Monday, December 28, 2009


Popcorn's bedroom looks like this now, after 2 hours spent organizing and throwing out scraps of paper and whatnots...

Bookworm's bedroom looks like this after 2 hours of sorting, and discussing how every single trinket or scrap of paper she wants to save for sentimental reasons are taking over her life...

The front entry way looks like this where Bookworm has now finished building her furniture, with my help of course, and has now moved on to painting. Her father tried to convince her to paint it all antique white... Apparently she has more of her mother in her than he thought, because every single piece is a different color. Kind of like some of the walls in houses we've had in the past...

After lecturing my children on the unkempt state of their rooms, I wandered into mine.

My only excuse is, I was sick...And I'm lazy...And I've been stressed....And I'm not like my sister Paula, who becomes very organized in times of stress, or my sister Dawn, who is a librarian, and therefore organizes in her sleep...I seek refuge in naps. Lots of naps. Or, I read ten million books, so I don't have to think about the woes I have...

I also tend to start a million projects, never completing any of them...

Kind of like deciding yesterday evening to pack up all of the Christmas stuff, because my house was too cluttered. I pulled it all out in a rush the day before Studmuffin's surgery, and didn't pack away enough of our normal decorations, so I was unable to ever truly put anything away neatly, because every nook and cranny was filled with "stuff." The same sort of stuff, I'd been nagging my girls about...

So, for now, I'm going to go lie down on Bookworm's bed, and admire the lack of piles in her room....

Or perhaps I'll sit in Popcorn's butterfly chair and admire the organized bins of toys...

Or, I will get off of my duff and clean this mess I have started, because cleaning their rooms really did help me feel a million times better about my world in general.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Studmuffin is 25% Veterinarian...

My mother-in-law takes my side in every argument. It's true. She has my back in every disagreement between her son & I. If I said the sky was purple, and he said it was blue, she would side with me every time. I could claim that unicorns lived in my back yard, and she would defend me to her son....Every blessed time. I love it...

After all, it's only fair, because my mom takes Studmuffin's side in all things. It drives me cuh-RA-zy! She always tells me to be nice to him, and be careful or I will "sound like my mother." (Psycho scream plays in the back ground)

Anyway, I have a perfect example of my mother-in-law taking my side. Studmuffin was telling her all about the big fight our dogs had after Kelsey got hurt. I had been agonizing over who was to blame for the bloody battle. After all, my dad and father-in-law had felt the need to point out that, "Well, she may live, but she'll never be the same dog again." Ummm, gee. Thanks. That's just what I wanted to hear after my dog died, then started breathing, then was nearly "finished off for her own good," before she tried to stand up, then was told she may never be willing to eat or drink again....And it went on and on, but the point is, that I was concerned she had turned into a vicious dog, that I could never trust with other dogs or small children again...I was blocking out the fact that Holly had taken Kelsey down, and was acting as if she was about to finish her off. Literally.

Just to remind you of our original topic at hand, Studmuffin was telling Scotty about the fight...

Scotty: Well, it wasn't Kelsey's fault. Brittney's are mean damn dogs. When your dad raised dogs, they would fight, then he'd go out there and beat them apart, and they'd be fine for awhile...Then they'd start fighting again.

Studmuffin: REALLY? Holly is such a nice dog. I had no ideas that Brittney's are mean!

Scotty: They are. It was NOT Kelsey's fault. It is going to take her at least 2 months to get back to her old self. She will not feel good for 2 months....So you better just keep her in the house with you for that time...

Now, understand, Dear Reader, that I am repeating this conversation from eavesdropping sitting next to Studmuffin on the couch. Some of my dialogue may be slightly skewed. But, you get my meaning here. Even if it means siding with my dog over his dog, she's got my back. Of course, I tried to back up her facts that Brittney's are "mean damn dogs," but every thing I found about them indicates that they are not at all aggressive. The vet told me the fight was a result of the alpha dog balance being upset by Kelsey's weakened state...

Today, Studmuffin and I were revisiting this conversation as we were talking about the stress levels in my life. He is still not healed, and won't be for 6 months, and according to my mother-in-law, I have at least a month and a half before Kelsey's healed.

Because Scotty knows all about animals...Since she's a veterinarian and all.

Okay, so she's not a full vet.

Only 50%.

You see, apparently, Studmuffin's grandpa Max was a vet...


You never knew that? Well, neither did I. As a matter of fact, I disagreed with him on this fact, but it turns out Max was the unofficial vet for their small town before they got a licensed vet. He was the guy you took your dog to that got hit in the head by a truck, or your horse that got tangled in barbed wire, or your calf that had the scours...He was the Go to Guy...

So, according to Studmuffin, by pure genetics that makes Scotty 50% vet, and him 25% veterinarian...Unfortunately, since I have no vets on my side of the family, our girls are only 1/8 veterinarian...

Which explains Popcorn's difficulty in keeping small animals alive....Apparently she only inherited the euthenasia skills of veterinarians....

Addendum: Studmuffin called his parents, and he has since decided that since his grandpa was not a licensed vet, that all genetic traits of veterinarianism must now be reduced by another 50%. Therefore, he is now 1/8 vet and my girls are 1/16....

This explains why he felt the appropriate treatment for an injured dog was a shot of .357....

And as for that 1/16th of veterinarian in my girls, well, we won't even go there. I mean, that's even the cut off for Native Americans, so it hardly counts. I won't bother telling them of their new-found predisposition for veterinarianism...If they decide to seek a career in veternary science, we will consider it a recessive genetic trait at this point.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

How to Interpret Body Language

Yesterday I was laying on Popcorn's bed with her, talking about our day and the wonderful times we were having....

Popcorn: Where did you get your gum?
Me: In my stocking.
P: Who gave it to you?
Me: Santa.
P: You're lying!!!
Me: No I'm not! Why would I be lying? I got gum in my stocking from Santa!
P: I know you lied...
Me: Why do you say I lied?
P: When I asked who gave it to you, you rolled your eyes to the left. Looking to the right means you're thinking. The left means you're lying. So, you lied about who gave you the game.
Me: Well, I'm not lying. I got the gum in my stocking. From Santa.

Now. I ask you, Gentle Reader, why does my child, who is only 7 years old, know that eyes to the left means deception? I didn't even know that, but when she said it, it sounded familiar. I decided to google body language, and I learned she was right!

Here is a quote from WikiHow: You can usually tell if a person is remembering something or making something up based on their eye's movements. When someone is remembering details, their eyes move to the right (your right). When someone is making something up, their eyes move to the left.

Here is the link to learn more about body language, and how to interpret it. Now, go! Learn! Implement your knowledge! I will be using my new-found knowledge to convince my 2nd grader that I am not a liar... You can use yours however you feel fit...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

This big ole ball of fluff thinks he is now a house cat. NOT an outdoor cat. NOT even the garage cat that he had established himself as previously... Nope. Since he has had to share the garage with the dogs for an entire night, he has now declared himself a house cat. Good luck convincing him otherwise. If the door is open, he will be running in it and plopping down in the middle of the floor where he will then roll onto his back and show everyone his big fluffy belly in an effort to seduce them into believing he is all that is wonderful and good and the humans simply must leave this adorable monstrous ball of flufferpants indoor....Until he scratches the couch. Then I scoop him up and toss him outside...Where he sits at the door and complains very loudly that he is cold and unhappy. Because, obviously, he is lacking in insulation... So, I relent and pick him up and take him to the garage...Where he positions himself at the garage and continues to voice his complaints....
I can't say as I blame the poor fella...He has to endure this ball of energy in the garage. Holly is bad enough outside where she will park her tail wagging self under his chair and bark and nip relentlessly until he gets VERY angry and swats her nose. Then, she trots away, happy as a lark because her game worked...She got a rise out of His Royal Highness, Lord Fluffy...

Guess what else? Near disaster was diverted with this pesky pooch last night. I opened the door to the garage to let the dogs do their business at about 7pm. I figured, it's cold, the wind is blowing 40 mph and it's snowing. They'll dart out of the garage maybe 4 feet, do their business and come back in. WRONG. Holly ran outside and literally disappeared in the snow. I called her. She did not come back. Holly has many, many flaws, but she comes when called (confession: unlike my own dog who pretends she can't hear me.) I went out in search of her. After about 15 minutes in the cold, blinding snow, I came in to confess my error to Studmuffin. He put on his winter gear and joined me. We walked the entire length of our neighborhood, (okay that's only 7 houses, but did I mention it was cold?) and there was no sign of Holly. The wind was blowing so hard, I couldn't even find her tracks where she ran out of the garage, they had already drifted in... We were unable to take the truck out to look for her because a drift had formed across our drive and into the street. I went into the house to begin supper, sick at my stomach, and feeling guilty. Studmuffin said, "Well, I would have done the same thing. Who would think the dumb dog would run off and disappear?" Obviously, he is way nicer than me, and the word "idiot," never passed his lips. Thankfully, she finally came home after about 30 minutes, completely white with snow and shaking all over. Her little pink sweater was a big clump of ice. Yes. She has a sweater. I buy them for her because she shivers when it's cold. I buy pink ones because it annoys Studmuffin. She is supposedly his dog, and apparently hot pink is not close enough to blaze orange for a hunting dog...I have yet to see her hunt, so I figure hot pink is pretty cute!

This child barely had time to glance at her presents from Santa. Yes, she was up before dawn, so in reality, she probably studied them more than I realize, as she checked everything out before waking me up...

But still, as you can see from the pictures, they were both bundled up and playing in the white Christmas snow as soon as it was light enough....Even before they dined on their highly nutritious breakfast of ginger and sugar cookies! I had baked all of those darn cookies to share with my family, and there was no way I was cooking breakfast when I had a perfectly wonderful cop out... Also, if I don't cram them down the girls every chance I get they will be eaten by yours truly, and frankly, my thighs really don't want that.

While they played in the snow, I turned a blind eye to the toy explosion on my living room floor. It is Christmas, and other than cleaning the kitchen between meals, I refuse to clean up. No company is coming. We are not going anywhere. The floors will be trashed nonstop by the endless trekking of kids, dogs, and a very large cat in and out of my house. I hate pointless endeavors, so I've decided to endeavor not to see the giant puddles at my front and garage doors. I will simply ignore the piles of coats and hats and gloves and socks, except to toss them in the dryer in anticipation of the next venture into the winter wonderland...After all, after living in South Texas, this is indeed a wonderful gift for them.... Yep, I ignored the entire glorious mess and ate cookies and drank coffee and watched them out the window from the warmth of my kitchen.

Oh, I ventured out eventually. After I was more perked up. I felt the need to check on Studmuffin. You notice there is no brace on...Apparently, he is now a super man and will not fall on the ice. I will refrain from mentioning who I saw bust it twice on the ice this morning. No, the man I observed did not have on a brace. He did, however perform an amazing tuck and roll to his left shoulder, in what appeared to be an attempt to protect his right. Nope. I'm not pointing fingers or naming names.... I'm just reporting an event that I happened to see...

By the way, it is at this point that I simply must say, that Studmuffin fully approved yesterday's post on his Man Moment. He read it before posting, and we both laughed so hard we had tears running down our faces. I have promised to never post anything that portrays him negatively, but that day was just to priceless and blogworthy, so we both agreed it had to be shared....

Returning to subject:

Now, this precious pooch did not think the snow was so wonderful. Have I ever told you that Kelsey is a dingo? I got her at a shelter near San Antonio. If you ever travel to Mexico, you will see a million stray dogs...And they all look just like Kelsey. Of course, they have all nursed a million litters of pups, so they have one slight anatomical difference from her! Anyway, she hates cold weather...And since her recent head injury I have not made her stay outside much. She has turned into my shadow. Her current goal in life is to sit at my feet at all times. She did this when I first rescued her, but now it is 20 times worse than ever before. Also, you may notice some scars on her snout. She and Holly had a HUGE battle after she was injured. I'm talking horrific, blood everywhere, horror movie fight. Apparently, some dominance issues came up after Kelsey became the weaker dog. She still is weaker physically, but I'm not sure who's dominant. I do know she doesn't like Holly to get near me. She tolerates it, but she doesn't trust her. I will say they seem to have worked out their differences for the most part. They are actually sleeping on top of each other again, so that is a good sign. Many people ask if she's the same dog. I don't really know. She is the same with our family, only she is just really tired. I don't know if she still hasn't fully recovered, or if she will no longer be a rambunctious, full of life dog again...Time will tell. Unfortunately, the best test I can think of for her involves hunting, and I don't know how to suddenly find a rodent to sick her on...

Anyway, there is picture diary/glimpse of our Christmas. Bookworm and I also worked on doll house furniture. I think she's thanked me at least 20 times for it, so I guess she likes it okay.... I will post pictures of our handiwork later...

Hope everyone's Christmas was full of cheer and fun!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Man Moment in the Snow

Our tale begins at 4:30 am. Bookworm was unable to sleep. Apparently she was so excited about her dollhouse, she couldn't sleep. I told her to go to bed and read. Did I mention that it also happened to be the exact time that the storm hit? The windows were rattling. The rain was pelting the windows...

At 5:30 am Popcorn woke up. She thought she heard somebody knocking and she thought she saw a head in her window. I went and laid down with her.

At 6am I gave up convincing her to sleep and went to take a hot bath while Studmuffin took his shower. We already had the news on. The current temperature was 34 degrees. The rain/snow/sleet combo we have been expecting all week was expected to hit any time. Any travel at all was discouraged.

Studmuffin left for work. After all, the roads were clear. He planned to be home by 9am. I tried to explain that I still had "stuff" to do. I would not be ready to leave by 9am. I would not be through with laundry by 9am. We have very few clothes, and I had stayed up until midnight to get the girls clothes out of the dryer and folded to pack. My clothes were currently in the washer. I had cookies to frost. I had baked about 6 dozen sugar cookies the day before, along with 6 loaves of banana bread and 6 dozen ginger cookies. Icing sugar cookies got put off until this morning. I had planned on our original departure time of around noon. Studmuffin does not understand that I plan my preparations for departure until the last minute....

At 8 am I called him at work to make sure he arrived safely. "Sure! I should be ready to leave in a few minutes. Do you have everything loaded?" Remember, Studmuffin had shoulder surgery. He is not able to use his right arm except for passive motion, except to write, type, etc. You get it, lightweight stuff.

"Are you sure we should go? The news says any traffic going west on I40 will be hazardous. They are discouraging all travel if possible." The temperature was now 24 degrees.

Fast forward to 9:30am. Studmuffin is supervising me packing our bags and gifts into trash bags and the cargo bag for our trip to his parents. He had decided we should take his pickup, so we could load everything in back, then have us and the dogs up front. He looks at me as I struggled with the zipper to the cargo bag, "Any time you think this trip is dangerous and foolish let me know."

I froze.

Wait a minute....

Didn't we discuss this last night? And before he left for work this morning at 6:30? And when I called him at 8am?

We headed out at about 10 am.....

At 11am we had reached a town that is typically 30 minutes away. The visibility was 20 yards at most, with blowing snow and icy roads. Studmuffin decided it was time to turn around...

I was relieved.

Until I got home and realized I hadn't bought any food for the last week because we were leaving for 4 days today...

I climbed into my car and headed to Walmart. I arrived with little difficulty and got my necessities...

At 1pm, I walked into the parking lot to see...Nothing.

Nothing but blowing snow and huddled bodies, and cars slipping and sliding around the parking lot. The first thing I did was get my cart stuck in a drift 2 feet out of the door. I went around to the front and drug it out. Not one person who was fortunate to have a spouse pull their car to the entrance offered me assistance to unstick my cart...Is that a word?

Anyhoo, I started out in the parking lot. Where my cart got stuck in 2 more drifts, and finally a man with a ski mask and coveralls helped me get my cart to the car with him pulling the front and me pushing from the back. See, those horror movies about men in ski masks aren't all right!

I hopped in my car to get it warming, and start defrosting as I unloaded my groceries. By the time I was finished my hands were killing me (I had forgotten gloves...Derrr). I pulled out of Walmart to see a tow truck operator pulling a truck out of the ditch on the entrance ramp to the freeway. I didn't actually need on the freeway, I only had to stay in the right lane to get on then right back off to head home. Good thing. The interstate was shut down going south.

After creeping down the road and seeing 6 cars in the ditch, I finally arrived at my street with blinding blowing snow, and barely made the corner... I eased down our street and noticed my neighbor digging his drifted car out to go heaven only knows where...

I pulled into the driveway and cringed when I noticed Studmuffin had parked in his normal spot: Right next to the garage door. I crept towards the garage, where a 1-2 foot drift had formed. Of course, there was solid ice under it, and I felt the car start to slip. I cautiously stopped to avoid hitting the house or Studmuffin's truck...

I got stuck.

I drove past 6 cars stuck in the ditch on my way home and prayed aloud for safety and for God to get me home, to get stuck 2 feet from my garage door. I started laughing...

Studmuffin started griping. Apparently I shouldn't have EVER stopped in a drift. Regardless of my slipping tires that were heading me straight for the house...

He grabbed a shovel and proceeded to have a tantrum trying to dig out the car...

Remember the shoulder?

He ignored all pleas to stop...

I decided that sometimes men are idiots, and may have let the word slip past my lips as I began to unload the car... While he would get in, spin his wheels in reverse and forward, then begin to dig again, slamming his shovel against the ground every few swipes, supposedly to break ice loose...I suspect it was to vent anger....

Remember the shoulder?

He asked me if I was finished with the groceries. I said "No. But all that's left is cat food and dog food, and you can't lift that." I picked up the 40 pound bag of food and stumbled into the garage with it... I dropped it on the floor and once again demanded....Errr, excuse me, asked in my most meek and submissive voice why the car couldn't stay where it was...

"Because we will never be able to move it again!!!" Editors note: Studmuffin protests this sentence. But the author is very certain that he said if the car did not get unstuck TODAY, it would never be moved again. He says it's out of context, I say it's an accurate account of today's events... The word idiot may have slipped past my lips again.

In a moment of irritation, Studmuffin picked up the bag of dog food and flung it to the side of the garage. I think the word tumbled out unexpectedly once again...

Remember his shoulder? Remember the dog food bag was 40 pounds?

Studmuffin insisted that he could push me out of the drift...I argued, and I hate to admit it, but idiot may have been in the phrasing of my ultra submissive, meek, mild monologue, and he started to dig again...I relented. He started out in the back. I simply spun my wheels, and prayed that when I broke loose I wouldn't skid out of control and into the house...

Pushing from back was unsuccessful.

He moved to the front...

It worked!

Only, he slipped on the ice and fell down. I panicked and slammed the car into park, and it rolled slightly forward as I jumped out to check him. The car hit him in the head as he was standing up and knocked him back down...

Remember his shoulder?

He insisted he was okay...

And I pulled the car into the garage...

Simple as you please!

Studmuffin is currently sitting on the couch watching the gold bikini episode of Star Wars to salve his wounded pride and aching shoulder...Which he insists is fine, because he never raised it above his shoulder...

But he's wearing his brace, so take from that what you will.


Oops! Did I just say that out loud?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

NOT panicking

Last year I had this wonderful idea. In an attempt to undermine the over-commercialization of Christmas, our family (meaning my siblings their spouses and nieces) would exchange a "gift from the heart." How sweet.

Houston, we have a problem. Many of you know that I am not crafty. Therefore, the challenge for me with this gift is to even come up with a craft. I actually have known what I was doing for months now. Did that mean I started it and got it done? NO. That meant that I looked at it, smiled to myself, and thought, "Finally. I came up with a gift that someone is going to love. And it isn't even food." That, Dear Reader, is a Christmas miracle.

Fast forward to this morning. I put the finishing touches on my gift. I began to assemble it. Something is missing. It is a very vital piece of the gift. It cannot be replaced. It is clear glass. I have looked high and low for it. I have even dug through the trash. Every drawer in the kitchen. The laundry. The refrigerator. The pantry. I even looked in my spice cabinet. I have crawled around on my knees looking for it. Every single member of this family remembers seeing it on my kitchen counter last night. Not one member admits to moving it.

The cat threw up in the garage this morning.

It was not in there.

Holly came in last night.

So far there is no evidence that she ingested it.

I have no idea where it could have gone to. But I refuse to panic. Instead, I will begin to bake like a madwoman, since that is my answer to all stressful situations. And also in case I can't find the missing piece to my craft. At least I can hand someone some yummy sugar cookies and banana bread. But it will not be because I didn't at least make a craft for the gift exchange. It will simply be because I am irresponsible and lost part of my craft. An irreplaceable piece of the craft.

Now, if you will excuse me, I'm going to go bake.

Then, after that I have to finish Studmuffin's craft. Apparently, he is unable to do it one handed. He tried. He failed. Now it is up to me.

The Non-crafter.

I ask you: How the heck did the Non-crafter get roped into doing a dollhouse, and two gifts for exchange in one Christmas?

And yes, I will post pictures of the completed dollhouse. Just so you know, she's getting it incomplete. I shingled it last night. Guess what? I ended up short shingles. So, she is receiving it minus a few shingles. I will go to Hobby Lobby and buy some more, or will order them online if I can. Either way, she is getting it tonight. Minus some shingles. Just a very few, but still. I even created shingles out of scrap wood, and still ran out. I even assembled it exactly according to directions. Dad gum it. I can't catch a break.

Monday, December 21, 2009

About My Clothes, and Other Stuff

See those earrings? Those were a gift from my girls several years ago. The necklace? My sisters got it for me one year when we were meeting in "The City" for Women of Faith. I was still living in Texas, so I was unable to join them for the pre-conference shopping. They each got the necklace, and got one for me so I wouldn't feel left out....Ain't that sweet? (I realize, the necklace is cut off in the picture. Popcorn was my photographer.)

See that black lace shirt? It's a hand-me-up from my niece Sarah. Looooove iiiiit!!

The skirt? A hand-me-down from my Grandma Irene to my sister Dawn, to my sister Paula, and finally to me. It is a very nice quality Pendleton wool skirt. I think it has to be circa 1960s at the very latest. Probably 50s. But, I really don't know. Either way, I love it, even if it does cut me in half after eating, and I inadvertently bust the eye off of the hook and eye closure behind the button....

See those white legs? Those were compliments of my dad's family. We all have them...

See the angel growing out the top of my head? Well, that actually is part of my tree...

See these shoes? The ones on the foot at the bottom of a VERY white leg, complete with freckles? They're from my mom...

But, hey, I bought the green shirt all by myself!

Caution: Drastic topic change straight ahead!

Guess what?

Can you guess?

Can ya?

Huh, huh?

Okay, I know, you give up....

This morning headed to Walmart at 6am to buy some gifts for my girls from somebody who asked me to pick something up for them. It was no big deal since I was out of tape, wrap, and gerbil food.

So, I'm wandering around a nearly vacant Walmart, perusing the toy aisle, trying to decide what to get the squirrels, and this lady came up and asked me about Zhu-Zhu pets. I said "I have no idea about them. My daughter keeps asking for them, but I haven't seen them in any store..."

The lady in the toy aisle replied, "Oh, they have them up at the jewelry counter. You can go get a voucher right now, but you can't actually buy it until 7. They are only selling 53 of them today."

Well, Gentle Reader, before she could even finish her sentence I was wheeling my cart out of the toy aisle, through housewares, hung a hard right and skidded to a stop at a lady with a stack of cardboard boxes in front of her...

"Excuse me, are those the Zhu-Zhu pets?" I asked in the most casual voice possible for someone who is out of breath from running through Walmart like a crazed person...

"Yes! You can have a voucher now, but can't pick it up until 7am."

"Thanks," I casually replied and politely took my voucher....Only to walk away and click my heels to the side and do a little happy jig after I slipped around the corner into the party supply aisle...Only to see a man looking at me very strangely as he stocked wrapping paper...

So. The moral of the story is a very fortunate family member gets to be the lucky person to give Popcorn the much coveted Zhu-Zhu pet.

The End.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Random Conversations

Picking them up from school yesterday:

Me: So, how was school today? Did you have fun at your Christmas parties?
Bookworm: Yep! Nobody busted their head open today!

Ye-e-e-e-s. That should be the goal for every class Christmas party: Nobody busting their head open.

Today while we were eating out for lunch:

Popcorn: You know, eating at a restaurant is kind of like leftover night. You can eat whatever you want!

Yes. Whatever you want. Of course, on leftover night there is LOTS of arguing and complaining about the options. Not so much at a restaurant. Also, there is no clean up for yours truly at a restaurant. Yep, it's truly a beautiful situation. Beautiful...

Driving home from Christmas shopping at 4:30:

Me: Man, that sun is tough to block...
Bookworm: Well, Mom, your lucky!
Me: Why?
Bookworm: Because you have a visor to block the sun and all I have is a SHOE!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More on the dollhouse...

Are you sick of hearing about the dollhouse yet?

Too bad.

Bookworm is home sick with the stomach flu today, so it's doubtful that I'll get to work on it today. Fortunately, all I have left on the actual house is the shingles. If I'm unable to complete the furniture, Bookworm can do it with me. See, it will be a great bonding time for us. Aren't I such a considerate mother? Quality time. I'm all about it.

However, I'm not sure what exactly their cook/maid/nanny, whatever Bookworm decides she is, will have much to do with no furniture!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A tale of woe: The snow storm of 1992

The year: 1992
The occasion: Thanksgiving
The problem: 18 inches of snow

Synopsis of each day:
Get up, put on long johns, jeans, sweatshirt, heavy socks. Follow this with coveralls, scarf, hat, gloves, and of course, a coat over the whole shebang.

Trudge out through the snow to the feed wagon, a pickup with a flat bed, feed bin, and hay fork on the back. Dad is in the four wheel drive tractor with a blade attached to the front. He tows the feed wagon to the various pasture with a large tow rope attached to a hook that is welded to the underside of the feed wagon. We scatter feed for the cattle and leave a round bale for the cattle.

There is only one small problem with this setup. Every time he stops, the pickup continues to slide, and the slack causes the tow rope to come unhooked. I pull my overdressed, stay puffed marshmallow self out of the pickup, dig the snow that has inevitably piled up around the bumper, and reattach the rope. This is a very tedious process. After just a few pastures I am exhausted, cold and wet.

And cranky. Remember, I was about 16 at this time...

My dad, however, is his usual chipper self. Of course, there's no reason for him to be cranky. He's warm and dry in his tractor. Granted, he climbs down from his throne to help pull twine off the bales and make sure the ice is broken, but there is most definitely no climbing on his knees and belly to dig in snow...

This was the pattern of 2 days before Thanksgiving day. Thanksgiving dawned and we continued our ritual. At around 9am we helped Mom load food into the feed wagon. Dad towed us the 3 miles to my grandparents house. We were unable to take the road the entire way due to a large drift that the tractor was unable to blade through. Dad took us through a pasture. This particular pasture happened to have a single high line pole right smack in the middle of it. It was leading to the gas well in the pasture. Dad took a left corner around the pole. Unfortunately, the pickup failed to turn. It went on a direct course to the pole. Mom began to frantically yell, "WAYNE!!! WAYNE!!! THERE'S A POLE! WE'RE GOING TO HIT THE POLE!!! WAYNE!!!"

But, of course, Dad could not hear her...

But don't worry, he eventually realized the pole was there... At the exact moment that we crashed into it...

So, I climbed out of the pickup, moved the tow rope to the back of the pick up. Dad pulled us back, then pulled back around to the front...While I again scurried (scurrying in snow that deep probably didn't happen) from back to front with the tow rope and reattached it. We continued our journey to my grandparents...

Where we had a wonderful, traditional Thanksgiving meal. Of course, there were just the 5 of us, with the roads impassable by anything but tractor!

After the meal, Dad said, "Andi, go get your clothes on, we need to go."

HUH!? I was very confused. "Dad, it's Thanksgiving! We're supposed to spend time with family, and relax, and be thankful for all we have! NOT trudge through the snow and FREEZE!!!"

Of course, Dad being Dad, told me, "Okay. Now. Go get your clothes on."

Not yet ready to admit defeat I went to my grandma. "Grandmaaaa...Dad says I have to go help him feed cattle and my coveralls are all wet and my boots are wet and my socks are wet and I already had to change all of my clothes once already today and I don't have any dry coveralls or boots to wear but Dad doesn't care, he says I still have to go and I told him it's Thanksgiving, but he doesn't care and, and, and..." I was crying and blubbering and whining....

Grandma stopped my tirade and said in her sweet grandmotherly voice, "Come here, Sweetie."

Aha! Vindicated! Nobody says no to Grandma! She'll show him....Wait a minute. Why are we going to the front door? Why is she opening the coat closet? WHAT is she DOING!?

She rummaged around a moment, and turned with her arms full....Of my granddad's coveralls and snow boots!


Obviously, I went to feed cattle. Apparently, cattle have to eat and have water even if it's Thanksgiving....Especially if there's 18 inches of snow on the ground.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Tidings...

Okay, so maybe you think I have nothing to say, since I'm posting another video. However, I find this one so perfect and timely for the season, I wanted to share it. Get ready, here is all you need to have a relaxed, enjoyable Christmas holiday!

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's not Christmas until...

I was listening to KLOVE today, and they were discussing what made it officially "Christmas." It was interesting listening to what people said.
-Watching "It's a Wonderful Life."
-The second Thanksgiving is over, it's Christmas.
-Having your credit card rejected means it's Christmas. I hope that was a joke.
-Wrapping the first present...

And there were several more, but one lady phoned in and said, "It's officially Christmas when you have to try and take toys out of their packages." Studmuffin was in the car with me, and we both died laughing. Then, they played this song...It is so funny, I had to share it with you!

It made Studmuffin think of Bookworm's first birthday. She got an ABC caterpillar. It had 26 legs, and each individual leg was wired in place in addition to the head. Bookworm stood next to him bouncing and clapping, just dying for him to get that caterpillar out of it's "toy packaging."

What about you? Do you have any toy packaging nightmares to share?

%@$# Dollhouse!

Well, I have to make confession. I have cussed more in the last 5 days than I have in the last 10 years.

I thought I'd share some important lessons I've learned about building a dollhouse.

#1. It is not necessary to paint the tabs. Yes, they will show through when you assemble it, however, the paint makes it so dad gum thick you can't fit it through the notch. Therefore, you will end up sanding off the paint you applied and touching it up after you assemble and glue. Fiddlesticks!

#2. Just be prepared to splinter a few pieces, and have to wood glue them back together and fill holes with wood paste filler. In my case it has been the dad gum large bay window sill. I was seriously doubting the necessity of this particular piece as I tried to wedge it into the super snug slot... After repairing it 3 times, finally getting the window complete (minus trim and "glass") I'm still not sure it's necessary. As a matter of fact, I'm thinkin' the window would have looked just fine without it! Shoot!

#3. Papering the walls before assembling is recommended. Just be prepared to repair the torn paper after your window supports and trim tear it as you attempt to slide into the insanely tight fitting notches without marring the lovely yellow paint on the exterior. Crud.

#4. Sanding all notches an additional 2 inches wider will make this whole stinking process a lot easier. Yes, you may have some gaps, but at least your wood won't be splintered, paper won't be torn, and you won't be praying for forgiveness after letting the "d" word fly for the 43rd time that day. Besides, there is this wonderful thing called silicone. I happen to know they sell it in tubes, and I think it would be ideal for filling in all of the little gaps... Blast!

Well, my brain is tired and my shoulders are tense, and my lower back aches. So, even though I'm dead positive there is more nuggets of wisdom I need to share with you, I'm stopping there.

I also painted one side of most of the remaining trim. After I paint the other side I will be able to glue it fairly quickly up, (famous last words) and assemble the porch roof and door. Of course, then I will still need to shingle and build furniture....Phew!

One last thing before I sign off on this post: Studmuffin ran the sweeper and folded a load of clothes and put it away today. I think that's more than he's done in one day in the house without me nagging him for the first time in a really long time. It turns out he can do more chores one handed than he can normally do with two perfectly good arms! Just goes to show there is something to be said for cabin fever!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dollhouse Update

Okay, so many of you are easily guilted. I'm much better today, and in wonderful spirits despite the tenor of the previous post. No, I don't expect calls from everyone. I'm terrible at remembering birthdays. Birthday cards are a waste of trees unless you are sending me money, in which case they are an essential....

But now on to the dollhouse. My niece Sarah spent the night with us, so I bullied her into helping me with it. After all, if she's going to give me zero sympathy about the detail work, and deadline aspect of it, the least she can do is pony up and help paint trim...

She actually saved my life by painting the roof trim and attic window sills that are right next to yellow paint, that I was scared to death of messing up. Thank you, Sarah. If you want to come back tonight and help me again tomorrow that would be lovely.

Guess what? I didn't actually have turquoise paint. However, I had several little jars of paint from an acrylic paint kit that I combined to create turquoise. It looked like so much paint...

Until I realized that it's nowhere near enough. Therefore, I will be going to Home Depot this evening to get a color match done. Dang....

If it doesn't match completely I will simply paint over the pieces I've already done. After all, sanding and priming is the hardest part.

Did you notice I'm even papering the walls? My sisters gave me the idea of using scrapbook paper (that would be when they were leaving me virtual birthday wishes in the form of comments on my blog or mentioning me in their blogs, or leaving me voicemails... But not calling. Just clarifying that....Oh, I'm wicked, wicked, wicked I know. I just couldn't resist.) I didn't have any turquoise except in plaid, or faux water. I didn't really feel that was Victorian era, so I went with the ones you see. Now my husband is nagging me because I don't plan to stain the floors.

Good grief.

Some people are never happy.

Ohmygosh!!! I just noticed the stack of prescription bottles in one of the pictures. All I can say is 4 of them are Studmuffins, 3 of which relate to his surgery, and one is for the dog. Jeez. We look like a bunch of blue hairs with all of those pill bottles sitting out!

My Birthday

Well, yesterday I turned the big Three-Four. Woo. Hoo.... Yes, that was sarcasm. You know, I have not cried that much on any given day in years. Much less on my BIRTHDAY!!!

The truth is, I am S-T-R-E-S-S-E-D. The dogs had a HUGE fight the other day. They have never fought before, and the vet said they are probably trying to reestablish who is dominant now that one dog is weaker. I am trying to let Kelsey finish healing before I let them alone again. Holly is growling at her every time they are together, and she raises her hackles. However, I don't know who started the fight, she may just be so scared that she wants to be bigger and tougher every time they are together.

I'm stressing about the dollhouse. I'll post an update on that later today. I looked for dollhouse dolls at Hobby Lobby yesterday, and they were the ugliest things I've ever seen, especially for $28. The doll pram Popcorn wanted is out of stock, so now I'm trying to find one similar online somewhere else for a reasonable price.

I'm functioning on very little sleep because when I try to sleep I start worrying about the dogs, or money, or if the girls will like their Christmas. I wake up every time he repositions or makes a noise in his sleep. When I do fall asleep, Studmuffin wakes up and I have to help him get his ice machine disconnected and give him pain pills or whatever. Then, it takes me forever to fall back asleep. I think I've averaged about 4 hours of sleep per night since his surgery last Thursday.

But enough whining, this is about my birthday!

The birthday that Studmuffin failed to acknowledge, because he didn't have time to go get me anything because of his surgery, and he's been too busy before that. Let's not mention the hunting and fishing trips he took every weekend for the last 2 months. Apparently, my birthday is a very rare occasion, and it doesn't come every year at the same time, so he has no idea when to expect it.

Last night he felt guilty and decided to go get his prescription filled by himself. He ran into Walmart and grabbed a cake. Red velvet, to be exact. I acted excited and pretended to love it. However, if you were to list my favorite desserts from most to least, red velvet would be at the bottom right next to lemon cakes. I will eat it when offered it, but would never choose it for myself. But, seriously, don't tell him that. He rarely reads this blog, so he will probably never see this paragraph...

But, on the upside of the whole deal, my brother called me. Yep. My selfish, spoiled brat brother called me on my birthday.

My sisters didn't call, but my brother did.

I think I fell into some parallel universe or something. Granted, I have forgotten to call my sisters many times. I'm just inconsiderate that way. However, the fact that my BROTHER called is shocking, especially next to my sisters not calling. How strange is that? Here's a glimpse of our conversation...

David: Happy birthday Sis!

Me: Thanks!

David: How are you?

Me: Great!

D: What did you get?

Me: Nothing. I guess I've been "nuttin' but bad." (I let out a weak laugh.)

*Crickets chirping*

D: Gee, I'm sorry.

Me: That's okay. I guess Kelsey's doctor bills were my birthday present. (Trying to laugh in an upbeat, I have no worries way.)

D: (very relieved at the topic change) So, how is Kelsey? Is she stupid now?

So, there you go.

My brother called me. We had a conversation typical of him.

But not my sisters.

My husband forgot my birthday, but ran to the store to get a cake and cards, that he didn't bother to sign.

My grandmama meant to call, but got busy and forgot.

My youngest daughter thought my birthday was today, and when she realized she was off a day, cheerfully sang me "Happy Birthday" with all the enthusiasm a 7 year old can muster and played a game of charades with me as a present, plus I got to be President of The Day in her club. A very high honor indeed!

Bookworm said she was going to make me a present because homemade presents are the best...Then she started playing and forgot to finish it.

It seems that I'm surrounded by people who are as inconsiderate as I am. I'm guessing they learned it from me, who forgets just about everyone's birthday but my own...

But, seriously keep your eyes open for an update on the Non-Crafters dollouse!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm not crafty

Bookworm has read all of the Doll People books. She loves them. So do I. You can learn more about them here.

As soon as she felt it wouldn't be obvious, my mother in law had me go to her room with her, where she reached under her bed, and pulled out this!

I was so excited! I knew I had a wonderful mother-in-law, who is a keeper of all things and crafter extraordinaire, but to learn that she has this doll house kit, and she was so eager to whip up a doll house for Bookworm was so touching.....

Until I realized she expected me to make the doll house.

Ummm, excuse me? Scotty? I'm not crafty. I hate attempting any craft that lasts over an hour or so, and that is really pushing it. I love to cook, after all, I can eat that. But crafting? Applying myself to something, and doing it well so that it lasts forever? ESPECIALLY if there is even a remote possibility that my mother in law or husband will be examining it. Yikes! They are both very creative and meticulous with their endeavors. Unlike I am. I prefer to tape, wire, or glue things haphazardly together. If it doesn't move and it should WD40 it. If it moves and it shouldn't it, duct tape it. These are really the only 2 tools you need.

I attempted to whine and complain to my niece Sarah last weekend. She had zero sympathy, because apparently art majors have lots of crafty projects to get done on a deadline and they are graded....Well. That explains why I'm not an art major!

You can see in the above picture where I was at as of noon today. Minus the floor and corner brace. In other words, I had a whopping 3 pieces put together.

I had a dollhouse my mom made me when I was nine. It is beautiful. Unfortunately, the wrap around porch was destroyed by some pillows being thrown on it. The posts are too splintered to salvage, but I think I can use the scraps from this kit to replace them. Of course, we were unable to sneak a 3 story dollhouse here at Thanksgiving, due to the dogs, one of which was sick, and our luggage. So. I can't use it as her gift. Dang.

So, after 2 hours of work, this is where I'm at. I'm feeling a little more hopeful that I can finish this before Christmas. Of course, it will be nowhere near as cool as mine was. Mom papered the walls and carpeted the floors. This one is one room with an attic. I plan to stain the floors and paint the walls turquoise. That's Bookworm's favorite color. I thought of making the exterior that color, but Studmuffin and I decided that yellow with white trim will be cuter outside.

So, maybe, maybe, maybe I can finish this before Christmas. Part of the problem is I'm afraid to work on it at night because I'm afraid she'll get up and see it. It's too bloody cold to work on it in the shop, so I'm limited to working on it while the girls are in school. This means I need Studmuffin to stay on his pain pills at least the rest of this week so I can finish it.

Wait! Did I ever tell you Studmuffin had reconstructive shoulder surgery last Thursday? Translation: He is unable to move his right shoulder for 5 weeks, and it will be SIX MONTHS before he can have full use of it. Translation of translation: The man is pretty useless in helping with the dollhouse...


Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Well, we got a new kid saddle for the kids to use on Sugar. She and Appy got lots of experience over Thanksgiving weekend. They were both rode for about 3 solid hours over Thanksgiving weekend. Believe me. Those two aren't used to that much activity...

Neither was my nephew. Of course, he is an adult sized 11 year old. In a kid saddle. He hasn't quite mastered moving with the horse. Consequently, he moved, well, err....I think the picture speaks for itself. At this point of the ride, he was getting, ummm, well...

