Life on the Ridge
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And the flash scared the pumpkins so badly that their little pumpkin souls took off for parts unknown. Oops!



Can you figure out which one is my niece?


great expectations

ex·pec·ta·tion: n.
1. a. The act of expecting.
b. Eager anticipation: eyes shining with expectation.
2. The state of being expected.
3. a. Something expected: a result that did not live up to expectations.
b. Prospects, especially of success or gain.
4. Statistics.
a. The expected value of a random variable.
b. The mean of a random variable.
american heritage dictionary, 1996

Yesterday the psychologist tried to explain to me why having expectations is bad for us. perhaps I am dense, but I just don't get it.

Expectations can be viewed as social norms. The way we should behave in public. We expect politeness and courtesy from others. We expect people to obey the law. Of course, we also expect at least 3 people to run the red light.

Expectations can be seen as behavior we expect from ourselves. We can expect ourselves to perform well in certain situations. We expect that we will do the right thing. We expect that we will always be able to achieve at least 50% of the goals we set for ourselves.

Expectations can be part of an event. When we go out to a fancy restaurant, we expect the service to be excellent, the food to die for and the waiter to not sneeze on our food. When we go watch the Dolphins play the lowly Texans, we are prepared to celebrate a certain win.

And what if we tossed these expectations aside and decided that instead we would live life without expectations? What would we have to judge our actions and behavior against? Is it possible to live life without these?

Of course my truly excellent psychologist had an answer for me. Even when he doesn't have an answer, he searches for one. I expect that of him. (he truly is awesome). Seems that expectations are bad, because they create unnecessary stress in our lives. We are all held up to the same measuring board despite all of our differences. Many of our expectations are unrealistic. Just imagine the new parents who believe that having a child will not dramatically alter the course of their lives.

So how, I asked, are we supposed to live our lives? With low expectations, high performance.


per·for·mance: n.
1. The act of performing or the state of being performed.
2. The act or style of performing a work or role before an audience.
3. The way in which someone or something functions.
4. A presentation, especially a theatrical one, before an audience.
5. Something performed; an accomplishment.
6. Linguistics. One's actual use of language in actual situations.
american heritage dictionary

Okay, I'll assume the good doctor is talking about the way in which someone performs. But every person performs at different levels in different areas. And I don't understand how I am supposed to perform at a high level without expecting myself to do so.

I expressed my doubts. Meanwhile the executive part of my brain was busy processing this concept and thinking about all the flaws and difficulties therein.

Despite knowing that I am an intelligent person, I cannot get my brain around how to live without expectations. How does this work? What does such a life look like? How would civilization as we know it survive without expectations?

goal: n. The purpose toward which an endeavor is directed; an objective.

By having goals. Ah. But doesn't one have expectations when pursuing a goal? I know that I do. Whenever I set a goal for myself, I expect to see progress. I also expect that there will be periods where I will lose ground.

The good doctor argued that having no expectations does not preclude having goals. Live life with low expectations, high performance and goals. Hmmm. I still don't see it. No, I don't get it at all.

The probability that I will ever in the future live a life without expectations is close to nil. Just a hunch. I hope that it is my destiny to become the person I would like to be. I trust that this will happen. The outlook is quite good (she says with incredible optimism). But I am supposed to avoid these assumptions, these thoughts of future (mental) fortune.

I should instead focus on purpose, not prospects. Oh wait, that should be goals, not prospects.

Oh I'm so confused.

But I expect that someone out there is more than willing to explain this to me.

I'm too lazy to switch commenting stuff today... please E-mail me your thoughts. Thanks!



Kari has to dress as a dog tomorrow for school. She's supposed to represent the first dog in space. Oh my.

We hit Annie's this afternoon and bought the last dog mask. We also found a grass skirt for Jon's party for her. No way will anyone get me in one of those. Absolutely not.

Anyway after Annie's we headed to the grocers. (Seems like I live there, doesn't it?) I dared Kari to wear her costume inside. So mask and black bodytard in place, she walked into Publix. Amazingly she didn't crack up laughing or try to hide behind me. No, she walked through the store with her head and ears held high.

Only a few people noticed that she was in costume. They smiled. One lady started laughing. The best reaction came at the dairy case. One customer leaned over to pick up a container of goats milk, saw Kari and jumped back 3 feet. I think she was a bit startled.

Kari was a bit disappointed at the lack of reaction, but she shrugged and rationalized, "They see stranger things every day here in Florida."



the blogger who...

The blogger I’d trust with my life: BRIAN
The blogger I can trust with my deepest, darkest secrets: STEPH
The blogger who makes me laugh the most: SUSAN
The blogger who makes me think the most: ROBERTA
The blogger I’d like to live near: STEPH
The blogger I’d like to have as a roommate: KARAN
The blogger I’d like to go to Disneyland with: KIM!
The blogger on my blogroll who is most similar to me: Oh this is tough... perhaps BEA
The blogger on my blogroll who is most different than me: HOLLY

Lastly, pick five bloggers you’d like to have a slumber party/party/bar night with. What would you do? Steph, Sue, Susan, Marjan and Karan. Oh, sit around and gab. Where the heck is the wine? Oh, and no desserts with syrups and such drizzled all over the plate.

Now if I wanted to take in a football game, then the answer would be Steph, Kevin, Stacy, Rachel and Derek. ;)

I found this over at Bea's. Thanks, Bea. Glad you are feeling better.


the old neighborhood, part 2

our house

My parents bought the colonel's house while I was at Va Tech for French immersion camp.

The house was brick, with a side porch, no walkway to the front door, 2 stories on a lot that sloped down to a pond with a little island in the middle that became home to two Canada Geese. Crab apples lined the driveway. Cedars were everywhere. Dogwoods ran along the road and down by the pond.

My first thought was, "What a box of a house." The second was "Look at all the trees!"

Kirk and I were to choose which room we wanted. We thought this was great until we realized that our bedrooms would either be exactly the same in size and shape or one of us could have a sucky little room that couldn't hold much of anything.

Kirk took the front bedroom. I was stuck with the back bedroom. Since they were the same, what was the problem? There were two giant mice painted on one wall. The town mouse and the country mouse. Dancing. Garbed in colonial era clothing. Since I took the hideous room, my parents promised me that they would have my room decorated first. Thank goodness!

There were 3 fireplaces in our house, 2 bay windows and in the basement was an apartment. The apartment had it's own kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living area. I wanted to live down there, but Dad wanted a pool table and a place to put his sports memorabilia.

The house even had a wine cellar. My parents have never had more than 4 bottles of wine on hand at a time, so the wine cellar became a storage space for things like ice skates, bikes, gardening tools.

Lucy, our basset, and Wheezer, our cat, loved the new house and the neighborhood. Lucy chased the red foxes that wandered into our yard, drooled over the deer that daintily partook of the cracked corn and bellied up to the saltlick, and stayed away from the Canada geese after a good pecking. Wheezer explored the fields to either side and would leave presents for us each day. At night they would collaps in exhaustion in front of the fireplace in the den while we humans read or watched tv.

My parents lived in that house for 12 years. The old timers in the neighborhood still refer to it as theirs.


Donut Muffins

Because they are addictive. And delicious. And my children love them.

Donut Muffins
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg at room temperature
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup milk at room temperature

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Grease muffins tins. Cream together shortening, sugar and egg. Beat well. Sift together dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Add milk; beat until smooth. Pour batter into muffin pans to about 2/3 full. Bake 20 minutes until light brown. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small pan. On waxed paper, mix sugar and cinnamon. As soon as the doughnuts finish baking, dip each one in melted butter; then roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Cool on a wire rack.

Eat these while they are hot! They do not freeze well. Nope, not at all.


Jack McKeon: did you know...

Dad had a paragraph about the Marlins' skipper in his book...
Another future major league name showed up near the bottom of the batting averages. Jack McKeon, who later would manage at Kansas City, Oakland, and San Diego, caught for the Burlinton-Graham Pirates and batted a lowly .181. McKeon, who never reached the top as a player but capped his career in the majors as San Diego's general manager, returned to Bur-Gra for 17 games the next season and departed with a .133 average.

Dad's hoping to get to meet Mr. McKeon in January. He wants to have him autograph his book.



Today Nana enters into her 86th year. She has her purple hat firmly on her head and her car keys in her grasp. She'll be partying all week. Honest.

Nana may not like the getting older part -- she's always telling me that getting old sucks -- but she loves to have a reason to celebrate. Her friends will take her to lunch several times this week. She'll play cards on Friday night and they'll celebrate again. Her children will take her out to dinner tonight. She'll celebrate with a round of shopping and then call to tell me all her bargains.

Yup, in her 86th year and planning for the future too.

That's my Nana.

I love you, Nana. Party on!


what's the point?

Few are posting on the TPP board these days. I think it's all me. Me doing the posting and me why people dont.

That's the negative me speaking BTW.


I rediscovered a quote that fascinates me... "In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer." ~Albert Camus

Perhaps I shouldn't have been digging around in my french lit books, but it had to be done. My books are a mess. Robert's books had crept onto my bookcase. Why? I don't know, but he has the shelves I built for him in the family room for his books. My books are on a falling apart shelving unit in our room and in heaps in the hall closet and wherever else I can find to put them.

Anyway I found my battered copy of L'etranger and scribbled in the front was that quote. Perhaps it's a sign.

Then again... "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal." (Also Camus.)


Here's to that energy. Donut muffin anyone?


uh oh! or hee hee!

Richard loves to tell people that he has the cleanest room in the house. He delights in this. He's forever pointing this fact out to me, to his friends, to anyone who will listen.

But that has ended. Our room is now the cleanest.

Take that, Richard!

Yes, the Fall Cleaning bug has bitten me. I have been doing the 27 Item Fling for the past few days. Currently I have about 10 boxes of items for Goodwill, a bag or two of trash for the garbagemen and nothing under my bed.

How odd. Nothing under my bed. My mother would be shocked.


Go for the Gusto!

I'm a primary color
Woman of the Earth
I like strong colors
Strong Spicey perfume,
Strong and gentle men, love
Music of the violin, harp or piano
Crowds, laughter, parties, Christmas
Easter, ocean waves, fall leaves
Spring tuplips,
Sunset on the Lumbee River,
Rain drops on the roof and sunshine.
~Betty Oxendine Mangum
Lumbee Tribe
December, 1995


back to business

Duke finally fired Carl Franks. His record had to go to an abysmal 7 and 45 after 4 1/2 seasons before he was kicked out. Ted Roof was signed to be the interim head coach until after a national search for a competent coach.

