Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Well, here it is, the 30th of November.  I've managed to post something, even if it was pretty horrible, every single day this month.  It was both very easy and very difficult at the same time.
It was easy because I'd set up a theme for me to talk to.  I mean, more than my usual "life, the universe, and everything" generic topic.  So, maybe I need to focus my "theme" for this blog.  But, I don't think I want to do that.  I like having a place where I can post whatever crosses my mind that I want to share with people.  Sure, this started out as somewhat of a "travel blog" keeping friends and family in the loop of where I was and what I was up to.  But, it has evolved beyond that.  It's a Mommyblog (I hate that term....).  It's a world view blog.  It's my place to rant and rave about things.  It's where I can talk about the things I do, the places I go and the adventures I have.  It's my life, all in one place.
It was also easier because I allowed myself to post whatever I wrote, even if I would normally have consigned it to the trash bin, never to be looked at ever again.  I will freely admit there are a few days I'd love to have deleted, but I promised myself that I would post whatever I wrote, no matter how bad it was.

It was also harder because I "pigeonholed" myself into one theme that I had to make work every single day.  It was hard just because I had to come up with something unique every day.  It was hard simply because I had to write something every day, good bad or indifferent.

So, what have I learned?  I've learned that I can do this.  I've proven that I can carve just a few minutes out of my day to write something, anything.  Does it have to be great every time?  No.  Should it be better than some of the drivel I posted this month.  Oh my yes!

So, on that note, I think I've rededicated myself to this space.  Sure, Facebook and Google+ are easy ways to post a thought or two in a moment, but I can do so much more here.  I need to start taking some of those links I post on those sites and actually exploring them more here and tying things together and well, thinking more.
Hopefully, I'll be able to do that a bit more.  Hopefully, I've actually rededicated myself to this space and actually make some good use of it.  This just isn't a space for me to tell you about what's going on with Boo or the family, but a place that I can explore other thoughts as well.

So, even though I didn't actually post specifically anything I'm thankful for today, I'm still thankful.  I'm thankful for this experience and I'm hopeful that I'll be able to take some things away from this and actually digest the experience and learn from it.

I bid you peace and may you excel at your challenges and get more from them than you bargained.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I've been staring at this screen for a full 15 minutes trying to figure out what to write.  I've got nothing.  Well, maybe not nothing.

Anyhow, the last two days haven't been the most productive days at work.  I've muddled through and tried to get stuff done.  I'm not sure how well I've succeeded.  (Kinda like not being able to write this post....)

I went into tonight's Girl Scout meeting with only a vague plan and a hope and I pulled off something.  I'm not 100% sure what, but we had fun and talked about some stuff and made a few plans.  I've got a lot of work to get done in the next week, but that's par for the course.  Just because it's a lot of fun, doesn't mean there won't be a lot of work involved.  At least it's fun work for the most part.

I've been frustrated lately by Boo seeming to revert back to the no bath, crying and screaming thing.  I have no idea what started this or why.  The one night, it was because the stopper thing hadn't been flipped all the way and it was leaking a little and the noise scared him.  The next time, I'm wondering if I had the water just a smidge too warm and he lost it when I grumbled at him a little too loudly to sit down.  Last night, I have no idea what set him off.  He didn't want to sit, but I asked him to.  He then started crying, I mean sobbing and distraught.  I tried to get him to tell me what was wrong, but I have no idea what he meant by "crinkles" or whatever he was sobbing.  Gak couldn't get a straight answer from him either.

So, I'm really not sure where I'm heading with this.  I'm not sure what I can pull from my day to be thankful form.  Maybe for being able to pull things out of thin air when needed.  I have no idea.  I'm not sure how any of this all ties together.

So, now that it's 9:15 and my brain is mush, I'm going to hit publish.  (Normally I'd let this drivel be deleted, but I'm not going to skip a day with only two to go in the month...)

Peace to all and may your days make a little more sense than this post.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Tonight I realized I haven't given thanks for one very, very important person in my life.  I haven't yet in this challenge really given thanks for my dear, wonderful husband.
And I do need to thank him.  He puts up with so much from me.  Sure, there are times I want to strangle him or beat him upside the head with a frying pan, but I know darn right well I'm worse at times.  I know I'm not the easiest person to live with, but through it all he seems to just roll with it for the most part and rarely looses patience with me.  (And trust me, when he does, I truly do deserve it...)

So, other than putting up with my bull and my grumpiness and general bad attitude at times, why am I so thankful to have this man in my life?

Hmm.... let's see here.  Obviously I'm thankful he's in my life because he helped create our wonderful son Boo. That and he really is a great dad to our son.  I know there are times I want to bean him for some things, but really, he's done a great job being a dad.  Boo is happy and healthy (far healthier than some of my friends' and coworkers' kids seem to be...).  He's on a "normal" development track, whatever that means.  Sure, he knows who Gibs is from NCIS and can identify at least two if not the most recent three Doctors.  But, every kid has their quarks handed down to them from their parents.  I'm not only thankful for the father that he is, but that he's willing to be such a good dad and play such a big role staying home with our boy most mornings.  That takes a lot of patience and care, no matter who you are or what your gender.

I'm thankful that he reads as much as he does.  I may not always read the same things he does or find the same things fascinating, but the fact that he's as much, or more, of a bookworm than I am means that it's OK when I spend too much time with my nose in a book.  It means we have something to talk about.  It means he's willing to explore other points of view and other experiences.  It gives me hope that our son will be a bookworm too.  (I mean, more than he is.  He loves books, but he hasn't quite gotten into actually reading the words yet... that'll come.)

I'm thankful that he tolerates my crazy and actually encourages it more often than not.  I love that I can crack him up most days, even when he has no clue how I got from A to 5 in the leap of a single thought.  (Half the time I don't know either if that's any comfort...)  I'm thankful that we can have fun together and also that when times call for us to be serious, we can be serious.  We can talk, about just about anything.  Usually if there is something I can't talk to him about, it's because I'm just not ready to face it myself, not that I think he'll get mad, or not understand, or argue meanly with me about it.  He may not always agree with my point of view, but he's always willing to listen.  He also knows that there are times that no matter what he says, I'll still do it my way (even if it turns out he was right in the first place...).

So, yes, I'm thankful that I never totally lost contact with my Bear.  I'm glad that he never fully gave up on me.  I'm thankful that I was smart enough to invite him up to visit just over 7 years ago and that he moved up here that December.  I'm so thankful that he puts up with me and even enjoys my crazy life.

So, yes Bear, as embarrassing as this post is, every word is one that I believe with all my heart.  This is only a small part of why I'm so thankful for you.  I just can't find the right words to express what I really feel.  In many ways you are my better half, as I hope that I can be your better half as well.

Peace to all and may you find someone to share your life with who is as tolerant, patient and loving as my own Bear.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Today I'm thankful for Muppets.
What originally started these thoughts was the fact that we went and saw Muppets today.  (As an aside, you have got to go see this movie.  More than once even.)
So, on the surface, I'm thankful for the Muppets because we had a very enjoyable time as a family at this movie.  I'm thankful for all the hours of entertainment that the Muppet cast and crew have given me over the years.

(You'll have to excuse the disjointed nature of this post.  I started this around 5:00 and it's now 7:30.... I keep getting interrupted and distracted... thanks boys!)

Anyhow, the first song that Kermit sings has a line about maybe something is broken that can't be fixed.  All I could think about was that we lost Jim Henson way too soon.  And how far ahead of his time he was, and in many ways still is.  He did so very much in entertainment and in children's television.  Just think about how many generations of children have been brought up with his Sesame Street cast of characters.  I still think it's one of the best shows out there, even if I'm not fond of the new format.  It doesn't talk down to kids.  It talks to and with them.  It talks about big things and little things and all kinds of things that are important in their lives.  So, yes, I'm even thankful for Elmo even if he gets on my nerves from time to time and has replaced Kermit in the lives of many children.  (Actually, having seen and read things by and about the man who plays Elmo, I actually like Elmo a good bit more than I did before... I really want to see the documentary about Being Elmo...)

I can understand Kermit taking a back seat these days, even though he's the original face of the Muppets.  He really is Jim Henson's alter ego.  Kermit and Ernie.  They're still two of my favorites.  I thank them for being the dreamers that they are.  The dreamers and the livers in imagination and big hearted friends that they are.  They taught us all how to care, to stick up for who you are and that it may not be easy being green, but if you're green than be the best green you can be.

I'm thankful for all the education I received at the kind hands of the Sesame Street gang, humans and Muppets alike.  I'm thankful that Jim Henson didn't let the way things are and the machine that is television and movie production grind his dreams into dust.  I'm thankful that there are still creative people in the world who love Jim's world and respect is enough to treat it with the care that they have.  Sure, the Muppets have faded to the background of this over stimulated world, but they still hold a large place in the hearts of many of us and many of us choose to give them to our children as well.

So, thank you Jim Henson for following your dream and for believing in the children of the world and daring to be a dreamer and a lover.

Peace to all and may you find the Rainbow Connection.  (Which Boo lovingly refers to as "the froggy song".)

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Today I must be thankful for patience.  Patience that keeps me from throttling a boy-child when he's being stubborn.  Patience to know that even though I want things now that, often, if I wait, something even better comes along.  Patience to accept that even though I've lost so much weight (and feel awesome for it) that just because I would really like to loose another 10-20 lb that despite how slowly things seem to be going, it will come.

Maybe this is more of a post of I will be patient, damnit!  Than being thankful for the patience I already have.  I know, I know, there are several of you out there that think I'm already a very patient soul and that I really should be thankful for the patience I have.  Well, if you could only hear the internal monologue that is actually going on in my head in those situations, you'd see that I'm anything but patient.  More like holding still through sheer force of willpower alone.

Tonight, for example, my patience has been sorely tested by my boy.  And I know that in reality, it's small potatoes and that I should just let it go and eventually all will be right.  You see, tonight was almost an epic battle over the whole eating thing.  I know from my own personal experience as a very, very picky eater as a child that he will eventually outgrow most of it by the time he graduates high school, or at least begin to start eating like a real human by then.  I did.  My brother did.  Gak did too.  But, even with that knowledge, there are days that I just want to strangle him and it takes all my willpower and internal "talking down" to keep from just forcing things one way or another.  Tonight was a leftovers night.  We've got plenty from all the cooking I've been doing all week because I've been home.  Gak and I had Thanksgiving dinner take two (without eating nearly so much as on Thanksgiving itself... now why can't I have that kind of control then?).  I asked Boo what he wanted, offered him mac'n'cheese since we had some in the fridge since Tuesday and he said OK.  So, I warm some up for him. (Note: he didn't touch it Tuesday night even though it's made with elbows and orange cheese, two key things for him to even consider eating the dish *double sigh*.)  I also dish him up some applesauce, since I know that's almost always a hit.  Well, the long and the short of it is, he didn't eat the mac'n'cheese.  Both Gak and I nearly lost our tempers and Boo isn't getting anything else to eat tonight and only water if he wants something to drink at bedtime.  (He's decided in recent months that he does not like water, even though he used to drink it willingly all the time...)  I know part of this is a power struggle between him and us, not just being a picky eater.  I do believe that both conditions are real.

The other place I need patience with my boy-o is the whole potty-training thing.  Again, I know he'll get there and I'm doing everything I can short of putting him on the potty every 20 minutes and letting him scream at me for it.  Part of me knows that he just doesn't care.  This has also become a power struggle, just like with eating.  And I don't want this to become a power struggle that descends into the two of us screaming and crying at each other (like the bath was, and sometimes still is....).  Unfortunately, unless he shows some real progress in the next few months, it will become just that.  I mean, for crying out loud, both Trey and Kelly are potty trained and they're just two stuffed animals!  (I do and don't count this as progress on Boo's part...)

He's just soooo stubborn and so am I.  All these situations do is raise my blood pressure and make me feel like a crappy Momma... both from the "you can't get your son to do what you want" and the "all you do is yell at your son" side of things at the same time.  Yeah, I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I'm the only one in my own head.  And yes, Boo listens to me about 80% of the time and I spend more time laughing and playing with my boy-o than yelling at him, but days like this it feels like all I do is yell, nag, scold and grumble.

So, I'm thankful for the patience I do have but please, grant me a whole bunch more and the wisdom to know when and how to throw patience out the window to get things done.

I'll wrap it up here and wish you peace and patience in all your life's endeavors.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Today I'm thankful for leftovers.  And I'm not just talking about that yummy stuffing sitting in my fridge or the apple pie I've been trying very hard not to scarf down all in one sitting.  (I can't quite say the same for Gak's willpower with the pecan pie...)

While yummy Thanksgiving leftovers means that I don't have to worry about lunches for the next few days, they're only part of the story.  Leftovers from meals in general make awesome lunches with less thinking in the morning, and for that I'm thankful.  I'm also thankful for the fact that leftovers are cheaper than eating out (not to mention much healthier 95% of the time).

But leftovers don't just apply to food.  I'm thankful for leftover bits and ends of skeins of yarn from crochet projects.  I can't begin to tell you how many other projects or test patterns I've been able to do because I had a partial skein left over from another project.  And then there are the left over pieces of fabric from other projects that turn into projects all on their own.  I recently made an entire bag out of left over pieces from other projects.  I always love going through my stash of fabrics and yarns to see what I can come up with next.  Not to mention all the money I can save by using the odds and ends and creating something totally unique and personalized without having to spend a dime on something new.  (Trust me, I love a good bargain.)

So, yes, today I'm thankful for leftovers, both of the food and of all other sorts.  I'm sorry this is less than a stellar post, but I can't seem to keep focused as there are too many things vying for my attention at the moment.

So, I bid you peace and may you find something "left over" in your house that you can put to a good, new, use.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Tonight I am thankful for traditions.  Both the "official" and unofficial ones.  The ones I uphold every year and the ones I purposefully bend and break.

Today is Thanksgiving.  This is a day full of traditions.  Some of which I enjoy, some of them, I just don't understand.  Anyhow, I just wanted to write a little about today.  (Boy, this really isn't making much sense or going anywhere is it?  Oh well, I'll just plow forward and see where it takes me.  I'm just not getting my thoughts out well, could be the two glasses of wine maybe?)

This morning started with the normal "weekend type morning" things.  Then we got the whole "Thanksgiving" part of the day going.  We watched the start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (Boo got to watch the Sesame Street float so he was happy).  We even got a call from Gak's mom.  I started cooking, more like prep-work for the rest of the day around 9 when I realized a few things would take longer than I thought.

We managed to get a family walk in and enjoyed it.

My mom came up for dinner.  Dad wasn't feeling well, so he stayed home, but told mom she had to come.  We had the traditional turkey, but we had my spin on the stuffing, some very sweetly glazed sweet potatoes (less sweet potatoes than I thought I had and more glaze....), some yummy orange ginger carrots (although I'm still not a huge carrot fan...), some herb roasted baby potatoes, some rolls, some home made apple and cranberry sauces.  Over all, it was quite yummy filled with some traditional recipes from mom and some that I've taken and made my own.  Mom brought a pecan pie and half an apple pie she made (she left the other half home for Dad).

So, even though the gathering was a little smaller than usual, I'm still thankful for the tradition of doing Thanksgiving at my house and then Christmas and/or Hanukkah at Mom and Dad's.  I just don't know how much longer Dad will be part of the tradition and that scares me and makes me sad.  I will cherish every moment and every tradition we have together while we can, but knowing that the time is drawing to a close tints things with a little bit of sad, but makes me love them all the more.

Traditions are what bind us together, make us into families, neighborhoods, communities, counties, states and countries.  There are things we do that make us unique, but things that we do that tie us to others, some near and some far.  I love both the things that make me uniquely me, and my family uniquely mine, but I love the fact that there are people all over this state and country that are doing similar things on this day that are tying their own families together.  That is the real power of tradition.  Both the keeping of them and of the bending them to make them our own.

So, I'm off to Kat's house for a bit of socializing (and hopefully not too much more desert, although a small bite of pumpkin pie wouldn't go amiss....)

I bid you peace and may your traditions be yours and yet tie you to something bigger.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I think today I will be thankful for cookies.  Not the ones you can buy in a package in the store.  While there are some good ones out there, those are just mass produced morsels.  I'm talking about labor-of-love, hand made bites of yumminess.

Of course, sometimes they aren't all that great.  Maybe it was the recipe.  Maybe it was the quality of ingredients.  Or the oven temperature was off (or you turned the oven off and wondered why things weren't cooking....).  Or you forgot half the flour.  Or the leavening.  Or you had to make some changes due to what you had on hand.  (Yes, I've had all those crop up at one point in time or another...)

Anyhow, today is my birthday.  And while there were some good things about today, I think I'm most thankful for the time I spent with Boo baking cookies.  We made two different kinds today.  (Actually, I made the first batch while he was supposedly napping, he helped with the second.)  The first batch I made were cranberry pumpkin ones that turned out very cake-like and very delicious.  (As soon as I write this I'm making another cup of tea and enjoying a few cookies...)  The second batch didn't turn out all that great.

Earlier in the week Boo asked if we were going to make cookies.  Of course I said sure!  I was figuring we'd make sugar cookies of some kind so he could do the sprinkles (which is his favorite part of cookie making).  But, this morning he asked to make chocolate cookies.  Oh, darn, twist my arm.  Unfortunately, the recipe for crinkles that I love requires you to refrigerate the dough for an hour or more to make it manageable.  We just didn't have that kind of time or attention span.  So, I tried a different one.  One that I thought should have worked, since it was in the Betty Crocker cookbook after all.  You know, the red notebook one?  The one with all the basic staples in it?  Yeah, well, this one didn't work out so well.  I'm not sure if it was me or the recipe.  Boo had a lot of fun helping me measure the flour and the sugar and loved that I let him lick the spoon I used with the melted chocolate.  (They definitely could have used more than 2 oz of chocolate, maybe double, but I'm a chocoholic....).  The biggest challenge was to keep him from licking the various measuring cups and then putting them back in said flour or sugar.... yeah.  Oh well.  Everything was going into the oven to cook...  The first dozen spread out way, way, way more than I expected and weren't done and then were suddenly burnt.  So, I added another half cup of flour and a touch more baking soda to the remaining batter and the rest didn't spread so much, were more cake like and cooked without burning.  They just aren't the stellar chocolate cookies I was in the mood for.

