Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Is For Cleanliness

Friday is my day off from work. I have been known to recline on the couch and read a good book all day long, but with the start of the new year, I have resolved to be productive for part of my Friday, so I can goof off the rest of the day into the weekend.

When the kids were babies, for the sake of my sanity, I had a cleaning schedule for each day of the week. I picked one thing for the day, only one, but getting that done made me feel like I could keep up with the housework and the kid-work.

Now they are teenagers, and I would have thought it would have gotten easier. After all, I've got 15+ years of practice, but I did start working outside of the home a few years ago. I have less time to get things clean.

And cleanliness is crucial to my happiness. I am not a crazy white glove type cleaner, but I do notice when it's dusty, when the floor is muddy, when the bathroom sink is toothpastey, and those things add up quickly! I am much calmer in a clean house.

I do not believe in New Years resolutions, so it's just a coincidence that I've started making Friday's my day to clean in this new year. But regardless, it sure feels good to work hard all morning, ending with a sparkling clean smelling house (which lasts about an hour before the dogs track in mud and the kids drop their school bags off on the table), and I enjoy my book reading time so much more.

Today is Friday. I've got a to do list a mile long, and a plan on how to go about it in an orderly fashion. There is nothing I like better than stepping back when it's all done, surveying my lovely hard work and having the satisfaction of a job well done.

In the immortal words of Hannibal Smith, "I love it when a plan comes together!"

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I See You Seeing Me

I love my house. When I thought of what my dream house in town would be, it has always been one of the big houses, on a corner, with a high retaining wall. So, when this one was for sale, there was no way we could pass it up!

The only downside has been the only neighbors house is a bit too close to ours. It's not like we can reach out and touch it or anything, but it's pretty close.

When it was our first neighbor, an elderly woman, she always kept her curtains closed. We never saw inside her house. And this is possible, especially when I'm doing the dishes because our kitchen window sits higher than their windows, and I can look right in. The new neighbors seem to like fresh air and sunshine just as much as us and their blinds are always open.

I try not to. But....

Well, when you've got nothing to look at while you are doing dishes except your neighbors house, you can't help yourself.

That is how I know they've got a large Guinea pig. They like nutcrackers. They rearranged some furniture. And their bathroom is a straight shot from my kitchen window through their house.

For a long time I couldn't figure out what I was looking at. Was their bathroom painted a weird shade of green? Um, no. If the bathroom door is open, the giant mirror reflects my kitchen window back at me. I am seeing the outside of my house.

That's cool. Sometimes I wonder if I can see myself, but it's too far (and my eyesight to bad) for me to tell. I really try not to stare too much, but when I'm at the sink, I almost can't help but glance over.

Today I saw myself reflected back. It was super startling! Even more so when I realized that was NOT me. It was one of the neighbors looking out through their window at our house. I'd never have known because of the shading inside, but thanks to that mirror, I could see their shape in front of my house's reflection.

I stopped staring. Then I glanced back. Still there.

So.....a bit awkward. But honestly, if they weren't already looking into our house too, what kind of neighbors would they be? Not my kind, that's for sure!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Guard Your Coffee And Your Beer

We have discovered that coffee with cream in it is not the only beverage that should never be left unattended with our dogs.

Olive Badger has a fondness for beer.

While fairly humorous in theory, it's not quite so funny when it's your much loved dark beer being contaminated by a dog we affectionately call The Pooper due to her accidents and her questionable eating habits.

Emma and Sarah Beagle have never even wanted to try beer. They don't seem to like the way it smells. But Olive, well, that's a Beagle of a different color.

She's drawn to you and your beer like a Beagle to anything that might be edible, and will ease closer and closer and closer until you look down and realize your beer is in danger.

Luckily for her, we are responsible dog parents and while her sneaking a small taste was not deemed too naughty, we are not letting her drink more.....we've just got to warn everyone who comes over to guard their drinks.

