Monday, November 28, 2005

You title it

Well, we're on the home stretch to finish out the year. December brings not only Christmas, but 2 of our kids' birthdays (my oldest 2 share the same birthday, 4 years apart). I'm finding myself sorely lacking Christmas spirit right now... at this point, Christmas presents equal more stuff to trip over/get lost/get broken in this house. I'm sure this will pass and all will be merry and bright soon. Cue Bing Crosby CD.....

The lock on the front door works better than ever now, but we're still without a dishwasher (at least a mechanical one). I'm waiting to hear from the landlords about when someone will be coming to fix it. Hopefully it will be soon.

This concludes one of my most boring posts to date.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Brokedown palace

If a man's home is his castle, then that's the new name of this place. Slowly and surely, things around here are going on the fritz. OK, it's only 2 things, but it sure feels like more. It began Thanksgiving morning, when I was going to run the dishwasher before we ate. It was a no go. The dad-blamed thing is deader than a doornail. It ran fine the day before, so I don't know what is up with it. Brian did the dishes by hand (both before and after dinner) and we've used paper plates as much as possible ever since.

Then, the doorbell rang. When he went to answer it, he couldn't get the deadbolt unlocked. It is totally stuck. We can't even unlock it from the outside, with the key. This lock has always been a little stiff, but this is ridiculous.

The landlord is supposed to come by today to check this stuff out. I just hope nothing else goes.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

My wish for you

Edited to add:

Now wouldn't this be a handy dandy device?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


I got to thinking a little more about Thanksgiving traditions. When I was a kid, our family wasn't into the whole football scene, so there were no scenes where the menfolk gathered around the TV while the womenfolk did the dishes. No, if you peeked inside of our house, you were more likely to find us all gathered around the table playing games: Pictionary, Taboo, Trivial Pursuit, Scattergories, Scrabble, High Nine (now that's a card game I never learned to play), rummy, dominoes... the list goes on. The only time I remember the TV being on was to watch the parade first thing in the morning and then maybe later, when one of the networks used to show those animated children's classics like Treasure Island or A Christmas Carol. (Why did they stop showing those? I sure wish my kids could watch them now.)

Nowadays, when it's just my immediate family here, we are likely to either play board or video games together or take in a movie.

What are your traditions?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Thanksgiving memories

Seeing as that we're stuck out here on the left coast this Thanksgiving, I've been thinking of holidays past. Most of my Thanksgiving memories are of my mom's house, the house I grew up in. Even after I got married, we tended to spend Thanksgiving there, until the Air Force took us too far away to make it back. There was always more food than we needed and always lots of leftovers (except for the pies... those went pretty fast). I've never been a pumpkin pie eater, but I do make coconut pies with lots of meringue on top. Those were one of mom's specialties. That and her homemade rolls. I've never been able to duplicate her rolls, but then again, neither has she. You see, she doesn't have a recipe. She just puts "some" flour, "some" milk, "some" shortening... you get the picture. But I do have a couple of other recipes that come kinda close, so I make those for dinner as well. Of course, I have to make the traditional green bean casserole, too. And of course there was turkey. My brother Greg and I used to squabble over the skin. (Good-natured squabbling, to be sure.) But my turkey.... well, the recipe for that is one I didn't get a hold of until Brian and I had been married 5 years. It was a recipe from the food section of one of the Cincinnati newspapers, and we first tasted it at the home of a cousin when we were living in the Dayton, OH, area. That very next Thanksgiving found us too far away from Mom's to get back, so I called this cousin and asked for her recipe. So on Thanksgiving of 1992, I made this turkey for the first time. I think I've made it every year since, even if we did get back to be with family.

Old-Fashioned Roast Turkey

1 12-lb turkey
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil


2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 c. currant jelly
2 Tbsp. bourbon

Take the giblets and neck out of the turkey.
Rinse turkey with lukewarm water, then pat dry.
Salt and pepper the cavities.
Brush outside with oil.
Place on a rack in a shallow baking pan.
Roast in a preheated 325-degree oven for 2 1/2 hours.

Make glaze by melting together butter and jelly either in microwave or small, heavy pan.
Stir in the bourbon. Brush turkey with glaze.
Cook for about 20 minutes longer or until a thermometer placed in the
center of the thigh muscle registers 185 degrees.

Remove from oven; cover with a foil tent and allow to sit at room
temp for 20 min or so before carving.

I've also been thinking a lot of last Thanksgiving. It was our last one in Omaha, and we were so lucky to have friends there who came to share it with us. Grace and Pat, their kids Megan and Ryan... Troy and Rhonda, their children Shayna, Dillon, and Kailey... That was such a fun day. Our house was full of laughter, music, kids' voices. I sure hope we get to do it again one day.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

It's Saturday, so it has to be football/Harry Potter #4

But not after today. Today was Noah's last game of the season. It was a well-played game that ended in a 12-12 tie. Afterwards, the team met at Mountain Mike's for pizza. Coach Walt had certificates, whistles, and Oakland Raiders mini-pennants for each player, along with lots of positive comments and praise. I am sure that if he is coaching again next season, we'll try to get on his team.

Brian flies out to St. Louis tomorrow morning to be with his family for his dad's surgery Monday. He'll get back late Wednesday night. I'm hoping he is able to accomplish what needs doing on this trip. If he can, it should help get his stress levels down to something in the more normal range.


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was a very different film from the first 3, but still quite excellent. Very little to disappoint, except for the absence of Dobby and Winky. It's understandable why they had to be cut, but I was looking forward to seeing Dobby again. He's more lovable than Yoda. Ralph Fiennes was a superb Voldemort. A bit freaky looking, but then the dude had been only partially alive for the last 14 years.

There was just enough comic relief to keep the movie from being overly dark. I've heard from several parents who were concerned this movie was going to be too graphic for their kids, based on their reading of the book. I think those fears can be laid to rest. This movie was more akin to the scary movies of old, which managed to send shivers down your spine without resorting to showing severed limbs and slashing knives.

I was left hungering for the 5th movie. How long will it be until it's ready??

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I solemly swear that I am up to no good

Well, I guess that's not true. Did a lot of work around the house this evening with Brian, moving and reorganizing bookcases. Things look much better.

The kids and I have tickets for the first showing of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in Napa tomorrow. I would have loved to have gone to the midnight show tonight, but there is no way the younger two would last for it, and they are looking forward to the movie as much as any of us. So, 10:15 tomorrow morning it is. I have my print-at-home ticket from the Fandango website, so hopefully if we get there early enough, we won't have to be stuck at the back of a line to get in. Review to come.... and I will do my best not to spoil anything for those who must wait for it.

Mischief managed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Funny (and not-so-funny) stuff

We've got "stuff" going on around here right now. I'll direct you to my hubby's blog post of last night for the 411.

With that out of the way, time for something a little more light-hearted. While Emily and I were on our little trip this past weekend, I found something that gave me a chuckle... in an airport bathroom, of all places. Upon entering the stall and assuming the position, I looked ahead at the door and noticed there was a logo stamped on the faceplate of the latching mechanism: "Hiny Hiders." Someone had a lot of fun coming up with that, I'm sure!

One of Emily's favorite quotes from our weekend... A friend of hers took a bite out of a pepperoncini and proceeded to say, "Holy Crap! This jalapeno's hotter than Andrew Rush!" (Ah, teenagers...)

I'll leave you with the latest funny to grace my inbox:

White Lie Church Cake

Have you ever told a white lie? You are going to love this -- especially for all of the ladies who bake for church events.

Alice Grayson was to bake a cake for the Baptist Church ladies' group bake sale in Tuscaloosa, but she forgot to do it until the last minute. She remembered it the morning of the bake sale and after rummaging through cabinets she found a dusty old Angel food cake mix in the back of her kitchen cabinet and quickly made it while drying her hair and dressing and helping her son Bryan pack up for Scout camp. But when Alice took the cake from the oven the center had dropped flat and the cake was horribly disfigured.

She said, "Oh dear, there's no time to bake another cake." This cake was so important to Alice because she did so want to fit in at her new church, and in her new community of new friends. So, being inventive and not wanting anyone to think she was not the perfect woman able to handle all things at all times or that, God forbid, she wasn't participating in her church's bazaar, she looked around the house for something to build up the center of the cake.

Alice found it in the bathroom -- a roll of toilet paper. She plunked it in and then covered it with icing. Not only did the finished product look beautiful, it looked perfect! Before she left the house to drop the cake by the church and head for work, Alice woke her daughter Amanda and gave her some money and specific instructions to be at the bake sale the minute it opened at 9:30, and to buy that cake and bring it home.

When the daughter arrived at the sale, she found that the attractive perfect cake had already been sold. Amanda grabbed her cell phone and called her Mom.

Alice was horrified...she was beside herself. Everyone would know ...what would they think? Oh, she wailed! She would be ostracized, talked about, ridiculed. She would have to move or kill herself! All night Alice lay awake in bed thinking about people pointing their fingers at her and talking about her behind her back.

The next day, Alice promised herself that she would try not to think about the cake and she attended a fancy luncheon/bridal shower at the home of a friend of a friend and try to have a good time. Alice did not really want to attend because the hostess was a snob who more than once had looked down her nose at the fact that Alice was a single parent and not from the founding families of Tuscaloosa but having already RSVPed she could not think of a believable excuse to stay home. The meal was elegant, the company was definitely upper crust old South.... and to Alice's horror the CAKE in question was presented for dessert. Alice felt the blood drain from her body when she saw the cake, she started to get out of her chair to rush into the kitchen to tell her hostess all about it, but before she could get to her feet, the Mayor's wife said, "What a beautiful cake!"

Alice who was still stunned and trying to formulate what words she would use to explain the situation, sat back in her chair when she heard the hostess (who was a prominent church member) say, "Thank you, I baked it myself."

Alice smiled and thought to herself "There is a God". AMEN!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The travelers return

Emily and I made it home late last night. The trip was wonderful/awful. It was so great to be home, and so heartwrenching to leave everyone behind again. Just as I predicted, Sunday morning was jampacked, with over 400 people. The singing was beyond description. More than once, I was too choked up to sing and just soaked it all in, picking out the voices of those dear to me: Jim, Troy, Grace (the list of dear ones is much longer, but these were the ones sitting close enough for me to hear them). I just know heaven is going to be filled with lots of singing.

I am so glad Emily got to go. She was beyond happy to be with her best friends again, and to see other old friends from camp. She is already making plans to go back next summer for church camp. I really hope we can make it happen.

I was able to spend time with a few people as well. On Friday night, my best friend planned a pizza/game night with 2 other couples. Then on Saturday, she and I went up to the church and sat in on one of the worship sessions with the youth before heading out to lunch at one of my favorite Omaha restaurants (one that doesn't exist out here in California). Then we took in a movie (now that is a subject for another post.... boy, was it not what we expected!). The rest of the evening, I spent visiting with more people at the youth rally and then went out to dinner with Grace at Charleston's (my first time there).

After morning services Sunday, Kayla and I had lunch with more old friends... Troy and Rhonda, their kids (Dillon, Kailey, Shayna... Shayna's boyfriend, Cole), Ronda and her girls, Kailah (there Emily.. I fixed the spelling) and Courtney (Kailah is Emily's friend). Then we spent a leisurely afternoon just hanging out around the house until evening worship. It had been such a whirlwind weekend, and my emotions were just right on the surface. Seeing Emily and her best friend Ali together got me choked up before we even started. (I told her later that since she never cries, I just do it for her.) Emily and I had one last fling with Jim and his wife Martha afterwards, heading to Olive Garden, where we practically closed down the place. OG was Emily's one request for eating out in Omaha, because for some reason, the OG's in Califoreignia don't put much garlic on the breadsticks at all (and isn't the garlic the reason we eat them??)

Of course, Monday was the day we had to leave. Kayla had a MOPS meeting at church, so we went along to that (saw more old friends to say hi/bye to) before leaving a bit early to head to the airport. We had an uneventful trip home (apart from the gate change in Atlanta... after we had arrived at Concourse D and had been waiting a few minutes, the flight was changed to a gate all the way back at Concourse A). Watched The Island on the plane. Brian and the kids picked us up outside the San Jose airport... Noah was the only one still awake at that time (10:00 pm); they'd all been awake since 6:45 am and were pretty tuckered out. By the time we got home a little over an hour later, Noah had joined the other 2 in slumber.

So now it's back to real life. I have a list of things for the kids and I to accomplish today that takes up 2 sides of a sheet of copier paper, so I'd better get off of here and get to it.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Well my bags are packed; I'm ready to go

Ok, not totally ready, but nearly. Just a few things to toss into the suitcase and my purse, and I'll be set. Just finished getting the IPod all set up (thanks to Donna for reminding me how to fix my problem). It is fully charged and should be able to get me through the night/flight to Atlanta. (Anyone else have Whatever gets you through the night running through your head now?)

I doubt I'll be posting over the weekend... Of course, since I'm leaving the land of nearly no free wifi and going to a place where free wifi spots abound, there is always a slight chance I could use my Pocket PC to send an update. But I may just be too busy.

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A girls' night (mostly)

The 2 big boys (Brian and Noah) are headed over to Sacramento in a bit to see the Kings play the Pistons. Brian scored some last-minute tickets yesterday. I hope they have a great time. Maybe I'll get to go to a game one of these days.

Anyhow, that leaves just me, the girls, and Joel here for the evening. We're going to call out for Pizza Hut and then watch some movies. While I was up at the base earlier today to get groceries, I ran into the BX and picked up Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Christmas with the Kranks. We're all set for an evening of laughter.

And speaking of laughter and good times.... in just under 3 days, I'll be hanging out with my old crowd in Omaha. I'm just a little excited. The girls are planning lunch on Friday; I don't know what the rest of the weekend will hold, other than a very crowded Sunday service.... there will be teens from all over Nebraska and neighboring states there for the annual youth rally, Akastasia (rumor has it one girl is even flying in from California!).

The boys have left; time to get the party started!!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Space and time

I've been keeping a bit busy these last 2 days. Sundays are always pretty full, especially since we have to leave almost an hour before time to get to church. Yesterday was no exception. We had a great song worship, despite me feeling like I had a bunch of feathers in my throat. Did a couple of songs that I'd never done before moving here, but which are becoming favorites, That's Why We Praise Him and We Are the Body of Christ (the latter arranged by one of my favorite bloggers, Clarissa Cox). We had lunch afterwards with another family from church.... good food and good conversation (although I did my best, quite unintentionally, of screwing that up... thankfully our dining companion is/was most gracious and forgiving!).

Once we got home from lunch, we had almost 3 hours before time to head back for Reunion (our 1st Sunday of the month evening service). Brian and I made a run to Office Depot to get supplies for invitations and programs for his senior anesthesia residents' upcoming graduation. Yours truly is designing these. I worked on the invitations before leaving for evening worship and managed to get the design done.

Reunion was nice... a short song service (another new song for me... Refiner's Fire; I'd heard it before, but had never sung it). The worship stations focused on the first half of the Beatitudes: "poor in Spirit," "those who mourn," "those who hunger and thirst for righteousness," "meek." One station I found meaningful was the one pertaining to being poor in spirit.... realizing our total need for God. A table with slips of paper and washable markers was prepared, along with a clear vase of water. Those who participated were to think and pray about something(s) in their lives in which they realized their helplessness apart from God, then write that thing on the paper and place it into the vase. The water begins to wash the ink off of the paper... just as God begins to change us when we ask. What a cool illustration!


Today I spent time getting the graduation invitations printed on cardstock, and also setting up my IPod for my upcoming trip. I was burning some CDs into ITunes when my computer proceeded to let me know I'm running out of disk space. A lot of tweaking and deleting later, I still only have about 153 MB of space on my 13.9GB drive. But here's what I don't get. This computer has a partition, so I have another section of hard drive with 129 GB free. I was going to move my ITunes there, but when I started to do that, I received a warning that it might not work if I do that. Aack. So I have this freakishly huge hard drive that I am doing nothing with. (This particular computer is really designed for video editing... something I don't do.) I guess I need my big sis here to fix it up for me, since she is the computer whiz. But it's truly sad. What good is a 60GB IPod if ITunes is on a drive not even 1/3 that size? I've only got a little over 1.5GB on my IPod now. :o(

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Film and football, continued

Elizabethtown was fun. Emily laughed her head off and said she wanted to get it when it is released on DVD. I do think it's a movie I could watch more than once, if only to see the Freebird scene again. I was a little disappointed at the ending; it was too abrupt for me. I tend to like all the loose ends tied up, and that didn't happen here.

Football was great today. Our team won, 20-13. Noah really hustled out there; I can see a lot of growth in his performance since he started. Next game is Monday night.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Friday films and Saturday sports

It's a movie bonanza for me today. Today was opening day for Chicken Little, and my 3 youngest were clamoring to go. The spouse unit really wasn't interested in seeing it, so off the 4 of us went to a late afternoon show. It was a cute movie. Once again, Disney made a flick with a dearly-departed maternal figure. What is up with that?? I found myself identifying with Runt of the Litter (enough with the fat jokes, family members), mostly because he and I share a strange tendency to quote song lyrics at the drop of a hat. I enjoyed it, but I'm not sure if it's one we'll wind up adding to our DVD library or not.

Emily didn't want to see Chicken Little, so she and I are taking in the only showing of Elizabethtown later tonight. We'll have to head out in about an hour or so. I'm sure I'll be quite ready for bed when we get home, considering the fact that it will be around midnight by that time!


Tomorrow brings another flag football game for Noah. Acck... I just remembered it's our turn to bring snacks for the team! Guess I'll be making a run to CostCo before the game. But back to football.... one of our neighbors used to coach college football (I believe at Oklahoma State), and he often does a little one-on-one with Noah out in the cul-de-sac, giving him pointers on passing and kicking. I appreciate his thoughtfulness, and I know Noah really enjoys playing with him. I'll have to be sure to send over a plate of cookies for him this holiday season.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Growing up is hard to do

What a lot of insightful comments regarding maturity! Maybe it wasn't fair that I didn't define maturity, but I feel like most of you were thinking along the same lines I was... being able to accept responsibility for one's actions and life, learning that life is more than just doing homework and playing games. Thumper stated it well when she said that today's kids may have a broader knowledge base, but that doesn't translate into maturity. Donna mentioned sheltering our kids, which I think goes along with Caltechgirl's and James' comments on parents protecting kids from consequences. In general, I believe that a lot of parents have reduced the responsibilities of their growing children to the bare minimum.... schoolwork. Household and family responsibilities get absorbed either by the weekly maid or the mom. Or if there are household responsibilities, we are either wishy-washy about enforcing these, or we keep our standards low... never really teaching our kids about the value of work well done. Jettybetty has a point when she says that today's kids are postponing some of the milestones of maturity (moving out, marriage). I would agree with her that that's not a bad thing. I suppose what I was trying to get at is that I think in generations past, we began instilling the idea of responsibility, giving opportunities to practice responsibility, training and rewarding responsibility... all these things... we did this much earlier in our children's lives than we do now. You may laugh, but think back to the days of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Ma and Pa could leave Mary and Laura at home with baby Carrie while they went into town, and come home to a tidy cabin and perhaps even some dinner cooked. Today, few of us will let our kids turn on an electric oven, much less light a fire in a fireplace! Somewhere along the line, we've underestimated what our kids can handle. We've stopped expecting them to accept and learn responsibility and taken on a lot of things they could be doing/experiencing on ourselves. I think Shane really put it well when he said that maturity has become an option, and that societal roles are vague for kids. We've blurred the lines between childhood/adolescence/adulthood.

So... them there's my thoughts. Not terribly eloquent, but my thoughts nonetheless.

Just some links

No time to write anything tonight, but I thought I'd leave you with some funny things to see/hear:

Asian Backstreet Boys: I got a chuckle out of watching these guys lip sync their way through some BSB tunes. How did we ever enjoy music before we got to see it??

Is that really a Sir Mix-a-lot song?? Listen carefully to the words.

I'll be back tomorrow with my thoughts on the today's kids/maturity topic. Thanks for all the insightful comments!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Another day come and gone

This was the first Halloween we've had in which the trick-or-treaters kept coming after the appointed hours for treat-seeking were over. Tonight's hours were supposed to be 6-8, but our doorbell kept ringing on up to 8:30. We finally decided to turn off the light to get some peace and quiet, especially as the 2 youngest would be going to bed in 30 minutes. I saw a lot of older (over 13) kids... more than I ever have before. I don't know if it's a California thing or what. Very few of these kids had what I would call "real" costumes, but there was 1 kid who looked to be around 13 or so who had an awesome costume. I didn't begrudge him the handful of candy I gave him. He was dressed as a kissing booth! It was the most original costume I saw all night.

Brian took the 3 younger kids around the neighborhood. They were accompanied off and on by the 11-yo across the street. His parents allowed him to trick-or-treat unsupervised. Brian said he was double-dipping.... pulling off his mask and jacket and then returning to a previously-visited house. He also stopped him from running through someone's roped-off driveway (where they had apparently made some recent repairs). Brian said he felt like this kid needed more supervision than Noah. Brian did brag on our kids... he said they were all very well-behaved and never forgot to say "Thank you."


The piano repairman comes Wednesday morning. Can I get a hallelujah??

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