My mother was telling me that since Roof was promoted to the head coach position the media has printed and presented many personal anecdotes about Roof and his family. She paraphrased something that Roof's son said that struck me as sad... "Does this mean my dad is really fired too?"

Yes, it does. Roof gets to take over a team that should have been playing better than it has been this season. He gets to try and remake a losing team into winners over the second half of the season. An impossible job. And in the end, he'll be let go in favor of whichever coach Duke feels will turn the football team from a laughingstock into contenders.

Sucks. To be asked to shoulder this responsibility, to be the caretaker until "someone better" can be found sucks. To know that you have a tremendous burden for the next weeks and then your ass will be booted out has to be stressful.

So, Coach Roof, I wish you well. I hope that your players recognize your dedication to them and that they will play to the best of their abilities. I hope that you are able to capitalize on your knowledge of the game and of your players to help these student-athletes regain a sense of pride in themselves as a team.

I dream that you kick butt in the second half of the ACC football season.


the old neighborhood

Dr. Bestebreurtje

My senior year of high school, a tragedy struck our town. Arie Bestebreurte died.

Everyone knew who he was. He was the minister to the congregation of the Presbyterian Church in town. He was a neighbor. He was the crazy guy who would strap on skates and blur down the frozen reservoir in the winter.

Dr. Bestebreurtje died of hypothermia. He was skating and the ice cracked beneath him. The waters of the reservoir claimed him for their own. His death was big news. Mr. Hurt announced it over the PA system at school. We heard it on the radio, the tv, everywhere. Queen Beatrix of the Nederlands sent her condolences to the Bestebreurtje family.


All the way through high school, I rode the bus to school. Every morning Dr. Bestebreurtje would wait for me at the end of the driveway and walk with me down to the bus stop. If I happened to be sick, he would come and knock on the front door to make sure that I was okay. If he wasn't waiting for me, I would stop by his house after school to make sure he was okay.

Dr. B was my neighbor, my minister and a friend. He taught me how to skate far too fast and the proper way to spin on the ice and to perform a simple jump. He always had something interesting to say about the most mundane things.

One of his favorite things to share about himself was that he was a lawyer who found religion. He thought that was hysterically funny. But how he came to believe so much in God that he left the legal profession to go to seminary is where the true story lies.

Arie Bestebreurtje was born in the Nederlands. He grew up wearing skates. He represented his country in the Olympics as a speed skater. He became a lawyer. He married. He and his wife started their family.

Then WWII started.

Dr. B became a member of the Dutch Resistance. He was the Dutch liason officer to the 82nd Airborne. He was one of the men who went into concentration camps and helped liberate the Jews. The horrors that he saw. Whenever he mentioned a concentration camp he became silent. There were no words to describe what he saw or how those horrors made him feel.

Once he went to tell me about those experiences. His face was alight with remembered anticipation as he told of preparing to go in, but as soon as he began to tell of entering the camp, his face became shuttered. No expression. He withdrew into his own memories.

But somehow those horrors and his interaction with the freed prisoners made his belief in a Greater Power grow and become so strong that he left the profession that he trained for to go into the ministry.

And we loved him at the church. He could present a sermon and share little stories that taught a lesson without lecturing. Yes, his topics were often dry, but he had a bit of the fire and brimstone in him. He had seen Hell.

He'd tell me that the war made him a better person, helped him to see the possibilities in himself and he wanted to create change for the good whenever possible.

Dr. B started by cultivating the best of himself and living life with verve.

Elemental in nature, mystical, often a teacher, you are a dragon!
You're a dragon!

You are mysterious and possess wisdom as ancient as
the universe itself.

Though you have a sense of loyalty, your only true
loyalty is to yourself, and your motives are
rarely known to those around you.

You enjoy learning and teaching as well as
scorching a few peasants in your spare

Congratulations! Dragons have much myth and
mystery surrounding them, but you make it a

What pagan familiar are you?
brought to you by Quizilla


eliz's Weekly Survey

Who will win the World Series
the Yankees
the Marlins

Current results
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We are behind a little red corvette at the stoplight. Rick reads the words around the license plate: "I'd rather be topless."

"Mom, can you believe that!"

"Ummm, sweetie, the car is a convertible."

"Oh, I get it. But what a provocative statement! "

Later... different stoplight, different direction... we're behind a truck that has bumperstickers all over it. On the bumper, the back window, the sides, the tailgate. All over.

"Mom, do you see that sticker on the back window?"

"Ummm, sweetie, there are tons of stickers. Which one?"

"The one in the upper left corner. Do you think the driver really loves dick?"

silly things for stacy

something for me

"Imagination is the beginning of creation.
You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will."

~George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

I dream of a life where cycling means getting on a bike and pedaling.

I imagine living life without fear of depression or mania.

I desire emotional peace.

I want to feel comfortable in my own skin.

One day I will wake up and dress in a tank top and shorts, hop on my bike and pedal to a park where I will sit at the foot of an old oak tree and write stories that my children's children will read to their children and say, "Your great grandmother wrote this with you in heart."

And I will do this because my meds and more therapy will allow me to find the inner strength to do so.



My poor attempt. I desperately need help. Practice should help

And then we have ones that Steph has so kindly made for me. Obviously she is so much better at this than I.

You should see the one she made for Cindy. I love that one. And then there's Kim's. Totally cool. And... and... and...

Oh. Her personal ones are fun too!