The big dogs go for the cream, the little one goes for the beer, and on a hot day they all go for water. I'm starting to think we've got some ill behaved doggies......

Nah. They are sweet little angels, but just to be safe, let's not leave our drinks down at temptation level!

Friday, January 21, 2011

It's A Wet Day For Wet Hair

There comes a point in my hair's growth that suddenly I can't stand it. I feel like I'm being strangled as it curls around my neck, the weight of it is dragging my head back, and wisps are sticking out everywhere.

And my bangs....oh man! Since I've resolved to NOT cut my own bangs, for my sanity, I have to go in every 6 weeks to get them trimmed. I've never been a regular hair cut kind of person, so this is kind of a drag, and I usually wait too long and that's when I start not being able to stand my hair.

This week has been that point. I called on Wednesday to set up an appointment and got in this morning.

Today is wet, wet, wet. Rain is pouring down, the down spouts are shaking with the force of waterfalls. I dash through the rain with my hood on, and since I'm cheap, I don't pay for my hair to blown dry. To be honest, I'm just going to go home and shower. Any blow drying or styling that gets down will be wasted.

But what I hadn't thought of is how cold it is right now, and with pretty wet hair, I got quite a chill. I came home, turned up the heat, took a HOT shower (and my husband will not believe this since I am a firm believer in luke warm showers!), dressed in warm clothes including thick socks and heated up some coffee.....

It's been an hour and I'm still chilled! It's too wet today to be outside with wet hair! The damp cold has gotten to me.

On the plus side, my hair feels two pounds lighter and looks smashing!

So, you know, risking my death of cold has been totally worth it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

My #1 Want At The Buffet

At an all you can eat buffet, be it American or Chinese or Swedish, all I want is to fill my plate: half with mashed potatoes and gravy and half with tapioca pudding.

Yes. Those instant mashed potatoes with that generic brown gravy.

I'll try to limit it, because at a Chinese buffet, eating plateful after plateful of mashed potatoes does look a bit odd.

I'm in constant worry that someone will judge my plate of white food. I judge it and find it lacking. I'm at a Chinese buffet, for crying out loud. Eat some fried rice and sesame chicken.

That's not to say I don't. I start off eating broccoli and chicken and a variety of other foods, but when it's time for seconds, I want my potatoes. And I don't need the dessert bar when I've got tapioca pudding.

I only go to an all you can eat buffet once, maybe twice a year, with my family, and we always leave moaning and groaning and saying we won't need to eat for days. Unless, you know, mashed potatoes are offered.

I could manage to eat another plateful. Or two.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I Was So Hungry....

I was so hungry the other day at work, that the old candy cane that sits on the shelf above my desk was starting to look good.

And I hate candy canes.

To be exact, I hate peppermint. In all forms. The beauty of a candy cane, because it is so very lovely in its red and white shining glory, makes it's horrible taste that much more horrible!

But at 15 minutes till my lunch hour, that old candy cane, sitting there in the dusty recesses of the shelf, was starting to look pretty darn tasty. My mind started to think if I had more coffee, then the peppermint and coffee flavors might be like a tasty treat.

Or, I could hold out 15 minutes.

Wait! Even better. I could dig around in my purse and find a non-minty hard candy to tide me over.

Ahhh. Bliss.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Death By Papercuts

In this horrible dry weather, my skin is suffering. My thumbs have cracks in them so bad I've got band-aids on both.

But to add injury to insult, I've gotten many, many paper cuts this past week.

For a job that is "going paperless", I've the cuts to prove that to be a lie.

What is it about a paper cut that stings so unmercifully? It's so small, it doesn't seem like it should hurt so much. But it does. It stings like a son of a gun.

So next time you see me, if I've got 4 out of ten fingers covered with band-aids, you can rest assured I'm only suffering from paper cuts.

Horrible, painful paper cuts, that hurt when I do anything: the dishes, chop onions for dinner, fold laundry, type on the keyboard, even when I push the buttons on my remote! I thought the answer might be to give up those things; but the laundry started to overflow and there weren't any clean spoons in the house.....

