This weekend we were watching the Track and Field finals for the US Olympic Team tryouts. As we watched I commented to Tarzan, B used to run hurtles, he was awesome to watch, T ran relay, she was so fast, C did the long jump she was really good, and so on. I bored him with my continuing monologue about how the children had performed in sports while in school. Then...

I caught his interest...

It seems that when T was in 5th grade the school was having a track meet in May and it was hot, hot, hot. I bought her a really cute red shorts and tank top outfit. She refused to wear it and came out of her room ready for the track meet in jeans and a t-shirt. I knew that would never work, it was way too hot to be dressed like that for a track meet.

I asked T several times, in different ways, why she would not wear the shorts. I thought it might be because she thought it was immodest. No, it wasn't that. Maybe she didn't like what I bought her. No, it wasn't that. Finally, T burst into tears and said, "I have hair all over my legs and it's embarrassing."

I said, "Oh, I can fix that," I took her in the bathroom and shaved her legs and she gleefully went off to the track meet in a cute red shorts outfit.

As I thought about that, I recall more than once when the "rules" had to be changed to meet the needs of the individual. The one thing I wish I could redo as a mother is to make more times when I gave my children a little more control over their rules.

Maybe you can take this to heart and ease up a little on some things with your own children.

I totally found this with a Google search...yuuuuummmmm. I haven't made it my own yet, so enjoy in its original form. The link to the original webpage is on the date.

"Just Beachy says:
October 31, 2007 at 6:41 pm
This recipe usually goes over very well. I usually double it though.

Cookie Dough Cheese Ball

8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4-1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans

1. Blend first 3 ingredients until creamy. Add powdered sugar and brown sugar mix well. Fold in choc. chips. Cover and refrigerate 3-4 hours. Shape into ball, wrap in saran wrap-again refrigerate 30 minutes or more. When ready to serve, take the ball out of the wrap and roll into the pecans or toffee bits. Serve with graham cracker sticks or vanilla wafers."

My thought today comes from http://segullah.org/. Inspiring, short essays about women with whom I share a common interest.

"...People need to talk. How will we learn what others have to offer if no one talks?”

I'm sorry I can't tell who wrote the article but it is an excellent read and one that makes you take stock of your own lack of appreciation for simply loving your neighbor with a kind word.

For Father’s Day, we went to a million star hotel

Notice, there is only one sleeping bag. Tarzan was going to sleep sitting up (suppressed laugh). I ended up unzipping the bag so we could both be covered.There was a fabulous nail salon
We had a gourmet dinner and ate outside on the “patio.”
For breakfast, we prepared a meal in the kitchen in our suite
And ate on a lovely dining table with a fishing theme for the center piece
Later, we discovered there was a swimming pool (I love this picture)

And Dottie took full advantage of it.

The resort had a special diet for Dottie and Lucy
We found time to lounge in the shade. Well, it was shady when Lucy fell over asleep.
We visited a museum
With antique farm equipment
Tarzan found time to hunt for dinner where he first found bait and then a meal
Happy Father’s Day doing just what we wanted to do.
(And then there was my hair, yikes)

Here is some info I got from Woman's Day (My Mom gave me a subscription this year).

1. Crossword puzzles and salmon help keep your mind sharp (My Mom does crossword puzzles every day, and she is sharp as a tack at 86)

2. Stimulate coordination by brushing your teeth with the hand you don't normally use (I did this and guess what, it was weird. I am a counter, I count the number of strokes when I brush my teeth, among other things, I couldn't count when I brused with my left hand.)

What do you do to exercise your mind?

When our oldest was off to college, we flew to Boston with him. The first is the hardest to let go. It's a scary world out there.

When we got to Boston, we stayed in a hotel close to Havard Square which was a good thing because everyone WALKS everywhere in Boston. We both lost 5 pounds the 4 days we were there, just from walking. I commented that when you are in the west, if someone sees you walking they ask if you need a ride; when you are in the east if someone sees you driving, they wonder where you are going.

I called around to see about a tour bus and they were sooooo expensive. For some unknown reason, I called a limosine service and found out I could have a limo for the whole day for the price of a ticket for just one of us on a tour bus.

Our limo driver took us all over town, we saw all the tourist spots and even went to his favorite pizza place where we stayed in the car, in the middle of a VERY narrow street, and he ran in and got us pizza. It was so kewl. Everywhere we went, people looked at us trying to figure out what celebrities we were.

But the real memory is this:

As we walked our son to his dorm the last day, I looked at the other parents bringing their children to school. All of the students were bright eyed, smiling, standing tall, walking with alacrity while the parents looked worried, slightly slumped, acutely aware of the reality of life.

As I look back on that, it serves as a reminder to me to always keep that childlike innocence around, to remember what it feels like to be excited for a new adventure, to find joy in every experience and not allow the realities of life to weigh heavy on me and bring me down.

We need traffic on our business website. Please go to http://www.growsticks.com/ and poke around for a minute. Send suggestions to me on how I can make it more user friendly and any other comments including things like "yuck, I hate your design." We want your honest opinion.

The reason we need traffic is that we are trying to become affiliates with the NBA. They told us we didn't have enough traffic on our website to be accepted.

Kind of snooty don't you think? After all, the whole purpose of becoming affiliates was to drive traffic to our website.

Anyway, your help will be appreciated.

I have not read this book, The Coldest War, by James Brady, however, I think I need to put it on my list. It is a book about America's "forgotten war." The Korean War lasted just thirty-seven months, yet 54,246 Americans died in that time -- nearly as many as died in ten years in Vietnam. On the fiftieth anniversary of this devastating conflict, James Brady wrote the story of his life as a young marine lieutenant in Korea. It has rave reviews and sounds very compelling.

He has a few good quotes that float around one of them is this:

"When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. I have several stands around here."

I love that quote, I hope your lemonade stands are filled with sunshine.

This seems to have just sprung up overnight. This is tall corn.
See that building in the center of the picture behind the corn? You can only see the roof. A few days later, you can hardly see any of the roof at all. That has to be as high as an elephants eye, doesn't it?
And even though we don't have elephans you should see that it is in the desert. See the cactus? I am standing on the hill so the cactus that looks tall, if next to the corn would be close to the same height--well maybe a 400 year old saguaro cactus would be a little taller than 1 month old corn, but you get the picture.
That corn is tall.

I read in Woman's Day that crayons you throw away stay in the landfill "for eternity." They suggest putting your unwanted crayons in an envelope and recycling them at http://crazycrayons.com/.

Here is LuAnn's address:
CRAYON RECYCLING PROGRAM
721 Village Road
Pelican Lake, Wisconsin 54463

I checked it out and I will be buying some from her. You, on the other hand, may decide to get creative on your own. Let me know if you get creative with this idea. I am always interested in creative ideas--oh, I guess that's why they call me the Wizard of Creativity.

One day awhile back, I had a day to myself when Tarzan went fishing. I wrote down things I heard that day as I went about my business...

"So far this fishing trip has been a bust."--Tarzan having a bad day.

"Welcome to the House of the Lord."--Renewing my Spirit

"Ladies and gentlemen, the first gunfight will begin in 15 minutes."--A western festival downtown

"Did you try the store across they street?"--Looking for something special for Tarzan

"JC Penney Outlet has tons of them."--Looking for something special for me

"Why did you change your signature?"--It was just too loooooonnnngggg so I shortened it

"This job is killing my back."--A guy at the gas station talking to his buddy

It's funny how you can see simple phrases such as this and have a flood of memories come back to you. These are pleasant and relaxing memories of a day spent at my pace, with no pressure.

What did you do the last time you had a day to relax and do just what you want to do?

Sometimes, I want to “waller in my own pity”
Sometimes, I like to be sad
Sometimes, it feels good to remember all the sad and bad things that have happened to me
Sometimes, I like to just cry
Sometimes, I like to watch a movie or read a book that reminds me – these things are not what my life is about
Sometimes, a movie or book will remind me that my life is so much more than these sad things I am remembering, these things that make me cry
Sometimes, it feels good to take out all those old hurts and feel them again
Sometimes, it cleanses my thinking and reminds me to be glad for now

Do you ever want to just tell everyone about the things that have hurt you
Do you know it does no good to keep doing so
Have you dealt with them in your own way
Have you put them away, only to take them out when you need to clear your mind

I hope so, it feels so good

Wednesday

  1. 3 people called in sick at work, there are only 5 of us
  2. Woke up to water break – had watered desert all night--no water in house
  3. New puppy can’t stand up—had to take to vet
  4. While on the way to vet Tarzan called—his truck had broken down
  5. Tarzan's son called and asked him to come to grandson's graduation from GRADE SCHOOL—TOMORROW. ticket to CA. Left large leaf and lawn trash can in bathroom full of water with plastic dipping bucket for flushing and brushing
  6. I called a plumber who could not come until first thing Thursday morning--yuuuuuck

Thursday

  1. Got up at 5:00 a.m. to be ready for plumber
  2. Unlocked gate
  3. Waited for plumber
  4. Fed and medicated BOTH dogs (puppy has tick fever and is better today after shots and meds—got to love those drugs)
  5. Waited for plumber
  6. Clean kitchen
  7. Waited for plumber
  8. 7:00 a.m. (have to be to work at 8:00 a.m.—still no shower)
  9. Called plumber “Oh, I’m sorry, I should have clarified what first thing in the morning is”---AAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH
  10. Went to work with spit bath and ugly hair
  11. 2 people called in sick
  12. 1 left early
  13. 15 phone calls in a 10 minute time span and I was the only one here to take calls
  14. I am supposed to figure out a way to get the pickup home from the shop TODAY--I called changed it to Saturday
  15. When I get off work, I have 3 ladies dying in the hospital I have to visit and one new mother whose baby is still in the hospital with jaundice
  16. All three of the classes I teach have new books so I have to redo all of my lessons, lectures and assignments—my nights are a little full
  17. Hopefully, I will have water when I get home

Friday

Who knows what today brings

I'm still a dreamer. I know I change my picks, but I always come out a dreamer.

Youniverse Personality TestYouniverse Personality Test

You can find something positive in everything if you look hard enough. One of the computer guys I work with shared this one with me because I am always hasseling him.

"The great thing about being a pessimist is that you are constantly either being proven right or pleasantly surprised."

George Will, News commentator

Some people refer to where we live as the "Barrio." I always took exception to that thinking it had a negative connotation. However, I looked it up and since it simply means "a community" I find it very appropriate for what Tarzan and I saw as we rimmed around on his birthday.

We saw this next to a Senior Citizen's home and wondered what they were doing, so we stopped and asked.
We walked closer and could clearly see it was what we suspected, a garden with several people working in it. This is on a main street not the place you expect to see such a thing.

Look at this beautiful lettuce and look at those greens and onions. Yum. We were told anyone could participate and harvest what they grow. The land was donated so all you have to do is provide seeds and some good old fashioned sweat.
We soon learned this great idea is in several places, not just this one. Several plots are laid out. There is a gardener "organizer" and there were several others there who are from different non-profit organizations helping out. They are laying donated sawdust for those who are in wheelchairs so they can get around. The Seniors in the center next to this piece of land are invited to participate. If they cannot garden, they are invited to harvest anyway. Anyone who will take care of their plot is welcome to plant here. We met a woman from Sierra Leon, she was planting vegetables native to Africa.
Some told us this was the first time they had gardened and showed us what they were growing with great pride.
Tarzan and I were so impressed, we visited another site they had started a garden on. It was in the middle of some commercial property and someone had put up a shaded gazebo in it.
It does my heart good to see communities work together for the betterment of the whole. We are going to get involved in a community garden and hopefully, the idea will spread across our entire community, thus bringing us closer together.

This is a great tip and solves a second problem -- hot grease. First cook whatever it is you are cooking that is greasy and catch the grease. In this picture I am cooking bacon at work (that's another story altogether)

Next, get a small cardboard carton such as a juice carton or a milk carton. Drink whatever is in it. Open the top wide (you know you already messed it up trying to open it, so just go ahead and open it on up). Yup, I'm still at work with my bacon grease.

Now, get a paper towel, which I had at work because I was cooking bacon. Crumple it up and stuff it in the cardboard box you just opened. This is very scientific.

Now, pour the bacon grease over the paper towel. I don't recommend you do this around your computer, however, I am a professional so it was okay for me to do it. :-). You will notice I let the bacon grease cool down at bit, that was so it wouldn't melt the wax on the box, smart, huh?

Finally, staple the top and put your fire starter in the freezer (to keep the grease from going rancid and stinking up the place).
Now, go camping with your kewl fire starter (don't forget the matches) and you won't have to look for dry kindling. I love it!

P.S. Kindling is a real word and it does have a "g" on the end in the dictionary, but not in my world. I had to look it up to use it here. It is "easily combustible material for starting a fire" according to Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary.

I asked my children what they remember about our vacations. It was fun getting their replies--it is a great reminder that you children may not remember that you spent money on a brand new bathroom, but they will remember time you spent together...

"I remember a lot of vacations - lots of camping (as a family or with the church), going to Diggers, family reunions, visiting Gram, going to Texas, Mexico, Thanksgiving with your friends in Farmington."

"Some specific memories: The time we were camping in Colorado and it rained so hard for a couple of days that we finally rented a cabin and the sun came out for the rest of the trip."

"The drive to Texas that took 700 days. Body surfing as the hurricane approached. Eating lobsters with Dick and Inez. Going to the baseball game and being bored out of my mind because outside was an amusement park which was so much more appealing to me than baseball. You taking a picture with the tigers. For some reason, I don't remember the drive home nearly as dramatically - must have been tired."

"The trip to Mexico. The cockroaches in our bungalow and lack of water pressure. The pretty beach which we had almost completely to ourselves. Driving around to other beaches. Eating at a restaurant which made everyone nervous. The fishing boat and getting to catch so many fish and then have the restaurant prepare them and then share them with the other guests. Renting the car and crossing the border and being kind of afraid the whole time - but having a great time and being really excited about it. Buying charms and bracelets (which I still have and wear) and a pink peasant shirt which I thought was SO pretty."

"Tons of fond memories of going to the cabin for family reunions. I could go on and on..."

Birthdays are so fun. Here's what we did for Tarzan's Birthday this year.




I made 3x5 cards with events to attend throughout the day. First stop, Mexico. We went to our favorite breakfast place for Mexican food. We can't pronounce the name so we call it Junk Yard Cafe--why?--'cuz it's in the middle of a bunch of junk yards silly.

Isn't he just cute? I think I'll keep him.


We went to Greece next, Wow, we love IMax

I didn't need Tarzan to pose in front of the Greek gods, he is one.





What a heavenly way to spent an hour.



Service, fantastic
Atmosphere, wonderful
Laker's game on TV, thank goodness (how could I forget something that important?)
If you go, bring your credit card, yikes.


"When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies."

J.M. Barrie

Botanical Gardens has a Butterfly House. It has thousands of butterflys in it. There are 3 doors to stop you from letting butterflys out. One escaped while we were leaving and we had to stay in the holding room until we could catch it with a butterfly net and put it back in the house. What a hoot.










Children work well with a schedule. Remember, a child will watch the same video every day 3 times a day if you let them. They like familiarity and routine.

If you are struggling to get your children to tidy up their rooms, try setting a schedule for them. Have them tidy up every day at the same time so it becomes part of what they do each day like breathing.

My life was much easier when I had children at home and in school, I was forced to keep a schedule. You may not be a schedule type of person, but just this one simple principle can help teach your children to pick up after themselves.

If you are successful with that, you can add to it. For instance, EVERY time you finish with a meal, have EVERY family member put their dishes in the sink. It is a simple thing, but children learn best by repetition.

This is not Wiggle Tail, but this cute puppy reminded me of Wiggle Tail. This puppy just wandered into our yard looking for food. She is wild as a march hare and smart as a whip. We have taken her to the vet for shots, now we are deciding whether to keep her or give her to a friend who is looking for a dog.

HERE IS MY MONDAY MEMORY:
Wiggle Tail was a Daschund. We were living in Germany. We didn't have a name for her yet so we were going to have a family council, everyone would submit a name and then we would vote on the name we all liked best.

I was 8 years old and had a little book about a dog named Wiggle Tail and I wanted that name for our dog. Before the vote, I secretly went to every family member and told them that my name was a stupid name and no one would vote for my name and asked if they would vote for my name. I won with 100% of the vote.

Some would say that I was conniving, but those who know my true insecurities would know, I really thought no one would vote for my name and that if I asked everyone, at least one person would vote for my name and then I wouldn't feel stupid.

One Christmas we found that with all the humidity in Germany, the Christmas candy Mom kept out in a dish was sticking together. She would just break it apart and leave it in the bowl and we all had a little from time-to-time and gave it to company.

One day Mom saw Wiggle Tail going up the stairs. Right next to the stairs was a table with the candy on it. Wiggle Tail walked up just high enough to be able to walk out onto the table. She licked all the candy in the dish and then went back onto the stairs and walked on up.

Mom moved the candy dish.

Post Script: We are keeping her, she has won our hearts and we named her Ruby.