Saturday, January 24, 2009

100 Things for the 100th Post

On a playdate at the Cleveland Zoo with K-, her friends and a few cousins. I climbed the rope tower to go help her out. It was kind of fun, so I hung out for a few!

Can I really do it? Some of it'll be lame, but sure!
1. I think that I've shrunk. I'm now about 5' 3/4". When I was measured in 7th grade, I was 5' 1 1/4". Bummer.
2. I'm the shortest in my family.
3. I ate so many swiss cheese and mustard sandwiches as a toddler that I can't can even consider eating swiss cheese as an adult.
4. When I was three, Mom said that I could take my clothes off and put them on my dollies. You see, I was still in 18 month old clothing.
5. I don't drink milk. I never did. Even as a baby I didn't like it. At 6 weeks old, my mother started feeding me Cream of Wheat because I wasn't eating. I still like Cream of Wheat.
6. I don't eat berries. Beyond just not liking the taste, there are a lot of seeds. I don't like to eat seeds.
7. I'm not a huge fruit fan. Oranges gross me out with their texture. Though, I love orange juice. I do eat apples, bananas, pears and pineapple. Most fruits leave me feeling disappointed because people say, "They are soooo sweet." I don't find that to be true.
8. I do, however, love vegetables.
9. I love the hard, crusty ends of bread.
10. I will drink milk if you liquor it up with a lot of Ovaltine.
11. I can't sleep in hotels, because the blankets aren't heavy enough. When I say heavy, I mean weight wise. They're blankets are plenty warm, though.
12. I'm a shoe snob. I pretty much only wear Birkenstocks and Saucony tennis shoes. After ACL surgery, I have to be certain that shoes that I wear are good and supportive, or my leg and knee will hurt. (When I blew the ACL, I also broke the side of my knee.)
13. I love patterned socks and have a ton of them.
14. I chew my lips in the winter. I have to keep Chapstick on hand so that I don't chew to bleeding. In fact, I put Chapstick on before bed.
15. I hate to floss my teeth. I don't know why, I just don't like to do it. Don't worry, I do it sometimes, but brush my teeth several times a day.
16. I'm generally asleep well within 10 minutes of my head hitting the pillow.
17. I love to watch America's Next Top Model.
18. I rode an elephant when I was 3 and was determined that Santa was going to bring me one for Christmas. He didn't. He did bring me the Weeble Circus. My mom was inspired by my desire for the elephant and wrote a book about it. She tried to have it published, but Golden Book said no thank you.
19. I failed my kindergarten entrance exam, because I didn't take it seriously. I thought it was a game! I had to re-take it. When I did, I smashed my finger in a flip-top desk and had to put my finger in the water fountain to stop the bleeding.
20. I always put my left shoe on first.
21. My eyes are brown. Really dark brown, though sometimes they can look black.
22. I love snow storms and I love snow.
23. I don't like to be cold.
24. I do like to shovel the driveway.
25. I start my own vegetable and flower plants from seeds in my garden window.
26. I wanted to be a geologist, but decided that I wasn't going to make it through the science classes that would require me to dissect things.
27. I'm fanatic about keeping my toenails incredibly short. I had ingrown toenails as a child, had to have foot surgery as a result and do not look forward to having that again. That's another explanation of why I wear my granola Birk's. They have lots of tootsie room.
28. I had braces on my teeth to correct some nasty toothness going on. My eye teeth were pointing out, instead of down. Talk about attractive!
29. I love walking on crunchy leaves in the fall.
30. When I was 19, I was doing donuts in the parking lot of the grocery I worked at. When I went to leave, my car went into a spin and got hung up on the concrete island. I had to go and ask all the packers to push my car back off so that I could go home. Ugh.
31. I love driving in the snow. I don't like spinning, though.
32. I hate the feeling of nail polish on my fingernails. I like to paint my toenails, though.
33. My fingers, cuticles and hands in general are cracked. They are so bad that they are bleeding right now.
34. I was in 4-H for 9 years.
35. As a result, I competed for Fair Queen and won.
36. I wear slippers all the time in the winter, yet go barefoot all the time in the summer.
37. Because the grocery that I worked for had the scanning rights taken away and we had to hand key all grocery purchases, I can run an adding machine at lightning speed. (You lose scanning rights when Weights and Measures comes in multiple times in a row, busts you for inaccurate scanning and you don't fix the problem.)
