed at himself to make me laugh. Who can resist those stories? You know I can't. Remember? I have no shame, if it garners a laugh!

When he took me back to my car, he asked, "Can I kiss you goodnight?"

I think I fell in love with him right then and there. He was modest and considerate. He respected me. He went out of his way to show consideration for me. He was funny. He was cute with a capital C (and still is.) He paid for me to have dinner, a movie, and snacks! When it wasn't even "a real date or anything!" What was not to love?


So...there you have it. My story of true love.

Yep. I love my Studmuffin. But I still hate Valentine's day.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A True Love Story Part Two

We're discussing the fascinating tale of Andi & Studmuffin, remember? Of course you do!

Well, the second time we met that we both remember, was at a basketball game. I was a cheerleader. He was there with some friends from college who were from my hometown. It was some sort of play-offs. I only remember, because I saw him a couple of days in a row this time.

So. I'm a cheerleader. I see a cute guy. I go over to chat with my dear friends who just happen to be in college and just happen to be sitting next to Cute Guy I Don't Know. I have a seat. We chat awhile. I learn his name is Studmuffin. Just kidding! To learn how he came up with Studmuffin for a name, click here! I return to cheering.

The game is over. My friend Sabra and I were pretty much joined at the hip in this period of our lives. We decided to ride around. Somehow, at some point, we decide to ride around with college guys and Cute Guy. I end up in the back seat. Between Cute guy and his future college roommate, Shaddon. We were having a great time. Sabra was driving, I was sitting next to Cute Guy. He pops out a beer. He imbibes. He rests it on my knee. "Hmmm.....He thinks he's pretty cool doesn't he?" I casually move my leg so it's no longer his beer rest. (BTW, I hate beer. I hate how it smells. I hate how it tastes. I hate beer. Putting it on my leg earned him no points whatsoever.)

Curfew time came. I got into my car, the lovely hatchback Ford Escort, and went home.

The next night of the area playoffs arrives. I see Cute Guy across the way. He was with his parents that night, although I didn't know that at the time. I approach him. Yes. I was a very friendly girl. Not forward. Friendly. That's my story....

I give him a friendly shoulder punch, "Hi! How are you?"

He turns slightly green and winces. It seems Cute Guy made some very bad choices the night before. He and his friends had wrecked his pickup the night before on a dirt road. They were going about 20 mph, fishtailing and laughing, when the pickup sloooowwwwwlllllyyyy tipped over. On the driver's side. It seems Cute Guy dislocated his collar bone in both joints and cracked 2 ribs when his college friends fell on him! He learned a very valuable lesson, and that's all we'll say about that.

Sadly, we hardly spoke that evening after that. He was with his parents after all, so "dragging main" with us was out of the question........

to be continued....

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A True Love Story Part One

Disclaimer: Okay, before I begin, don't think this is a spinoff from Pioneer Woman. I just realized what some may think when they read the title, but this will not be a multi-chapter, year long torture, when-will-she-tell-the-rest story. This will just be a few posts in honor of Valentine's day to commemorate my love for Studmuffin.


BTW: I hate Valentine's day. I love my husband every day, and I hate the pressure it puts on me to perform to the nth degree. But, that's just me....so, here goes nothing (okay, it will probably be literally nothing, but it is the story!)

I once said that how Studmuffin and I met was an entire post for another day, remember? Of course, I can make any topic an entire post if I want to. I'm just ramble-y that way.

Warning: Bunny chase about to commence!

Poor Studmuffin never gets to talk around here. And it's getting to where I can't either. I took Bookworm to piano yesterday. She talked without stopping all the way there and then all the way back. Popcorn is just as bad. Of course, I'm dying to cut in, but I know they have tons of important stuff to share, or they will explode. I can relate... Truly I can. So, pity Studmuffin, and pity my coworkers, because outside of this blog I have like 3,576,823 words to use daily. If I can't use them at home, I throw them up all over my patients and coworkers. Poor things.

Return to original topic:

How Studmuffin and I met

Well, there were actually 2 first meetings, but I don't really remember the first one. It was the summer before my senior year and I was riding around with a friend (that's what we did in small towns...ride around, or "drag main.") and he pulled Studmuffin over to see if he would be on his softball team for the July 4th tournament. I don't remember this encounter, and neither does Studmuffin, but the friend I was with says he introduced us, so I guess we'll believe him. Oh, and how does one "pull over" a friend? Flash your lights, toot your horn, or just wave them over. Or yell out your window. That was always my favorite.