Plus, I'd miss Top Chef too much if I gave up the remote!

Monday, January 10, 2011 Is Your Friend is your friend. Your lifeline phone call. You should use it before you send out emails warning of fake perfume salesmen who are going to drug you and kidnap you in the parking lot, or fake groups of pedophiles who want you to change your Facebook picture to a cartoon character. is your detective. It hunts down the rumors of viruses, lost kids, giant beers, and urban legends, and reports if they are true or false. Or in some cases, unverified one way or the other.

My advise to everyone is before you send out notice to your friends that little Tommy Joe Joe is stuck at the bottom of the well and prayers and money are need to build a ladder to get him out, check out Snopes.

It will save you any ridicule I might be tempted to heap upon you.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I Mind My P's and B's

Let's add M's in there too. Those three letters sound the same to me. I am a terrible speller to start with, although in my adulthood, I've stopped saying that since I know when I'm spelling a word wrong. I just can't figure out how to spell it right! Add to that a hard time distinguishing the sounds of three letters, it's made spelling even harder.

My most hated word to spell:

B U M P.

Usually looks like this: pumb

Why? I have no idea.

I can see it in my mind, I know it has an 'm' after the u, but when I am writing fast, well, it's all a crap shoot. Which is why on a recent facebook post, I was writing stable, and wrote staple. Being a non-speller has made me ultra sensitive to misspellings, so I check and re-check my writing. With words like stable and staple, that I spell correctly, a spell check is worthless. And my brain doesn't process b and p right, so I published the wrong word.

And since it was a post about a stable, it was not cool to write the wrong word.

UGH! I fretted about it for a good ten minutes, while my daughter laughed. It's no big deal, she insists. Humph. That's easy for a person who's never struggled with spelling to say!

So I mind my P's and B's and sometimes my M's and know that I have many quirks; this is just one of them!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I'm Glad To Be Fat

I know right now my hubby is reading this tittle and going to say to me, "stop being so mean to yourself!"

Well, today I'm not using the "F" word in a negative way.

Today, I am literally rejoicing in the way I look!

What's so different about today?

Nothing really. I was just struck with the idea that I am so blessed beyond measure in this life to have all I need, more than I need actually. I do not go to bed hungry and I do not tuck my kids in at night and hear their stomachs growl.

Today I am thankful for this extra padding. In olden days, it was a sign of prosperity and wealth. In the grand scheme of things, it still is.

The "F" word is so much better than the "S" word.


I'll stick with my chubby self, thanks.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Pomegranates: A Delicious Hassle

I would have never in a million years bought a pomegranate. Never. In the store, I never understood what they were, how you ate them, how you could tell if they were ripe or not.

Then my daughter tried one at a friends house. After that, all I heard about was how yummy they are.

Fine. I'll buy one. I'll cut it open. I'll be overwhelmed by all the seeds and how it's really a hassle to get them out and how the juice stains everything and how un-freaking-believably good it actually is.

So, I fell in love with the pomegranate, but not in love with the work it takes to get to the good parts.

Then I found pomegranate applesauce.

How easy is that? Peel off the tinfoil lid and voila, instant yumminess. I could eat it for dessert, it's so good.

I know, it's not a pomegranate, and but right now, in a non wanting hassles with my lunch, I am content!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I Dream In Wii

I got a Wii for Christmas. I've wanted one for years, but just as I did not jump on the CD or DVD bandwagon, I waited for a couple of years before I asked for a Wii and got one.

I love it! I love bowling and golf and cycling and I adore the fit plus program. I've worked out every day, gladly and eagerly since Christmas, nothing like before, when I had to drag myself out of bed to force myself to work out.

The only problem has been that when I go to sleep at night, I've begun to dream in Wii. It's like I'm viewing my dream through the square of a TV set and I've got the remote in my hand to push A to go, go, go. The music from the step class is the soundtrack playing softly as I dream.

Every time I wake up in the night, I remind myself that I get to do the Wii in the morning. I don't need to dream it too......

But I still do. It's not a bad thing, exactly, just really unusual.

I'll take Wii dreams over monster dreams, that's for sure!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Cold Sheets For One

Last night was pretty cold, if this mornings current temp of 18 degrees is any indication. But I didn't need a thermometer to tell me that!

I'll take my freezing cold sheets as an indication! When you slide into bed and instead of that feeling of relief that you are finally lying down, finally going to rest, you start shivering violently, your bedroom might be a tad cold.

When it's this cold, I usually change out the regular sheets on our bed for warm flannel. Especially if I'm going to be the only one warming up the bed....

But I was too busy yesterday, and didn't really think about the temperature dropping, until 10:30 pm when I was huddled under the covers thinking about getting up for a sweatshirt.

Cold sheets for one makes for a very cold start to sleep. I didn't miss my husband as much all day as I did right then!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

How Many Books Do You Read In A Year?

Last January, my husband came home and asked if I thought I read 100 books in a year.

I snorted and said of course I do and I set out to prove it.

So I did. And I'll be honest, in March and April, I was not convinced I could read 100 books. It felt like I was stuck in the low 30's and I had no time to read.

Then it all came together and I started reading, reading, reading. Non fiction and fiction, 700 pagers and much smaller ones, old favorites and newly published, romance novels and books that made me think. I stretched myself to read more than just my usual.

I read 123 books, not counting cookbooks (which I read for fun) or magazines.

And out of those 123, I marked some with stars to say, these were really good books, read them again sometime.

11. On Agate Hill
12. Pleasure of a Dark Prince
18. A Reliable Wife
19. The Midwife
23. Black Magic Sanction
24. Silver Borne
29. Leafy Rivers
30. The Wives of Henry Oades
35. This Wild Land
45. The Scent of Rain and Lighting
48. All Creatures Great and Small
50. The Girl Who Chased the Moon
51. Post Secrets, Vols 1,2,3
54. Seduced by a Stranger
55. What I Did For Love
57. Soulless
58. The Sugar Queen
61. The Language of Secrets
62. Garden Spells
71. Magic Bleeds
72. MossRose
76. Calico Palace
89. Mockingjay
90. Vines of Yarrabee
91. Changeless
92. Blameless
104. Mermaids in the Basement
107. The Outlander
108. Between Earth and Sky
114. An Inconvenient Wife
117. Oh My Stars

But the only book I read all year, that I marked with Four Stars and have not stopped thinking about, is "The Things That Keep Us Here." All I'm going to say about it is that after reading it, I've stocked my pantry with rice and beans for emergencies and have a healthy dose of fear in regards to pandemics and whole flocks of birds dying for no reason. I'm talking to you, Arkansas.

2010 was a great year of reading! I can't wait to see what I'll find to read next.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Years Eve Is Too Late For Me

I've never been a staying up late kind of gal.

I was usually the first to fall asleep at slumber parties.

My kids tease me because when the sun sets, I'm ready for bed.

So it comes as no surprise that New Years Eve is my arch nemesis!

I love the idea of staying up to usher in the new year. I love the food, the movies, the games, the sparling cider in fancy glasses, the kids going outside with Grandma to bang pots and pans and yell greetings to the start of the new year.

I hate the actual time that makes it. Midnight. It's so late! And even if I stay up late on occasional nights, New Years Eve and it's expectations of late night revelry, means that I am yawning at 7:30. Yawns so wide my eyes water and I feel my brains turning sleep stupid. Clever word games are beyond me (although I still say the Burbs was a good answer for things that have numbers!) and I'm counting down the hours long before I count down the minutes.

I'm drinking cups of reheated coffee and trying to stay awake.

All for that magical moment when we all shout "Happy New Year", clinking glasses and exchanges hugs and looking eagerly to the future, the new year full of bright shiny hope.

2011 is off to a great (if tired) start!