Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Taking it easy is definitely not easy

I've been very well behaved, not doing dishes or switching laundry loads. I've barely set foot in the kitchen and have kept my mouth tightly latched about things I would do differently.

But inside, I'm struggling. Part of me is exhausted and wants to sleep 24/7. The other part of me is stressed out because Neighbor Gloria is spending Christmas with us and I have nothing to give her.

I had planned on making her a set of greeting cards, but ran out of time. Then Hayley suggested I knit up some wash clothes on the loom, but I don't know how to bind off from a loom.

I still have today and tomorrow to get my act in gear, but I shouldn't even be worrying about it. She certainly isn't expecting anything. But that's just it. She isn't expecting anything. Her family won't get her a single thing. I want to have some little things for her.

But seriously, the woman is almost 88. She doesn't need anything. She doesn't want anything except companionship. Can't wrap that in a box.

So here I am feeling guilty as all get out. I'm supposed to be letting this kind of thing go!

Tell me, Delicious Readers, how do I let the guilt go? I think I'll take a nap and then figure it out.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Home and resting after surgery...

I was pretty miserable just out of the OR, but once they hit me with the pain meds, I did much better. That and the fact that Scott had a my much adored walnut chicken salad sandwich waiting for me in my room. (I hadn't eaten in 16 hours so I was starving.)

During the surgery, the doctor found a fourth stone and was able to pull it and the other three out in tact. So no laser was needed. The best news? I don't have to pass any stone fragments! So once I recover from the surgery itself, no more discomfort!


I'm currently parked on the couch, with a stack of books, movies and my knitting. Oh, and can't forget to mention the two wonderful little slaves (oh, I mean helpers) I have nearby to do my bidding.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Deliciously Opinionated Poem

I'm so not claiming this as even a halfway decent poem, but it came to after a couple recent conversations regarding Christmas celebrations in schools.

Twas the week before Christmas
When all the through school
Not a picture of Santa
Was hung--it's a rule.

The children were all smiling
Excited, you know,
To talk about cookies and
And trees all aglow.

No cut outs of stockings or
Or reindeer that fly
Or Santa that drives
Through Christmas Eve's sky.

Chattering about presents
Both giving and given
All words about God
And Jesus forbidden.

Do not mention the night star,
Joseph or Mary
Don't talk about Christ.
School rules are scary.

What must Jesus think of this?
Of kids forbidden
To share their strong faith
Love to be hidden?

More than presents, more than words
More than candy canes
Christ in schools should be
Christ in schools must reign.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

For the love of all things Muppet.

And Christmas. And John Denver.

Incredible couponing at Walgreen's last week!

When all was said and done, I bought $67 worth of merchandise for $25!!! How cool is that?

I'm trying to remember what I all bought but, you know, the events of the last couple days have erased much of my recent memory.

Full size Nabisco crackers: 50 cents/box
Gillette body wash: FREE
Gillette deodorant: $1.99
2 Loreal lip glosses: $7.99 for both
32 oz All laundry detergent: $1.50
Skippy peanut butter: $1
6 pk. Dove bar soap: $4.99

Coolio, huh?

I was quite pleased with myself. Not that we'll eat five boxes of crackers or necessarily need a ton of body wash, but I've already packaged a lot of it up for the food pantry/holiday baskets at church.

Prior to this past year, I volunteered hours and hours and hours every month. (That's where the Volunteer Extraordinaire in my sub header above comes in.) But since I started working for a paycheck again, there hasn't been the time. Instead of feeling sad that I can't donate time and effort, I love that I've found an inexpensive way to help feed the many hungry people in our town.

Chug a chug a choo choo! CRASH!

I'm my own personal train wreck. And it totally sucks all the way around.

Yesterday, I stubbed my toe so hard on a Monopoly box that I broke it. Not the box. My toe. Fourth toe on the right.

It was painful enough yesterday, but during the night I did something to it and I woke up in excruciating pain. Today it's even more swollen and is turning all sorts of not so pretty colors.

Yesterday, at least, I could wear shoes. I walked slower than a baby turtle crossing a busy road, but at least I got out of the house.

Today, not so much. There was no going out. No shoes. No moving off the couch.

But wait! The train wreck gets better! Last night, I was sitting on the floor wrapping presents. Sounds innocuous, right? Wrong! You know how when you wrap presents, you never have everything you need right at hand? I had to keep getting up to get envelopes and stamps, etc. etc. but because of my toe, I was awkwardly using my arms.

Sure enough, I strained my tricep. Wasn't so bad at first, but by the time I went to bed, I couldn't even roll over. Today, my right arm is altogether pretty useless.

I couldn't stand long enough to take a shower this morning, but I managed to take a bath. Getting in and out was nerve-wracking, but I did it without inducing further injury. Then it took me about 20 min. to get dressed. By the time I hobbled back to the couch, I was too exhausted to even think about attempting to get breakfast.

No breakfast + incredible pain = one teary-eyed Kate

My sweet husband, upon prying information out of me when he called home a little later and found a crying wife, came right home and has been taking care of me all day. The only time he let me off the couch was to go take a nap in bed. Hayley cooked dinner (nachos!) and Emma's doing the dishes. I'm so blessed!

Think that's enough to be a train wreck?

Not for me. Next Monday, I have to go in for surgery for kidney stones. AGAIN! As if the first time, in January, was not enough! Apparently, though, not all the little fragments for the giant stone the doc lasered passed. I'm not feeling any symptoms, but insane pain is waiting to attack. It's only a matter of time. And seeing as Scott and I will both be traveling for work in January (I get to go to Germany!!), I don't exactly want to risk having issues then.

But surgery next week means that I will be happily ensconced in VicodinLand on my birthday and Christmas. Not exactly how I'd anticipated spending my holiday, but there it is. At least, Scott and I will have his birthday (Sunday), if you know what I mean. *wink wink*

So there it is, the not-so-delicious story of my own personal train wreck. (I trying really hard to find the humor in all of this!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Emma and I had "the talk" this morning...

The Santa talk, that is.

She was supposed to be getting ready for school, but instead was distracted by reading her sister's diary.

Guess what she read? I'll paraphrase for you...

"Emma just asked me if I believe in Santa. I learned the truth when I was 8. She's 9 now and still hasn't figured out that Santa isn't real."

Thanks a lot, Sister.

So Emma comes in to my bathroom where I was curling my hair and asks me if what she read was true. Is Santa make-believe? There was no getting around it this time. The past couple Christmas' I've been vague enough with her questions that she still believed. This morning, I had to spill the beans.

I told her that Daddy and I were Santa and that Santa at the North Pole was a myth. She was completely confused. I was actually really impressed with her questions.

"I've mailed my letters to Santa before and they're never come back. What happened to them?" I only pretended to mail them and really have all of them in our fire safe box so you can look at them someday.

"What if Santa's really at the North Pole? What if he's invisible?" People have been to the North Pole. He's just not there.

"What about his handwriting on our presents?" That was me and Daddy being tricky.

She got off my bed where we were holding hands and talking. She very seriously handed me the aforementioned diary and walked away, her head hanging down.

I think I actually felt a piece break off of my heart.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Deliciously Tickled

Last night, I watched A Ticklish Affair with Shirley Jones. Released in 1963, it was filmed in San Diego, land my childhood and most of my adulthood (thus far).

The movie was actually pretty funny. Shirley Jones was adorable and I wanted to wear the super-short pink shorts she word and look that good! You can see her wearing them in this trailer...

But my favorite part of the movie was checking out what San Diego was like in 1963, a full 10 years before I was born and 17 years before my family landed there. There was actually open space! I recognized road and landmarks, though, and was so excited to see what the Cortez Hotel looked like before it was ramshackling and scummy. Downtown was so cute then! Not now. Eew. (That is, unless there's been dramatic revitalization in the eight years since I've left. In that case, my apologies to the city.)

Did it make me miss the home of my childhood? Not a bit. I'm continually relieved that I don't have to look at palm trees (high five, Amanda!), park more than a mile away from the beach and that I'm not stranded in my neighborhood for all but three or four hours in the middle of the day. (Yes, traffic is so bad that you don't even want to go near a freeway!)

I adored the Midwest and miss it every single day. The Pacific Northwest? I don't really care about it. Our town has no personality and I'm not weird enough for Portland, so I could take or leave the whole area.

Except that we're not leaving! Despite a recent offer that's come up, we're not moving!!!! (Mom, I'm talkin' to you!)

Just got Hayley's report card...

I'm so proud of my girl!

Symphonic band (she plays the trumpet): A
Leadership: A
Science: A-
Math (8th grade level): B+
English: A
World History: A
Impact: A

Total gpa: 3.857

Go, Hayley!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Oh, man. I am SO bummed...

At work, we recently hired a friend of ours (Hayley's piano teacher) to help with Support and in keeping Scott and the pres. of the company organized. Let me tell you, Jana is fantastic. She's awesome on the phone and has caught on to all the nuances our software really quickly. We couldn't ask for better.

She told me a little while ago that she's found another job, a job in her field (public administration). Having just recently earned her Master's Degree, she really wanted to focus on her expertise. Jobs are hard to come by, though, especially in the public sector. Our offer came along right when she was starting to get panicky, so the timing was perfect for her.

We knew, though, that she was still looking for her ideal position, so I can't say I'm surprised at her announcement. While I'm sad for our company, I am crazy excited for her. Jana deserves this and will be an amazing addition to their team.

*sniff sniff* Where are those tissues?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ack! I'm woefully behind on my reading goal for 2009!

Thus far, I have only read 52 books this year. I know, that sounds like a lot. But in both 2007 and 2008, I read 69. So to me, 52 is a sad, sad number!

Can I read 17 books in the next month? In between writing a novel, sending out query letters, working, holidays and two birthdays?

Doesn't sound particularly feasible, does it? But I have a plan!

I've got a book I read before I go to bed. I've got a book I'm listening to in the car. And another on my iPhone to read while I'm standing in line, etc. and yet another to listen to while I'm walking/running.

And while I'm trying not to choose the shortest books I possibly can, I'm also not choosing the longest books. (Gone with the Wind and War and Peace will just have to wait till next year.)

Don't forget that around Christmas and New Year's, I should have more reading time available since everything slows down. I'm hoping that there's another crazy three weeks of unheard of snowfall and we're forcibly housebound again. That was so fun last year! (Well, except for the part that my parents' flight in was canceled and they had to miss my birthday. That part was a bummer.)

Now it's late (almost 11pm), so I'm going to open up the book on my iPhone while I have a quick snack. Then, I'll read the book next to my bed while I'm falling asleep.

(BTW, I've come up with a fantastic new idea for reading in bed at night. Usually I go to bed before Scott (so I can read and he can watch his icky SciFi shows) and I always seem to fall asleep with the light on. I can feel myself falling asleep, but I'm too comfy to reach up and turn off the lamp on my nightstand. Now I use my booklight instead of the lamp, so when I start dozing off, all I have to do is push the button and the light is off. No more reaching up out the comfy depths of sleep to turn off a lamp.)

And progress toward my goal will be made!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Winna! Winna Winna Winna!

I am official "winner" of National Novel Writer's Month! My novel and I made it to 50,000 words!


The book is nowhere close to being done, but it's going fabulously. I love the way the plot is coming along and the way the characters are developing.

I know, I know... I haven't told you all what my plot actually is and well... sorry, but I'm not going to. I have this desperate fear that someone (not necessarily any of you), but someone out there who does not have a decent sense of morality will steal my idea.

Several of you have asked me for what my last book was about and I haven't told you. That's why. Nothing against any of you personally! :)

(By the way, I'm writing query letters out to agents and editors this week so if you happen to have any connections to anyone in publishing, please please please let me know!)

Deliciously Home Again!

(I actually wrote this on Sunday evening, but couldn't post it because I needed a couple things for it. You'll understand as you read on.)

We pulled in the driveway about 4:30 this afternoon after spending Thanksgiving weekend with my fam down in California. So that's why I've been incommunicado over the past week. (Sorry!)

Now I'm back, still stuffed with turkey and ready to enjoy the Christmas season!

But before I get there, I have to share these funny "I'm thankful for" quotes. We have a Thanksgiving tablecloth on which, every year, we all write what we're thankful for. The lists are
hysterical considering there are multiple small children writing out their thoughts. I kept in all the misspelling and other mistakes 'cause they're so darned cute! I just wish I could have gotten their handwriting in here, too.

Read on... (But before you get started, it would help you to know that Murphy is my parents' dog, Asta is my sister's dog and Daisy is my brother's dog. We, happily, don't have a dog.)

Hayley '09 (12 years old)
I am thankful for family and friends and vacation time and music and books.
And for Murphy, Asta and Daisy (they make me smile) and for movies.

Emma '09 (9)
I'm thankful for freinds and family, Asta, Murphy, Daisy, food, home, clothes, warmth & chapter books. God and Jesus too. Cheese (accompanied by pictures of said cheese)

Brandon 2009 (9)
family and my pets and my house video games and tv and movies.

2009 (6)
(family) Asta
Mrphiy and Daisy.
ChaperBooks. animals.
(God Jesus.) Movies.
(Pizza) food. Pepsi Ice Prinses
(then there is a drawing of a standing up mermaid in a dress and a dog head next to it)

Matthew (6)
'09 (he wrote his initials instead of his name)

We're not sure why Sophia put certain things in parentheses or where exactly Pepsi came from. She's not allowed to drink it!

And Matthew... you gotta love 6 year old boys!

It was so great to be with my whole family again. It was chaotic and loud, but the kids all played fabulously and my dad was in relatively good spirits. My amazing Hayley coordinated all the younger kids to make ornaments for my brother's Christmas tree (his first as a single man). The rest of us chatted while cooking, putting together an insanely difficult puzzle and playing Scrabble.

Was it relaxing? No. Was it headache inducing? Yes. Was it totally worth the 10 hour drive, the hotel stay and keeping Dutch Bros. in business for the weekend? Most definitely!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Unexpected free time

School bus departed, I dashed around the house getting my power cord, notebook and laptop into my bag.

Then the phone rag. It was Scott telling me that there had been a power outage at work and everything was down. "Don't rush over," he said. "I'll call you when we can work."

What? my mind spluttered. Don't work? Does that mean... Blink. Does that mean... Gasp.


Let's see... what should I do...

write my novel
do the breakfast dishes
clean the house
wrap Christmas presents
make some cards
prep dinner
catch up on all the blogs I haven't read this month

Or I could just climb back into bed and read. I like that possibility a lot!

Happy holiday week to you all, Delicious Readers! May you all find some unexpected free time!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Deliciously Opinionated -- Holiday Tipping

I was listening to the radio yesterday afternoon on my way home from the office and heard a segment about holiday tipping. I've been thinking about it ever since and was thinking so hard about it on my way home from work today that I completely missed my exit and had to cross the river and go into Portland before I could turn around. Argh.

But if I'm concentrating that hard on something, then hey... that's a Delicious topic.

I'm curious. How many of you actually give holiday tips to all the "service" people in your life? By service people, I mean:
  • hairdresser
  • mail carrier
  • teacher
  • trash collector
  • restaurant servers that help you regularly
  • manicurists
  • pet care provider
  • personal trainer
  • housekeeper
  • school bus driver
  • gardener
  • newspaper delivery
$20 is the average tip per service provider. (Except for hairdressers. You're supposed to tip them the equivalent of one visit!) But if you don't want to give them cash, you can always gift them useful gifts, like gloves for the trash collectors. But check this... we have trash pickup that's separate from recycling pick up which again is separate from the yard waste pick up. All of those have teams of 2 people, so if I paid $10 for a pair of decent gloves for each of them, that's $60 just to my refuse collectors. Now I appreciate what they do and all, but my goodness. That is just insane!

So let's calculate this out for my situation...

Hairdresser $50
Mail carrier $20
School bus drivers $40
Trash collectors $60
Servers I see even semi-regularly? Maybe $40
Am I supposed to tip the check out girl at Target that I like (and will wait longer to be in her line?) $20

We're up to $230 right there!

Let me put this into perspective for you. I try to keep all holiday gifts I buy for my family (husband and kids not included) at $15 or under. Since I plan ahead and also love to make gifts myself, I can usually pull this off without a problem. So for the 12 people I buy for, I spend... are you ready???

$180!!! And this is for people I actually love!

But here's what I don't get about the whole holiday tipping concept. I'm already paying them in some fashion or another! Why do I have to pay them again? I shouldn't have to and in fact, I don't. I wish them happy holidays and go on my merry way. (In years past when I have tipped or given gifts to service people, I have never once received a thank you note. I guess we'd have to check with Emily Post to see if you have to send a thank you note for a thank you gift, but quite simply, sending thank you notes display good manners.)

Am I missing some key point here? If I am, please enlighten me. I would really love to understand this whole concept.

I just had a thought...If we're all supposed to tip everyone in the service industries we frequent, does that mean I'm going to get $20 bills from the hundreds of people I help in our software support every week? Ha! Only in my dreams!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And procrastination sets in...

I heard it would happen. That one day I would open up my novel in Word and not know what to type.

That one day, is apparently today.

I'm procrastinating because I'm stuck.

  1. My plot (that was amazingly wonderful two days ago) is not going in the right direction.
  2. My main character is injured and can't get off the couch to help her husband search for her teenage daughter's diary.
  3. I'm desperate to plug in more details about the original plot of the book, but NaNo's hard and fast, completely unbreakable rule is No Editing Allowed! It's killing me.
  4. I've create a town full of unique and hilarious characters and there is just not enough room in the book to give them all their due
  5. I'm stuck in verb quicksand. I can't pull myself out of using the same three verbs over and over. Half the time I pop over to to find better words. The other half of the time I force my hand away from the mouse and chastise myself. No Editing Allowed!
Blah. It's almost midnight and I've written a mere 500 words in the past two hours. Not particularly productive.

I should go to bed. But I think I'm procrastinating about that, too.

Emma wrote to the president today...

And naughty Mama snuck it out of the envelope so I can show it to you all.

Seriously, this girl cracks me up. She can hold her own in conversations about politics, the environment, religion, etc. etc. But instead of asking President Obama for something, you know, significant, she requests a National Llama Day?!?!


Emma's Quote for the Day

"I could be a mindless zombie and you wouldn't know it."

Yes, she actually said it. I don't know why as it didn't relate at all to the conversation we were having. It was a goofy conversation, but still.

Can't say the girl lacks imagination, can we?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Squirreled Away--Your funny story for the day

Squirrels are ample in our neighborhood. Squirrels who apparently want to live indoors? Not so much.

But Emma and I met one this morning. In fact, she almost missed her school bus because of it!

She was standing on the porch when this crazy (but not rabid, thank goodness) squirrel started running back and forth in front of her. It would stop and watch her for a second, then run around some more.

That's when he started to go around her. If he'd have gotten past, he would have been inside.

Nuh-huh. Not gonna let that happen.

I pulled Emma back in by her hood. Had I been watching that on tv, it actually would have been pretty funny. We closed the door in Mr. Squirrel's face. I hate to be rude, but...

We peeked out the long window that borders the front door and this squirrel is sitting on his haunches looking at us. Em and I both knock on the glass to scare him, but all it does is bring him closer!

Seriously, this squirrel came right up to the window and stretched his little paws up on the glass to see us.

That's when we heard the bus. Emma and I just looked at each other. What to do?

We opened the door just a tiny crack and sure enough, Mr. Squirrel was right there trying to get in. You'd think my house was full of acorns or something. (It's not.)

We slammed it shut, hoping again to scare him. Now the bus is actually in front of our house and thank goodness, the bus driver can see what's happening so she doesn't drive away! I couldn't actually see her, but I imagine she was laughing her ass off.

Thankfully that slam worked because when we peeked out again, our squirrel friend was not in view. I literally shoved Emma out the door and said, "Run!"

She made it to the bus and our home remained squirrel free. And you, Delicious Reader, have funny images in your mind now to make you laugh throughout the day. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Writer Kate

Thought you might like to see the novelist at work!

Birthday in the House!

Well, to be technical, there was a birthday in the house last Thursday. It's just taken me this long to have a few minutes to upload the festive photos for your enjoyment. And so....

Happy 12th Birthday, Hayley!!!!

To celebrate, we took her to Beaches, a favorite restaurant of the locals. They put her name up on their "Specials" board and even printed her name on the daily special menu.

Here she is with her birthday creme brulee (wipe the drool, Dad!) as the Beaches staff, along with most of the restaurant patrons, sang to her.

And here she is with me -- the bestest mom in the whole wide world. (As long as I'm not forcing her to do chores or something equally as cruel.

She opened her gifts, all of which she adored, which included a tall bookcase from Scott and I. That girl was stuffing books in every little nook and cranny of her room, so she desperately a place to put them all! (The two smaller bookcases she already had were so not adequate!)

And, oh the joy poured forth when she opened a new dvd... Another Cinderella Story. It's one of her favorites. (I'll tell you a secret, but you must promise never to hold it against me, ok? I adore this movie! I could watch it over and over. *sigh* Great acting? No. Girl power? Not as much as I would like. But it is so dang cute! Watch it and you will understand. Heehee.)

So it was a fantastic birthday all around. I'm so proud of her. She's such a great kid!

I added a new widget to my side bar...

It's on the big side, though, so I didn't put it up top. Scroll down to see it.

It's Coupon Tom's Coupon Locator!

Need to buy cream of chicken soup? Just type in Campbell's.
Ritz crackers? Type in Nabisco.
Sandwich baggies? Type in Ziploc.

You get the picture.

If you planning on using this money saving feature, then the best piece of advice I can give you is to save your coupon circulars from the Sunday paper. Don't cut out the coupons. Just save the entire little packet.

Stores know when manufacturers are releasing coupons, so they typically don't put those particular items on sale. So hold on to those coupons until a sale comes up! You will save sooo much more money this way. (Did you see the items I recently listed to my list of amazing deals?)

This week, I plan to stop by...

Safeway for Tide ($4.99 for 32 load container), Chewy Granola Bars ($.5o/box) and Saltines ($.75/box.)
Target for Betty Crocker boxed potatoes ($.39/box), del Monte canned veggies (6 cans for $1.70) and Campbell's cream of chicken ($.40/can)
Walgreen's for Ziploc baggies ($1.39/box), Aussie shampoo (FREE!) and Puffs tissues ($.59/box)

Waaahahahaha! I love saving money!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

You have GOT to read this one...

As I posted the other day, Scott and I finally received several months of missed pay checks. I immediately sent a very large chunk to Citi Bank and wrote multiple checks to various medical institutions (paying off Scott's medical bills).

I've allocated most of what's left to savings. But Scott and I wanted to do something for the kids. They've been incredible troopers throughout the ordeal, through all the no's, missed allowances and often stressed out parents.

For months now, Scott has been nursing a fantasy about taking our girls to Toys R Us and saying, "Go. Pick something out. Have fun."

Sensible wife here wanted to put parameters on the instructions. (I'm such a killjoy, aren't I? LOL) But Scott wouldn't hear of it. I was afraid they'd come back to us staggering with a large television. Or a keyboard. Or a guitar. Or something else grandiose and expensive. But he wanted to see what they'd come up with.

Bottom line... I should have trusted him.

Why? Because faced with the *entire* Toys R Us store, our girls were unbelievably modest in their choices. In the half hour we gave them, they filled an entire cart with possibilities. Stuffed animals, webkinz, bags, webcams, games, etc.

A tv? Nope. A keyboard? Nope. A guitar? Nope. An iPod? Nope again.

Not even the Barbie dream house Emma has coveted for years! You could have picked my chin up off the floor, I was so shocked.


In the end, after all the agonizing decision making, each girl held in her arms about $50 worth of stuff that they really and truly wanted.

Emma held the Citrus Dragon webkinz and a large FurReal kitty. It is strangely real. It licks its paws and pretends to clean itself. It meows and purrs and sleeps and wakes. Actually kinda cool, I think.

Hayley held several things, all smaller. A puppy poster, a Littlest Pet Shop set, a pink bag with a turtle on it, a llama webkinz (again, strange but cute) and a rather large stuffed dog.

And in the 24 hours since we let them loose in TRU, they have not once said, "I should have gotten..." or "I wish I would have..." No regrets at all.

Here's the coolest thing, though... when we asked them why they didn't choose bigger, more expensive, fancier toys, they said they didn't want them. That it's fun to dream about them, but that in the end, they don't really want them.

Holy cow. Holy blessed cow.

We must be doing something right.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Amazing, Fantastic, Unbelievable News!

Actually, it's almost old news, but since I haven't had a chance to share it with all my Delicious Readers yet, it's new to you. So I'm going to share it with you anyway.

But first, you need a little background...

Last summer, the company that Scott and I both work for ran out of money. Yup. Completely out of money. What did that mean to us? No paychecks. For four months. No expense checks. No nothin'. It sucked for all of us. Except for our credit card issuers. They were ecstatic.

Finally, after those four painful and bone-dry months, the money started trickling in again from various private funders; thus, the paychecks resumed. Now that's wonderful news and all, but it didn't mean that they were able to pay us all the back pay. All we could do was hope that someday the company could pay us back for the accidental "loan".

I bet you can tell where this story is going, can't you? :)

Yup, one year and six months after that first missed paycheck, we received all the monies owed to us. All of it!!! I won't tell you how much, but it was A. LOT.

Yip-tee-dee!!! Let me tell you, that was one happy trip to the bank! There was celebration in the D___ household that day!

And let me tell you, I feel so much better! Like six tons of bricks was lifted off my very sore shoulders.

Now if you've been reading Delicious as Pie for a while, you know what I like to say when huge blessings come our way. For all you newcomers (welcome again!), you must say it out loud with gospel-like zeal:

"Thank you, Jesus!"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Novel Updates...

That is, updates about my novel... Hopefully they updates are also novel. Then we'd have novel novel updates.

Ok, can you tell I'm way too tired?

I've been writing almost constantly since 7:30 this evening. That's about four hours, less some time to help install a microwave and put Emma to bed.

As you can tell by my sidebar count, I'm now at 16,494 words. That's 38 single space pages. And well into six chapters.

And I'm still loving it!!!!!

There are days when it's hard to sit myself down, though, because family duties (and mommy guilt) demand attention. Then there are other days when I write and write and write and write and could write more if I could get my eyes to stay open any longer.

Scott did, in fact, come into our room late the other night to find me typing with my eyes closed! Yes, my sentences did actually make sense and strangely, there were very few typos.

I'm not anticipating much writing time tomorrow because it's a special day for Hayley. She'll be officially twelve in just four hours and one minute. I promise to post photos. Maybe I'll even regale you with the story of my 35 hour labor. That kid was stubborn even then!

Off to bed now. Will dream of writing fun stories and using new microwaves. And birthday cake. Lots and lots of birthday cake.

A quick hello to my new followers!

Welcome to Delicious as Pie!

I hope you have as much fun reading my adventures as I do writing them (and usually having them.) Haha.

Comment often and I promise I will check out your blogs as well!

Thank you!!!

Wickedly Weird Weather...

I was writing this post in my head a few minutes ago as I was helping Scott install a new microwave (to replace the one that got destroyed a couple weeks ago). And it occurred to me that I have all these exciting things to tell you, but I'm about to write about weather.

But it was interesting weather!

I hopped in the car about 4:10 this afternoon to pick up Emma from a playdate. It was just barely starting to rain and as I got in, I noticed on the dashboard thermometer it was 54 degree. I drove out of the subdivision and looked up at the western sky. It did not look pretty. In fact, it kinda scared me.

I kept watching it as I drove (yes, I was watching the road, too!) and it was all kinds of freakish colors -- dark, dark gray, orange, tints of pinks, possibly even some green, although I kept telling myself I was wrong about that one.

I mean, people were out doing their every day things--walking their dogs, pushing strollers, running--and here I am worried about funky clouds. I thought maybe I was just overreacting. (Wouldn't be the first time! LOL)

So five minutes after I left my house, I pulled up in front of Emma's friends' house. It was raining harder now and the clouds were definitely scaring me. The three girls were outside playing under an umbrella. Emma got in the car right away and the other two were content to just continue playing outside. I told them to go inside *right away*.

Good thing they actually did 'cause the sky opened up. Hail the size of cannelini beans fell in waves! I've never seen anything like it! It was so loud Emma and I couldn't hear each other and the road was completely covered and then some within seconds. The temp had also dropped 12 degrees in the time I was in the car!!

It had gotten so incredibly dark out, too. It was only 4:15 and it looked like late dusk. I would not have been the least bit surprised had a tornado appeared with its notorious freight-train thunder. Thank the good Lord that none did appear!

We made it home safely, back to Hayley, who had waited here. While she had noticed the hail, it hadn't been enough to take her attention away from the computer game she was playing. Sheesh. I guess it was good she wasn't scared, though.

See, I told you it was wickedly weird and actually interesting weather!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Just a quick update...

I've been focusing on my novel as much as possible over the past few days, thus explaining my lack of blog posts. Sorry!

I have lots to post about, though. Good news, not-so-good news, events, birthdays, etc. I've even remembered to take photos along the way!

I promise to write more very, very soon (hopefully tomorrow), but until then... Hi to all my Delicious Readers! I hope you're having a great week!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sometimes my dedication to things is a real pain in the...


Here I am, Day 5 in NaNoWriMo, and I can't get myself to stop doing my day job. Oh, I want to. Trust me, I'd rather be working on my masterpiece.

But our world of software basically imploded this week due to an overworked, underpaid and slightly overwrought server. (Hhmm... maybe that description is more apropos for me.)

Customers are frustrated and are slinging virtual bushel of tomatoes at us. Let me tell you, those virtual tomatoes don't hurt any less because they're not real!

I've had to tell multiple people to stop all-capping at us. These people think the world is ending because a service they pay a measly $15 a month does not read their minds.


Do they really think we haven't fixed their issue yet because we think it's fun to make them suffer? Ok, it might be fun to watch them suffer, but we can't see them so really, there's no joy in it.

Yet here I am, trying my darnest to answer 85 support emails. My annoying sense of dedication to my job won't let me concentrate on anything else.

You, Delicious Reader, need to sit me down and give me a firm talking to. Here's what you're going to say:

"Stop answering those damn emails! {If you're a kid, please substitute "darn".} They're still going to be there in the morning, but these hours that you're using up will not! Don't you dare feel guilty! Your book is more important than anything else right now. You have got to focus! We'll all know you're not real fond of goal-setting, but you have set a goal for yourself this time and you are going to reach that goal! Now get off this damn (but amazing) blog and write your book!!!"

Ok, ok... don't get so excited already. I'm closing out of support right now. (Yes, I really did!) I'm opening Word and Chapter 2. And now I'm even closing out of--

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Why on earth was I writing non-fiction?

Fiction is my home! I adore writing fiction!

I'm excited. I'm satisfied. My characters are becoming real and I'm still in the first chapter!

And there are already twists that I didn't see coming. It is just the most amazing thing to be typing away when all of a sudden, you pause, realizing that your characters have taken you to a place you hadn't created for them. These fictional, imaginary characters somehow dictate what happens!

I just read what I've written so far to Scott. He was astounded! (No, I'm not bragging. Only being honest.) He was engrossed in the story, loved the character development, could easily imagine the setting and most of all, can't wait to hear more!

I've never felt comfortable reading my writing aloud. I imagine it to be something like a baby beauty contest. Putting your most prized possession on display, asking for judgment. Ouch! I cringe just thinking about it.

But read my story, I did. And I actually didn't feel too much pain. Just a bit of self-induced anxiety that I pushed away by turning off the lights and making Scott close his eyes.

I'm taking that as another sign that writing fiction is my true calling. And you want to know an even bigger sign?

I smile when I write.

Scott tells me that when I concentrate, whether it's at work or when I'm writing my non-fiction book, I tend to scowl. It's just that I'm mired so deeply in concentration that there's no emotion to show. Getting the job done is intense.

But I've noticed that when I'm writing this novel, I smile. I giggle. I've even caught myself bouncing.

How entirely cool is that????

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy National Novel Writers Month!

Or, because saying that feels like a chewing a mouthful of peanuts, you can call it NaNoWriMo. At least that only feels like a small mouthful of peanuts!

The object, should a writer choose to accept it, is to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. Yup. One. Month.

Honestly, that shouldn't be too hard since I am obsessed with words.

And I have a really good idea.

And I am super-excited!

Now, be aware there aren't prizes (like actually getting the book published) at the end of this mad writing session. No, it's all about writing for the joy of it. You may be writing crap. You may not be making any sense. You may mess up your staging and viewpoints and tenses.

But it doesn't matter because you're actually writing!!!!

I can hardly wait to get home from church (and cook and eat lunch, clean up the kitchen, do some laundry, separate fighting children, etc. etc.) so my first novel can begin its momentous life!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

National Chocolate Day

Yes, there actually is a National Chocolate Day! Why the Hershey's doesn't make a big deal out of it, I don't know; but I do feel the need to honor it here on my Delicious blog.

National Chocolate Day was actually yesterday. It's a good thing I didn't hear about it until almost dinnertime; otherwise I would have spent the day justifying my constant desire to eat chocolate.

As it was, I only had a very small piece of chocolate cake late in the evening. Technically, I had to eat it. It was the last piece of the cake I made for our church's Oktoberfest this past Sunday. It would have gotten stale had I left it any longer. *written with a very straight face, of course* LOL And since it was my very favorite, completely made from scratch, Hershey cocoa's "Perfectly Chocolate Cake", I fully enjoyed every. single. bite. Had Scott been with me, he would have teased me about a chocolate-gasm. ;)

At any rate... I feel the need to pay tribute to chocolate. Amazing. Delicious. Luxurious.

Chocolate-covered almonds
Chocolate-covered marshmallows (Emma made me type this one! LOL)
Chocolate chip cookies
Chocolate pudding (best eaten warm, with whipped cream on top)
Chocolate ice cream from Baskin-Robbins
Hot chocolate (with slightly melty marshmallows)
Chocolate cream pie
Skinny mocha
Dove (Thanks a lot, Mom, for introducing this one to me! Now I *crave* it!)
Chocolate Tootsie pops
Root beer floats with chocolate ice cream
Chocolate pound cake
Chocolate fondue
Chocolate espresso brownies

And quite possibly, my favorite of all... dun dun dunnnnnnn....

Chocolate cheesecake

Oh, gracious.... I think I'm getting myself into trouble here.

Delicious Readers, you must, must, must follow this link and read the ensuing article...

This is my favorite part:

"Jeanne Calment habitually ate two pounds of chocolate per week until her physician induced her to give up sweets at the age of 119 - three years before her death aged 122."

But I also really love that chocoholics live longer than their non-chocoholic peers! And that chocolate has been shown to improve brain function.

So that's why I'm so smart!!! Ohhhhhhh, I got it now!

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Violin Virtuoso!

Emma took the audience's collective breath away last night at the 36th Annual Church Talent Show!

Keep in mind, she's only 9 and she's playing Schumann and Paganini here! And, of course, the perennial favorite, Edelweiss.

This is the second year she's played in the talent show. She says she's a little nervous going in, but she doesn't show it at all. She just gets right up there and starts playing. Between songs, she catches my eye and gives me a little shy smile. It's so sweet!

After the show, so many people came up and complimented her. We'd actually been at another church thing on Friday night and she told several people there that she'd be playing on Sunday. They were all so supportive and excited for her and made a point to come tell her how great she played. There was even a violinist among her fans (lol) who commented on how well Emma played! I have to say that we have the most amazing congregation EVER!

Scott and I are so proud of our girl. She's dedicated, focused and most important of all, really loves to play the violin.

P.S. Our V.I.T. (Videographer in Training), Hayley, thoughtfully shot the video for us so Scott and I could have both hands available for clapping. :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ok, so maybe Hayley won't be cooking dinner for a while..

You see, Emma has swim twice a week at 5pm -- prime cooking dinner hour. Since I have to take her, it's Hayley's responsibility to cook dinner and have it ready when we get home.

Success has been a little hard for her to come by, especially tonight.

She completely forgot the veggies.

The mac n cheese (from a box) came out overcooked and chunky!?

She set the microwave for half an hour to cook the chicken.

Yes, she did press Start.

But she didn't check to see if the chicken was actually in there!

It. Wasn't.

I had prepped it and popped it in the fridge, then told her to put the chicken in and cook it for half an hour.