I think perhaps that Xmas stockings are more up my alley for now. Must remember to email Marjan.


what the heck?

What happened to the Hokies? How dare they lose to WVU! Oh, I know, this isn't personal. I don't play for the Hokies. I didn't go to school there. But dammit!

Robert spent hours last night complaining about Alex Gonzalez. Hours. I'm not kidding. He told him off in various ways (he was speaking at the tv of course). Basically it all boiled down to the fact that Robert felt Gonzalez was sucking it up royally during the post-season. Have to laugh at the fact that Gonzalez won game 4 for the Marlins last night.


reason #1

One reason to be on the melancholy side...

a rejection notice for my little story.


did you know...

...that this year we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the World Series?

...the last 7 teams that won game three of the World Series also won the World Series?

...there was no World Series in 1994 (or in 1904)?

...that Roger Clemens is retiring after the Series, thus he'll start his last game tonight?

...that Roger Clemens has only played in the majors for 20 years? (I swear it feels like my entire life.)

...that there are no clouds in the sky here in So. Florida right now? None. I've been checking all afternoon. Nary a one.



I was standing in the kitchen last night flipping bacon (no microwaving it for me!) when Rick and Kari came tumbling through the front door. Immediately they began talking about dinner.

Rick: "I smell bacon."

Kari: "Is that what that smell is?"

Rick: "I bet we're having potato soup."

Kari: "I think we're having breakfast for dinner."

I yelled to them that we were indeed having breakfast for dinner, but that wednesday night we'd have potato soup.

Kari: "You're so stupid, Rick. Why would you think we're having potato soup when Mom is fixing bacon?"

Rick: " 'Cause she puts bacon, cheese and sour cream on the top of potato soup when she makes it. You are such an idiot sometimes."

*sigh... I just love my kids.


to keep myself occupied

Mood mellowing tips for myself:

1) Meditate only when Robert can keep the dragonets corralled.

2) When stressing go ahead and go outside and scream to the trees. They'll just wave back and make me laugh at myself. Besides, the yelling is a great stress reliever.

3) Play the piano LOUDLY.

4) Walk.

Things to avoid:

1) Ironing.

2) Mopping the front door.

3) Making big batches of spaghetti.

4) Working with Rick on his algebra. (let Robert deal with it)

How to keep myself occupied:

1) Needlepoint yet another Christmas stocking. (anyone need one? lol)

2) Cut out snowflakes.

3) Read fluff.

4) Paint.

5) Work on the oct99 website.



Perhaps it would be better if I just stayed in my room and avoided all people for the next little while. The smallest things are driving me bonkier (is that even a word?).

I don't want to cook or bake.

I don't want to look at my yard.

I don't want to even read.

This is fairly serious.

The least little thing will send me through the roof. Seriously.


I wanna review this!

From the moment we tried to leave the house for today's Patriots-Dolphins game, we should have known the outcome.

First Robert left the tickets sitting on the counter. Half a mile down the road he realized that his hat was in the other car and that his radio was in a drawer. We had to turn around and get them. Thirty minutes after our normal departure time, we were finally on the road.

And there was no traffic. None. Very strange. Normally traffic is backed up to Pines Blvd. But not today. Smooth sailing all the way down University until just before the turn into Calder. We were shocked that the main parking lot was full. After all the turnpike wasn't even clogged with honking fans. A screech and a thump came from behind us. The guy behind us had been slammed by another driver and he just missed slamming into the back of us. Poor guy was definitely going to be late to the game.

We parked at Calder and hopped on the bus to Joe Robbie. Normally we walk, but there was no waiting for the bus. But the bus did get stuck in line at the stadium. Oh what joy to sit on a bus within sight of the gates. We sat there for 10 minutes before Robert stood up and asked to be let out.

We sprinted around to the backside of the stadium and shoved our way through the milling fans to have our tickets scanned. The line to go up the escalator was ridiculously long and we could hear the national anthem being sung (badly), so we opted to head up the ramps.

Robert went to buy our drinks while I popped into the bathroom. Before the game is the only time to go. The bathroom attendant was having a major fit. Women kept throwing the paper towels on the floor instead of in the trash. With a "Damn women can't put the paper towels through the hole in the trashcan! Fine! I'll take the damn lid off!", she flung the lid over. My used PT went right in. But then I can hit the broad side of a barn that's 3 inches in front of my face.

Up to our seats. Only Harvey was there. I had beaten Bubba, Paul, Nancy, Robert and the man who came in Homer's place. Harvey's daughter and nephew weren't even in their seats yet. Very odd. I'm way too used to being the last ones to arrive.

Yep. We should have know that with all the strangeness before the game that the refs would totally miss the Patriots' secondary's pass interences (among other things). Oh the Dolphins are not blameless, but still... Does anyone truly believe that Turk was not roughed up by the Patriots' special team? Come on!

And it was hotter than hell and no shade to be found. I had to go downstairs and stand in the "well" to cool down. I didn't want to miss the second half by taking a trip to the ER for heat stroke. Harvey and I stood in the shade with the fans blowing on us and talked football, baseball and whatever else popped into our heads.

Then I stood in line for 15 minutes to buy a bottle of water and an arepa. My cost -- $8.75! The woman in front of me spent $8.25 and received 2 beers, chicken tenders, fries, a large coke and some peanuts. Then again she had huge breasts and a blinding white smile.

Her breasts were huge and perky. Odd to put those two words together, but there you have it. Two teenage boys were cutting through the halftime lines and actually changed their minds about stepping in front of me. Oh no, instead they walked in front of Ms. Overinflated. The space was tight, but not so tight that the one boy had to puff out his chest and deliberately rub up against Ms. Overinflated and her twins.

Back to the game. Third quarter flew by. Fourth quarter puffed along. I made a call to Steph, but could only hear static so I hung up. I really wanted her to reclaim the damn refs. Okay, so they could see that Ricky Williams' knees did not touch the ground on that one play that NE protested, but still... they are refs. Turk muffed a punt. Olindo Mare had a blocked field goal.

And the game went into overtime. Bad news. New England had won their previous 6 overtime games. Fiedler had lost two overtime games.

Uh oh.

But at least we know that the Dolphins are more intelligent than the Patriots. They didn't become confused as to what was heads and what was tails on the coin. They understood that they won the OT coin toss. The Patriots did not.

The Dolphins elected to receive. Big surprise -- NOT! Despite a bad call on the refs part (yup, the receiver was out of bounds) and some good runs by Williams, the Dolphins did not score. Oh no, Mare MISSED a 35-yd FG!


And, Fiedler, did you notice that Brady threw a 90 yard pass? That's what a real quarterback does when the going gets tough. He doesn't opt for a 2 yd pass when 10 yds are needed. He goes for it all.

And the Patriot fans celebrated. Loudly. All around us.

One exuberant fan screamed out, "Thank you, Marlins!"

Yup, it's hard to kick off of dirt.


what's up with that?

I'm still waiting for someone to sign Robert Edwards. Unbelievably no one has picked him up. I wonder why not.

Here's the latest. The article is from the Palm Beach Post.


see ya!

I dropped Kari off at the ranch this morning. She had babbled all day yesterday about how the meteorologists had promised cool weather for today and how she was looking forward to this. She still wore her usual jodpurs and sleeveless t-shirt.

Good thing, because it's already almost 80 degrees.

On the plus side for her, there is a misty quality to the weather this morning, so many of the usual riders were not at the barns at 8am. Instead of picking 15th to 25th for which horse she wanted to ride, she gets to pick 5th. Also going for her is that the horses she likes to ride are off limits to first-timers.

And I already know she won't be riding Freddie, the 33 year old horse. He's cantankerous.

Ooh, one child out of the house. Now must think on how to get the other two out for a few hours. I think a call to my neighbor is in order.


Happy Birthday, Dad!



A-ACT YOUR AGE: 37 (Must I?)

B-BOYFRIEND: how about "H" husband?


D-DAD'S NAME: William


F-FAVE ACTRESS: can't decide right now.



I-INSTRUMENTS YOU PLAY: piano, used to play guitar

J-JOB TITLE: "Hey, you!"

K-KIDS: Rick, Kari and Brooks

L-LIVING ARRANGEMENTS: my messy house on the Ridge


N-# OF MEN YOU'VE SLEPT WITH: 3 and a half (the half wasn't worth the time)

O-OVERNIGHT HOSPITAL STAYS: 5 -- at birth, T&A, 3 c-sections

P-PHOBIA: driving in the rain, canals

Q-QUOTE YOU LIKE: "This day has felt 24 hours long."

R-RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: no official affiliation

S-SIBLINGS: 1 brother

T-TIME YOU WAKE UP DRAG YOURSELF OUT OF BED: when the dog licks me in the face or Brooks bounces on the bed

U-UNIQUE HABIT: playing Bach's 1st invention when nervous/upset...


W-WORST HABIT: I'm a messy

X-X-RAYS: too many

Y-YUMMY FOOD YOU MAKE: pound cake!


swiped from Steph.



Normally when I go into a low cycle, I'm very very quiet. I retreat into my messed up mind and my bedroom and don't want to emerge. Not for anything. The house could burn down around me and I'd still be sitting on my bed.

But I'm being proactive this time. I'm struggling to talk to Robert about what is going through my mind -- even if he does his usual eye rolls and sighs. I want him to understand what I don't even understand. Perhaps I mean that I want him to feel some of the anguish, uncertainty and self-loathing that hits me at these times.

Robert is not a talker. Heck, the first time we met, he simply nodded at me. The second time he said "hey, you want a beer?" His mother was amazed at how long our phone calls were before we married.

I kept him up to all hours last night. My mouth would not stop jabbering away. Poor guy. And then the major insult was that I fell asleep before he did. Not well done of me at all. No, not at all.

At least he was entertained by my actions while sleeping. Seems I shook my fist at him and then showed him one finger and then a second.

Oh well.


back to the zoo

No school today, so off we went to the zoo. Robert took the day off in order to spend it with us.

We rode the monorail to the far end and walked back. Totally backwards from how we normally do things at Metrozoo, but Brooks wanted to see the monkeys. He has talked about those monkeys all week long. Of course, the monkeys are at the end.

Colobus monkeys, howler monkeys that are LOUD, squirrel monkeys... and the list goes on. He likes zebras too, but the monkeys were what it was all about today.

We expected the day to be hot and long. We expected the zoo to be crowded with "camp kids". We expected the otters would not be out as usual.

We were pleasantly surprised.

Hopefully I'll have a few decent pictures when I pick up my film tomorrow.


excuse me?

Sometimes the silly stuff amuses me.

A commercial touting some medication to help women through menopause goes through the list of people who should not be taking this drug: men and pregnant women or women who are trying to become pregnant. Would someone explain to me why a man would be taking or want to take a menopause medication? And obviously a pregnant woman is not menopausal. Sheesh.

An ad for a technical school -- UTI. Come on. I'd never be able to go there. UTI to me means urinary tract infection. Ooh, perhaps that should have been attend instead of to go...


have you found your pumpkin yet?


when it rains...

Sheesh. My family needs to get healthy. Things come in threes, so hopefully this last spurt of hospitalizations is over.

One: Nana had her procedures. She didn't like what the doctors told her, but she's feeling a bit better now. She has some answers she was looking for. Nana is a firm believer in knowing as much as you can.

Two: My father-in-law has been in a lot of pain, so he underwent exploratory surgery since other tests weren't showing any reason for the pain. His pain was caused by adhesions from a previous surgery and some stitches that never dissolved. Ewww. Now he's at home, sitting around in his sweatpants because his incisions are sore. My poor mother-in-law. He's doing great though and is relieved that there wasn't anything serious going on.

Three: My uncle Al slipped and fell in his house. He didn't break anything, but because his condition is so poor -- he also has emphysema, diverticulitis and a myriad of other old age ailments -- he has been put into a nursing home. Hopefully this will be temporary. His meds were making him a bit off, so the doctors changed them.

Al has a dry sense of humor. He knows everyone and keeps everyone on their toes. Something always happens around him. He enlivened our wedding reception by getting his tongue caught in his partials and having to be rushed to the hospital when blood began spurting everywhere. He was back lickety-split. He had to send me off with a hug.

Here's to better health for all of them.


feeling out of sorts...

Oops! Here I go again. Off into my funky moods. I never know how I'll feel at any given time. I swear that much of it has to do with the seasons -- or rather the lack thereof. Right now I'm not liking myself much.

Nope, not much at all.

I cannot get anything done. No real desire to get anything done. Sucks for me and especially for all those around me. This is ridiculous.

So today -- since my men were keeping me off the computer -- I tried to pick up my mood by reading a romance novel. I was attracted to the title of this particular book, not the writing, the story or the author. Just the title.

Men in Kilts

*snicker... All I could think of was sitting around with Steph and rhapsodizing about men in kilts.

I almost melted on the spot. I had lucked out and how! A Scot. A real live, woolly sweater wearing, brogue-thick-enough-you-could-trot-a-horse-on-it Scot. Right next to me! My knees went a bit weak.

I love Scotsmen. I love everything about them -- I love the way they talk, I love the way they dress, I love that wonderful little noise they make in the backs of their throats, and I love the way they smell. Yes, it's true, they have a smell all their own, and it's glorious. To me, Scottish men smell like the outdoors, with an overtone of bagpipe and an amusing little hint of something wild and craggy and utterly indefinable.

pp. 4-5, Men in Kilts by Katie MacAlister

Thank goodness I have several other books to redeem my romance novel reading day.


a woman should...

one old love
she can imagine
going back to...
and one who reminds
her how far she has come...

enough money within her
control to move out and
rent a place of her own
even if she never wants
to or needs to...

something perfect to wear if
the employer or date of her dreams
wants to see her in an hour...

a youth she's content
to leave behind...

a past juicy enough that
she's looking forward to
retelling it in her old age....

a set of screwdrivers, a
cordless drill, and a black
lace bra...

one friend who always makes
her laugh... and one who lets
her cry...

a good piece of furniture
not previously owned by anyone
else in her family...

eight matching plates, wine
glasses with stems, and a recipe
for a meal that will make her
guests feel honored..

a feeling of control over
her destiny...

how to fall in love without
losing herself...

how to quit a job,
break up with a lover,and confront a friend
without ruining the friendship...
and how to change a tire!!!!!!!

when to try harder ... and
when to walk away...

that she can't change the
length of her calves, the width
of her hips, or the nature of her

that her childhood may not
have been perfect...but its

what she would and wouldn't
do for love or more...

how to live alone... even if
she doesn't like it...

whom she can trust,
whom she can't,
and why she shouldn't
take it personally...

where to go...
be it to her best friend's kitchen table...
or a charming inn in the woods...
when her soul needs soothing...

what she can and can't
accomplish in a day...
a month...and a year...

Just one of those emails going around right now. Nana sent me this one. Mom and I agree that a woman should also have her own pliers. (Aren't you glad I finally returned yours, Mom?)



Okay, take notes.

When little tot asks for ice cream cone cupcakes, make them. BUT do not fill the cones more than 2/3 full. That is unless you want to get the dripping ice cream effect. Rather amusing in a way. If only the digital camera had fresh batteries.



Buy a box mix and follow directions. Put cake ice cream cones in muffin pans. Fill the cones 2/3 full and bake as directed.

Makes for some fun. And if you ever have a craving for cupcakes and are out of the cupcake papers and have ice cream cones...


Happy Birthday, Brooks!

My baby is 4 today. He ran into my room this morning, jumped on the bed and announced, "Mommy, I am 4. Do you have something to say to me?"

Of course I did! I sang him happy birthday and gave him a giant hug and kiss. He then demanded that I go get Kari from school so she could wish him a happy birthday too. I don't think so.

