Thursday, July 31, 2008

Official Thursday Weigh-In

So, I had this whole post written in my head about how I'd "survived" the 2008 Cornerstone Church Missionettes Sleepover, just barely.

And how I gained a half pound this week, so I weigh 147 even.

And then my mother called, and said that my cousin's husband was robbed at gunpoint tonight on his way home from work.


So please, PLEASE pray for my cousin and her family. Pray that their peace of mind will be restored after this awful ordeal. And pray that the authorities find the people who did this.

Thank God he's ok - because there's survived - and then there's survived.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dear little sister

You should know by now that, on this your birthday, I'm going to raid your Flickr account and find the rare picture of you, and use it to illustrate your obligatory Happy Birthday post.

(You should also know that I spent a good time over at that Flickr account yesterday, scouting for a picture, and saw lots of Anna Marie photos that I didn't know existed. Good on ya.)

And, you should know that our relationship makes me kind of sad that Anna Marie doesn't have a kid sister for when she grows up. Notice I said "for when she grows up," because I don't think anyone would want her to have a kid sister now whom she could potentially treat like I treated you when we were kids.

You should know that I'm really proud of you, for all the "big things" you've done in your life - going to England alone, seeking out a VW when that was the car you really wanted (and who knew it would later save your life?), moving in with that frat house full of boys, and now, taking on a ministry position.

Some people might say that you haven't accomplished much in your 28 years. Those people would be wrong. Those people (and I think we both know of whom I speak) need to learn to look past their own limited view of what life is, and what it can be.

I'm proud that you recently told me that you were "super content" right now. That means more to me, I guess, because I know that "right now" is a transitional time for you, and that things are a wee bit difficult, but you're content anyway.

That's awesome. And it makes me a little jealous.

You should know that you're the best Aunt Manda ever (and I should know, because my kid currently has three of them. If we could convince Becky to change her name before she marries Jonathan, we'd be four for four.)

(And yes, Jason has four brothers, but they're all currently married to women not named Amanda, and have been for a while. So I guess Jonathan is our last hope.)

You should know that any "hipness" I lay claim to probably came at your hand - Catherine Tate, David Tennant, Ricky Gervais - all were introduced to me by you.

(Well, not literally, but how awesome would it be to meet them? All of them in the same room, even? I can barely stand the thought of it.)

Happy Birthday, Amanda. You are teh awsim.

* You should probably also know that I expect full payment for all the nice stuff I said in this post, preferably in the form of baked goods.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Told you I needed to be able to blog about other stuff

Man, am I ever glad I got those memes out of the way yesterday. Because today is a whole new chapter.

Remember the The Amazing Technicolor Dream Van?

(I was going to post a picture, but I guess I was so THANKFUL not to have to drive it anymore that I took it off my computer. You'll just have to click on the link to refresh your memory.)

(Back? Good.)

So, last spring I was blessed to procure the car I'd really always wanted, and put away the van. It was a good thing - there was no air conditioner, and I was slightly embarrassed to pull up to interviews and news stories, dripping with sweat, and exit a vehicle that looked like a box of Crayolas.

Man, am I ever shallow.

Anyway - the point is, I haven't had to drive that van in over a year. And, up until last summer, it was a "backup" vehicle. Amanda drove it for a while after she'd wrecked her car, and my mom borrowed it for I remember not what reason.

But, in the time of rising gas prices and not-rising salaries, both my mother and my sister repeatedly ran the gas tank VERY low. And so, one summer night last year, as my mom was using the van to ferry stuff to her storage room here in town, the fuel pump quit. My dad - the mechanic - said it was probably (at least partly) due to having to work so hard to get the last little bits of fuel out of the tank.

Not that I'm blaming anyone, mind you. That's my dad's job.

Thankfully, she was just around the corner, literally, from my house when it happened. So they pushed it to my backyard, where it has sat for the past year. Steadfast and unmovable.

Jason has mowed the grass around it.

But last week, my dad and Jason took a couple of parts off of another van he was about to send to the scrapyard, including a fuel pump and an air conditioner condenser. And Jason spent the past few days repairing The Amazing Technicolor Dream Van, which, since it has been immobile for a year, has now added "pollen green" to its list of colors.

And I was all, "Now we can sell it!" And Jason was all "We can sell my Jeep, and I can drive the van!"

It has been, shall we say, a bone of contention betwixt us.

Because I feel it would be slightly "emasculating" for Jason to drive the van. The Jeep is cool! It's macho! And it's all one color!

Like I said. Shallow.

Well, Jason seems to be getting his wish. Because yesterday as he pulled into the driveway after a trip to Memphis (wherein he found that all the stuff in the freezer at the auction was ruined, thanks to a tripped breaker) all manner of steam started spewing from beneath his hood.

Because it seems that one of the pulleys on the engine (you know, the round things that hold on the belt) had bent, and, in addition to freeing the one belt from its important place in engine operations, cut into the metal pipe attached to the water pump.

So, now we're down a belt. And a pulley. And most likely a water pump. And hopefully nothing else. Because, remember, we just spent a couple hundred dollars on that Jeep, replacing the alternator and its bracket when he was in South Carolina.

Unfortunately, the van wasn't quite ready for Jason to drive it this morning. The tags had expired in February, and by the time he got home, the tag office was closed.

(He also tried the "We haven't charged the air conditioner" ploy with me, but I reminded him that I'd driven PLENTY of miles in that van with no AC. Don't even start that junk!)

My parents came to get Anna Marie last night, and my dad drove the van back to his house to put a vacuum on the AC system to make sure it will hold the freon. And Jason said, "Do you mind if I take your car to work tomorrow?" And I responded, "Um, do I really have a choice?" Because why would he even ASK? I can walk to work. If I need to go somewhere while I'm here, I have use of a company car. And his workplace is 30 miles away. Ergo, common sense would dictate that I'm hoofing it for the next two days.

And so I did - down to the court house (oh, don't feel bad, it's only about 3/4 of a mile from my house) and to my office. And I'll be hoofing it home and back for lunch, and then doing the same thing (minus the tag trip) tomorrow.

But, I'm trying to look on the bright side. Yes, things are difficult right now. But we just fixed the van two days ago. And we didn't have to pay for those parts (which would've cost about $400) because they came off a van my dad was going to junk anyway. And Jason did the work himself, so there was no labor cost. And Jason can take my car to work, because I can very easily walk and since school hasn't started yet, I don't have to worry about getting Anna Marie there.

And it might be hot outside, but the sun is shining. And I can wear capris and flip flops to work, so it isn't like I have to walk over to my office in hose and heels.

And yes, school starts next week, but I've bought almost all of her supplies already. And she's been so blessed by a lady at Jason's job, that I don't have to buy her any new clothes!

Since we've been exposed to some new music at Cornerstone Church, Jason's gotten into the habit of finding the new songs on the 'net and loading them onto his Zune. But there's been one that I spent a good bit of time last night after he went to bed trying to find, with no luck. But today, as the lyrics run through my head, I can't help but think that my search was not totally in vain.

Because it talks about how God is able to do "exceedingly, abundantly above all that we could ask or think." And about His love washing over us. And right now, that's what I need to remember - that He's got everything under control, and He loves me very much.

Besides - I've been unable to stop my hand from entering the box of Lucky Charms and grabbing a few bites every time I've passed by the last few days (blame stress!) and all this exercise can't help but do me good.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Super-Duper-Mega-Marathon Post!

You'd think I don't have access to a computer all weekend.

You'd be wrong.

I just prefer to spend my weekends focusing on The Kid. And doing housework. (Well, I don't really prefer the housework part, but it is what it is.)

So, last week Valerie did these two posts. And in one, she gave me an award. And in the other, she tagged me.

And I have responded to neither, and they're like a big blogging roadblock that I can't get past until I answer, so here they go.

Part The First:

She thinks my tractor's sexy I have an artistic blog!

Very nice, no? Apparently they're starved for "real writin'" in La-La Land, so she picked my blog as an example! SWEET!

Here's the rules:

Recipients of this award must strive to pass it along. Indeed, one good turn deserves another.

(1) Pick five blogs that you believe deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.

(2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

(3) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given him or her the award itself.

(4) Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of Arte Y Pico blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award which is here: Arte Y Pico

So, here's where the hard part comes: picking the five blogs.

1. Amanda, the World's Most Amazing Photographer (sorry, Valerie, but she does free pics of The Kid!) I wish I had just a smidgen of her talent. sigh

2. Wendy, the girl who can take a stain on a pair of pants and make it into a work of art. For real! And don't even get me started on her imagination. See also: Butter Duck.

3. Jolene, the Super Duper Craft Diva. More than just a scrapbooker, she's into woodworking and all sorts of other stuff!

4. Lissete, who not only knows the "art" of bargain hunting, but is also a pretty avid crafter herself. Just go over to her blog, and check out her newly-acquired cake decorating skills.

5. Heather, who is both a blogging whiz and a stinkin' great writer. And did I mention she doesn't use a hairbrush? Genius!

Oh my goodness, y'all. That whole tagging thing is stressful! Moving on …

Part The Second:

Miz Susie Q. is a great fan of lists (and Brian Dennehey) so it should come as no surprise that she made up a meme all of her own.

And now, I've gotten sucked into it.

~Susie Q's "My Favorite Things" Game~

Here's the rules: you can only pick one (yes one) thing for each category. you attach the icon to your answers, pick five more and just have fun!

Sport: basketball
Game: solitaire
Color: Blue
Movie: It changes from time to time, but right now, All Across the Universe.
Broadway play I have seen: None - that's right, I live in a cultural wasteland.
Broadway Musical I have seen: My college did a few - like Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella and Brigadoon. Do they count?
Song: Hey Now by Tobymac
American city I have visited: Greenville, SC
Foreign city I have visited: The only foreign city I've visited is Windsor, Canada, so I guess that'll have to do!
Book: Anne of Green Gables
Children's Book: The Monster at the End of This Book
Classic television show: The Golden Girls
Recent television show: Doctor Who
Actor: David Tennant
Actress: Reese Witherspoon
Perfume: Philosophy's Amazing Grace
Food: burgers
Dessert: cheesecake
Chain Restaurant: Moe's
Local Restaurant: Rio Lindo
Car: Pontiac Grand Prix
Condiment: Tabasco (preferably chipotle or jalapeno flavor)
Kitchen Appliance: Senseo coffee maker
Home Appliance: DVD player
Beauty Product: concealer - gotta love those dark under-eye circles!
Piece of clothing: flip flops
HGTV Show: Decorating Cents
Food Network show: Good Eats!
Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - when I was a teenager, I read all the Sherlock Holmes mysteries!
Male Songwriter: The guys from They Might Be Giants
Female Songwriter: can't think of one
Holiday: Christmas
Ballet I have seen: A Very Brady Nutcracker - yes, the one Anna Marie was in!
Disney character: Winnie the Pooh
Flower: daisies
Alcoholic drink: I don't drink
Non-Alcoholic drink: Coke Zero
Magazine: Family Circle - I am such a dork!
Animated movie: Ratatouille
Television network miniseries: I don't see many of those these days, so I don't really have one.
Season: fall


Male vocalist: Frank Sinatra
Female vocalist: Annie Lennox
Day of the week: Saturday
Household Chore: laundry
Ice Cream: Schwan's Triple Lemon Frozen Yogurt
Candy: Dove dark chocolate
Artist: Anna Marie, of course!
Quotation: It's really not that you can't see the forest for the trees; you've never been out in the woods alone - Ben Folds

That was very taxing! Therefore, I'm not going to tag anyone - I'm taking the coward's way out, and saying "respond at your own risk."

You might also want to take a vacation day before you begin.

Now that this monkey is off my back, maybe I can blog about other stuff!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Official Thursday Weigh-In

Will wonders never cease?

Somehow I lost another half pound this week.

Please don't mistake this for false modesty - but I guess sometimes traumatic experiences - at least those during which we are separated from food, as in an all-day doctor's visit - really can make us lose weight.

Or something like that.

So the score is 146.5, or 90.5 lost all together.

(By the way, my three-year WW anniversary is coming up in just a few weeks! Oh, how I would love to lose another 8.5 pounds by then, but with both my birthday and my sister's during that time, I'm not holding out much hope.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


That's the only word I can summon to describe today's experience at the doctor.


No, they didn't do the blood test. My cousin, who turns out, works in that office (Hey, Cheree!) said it was too expensive and most insurance wouldn't cover it.

The staff was great - the doctor was great - it really wasn't their fault. The trauma is inherent in the procedure.

The first part of the visit was fine. We talked to the doctor. We talked to the nurses. They took a sample of her blood from her finger (to test her white blood cell count) and she did some breathing tests, to rule out asthma.

From the get-go, the doctor didn't think she has allergies. (I KNOW! CRAZY TALK!) He thought she was getting a virus during those times of the year. That scenario kinda made sense to me, since we'd had a virus-related problem when she was about six months old, and the pediatrician had said it was "that time of year" for the viruses.

Also, at the time, she was teething, and, of course, putting EVERYTHING in her mouth, so a virus was highly likely.

I like to think that, six years later, she isn't still shoving everything she comes across towards her gullet, but I do realize that viruses are out there, lurking.

Lurking. Like a latent blog-reader.

But anyway.

A bit later, Anna Marie was instructed to take off her shirt. She sat in my lap, with her head against my chest (aww!) as the nurse wrote "A,B,C,D" in four quadrants on her back. Then, she had four, eight-pronged "thingies," of which each prong had been dipped in a different irritant. They appeared to have wee tiny needles on each prong, but Anna Marie didn't mind that part so much.

I should have known we wouldn't get off that easy.

After no spots seemed to be reacting, we did another breathing test and, for good measure, she was given a dose of an inhaler.

Then, the nurse called me into the hallway to explain what was coming next: Anna Marie had to lie on her stomach on the table, while she was injected with more irritants - under the skin!

This part did not go so well.

We were already exhausted from all the breathing tests, and the fact that it took some major cajoling to get her to take that inhaler. (And also a demonstration by the nurse.)

Y'all, if you've never had to hold a child while she was injected - count yourself blessed. I stood at the head of the table, holding her hands, praying and trying to keep her calm while she got, oh, eight or 10 shots into her back.

Afterward, Anna Marie was loathe to even talk about the experience.

I guess it'd be worth it if we found some good results - but, no.

No allergies.

No asthma, or at least not enough to actively treat.


We're left with nothing to go on!

The doctor prescribed a topical decongestant for the next time her nose starts it's nonsense (which, if history repeats itself, should be in just a few days.) After about four days, with no improvement, I'm to bring her in to their office so she can be further evaluated.

Thankfully, we weren't in there four hours. We left after two-and-a-half. I called mom to see if there was any food left at the auction (they were shutting the bar down) and she saved me a chicken breast and some vegetables.

(Anna Marie just swiped some tomatoes, pickles, and olives from the salad bar.)

Oh, but let me tell you - I'd promised Anna Marie ice cream once we got through. And though I'd fully intended to go somewhere fancy, I realized she'd be just as happy (and I'd be much less broke) with a Fudgesicle from the auction.

Except, when I left for an hour to run to The Children's Place (where I scored a pair of shorts and a t-shirt for $6!) she somehow got chocolate on her clothes.

Which were clean when I left. Which was after I'd given her the Fudgesicle.

Guess who talked Gramma into giving her a second Fudgesicle?

I think Gramma needs a little "time out."

Back to the diagnosis - I know there are parents out there whose kids are REALLY sick, and who have to go to LOTS of doctors to find out what's wrong. I guess what I'm feeling today is a tiny bit of what they might feel - I put my kid through all that trauma, only to find out that it was utterly useless. And, that there really doesn't appear to be a whole lot I can do to help her when these episodes come around, except try this new medicine and this new course of treatment, and see if it eases her suffering any.

Friends, that part of my day just might be the most traumatic part of all.

I'll gladly pay you Tuesday

For one of the two blog posts I owe you today.

Because one is all I have time for at present.

In about two hours, Little AM and I will be at the allergist's office, where she'll likely be poked and prodded beyond all reason.

(No, she doesn't know that yet. Yes, I've promised her ice cream when it's all over.)

Hopefully, prayerfully, they'll find out why she has such bad allergy attacks at the end of July/beginning of August. And also in November. And also in May.

And maybe even why she broke out into such awful hives just before school got out.

Part of me thinks I'm overreacting (even though it was two separate doctors who recommended this testing) and part of me knows that, in about two weeks, I'll be right back at the doctor's office trying to find yet another prescription answer to her allergy symptoms.

The other post I owe you? The irrepressable Valerie has nominated me for an award, and I have to nominate some other folks, but I just haven't had a chance to get my ducks in a row about that yet.

The (possibly) worst part about this testing? We'll be in there for about four hours, right around the middle of the day. For two girls who are used to eating on a schedule, it's cutting right smack dab in the middle of our lunch hours.

But fear not - I'm thinking ahead, and stocking my purse with Fruit Roll-Ups.

Because what better sustinance, in times of medical testing, than plastic fruit that'll make your tongue look like Batman?

Friday, July 18, 2008

On gaining information that has no use whatsoever

I love my little hairdresser.

Really, I do.

And I call her "little," because, well, she is a smallish person, but also because I've known her since she was knee-high to a duck's tail. And because she's several years younger than I am. And because, though she's about to celebrate her third wedding anniversary, I doubt I'll ever really think of her as an "adult," in much the same way that my siblings will probably always be "kids" in my eyes.

Oh, but she's great. She does a fantastic job on both my hair and Anna Marie's, and I'm such a doofus that never makes appointments six whole weeks in advance and she always squeezes me in when I call at the last minute.

But really, did she have to inform me that I had some "gray highlights" when I got my hair cut today?

"Gray highlights."


And she said it in the nicest possible way - kind of like, "Aw, you've got gray highlights!"

Like they're cute or something.

People, I'm about to turn 32 in less than three weeks.

That moves me slowly through the "early 30s" territory and has me staring down the loaded end of "mid-30s."



Before you know it, I'll be in my "late 30s" and then my "early 40s" and then, well, it's anyone's guess what happens after that.



Looks like me and Miss Clarol are about to become real chummy.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Official Thursday Weigh-In

Hi all!

Still on mom's laptop, tethered to an ethernet cable, in my sweltering hot home office because, although Jason and Little AM got home about dinner time, he hasn't unpacked yet.

And oddly enough, the girl who told me this morning that she couldn't wait to get home to her bed and her TV, has decided that Gramma's bed and Gramma's TV would be even better.

Whatever floats her boat.

Well, despite Jason being out of town, I managed to somehow lose another pound this week. Which is odd, because usually I gain a small bit when they're not here.

147. 90 pounds total.

Now, if you'll excuse me, Mount Washmore is calling my name.

(Mount Washmore - don't you love it? I've heard it several times this week and decided to take the phrase for my very own.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Weekend recap

Well, hello there, Blogland!

I guess you're wondering how I'm typing this, if my husband absconded with not only our offspring but also both computers?

Well, my mother has a laptop that she literally never uses. And Jason suggested that I borrow it for the week. So yesterday, she brought it over.

Except, I can't get the wireless to hook up with my router, so I'm stuck in the office, tethered to an ethernet cable.

And, I can't get the thing to find my printer, so I had to end up going to my office this morning anyway before church to print off my grocery list.

But anyway.

How am I surviving without the two red heads here? Quite well, in my estimation.

(Just don't let me catch a commercial for a romantic comedy, or a Nickelodeon show.)

Things I did yesterday:

* Watched four movies. I Am Legend, Thank You for Smoking, and ET - for the first time! Oh, and also Walk the Line. I loved Reese Witherspoon in that role!

* Ate popcorn in bed at 8:30 a.m. while watching movies.

Things I did not do yesterday:

* Change out of my PJs.

* Housework.

* Venture further than the mailbox.

* Exercise.

This is the one day a year I get to myself, and doggone it, I'm not wasting a minute doing anything responsible!

Today, though, was a different story. I had to go to church, and the grocery store. While I was here this afternoon, I also cleaned the bathroom. Luckily, it's small and didn't need much more than a wipedown and a mop, but still. Housework.

My usual scrapbookpalooza has also fallen by the wayside, because Jason also skipped town with my scrapbook table! It's hard to get into the swing of things when you have to move your paper and stuff around, but a lady in my Sunday School class is a Creative Memories consultant, and we were talking about scrapbooking this morning, so I did get a couple of pages done in her kindergarten book.

I'm about to wash my face and climb back onto my bed to watch more TV! Can you believe it? I think my brain is going to turn to mush before this weekend is over.

Maybe I should be thankful that I have to return to work tomorrow - before every muscle in my body completely atrophies.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Official "Thursday" Weigh-In, et al

It's three, three, THREE blog posts in one!

First, the one where I tell you that my two red heads left for their annual South Carolina trip at 6:30 a.m. yesterday. Which is also the one where I tell you that Jason found out last night that his Jeep will need an alternator, and sooner, rather than later.

Thankfully, he brought his whole tool box, and he can do the work himself. He's at the campgrounds now, and if he needs someone to take him to a parts store there will be staff there until about noon. After that, he'll have to call his sister who lives in the next town over. I just hate the thought of spending the money!

Then, comes the one where I tell you what I weigh this week.

148, or back down to 89 pounds lost. That's a pound lost this week.

It's good, but I was hoping to be down to 137 by today, because it's my 10th anniversary, and some silly part of me wanted to be able to say, "Hey, I weigh 100 pounds less than I did on my wedding day!"

Silly girl.

I could try on my wedding dress, but I can tell you right now, it's a size 22 and would completely swallow me. Plus, it's off-the-shoulder, and I doubt the contraption I had to buy to hold me in/push me up/support my major boobage would do anything right now.

(Oh, that was the third post, by the way - telling you that it's my anniversary.)

Ten years. Oh my gracious. Has it really been that long?

And has it really been five years since I've actually been in the same state as my husband on July 11?

He called me at 6:00 a.m. He knew I'd be up anyway. Actually, that's usually the time that the lady from our press facility calls me if there's a problem with a page, so for a half second I thought it might be her. But a glance at the caller ID confirmed it was Jason.

He said he thought about saying, "Uh, Melissa?" like she does when he answers the phone at that hour, but thought about the whole caller ID ruining the joke.

Cheeky monkey.

And how will I celebrate today? Well, I've been invited to the local Rotary meeting at noon, to do a story on their speaker, and they'll buy my lunch. And tonight for dinner, I'll likely feast on a Boca burger and oven potatoes.

And watch I Am Legend, if Netflix is kind enough to ship it to me today.

I was going to treat myself to one of those PediEgg contraptions, but on the news that Jason is having to buy an alternator I decided that was $10 I might not need to spend right now.

Once again, Jason has absconded with both of our computers, so if I want real internet access (not just checking my email on my phone, which is pitifully slow in the absence of a true 3G network down here) I'll have to come to work.

Which is what I end up doing every year this time, anyway.

So, in short - the red heads left, I weigh 148, it's my anniversary.

I guess that'll do for now!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

On being proactive

Y'all, I have a confession to make.

I have a tendency to be reactive, not proactive.

Scratch that. I have a tendency to be procrastinative (is that even a word? I guess not, since spell check is going haywire over it). Basically, I procrastinate like crazy, which I learned a couple of years ago is a manifestation of my worry problem.

Except for a few instances (like when I started Weight Watchers nearly three years ago) I don't do something about a problem I see. I just wallow in it, and worry about it, and never get much accomplished with it.

But in the last few days, I've been taught a little something about being proactive.

I have a friend, we'll call her "M." (This is an actual friend, not like "a friend of mine would like to know blah, blah, blah," wherein the friend is actually me, thinly veiled.)

Anyway - in the last few days, M has been telling me about some things she's not satisfied with in her life. But instead of just complaining about it, she's doing something about it.

She feels like she needs to lose a few pounds, so she got out the exercise bike and treadmill, and started watching her portions, and she's lost some of it. Her present employment situation is becoming unacceptable, for a myriad of reasons, so she's working on her resume.

And I am so proud of her - and so ashamed of myself.

Because there are some things in my life which I need to accomplish, but my worry causes me to procrastinate and continue to suffer on.

But M has inspired me. Instead of just worrying that I didn't have enough time to get Jason and Anna Marie ready to go out of town, I got a head start on the packing and laundry this morning. On Wednesdays, I have a staff meeting where I have to tell my publisher what I'm putting on the front page next week. Instead of waiting until the last minute (about 20 minutes before the meeting) to get my list together, I've already started on it and begun organizing my information.

Instead of being disappointed that my husband took me out for an early anniversary date last night, and treated a special year - our 10th - just like almost every other date we've ever had (dinner at Chili's, a trip to an electronics store, a trip to Walmart, and home) I'm going to find a - nice - way to tell him that when he gets back from his trip, I'm going to have a proper celebration planned.

(Because really, as much as I'd like to believe that my husband is going to plan something special, let's face it, he isn't. I've had that illusion since 1995, and it has happened about once. And that involved him surprising me by flying to Memphis on my 21st birthday to present me with an engagement ring. And he didn't have any plan beyond booking the flight, and just gave me the ring in the parking lot of the mall I had taken him to. So I gave it back to him and drove to a park, and made him get on one knee. Because did you know how he originally asked me to marry him? Over the phone, when we were in our dorms, and he said he had been wondering what I'd say if he asked me to marry him.)


(No, I'm not bitter. Not at all.)

So, that's the new me - proactive. It won't happen overnight. Old habits are hard to break. But, with the help of the good Lord, I'm going to start taking charge of more things in my life.

(Really. Not bitter at all.)

Monday, July 07, 2008

A sobering perspective

So, I was all set to blog about how upset I was that yesterday, Kroger wouldn't take the coupons I'd so lovingly printed off the internet.

And how their short-sightedness had cost me an extra $5 on my grocery bill. And how that extra $5 I spent just made me sick to my stomach when I left the store, and so angry that I contacted three - yes, three! - different companies to complain when I got home.

And then, I found this story on the internet. And when I got finished reading it, I really was sick to my stomach. And even more so, when I closed the window, and saw on my desktop wallpaper the face of my beautiful, well-fed daughter in her ballerina costume.

I'm fussing about spending five dollars extra at the store - five dollars extra which didn't, thank God, mean the difference between eating or not eating - when I have so much else to be thankful for.

Did you know that when we first got married, sometimes all I had to spend at the store, in total, was $5 a week?

We ate lots of condensed soup and hot dogs back then.

Now, I don't have to worry so much about that. I send my kid to dance class. I paid pretty good money to send her to PRESS Camp for one day while we were at the beach. And my biggest worry when it comes to her nutrition is that she's eating too much, not that her growth is stunted because she's eating too little.

God help us all to be more thankful for what we take for granted - and help us to find practical ways to help those who need it the most.

Friday, July 04, 2008

What is July 4 all about?

It's about the birth of our country, and those who have fought and died to keep that country free.

It's about those freedoms that were fought for, like the freedom to worship as we please, and live as we please, and (one of my personal favorites) write whatever we want in the newspaper.

Well, within reason. And libel laws.

It's also about spending the first part of the day playing with your kid in your backyard, and getting an unexpected text message from your oldest and best friend. And going back to the house that was her actual home, and your second home, when you were teenagers, and spending hours sitting outside in the breeze, just shooting the breeze.

It's about going to see fireworks, parked on the right-of-way in front of a stip mall, talking about old memories and making new ones.

And about little ones falling asleep on the way home, and being carried inside by daddies, only to wake up long enough to remind their moms to take their sandals off.

I hope you had a great, safe, freedom-filled July 4. Did I host a grand feast? Nope. Did I spend a small fortune on bottle rockets and sparklers? Not this year. But I got to spend time with some of my favorite people in the whole wide world. And my voice is tired from all the "visiting" we did. And I wouldn't change our spur-of-the-moment, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of day for all the Roman candles in the world.

That, I think, is what July 4, and freedom, are all about.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Official Thursday Weigh-In

You know you missed me.

You know you did.

You will, however, note that there is more of me to miss now, as I gained a half pound in the last two weeks.


Actually, I peeked at the display and it said "148.8" but the policy is to round up.

All in all, I'm not complaining - if you'd been a fly on the wall of my life this week, Anna Marie would've freaked out at the sight of you you'd know that half a pound is not bad for all the stuff I consumed all week while on our trip.

And, as Scarlett O'Hara said, tomorrow is another day.

Wait - tomorrow is July 4. Strike that - Saturday is another day!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A sigh of relief

Some stuff has been going on in my life, y'all. Big stuff.

Possibly good stuff. But stuff that has the bejeebus scared out of me, nonetheless.

Remember how I told you that there was a possibility that our catering company would be taking over complete control of the auction's food operations come July?

Guess what yesterday was - July 1. D-Day.

When I say taking over - in the past, Peasnap's Catering (yes, named after Anna Mare's nickname) has provided contract labor. The auction provided the food, and the facilities. Jason and crew provided the labor, for a fee, and any money collected went back to the auction.

The place has been losing money like crazy for YEARS - so, the auction decided it wanted out of the food business all together.

Part of the reason they lost money was because a former manager decided to give all the employees their food for $2 per meal, regardless of what they ate. So they're getting three or four time that worth of food (prime rib, even, or beef brisket some days). Instead of taking that money from an account to reimburse the cafeteria, it was just a loss. A MAJOR loss.

Late last year, the price went up to $3 a meal. And then, earlier this year, it went up to a more "normal" price, minus a 10% discount.

Which is where we are now. Jason's got this nifty software that tells him how much something costs to serve, including labor and utensils. So thankfully, we haven't had to shock folks going from three buck meals to full price.

Now, though, if we lose money, we don't get paid.

Don't.get.paid. As in, my husband drives 45 minutes to work, and doesn't bring home a paycheck.

Scared doesn't begin to describe what I've been over the past few months.

But you know what? God has been poking me the past few weeks, to let me know that everything is going to be allright.

I'm a notorious worry wart, and you know what memory verse Anna Marie has been memorizing for Children's Church? I Peter 5:7: Cast all your anxiety on Him, for He cares for you.

And then, the pastor quoted it Sunday morning. (I know - preaching to folks about worry is like shooting fish in a barrel these days, but still.)

And Jason told me last week that he'd been feeling that some positive changes were coming into our lives, that he didn't know what, but he just had this feeling in his spirit. And I take that very seriously, because my husband doesn't go around saying things like that every day. In fact, in our nearly 10 years of marriage, I don't think I've heard him say anything like that even once.

And he's been coming up with ideas to make more money, like serving hot dogs in the auction bay from one of our cute little kiosks, or yesterday morning he made fruit cups and sold out almost immediately. Now, he's looking at being open more than the one or two days a week, serving low-labor foods (like pizzas or chicken salad sandwiches.) There isn't anywhere else to eat within a few miles of the facility, so they'd probably welcome the idea.

It's been really hard the last few weeks to see my husband ruminating over facts and figures, trying to find revenue holes and make the best decisions for this company. But that's what he's good at - he's a numbers man.

Yesterday when I got home, I was almost afraid to ask him if he'd made a paycheck. But he did! Maybe not quite as much as he normally did (because of some big expense I can't remember right now) but he did!

And this little news editor breathed a sigh of relief.

And God was up there in Heaven, wanting to bonk me on the head for doubting. Again.

Please keep praying for us, and for this situation - that it will continue to work, and that I will continue to trust God (and my husband) that this is going to work out. I know that if/when this does work, it'll be one of those things where to the "natural" eye it can't be possible, so it'll be nothing short of God making it a go!