38. I can type fast, too. It bugs my husband when he is trying to sleep and all he hears is "tick-tick-tick."
39. I would love to have a full massage someday by a qualified massage therapist. In fact, I could use one right now.
40. I love soup and could eat soup absolutely every day.
41. I've just recently discovered that I love The Cure.
42. I make my bed every single morning. I have to do this before I can consider getting dressed. Don't ask me why.
43. I want to learn to sew.
44. I can't and have never been able to bend over and touch my toes without cheating and bending my knees.
45. I absolutely love chocolate, but if I eat a dessert that is too rich, I quickly become very ill.
46. I would love to go to England and Ireland someday. I do fear that I would have to be medicated to get on a plane to fly across the ocean. Unless they get something that is extremely lickety-split, I am not a fan of not seeing land.
47. Same goes for cruise ships. Land ho, my friends. Land ho.
48. Not to mention my fear of deep water.
49. I don't eat raisins because when I was a kid, I got a hold of a bad box and mom found out only after I had eaten 1/2 the box. She discovered that it was full of bugs. YUCK!
50. I really only like crunchy peanut butter. I like peanut butter and butter sandwiches better than standard peanut butter and jelly.
51. I don't obey the speed limit.
52. I like to drive through puddles to see how big the splash can get. K- loves it, too.
53. I always run up steps.
54. I love mums. The small button kind of mums in the brownish or burgundy color.
55. I have a butterfly garden in the back and love to take pictures of them all summer long. Kids like to come hang out to see how many butterflies are back there.
56. I love the smell of Play Doh.
57. I like to eat dry spaghetti noodles when I'm preparing to cook them.
58. I had tomato soup for the first time just recently. It's fine to dip my toasty cheese tortilla into, but I don't know that I'd go bottoms up with it.
59. I love my crockpot. I do love my family more. The crockpot is way handy. So is Hubs though. But Hubs doesn't cook and the crockpot does. There's room for both of them in the house, though.
60. Incredibly strong perfume gives me an almost instant headache.
61. If there is someone smoking in their car a few cars up, I can generally smell it. Their window must be cracked with the wind blowing the right way, but I have a super-sensitive sense of smell.
62. I can watch Gilmore Girls on DVD forever and never grow tired of them. Copper Boom!
63. K- and I always pray for emergency services when they drive past or if we see them helping people.
64. I had baklava for the first time just recently. I'm not a fan of nuts, but apparently if you coat them in enough sugar and in thin layers, I'll scarf it down.
65. I've been a picky eater all my life, but I'm trying to resolve that.
66. My favorite flavor of ice cream is chocolate chip.
67. I wear the same jewelry all the time and rarely change it.
68. I hate shopping at the mall. I feel like I'm trapped and the people in the middle of the main aisle? They drive me crazy, too! If I wanted to buy my name etched on a tiny piece of rice, I'll let you know. Please don't bug me.
69. I park in the same general area in parking lots. If I don't, I'll forget where I parked because I just don't pay attention to that kind of thing!
70. I love to wiggle my toes in the sand.
71. I love it when I can walk on the grass for the first time in the spring.
72. I love Valentine's Day and that it's our anniversary.
73. I love it when Hubs takes K- to the store with him to give me a little bit of a mommy break.
74. I love that K- loves to watch classics with me. She loves "Little Fairy on the House." AKA Little House on the Prairie.
75. I burn candles only in the winter. I'm a candle snob, though. I really only like A. I. Root or Yankee Candle. Root would be my preference, though. Because of this, Hubs bought me a half case of English Lavender votives this year as a Christmas gift. (It helps that the Root factory is down the road from Hubs' work.)
76. I won't color my hair to get rid of my grays. I'm just not that dedicated to keeping up with something like that and would live forever on the Island of Perpetual Roots. (A mommy version of the IPT from Veggie Tales Esther.)
77. I love reading with K-. I love that she is on an Amelia Bedelia kick lately. My mom read me Amelia Bedelia when I was a kid.
78. April has been my best friend since elementary school. In the 4th grade, we made our own version of the alphabet and wrote letters back and forth. We also had pet clay balls that we made houses for. (Ick and Pick.) We were very weird kids.