We had made big plans for things to do today, but the BCSD screwed us over by not having today be a holiday. Instead this friday is. Robert will have to ask for the day off so that we can run around doing fun things to celebrate Brooks' big day.

Breakfast out, the zoo, the bookstore to play trains, dinner at Billy's, a movie...



UM pulled out a win over FSU. Take that, Coach Bowden! Mwah ha ha ha ha.

Jarrett Payton had a solid game. Robert and I were excited for him. He's had a rough time at UM. Freshman year his father -- "Sweetness" -- died. Two years he was injured more than he was healthy. He was red-shirted another year (I think -- after all he is a 5th year player). On top of that the guy was stuck playing behind the likes of Najeh Davenport, Clinton Portis and Willis MacGahee -- all in the NFL. Yesterday he got his first start of his college career because of Frank Gore's injury.

Payton ran against FSU, something other teams hadn't managed to do yet this season. He racked up almost 100 yards. FSU as a team had only 61 rushing yards. Run, Jarrett, run!

In his own words: "I felt like I had a purpose this week. I wanted to help the team win. I wanted to be a contributor. I felt like I did that today."


Okay, Cavaliers, why in the heck did you let the game slip out of your grasp? Come on, guys!


VA Tech kicked some butt. Need any more be said?


Something is wrong with Davidson. They only seem to be able to win away games. The Cats are 3-3 on the season. All 3 wins were away games. The losses were all at home. Can someone please explain this to me?

John Leverett had a totally awesome game against Jacksonville on Saturday. He rushed for 259 yards. Of those, 202 came in the second half. Leverett had 2 TD runs -- one for 8 yards and the other for 71. But his game wasn't perfect. No, he did his best to keep the Jacksonville Dolphins hopes alive with a fumble. I'm not going to complain though. He gained an average of 7 yards with each of his carries. He came close to breaking a Davidson record for number of carries during a game too. After this season he will find himself on the list of the top 10 rushers in Davidson football history. Six game into the 2003 season has taken him from not in the top 10 to number 5 on the list. And he's a junior.


Duke. Poor team. Will this season be Franks' last?




gone riding

Saturday mornings Kari drags me out of bed at 7:00. She knows that I do not move quickly in the morning and that if I'm not out of bed an hour before it's time to leave, she'll be late.

Late for horse camp. This is a disaster in the extreme. They don't have to be there until 8:30, but it seems that all the "good" horses are taken by those who arrive at 8 am. Kari never rides the same horse twice, so I've never been quite sure why it really matters when she gets there.
Yesterday she explained it to me.

Certain horses are better for bareback riding, and Kari enjoys riding bareback. Because she is still a novice, Sam will only let her take certain horses out for the afternoon ride if she wants to ride without a saddle. Kari is confused by this since Sam is also impressed with how well she has taken to riding this way. In 3 2-hr bareback trail rides, Kari has only slipped off her horse's back twice.

Yesterday was almost the third time. Seems she was cantering on Henry and didn't realize that he likes to put his head down when he canters. Kari said she almost went tumbling over his head when he took off.

Did she need to tell me this? Hey, I'm her mother. I worry a lot when she's out riding. And now she wants to get into jumping and all that. I'm hoping that Mrs. Purdy will agree with me that she can wait a bit before doing all that stuff.

Then again I did not like jumping or galloping. A nice canter across an open field or just ambling along a shaded path -- that was my idea of fun on horseback.


game day

Wouldn't it just figure that the day Virginia is on tv here, they play at the same time as UM and as Va Tech? That is so so so wrong. On top of that the Davidson-Jacksonville game is on the radio too. My brain is bogging down trying to keep track of what's going on with which team. I have to make periodic phone calls to Robert to update him.

UM has come out to play in the rain. They are a bunch of mudders compared to FSU. UM is having fun playing on the soggy field and splashing. I don't think FSU likes to get wet at all. Poor buggers. Ba ha ha ha ha ha!

VA Tech's offense doesn't even have to do anything. They just let the punt returner be responsible for all their scoring. Two punt returns for TDs in the first half. Where the heck is Syracuse's special team? Not that I particularly care, it's kind of fun just watching a good special team play. Hokie, hokie, hokie high!

Let's not talk about Virginia's poor performance so far. They had better come out in the second half and cage those Tigers!

And Davidson is beating Jacksonville at halftime... 13 to 6. Go Cats! Woohoo! (Coach F., you are fading in and out. What's the deal with that?)

Now if Duke could manage to beat Maryland at Maryland tonight....

Hey, a Dukie can dream, right?


Au Secours!

Eggo Waffles are a favorite with my three children. Rick can eat them morning, noon and night. Kari might eat them once a week. Michael likes them for snack -- syrup only! I snack on them too. Bad habit.

Yesterday Rick and Michael were fixing a mid-morning snack. Out came the syrup, the milk, plates and forks. Rick plugged in the toaster while Michael ran to the freezer to get the Eggos. They popped two into the toaster and pushed the lever down.

Two seconds later smoke started pouring out of the toaster. Sparks started flying. Rick came running, "Mom! Mom! The toaster is on fire!" I strolled into the kitchen to see billowing smoke and an infuriated almost-four-year-old. I unplugged the toaster and told them they would have to eat something else, perhaps banana pudding.

But no, that wasn't good enough. They HAD to have their Eggos. I cleaned out the crumbs that had accumulated over the past week on the toaster bottom and sides thinking that was probably the problem, plugged the toaster back in and pushed the lever down.

Crumbs were not the problem.

Today I must go out and find a replacement for our toaster. Horrible thought. We've only had this toaster for 10 years. Should I spend a lot of money or just buy something that will toast Eggos to perfection without breaking the bank? Hmmm.



Have you ever had a headache that hurt so badly you were sure that everyone could see the pounding going on? I mean, come on, there's no way anyone could miss it. Someone was inside your head just swinging a hammer as hard as possible.

That's how I've felt the past few days. Awful. Simply awful.

And this morning I awakened to no pain in the old skull. Quite shocking. Quite wonderful.

Now to just get rid of the earaches and sore throat that go hand in hand with a sinus infection...


happy birthday, kirk!

My younger brother is now 34. He can no longer tell me that I'm 4 years older than he is. Hmmph!

Kirk, I hope you have a wonderful birthday. Celebrate through the weekend! May your Wahoos crush the Tigers. May you and Coley have fun at the Pumpkin Patch. May all your blessings shine.

Love ya, little brother.


happy birthday, mom!


last night

Last night I awoke and was immediately disoriented. There was no glow filtering through the window sheers from the spotlight on nana's tree. The blaring of ambulance sirens weren't part of the traffic hum. I wasn't sleeping in a four-poster bed that creaks with every movement. AND there was someone else in my bed!

With a shake of my head I went from being 10 and visiting my grandparents to my real life: 37, sleeping in a hotel bed in Huntersville, listening to the traffic pass by on 77.

I rolled over, snuggled up to Robert's side and drifted back into sleep.


ready to scream

We were supposed to leave an hour and 20 minutes ago, but Frog escaped. He darted out the front door that Rick did not close behind me as I asked him to do. I couldn't do it. I had 2 suitcases and various other bags.

We have followed Frog's leaping migration from one neighbor's shrubbery to another. He taunts us by stretching out right at the edge of the landscaping -- within arm's length. He purrs loudly enough for us to hear. Just as our fingers are brushing his fur, off he hops.

Oh he is going to be in so much trouble when we actually catch him. No catnip for him! And Binky is not a sharing kind of cat.


reading, writing and 'rithmatic

The Trojan War is Rick's current book. He told me that he much prefers this to Homer's Iliad. "Mom, I just don't have a clue as to what he's talking about. I can't remember anything." But Coolidge's book is a quick read.

His writing is slowly improving, but if I have to read the words "in conclusion" one more time I may scream. Loudly. Rick was not happy when I informed him that he was to now write a minimum of 15 sentences instead of his usual 10. Poor thing. Dr. H. is going to observe him doing his written work. Hopefully we'll come up with a game plan to help Rick get what is in his brain down on paper.

And then there is math. The bane of my existence. I'm actually not bad in math, but the anxiety that takes over whenever I see a math problem... that's the bad part. Rick has started his algebra program from Calvert. He's getting the concepts. The trouble is getting him to slow down and stop making stupid mistakes.


out of my baby's mouth

Dog jumped on the table to eat a jalapeno pepper. Michael's comment: "You are one stupid bastard, Toby."



arrrrrrrrrrrrrgh! My webhost is down and I cannot publish anything. I get an obnoxious error message: 001 Connection refused

Of course this isn't blogger's fault. Nope, this can be laid at the feet of my webhost. They didn't pay to renew their domain name registration among other things. *sigh... Of course I have this site to update, my brother's, etc. Very frustrating.


baking together

Rick and I made bread together late this morning. We were down to 3 slices of whole wheat bread, and Cindy was completely out. Something had to be done.

Rick was fascinated by the yeast. He didn't quite realize what would happen when he stirred the yeast into the warm water. "Whoa! Is it supposed to do THAT?"

His measuring techniques need some work. The dumping techniques he uses for his special meatloaf aren't appropriate for making bread -- at least not when you are a complete novice. Rick didn't think much of how long kneading takes. Ba ha ha ha ha!

Our loaves are on the final rising before baking. Should be interesting to see how his turns out in comparison to mine.

Michael is ready to bake now. Right now. Actually right now meaning 5 minutes ago!



Hmmm, heads of telemarketing firms have put themselves on the national Do Not Call registry?

Experiment? Or do they despise those dinner interrupting calls from people you don't want to hear from/buy from/talk to?


middle of the night phone calls

The house was silent. Robert and I were snuggled on our bed. Our children were sprawled on theirs. Toby was snoring. Even Binky and Frog were sleeping.

Then the phone rang. Not our regular phone, my cellphone.

Other than Robert and Cindy, the only person who calls my cellphone is my brother. The only reason he would call me in the middle of the night is something bad happening. My pulse sky rocketed as I sprinted across the room to answer.

No one there. Kirk's number wasn't in the box. Wrong number. Whatever. Thoroughly pissed off, I crawled back into bed to sleep a few more hours.

At 7 am, my mailbox alert sounded. Whomever had called left me a message. They also left Robert a message on his phone. We decided it must be some Verizon message. Although why they would send it out in the middle of the night and possibly panic soundly sleeping customers, we couldn't figure.

Robert dialed into his voicemail. The call that woke us both from sound sleeps was from a bar. A bar!

Come in before 1 am and show this message to drink free!

Oh please. If you want us to come in before 1 am, please send us the message before 3:40 am. (And we've never heard of this bar either!)

"Earth laughs in flowers." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson