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12/31/2003  

Steph is at it again!






12/30/2003  

drifting


This year has been about keeping my head above water. Staying sane. I've also been busy keeping my dragonets under control while allowing them to explore the world or at least their little corner of it.

But I'm tired of treading water and drifting with the currents. I want to regain control over my life. I want to determine where my life is heading instead of letting outside forces control my destiny.

Only one more full day of 2003 left. Only one more day where you'll find me drifting with the currents. Not that anyone will likely notice changes that are taking place within me... not for a long time.

Now I must go dolls with Steph. She keeps saying "Psst!" As if I do not hear her!




 

ta dum!


The year is almost over. The year is almost done. I didn't accomplish much, but hey, that's for next year. ;)




12/29/2003  

Oops!


Davidson stunk up Cameron today. Oh my! Twenty-two years ago today was the last time Davidson managed to defeat the Blue Devils.

(I had to pull for both teams. Is there such a thing as a devilish wildcat?)




 

and he stays


Through 2006, Dave Wannstedt will remain head coach. He will submit to the personnel decisions of a GM, but he will remain head coach.

And what happens next year if the Dolphins fail to go to the playoffs yet again? Hmmm. Then will his ass be the last thing we see as he gets punted outta here?




12/28/2003  

murphy's law


Every time I go to work on the family history, the websites I need to use are bogged down with traffic. Hmmph!

On the other hand I have discovered the name of my great-great-great-grandmother who emigrated from Baden in the 1850s.




 

the sound of silence


Normally we leave no later than 10:30 for a 1 o'clock football game. Today we left at 11:30. Amazingly there was no traffic. People weren't forced to park at Calder and then walk to Joe Robbie (walking is faster than riding the bus sometimes). Few cars were parked at the stadium. Walking in there was no jostling to get through the turnstile. We didn't have to wait to buy our sodas before the game. Heck, there weren't even lines in the women's rooms.

Quiet reigned. Eerily so considering that our opponents today were the Jets -- the team with the NFL's loudest, most obnoxious fans.

Granted this game meant little in the scale of things. Neither team had a good season. Neither team was going to the playoffs. Both teams were just making gestures. And the fans made their feelings known by remaining silent as the offensive line was introduced, as the tight ends were introduced, as the kickers were announced. Booing ensued when the quarterbacks rolled out of the tunnel. Was anyone cheered? Yes. The defensive squad: defensive backs, linebackers... all those guys that make or break a game for the Dolphins.

A group of us decided that we could handle a loss to the Jets if that meant Wannstedt was gone. We really didn't particularly care what the outcome of the game was as long a Ricky Williams made bonus (We like Mr. Williams). Oh, and as long as the Jets didn't do their stupid cheer.

And they didn't. For the first time in my memory as a season ticket holder, we were not greeted with a sea of green in Joe Robbie. Our ears were not pummeled with "J - E - T - S! Jets! Jets! Jets!" Fights were not breaking out all over the place. No, for the first time ever Dolphins fans and Jets fans were coexisting peacefully. Odd. Very odd.

The oddest occurence was at the beginning of the 4th quarter though when Grau's snap sailed over Turk's head. The Dolphin fans began pulling for the Jets. They cheered the Jets all the way to the other endzone. They booed the referee's ruling that the pass for the 2-point conversion was incomplete. When Fiedler marched the Fins back down to the one yard line and then threw an interception, he wasn't booed. Oh no, the Fins fans cheered for the Jets and their good luck.

That was the end of being turncoats. The defense came on the field and the Dolphins fans were back screaming and yelling, taunting the other fans with "J - E - T - S! Suck! Suck! Suck!" But even with all the noise, we were a subdued bunch. We didn't quite believe that the Dolphins could pull off a win. We didn't believe they could get close enough to even attempt a field goal. We didn't believe that enough time could be run off the clock to keep the Jets from scoring.

Pessimistic bunch. That's what we are. That's what we have become since Shula retired, since Marino retired, since Jimmy Johnson couldn't raise the Fins from the dead, since Wannstedt has failed to get into the playoffs with his current squad, since Wannstedt keeps spouting off about his faith in Fiedler as the Dolphins quarterback of the future.

To truly understand how far the Dolphins and Jets have fallen from power, you had to be there. You had to see the Jets fans congratulating us on our win, shaking our hands, clapping us good naturedly on our shoulders. You had to see the lack of fire on the field, the calm acceptance of bad plays by the coaching staff and players.

This is why we have become a bunch of Ricky Williams' fans. He's the only one capable of getting the crowd to roar, to scream, to cheer. He's the one out there getting the snot knocked out of him repeatedly because the offensive line isn't blocking effectively. He's the one who provides the Dolphins with any "plays of the game". Yep, we're celebrating his $200,000 bonus for gaining 1,350 rushing yards.

Who cares about the win over the Jets. Not me. I'm waiting to see what happens in the off-season.




12/27/2003  

WaHoo!


Hurray! UVA managed to hold on and win the Continental Tire Bowl today. Bye bye, Pittsburgh! Of course Robert is grousing now about the UM-Pittsburgh game. Hmmph! Who cares? UVA won!

The announcers were obviously 3rd or 4th tier. They were awful! Schaub became Shockey, Charlottesville moved to within 5 yards of Charlotte, Pittsburgh became University of Marino... and so on and so forth.

To top it off the one announcer's voice was irritating in the extreme. I think the person was a woman, but then again, it may have been a man with a high-pitched voice.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

The Insight Bowl: Now come on. The headlines read "Tigers Maul Hokie Defense". Yes, California ran all over the Hokies, but lets be honest here. The Hokies also ran all over the Tigers. Virginia Tech scored 49 points. They lost by 3 to California. Hmmm.... doesn't sound lopsided to me as far as defenses go.

My choice of headline would have been "Tigers Claw Their Way to Victory".

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Wannstedt will find out his fate on Tuesday. I thinks he's gone. I hope he's outta there. I hope the Dolphins can find a decent coach, not a reject from another team. I also hope that they take the plunge and hire a GM. Sometimes it isn't good to let the coach make all the major personnel decisions. There need to be some checks and balances. Ya know?

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Oh how I hope the Dolphins win tomorrow. Nothing worse than going to a game at Joe Robbie with all those obnoxious Jets fans and then losing. The agony is almost beyond bearing.





12/26/2003  

shhh!


Laryngitis has stopped in for the annual after Christmas visit. I'm vastly amused as always. Thank goodness my dragonets are basically decent, non-firebreathing types.

But I'm wondering why I always get laryngitis this time of year...

Is this a result of the annual nasty cold? Has the coughing taken its toll on my vocal cords and this is my voicebox's way of recovering? I totally cannot blame my throat for its refusal to let noise be emitted. Hurts far too much.

Then again perhaps my annual bout is due to all the talking I do during the month of December. Yes, in the month of December I babble more than at any other time of year. Yesterday was the worst of it. I was awake and talking to the cats and dog by 6:30 am. From 8:30 until 1:30, I was singing and barking orders at the dragonets. From 1:30 until 7:30 I was being the good hostess and talking to all the family and friends who were wandering through my house and partaking of my food. From 8 until 9:30 I was on the phone with my family.

Hmmmm... my voice is simply on a much needed vacation. Wonder if it will let me tag along. There must be room in those suitcases.




12/24/2003  

Merry Christmas to All!






12/22/2003  

am I truly looking forward to this?



Honestly, all this work and thought and effort put into something so fleeting. Is it worth it?

Now where can I put another tree?




12/21/2003  

rawleigh's salve


Growing up, whenever Kirk and I had colds or sore throats, Mom would whip out the magical blue tin with smelly oily stuff in it. Rawleigh's Salve. She'd smear it under our noses and voila!, the congestion would go away long enough for us to have fun playing or to fall into a deep sleep.

The little tin has found itself in numerous medicine cabinets since 1963. It has gone from being completely full to just a few greasy reminders in the edges. But my mother will not toss the tin. Oh no, she has become stingy ... doling out q-tips that had been rolled in it.

When I married Robert in 1990, I began my search for my own little tin of Rawleighs Salve. Pharmacists up and down the East Coast looked at me funny whenever I'd inquire about the salve. Only one had ever heard of it, and he claimed it was no longer being sold.

Times changed. People preferred OTC medicines that they could pour into a vaporizer or measure out into a spoon. No one wanted to buy the medicated salve from a door-to-door salesman. I was forced to give up my quest.

And then came the Christmas that I had a massive sinus infection -- complete with raging headache, a head threatening to explode, congestion that required TNT to get through. Nana graciously allowed me to use some of HER hoard. My congestion began easing almost immediately. The infection wasn't gone... not by a long shot. Heavy duty meds were pulled out for that, but the salve allowed me to breathe until the prescriptions could begin their work.

My search was renewed. I checked all over the internet. Nothing. A mention here or there where others were also inquiring as to how to buy this salve. And then payday!

Rawleigh Medicated Ointment 5 Oz.

Concentrated with agents such as camphor, menthol, and oil of eucalyptus, Medicated Ointment is one of the best ointments for prompt and satisfying effects. The aroma and penetrating ingredients bring old-fashioned results when our immune systems let us down.


Ahhhhhhhh. I bought a tin for me, one for Kirk and an extra that I may decide to give to my mother.






12/20/2003  

phone tag


dialing 1-xxx-xxx-xxxx

riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing!


mom: Hello?

me: I have Rawleigh's salve. I have more than you do!

mom: pbbbbbbbbbbbtht!

click

a few minutes later....

riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing!

me: Hello?

mom: It's snowing! It's snowing!

click

a few minutes later...

1-xxx-xxx-xxxx

riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing!


mom: Hello?

me: It's 72 here and sunny! You could wear shorts!

mom: so? We have snow and you don't.

me: hmmph!

click






 

the cat! the cat!


Some days Frog just drives me bonkers. Today is one of those days.

1) he uprooted and then chewed off the roots of one of my huge plants in the living room. Now I must replace the plant. (before I awoke)

2) he knocked over 2 different christmas trees and batted the glass balls around. (one before I crawled out of bed, the other just 2 minutes ago)

3) he peed on my pine garland that was sitting on the floor. (I was up on the ladder arranging a different garland at the time he did this.)

4) he snatched my toast off my plate and ran with it. (he has a full bowl of food!)

5) he drank out of Rick's eggnog!

Now I must remember that I dearly love this little hellion. Frog is a very lovable, affectionate, friendly cat. I will tell myself this over and over and over again. And when I'm totally convinced that he has learned his lesson, he will be let out of time-out.

Yes, the Frogger is in time-out. He's meowing piteously from the laundry room.

No, I will not give in.




12/18/2003  

last year







 

the joy of being sick


Perhaps breathing hurt. Maybe I had a headache due to a fever. Possibly I suffered a pulled muscle or two from all the coughing. But there are some things about being sick that can be enjoyed.

1) None of my dragonets take random sips from my tea or water.

2) Rick becomes a mother hen and tries to keep everything under control while Robert is at work and I'm in bed.

3) No one asks to change the channel.

4) Both cats cuddle up next to me.

5) Brooks brings me lots of pictures he painted just for me.

6) Robert fixes dinner or orders out so I don't have to deal with meals.

7) Kari actually picks up her room and keeps the bathroom neat.

8) I can catch up on my reading.

9) I don't have to walk Toby at all.

10) But the best part of being sick is I get out of doing the LAUNDRY! Woohoo! Celebrate big time!

Now where is my tylenol?




 




12/16/2003  

Run, Ricky, Run


I like Ricky Williams. Really I do. I'm the person in the stands who tells everyone to shut up if they mention any of his fumbles or how he dances instead of dives or how he should have cut this way instead of that. Every game finds part of my brain calculating how many more yards he needs to hit 100 for a game.

And Ricky Williams keeps an online journal. He may go months without updating it, but it' is well worth browsing. Especially when a paragraph like this one pops out at me.
I was torn on the issue of good exposure vs. overexposure. Overexposure leads to two things. Criticism when followed by poor performance, and selling out. I take pride in being low-key (if you haven't noticed, I do a very bad job at it). I honestly try to be the one who speaks through his ability and not his mouth. But everyone wants to hear what I have to say. Even when I don't have anything to say. This was hard for me to accept at first, but I have realized it comes with the territory. Still I have to stay true to who I want to be.

Who he wants to be. That to him is important. Not the person who the fans see or the advertising dollars companies see. Who Ricky Williams wants Ricky Williams to be.

Who do I want to be?





 

E - A - G - L - E - S


Eagles fans are more obnoxious than Jets fans. Shocking, but true.

First, they think that being Eagles fans they are allowed to walk down the middle of the street, deliberately block busses and other traffic while spelling out their team name and to start fights. I was bit unnerved to ride a bus from where we parked to the stadium, because of the behavior of the Eagles fans. The fans on the bus were banging on the windows and screaming whenever they saw other Eagles fans (which was quite frequently considering that at least a third of the fans at the game last night were pulling for Philadelphia). The Phillie fans in the street would come rushing over to the bus, block its way, bang on the sides while screaming "E - A - G - L - E - S! EAGLES!"

This one woman saw her friends in the obnoxious crowd and decided she was going to get off the bus and join them. Since she had been kicking me whenever she leaned over to bang on the window, I was fine with that (Explain why she needed to kick me when she was in a seat and I was standing in the aisle!). The problem was that the bus driver was not going to let anyone out yet. I couldn't move out of her way. There was simply no place to go, so she kicked me repeatedly in the back of my knees, shoved me, cursed me. My first experience with an Eagles fan. Lovely.

We were so early to the game that all was quiet in Joe Robbie. We were 1 hour, 17 minutes and 28 seconds early. We climbed to our seats only to be surrounded by Eagles fans. Yuck! Over and over and over they spelled eagles. One guy leaned over and told me with pride, "I bet you didn't think we could spell eagles." I leaned back and told him, "I bet you can't spell NFL." He gave me a baffled look and shut up until the game started.

Bubba, Asshole Paul and Homer finally showed up. Bubba was more irritated and belligerent than we had ever seen him. All that Philadelphia green and attitude was pissing him off. One Eagles fan was such a pest that Bubba had swiped his hat from him and walked off with it. Bubba showed us his prize and then threw it on the ground. We had a good laugh over it.

I was feeling brave, so I wandered down to the bathroom and the concession stand before the game started. One lone Dolphin fan in her Sam Madison jersey wandering a concourse filled with fans in green. Loud fans in green who had no problem taunting the woman wearing #29. But I did get to have a good giggle. One very drunk Eagle fan was kvetching about how Santa Claus stole his hat. Santa! (Now you know who Bubba looks like.)

Just after halftime I found myself in the bathroom again. I'm washing my hands when a group of men marches through the women's room shouting "E - A - G - L - E - S! EAGLES!" Did they really need to do this?

I could go on and on about the weird things done by these fans and the numerous fights that erupted between Dolphins fans and Eagles fans, but I won't. We did get to see a preview of what to expect in 2 weeks when the Jets fans surround us.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Best line heard after a particularly bad tackling exhibition by the Fins' defense: "And he was brought down by Patrick Surtain who was assisted by his lovely wife."

Dumbest song to play to get the Dolphin fans going: the theme for Rocky (worked wonders for the Eagles though)

Bubba played football for the University of Louisville back in the 60s.

I now know the words to the Eagles' fight song:
Fly Eagles Fly, On The Road To Victory.
Fight Eagles Fight, Score A Touchdown 1-2-3.

Hit 'Em Low.
Hit 'Em High.
And We'll Watch Our Eagles Fly.

Fly Eagles Fly, On The Road To Victory.

E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES!!!


Now you must excuse me. I'm going back to bed to try and get over this illness (Robert thinks I have pneumonia. Balderdash! I simply cannot breathe.)




12/15/2003  

quiz mode




Your soul is bound to the Second Totem, Luna: The Wolf.

Luna appears as a pair of coral colored wolves. She embodies empathy, nurturing, insight,and warmth. She is associated with the color coral, the season of spring, and the element of wind. Her downfall is pathos.

You are most compatible with Doves and Ravens.


Which Animal Spirit Totem Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Found over at Steph's.




 

ACK!


Well there goes my beautiful and festive and clean foyer and living room. Hmmph. Robert has begun the floor in Brooks' room, so everything of his is now where Rick's was. At least this should go a bit faster than when he put down Rick's floor.

Hopefully.

The problem is that Kari's room is next. Kari has more -- stuff than anyone I know. On top of that we will have to completely disassemble her closet. Robert and I put in a closet organizer complete with shelving and drawers. I had wanted to remove the carpet before we did this, but Robert didn't want to go through the trouble. Bet he wishes he had gone ahead and done that now though.

I should probably get off my butt and begin mucking out Kari's room. I'm sure Robert will want to start on it tomorrow.

But I'm scared! Please don't make me go in there. No! NO!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!




12/14/2003  

sigh.....


The cookies are baked. Except for the Kahlua Kisses and the Almond tea candies. Those will have to wait until tomorrow. Right now my kitchen is a disaster area. I have used every measuring cup and spoon, every mixing bowl, most of my wooden spoons. They are all sitting in my sink awaiting my cleaning pleasure.

Of all the cookies baked, the favorite is the chocolate cherry cookie. If you like chocolate covered cherries, you'll like these. Robert, our resident chocoholic, felt they were too chocolaty. Is that possible?

Toby danced around the perimeter of the kitchen, trying to sneak in and grab a cookie or two or a dozen or so. He slunk away whenever he realize that I had seen his tricolored butt attempting to swipe a treat. As if he needs anything to snack on... hmmph.

Chocolate Cherry Cookies


1 1/4 cups butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 TBS vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 (6-oz) jars maraschino cherries, drained and halved
1 (6-oz) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk


Preheat oven to 350*F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy; add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Combine dry ingredients; stir into butter mixture. Dough will be stiff! Shape into 1-inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Press cherry half into center of each cookie. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Cool.

In heavy saucepan, over medium heat, melt chips with condensed milk; cook until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Frost each cookie, covering cherry. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Makes 10 dozen cookies. (Seriously, it does.)




12/12/2003  

bakin' away


Tomorrow is our annual cookie party. The one where we invite kids over to make cookies, decorate cookies and take tons of cookies home. This is the first year where there will be no girls. Only boys.
I'm scared.

This is what we'll be making:
mexican cinnamon cookies
cinnamon peanut butter cookies
marzipan cookies
coconut macaroons
double chocolate cherry cookies
raspberry filled chocolate ravioli
kahlua chocolate squares
eggnog cutouts
sweet dreams
almond cookies
chocolate sugar cookies
petite macaroon cups
cream cheese cutouts
kipfel
sugar cookies
kahlua kisses
almond tea candy


I think we'll have plenty of cookies. Just making one batch of each cookie will give us 76 dozen cookies plus who knows how many pieces of the almond tea candy.





12/11/2003  


You are 'Silent Night'! You really enjoy Christmas, and you like your Christmases conventional. For you, Christmas is about family and traditions, and you rather enjoy the rituals of going to church at midnight and turning off the lights before flaming the plum pudding. Although you find Christmas shopping frustrating, you like the excitement of wrapping and hiding presents, and opening a single door on the Advent Calendar each day. You like the traditional carols, and probably teach the children to sing along to them. More than anyone else, you will probably actually have a merry Christmas.


What Christmas Carol are you?
brought to you by Quizilla



found originally over at Steph's.


I do not like going to church for midnight mass. Don't get me started on why either.





 

when did this happen?


Richard is now only 1/4 of an inch shorter than me. He has a fuzzy upper lip. His voice is doing all sorts of hysterical things. He's getting muscles too. When did this happen? Why does it have to happen so soon? He's only 13 years, 4 months, 3 weeks and 6 days old. (or something like that)

The changes are not just physical. Richard's attitude towards many things are slowly shifting and evolving. He's discovering that life isn't black and white, that he has choices and the ones he makes have consequences. Consequences other than time-outs or smiles.

He talks about the day he moves out, where he wants to go, the type of life he wants to have. And I want to bawl. The life he talks about shifts me and Robert from front and center to the side. I'm not ready for this.

I guess that's why we have this time termed adolescence.





12/10/2003  

my favorite Christmas hymn


I learned this Christmas song in 4th grade. Every year a bit more of the lyrics fade away into the storage area of my brain and I cannot seem to find them. I've done searches for the lyrics. I've written the school I attended and the teacher. No one can tell me anything about this song. *sigh

I can no longer remember how the song begins, so I'm writing what I remember.


So my sheep may safely graze
I'd climb the highest hill
And keep a watch out for the hawks
And for the howling wolves
I've made a friend out of the wind.
I've come to know the snow.
and even in the wintertime
my sheep may safely graze.

chorus:
Calling....
Come, sheep, come.
I'll count you one by one.
One for John and one for Jacob,
One for Job and one...
For the child who is born this morning
In Bethlehem.

The other night on the hill below the town... and from the howling wolves
I've made a friend out of the wind.
I've come to know the snow.
and even in the wintertime my sheep may safely graze.
I saw some creatures standing there
With wings of shiny gold
One of them came close to me saying
"Do not be afraid.
A child of God was born this night.
Your sheep may safely graze."

chorus:
Calling....
Come, sheep, come.
I'll count you one by one.
One for John and one for Jacob,
One for Job and one...
For the child who is born this morning
In Bethlehem.


One day I'll find the darn lyrics.

But Karan came through and found them for me. :D My mom is now on a search for a songsheet. Thanks, Karan!




 

building blocks


My uncle Bob gave Kirk a bucket of blocks in 1970. Kirk played with those blocks and occasionally allowed me to play with them too. Rick and Kari played with them. Michael and Coley now play with them. Thirty-three years of playing with those blocks. Pretty good investment.

And then there are Legos.

I thought these things were great when Rick was a bit younger. They kept him occupied and helped with his fine motor skills. He built some interesting buildings and vehicles. But he had far too many of them.

Have you ever stepped on a Lego block with your bare foot? Painful. Truly painful. I had managed to forget how painful over the past few years -- the years between Rick losing interest and Brooks discovering the joys of Legos.

I sincerely hope that Brooks discovers quickly that it is best to put those Legos away asap when he is done playing. My feet would appreciate it.




12/9/2003  

happy dance!


We have our tree! We have our tree! We have our tree!

Our tree is an 8 1/2 foot Frasier fir. My living room smells wonderful! I wish firs would grow here, otherwise we would buy one we could plant.

So excited though. Hurray! We have a tree!




 

wanna go


I wanna go, wanna go, wanna go right now to get our tree. But we can't do it until all the Pergo is unloaded from the rental van. I want my tree NOW!

My ornaments are ready. The lights have been tested. The furniture has been shifted to make room for the tree. Now I just need the tree.

one year ago


I took this picture last year on a walk.





12/8/2003  

ba ha ha ha ha


Brooks is developing his own sense of humor and is desperately trying to push it on to the rest of us. When he finds something funny, he laughs long, loud and hard. And I do mean loud.

When he starts laughing, I have to cover my ears. That's bad.

I do worry that he's going to have a strange sense of humor. Brooks finds my father to be vastly amusing. He likes to imitate my brother's slapstick behavior. Sponge Bob Squarepants gives him fits of giggles everytime. He even tried a pun on us Saturday night.


Me: You can't go swimming. The pool isn't warm enough.

Brooks: Why?

Me: Because it's chilly. Do you know how cold it is out here?

it really wasn't that cold, but to someone raised in so. florida...

Brooks: It's snow cold.

Me: What? Oh!

Brook: I'm so punny today.

Yes, I see a future of pratfalls and bad jokes. Oh my.




 

sniff


Rick and I are making candles again today. Finishing up the last of his Christmas presents. Beeswax candles scented with bayberry.

My house smells wonderful.




12/7/2003  

wandering


I awoke this morning with the urge to leave the house. So off I went in Robert's car. No destination. No purpose. No reason other than the unspoken urge to go somewhere. Anywhere.

A bagel and a coffee were enjoyed on the sidewalk of a little bagel shop. Everyone else was bundled up and inside. I, in my short sleeved t-shirt, sat outside, ate and read the paper. When the paper became too depressing to read any further, I sat back and just watched cars drive by and birds flit from the bushes to the palms to the telephone wires.

But the urge to keep moving came over me and off I drove.

To the park! To the park! After paying my dollar, I drove around Markham. No one was flying their planes. No one was playing on the swings. No one was biking. Perhaps the 50 degree temps were too chilly. It's a bit creepy to sit around the park when no one else is there. The only sounds were some squawking birds and traffic zipping by on the Sawgrass, 595 and 75.

I found myself at Target. We needed some cleaning supplies and toilet paper, so this was convenient. I thought I could whiz in an out fairly quickly. After all, the parking lot was almost empty. And I was right. Thank goodness! But being me, there had to be an incident. I was run into by a little older lady who couldn't see over her shopping cart. I was stopped and couldn't go anywhere due to congestion in the candy aisles. She couldn't see me (because of her height) and when her cart ran into my backside and she couldn't keep on her merry way, she pulled the cart back and repeatedly rammed me. Despite my telling her to stop. Despite someone else trying to get the cart away from her. She told me I should have moved out of her way instead of standing there like an idiot (I was blocked in and couldn't go anywhere). I told her that she shouldn't push a cart unless it had a periscope attachment that she knew how to use and that no matter what she didn't have the right to repeatedly ram someone with her cart, that she was not the Duchess of Target.

Hmmphing my way out of the store, I headed to my favorite hobby store to pick up something for my uncle. Mission completed, I was off to McDonalds for some lunch. My stomach was craving french fries. Being the good wife, I called Robert to see if he wanted anything --> quarterpounder with cheese and no onions. I pulled into the drive-thru, placed the order and wham! The man told me, "Due to problems with our grill, we are not serving hamburgers today. We do have chicken sandwiches and fish sandwiches."

I wasn't happy. I had already waited in the drive-thru lane for more than 10 minutes. After confirming that this guy was the manager I asked him why they didn't have a sign out at the drive-thru letting people know this BEFORE they pulled into the lane with no way out. He hemmed and hawed and wouldn't answer any of my questions. I was stuck there for a few more minutes, and so decided to use those minutes well. I turned off the car, clambered out and went to each of the cars behind me and told them what was going on. Every single person pulled out of line and went elsewhere. I was able to back out of the drive-thru and continue on my quest for fast food.

Burger King it was. Double-cheeseburger meal for Robert. Kid's hamburger meal for me. Home I went for lunch.

There's still the urge to be out and about making my soul feel antsy in my body. I want to climb a mountain, have a snowball fight. stroll barefoot down the beach in the light of an almost full moon.

Anything other than ironing.




12/6/2003  

the wind


The wind woke me this morning. I lay snuggled in my bed, my head on Robert's pillow and listened for a bit. She was whistling and moaning as she passed through the trees and ducked around corners.

I pictured her lifting the snow off the ground in a dance celebrating the coming of winter. Snowflakes glinting and reflecting back the dim winter sun until it was as bright as summer. Bare trees clapping their branches in time to her singing. Cardinals and blue jays flitting from tree to tree, adding their voices to hers.

And then my eyes drifted open and slid to my windows.

My orchid trees were shimmying to the beat. Their fragrant white flowers bobbing in time. Ibis were marching across my yard. One stopped and tried to capture a swaying rose in his beak. The wind flowed around them and over them. She dipped and swirled pale pink petals from the Duchesses.

My soul longs for winter and the promise of spring underneath the snow. Mother Earth cannot give me this here in Florida, so she sent me a pink "snowfall".

Wasn't that lovely of her?





12/5/2003  

tap, tap, tap


Hear that? That tapping noise is Brooks baby tapping his foot on the floor. He's impatient today. He absolutely believes that if I wrap his presents today, Santa will come tonight and he will be able to open those presents tomorrow.

"Mommy, you should wrap my presents right now."

THIS is what he has been telling me all day. When I say no, he wails. A long, piercing, pitiful cry of betrayal. I have stopped saying no. The cries were irritating me to no end.

I did wrap Robert's and a few of Rick's presents. I asked Rick to put them on my desk in the living room. And he did. A bit later I peeked into the living room to see Rick sitting on the sofa staring at the presents.

Me: "Rick, what are you doing?"

Rick: "Trying to figure out who the largest present is for."

Obviously I don't put tags on immediately. Instead I put initials on the bottom. Totally confuses the kids.

Me: "Ummm, that one is for you."

Rick's face lit up. His present is the largest. Little does he realize that he already knows what is in that box. He was with me when I purchased it.




12/4/2003  

snickering


I found something absolutely silly and therefore perfect for someone I know. Of course if this arrives on her doorstep and she's still snowed in with three children, I'll never hear the end of it.

Thank goodness Cindy can take me to the post office tomorrow. This gift is driving me mad right now.

Mwah ha ha ha ha!




 

xmas lights


Brooks and I went tree shopping today. We won't get our van back for 2 weeks, and thus we have no way to go buy our cut trees for the house. Off to Target we went for an artificial tree for Brooks.

We found a 6-foot tree for $16.99. That went into the cart along with a glass ball garland for draping on my mirror, a santa nutcracker, snowman ornaments and tape. Brooks pointed out that his red lights died last year and therefore he needed new lights. We strolled with our cart over to the lights wall.

Brooks: "I want red lights again."

Me: "Okay."

red lights in cart

Brooks: "No. I've changed my mind. I think I want white."

Me: "Okay."

red lights out. white lights in.

Brooks: "Maybe no. The blue ones are pretty cool, Mommy."

Me: "So do you want blue?"

white lights out.

Brooks: "I don't know." He turns to the older couple who stood next to us trying not to laugh at how indecisive he is being. "If you were me, what color lights would you get?"

Lady: "I'd get the one with all the colors."

Brooks: "No. That's too many colors."

Man: "How about the blue and white lights? They'll match the snowmen ornaments you picked out."

Brooks pondered for a moment and then tossed 2 sets of blue and white lights into the cart. The gentleman turned to his wife and smirked.

Brooks: "Danke!"

Now he's pestering me to hang lights on the outside of the house. RIGHT NOW!




12/3/2003  

snuggling


When Richard was little, he'd go to sleep in his room and then wander into our room about 4 o'clock in the morning. He'd climb into bed and snuggle between us. He still likes to do this once or twice a month, except he climbs into the bed and watches tv with us.

When Kari was little, she'd go to sleep in her room and then wander into our room sometime after midnight. She always brought a pillow and her blanket. She'd curl up on the floor next to the bed. When Robert woke, he'd pick her up and put her on the bed with us. Now she flops on the end of our bed and watches tv with us.

Brooks slept in our room with us while he was a baby. He slept in our bed, snuggled up next to me but with either a hand or a foot on Robert. As if he needed to know both of us were near. We moved him into his own room when he was 1 1/2 years old, but he couldn't fall asleep in there. Brooks would snuggle on our bed and fall into a deep sleep. Robert would carry him into his room and tuck him under the covers.

Last week Brooks begged and pleaded to stay with his grandparents overnight. After chatting with Tom and Pat, we let him. They brought him home the next night, and was he ever mad at me. He felt I had deserted him. He believed that if he stayed with his grandparents in Jupiter I would too.

For the past five days he's been a snuggler. He wakes in the morning, he climbs into bed with us. If we are up, he comes out to the family room and worms his way into my lap. During the day he showers us with hugs and insists that he sit in our lap to read, watch tv or to help us with whatever we are doing.

Last night Brooks came in and laid down on the bed beside me. He put his head on my pillow and flung an arm around me and asked if I'd rub his back. I rubbed his back gently and watch him drift into sleep, his face and body relaxing, a slight smile on his face.

When Robert picked him up to move him into his own bed, tears slid from my eyes. Brooks is 4 years old. How much longer will he want to snuggle like that?




12/2/2003  

:D


Today has been fun.

wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee !

Now where is my snow?




 

pause for a second


Songs replay over and over in my head. Sometimes someone deliberately puts them there. Sometimes a jingle gets stuck in there on continuous loop. Sometime the song is there for a reason.

Yesterday Robert called me to say that he had been in an accident and the van was no longer drivable. After making sure that everyone was okay, I was livid. I steamed all the way down to the accident scene.

As soon as I laid eyes on Rick and saw that he was okay and heard from his two lips that Robert was okay, Mac Davis popped into my brain singing...

You got to Stop and Smell the roses
You've got to count your many blessings everyday


And he was right. The van may be my mode of transportation in this spread out metropolis of South Florida. We may not be able to afford to replace my vehicle for another year. BUT the sun was shining. The day wasn't oppressively hot and humid. Birds were flying around chirping away. My roses have started blooming again. Most importantly, Robert and Richard were fine.

We ambled the mile or so back to our house. Brooks couldn't decide whether to hold my hand or Robert's, so he was alternating between us. Rick was talking about his orthodontist visit. Toby trotted along side all of us. Our walk was lovely. Having Kari there would have been perfect.

Did you ever take a walk through the forest
Stop and dream a while among the trees


Tonight I think we'll all take a walk along the Ridge. Watch the sun dip below the horizon in a blaze of pink and orange. Wait for the stars to glow through the city lights. Perhaps spot a fox or a raccoon. Robert and I will smile as Rick and Kari race across the Ridge with Michael squealing and running as fast as he can behind them.

That will be perfect.






12/1/2003  

wanna help?


Tomorrow I'm going to slice and dry citrus. Once they are dry, I'll string them into a garland. I may add some cranberries and birdseed beads. Who knows. The garlands won't go up until Yule. They are for the birds and the squirrels that dare set foot in our yard.

Rick and I will be adding to our candles too. We have so much wax to use up. We have to decide on colors and scents. Personally I lean towards bayberry or cinnamon. Thank goodness he does too! Now we can battle over colors.

I'm hanging a South Florida blizzard of paper snowflakes in our entry way tomorrow. The ceiling is so high that I'm concerned we don't have enough. My hands are cramping just thing about scissoring out any more.

Wheeeeeeeeeeeee! The holidays are here!




 

and it begins


Here we go -- into the madness that is the holiday season. Are you ready? I am.

Well, except for the fact that Richard's furniture and personal belongings are spread through my living room, dining room and entryway. Those must be moved. My fingers are crossed that the rest of the Pergo for the kids' rooms arrives today or tomorrow.

My shopping is almost done. Take that, MOM! One of my uncles called and asked me to do some shopping for him. But that won't take too long. Hopefully. He did split up his shopping between his daughter, my mom and me. Wasn't that nice of him? Bill is spoiled rotten. He works hard, but is spoiled rotten.

I want to get started on the decorating. Today. I need that Pergo here ASAP. Please, please, please!

(obviously I'm loopy today. sick actually. didn't sleep. ignore me.)




"Earth laughs in flowers." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson