Monday, December 01, 2008

Weather and Gas Prices

When my cousins and I visited over Thanksgiving, we joked about the questions that some folks ask when greeting someone else on the street or when seeing family for the first time in a long time. They pointed out that Uncle Wayne (their father) asks two standard questions each and every time he speaks to each child on the phone. So in tribute to him, I thought I'd ask and answer these very important questions and include some not-so-interesting tidbits from the day.

1) How is the weather? It's pretty cloudy and cold here... around 30 degrees. But, the weatherman on the radio says the windchill makes it feel like it is 17 degrees. It snowed about 1 inch Saturday night/Sunday morning...and we received another dusting last night.

2) What's the price of gas in your area? It is now $1.55. Very good compared to a few months ago. However, last Wednesday, as I drove to my house to prepare for heading to Mom and Dad's home for Thanksgiving, I saw that gas was down to $1.37. I couldn't believe it!

Both of these discussion topics are very important when considering that it took me almost 2 hours to get to work today. There were accidents all over St. Louis. It keeps raining and then the temperature drops. So, I guess there is a sheet of ice under the snow, and several of the interstates were at a standstill. Well, with traffic going nowhere fast, I saw my gas gauge move lower and lower. I also saw 19 police cars, 3 firetrucks and 1 rescue squad truck during my morning commute. I was extremely thankful to have heat in my car for the first time in several months - thanks to the assistance of Brother Jeff. After church, he helped me learn all about replacing a motor blower, unhooking the battery of a car, hardwiring the blower, and other useful tidbits that I hope I never have to recall again. It is wonderful to be able to drive and feel my fingertips and toes at the same time! :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tag! You're It!

I was tagged, and I'm at a LATE lunch (aka supper) with my laptop. So, I'll complete this while waiting for my food.

1. Where is your cell phone? On the table next to me
2. Your significant other? N/A
3. Your hair? brown
4. Your mother? is working in the healthcare unit of a prison right now
5. Your father? is teaching a piano lesson right now
6. Your favorite thing? a note in the mail
7. Your dream last night? Very complicated... it involved a house inspector and people moving into my house while I still live there
8. Your favorite drink? Lemon shake-ups
9. Your dream/goal? "in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content"
10. The room you're in? A dining room
11. Your hobby? Anything crafty or adventurous
12. Your fear? Being alone
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? At my home much more often than now
14. what you are not? Breathing easily. My asthma is bad today
15. muffins? Not a big fan of them
16. one of your wish list items? New windows and more insulation for my house...and a handyman to install them
17. Where you grew up? Canton IL
18. The last thing you did? ordered my food
19. What are you wearing? black skirt and a tan sweater
20. Favorite gadget? my digital camera
21. Your pets? Simon & Penny
22. your computer? Black laptop
23.Your mood? Nostalgic
24. Missing someone? My grandma, grandpa and grandad... especially at this time of year
25. your car? Buick Regal
26. something you are not wearing? eye shadow
27. Favorite store? Any book or music store
28. Like someone? Yes. Hmmm....
29. Your favorite color? purple
30. When is the last time you laughed? Just a minute ago
31. Last time you cried? This morning

I tag Danielle, Lydia and Sister Karen.

Safe Within the Potter's Hands

Well, this week is turning out differently than I had imagined as I try to cram in about two weeks of work into 2.5 days. So, I have not been able to post the articles I had hoped to post. But, I was once again reminded of this poet that I like, and this poem was sent to me. Just thought I'd share it with all of you. I will see how tomorrow turns out. However, if it is a rush and I'm not able to write before heading north to visit my family, I would like to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. Hope each of you is able to take time away from the hustle and bustle to remember all of the blessings in your life for which to be thankful.

Safe Within The Potter's Hands

I'm aware of all the changes, taking place upon the wheel;

I know the potter's molding by all the chipping that I FEEL.

But even in the midst of shaping, He is there to bring me through;

His hands are ever sculpting, to change MY point of view.

I am humbled in the process as He molds this piece of clay;

He's drawing out the nuggets and bringing beauty out of pain.

He pulls me from the fire when I put my trust in Him;

He exalts me in due season and lets me breathe again!

Never once am I alone, upon the potters wheel;

I am safe within His hands ~ I'm being shaped to do His Will!

- Terese Holloway

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More Signs of the Times

I haven't been able create some longer articles because of time restrictions. But, thankfully, this week's submission by Piano Man reminded me of some pictures that he sent me earlier this year that I failed to post. So, here they are. Thanks, Dad!

For fans of the song "King of the Road", here's a sign that is posted at a business between Edwardsville and Bunker Hill, IL.
Here's a funny duo also located just north of Edwardsville. I chuckle each time I see them.
I don't know where Dad spotted these, but I think they are located in central Illinois. They are very light, but the extremely subtle apostrophes are there. I don't know what was happening with the bottom sign. My brother thinks maybe the artist was trying to invent a new punctuation mark... something like the upside down semi-colon with a half twist.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Trip To the Moon on Gossamer Wings

Roving reporter for Stremmed Out, Piano Man, has written in to recommend a web site for an NPR radio show, A Way With Words. When he did so, I immediately recognized one of the hosts' name... which led me back to the article that I posted yesterday.

David Cook and I are word nerds, and we're not ashamed to proclaim it. So if you're a word nerd, you too will want to check out the site for A Way With Words. It features many podcasts and minicasts from the show... hours and hours full of word origins and trivia. Dad especially enjoyed this episode about the word gossamer. Take a few moments to read or listen.

I was disappointed to discover that our local St. Louis NPR station does not air A Way With Words, but I am going to get busy and write them an email to ask them to consider doing so!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Adult Romantic Partners

This is a lead-in to tomorrow's post... and a funny article that I found some time ago. This hit on the same question we talk about in my office. When I speak to one of my co-workers, I always ask about her "manfriend" because I feel that boyfriend is just a very weird way of referring to the man with whom she spends most of her time. Manfriend just sounds creepy and awkward and no better than boyfriend... but it also sounds I keep using it. And, it has caught on around the office.

I was wondering if any of you have a term that you use - whether it be funny or serious. I don't need an answer now, mind you... but I just want to make sure I'm prepared in case the occasion arises when I might need a term. (That's a joke!) ;)

Excerpts from a USA TODAY article by Sharon Jayson from 6/22/08

If you're single and dating and aren't 25 anymore, here's a quandary you've no doubt encountered: how to describe the object of your affection.
Does "boyfriend" or "girlfriend" seem silly? "Significant other" too stilted? "Partner" not quite right?

"People feel a real need for a term that refers to one's romantic partner that does not sound childish," says Jesse Sheidlower of Manhattan, editor at large of the Oxford English Dictionary. " 'Partner' sounds too official. 'Companion' sounds too unromantic. 'Lover' is too explicit. 'Boyfriend' and 'girlfriend' seem inappropriate unless you're a teenager..."

The need for just the right descriptor is a signal of the societal changes surrounding social identities, says linguistics professor Arnold Zwicky, a visiting professor at Stanford University.

According to the most recent Census data, 42% of U.S. residents — about 92 million Americans ages 18 and older — are unmarried. More than 30 million live alone, making up 27% of all households; that's up from 17% of all households in 1970.

Lynn Bartholome knows this question firsthand. The associate professor of English and philosophy at Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y., is president of the Popular Culture Association and the American Culture Association, international academic groups that study everyday culture worldwide.

She's also 57 and dating.

"I've talked about this with some of my female friends," Bartholome says. "I don't know what to say. I say 'the guy I'm dating.' I really honestly feel weird calling him my 'boyfriend.' Is a man you date ... a 'beau,' 'a significant other,' a 'partner'? I don't know."

The aging of baby boomers may be one reason society has been seeking a mature version of boyfriend and girlfriend, suggests Dennis Baron, an English and linguistics professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Grant Barrett of Brooklyn, N.Y., a lexicographer and dictionary editor who co-hosts the public radio show A Way With Words, says such questions are asked fairly regularly on the show.

"If you're in your 50s and living with somebody in a romantic relationship, what to call each other? You can say 'boyfriend' and 'girlfriend,' but you're not 13 and it doesn't really fit. You can say 'significant other,' but there's no love in that. One caller suggested 'paramour,' but that's old-fashioned," he says. "There are a ton of different options and none of them seems to work."

Barrett recalls his grandmother facing the same questions. Her romantic relationship lasted into her 80s.

"She did call him 'boyfriend,' knowing full well how ridiculous it sounded."

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Just Realized...

...most of the time when I laugh I sound like a porpoise.

I wish I could insert a sound clip to prove it, but I don't yet know how to do that here on my blog. Besides, most of you have heard my laugh first hand to know this fact all too well.

But, now that I think about this issue, I realize sounding like a porpoise is probably better than sounding like a donkey or a pig. So, maybe it's not so bad.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Recipe for Disaster

I don't subscribe to a newspaper at home. So, I really enjoy receiving one in the morning whenever I stay at a hotel. And, since ABC was not coming in on the local Lincoln cable on Wednesday night when the Country Music Awards were on, I was able to read about the awards on Thursday morning.

I also read this funny article in the USA Today Life Section. This might not mean anything to you, but it made me laugh out loud.

Cooking With Martha Contest

Soon there will be one more cook in Martha Stewart's kitchen. USA TODAY reader Kelly McDade of Springfield PA will cook with the queen of quiche November 20. McDade was one of more that 1,000 readers who submitted essays outlining why they should cook with Stewart. Here's the winning entry:

Recipe For Disaster
1 cup burnt pudding
4 hamburger hockey pucks
2 cakes with Grand Canyon-sized craters
1 rolling pin covered in dough
2 lbs. meatloaf "surprise"
1/2 cup brownies stuck to pan
3 tablespoons congealed cheese sauce

Take one average female and remove all trace of inherited cooking ability, making sure to dispose of the Pennsylvania Dutch delicacies and rich Italian indulgences her grandmothers are famous for. Add a dash of not-a-clue and mix well. Let rise for 32 years then add one fiancé and one house perfect for entertaining, mixing well after each. Once the panic has clearly risen to the surface, skim with a melted spatula and discard. Place mixture in slow cooker and add ineptitude, high standards, and perfectionism. Cook at high temperature until ego is tender. Serve immediately in heaping bowls of frustration. To garnish, take to Martha Stewart for a cooking lesson.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Long Day In Lincoln

I've been awake since 3:30 a.m. this morning, and it is now 9:30 p.m. I just became settled back in at the hotel, and I am tired. That's T - I - R - E - D! And, I will be getting up early again tomorrow to head back to the company site before the 3rd shift employees get off work. It's been quite an interesting trip, and I've learned a lot. But, I am looking forward to going home tomorrow night.

Tonight, I was able to go to a late dinner with one of the staff members from the company I am visiting. And, I was able to see a little more of beautiful downtown Lincoln, NE. Now, I know that most of us, when thinking of vacation spots, don't think to ourselves, "Why don't we head to Lincoln?" But, after seeing some of the area, I think more people should consider that exact question.

It's beautiful at night. Very romantic with brick streets and old-fashioned lights. The buildings are full of rustic brick and decor to resemble times past. There are restaurants of every kind and coffee cafes, boutiques and pubs, offices and historic sites, candy shops and art houses, live music everywhere... Nothing I can say will do it justice. But, if you want to take a little trip to an interesting place and you have a special someone to help you explore, you should visit Lincoln and the Historic Haymarket District. I hope I can return when I have a lot more time.

While the pictures will not do justice for the area, you can read more about this area here and here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In Nebraska

I'm in Nebraska because I am visiting our newest "sister company" to make presentations about benefits, vacation and other HR-related info. I've been talking non-stop for 5 hours for the crew, and my voice is almost gone. (I know. I know. Hearing that would be a blessing to most of you.)

I had hoped to post some pictures from my trip thus far, but I am getting ready to head back to the hotel, have to complete some work to be ready for my presentations tomorrow, and must become rested (in mind and body - specifically throat) to be ready to go at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow morning. I think I have around 10 one-hour presentations to conduct tomorrow. It's going to be a long day, but it has been a pleasure to meet all of the employees at our new company.

Then, I settle in tomorrow afternoon/evening to help the employees with on-line registration, do the same for more employees on Friday, and then fly back home late Friday night. If it is anything like my flight out here, I will sleep the entire way and not even know that the flight attendant has come by to offer me a beverage. I sure was tired before heading here... and I think I'll be even more tired heading back. I'm looking forward to Saturday... a day planned for nothing except rest and more rest. And, maybe I will post some pictures then.

Nothing too exciting going on here in this post. Just wanted to keep up my streak since I am attempting to get back on track with the blog.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


My reason for posting the verses yesterday is that my recent studies have focused on shelter, and a favorite hymn which was often sung in the church which I attended as a child has been in my mind for over a week now.

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life with the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.

Each time I reflect on this topic, my mind travels back to a particular day from this past spring. It was a day away from the office, so I - like many of my neighbors - had an early start to the morning to work on projects out in the yard. I was abruptly jerked out of my daydreaming when I found one of my friendly neighbors standing directly behind me. He held a finger to his mouth to let me know that I should remain quiet before he stretched his arm out to point to the wooded area on the front of the adjacent yard. There, so close and so quiet, were a mother deer and her young baby... right there on our block. We are very close to the nearby wooded college campus and situated at the edge of town, so I see deer extremely often when driving to and from work. But, I had never seen a deer in our neighborhood. And, I had never seen a deer this small and young... and never seen a deer this close. I was in awe of their beauty. The mother watched the neighborhood carefully. The young one investigated the territory on four wobbly legs. Soon, the two scampered away, and I slowly returned to my yard work while thanking God for the gift of seeing them.

After taking a mid-morning break, I went back out to my yard in the afternoon to complete more tasks. However, a sound kept interrupting my daydreaming. First, I thought it was one of my cats mewing through an open window. Then, I thought it was one of the neighbor's cats. But, after checking out the situation, I found neither were true. The sound was persistent, and as the rain started to fall, the call of the mystery animal became louder. The trickles became steady rain, and the steady rain became a downpour. Yet over the sound of the water hitting rooftops and gravel, the cry of the animal became louder still. My curiosity wouldn't allow me to go inside, so I carefully listened for the cries... and they led me to the small wooded area at the back of my property. It was at that time that I found this young, fragile, beautiful creature hidden away in the brush and leaves of the tree line that separates my block's property from the properties on the next street.

I can't begin to explain the urgency of this tiny fawn's cry. After the rain stopped, it even increased in intensity and volume. Such desperation and such fear seemed to be pouring out in every call to its mother. I used my zoom lens to capture this close picture of the baby, but I was careful not to disturb it or the surrounding area. I tried to go back to my work, but the shrill shrieks would not allow me to keep focus. Faster and faster it cried. Louder and louder it called. I was very concerned about the little one, so I phoned the local animal rescue contacts. It was a holiday, so no one was available at the rescue offices to offer advice. But, after a couple of hours (with the cries continuing to grow), I received a call from a very kind conservationist who was willing to discuss the situation.

After hearing my story about the morning, he assured me that the deer would be fine and was in the best possible location for it to be. He explained that the mother clearly had been looking for a hiding place for her young one so that she could forage for food for the family while confidently knowing the baby would be safe from predators who would harm it. The conservationist assured me, that while the little one seemed terrified, it was in the safest place it could be.... and that the mother was probably closer than I or the little one knew. The little one so desperately did not want to be left in the wooded area. Yet, the mother was making sure that the dangers that come within the brightness of day would not harm her child, and she would come back in the shelter of night to move her little one to an even safer place. It was such a wonderful shelter the mother prepared that, if it were not for the cries, no one would be able to sense the baby deer was present. The conservationist reminded me to not come too close to the tiny deer and to call again if the baby was still there in a couple of days. But, he was confident that the mother would gently guide the baby to another safe location that evening. I went out into the yard to listen and check in about every hour throughout the day. And, then right after dusk, I went out into my yard to find silence. The baby deer was gone, and I realized the conservationist knew exactly what he was talking about.

When thinking on this, I can't help but reflect on how our Heavenly Father provides the same shelter for us. So often, I can call out... wanting something different than I have. So often, I can yell in anger about how things aren't going my way. So often, I can be discouraged by the picture of reality I see. But, even more often, I forget that our all-knowing Father sees a picture much greater than me and my limited scope. He takes care of my basic needs. And, when I get lost in the despair of my perspective, He knows what harm He is keeping at bay. He knows what hurt He is preventing from entering my life. He knows that the places He is preparing for me will keep away pain that is far greater than the pain I can imagine. In the times He seems so far away, I must remember He is the closest... acting as a loving, watchful father. And, in the cleft of the rock, I can be assured that His ways are higher than mine... His thoughts higher than mine. In His hands, I am cradled in His love and protection. In His shelter, I can rest, sweetly rest.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Psalm 61

1 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.

2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.

4 I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.

5 For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.

6 Thou wilt prolong the king's life: and his years as many generations.

7 He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.

8 So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Work, Play, Work

Well, one month ago, the work weekend was a success. I can't say enough about the very kind folks - both family and church family - that helped me work on the various in-progress projects at my house. I am very very very thankful. So many of the planned tasks were accomplished, and the peaceful feeling at the end of the weekend was indescribable. I added 9 more garbage bags to this pile before the trash pick-up occurred that week. I've taken two car loads to the Goodwill store. I have sent off 10 packages to friends filled with various items that should have been returned or delivered long ago. By the end of the long weekend, it felt like every muscle in my body ached. But, the house and the load on my shoulders seems lighter. Much, much lighter.

The following weekend, we had the August church social at my place when the Green family visited. We played games in the back yard... including Baggo with the targets my brother made for me!

The kids went on a treasure hunt, and a good amount of time was spent trying to get this dart (one of the treasure hunt surprises) out of the tree. The men tried and tried to set it free from the tree limbs by using everything in sight. We had bean bags and apples flying everywhere. I think another dart and a ball got stuck up in the trees at one point. Quite the challenge.

We talked. We ate. We laughed. We swatted at bugs. We laughed some more. It was a great evening, and I was thankful my parents could drive back down to join in on the fun. Two weekends in a row! And, they brought my Uncle Roger with them! The next morning, Elder Green was blessed to preach a wonderful sermon on prayer which was a great follow-up the sermons Elder Chris had been preaching in the previous weeks. And, we were very sad to see our friends leave. Hopefully, it will be a much shorter wait for their next visit!

Mom, Dad, and Uncle Roger stayed through the Monday holiday, and we were able to go to the Sacred Harp singing that was held at our church building. I've had to miss the shape note singing for many months because of the load at work, so I was so thankful to see our friends from the St. Louis Shape Note Singers and to hear the wonderful music. I have also joined a gospel choir which performs in benefits for a local charity, and I haven't been able to attend their practices in the recent weeks either. I am praying that everything will calm down a bit in the upcoming months so that I may return to singing and attending Wednesday church services each week.

Life hasn't slowed down as much as I had hoped after the big clean-up day at home, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed when working. But, I've been reminded that work is a blessing... both in carrying out my abilities... but also in being able to go to work each day to support myself. Four friends have called in the last week to report that they have lost their job, and the financial futures of their families look dim. Some of my co-workers have been talking about the stock market all day. And, of course, the government is deep in discussion about a bail-out package. We must be praying for our country more than ever. I pray work is steady and stable for all of my blog friends!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Einstein The Parrot

Today, I received an email from a past co-worker. Our exchange reminded me that he has owned a few parrots while I have known him. They do EVERYTHING with him around the house. That, in turn, reminded me of this video. I know I've seen this many times before, but I could watch it over and over again. I'm amazed at all of the sound and word cues that Einstein knows.

I'll be leaving the office this afternoon to begin my long weekend of projects, and I'm rolling up my sleeves just thinking about it. I'll try to remember to take some pictures of the before and after conditions... even though I'm terribly embarrassed to show the before shots. We'll see if I'm brave enough to post any here. I'm so thankful for the offers of help I have received for this weekend of projects, and I will be attempting to return the favor at their homes in the near future. Hope each of you has a wonderful weekend, and I'll try to post again next Wednesday.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Northern Indiana Trip

My mom and dad are on a charter bus trip to Northern Indiana. While there, they are seeing the work of many of the local craftsman and artisans... including many Amish families.

After speaking to Dad last night, it was clear they were having an absolutely wonderful trip... one which I would very much enjoy. If they are ever having another tour, I would like to join in on the fun. Just thought you'd like to see a FEW of the neat places that Mom and Dad have seen or will see this week. Of course, some of the best parts are meeting the local residents in their homes, and there aren't web sites for those experiences.

Fair Oaks Farms: The tour consists of a 3D/4D movie, the interactive area, Stewarts of the Land exhibit hall, Mrs. Cowhoun's Cowculus Class, Diva Hallway, the cheese & ice cream production plant, the birthing center and a 45-minute bus tour into one of the largest working dairies in the United States.

Sarah's Oaks Restaurant: Enjoy dinner in the barn, housed in the lovingly maintained homestead of Benjamin Hollingsworth and Sarah Sleeper. Sarah's Oaks diplays its Quaker roots in its restored buildings, the decor, and the food it serves.

Emma's Exotic Eggs: Be spiritually uplifted by Emma's presentation of her collection of decorative eggs. Each egg has been painted, cut, or otherwise decorated to make everything from necklaces to ornaments to photo albums. Emma has crafted over 9,000 decorated eggs ranging in price from $10 to $350, all with either historical or spiritual relevance. Mom and Dad especially enjoyed this very special woman who invited the group into her home.

Clay Critters: Clay Critters was created in 1978 when Rebecca Bollinger turned a hobby into a business. She worked out of her home at first making each "critter" by hand from baking soda and salt clay. Later she began using polymer-clay and added craft workers. She currently employs 18 workers and uses molds and a polymer-clay liquid to create the critters sold.

Yoder's Department Store: An old fashioned shopping experience with a variety of contemporary goods. 12,000 bolts of fabric, 2,800 pairs of jeans, overalls in all sizes, and 10,000 pairs of footwear. Hardware, tools, housewares, home accessories, groceries, and hard to find items.

Menno-Hof: Menno-Hof is a non-profit information center that teaches visitors about the faith and life of Amish and Mennonites and invites groups and individuals to learn about and experience Anabaptist history and lifestyle. Menno-Hof’s multi-image presentations, historical environments, and colorful displays take you on a fascinating journey inside the unique world of the Mennonites and Amish.

Monday, August 18, 2008

What Is This?

When pulling into my driveway in the middle of last week, I looked into my yard and saw something small hanging in the air. At first I thought that a spider had created a huge web in the yard and caught something. However, after exiting my car and walking closer to the object I saw this: a green worm-type creature on a single thin strand that hung down from my sweet gum ball tree.

The worm was not opaque, so that is the reason none of these pictures are great pictures. The sun kept shining through the worm. It was one of the prettiest light greens I had ever seen.

As I proceeded to take photos, the worm climbed further and further up the tiny strand that was about as thick as a spider web strand. Does anyone know what this is?

While I was traipsing around the yard in my attempt to take pictures from various angles (and still never captured a good one), the usually panicky squirrel sat and ate his nut. For a change, he didn't seem bothered by me one bit.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Friday Thought 8/15/08

We are born believing. A man bears beliefs, as a tree bears apples.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


By the way, in less than two weeks time, the apples have begun turning red, and the apples are beginning to drop from the tree.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bean Bags O' Fun

I don't know if you have ever played Baggo, but there are different versions out on the market. The rules can differ slightly... and the scoring can differ slightly. But, the main concept is the same: Two teams of two people throw bean bags at a wooden target with a hole. After seeing a couple of sets of targets that my brother built, I asked Aaron if he would build me a set. And he did! So, here is one of the two targets I received this past weekend.

Aaron gave me a sample of the bean bags they use so I could create some for my game. But, first, I wanted to make an extra bean bag set for Aaron and Ketra to extend my thanks. Here they are! Music notes vs. Black and white checks. (They - along with the sample bean bags - are in the mail heading to A&K's house right now.)

Ketra's parents also have a game, so I thought I would make a set for them too. I thought the red baseball print vs. the blue baseball print would be a good choice for Mr. and Mrs. S. (These too are heading to their destination via the mail.) Hope they enjoy using them.

Here is the fabric that I used for my bean bags. I wanted something fun, so I picked red bandana cloth and blue bandana cloth. I can't wait to play the game out in my big backyard. If we don't play before, I hope we can play at the church social that will be held at my house at the end of this month.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

State of Fairness

For a few years now, I've wanted to return to the state fair, and for various reasons, it hasn't worked out. But, my family and I went this year...and I was surprised to see that they had invited my hometown best friend, Susan, to join us. It was even more fun to find out that my aunt, uncle, cousins and their children were at the Illinois State Fair on the same day. Here are a few funny pictures from the trip.

HEY, it's HAY...and Susan! She posed by the blue ribbon winner in the Agriculture building.

Aaron and Ketra are standing by the 250 lb. pumpkin which won. We don't know why, but there were fewer pumpkin entries this year. And, in past years, the winners have been about two times the size of this one. But, it was still very impressive.

Piano Man and his brother, my Uncle Dick, sat down for a rest while Mom took the Sleep Number bed for a test drive. This just cracks me up!

We went to see the Hereford competition and were amazed to see this boy - whose cow and cow prod were both much bigger than he was - win the class.

Each year, there is a butter cow (yes, a cow carved out of butter) in the Dairy House. This year, it was even better than usual. There was an actual scene made out of butter... complete with a cow, calf, skunks, a tree, and some birds. All butter. (I don't know how someone becomes a carver of butter.)

Are there any special features - like the butter cow - at your state fair that you look forward to seeing each time you go? As eluded to in one of my previous posts, we always enjoy seeing the mini donuts, lemon shake-ups, spiced nuts, Taco Gringo sanchos, cream puffs, corn dogs... too many "special features" to mention!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Office Supplies for My Office Space

Just thought I would show you one of the things that my brother and sister-in-law gave me for my birthday: this extremely shiny, extremely heavy, extremely useful paperweight. (See all of the papers I'm trying to keep down on my desk?) Ketra told me that there's no deep meaning behind what is printed on the weight, but I've been trying to do well with the little things all day. And, I accomplished quite a bit... and the big things seemed to go well too. So, I think the paperweight has worked out wonderfully so far. It was quite the conversation piece with my co-workers today. And, as was pointed out several times, it will serve well as a self-defense tool. Let me stress this once again: Extremely heavy.

Of course, I couldn't help but show off another feature of my new office space: my red Swingline stapler. I use it to staple the cover sheets to my TPS reports each morning....usually from nine to eleven when I'm listening to my radio which is set at a reasonable volume.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Going Bananas

I went out to run an errand during my "lunch hour". When stopped at a red light, I looked to the right to see a very large man eating something. I did a double take to make sure I saw what I thought I saw: a mini banana.

Have you seen the mini bananas? This is only the second time I have seen one. I hear they are sold at Walmart, and they crack me up. I can just imagine a little mini monkey eating a little mini banana. So, it especially took me by surprise to see a big football-player-type man eating this itty bitty delicious and natural snack.

The first time I saw one was a few months ago... right around the time of Miss Rian Elizabeth's birthday. (See rubber ducky cake on the counter in the background.) Little Abi and I had just enjoyed some play time in the back yard. (See dirt on her face.) And, after welcoming us in for a drink, Jeff asked her if she wanted a banana. Little did I know it was going to be an Abi-sized banana.

Have you seen these in the stores?

These mini bananas lead me to think about delicious mini donuts... which leads me to think of the mini donuts sold at the Illinois State Fair... which leads me to think of Saturday when I spent time with my family in Springfield... which leads me to tell you that I hope to post some pictures from the trip in the next few days.

Friday, August 08, 2008

A Friday Thought 8/8/08

I have attempted to jump right back into my blogging this week. But, some deal was made between my computer and Blogger. I was making posts each day, but none of you could see them. Today, I kept trying to make them post, and they finally did. I hope this interruption won't happen again.

I thought I might start making posts on Fridays which include a special "Thought for the Day." A point to ponder...or a verse in which to sink your teeth...or something that makes you laugh out loud. We'll see how it goes. This one comes from a fiction book I just finished, The Healing Quilt by Lauraine Snelling.

"Trust is forgiveness in walking shoes.
The two always go together."


Thursday, August 07, 2008

How Do You Like Them Apples?

Remember when I spoke about the late frost/freeze in 2007? The one that came after all of my trees and plants had already bloomed? The storm that dumped tons of ice and ceased any production of apples in my apple tree?

Well, the feast is definitely coming after the famine. I had my first clue when I saw the tree bloom this spring. It was amazing to see. Blooms everywhere.

Now, the tree is PACKED with apples, and I wonder what I am going to do with all of them. The branches are actually drooping because of the weight of the apples.

In past years, the ladies at church and I have talked about having an "Apple Day" where we peel, slice, and freeze apples... or make applesauce... or make apple butter. But, since then, there have been two years with no apples on my tree.

This might be our year. My long to-do list now has the tasks of "investigate applebutter recipes" and "research applesauce making" added to it. I am pretty sure this means that a full weekend or two will have to be reserved for this apple situation. If I am not peeling or slicing, then I'll just be picking them up from the ground so the bugs down gather and the ground doesn't rot. I wish I knew when they'd be ripe and ready for picking. Sometime mid-September?

Unrelated to my apples but related because of what is going on in my yard at this time, I just wanted to show that my lilies are up. Brighter than in the past few years.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Colour My World

This spring and summer has been full of some glorious sights. With all of the rain, there have been major trials for the residents of our area. But, with the rain has also come the greenest grass and leaves I've ever seen.

I love my dogwood tree, and I know spring has arrived when I see the gorgeous blooms come out.

When I was driving home from my aunt's funeral a couple of weeks ago, I saw 13 cardinals within one mile, and I am blessed to have a cardinal couple living in my back yard. They love the holly tree. What a rich red the male is!

This bird was poking around my car in the work parking lot last week. This picture doesn't do it justice, but the bird has the brightest coral feet. Just striking.

When we exited Wednesday night church services one night in the middle of July, we couldn't believe our eyes. Vibrant pinks and purples.

God sure has a beautiful color palette.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Weight Watchers for Cats

"Meow Meow mew.... MEOW meow meOOOOOOWWWW meow meow MEOW Meow MEOOOWWWW mew mew meOWWW mew mew meow mew MEow...."

My name is Simon, and I am an overeater.

(Other cats: Hello Simon.)

I go to my food bowl, lie down, and eat as much food as possible as quickly as I am able. I then go to the food bowl of my friend Penny, lie down, and do the same.

My owner, Strem, finally took me to the vet last week. The vet doesn't blame her. Dr. Randla knows that I weighed a whopping 23 pounds when I was given to Strem by my previous owner, Bryan. In fact, in the first year of staying with Strem, I actually lost 1 pound because she made me run up and down the steps to the basement.

But, last fall, when Strem took on a new job, and I was home alone more often, I was able to eat more and sleep more - just the way I like it. I have to admit, when I saw the vet scale reach the 25 pound mark, that I was a little shocked. I mean, I did realize that I just hadn't been looking the same in the mirror, but I had no idea I weighed 25 pounds (even though Strem's mom had the audacity to bring up my growing weight SEVERAL TIMES during her last visit. How rude!)

Well, last week, I fear my time of chowing down and napping all day came to a screeching halt. Dr. Randla suggested that I join - of all things - "The Losers Club" at the vet office. Why I never!!! The nerve of him to suggest it!!! He wants me to weigh 19 pounds by next April. 6 pounds in 8 months. The stress of thinking about it just makes me want to eat! Well, here's my new diet food. (I hate to admit it, but it is actually pretty tasty.)

The vet sent home all sorts of pamphlets for Strem to read. I am sure these brochures are just packed with devious tactics for making me exercise. She's already making me climb up and down the stairs while she works on house projects. I am going to find those brochures and chew them up as quickly as possible. If only she hadn't put them up on a high shelf! Oddly, the Losers Club packet include a book on weight loss for dogs. (I think I received a blessing on that mistake!)

The Losers Club packet also included some low calorie, low fat treats (I gobble them down!) and some cat toys that are supposed to increase my exercise. I enjoy sitting back and watching Penny play with them.

Strem may give you some updates on my progress (or lack thereof) in the coming months. Or, maybe you can come over for a visit to see for yourself. After all of the climbing this week, I think I may have already lost some weight. That nosey veterinarian! Hopefully Strem will leave on a vacation soon, and I can have some time to myself to nap and dream about food.

Monday, August 04, 2008

109 Days Ago

109 days ago, I would've said 'pshaw' to anyone who dared to tell me, 'I imagine it will take you over 3 months to make a post.' I had already taken some blog breaks in February and March during the transition of our company, so I was BACK and ENERGIZED and REFRESHED. 'No need for more breaks.' That's what I kept telling myself. 'I can see the light at the end of the tunnel at work.' That's what I kept repeating. 'I can finally get in the groove of things, be organized at work and at home, and really enjoy this summer. I am not going to let another summer pass me by without enjoying it.' That's how I tried to convince myself.

But, here I sit, 109 days later, with no blog post in all of that time... with piles of folders and papers sitting all around me while wondering when the the light will be seen at the end of the tunnel once again. (Ok, two of those towering piles of papers just slid into one giant pool of papers. This will be a fun afternoon of sorting.) And in a deju vu moment of deja vu, I find myself looking at a calendar page with AUGUST written in bold letters across the top and wondering why I've let another summer pass me by.

There have been many changes at work this year about which I've had no control. And, I'm waiting on word from the doctors to see if they have any new answers about how I can regain my energy. But, most of all, I know I've been affected by the rush rush rush rush rush of how I'm carrying out my life. Some of it is the circumstances. Most of it is still about me.

I've actually started reading books again in the last two weeks, so I know something is different. I like to think it is because life is slowing down a little. When I'm trying to be honest with myself, I think it is more like I'm just fed up with how things have been in the recent months. Mind you, the reading is usually happening during a 20 minute mid-day break that I call my "lunch hour" or when I am trying to fit in 15 minutes of skimming some pages at 1 a.m. before I try to go to sleep. But, I've been able to sink into a couple of books for a few "Calgon, take me away" moments and read about times past. Don't get me wrong. I know cooking over an open campfire doesn't mean life was simple for a woman in those days. Quite the contrary. But, something about having all of one's belongings in a covered wagon seems freeing to me right now. You know, the breeze, the necessities, the time outside, the time with others, the adventure... And, the dread about my un-simple reality is because it's still mostly about all of the "stuff" bogging me down. With my work commute, time and energy are precious. So many projects around the house are half finished. I can't do this or that because I need another person to lift the other end. I feel I have to move 5 things to move 5 more things to get to something I want to find. All of it is draining to think about let alone do something about it.

I've written about this before. Living simply. And, last year, with the help of some friends, I made big progress in my quest at my home. It was a HUGE DENT of progress in the mountain that began building soon after I went through the lay off back in September 2001. But, there's much more to do. And, even though the summer is still passing me by and I am going to spend a lot of indoor time continuing with my project of cleaning out and fixing up, I am ready. I realize the key is not to focus on the 10 pages of projects that need to be completed. I need to be realistic about my expectations. The key is focusing on the one task I'm completing at the time. (I need help in this area!)

Thankfully, my parents have agreed to assist me for about 5 days near the end of this month. And, some great folks at church have agreed to join in the weekend to do the same. So, I'm busy getting my thoughts and plans organized. I have a list of projects for cleaning and sorting. I have a list of projects to build and complete. I have a list of items I need to borrow for the project weekend. I have a list of items I need to buy for the project weekend. There is a list for items I want to sell on ebay...and one for items I want to paint. I have a list of items that I want to find. (Can you believe that?) I have lists of specific tasks for specific people. I have lists of specific tasks for specific days. Now, I just need a list to keep track of all of my lists.

This past weekend, in addition to attempting to finish a big project at work, I attempted to get a big head start on all of this "simplifying." Little did I know that we're all smack dab in the middle of "National Simplify Your Life Week."

After letting that sink in for one second, I say 'Forget the week! I'm declaring it for a whole MONTH!' ...If not longer. I publicly reserve the right to take much longer. Maybe a season? Can I declare it for autumn even though we're not yet into autumn? "National Simplify Your Half Summer/All of Autumn" just doesn't have the ring to it that I'd like. No matter that setback, I'll be taking as much time as I need, but I pray I stay focused and committed while I take care of some of these lingering items once and for all.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Boo-hooing About Boo-boos

I'm waiting for a fax to come in, so I thought I'd take a break. I did the same thing last night, and I've had to force myself just to stop and take a little walk around the office or the building or sit back and stretch for a moment. The body - along with the mind - is taking a beating lately.

My hands probably have it the worst. I cannot tell you how many pieces of paper I've touched over the last 3 weeks. And, if you've had the same experience, you know touching lots of paper = dry skin. So, I have a lotion bottle stashed in my desk drawer. Seems like it doesn't help much, but I know I'd be worse off if I didn't have any lotion.

Then, of course, there's the fact that I did my usual in burning myself this morning. Everyone around here knows this is a common occurrence for me - usually from something on the stove or in the oven. But, today, in my rush out the door, I absent-mindedly grabbed the flat iron when I went to unplug it. I don't know why I did this. But, I have a two inch red painful mark to remind me to ponder over the situation.

And, to top it off, I'm still healing from a few paper cuts. Know what is worse than a regular paper cut? A cardboard cut. Yes... a big gash in my skin, gained through my efforts of quickly ripping open a box. I've had flyers and brochures and magazines and booklets pouring in from all of our new partners and insurance carriers, and a couple of days ago, I just ripped open a box and ripped open my hand at the same time. Know what's worse than a cardboard cut? A paper cut on top of a cardboard cut. Yes, it's true. Just a double treat which a special person like me can have.

My hands have never looked great. I regularly hide them behind my back - especially in pictures. But, lately, they look worse than ever. Thankfully, God has allowed me the use of them, and I'm thankful he's blessed me to use them more than ever in the recent weeks when I've really needed them here at work. They help me type... rip open boxes... pick up my "nieces"... extend my hugs through the tips of my fingers... dial the phone... play the piano... and, of course, eat - among so many other activities.

It's just that they need a little more TLC than usual right now. Of course, a few aloe vera plants (otherwise called "burn plants") have been sitting at Sister Elaine and Brother Tom's house for weeks - just waiting for me to pick them up. They sure would have come in handy today. And, of course, I'm wearing one of these right now for the paper cuts.

Ever seen one of these? On the package, the following words are included:
Highly visible
Metal detectable
Water resistant
Flexible foam
Latex free
Sterile adhesive bandage

You may learn more about our industry than you ever wanted to learn. But there are a few reasons why regular band-aids are not allowed on our site and why these are required (and available within out site first aid kits) here at our business and within the food industry. When creating our flavors, the production staff must not wear anything that might fall into the food batches. (No jewelry except wedding bands or medical alert tags.) Therefore, if a bandage must be worn, it must be VISIBLE! There's no way that this could fall into something we make and not be seen. Also, when our flavor batches are packaged, they are run through a metal detector to make sure no foreign objects have contaminated the batch. Therefore, if someone accidentally dropped one of these, the production staff would see it long before it was sent to our customers. Thankfully! (I just wish the world had detectors for other things that fall into food!)

So, if you ever come to the site for a visit, be sure to ask me for one of these doozies! I'll probably already be wearing one or two.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Plumb Wore Out

Most of you know I've been working some long hours. For instance, so that I could cover all 3 shifts when the employees came in to accept their offers with the new company, I worked 24 straight hours from Sunday to Monday. Not all days are like that, but the hours have been adding up since I received this new promotion and since we've started the mad dash toward the official start of the company this past Monday.

I'm tired.... or tahrrrrd, to some of you might say. Tuckered out. Plumb wore out, to others. Sleepy. Exhausted.

I wish I could say the work days have become shorter over the past two months, but, clearly, that has not yet happened. Thankfully, I'm not feeling like I'm going to fall asleep at work or while I'm behind the wheel. Instead, it is more of a mental exhaustion. So, I'm needing a break so that I can continue with focus.I have hope that it will happen soon... but probably not for a few more weeks. I will be looking forward to a vacation in May.

I know I've spoken about this before, but I always like having something to plan toward. So I was wondering if any of you had any suggestions of where I could go on a little trip? Know of any special places that would be relaxing and a great location as a "getaway?" A sunny beach? Or a place you always go for a treat?

I realize I'll probably be going by myself. And, it doesn't matter if I have to take a long road trip. So, let me know if something pops into your mind.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Out of the Old, Into the New

In the last few weeks, I've missed a lot of my routines. I've missed many meals. I've missed hours - even nights - of sleep. I've missed hundred of phone calls and have desperately tried to return them within normal calling hours. I've missed turns I should have taken but was too distracted to notice. I've missed concerts and events I very much wanted to attend. I've missed keeping up with American Idol. And, of course, I've missed my blog friends. I'm trying to keep up, but work has had to take the forefront for this time. I know it won't go on and on for months, and I'm beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. The light is still far away, but at least I can see it now. Thankfully, I have friends who have helped me get a meal, feed my cats, pay my bills, check on other errands, escort me on my way home, and take a pulse on what's going on. And, I've needed each of these. The recent weeks and months have been a blur, and I pray the merry-go-round will slow over the next two weeks. I'm sure the number of posts will be very telling.

One thing I haven't missed is my old office. I was able to tell a few of you that I was excited to be moving out of the place in which I've been spending my office time ever since I came to the company. Some at work affectionately call it 'the closet.' There's no ventilation in the room, so when someone has needed to speak to me at length about something serious, it would often get a little stuffy. At least I had room for a chair for someone else to sit down. Of course, if the chair was in its usual spot, I couldn't open my filing cabinet drawers. And, if the chair was moved to the left just 3 or 4 inches, my door wouldn't be able to be shut or opened. But, other than moving around those puzzle pieces, it wasn't too bad. It had been my home for 8-9 hours each weekday for the last five years.
Here's a picture of my office in the midst of my move about two weeks ago. (I hope co-workers can attest that it usually looked neater than this.) I thought I would point out a few of the items in the room for you.

Left side of office: the largest monitor I have ever seen... both in screen size and in depth. It greatly helped my eyes, I am sure, but it took up so much desk space.

Bulletin board: one postcard from our family's trip to Nashville this past summer. Also my five year anniversary certificate with our former company.

Over my printer: one handmade 3-D snowflake... which I've been waiting to take down until we know no more snow is coming. Believe it or not, we're supposed to receive some in the next couple of days.

Back of my office: one painting poster of a farmhouse and land that reminds me of the farm near Easton IL in which I lived as a child. When I came to the site, my boss allowed me to pick out a picture to have framed, and I was so happy to find this one. The biggest difference is that the picture includes bee hives (white boxes - which our farm never had) in the nearby field.

File boxes on the floor: full of new toothbrushes from our dental health provider.

The telltale Aqua box on the right: When we reached a milestone anniversary with our former company, we were allowed to pick an anniversary gift from... Tiffany!!! When I came to the company, I couldn't believe it. This will probably be the one and only time that I have something from Tiffany. (By the way, I picked out the lead crystal candle sticks.)

When I received my change in position, I was also told I would need to move to a bigger office... one that would allow enough room for a conference table and chairs. I was told to order furniture, but I couldn't stand spending a ton of money on new things. So, me - being thrifty me - went out to look for some used office furniture. And, I found something I really like! I haven't found a table yet (things have been too busy), but I hope to find something next month when I have more time. Our maintenance staff was great in applying a new coat of paint and changing the locks on my new office doors, and my new place is pictured below. It is at least four times bigger than my old office, and I don't know what to do with all of the space!
I know, I know. It's too empty. But, I found a 3 piece wooden (oak, I think?) set... with a desk, computer component, and credenza. I have a good black chair. There is a big white bookshelf and small locked cabinet still in there, and when things slow down, I'll be trying to figure out what to do with them. I'll be trying to find the best spot to move my farm picture, too. In light of everything else going, the move isn't too important now and is taking a back seat. Just wanted to show my family and friends where I've been spending most of my time in the past two weeks. Maybe I'll post a new picture when I get everything settled.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Elder Sarber's Ordination

This past Friday, I set out with the Zimmermans to head to Indiana to attend the ordination of our dear brother, Jeremy Sarber. We had been planning the trip for months, and I was so thankful that my friends decided to wait for me to get off work on Friday so I would not have to make the trip alone. We set out at 3 pm central time and expected to arrive at Tracy's parents' home at approximately 10 pm (figuring in the time change.) However, halfway through our trip, we had to stop suddenly on the highway... and we remained stopped.... and remained and remained... Over an hour later, we slowly approached the scene where a semi had gone through the wide grass median of the divided highway and knocked out a tree. We don't know the cause of the accident, but we know that it sure held up hundreds, if not thousands, of people on the interstate for several hours. We pray the driver is not hurt.

After some late-night catching up with the Mikels, our gracious hosts, and some good sound sleeping, we drove down the road to meet with Pilgrim's Rest Primitive Baptist Church for the ordination on Saturday morning. (If you have not already done so, please see Brother Jeremy's post about the weekend here and here.) Our church members have sure been praying for Brother Jeremy and have been so happy to hear of how God has been blessing him to preach the gospel, and because I am thankful to call him a friend, I was thankful to be present. The charge, given by Brother Jeremy's father, Elder Tommy Sarber, was especially touching. Brother Tommy shared a few memories from Brother Jeremy's childhood and gave testimony to how their family had seen God working in Jeremy's life. It was wonderful to see all of the people who love Jeremy go up to speak to him and hug him and share their kind words of encouragement with him. Long after this weekend, I hope everyone will continue to pray for Brother Jeremy in his service to God... and for all of our elders and pastors who seek to serve the Lord in Spirit and in Truth.

This post has gone up a few days later than expected because I have had some troubles with pictures. So, I will not be able to post some that I had hoped to share. But, here are a couple of good ones that I was able to salvage. To the left is a picture of the new sign outside the meeting place of the Pilgrim's Rest Primitive Baptist Church.

The newly-ordained Elder Jeremy Sarber with his nephews Carson and Alec.
Right after the ordination, everyone packed into the lunchroom to enjoy the wonderful lunch prepared by the Pilgrim's Rest church members. Delicious chicken and noodles and fellowship with loving brothers and sisters.
Tressa and Abi also thought they were pretty yummy!

On Sunday morning, we decided to return to Pilgrim's Rest Church for worship services, and we were abundantly blessed by doing so. Here, Brother Mellott visits with Elder Gary Hall.

I fear the current projects at work are requiring long hours in the office and at home, so I will not be able to write about the moving sermons given by Elder Jeremy, Elder Chris and Elder Gary Hall at this time. And, I won't be able to accurately describe the kindness shown - as usual - by Brother Dave and Sister Wanda in welcoming me to their home and taking time to talk about the most important of issues. But, God was glorified from the pulpit and within the fellowship throughout the weekend, and I came away refreshed and invigorated and at peace after the trip. And, while things have been so busy the last 3 days, I've been thankful to have those memories and sermons to reflect upon. What a wonderful weekend! It is one I will remember for years to come.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Canker Sores

These seem to be an issue for my family. I have one in my mouth right now, and I can't get rid of it. I'll go ahead spare you my usual accompany photo for my post today. :)

Here's the scoop straight from WebMD:
What Causes Canker Sores?
The exact cause of most canker sores is unknown. Stress or tissue injury is thought to be the cause of simple canker sores. Certain foods – including citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables (such as lemons, oranges, pineapples, apples, figs, tomatoes, strawberries) – can trigger a canker sore or make the problem worse. Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like Motrin, is another common cause. Sometimes a sharp tooth surface or dental appliance, such as braces or ill-fitting dentures, might also trigger canker sores.

Some cases of complex canker sores are caused by an underlying health condition, such as an impaired immune system; nutritional problems, such as vitamin B-12, zinc, folic acid, or iron deficiency; and gastrointestinal tract disease, such as Celiac disease and Crohn's disease.

A sister in our church says that taking Lysine helps prevent them. My family always used a blue tip match by pressing the unlit tip right on the center of the sore. (You're right. It does hurt. But, the sores sure go away quickly.)

I know there have to be a ton of wives' tales and home remedies out there to get rid of them. I've seem many online today. But, do any of you have a remedy to share? (In the meantime, I'm going on a hunt for matches.)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Taking Out My White Sandals

(This was supposed to be posted on Monday. My apologies.)

After going to church on Sunday, I was flooded with memories of Easters past. A particular trio of little ladies were dressed in their best Sunday best.... beautiful dresses made by Mama Tracy, of course. Little Rian Elizabeth needed some help from Sister Tasha so that her photo could be taken, and Tressa and Abigail were able to stop their activies for a few seconds so I could capture them.

Yesterday's weather made me laugh. There was a huge drop in temperature, and actual CHUNKS of snow came down. Not the usual snowflakes, mind you. But chunks. So each of these beautiful little ladies came equipped with a snow white sweater made by Grandma Zimmerman.

Easter was always that time when I could finally wear those spring colors again.... the pinks and peaches and light greens that I just didn't feel right wearing with clunky brown and black shoes in the prior weeks. But, once it reached Easter, they seemed fair game again.... especially in an ensemble with my sandals! No matter the weather!

All too often, however, we'd have an Easter like yesterday. COLD. REALLY COLD. And, no matter how cold, I was "bound and determined" to wear my white sandals I had been waiting all winter to wear. I'd try to remember where I had stashed them on that very last day of semi-warm weather back in the fall when I had last been able to wear them....or dig to the bottom of my shoe pile looking for the worn-out white leather. If we "thought ahead", I'd find them late, late the night before Easter and Dad would be able to use that weird white bottle of shoe polish (you know, the bottle with the wet sponge on the end) to spruce them up. I watched with fascination as they turned from grey and cracky to chalky white and cracky. To me, just like new.

Despite the weather, I was wearing those shoes. And, I'm ashamed to admit, many of those Easter Sundays, I sported white tights with my white sandals. Sometimes, I even wore plain knee socks with those sandals - as exhibited here. I firmly deny all responsibility - as the tights were the expectation by Mom if the weather was cool, and I was taught that Easter was the time to break out the white shoes. Too bad these two great independent thoughts often resulted in a bad combination.

Aaron and I would receive jelly beans and Reese's Peanut Butter eggs - our absolute favorite. After becoming sick of chocolate through a bad experience with plain MMs, I had an aversion to plain milk chocolate for several years. So, Aaron and I could always tell our baskets apart because his had a chocolate bunny and mine had a white chocolate bunny. I remember often looking at my shoes to make sure they were whiter than my bunny. If they were, I felt it was going to be a particularly good Easter.

I have no idea why I did something that dumb, but that's what I did. I find myself saying that more and more these days.