Oh well.  I really can't complain.  The time spent with Boo more than makes up for adequate at best cookies.  So, I guess I'm not really thankful for the cookies themselves, but for the time it takes to make cookies (or other things) from scratch and the time that is spent with loved ones in the process.

So, on that note, I'll wrap this up.  I wish I had a picture of the cookies to put at the top, but I haven't taken one and I'm just too lazy to get up and do that, come back, download it, upload it and post.  So, you'll just have to use your imagination.

Peace to all and may you have some quality (cookie) time with loved ones.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Tonight I am thankful for change.  I had a better picture that shows what I'm talking about, but this will have to do.  This picture is from Halloween.  I'm pretty proud of this picture.  I hadn't worn that garb in over 4 years, probably more like 6.  I may or may not be able to wear it next fall.

Anyhow, you may be wondering what this picture has to do with change.  Well, today Gak and I went to the DMV to get my license renewed.  More specifically, get my new photo license.  When I looked at my old photo and compared it to the new one, I really was quite shocked.    I mean, I know I've lost over 70 lb, but sometimes I just don't know I've lose 70 lb.  The difference in the two photos really brought it home.

So, I'm thankful for this change.  I'm thankful for all the changes that have come with it.  I'm thankful for all the energy I have, all the things I can do without thinking about it now and all the adventures I can go on and look forward to going on now.  It really is quite amazing.  There is a lot more buzzing around in my head, but it's 9:30 and I'm exhausted and just rambling.

Anyhow, here's a picture from about 4 months before my last license picture taken.  And this wasn't even at my heaviest, but probably about 15 lb or so lighter.  (I had a picture of the two licenses together, but the new one isn't very clear and doesn't do it justice.

So, I bid you peace and may you find good changes in your life.

Monday, November 21, 2011


I was looking over my list of November posts and I realized I have yet to give thanks to something that add so much fun and spice to my life and that's Adventures!  Anyone who knows me, knows I love to go on adventures, both big and small, near and far.  I mean, it's part of my blog description after all!  (It's also what I asked Jon and Becca to continue to do as part of their wedding vows...)

And I really am thankful for all the adventures I've been on and get to go on with my life.  Some days, just going to the grocery store can be an adventure.  (And actually, that's how I get Boo "excited" about going, or at least willing to go.)  And yes, some adventures are much more fun than others.

Today was a fun adventure.  Since I've taken the week off, Mom and I decided today would be a good day to get together, seeing as though she has Mondays off anyhow.  So, Boo and I left the house at about 6:30 and headed down to meet Amma at the Y for swimming.  Everyone was happy to see Boo.  We had a good time swimming and then we went to breakfast.  I was sooo hungry that I ate a huge breakfast and even now I'm not really hungry.  After breakfast we went to Amma's for a little bit to wait for her new recliner to be delivered.  I love it.  It fits her perfectly, which means that Gak won't fit.  Anyhow, after that we went over to the mall to see if I could find something to spend my JC Penny gift certificate on, that Michelle gave me for my birthday.  I found this really neat sweater and some long-sleeved T-shirts.  Then it was home again.  So, overall it was a nice little adventure.

I love going new places and seeing new things, or even just going across town to somewhere I've been before just to see what's new.  I'm thankful for all the new experiences I can get and all the new people to meet.  (Although, sometimes that's hard... I'm actually pretty shy in real life... it's only here that I just run my mouth and say hi to everyone I come across.... hmmm....)
So, yes, adventures are a wonderful thing to be thankful for.  No, this isn't a long well thought out post.  I'm too tired for that.  (And Blue's Clues just ended, so I have a boy who's about to start pushing buttons.... and I've got to get dinner in the oven... and yeah, all the normal stuff.)

So, I bid you peace and many, many, many wonderful adventures, both near and far, great and small!  Always be looking for the adventure in your lives.

(This post was also inspired by the necklace that Mom gave me today, which I love!)

Sunday, November 20, 2011


This is definitely getting challenging.  I'm actually staring at my screen going, boy, that's a big blank block of nothing there, isn't it.  Well, now I've put something in there.
It's not that I don't have anything to be thankful for, but I don't know.  Somehow I just can't seem to get into the right frame of mind to come up with something that means anything.  And no, I don't mean that in a grand way, but as in, "I can't even seem to string words into a sentence let alone a paragraph that has meaning" kind of way.

So, as I have the last few days, let's take a look at the day and see if I can't find something, some theme, that unifies the day and sums up what I can be thankful about.

Today I convinced myself to sleep in until 6:00 or so.  My body still hasn't gotten into the time change.  I keep waking up at 4.  My mind knows that it is only 4, but my body seems to think it is 5 already.  And trust me, I do not want to be getting up at 4.  Five is early enough, thank you.

I get up, turn on the Wii and fire up EA Active, figuring since I was up I could do something productive with my time.  Well, two minutes in Gak wakes up and decides the call of nature was more than he could fight to get back to sleep and then about two more minutes in, Boo apparently hears people and decides that it is time to get up.  Now, this kind of makes me cranky.  This is my time.  But, there isn't really anywhere else I can send them and I am in the living room after all.  I also don't enjoy working out in front of an audience even if it's only my family.  Maybe especially if it's my family.  I don't know.  I don't understand, but I try and live with it and ignore the fact that my hubby is staring at me.  He's not staring in a mean way in the slightest, but still... even admiration or love or whatever gets a bit creepy when you're the only one moving and grooving.

Anyhow, about 2/3 of the way through, Boo decides he's hungry and Gak manages to get him to decide on what he wants for breakfast.  Of course, halfway through breakfast Boo decides he's done because I'm still in the other room... and there was....

Oh hell... I can't even keep that train of thought long enough.

Oh well.

I think today I'm thankful that it was a good Sunday with some ups and downs, some chores done and some fun time with both my son and my husband.  I got some good fun with both of them and with each of them separately.

So, on this poorly written note, I'm going to call it a post and try again tomorrow.

Peace to all and may you be able to keep your train of thought.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Today, I'm thankful for blankets.  I'm thankful for my own warm, snuggly blankets on my bed because it's gotten cold over the last few days.  I'm also thankful for all of the crocheted blankies I've made and given to friends, family and those in need.  But tonight, I'm thankful for some new blankets.

You see, until tonight, Boo's been using an old comforter of mine that I don't even remember when I got it.  I think I might have had it since a few years after we moved to PA, and that's 26 years ago now.  (EEP!!)  But, Target had this really awesome set on sale that just happens to match the fabric Boo picked out for his curtains last year when we moved in.

So, despite having a very tired, no nap boy when we went to Target this afternoon, Boo decided he liked the new comforter and sheets.  He wasn't so sure when I told him this would replace his big red and blue blankie.  But he said he really, really liked it and wanted it.  I figured if we got home and he had a meltdown about replacing his blankie, I could always take it back unopened.  Well, I needn't have worried.  When we brought it up he just about burst with excitement at replacing his old blankie.  Especially once I opened the package.  Mind, there had been a corner opened so you could feel the fabric, but it just didn't hit me until I had it all the way opened.  The new comforter feels almost exactly like his sleeping bag and if there is any blanket he loves more than his beloved red and blue one it is his sleeping bag.  Now he has the best of both worlds!  Oh, and even more cool, some of the designs glow in the dark!  (And another cool thing is that the other side is stripped, so when he gets "too old" for the space side (that can happen??) he has some nice stripes to use instead.

So, yes, tonight I am thankful for blankies.  Both new and old (I still use a blankie that's as old as my brother in the summer time).  Both hand made and store bought.  Most especially now that the weather is getting colder, the warm and snuggly kind.

I bid you peace and warm snuggly blankies.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Boo Time

You know what, I had a blog post all planned out in my head.  But, for the life of me I can't seem to remember what it was.

Today has been another hard day to find something "real" to be thankful for.  I guess since yesterday afternoon or evening, I've been in a bit out of sorts.  I woke up in a very negative mood this morning, my first thoughts being along the lines of "I doubt my workout will be any good anyhow... why am I getting out of bed?"  (My right calf muscle decided to cramp up on me at the end of my water aerobics Thursday and it's still not happy for some reason...)  And, sure enough, I was disappointed with it, and slightly frustrated.  (I've been doing the EA Active "More Workouts" six week challenge at the "Moderate" level and while good enough, just aren't stellar and the Wii just doesn't seem to register some things for me...) My whole attitude didn't get any better as I worked my way through the rest of my morning routine and got myself out the door (late).  In all honesty, I'm not sure when my outlook began to get better, but at this point in the day, it's just kinda "ho-hum" nothing special, nothing disastrous.  So that's a minor victory.

At least today was the last work day before I get a week "off".  I may not have to go into the office, but I have so much to get done (and most of it is not related to Thanksgiving...) in the week, that I'll be quite busy, probably busier than if I was at work.  At least it'll be fun work (mostly).  And yes, I'm thankful for the time off and even more thankful that there is at least one, if not a couple of customers I won't even have to think about, let alone deal with.  (He's a nice enough guy, but I'm feeling pretty used and abused by him and he's sorely pushing the boundaries of his contract... and he keeps asking me to explain the same thing over, and over, and over each time telling me what I was going to tell him and doing it... but still wanting someone on the phone.  It's enough to drive even the most patient parent crazy....)

Tonight Gak is over at Chris's house with the guys playing Warhammer.  He's trying out his new Necron army. I hope it goes well.  This means the boy-o and I had an evening together.

I bribed the boy into going to Target with me (and I completely forgot to look at the big thing I wanted to look at) by promising him Chick-fil-a for dinner.  Yes, bribes do exist in the world, show me one parent that hasn't at least thought about it and I'll show you a very uninvolved parent.
Anyhow, we got done at Target early enough that the boy-o and I could actually sit together and eat at Chick-fil-a before having to pick Gak up.  And he was so well behaved this evening.  And he ate all his dinner with only a little pestering by me.  And we actually had a bit of a conversation.  Now, you might not believe it, but actually having a conversation is sometimes difficult for me.  I mean, as you can see I'm a great story teller, but sometimes, the whole give-and-take flow of a conversation just doesn't make it through my thick skull and I just don't know when to shut up and let the other person talk or how to break into a conversation in the first place.  And well, Boo, being three, has some of the same issues.  So, actually having a bit of real conversation, as opposed to a question and answer session is pretty good.
It was a very nice dinner.  I really do love doing special things like that with just Boo (or just Gak, but that's different...).  I love getting Momma and Boo time just the two of us.  Time when there is only a little pressure to be somewhere or do something and no one else around.  It's even a little different when it's just two of us as opposed to all three.

So, tonight I think I'll be thankful for Boo time.  I know it's not what I originally intended on writing before I left work, but I honestly can't remember what it was.  I guess it wasn't that important, and if it is, I'll probably think of it again sometime in the next two weeks.

On that note, I'm going to bid you peace and may you find some time to spend alone with someone special.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I was having a hard time trying to decide what to post about today.  OK, trying to decide implies that I had several things to choose from.  By this afternoon, I had nothing.  That's not to say there isn't anything today to be thankful for.  I am thankful that the rain ended mostly overnight.  I'm thankful for all the things I've already given thanks for, especially my morning swim.  I'm thankful that I had today and one more day at work and then I've got vacation for the week.  But none of them felt "big" enough, or I had already posted about them and I'm trying hard not to repeat myself (unlike in real life).

So, as I was coming home and thinking about dinner I decided to post about comfort food.  Yes, it's small and somewhat silly.  But, tonight it has gotten cold (the high of 45 was this morning before my 5:30 swim...) and grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup really just fit the bill.  And the amazing part, is not only is it a very comforting and warm and snuggly dinner, it is actually quite healthy!  I mean, it's got whole grains (I only use whole wheat bread these days...), dairy and veggies!  I was going to take a picture of our dinner, but I forgot until I sat down at the computer.  Oops.  (I stole this picture off another blog I found searching on Google... and unfortunately, I didn't bother to read the blog or copy it's URL.)

So, yes on nights like this I'm thankful for comfort food.

But, before sitting down to write this, I swung by Facebook and saw this post from my friend Barb (who's oldest son has Duchenne Muscular Dystropy:

My friend who just lost her 14 y/o son to Duchenne just posted this. It is good advice to all parents!!! I hope you take a second and read...then GO LOVE.
Indulge me for a minute...just sent this to some friends with a 6 year old that has I read what I wrote, I realized I wanted everyone I know with kids to read it:
All I can tell you is love, love, love your son & make sure he knows you do-every day, even when you're tired & frustrated. That has helped Brady's dad & me so much during this time. We know, without a doubt, that Brady knew how much we loved him & how proud we were of him...
Also, let him, and your other kids, get away with a few things that you may not have agreed with before you knew about Duchenne & LAUGH about it. Squeeze in as much as you can with him...within your means. I promise, you will not regret it.
Brady asked several times if he would die because of Duchenne. We always told him no one EVER knows when their last day on Earth is...regardless of Duchenne. Make the most of every day ♥
Thank you Brady S and Patty S....your life outlook will positively affect people for years and years to come

And then comfort food seemed like such a small thing to be thankful for.  And while, I'm still very thankful for my very delicious and comforting meal, I'm even more thankful for my son and our routines and little habits.  I'm thankful for the hugs and kisses.  I'm thankful for the bedtime routine, both the "official" one of (maybe) a bath, jammies, hug Daddy good night "and kisses!" says Boo, a story, a little snuggle and talking about today and tomorrow, a promise to come back in a few minutes to turn out the light and the eventual "good night, I love you"s.  And I'm thankful for the "unofficial" one of the try to get more juice or milk.  The discussion that he doesn't like water.  The "Trey has to go potty" stall.  The sneaking out and asking a million question.  "Where's Mouse?"  "But I didn't get desert!"  "But I want some milk"  "I miss you" and all the other wonderful little interruptions.

So, not only am I thankful for comfort food, but comfort of routine and my son and bedtimes.  I really couldn't imagine the hole that would be in my heart if I lost either one of my boys.  This post isn't really saying what all is in my heart, but I can't just seem to find the words.

I'm tired.  My brain is dribbling out my ears and I just can't find the words.

So, on this messy end, I'll bid you peace and many, many hugs for your loved ones.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Today, I'm thankful for Imagination.  And the love of play.  And the fact that I have a three-year-old little boy to open my eyes to all the wonders of the world, real and imagined.
I just had to share this picture.  It is of Boo from Monday when he and Amma were playing.  Amma had asked Boo if he wanted to wear his kitty-cat boy tail, and he jumped at the opportunity.  I swear, the only reason he didn't wear it to bed Monday night is because I made him take a bath.  Point in fact, he did wear it to bed last night.  (Can I tell you how cute it was when I peeked in on him after I got home to see him sprawled out on his bed, with his tail poking out beside him?)

My son is so funny and silly.  For months (maybe a year now) he's been saying he's kitty-cat boy most of the time when you ask him who he is.  If you ask him what Boo says, he'll usually respond with "meow!", or for a while he was robot kitty-cat boy and the response would be "bee-boo-bop! Meow-meow!"  And as you can see in this picture, you can see that he loves being kitty-cat boy.

I love the way his imagination shows him all the possibilities of things and "friends" and activities.  It never ceases to amaze me what Trey or Kelly end up doing.  And watching him "parent" them is both fun and eye-opening.  He really does absorb it all, even if he doesn't say it.  Trey sometimes acts out a bit more, and Kelly is usually the one trying to keep Trey out of trouble.  Then again, Trey has gotten in trouble for being on the computer or X-box while no one was home.  And Boo is so proud of Trey when we come home and find Trey sitting on the sofa or in his room being a "good dino-saur".

And it isn't just in his interactions with his stuffed friends that his imagination shows through.  He'll turn just about anything into a cooking utensil and cook for us (soup usually...) and he'll hand you brown Duplo blocks of "chocolate milk", even if you tell him you don't like chocolate milk.  (I don't, I love most things chocolate including hot chocolate and chocolate milkshakes, but chocolate milk just has never done it for me...)  He'll turn the oddest things into trains or cars and make various things "fly".  (Thankfully, this does not mean throwing them across the room, which it all too easily could knowing my boy-o!)

So, I'm thankful that my boy possesses such a vivid imagination and I get to peak in on it on occasion and even join in from time to time.  I doubt anyone will ever be able to put him in a box and for that I'm extra thankful.  I hope his imagination continues to serve him well throughout his whole life and that it never grows dim.

Peace to all and may your imagination get regular feeding and exercise, especially with someone you love.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Slow Cookers

Today I am so very thankful for my crockpot, aka slow cooker.  I know, I know, it's kinda silly, but truly, I am thankful for it.  Tuesdays have become quite hectic in the evenings.  I don't get out of work until 5, I pick up Boo by about 5:30 and have to get us (and usually Rachel) fed so I can pick up Gak at 6:30 or so and then get Rachel and I to Scouts by 7:00 or 7:10 so I can get there before the 7:15 meeting start.

Therefore, the crockpot has become my savior.  For the last few weeks I've either taken something out of the freezer that I'd done in the slow cooker weeks ago or, like today, throw something together that Gak can start before he leaves for work.  I mean, I could just boil a pot of water, throw in some pasta, add a jar of sauce and call it good, but that gets old fast.  This way, we can have a little variety and I can still cook somewhat healthy for my family.

I have no idea if tonight's dinner will be any good.  I half remembered a recipe I tried a few years ago that tasted pretty yummy.  I didn't have all the correct ingredients on hand, so I adjusted and made it up as I went along.  I'm calling it Thanksgiving preview.  I layered a couple of peeled and cut up sweet potatoes in the bottom and drizzled them with a little maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger.  On top of that went two seasoned boneless, skinless, turkey breast halves (about 2 lb I think) and on top of that went a couple of peeled and largely sliced apples with a little more maple syrup, brown sugar and cinnamon.  I think the original recipe called for either pork loin or pork chops and some other stuff as well.  We shall see.  It'll be dinner in one pot at any rate, and hopefully moist and delicious.

So, I'm thankful for my evening time saving device and am more than willing to make good use of it.  It simmers chili quite nicely and I've created some nice barbecue pork and beef marinara with just a nice cut of meat and some bottled sauce.  Next week I should have a little more time to prepare something yummy, but it will still be a bit of a rush.  (That is if the girls decide to meet next week, they may not...)  I'm looking forward to experimenting more with this tool.  I don't do chicken in it often because the time frame between when Gak puts the crock into the pot and turns it on and the time I get home is a little too long to keep it nice.  I'm hoping the turkey won't fall apart or dry out (in such a moist environment?!) too badly.

Well, I'd best get back to my actual work.  Just a quickie for today.

Peace to all and may everyone have a trick or two (and maybe an appliance) up their sleeves for making hectic dinner nights not so hectic.

P.S. Even though I said it Sunday, happy birthday Dad!  I love you so very much and am so very thankful your my dad.  You've seen me through a lot, and I appreciate it.  (See, two things to be thankful for today!)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Girl Scouts

Tonight I am thankful for Girl Scouts.  Why didn't I wait to post this tomorrow or already post it last Tuesday? Well, I've already alluded to the joy that Girl Scouts brings me, but today I'm thankful for it in many ways.

The picture here at the top of the screen is my staff tie from the second year that I worked at Tohi.  (The "W" pin stands for Wolf, which was my camp name.  And those of you who know me, know that this name does fit quite well, in many different ways.  Leaders don't go by their real names at camp, this creates a bit of separation between the girls and the leaders, who are often not much older than the girls...)  On it I have my Brownie pin, my WAGGS pin, my GSUSA pin and my 10-year pin, clockwise from upper left.  They all mean something special to me.

Brownies were a wonderful three years.  My best friend's mom was my leader.  We did so many fun things and learned so much and explored so much as well.  We went camping, learned to cook and to cook over a stove. We sewed our own vests (with much help and patience from my mom and some other moms).  We sang songs, learned about other cultures and the culture of Girl Scouts.  We made friends and learned how to navigate in a social setting outside of family or school.  I will always remember my Brownie years with fondness.

WAGGS is the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.  This is the greater body that GSUSA (Girl Scouts of the USA) belong to.  This pin ties me to girls and women all over the world.  I don't know if Daisy ever envisioned the Girl Scout movement would ever become as big and far-flung as it has, but I suspect that she is more than pleased that it has.

My 10-year pin is a major accomplishment.  This isn't just any 10-year pin.  You can only get this one if you've been a girl member for 10 years.  It doesn't matter how many years you spend as an adult volunteer, if you didn't spend 10 years as a girl member, you won't get this pin.  The only other things I've stuck with for that long is school in general, photography and my current job.  I'm still not 100% sure why I've been here 11 years now, but I am.

Oh, that little bar on the tail, that's my CIT pin.  I earned that as a Councilor In Training back when I was still in high school.

So, that's what is on my staff tie, but why am I thankful for it?  I'm thankful for all the ups and downs I went through as a girl member.  There were a few years I thought about quitting, but I kept going back "just to check it out" and I couldn't leave.  Mostly that was in 5th through 7th or 8th grades, when I still wasn't sure how my square peg fit into this round hole called Pennsylvania.  But then I started getting leadership opportunities.  Most of them given to me by the other girls in my troop!  These are girls who wouldn't always give me the time of day at school, but at Girl Scouts, thought I was good enough, smart enough and talented enough to lead them.  How could I turn that down?  So, I'm thankful for the leadership opportunities that I was given.  I learned a lot through the years.  I'm thankful for having a safe place to be me, to figure out who I am and how I fit into the larger world.  I had a place where all of us were equal and nothing was impossible.  I was surrounded by wise and caring women who made each of us feel special and, yes, would take us to task if we were not being the brightest or best behaved that we could be.  I had strong examples to follow outside of my family.  So, yes, there are many reasons why I'm thankful for all the time, energy, effort, blood, sweat and tears that that strip of cloth and handful of pins represent.

I'm thankful for where and how I got that tie as well.  I earned every sweat stain and dirt splotch on that thing.  Being a camp counselor is hard.  But it is so worth it in the long run.  At least for me it was.  The rewards at the end of a long, hard week with home-sick campers and rain and a burnt cookout on Wednesday night were worth it.  The hugs, the smiles, the laughs and the "I'll never forget you!"s are priceless.  Every girl that came through my units taught me something, hopefully they learned as much from me as I learned from them.  It may sound cliche, but it's true.

Anyhow, tomorrow night is our third meeting.  We'll actually have a couple of new girls coming and I'm so excited about that.  I really think this troop is about to get going in a big way and we're going to be off on some grand adventures and learning lots and lots together.  I'm so excited and thankful for the opportunity to have these girls in my life and for the leaders that made such an impression in my life.
I will never forget you Nancy Thompson, Rita Bush, Lynn Snyder and Janet Watson just to name a few.  Thank you so very much for all you taught me, now I can pass on that wisdom and power to a new generation.

Peace to all and may you have something, or someone who you can learn from.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Little Things

I'm so tired today, I almost forgot to post.  Since I've made it almost two weeks without missing, that would have made me sad.

Anyhow, I have to think of something I'm thankful for today.  I think we'll take a slightly different tack today, let's look at what all I did today and see where I'm the most thankful.  This could be interesting, boring or just another ramble with no conclusions.  Let's see where this takes us.

This morning I got myself out of bed at 6.  I easily could have stayed snuggled in my bed until 7 or so, but nature was calling and I'd made myself a promise.  I promised myself I'd do another workout with EA Active More Workouts on the Wii and if I wanted to get it done, it was then or never.  I was about 3/4 of the way through the workout when a boy-o woke up and came out to watch.  And about 5 minutes later, my beloved husband did too.  I'm really not a huge fan of doing these workouts with an audience.  I'm not sure why, but that's just the way it is.  So, I'm thankful that I stuck to my promise to myself and that I was able to get a little bit of activity in.  I like EA Active, but just as soon as I feel like it's getting to a good activity level, it's time for cool down.  *sigh*.

Then was breakfast.  I tried an experiment with the pancakes.  It went well enough, but I probably won't repeat it.  Boo actually ate his breakfast, so that's a good thing.  So, in this case, I think I'm thankful for cooking adventures that don't go too horribly and boys who actually eat.

After breakfast I got cleaned up and then it was time for Boo and I to tackle his room.  That was quite the adventure.  Once I got Boo on track and staying on track, we actually managed to get his room cleaner than I've seen it in ages.  It didn't hurt that I evicted Lee and the Dragon to the living room.  I was even able to vacuum!  So, in this case, I'm thankful the boy-o doesn't own more stuff and that we were able to get everything put away.  I even managed to get a few of the toys he never plays with out of his room and hidden in the give away pile.  Yes, I should have gotten him to volunteer them, but he's attached to them, even if he doesn't notice them until someone else points them out.

Then it was time to head down to Amma and PopPop's.  Dad's birthday is Tuesday, so we were having birthday lunch today.  Mom bought corned beef and turkey from Michael's Deli and made dancing girls... er... apple pie.  (There's a story behind that, but you kinda had to be there to totally understand it.)  Jon and Becca got Dad a couple of books of Sci-Fi short stories (that I just might end up stealing at some point) and Boo and I gave him cards.  I'm not only thankful that my dad is still here for another turning of the world, but also for my mom's apple pie.  She makes a pretty good pie.

The boy-o got some play time with Amma and PopPop while Gak and ran a few errands.  His phone has been acting up, but since it is under warranty yet, they sent us to a warranty center in King of Prussia.  That visit didn't take too long and they're sending him a new battery.  Then we went over to ToysRUs to do some pre-shopping browsing to see what all we might like to get a boy-child for the various holidays that are coming up.  I think we came up with a pretty good list that he'll love and will be well within our budget.  Have I ever told you how much I love that his birthday and the holidays are almost exactly 6 months apart?  Anyhow, I'm thankful that we could leave Boo with Amma and PopPop for a little bit to get this done.  Like last year, I'll probably do the shopping one day for my lunch hour, since there is one not too far from the office.  I'll take an early lunch and it should be a little less crowded.

After we got back to Amma and PopPop's we hung out for a little bit more, but Boo was getting silly tired, so we figured it would be best to head home.  Boo fell asleep before we hit the Northeast Extension.  For that, I'm thankful.  He really did need that nap.  Without it, he would have been even more of a cranky boy tonight.  We did a quick stop at the grocery store and picked up a few things for dinner.  We ended up having breakfast again for dinner; sausage gravy, toast, potatoes and Gak had eggs as well.  Boo wanted ramen soup, so that's what he had.  I'm thankful that I was able to get one breakfast right today.

I finally was able to find what I was looking for tonight.  Or at least, most of it.  I found my Brownie sash while at Mom and Dad's, but that wasn't really what I was looking for.  I need my pins and wanted my Cadet/Senior sash as well.  I managed to find my pins on my second staff tie in a jewelry box in my room, but not until after I got the bike down into the storage room and went through a lot of stuff there and cleaned up the closet in the bedroom as well, including getting together an entire basket of stuff for Goodwill.  I still can't find the box that has my sash in it, but at least I have my pins again.  I'm very thankful that I kept those.

So, it looks like I'm thankful for a lot of little things today.  This post has taken me almost an hour to write because my mind kept wandering.  At any rate, it's beyond time for me to wrap this up and go fall into a book or something for a little bit.

Peace to all and may you have a handful of little things in your life to be thankful for.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Today I was having a hard time with coming up to be thankful for.  You see, I think the business of the last 10 weeks or so at work are catching up to me and I'm just feeling pretty exhausted in general.
So, even though today has been a good day, it was hard to find something to be thankful for.
But, then I looked out the window and saw that the sun was shining.  It has been shining most of the week, actually.  It got fairly cold for a few days, but today it got up around 60 and in general was a most beautiful fall day.  So, I'm thankful for that little ray of sunshine.
(Unfortunately, I wasn't thinking enough to snap a picture of the golden sunshine, so you'll just have to take my word for it.)

Today was a pretty typical Saturday.  Drop Gak off at work.  The boy and I do laundry.  Today we then had to run to the bank, which isn't usual.  And then finally to the bowling alley and lunch with at least Kat and Zoe if not the rest of the clan.  Since this is a "dad" weekend for Billy and Rachel, it was just the four of us today.  It was nice as always.  Kat and I got a little Girl Scout work done and I managed to contact two parents with girls on my list, one of whom has "been chomping at the bit" and another who probably won't because she's become involved in dance.  That's fine.  And maybe, just maybe Ed will convince his wife to let Katie come, as even though she's plenty busy with other things, Ed said Katie said she was interested.  I think it would be quite a lot of fun to have her in my troop.

After lunch Boo took an awesomely long nap for me and I managed to get some work done on a few projects that have been nagging at me.  Then it was time to pick up Gak from work, do a quick little grocery run and come home.

Then, finally, we had a chance to enjoy the sunshine.  Boo declared that he wanted to ride his tricycle and that he wanted me to go with him.  We played around out front for a bit and then walked/rode to the corner and back.  It was a nice little time outside as the sun was setting.

So, yes, today is a good day and I'm thankful that it was a sun-shiny day and that I did get to enjoy it.  I think I have to take the bicycle into the basement, as I'm thinking I just won't get the opportunity coupled with nice weather and daylight again for several months.  I'm pretty bummed about that, but that's OK, it'll be safe and secure in the basement and waiting for spring.

I'm going to keep this post short.  I'm just rambling a bit and not really making an effort to connect my thoughts.  Tomorrow we're going down to visit PopPop and Amma because PopPop's birthday is on Wednesday.

So, peace to all and may you have plenty of sunshine and good weekends.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Today is Veteran's day. And while I could give thanks to the soldiers of all branches that have served, that seemed a little shallow and cliché even.  Trust me, I do stand behind all of our men and women in every branch of the military (even when I don't agree with their mission, I still support the boots on the ground, or in the water or air).
Instead, I chose to think about why I was thankful to the countless me and women who have served their county.
And it boils dow to this.  Freedom.  I am so thankful every day for the freedoms I have. 

I can have an opinion and I can express it, even if it goes against the popular opinion or current political opinion.   Sure I may get dirty looks or worse, but I know I am safe from.going to jail or being tortured for it.  Admittedly, telling the President he's a liar to his face usually isn't a good idea and could be taken as a threat, but you're allowed to have that opinion (which I don't, I was just using it as an example...)  I have the freedom to make my voice heard (or not) by voting (or not).  Yes, it took an amendment in the Constitution for me to get the right to vote, but I do have it.  (I will admit that I don't exercise this right as often or as well as I should, but I do use it.)  I can think, and say, that everyone in Congress is an idiot and should be fired in the next election.  Or, I could think that they walk on water and can do no wrong.  Or, as is actually the case, I can believe that there are good and bad people in there and that there's a huge amount of room for improvement.  I can say this and know that at worst I'll get some comments from friends of "you're dreaming and being a tree-hugging hippie again..."  And I'll smile and say "probably".

My property, such as it is, is safe from seizure.  (OK, so this sometimes gets abused...)

Like I said yesterday I have the right to an education and a choice in where and how I get it.  (Even though I do not remember that being spelled out letter by letter in the Constitution or amendments...)  I have the freedom to have a very religious based education as those who go to schools run by a particular religion receive or a completely secular education as provided by the public schools.  (Don't get me started on the whole religion in school thing.  If you demand prayer in school, find a way to send your child to a religious school.  If you demand prayer not in school in any way shape or form, find a school that works for you or find a way to home school.  For those of us who want our kids exposed to as many different ideas as possible, that, in theory, is what public school is for, neither promoting nor denying any one faith, creed or outlook on life. *gets off soap box*)

I have the freedom to drive a car, wear shorts, follow whichever religion (or none) that I want.  I can pray to whoever I want, if I want and no one can stop me.  I can pray go the great Spaghetti Monster if I feel so inclined.  Or, I can say that deities of any flavor are a load of crock and don't exist.  That's fine.  Believe what you want, just don't force me down your path, I'm on my own thanks.  I can actually own property, have a job, make as much money as I can, if I can convince someone to pay me that much.  I can start my own business, work for the public or private sector or serve in the armed services.

I think what I value most is the freedom to make my own decisions and to do well or fail by them.  Sure, I'm a tree-hugging hippie and think that a reasonable, caring government would have some kind of safety net in place.  Hopefully one that would be very hard to abuse, but there I go being an idealist again.

So, yes, thank you to all the men and women who have served or are serving our country.  Without your dedication to our country, we wouldn't be able to have the freedoms we have or be able to complain, bitch and moan about the things we do or don't have.

The picture at the top is one from this summer.  It is Steve with Boo on his shoulders.  Right now Steve and his troops are over in Afghanistan doing their job so that I may enjoy my right to bitch.  Thanks, and come home safely.

Peace and may you remember that your right to bitch and moan and complain comes at a high cost.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Today I am thankful for my education, even though it's not serving me very well today.  Or maybe I'm just lacking the focus to keep on task.  In any event, I'm very thankful for my education.  (That and I only use about 1% of my college education in my "adult" life...)

This goes beyond the normal "we're so lucky to live in a country where school is available to everyone" kind of thanks.  I mean, I look around at stories from other countries, notably South America, South East Asia, the Middle East and Africa and see how truly blessed I am to live in a country where as a girl I was not only allowed to go to school, but expected to.  But, it's more than that.

I was so very fortunate growing up and into college that I had some really awesome teachers.  I have memories of some great teachers at Earhart who really did have a passion for teaching and their students.
In Intermediate school, there was Mr. Monaghan, who would leave an impression on me for the rest of my life.  He was the first teacher in my time in PA that I wanted to do well for.  I enjoyed his classes and I knew he cared.  Of course, he was a science teacher, which is something that has always fascinated me.  I'll never forget the end of the first semester my 7th grade year, when I had a different science teacher and had squeaked by with a C.  The shame I felt as I couldn't take my eyes off my toes when he asked me how my science grade was when he saw me in the hall is something I never want to feel again.  That very night he called my parents and asked if he could get me switched into his class.  He knew it was the teacher, not me, that was having the problems.  My parents, being the people they are said yes, but we had to wait until the middle of the year to make the switch.  Just knowing that it was coming got me through the next quarter.  I am so thankful for his faith in me.
In high school, it was Mr. Monaghan's own childhood friend who was my biology teacher that would become a favorite.  Mr. Marriner pushed me hard and challenged me and treated me like a real person.  He saw through the non-homework completing, paper-ignoring person I was and saw that all I needed was a little understanding and a swift kick from time to time.  (Well, not literally a swift kick, but you get my meaning.)
In college it was Dr. Wolf, a.k.a Big Wolf.  (We had Dr. Wolf and Dr. Wolfe in the department, so... they were Big Wolf and Little Wolf.  Their titles really did fit their personalities...)  Big Wolf became my adviser when I switched from Chemistry to Biology.  He was the one who worked with me after my disastrous senior year to help get me to a point where I could graduate.  He came up with my independent study.  He calmly asked me how I could manage to do so well on the MFAT (major field achievement test, kinda like an AP test or the SAT... I was in the 90th or 95th percentile overall the year I took it...) and have such lousy grades over all.  I just as calmly pointed out my history of not doing papers, my hard time with rote memorization for lab practicals and that my test scores were usually high.

So, I was very lucky to have such wonderful and supportive teachers in my life.  I'm also thankful to the awesome start I got at Earhart.  I learned early on that all the subjects were really connected and that if you ask questions, you'll get answers and that I can figure things out on my own.  Unfortunately, these days I don't see a lot of problem solving, student led investigation going on in the public schools.  Everything is test oriented, which makes learning and school a chore, not a joy.

I'm also thankful that I didn't take "everyone's" advice and become a teacher myself.  Sure, I know I could do an awesome job at it.  I always got very good reviews at the Nature Center, and that's without any real formal training in teaching.  But, if all the meetings and rules and, well, bologna I've been dealing with just trying to get my Girl Scout troop started is any indication, No Child Left Behind is a bear and a half to deal with.  No, we don't have anything to do with that, but I can't help but think about how much administrative stuff I have to do, and this isn't even school, but something fun!  I can only imagine what the "real" teachers have to deal with.

Of course, this makes me a bit worried about the future of education in this country.  Especially since I have a boy-o who in a year or two will be entering the school-aged realm.  I'm thankful that we have a choice.  Even if we decide to send him to our public school (which actually does have a pretty good rating, but again, I don't trust that with how NCLB works...) I'll know that I had a choice of where to send him and how he gets taught.  Sure, private school costs a lot and the decision may be taken out of our hands because of that, but at least we'll have the option of trying to go down that road.

What got me thinking about this is an article I read from the New York Times yesterday.  (I posted it on Facebook...).  It talks about science majors and why so many of us change majors, don't even get degrees or if we do, end up in totally different fields (like software support...).  I agree with most of what's in that article, having lived through it in the late 1990's.

Anyhow, I've rambled on about this long enough and have more than overspent my lunch hour.  Back to work I go.

Peace to all and may you find something in your education to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


Today I am thankful for that simple invention of email.  I'll go ahead and throw in the whole Internet as well, but while I may be thankful for the Internet, it is not for the same reasons as I'm thankful for email.

Anyone who has known me any length of time realizes that I am horrible about keeping in touch with people.  I don't write.  I don't call.  I don't stop in and say hi.  And I'm extra good about not doing anything for birthdays or other holidays either.  Due to this wonderful lack of communication, I have lost touch with several dear friends over the years.

Anyhow, there is one invention, while at times quite annoying has actually helped me.  This is email.  It is extra quick and easy for me to send a few lines on their way to a friend or family member to inquire about their well-being and give a quick little update on my own life.

Of course, when I love this the most is when I have family and friends far away.  And while Jon and Becca may be on the other side of the country, right now I have two very dear friends who are on the other side of the world.  One most definitely in harm's way, one hopefully not.  As much as I respect what they do and am happy that they love their jobs, I know that being so far away from friends and family stinks.

So, I have two little reminders (see above about me not being good at remembering to write) on my email.  One is set up to remind me twice a week to email Michelle, the other two to email Steve.  And, thankfully with the fact that email can transverse the distance in mere seconds instead of the month or more that a physical letter or package could take, I can keep in contact with two people who mean so much to me and are so far away.
I hope that I can occasionally bring a small ray of sunshine to their days.  Especially Steve, who, quite frankly, has a dangerous job in a dangerous area and then the added stress of not knowing what's going on at home.  I can at least provide him a little normality with my "nothing new is going on here, I hope you are well" emails.  I know I liked getting those kinds of emails when I was on the road all the time, and I was just in the country and home most weekends, not halfway around the world for a year or more at a time.

Anyhow, since I actually listened to the reminder on my desk this morning and emailed Michelle and tried to catch her up on the last few weeks of doings in our house, I'm very thankful for this little invention called email.  I may not use it often enough to communicate with those that I should and I may complain about how much work email I get on a regular basis, but without it, I would be oceans away from friends and they'd hear even less from me, and I from them.

I bid you peace and may you never loose touch with those you love.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


Today I am thankful for my brother Jon and his wife Becca, who really is a sister of my heart.
I am so lucky to have such a great relationship with my brother.  I see so many people who don't get along with or don't even talk to their siblings.  Jon and I may go quite some time at times between flurries of email activity, but I still think we're pretty close.  We let time lapse because we're busy, not because we're angry with each other or fighting about something.  I know that whenever I need to, I can shoot Jon an email or give him a call and if he doesn't have the time right that second, he'll get back to me as soon as he can.

The whole reason that I'm thankful for Jon and Becca, and our relationship, today is because we've been exchanging a bunch of emails recently.  Some about big things, some about small things, but just good communication in general.  They may live on the opposite coast, but they are worried and want to be involved with the family life (both me and my family and our parents' lives) back here on the East Coast.

I'm thankful that I have such a healthy and smart sister who is always looking out for me.  And a healthy and smart brother who may think I'm crazy, but a good kind of crazy and has always been more of a big brother than a younger brother.  He spent a lot of time looking out for, and worrying about, me when we were in high school.  He's always been the more grounded one, I've always been the more emotional and hmm... flighty isn't the right word, but it's close.  Together, we made a pretty good team growing up.  And now I have Becca too!

And I can't forget my sister of my heart, Kat.  I'm thankful for her beating me upside the head from time to time when I need it, and being the solid foundation I've needed from time to time.  I hope I've been able to be there, to inject a little fun and silly into her life when needed.  Of course, I can't neglect my newest sister of my heart, Steph.  She may not have been part of the family for long, but I really couldn't, and don't want to, imagine my life without her, Rachel and Billy as big parts of it.

Everyone needs some kind of family to lean on.  I've been so blessed in the fact that not only do I have a pretty awesome pair of parents, but a brother I grew up with and get along so well with and that I've also found some sisters of my heart to share this life with.  We're not perfect by any stretch.  We sometimes argue a bit, or disagree or think the other one is completely off the deep end, but we love each other and I know I could never have gotten this far in life without them, any of them.

So, peace to all and may you have a sibling either by blood, by love or by both that you can depend on.

Monday, November 07, 2011


Tonight, as I sip on my fourth, different, cup of the day, I am thankful for tea.  (Don't worry, I'll still sleep tonight, this one is honeybush which is naturally caffeine free.)

I have come to enjoy tea very much over the last few months.  Don't get me wrong, I've always enjoyed hot tea now and again and my beverage of choice when eating out for the last few years has been unsweetened iced tea.  I've also always enjoyed various herbal teas as well.

But, my brother, after me asking him and Becca for beverage ideas because I was getting sick of just plain water and I have all but given up sodas, pointed me to a wonderful web site... Adagio.  You see, my brother has been enjoying loose leaf teas for quite some time now, and pointed me in this direction.

While I might have enjoyed the occasional hot tea before, I've never been a huge fan.  That's because most of the teas I've had before made me want to put sugar in them, and well, that's why I gave up sodas.  It turns out that I'm much more a green tea kind of girl than a black tea.  I've also discovered honeybush.  I have yet to try the Rooibos that is the honeybush's cousin.

So, this morning to help ease me into my Monday and warm the aching muscles from the inside, I made a wonderful tea late with some Masala Chai tea, some milk and a single packet of sweetener at work.  Later, I enjoyed a cup of citron green when I needed something with more flavor than water, and preferably something a bit warmer.  My third cup at work was by accident.  Yes, I accidentally had another cup of tea.  I was going through my desk drawers and found a box of ginger green.  I remembered that I wasn't too fond of it, but that I didn't hate it.  I opened up a tea bag to investigate it a bit, since I now know a bit more about tea and what I like as far as tea goes.  (Like with wine, I know what I like and I drink it.  I can sometimes throw around a few fancy words, but in general, I drink what I like and :-P to the tea/wine snobs.)  I decided it smelled pretty good, even if the green tea was somewhat unidentifiable since it was teabag grade... and so I made it.  I still don't really like it.  It's actually bitter for a green tea and doesn't taste as nice as the full leaf greens I've been trying.  Therefore the rest of the box got deposited in the break room for others to enjoy.

So, tonight I am sitting here typing and winding down with a nice mug of honeybush.  Yes, I did add a little sugar to this one, but not much, only about a half teaspoon at most..  I think more out of habit than real need to add sugar to this one.

I'm thankful that there is such a wide variety of teas available and that I'm not stuck with bitter, but livable Lipton.  I'm glad that I have found a nice warm (and often naturally caffeine free) beverage to relax with that is not loaded with sugar.  I like the warm comfort that a nice hot mug can give me, and the feel of it in my often cold fingers when I've spent too long typing.  I like the sensory wake-up call that it can give me first thing in the morning when my mind is still a bit fuzzy.  And that's just the hot teas.  I've discovered that many of the herbal teas I enjoy are even better when iced.  And that green or black teas taste very different hot or iced and can be a wonderful change from just plain water.  I mean, I like water, don't get me wrong, but when you regularly drink 4-6 cups a day (i.e. a quart or more) at work, just plain water gets a bit boring from time to time.

Tea has become for me what coffee is to many, but with less (often much less) caffeine.

I am definitely stiff and sore from my exertions yesterday.  I spent a lot of time at work today getting up and wandering around so I actually could get up from my desk at the end of the day.  It was not one of my most productive days, but I can live with that.

I'm off now to finish this beautiful mug of tea and then stand in a hot shower for a bit and curl up with my heating pad.

Peace to you all and may you find something that can warm and comfort you.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Last Place

Today I am thankful for last place.  Yes, that does seem quite the odd thing to say.  But, yes, I am thankful for last place today.
The picture here at the top of the post is of me and Boo at the finish line of the Black Cat 5K.  This race was supposed to be held last Sunday.  But, thanks to the snow it was postponed until today.  The whole reason that  I was signed up for this race is that Steve thought it would be something fun to do one last time before he headed over to Afghanistan.  Of course, I could have said I would do the 1 mile "fun walk", but no, I decide that 1 mile is too easy and that I would rise to the challenge of the 5K.  I mean, I knew there was no way that I was ever going to keep up with Steve, since I can only jog for about a minute or two at a time.  But, Kat was willing to keep to my pace so that way she wouldn't do something too stupid herself.

But, of course the snow changed all that.  The snow canceled the run last week because it was on trails and it just wasn't safe.  The snow brought down all or part of about 3 or 4 trees in Kat's yard and left her without power until Tuesday afternoon.  The snow meant that Steve left for Afghanistan without going on the run.

Therefore, I had to "run" today.  I was bound and determined to do the 5K and complete it and do the best I could, just for Steve.  I didn't care if Kat or Shelby or anyone else was going to make it or not.  I had to do this for me, and for Steve.  I had to make him proud.  You see, the mere fact that he brought this up as something I'd be interested in doing is huge.  Every time we've done something active, or even not so active, over the past year, he's had nothing but wonderful things to say about my weight loss and how active I am now and how I'm being such an awesome example for my boy-o.  Therefore, I couldn't turn down the challenge.

Today was also a cleanup party at Kat's house.  So, I was planning on going to the Black Cat 5K first, which started at 9:30.  I figured I could do it in about 45 minutes or less, since I can walk 2 miles in 30 minutes or so and a 5K is just over 3.1 miles.  Well, that's without having to haul an extra 35 lb or so of heavy boy.  You see, Boo was distraught at the thought that I was going to go on an adventure, especially a "hiking" adventure.  So, I relented and told him he could come.  He was the only little kiddo there not doing the "fun walk" and I was the only person doing the official, timed run that had a passenger.

I probably would have been at the back of the pack without Boo, but I might not have been dead last.  I would have been able to jog a bit more.  I wouldn't have had to stop once to let Boo out of the pack to walk by himself for about 100 yards or so because my arm was going numb and then stop again to put him back in.  I was OK with that thought.  I was a bit disappointed to as far behind as I actually was.
What was really cool was all the compliments and encouragements that the other runners were giving me.  There were plenty who admiringly called me crazy.  There were plenty who would yell over to me to keep going and to keep it up.  That really made me smile.  I even saw my boss on the run.  I knew he is a runner, but I didn't even think that he was going to be competing at this.  I'm sure he did much better than I did.  He was actually running and running well when he passed me on his way back to the start.  (The course was just over 1.5 miles out and turn around and come back, so I got to see all the runners on their way back.)

This is the furthest I've ever had Boo on my back for.  It's not the longest I've walked with him on my back, we did a couple of 2 hour stints orienteering in the spring and early summer, but this is the furthest I've ever clocked.  Normally I think we managed about 2 miles at most before calling it a day.  So, 5K was a good bit further than I've ever really walked with him on my back.  And yes, my back and shoulders know it this evening.

So, while Boo and I may have finished dead last, we lasted it out and did the whole thing and we did finish.  I've walked 5K before.  But it has been a few months since I've walked that far.  I've swum a mile or so several times in the last few weeks and biked 5 or 6 miles at a shot a couple days a week over the summer, but I hadn't been walking much.  I think I need to get back to it.  Like I said, I'm damned proud of that last place.

So, here's to you Steve.  Thank you for pushing me (consciously or not...) to go even further.

(I then spent about an hour or two raking leaves and picking up dead fall from Kat's yard all afternoon... I earned the nice hot shower I'm heading for shortly...)

So, peace to you all and may you complete your challenges and push yourself further than you thought you could.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Fuzzy Socks

Today I'm thankful for something kind of silly.  I'm thankful for those awesome fuzzy socks that started appearing a few years ago.  They are so warm, toasty and soft.  But not too warm that they make your feet sweat too much and want to fall off.
Nope, they're just warm enough, especially on chilly, snowy days.

Thanks to my sister Becca, I have several fun pair to choose from.  Last weekend when I was home, I lived in a pair of light blue ones, even wearing them to bed.  I'm sure Gak appreciated that, since I have this nasty habit of using him to warm my toes on cool or cold nights.
Now that the weather is getting cooler (OK, so we had snow already, but it was in the 50s the rest of the week!) I have to go through the basket that sits on the table inside the door.  Last year, I kept about 3 or 4 pair in there so that as soon as I came home, I could shuck the cold and wet shoes and socks and snuggle my toes into something warm and soft.  Right now, the basket is filled with odds and ends from around the living room, some junk mail, a container of laundry soap and a couple of crochet patterns and a pair of mittens.  Yep, time to clean out the "inside the door dump zone" basket.

I like to have warm toes, but in the cooler months, that's very tough.  My fingers and toes get cold very easily.  My fingers especially when I spend any amount of time typing or on the computer.  (This is why I made myself a pair of fingerless gloves a few years back for work.  I love, love, love them, even if they don't keep my finger tips from getting cold, they keep the rest of my hand warm.

So, today I am thankful for little things that keep me warm.  Because when I'm warm and comfortable, my mood is happier.  And just ask my family, if I'm cranky, everyone's going to be cranky. *sigh*

Anyhow, just a silly little update today.

Peace, and warm toes, to all.

Friday, November 04, 2011


Today, even though it is Friday, I am extra thankful for weekends.  (Of course, it could be a weekend day for me already... but... well, see this post for that particular rant...)

It has been a rough couple of months at work.  I'm sure I've mentioned before that there were some regulation changes that went into affect at the end of September, which meant not only a software release in August, but a lot of work the customers had to do to make sure they were compliant.  And a lot of them waited until the last minute... we even had several who waited until the 24th of October, just a week before the reporting deadline. We've been averaging well over double our normal call rates for the last 8 or 9 weeks.  And the best news is, we've managed to keep up with the influx, not let it overwhelm us like it so easily could have.  To say I'm beat would be an understatement.

But, there are weekends.  And I am so thankful for those two days off from "work".  Sure, I still have to be "Momma" and "wife", but that's "work" I choose, not work I have to do.  Well, maybe some if it falls into the "have to do" column, but that's only if we want clean clothes and food to eat for the week.  But even then it's not quite the chore that work at the office can be some days.

I try very hard to not have anything at all to do with work on the weekends.  Whatever projects I don't get done on Friday (and trust me, there are many of those these days!) can just wait until Monday morning.  I'm thankful to be able to spend time with my family and my friends.  To relax and unwind.  (Unfortunately, this week is one of the 5 or so weeks a year that I get to be "on call" for emergencies, so I can't quite leave work at work 100%...)

Even if it doesn't sound like all that relaxing a weekend.
Like this weekend.

This weekend is a "normal" Saturday in that Boo and I will drop Gak off at work, go do laundry, meet up with Kat and the gang at the bowling alley, go get some lunch and then hopefully take a boy-o home for a nap.  Which hopefully he'll take more than 5 minutes before we have to go pick up his daddy.  Then I'm not sure what we're doing in the afternoon.  Sunday there is a 5K that I signed up for a couple of weeks ago that was supposed to be last Sunday.  Except for that unexpected snow storm.  Originally Kat and I were going to go at my pace and let Steve run off at his (and Shelby at hers).  Well, Steve's not in the country at the moment, I'm not sure what Shelby's plans are and Kat will be home working on cleaning up after the storm.  I'm still going to go, it shouldn't take me too long after all.  I mean, I can walk 3 miles in about 45 minutes, and if I actually push myself to jog part of it, I should be done in less than that.  So, after that adventure I'll be picking up the boys (and a crockpot full of chili by request) and heading over to Kat's to help with the cleanup.  They had a bunch of trees come down and there's all kinds of mess that needs fixing.  Whatever the hurricane didn't destroy in August, the snow did a number on.  Then eventually we'll all go home, collapse and be ready for the work week.

Yep, that's my relaxing and recharging weekend I have ahead of me.  And I'm going to love just about every minute of it because I'm not stuck here in the office.  I'm thankful for weekends because I can get away, have a change of pace from the drudgery that can be my job.  I'm thankful it gives me the time to spend some quality time with my boys, and my friends and do things that I enjoy.

So, I'll take my hectic, crazy work week and put it on hold and enjoy my hectic, crazy weekend with my family and my friends.  Thank you weekends!

Peace to all and may you have something to look forward to.