Second meeting for the first time:
The date: December 31, 1993.
The occasion: a New Year's Eve party.
The attendees: College guys and my best friend and I

Do you remember how dorky and sentimental you were as a high school senior? Boy, I was. I had tried to convince my parents to let me go on a ski trip with my friends over Christmas break. For some reason they said no. I doubt it had anything to do with the fact that about 10 guys were going and me with one other girl. The other girl wasn't even my best friend. Sabra had to work at the grocery store. The other girl ended up not going when her parents realized she'd be the only girl, since I couldn't go. Parents are strange. Anyway, Sabra and I were devastated. We were sure we were missing out on the trip of a lifetime with friends that we'd soon have to leave. We were totally devastated. That meant there was nothing to do New Year's Eve, except go to the dance, but no boys our age would be there, because THEY ALL GOT TO GO SKIING!!! And if my children are reading this, don't ever even THINK of asking me if you can go on such a trip. The answer is no.

So. Sabra and I decided to color my hair. Red. Without any help from parents. It actually came out pretty, but my mom was a tad surprised when I got home that evening.

That only took up about an hour of the evening. We decided to drive around. Remember. It's small town life. This is what you do. We happened to drive by a certain house, and saw cars there. Cars we recognized as college boys cars. It was actually the house of one of the boys on the aforementioned ski trip. We decided to drop in.

So, I was looking pretty smokin' if I did say so myself. Red Wet'n'Wild lipstick? Check. Charcoal gray eyeliner applied just so, with a slight cat-eye to the side? Check. Two-toned skin tight jeans (they were striped with 2 different colors of denim)? Check. Newly colored hair with an orange stripe in the part (to match the striped jeans, I'm sure) where 2 novices did not completely rinse out the dye? Check. Bright red shirt to clash with new red hair? Check. Yep. I was a sight to behold. I was dressed to impress some college boys. Yeehaw, ya'll.

So, the scenario is this. We arrive. There are 5 guys there. Okay, so it wasn't much of a party, but they were feeling like it was. One guy had a guitar, so of course, I decided to sing with him. I'm sure it was a glorious 2 part harmony country song about a dog dying, or trains, or lost lovers. One guy refused to join in our serenade. I remember very clearly....He sat in the kitchen at an abandoned table of red Dixie cups. Drinking beer.

"What a loser" I thought to myself. Doesn't he realize the fun is over here? With US?

Now, I can add his inner dialogue, only because he's told me what he thought. "That girl is weird. Why is she singing with those guys, when she could be drinking with me? And what's up with the orange scalp?" Understand, Dear Reader, this was many years ago, and his priorities and values were vastly different from now. I just need to point that out. Of course, I'm sure now he'd be able to look past the big, newly dyed red hair, red lipstick, and red shirt to see the true beauty underneath. Don't you thinks so?

So, that was how we first met. Pretty auspicious start, huh?

Oh, and just so you know, we didn't stay long. We left and went to the "dance-with-no-boys-to-hang-out-with', found lots of guys to hang out with, and had a great time. You see, we were actually very good girls (at that time.... we won't address our freshman year of college together), so we were quickly bored and annoyed with the party boys and headed to find more excitement in our one stoplight town....

to be continued....

Monday, February 9, 2009

Just Call Me Rachael

Rachael Ray would have been so proud of me today. I love her show on Food Network. I've never watched her talk show, but her cooking show is yum-o!

So, here's the deal. We got home later than I had planned. I had not gotten my dinner stuff ready before leaving. What to cook? My first instinct was tacos. I went to my freezer to get hamburger and saw chicken. I grabbed it instead.

Next stop: fridge. What have we here? Hmmmm...How about a red bell pepper. Onion. Ooooh! Fresh mushrooms. Forgot I bought those. Better use them up. Of course, there's always fresh garlic too. This should be interesting!

So, here's what I came up with on the fly.

Andi's Whatta-you-got-throw-it-in-the-pot Chicken

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
EVOO
6 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Greek seasoning


Heat skillet with about 2 T of EVOO (That's 2 turns of the pan for you RR fans, and EVOO means extra virgin olive oil to you non-RR fans)
Place chicken in pan. Cover. Set at about medium high heat.

Chop vegetables while chicken is cooking. Turn chicken at about 10 minutes. Season with Greek seasoning. Add vegetables. Let cook additional 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender and chicken is done.

That's it! That's my amazingly delicious creation that I literally whipped up from the ingredients I had on hand!

We had it with a side of green beans and macaroni and cheese, per the kiddos request. Everyone had "happy plates" at the end of the meal!

Yep, just call me a Rachael Ray wannabe!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

$67.45

That's all it cost me. Yep, I've been hoarding my Christmas money, unwilling to spend it on eating out, groceries, or clothing for my children. I will simply repair their raggedy clothing so I can have some new for myself, thank you very much. And it paid off!! Wooooooo-hooooo!!!

What the heck is she talking about, you ask? Well, you see, we went to see my father-in-law in the hospital today. On the way home we had to stop by the mall to return an item for Studmuffin's aunt. I asked if I could go into JCPenney and take a peak. Studmuffin has been nagging me to buy myself some cl
othes, so of course he agreed! I hate shopping. It makes me thirsty and hungry and cranky. Not a good combo. Anyhoo, I obviously don't seek out shopping opportunities, quite the opposite in fact.

So, back to my point... I went into the big JCP, and found they
are having a 75% off sale. I got 4 pairs of pants and 2 pairs of shoes for $67.45! Can you believe that!? I'm still giddy. I swear, I could have found way more stuff, but from the time we hit the mall entrance I only had 45 minutes before we had to leave to be back in time for youth choir.

I got this lovely pair for $6.97. Yep. $6.97. Studmuffin arrived as I was frantically digging through the clearance rack (they had 2 racks of shoes at this price) along with about 30 other women. I had about 6 boxes of shoes stacked in my arms, along with my 4 pairs of pants. Picture me, teetering, digging, clutching, sweating, fighting the urge to shove the lovely little lady in front of me out of the way so I can see better. And her screaming child too. Could she just make it be quiet please? Better yet, could she just leave the store entirely? I'm on a mission....And it's important. My face is flushed. I'm short of breath. Veins are beginning to bulge on my forehead. My eyes are glazed over. I'm focused. Focused. Focused. One goal is in mind....Get shoes.

"What on earth is this?" Studmuffin asked, "It looks like a circus here. Why on earth do you have all those shoes?"

"Don't ask questions." I hand him a stack as I dig deeper. "Don't set those down, whatever you do!" Dear Reader, you understand, right? The cataclysmic event that may have occurred had he thoughtlessly sat those precious boxes down in the middle of a mob of shoe-thirsty women! Scratching. Biting. Clawing. Screaming..I shudder just thinking about it!

Men don't understand the danger that would pose. Some other woman might snatch them up, and then I would miss out! Well, I'd either miss out, or wrestle her to the ground and rip the box from her hands. But, I'm not sure that would be reflecting Christ. Instead, I was just grabbing every box I could to be perused at a safe distance from the mob. I'm pretty sure there's no scripture references to greed....Okay. So there is... But this is SHOES! Surely God doesn't apply that to shoes? Yes, after I actually opened the boxes, I immediately ruled out 4 pairs. But, I needed those options. My choices as a BFW are limited.

Confession: I have ginormous feet. Yep, I'm a BFW, a big-footed-woman. We won't even get into the nicknames my brother gave me regarding my feet as a child....And that was 2 sizes ago! It's hard to find my size period, much less on clearance, but I had found 6 pair!!!! SIX!!! And after I handed some of my burden off, I found one more pair. In fact the very pair you see above! Too cute! Too cheap! Gotta love them!

Alas, while the 1st pair were cute and cheap and I had to have them, they are high heels. They are not the most practical, and I happen to have not one single pair of brown shoes to wear with, well, anything! Unless, one includes flip-flops, which do not count, well, because....Now, I stand firm on this....FLIP FLOPS ARE NOT SHOES!!! But, that is a rant for another day. Or unless you count my snow boots...which are technically tan. And my deck shoes...which are not so relevant in real life as they were in theory....So, I have no brown shoes....I'm sticking to that story. Don't argue with me!!! This is my blog, therefore, it's my reality, and I don't need you nay-saying me! If you can't blindly agree with me that every girl always needs new shoes, you have no place in my blogosphere, so just move on out sister!!!!

Is she gone?

Good....

SO....I didn't have any brown shoes......

That is, until I found this second pair. Sadly, I had to pay $26.39. But, they started out at $45! So, still, a great deal! And, they are comfy! Once again....I had to have them!! Oh, happy day!

Don't hate me because I have cheap shoes......


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Warfare

It's time.

I am convinced now, more than ever, that I need to be prepared for war. I need to learn to wield my sword better than ever before. I am assured of my helmet. It's firmly in place. My breastplate is buckled on. Nothing can pierce me. I need to work on my footwork more. I tend to shake in fear, silently trembling, instead of stepping forward into the fray. For my footwork to be effective, I really need to learn to parry and thrust with my sword without fear of missing my mark. My sword is from the Lord, and he has promised me his word never returns void. I'm realizing my feet and sword are closely intertwined.

God is giving me more opportunities than ever before to be bold for him. To speak the truth in love to those around me. I have decided to go into battle. My heart is racing just typing that sentence. I refuse to let my enemy intimidate me anymore. My war is already won. God is giving me the privilege to participate in the battle. But it is my choice. I can be part of the victory, or I can sit by and miss out on the blessing of being part of it.

Pray for me. Pray that I will be bold. Pray that my words will be from the Lord, and not my flesh. Pray that I will be discerning in words I speak. Pray that lives will be changed.

I am scared. But, what is scarier to me is that people I encounter every day are lost. I fear saying the wrong thing, or not saying enough. That spirit of fear is not from the Lord. It is from Satan. He has deceived me into believing that I will drive them further from God by speaking his truth to them! The same truth that brought me to know Jesus! How ridiculous!

Again, I refuse to be intimidated any more. This is not about me. This is not about my comfort level, or their feelings toward me because of my belief. This is about eternity. This is about God and his plan for eternal salvation. How can I say I love God but be unwilling to share his truth with those around me? He has already defeated the enemy. He has already proven victorious. Why do I hesitate? God has promised me that He is more than enough. His word is all I need. I must be willing to use it. I must do my part to be victorious. Pray for me.

Did I mention pray for me? Well, in case I didn't, please do. Pray for me. I know that by stating my readiness for battle I will be attacked more fiercely than ever before. I have always feared this attack. I still do. I pray for protection, but I know it's already there. God is like a mountain that surrounds me. He will not be moved. I must rest in his security even as I arm myself for this battle.

But still......Pray for me.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sprouting Tomatoes

Don't you love a good tomato? If you want a good tomato, you best grow it yourself. When that is not possible, hot house or on the vine tomatoes are the way to go. Roma are okay, but home grown is best.

Occasionally when I cut into my on the vine tomatoes I notice a seed has started to sprout. I will pick it out, and enjoy my lovely tomato.

A few weeks ago I started to cut up a tomato, that I had bought about 3 or 4 days before at Walmart, and noticed it was bumpy. So was my other tomato I had left of the original 4 I had bought on the vine. I realized they were sprouting. I waited a few more days. The bumps became more pronounced. On one tomato I made a tiny nick, and the little sprout flourished! I eventually did this in 5 or 6 places on each tomato. They sat on my bar with no sunlight for about a week and continued to grow, albeit very slowly. I finally placed them on my window sill in my kitchen last week. This is the result.

Now, if I will only remember to stick them in some soil. Maybe I can have some early tomatoes! My only question to myself (and you, of course, Dear Reader, it's all about you) is this: Do I just stick the whole darn thing in a pot of soil, or do I try to separate out the individual sprouts? Hmmmmm.......................

Monday, February 2, 2009

Randomness

I have so many random things going on today.....

Like this dratted chocolate donut that my husband brought home from church yesterday. The girls ate all but this lone donut. Sitting there in the box. All alone. Calling me...

Andi.....

Yes, donut?

I'm heeeeere!

I don't need you! Go away!

I'm very lonely in this box, all alone.....Just....come and talk to me for a minute. Have another cup of coffee. There. Now, isn't that nice? But, wait, don't you want some company with that...

mmmpf, gulp, gulp, smack, chomp, smack, gulp, gulp.

There, that shut him up...Moving on...


This is my kitchen window. It has a problem. Well, no it doesn't have a problem. Studmuffin has a problem. With this window. He says it's boring. Too boring for lovely new countertops (that still aren't in) and a barn red bead board back splash.


I say these lovely tomatoes that are sprouting on my kitchen window give it character and warmth. Seriously, I went to eat these tomatoes, and they were all bumpy! I waited, and they soon sprouted. Now, I must remember to buy soil to plant them in, so I can have early tomatoes...That were essentially free!


But boring? I love my kitchen window with it's charming embroidered tea towels/mantle scarves, or whatever the heck they were originally for. I can't imagine anyone actually putting this work into something to dry dishes with.

The Farmer Boy one is signed on the back "Malcolm B. Harris." I think it was made by a little boy. The pretty lady has a hand crocheted trim. Same thing with the basket on the right....

Or is it tatted? I really don't even know what tatting is, but maybe this is it.

The one on the left was edged with a surger (sp?), but I like the blue color of the flower.

I got all of these at a junk store. I love them. But, why love it if it won't be where everyone can see it?

Studmuffin disagrees. He says the window needs curtains. I say it needs character, and who else would hang these in their kitchen but me?

What do YOU think? For more pictures of my kitchen (minus the improvements soon to come, click here.)