79. My old RAV was a classic mama mobile. Toys, books, sticky things. Odd substances under the seat. Enough petrified french fries to feed a small army of children at a play date. All that changed when I was told by the insurance adjuster, "Yes ma'am, the exterior of your car is in excellent condition. For the inside to be in excellent condition, it must be spotless." Um yes, point well taken. The car was well lived in before the accident, but having been slammed into by a very large truck that weighed a lot, the crap that I had stowed in there was thrown all over the car. Darned car looked like a tornado got trapped in there. Being embarrassed by that, I swore to have a clean car after. You know what? My car is clean. It needs the occasional touch up, but we're not heaped in crap anymore.
80. I occasionally take Excedrin Migraine just for the caffeine. I know. It's wrong, but on a rare occasion, I find it necessary.
81. I love to eat hunks of unbaked cake mix. Unfortunately, I've taught K- to love it, too.
82. I've never found a four leafed clover, but still look.
83. I'm allergic to Iodine, thus making me allergic to shellfish, MSG and kelp/seaweed. (The kelp and seaweed thing would be an ingesting issue.) But yes, the little bit of Iodine in salt is fine. No, I'm not sporting a nifty goiter.
84. My thumb has taken to doing this weird end forced click hinge thing. Yes, I need to have it checked out.
85. I find matching socks to be therapeutic. No, I won't come match yours.
86. Blood doesn't really gross me out, but lumps do. Please, don't make me feel your bump or lump! Yarg!
87. When I was 11 years old, we went on a tour of the Fenton Glass factory. I decided then that I wanted to blow glass. It took 4 years of college to accrue enough seniority to get into a class, but I did learn how.
88. Have I mentioned before that it took me 7 years to get my Bachelor's of Art in Fine Arts? My concentration? Printmaking.
89. I've had 8 cars.
My first was a Camaro.
It followed with a Grand Prix that I owned for 6 weeks. I pushed that more than I drove it.
That was traded for a Trans Am that was rear ended a few years later. (It had t-tops and I thought I was way cool.) It was totalled, but I drove it until the uninsured guy paid me money to get another car. At that point, it drove down the road somewhat sideways, but it was all I had.
When that went to the dump, I bought a Blazer. That spun a bearing and was done all of 8 months after I bought it.
I replaced it with a Berlinetta, which needed towed 3 weeks after purchase. Later on, it lost a wheel as I was driving it down the road, smacked onto the pavement and potentially cracked the block. That little problem didn't come up until 6 months later when Ohio's E-Check program got a hold of it. The motor blew. Hubs and I were only married for 6 months and had the pleasure of paying a $3700 car loan off so that we could get another vehicle.
We pulled a lease on our Tercel, which we still have. It's Hubs' car now. When I started the job at the gallery, we could no longer share a car so we needed to purchase me my own.
That's when we bought the old RAV.
She bit the dust when we were rear-ended in March and now I have the new RAV. We also have a new car payment. Fabulous.
90. I have two blood clotting disorders. I'm homozygous for MTHFR and PAI-Type 1. All this tells you is that I bruise if you look at me the wrong way and clotting is something that I could do. Boy, I am an ugly bruiser.
91. I can't tear anything open with my teeth. Nothing. Mom can do it all the time. I was always jealous.
92. My nails are very strong. They hardly ever chip, break or split. They grow very fast, too.
93. I am the second child of 4, thus making me a spaz middle child.
94. I do not like working puzzles. My daughter loves them, though. My family would always have one set up every winter. Eee-ghad. I just never liked them.
95. I save seeds from my flowers to replant the next year.
96. I love nightlights. We have them throughout the house.
97. I cut my daughter's hair. She likes it long with bangs. I can totally handle that. No, I don't give her Yoder bangs (the way high up on the forehead thing). You'd also be glad to know that 7 years in art school earned me a steady hand with scissors. Baby girl has a mommy that can't send her out with crooked bangs.
98. I have a lavender bathroom.
99. I sleep with one pillow.
100. I crawl in bed with K- every morning. "Can I come in?" "Sure!" We hang out there for a good half hour or so talking about the day. Talking about life, answering those weird mommy questions.

At the Children's Garden fountain with K- at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens on my birthday this past year.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Goodbye, Little Gym

Warming up at the beginning of class

K- has gone to The Little Gym for 3 years. She started at 2 years old. When she started, she was afraid to jump. We began in the parent/child class. I admit that until Natalie, I wasn't loving the class too much for myself. (That's not why I was there.) It seemed to be filled with snotty women with equally snotty children. I didn't fit in, but K- loved it so I lumped it and continued on. When the kids got older, the class separated out and K- continued on and into the child only class. I've been a mom in a fishbowl for about two years and you know what? K- has loved it and me, too. I've been able to be with K- and watch her grow as I had time to talk in adult conversations with some other way cool mommies.

Pajama day brought lots of fun with Miss Anna

K- was asked to be in their "invitation only" class, but I declined. As lovely as it is that she has progressed that far in the classes, they only have one class and it is only on Wednesdays at 2 PM. She's with my mother-in-law then and she takes her swimming at that time. Besides, it's my mommy thing to do with her.

Mr. Eric has worked hard with K- to whip her into shape!

So to The Little Gym, we will miss you so. You have helped to build K- into the gymnastics fool that she is. She loves to balance, do cartwheels, somersaults, swing on bars and oh-- she loves to jump. Thanks for getting her out of that weird fear. Thanks for loving on her for so many years. Thanks for starting to miss her already.

We'll be going onto swimming now. Soon, K- will be in Kindergarten and that alone may very well be enough to start out with. We'll have Neat Feet Week at home. We'll do Pizza Hangs in the back yard. We'll smell the bar first, to see if it smells like feet. We'll remember to carry our tray of cookies, and throw in a Ta-Dah in the end.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: The Sock Drawer

I am convinced that to look into someones sock drawer is like looking into their medicine cabinet. It is a very personal space that typically involves some very expired items.

My sock drawer lives in this:
We figured that if we were going to take the footprint space for a substantial piece of furniture in our very small home, we were going to make the most of the floorspace that it took. This is the Amish made oak armoire** that we purchased about 6 years ago. It has decent sized drawers. See:
This gives me the opportunity to basket some of my things. You see, this past fall I decided to purge all of the items from the sock/underwear drawer that I didn't wear. I couldn't stand the drawer anymore. I ditched the itchy lace bras that I never wore. (And they dug big rub marks into my skin!) I tossed the uncomfortable undies. I flipped the socks that sagged, bagged and otherwise just didn't work. I decided to roll my pattern socks into knots (Heloise tells you not to do this as it stretches socks out according to her) so that I could stand them all up and still see the patterns. (I'm ignoring Heloise, can't you tell?) I have my athletic socks in one basket, trouser-type in another. I have a separate basket for underwear only. I have the thicker socks, some sachets and my bras towards the bottom. Voila. Works for me. And yes, I do keep my drawer just like this. Call it crazy Virgo organization.

Don't forget that Bloggy Giveaways is having its carnival next week. For more information, click the button on my sidebar. I'll be giving away a handcrafted bow organizing board. Come on back on January 26 to drop your name in to win! I'd love to see you again. Don't hate me though, it's US only. Sorry!

This is an example of the bow board that I will be giving away. This is K-'s board that we have used over the last year. Don't worry, you'll get a fresh new one. I'll even kick in a bow to start you out!

** We purchased our armoire at Pleasant View Furniture in Dundee, Ohio. It cost half of what the pressed wood pieces at the local furniture stores cost, and that was with shipping included! It was much larger than the stores were offering, too. The piece was made on site by their son and we've had subsequent pieces for our bedroom made from them since then. They are lovely people and truly the lowest furniture prices that we can find. If you are on the hunt for good quality handcrafted furniture, stop by to see Leroy. He'll be working by gas lamp light and heating by wood burning fire place.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration day and A Letter to My Daughter

The bible that President Obama will be using at his Inauguration. It was the bible Abraham Lincoln used in 1861.

Personally, we're thrilled. I did find an interesting link from the Wall Street Journal the other day. The article is about Inaugural bibles and verses that Presidents used, if any. I thought that I would share this with you as we happily rejoice in the change of this day.
** No Tales from the Trenches today. We're being Inaugural at Bailey's Leaf this Tuesday. Check back next week!

Edited to add:

Baby girl,

I am so thrilled that Daddy and I were able to share with you about President Obama last night. We were so excited to tell you about him and his family moving into the White House. You were jumping up and down with excitement. Now you'd like to go see the White House. You know what? We can totally make that happen.

Baby Doll, this is so much more than you even know. President Obama is in the highest position of our land, one that not so many years ago was unheard of. We've brought you up in a color blind house, so you don't really know why President Obama's color means so much to some people or why it is so earth-changing that he is in the position that he is in.

I was at work when President Obama took his oath of office. I was with Julia, listening on an old Panasonic radio that I'm sure that my bosses must have brought over on the Mayflower. It was a cool day here in Ohio. It was 19 F and we had light snow falling as President Obama repeated those 35 words. I was unable to see all this unfold on TV, but I took it in with my ears for you, my baby. I cried with Julia and hugged her, still amazed at the magnitude of the moment.

You were with Grandma (Nana Cheese.) She said that both of you watched as President Obama took his oath of office. She told me how she loved your Inauguration Day outfit-- one in red/white and blue from top to bottom. I had a great red/white and blue bow that I was able to put one of President Obama's small pins in. I checked and made sure that you knew who he was. I would have loved to be with you, but Nana made it a great, memorable experience for you.

Julia and I listened to his Inaugural Speech (words follow) and still remained stunned. What you will later understand is that President Obama's 17 minute speech was not one filled with fluff and filler. His speech was not a solid ray of light. His speech was one filled with honesty and hope. One filled with frankness and not what he thought that people might want to hear. His speech was filled with many things, lots of work, for all of us to take part in. His speech was one filled with determination and an outstretched hand to lands not so fond of us as of late.

Know that this is a time that our country is not divided, not as just Democrats or Republicans, but standing together as Americans. We are standing together in support of our new president, whether people voted for him or not.

Today is a great day, baby. I'm so glad that we are able to share it with you.


P.S. Here are the words to President Obama's Inaugural Speech that I promised you.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.
These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Not So Thrift Trip

Here's a PSA for you. Curbs eat tires. Especially if you hit them.

Guess what? I hit a curb on my way into the Thrift Store this evening. "WHAMP!" I knew it wasn't good. I parked the car, jumped out and immediately heard a very loud "SSSSSSS." Crap. I pulled off the hill and down to the end of the parking lot that was basically flat and I made sure that I was under a big light. Then I called Hubs. He didn't answer, so I left a message. Then I called again in a few more minutes. I knew that he was supposed to meet me there, so he was just around the corner. Then, like a kid who was just busted for doing something wrong, I told him what I did. You know what? My husband didn't yell at me. He could have. I'm a massive flipper over dumb stuff sometimes. He wasn't even mad when the zipper for the tire cover was frozen solid and I had to go into the thrift to their bathroom and fill my half frozen bottle of water with warm water to get the zipper to let loose. He wasn't mad when he had to remind me to pull the emergency brake. He wasn't mad when he found out what I knew-- I blew the sidewall of the tire and trashed it.

Such an understanding husband. Especially when he knew that I was kicking myself time and time again for it. I saw cars going so fast behind me. That corner of the lot is a little dark. I spazzed and turned too early. Call that last year's rear end incident with the old RAV still too fresh. Hubs' response to that? "'We've got insurance. Don't worry if they are going to hit you. You are in a good car. We'd get you another new one."

My thrift trip wasn't so cheap. Oh, in the store was $4.10. Out of the store will probably be $100.00 +. Let's hope that I didn't trash the pressure sensor in the rim like my brother thinks that I may have.


A Task Accomplished: A Walk Down Baby/Toddler Clothing Lane

The RAV was loaded down with baby clothing to pass out at church. I found bodies that would fit in these clothes and the parents were taking it home with them if I had to load it in their cars myself.

I have to add, this isn't all of it. Oh, nosiree. My friend, S- came over the other day and freed me of a laundry basket full, 2 overflowing boxes and a bag full. I've sent a few loads to my sisters house, including the box and two bags from the other day. I've been consistently passing clothes down to K-'s friend, A- for over a year now.

This whole hand-me-down thing never ends.

But, I can cross this off the list of things that I needed to get done this year. Hubs is happy that the giveaway pile in the basement has lost its top. It's not Mt. St. Goodwill anymore.

It makes me happy. It also makes me sad. I did pull a few things from the boxes that I wanted to save. K-'s insanely dark pink Stride Rite walkers that I bought on eBay for $5.00. The kid was bald and I was tired of her being accused of being a boy, even if she was dressed head-to-toe in pink. A woman from our last church made a sweater and a hat that I kept. I also kept that outfit that we brought K- home in, even though it was 3-6 months. She was only a wee-widgen and that outfit swallowed her alive. Little did we know that preemie was really her size, but my cousin hooked us up with clothes that actually fit her as a Christmas gift. There was a beautiful little dress that she wore to the festival of 1000 weddings that summer. I had returned an outfit that was opposite season for it. Such a beautiful little dress. Couldn't part with it.

So, now my home is free of baby things. I still have my baby, though. She's watching "Little Fairy on the House" (AKA Little House on the Prairie) right now. I don't care how old she is. She'll always be my baby.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chili Anyone?

Today was our supposed to be annual Church Chili Social. It was a yearly event before our new Pastor came in. We had luncheons a couple of times a year and he came from a very large church that didn't do such things. We missed them. When our chili shin-dig was nixed, there was a slight uproar. I even wrote to the Pastor and told him that I was tossing my quarters worth in and perhaps it would land in my empty chili bowl.

I may not have told you, but I love chili. In fact, Hubs asked me earlier in the week what I would be doing on Sunday at about 2 PM. I told him that K- and I would be helping at the church chili lunch.

"But, what if no one shows up for my puppet show to help?"
"Honey, I have helped you on so many park programs. I have obligated myself to this. Besides, you know my love for chili."
"So you are choosing chili over me?"

Given the change in chili luncheon structure, I decided not to make my customary humungo stock pot o' chili. I knew that our attendance wouldn't be as it normally is. You see, our Pastor changed it to an afternoon event, not an after church event. Because of that, we had about 1/3 in attendance of what we normally do.

Since Hubs was working today, K- was with me and I got her all jazzed about helping me hand out chili. There are about 6 types of chili that are manned by women with ladles. I was armed and K- was my bowl hander. I put her cute apron on that Aunt Kristin got her last year for Easter. We both had our hair pulled back and we scooped until we needed not to scoop anymore. Then, we ate.

And ate.

And ate.

I'll tell you, Baptist woman sure do love to bring lots of desserts! I had a huge scoop of this cheesecake-y cherry topped number that was just lovely. Oh, and then I tossed caution and calorie counting to the wind for some delicious apple pie. Yum.

Then, I was on pan scrubbing duty. Do you know what happens when you cook chili in plug-in roasters for hours? It cakes on the side like cement. Blackened cement. I had to chisel it off with a metal spoon.

But, I am so full that I haven't eaten a thing since we got home. You know what? I got to bring home a doggie bag! I'll have chili for lunch tomorrow, too! Hooray!

A Date With My Daughter

Hubs had a work field trip to The Wilds and had to be up and out yesterday morning at the bright and early time of 5 AM. His alarm went off at 4:30 AM, as well as my cell alarm to make certain that he did get up. I talked him into snuggling back to warm up, after going to start the cars when the warmish winter air was all of -2 F. After he got out and on his way, I ended up sleeping until 8 AM. Yikes! I never sleep in that late! K-? She was still sleeping, too! Lack of light in the winter will do that to us. So, I went and got her moving and snuggled her up into bed with me. We hung out, talked and she watched some cartoons on our TV while I checked e-mail.

We ended up putter-putzing around in the morning. My sister called in need of some therapeutic listening. K- played with her Polly's and Legos. We finally got moving in the outdoors way when the temperature hit a balmy 11 F. We were on a mission to go get Star Wars party stuff for Hubs' birthday next Sunday. K- asks her dad every year what kind of party he wants. This year, he told her Star Wars. We flew by the bank, stopped by the party store, went on to Pat Catan's (needed stretcher bars for my Bloggy Giveaway!) and on to Toys R Us. While we were in the area of so many stores, I decided to scope out the clearances.

Then hunger struck. K- suggested a hamburger. I suggested Panera. She liked my suggestion better. We cruised across the street to the local Panera. We braved the blustery winter winds to make it across the parking lot. Apparently, Panera was the place to be. The place was packed! K- wanted her usual-- "A cheese bagel, please." "Sliced or toasted?" "No, straight up!" I decided to get the You Pick Two. I knew that I would get a sandwich (Chicken Caesar) and some soup (Baked Potato.) Then K- and I hunkered down in a booth and got to business. We put my soup between us and went to town. We're dipping fools, I tell you. We shared that bowl of soup and I couldn't have been happier. She kept hugging me telling me "how kind of you to share your soup with me." I only hope that she knows how thrilled I am to have her to share it with!

Hubs wanted a Game Cube for his birthday. He told me to buy one used at The Exchange (they sell used CD's, games, game consoles . . .), but it wasn't the price he said and the games weren't what he told me. I bailed and bought him a gift card instead.

We went to Target, cruised the clearance aisles (which basically aren't that great yet) and found a few good things to put up for kids for next Christmas. We then went on to Best Buy to buy Windows Live Care One. Ours is due to expire on Friday and we needed to re-up. (I love it, by the way.) I hate that store. It is like sending a man to the Clinique counter. Seriously, I walked in circles with K- hanging onto my pocket (so I knew where she was at) hunting. I finally gave up, asked a gentleman who was helping someone if he could tell me where it was at. He handed it to me and of course, it wasn't on sale like my neighbor told me it would be. I expected about $25.00. It was $49.99. In the end, Hubs ended up finding it at Walmart for $29.99. Still, it is not my area of expertise. I knew it. I should have just handed the money to Hubs or the neighbor and asked one of them to make it happen, please.

So my daughter-darling is having some good quality daddy time right now. They are enjoying Star Wars, The Clone Wars movie right now. Never mind that she watched it with her friends just this past Thursday. Nah, to watch it with daddy is a whole different thing. They snuggle up on the couch and talk all Chewy with each other. Hubs is glad to have someone to talk Chewy with. It's like my bowl of soup. Something awesome to share with our fun little girl.