Hmmm....How do I say this?

Sore? Yeah. Let's go with that. He was getting sore. So, he was trying new positions to relieve some....Shall we say "pressure?"

Now, these two goof balls got their fair share of riding too. Of course, neither one of them are capable of inactivity for more than 8 seconds, so they spent their "down time" on the hay bales.

After we were finished catering to the kids, Dad & I went for a little ride. Did I mention it was Thanksgiving? That means deer season. I'm pretty sure we were taking our lives in our hands by riding at this time of year. And, we didn't even have on blaze orange so we could be easily spotted. Do you see the deer in the distance in this photo? We scared them up while riding. You can barely see them because my camera was zipped in my pocket, and by the time I dug it out, they were nearly gone... My dad said there are more deer than rabbits now. Sure enough, we saw 4 deer and only 1 rabbit in all of that time riding. Weird. Maybe it's due to the mountain lions. Or coyotes. I don't know, but it sure is weird to not see rabbits. However, we did see one armadillo. That reminded me of my grandma, Shootsmanyarmadillos. Go read about her here.

After all their hard work, it was time for the horses to get a treat for reward. My dad tried to stay out of the picture, but I'm quick. See the horse in the front? That's Appy. Believe it or not, he used to be nearly as dark as Sugar. With lots of speckles, of course.

Anyway, as you can see we had a great day. Sugar is fulfilling her purpose in helping the next generation learn to ride a horse on a trusty mount.....

Hey, funny story here. Dad asked me early in the day if I was brave enough to try riding Sugar double later on. "Sure. Why?"

"Well, I just want to see how she does with two riders." This statement mystified me, and I failed to ask for more details.

Fast forward to my cousin Beth showing up with her kids. Her son Sawyer was afraid to ride alone. My niece Sarah was on Appy, and I tried to assure him that Sugar would just go where Appy went, but he was not sure. His brother Seth, who I think is a Senior, volunteered to ride with him. Initially Seth was going to sit up front, but obviously he couldn't fit the kid saddle, and I didn't want to change gear. I completely forgot my earlier conversation with Dad and though Seth tried to balk, I bullied him into riding behind his brother.

Fast forward to about 4pm. Dad said, "So, are you game for trying to ride Sugar double?"

"Yeah. Why do you want to see how she does with 2 adults?"

"It's not two adults. I want to see how she reacts to the weight and legs dangling down her back. Remember when we bought her they said she pitched with saddle bags."

*Crickets chirping*

"OOOOoooh....Well, I'm not really worried about that any more." I said, laughing.

"How come?" I explained that I hadn't paid close enough attention to what he was trying to say earlier that day, and she did just fine with Seth and Sawyer. Sawyer knew absolutely nothing about riding, and Seth has maybe ridden 3 or 4 times before that day.

Dad just laughed and decided he wasn't going to worry about that any more.

That's what I'm here for Dad. Got a worry? I'll blithely blaze through life, never even considering what might happen. I had a friend in South Texas who told her parents that any time she was afraid to let her kids try something, all she had to do was send them to my house, and I'd have them do it without even thinking about it...

Monday, December 7, 2009


So. I got this lovely package in the mail the other day....

It happened to have my water bill in it. The important part (amount due) was torn off. Luckily, I live in a small town, so I just drove to City Hall and found out the correct amount...

Kinda makes you wonder what will happen to your Christmas cards this year.

But hey! At least I know they care!!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Comfort Food

Some time ago, I posted about my family's love of egg sandwiches. If you don't remember that post, please take a moment to go and refresh your memory. It is sure to help you understand the depth of feeling my family has for these sandwiches......

Egg sandwiches epitomize all that's good and right with the world. You see, the egg represents a new joy and happiness...The toast represents ... Well, never mind that, I have no idea where to go from here...

Okay that's a bunch of hooey, and I just made that up on the fly, which is why it was really lame...

But seriously, a good egg sandwich is just, well plain ole GOOD!!!

When I posted previously about egg sandwiches I told myself that someday I would post pictures and directions for them. You see, egg sandwiches are a staple in a house where we are frequently rushed through supper, but there is very little cash left in the dining envelope.

Another great thing about egg sandwiches is the versatility. No yolk wanted? (My girls prefer I ditch the yolk) Simply separate the egg before cooking. The yolk can be broken to spread the flavor all over, the yolk can be runny if that floats your boat, or you can scramble the eggs if you happen to have a person that explodes with horrendous toxic fumes (also known as flatulence in the medical world.)

So, without further ado, let's begin, shall we?

First you need a good cast iron skillet.

Get it hot, then melt up a few tablespoons of butter in it. I've been using EVOO lately since Studmuffin has been careful with his cholesterol. I don't really notice any difference in flavor.

Drop your egg in and scramble, fry or whatever you want. Bookworm preferred an egg in a basket the day I took these photos, so you can see it cooking too.

What is an egg in a basket? Simply take a piece of bread and tear a hole in the middle. Place it in a skillet with melted butter and drop an egg in the middle. Wait a few minutes and flip it. Top with S&P to taste and serve it up hot!

But, returning to egg sandwiches : If you want, you can fry up some lunch meat if you happen to have any in the fridge. Place the egg on a slice of toast, then a slice of cheese if you want. Again, Studmuffin is foregoing cheese a lot lately too. His life isn't very exciting lately. Next place your ham or turkey, or if you're really a rebel you can put some bacon on it. I accept no responsibility for your cholesterol levels if you choose the latter. Top it with a second piece of toast.

Studmuffin and Popcorn always add mustard to their sandwiches. I'm not so crazy about that, but again, the beauty of this is you can make it to please yourself!

So, go! Make yourself some comfort food! Enjoy a delicious home cooked meal that's ready in minutes! We like to eat ours with a glass of milk and a bunch of grapes or some other fruit. Of course, potato chips are a good side too, but the extra salt is probably not your friend.