So what happens when you set a high powered microwave on high for 30 minutes WITHOUT FOOD IN IT?

Well, nothing at first.

Then you start to hear strange noises. So you call Mom (who left her cell phone at home). Then you call Dad and actually follow his instructions. (Turn not off and do not touch it.)

Starving mom comes in ready to chow and discovers a microwave with a destroyed rotating plate and a melted rotating mechanism.

And. No. Dinner.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Volunteer Extraordinaire still exists!

Ignored, but not forgotten, she returns!!

I took a break from much of my regular volunteer work over the summer and with my Girl Scout troop dissolving, that much more was eliminated. And with the craziness of every day life gnawing on the edges of my sanity, I didn't want to do more than the school-regulated minimum.

Yesterday, I bit the proverbial bullet and went to volunteer at Hayley's school. It's her second year there and this is the first time I've volunteered. Who knows what was holding me back, but I finally decided to just get my a#@ over there and give back.

Together with several other moms, I alphabetized and doled out $30,000 worth of baked goods from the September fundraiser. It was chaotic and somewhat back ache-inducing, but so fun!

I forgot how much fun there is to be had in volunteering!

Today I was back in Emma's classroom. I'm there every Wednesday afternoon, helping kids with their writing, grading papers, etc. (I adore grading papers--the methodical nature is soothing to me.) Today I graded a social studies test the kids had just completed.

(Warning! Mama brag forthcoming! My daughter was the *only* kid in the class to score 100%! Go, Emma, Go!)

Her teacher wants me to come in more often to help and I would love to. But there's that work thing.

And that book thing.

And that balance thing.

But, really, volunteering is a balance. It's fun. It makes me happy. It makes my kids happy. I'm role-modeling strong values. Not to mention all those purported health benefits!

Hhmm... I think I might have to whip up a pink cape with the initials "VE" (for Volunteer Extraordinaire) on the back. More fun!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Yes, I'm seriously blogging about bathroom hand dryers!

Hahaha! Funny topic, I know.

Last week, Scott and I were in Costco. Before we grabbed a giganto cart, we hit the restroom. After doing my business, I washed my hands and reached for a paper towel.

But wait!

What's that thing? It's a new kind of air dryer! Funky!

And let me tell you, folks, it was so darned cool!

Instead of sticking your hands under it as you do with traditional hand dryers, you slide your hands down inside of it, then slowly bring them out again, kind of like the dry cycle at a gas station car wash. The super high pressure air blows them dry!

And I mean DRY! Not pseudo-dry where you still have to wipe your hands on your pants. But DRY.

Should you feel the desperate need to see it in motion, you can go here...

I was so excited by this small phenomenon. Scott was jealous when I told him about it. Apparently men don't rate highly enough to get one in their bathroom! LOL

Yes, it is the small things in life that make me happy. :)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Blast from the Past: Ballerina Huck

You're smiling, aren't you?

How can you not when looking at this gorgeous thing?

Emma was three when I shot this photo. Obviously, we were on our way to (or maybe just back from) ballet class. She very purposefully put her hat on backwards and arranged it so it felt just right.

No, she wasn't trying to be stylish. And she wasn't trying to ham it up. She was simply getting into character -- her favorite character: Huckleberry Pie from Strawberry Shortcake.

We don't know why she was obsessed with Huck, but for six hysterical months, she would refuse to acknowledge us unless we called her Huck.

Then one day, just as quickly as it started, the Huck phase was over.

It was just such a wonderful three year old thing!

Bedbugglet Surprise!

Went to bed last night and as I reached to flip the light switch, the hall light streamed in to reveal two angelic visitors in my bed. Both sound asleep.

Few things make a mama smile more than knowing her scent is the most comfortable place there is.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Wowwee! Check out this link...

I found this thanks to Delicious follower, Valerie, on her blog...

The lady, Nina, who writes the Read All Day blog literally reads. All. Day. Every Day. For 365 successive days.

She's chosen to read an entire book in one day for an entire year. Sounds like heaven to me!

I won't go into her reasons for creating this goal for herself; you can read that yourself on her blog. But how cool!! To have the time and resources to read read read read all day long.

*happy sigh*

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Side Bar List!

Happy Weekend, Delicious Readers!

I've just added a new feature in my side bar -- Deliciously Couponed. I'm so excited about my cheap and/or free groceries that I just have to share!

The few I just entered are just from this morning's couponing excursion.

I went to Walgreen's and some of the items were simply great sales, so I didn't list them, but check this out...

4 bottles of hydrogen peroxide
1 box Bandaids (20 ct. of the most expensive kind)
2 bags cough drops
1 bag candy corn (I know, I know... but I promised the girls.)
2 tubes Colgate Total toothpaste

Grand Total?????

$6.24! I also received $2 back in Walgreen's cash.

Sweet deals, baby!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's 9:07 am and I think I need a nap...

and other random comments for the day.

Think of this as my Tweeter post since I don't Tweet. I have lots to say, but can't think clearly enough to expound, so enjoy the quickies (heeheehee).

  • Having lunch with Scott today -- away from the office!
  • There's a wonderful storm outside right now.
  • Meeting up with a friend in a little bit to talk about the amazing book she's written.
  • Supposed to create a presentation for the pres. at work, but I don't know what to do.
  • Glow in the dark nail polish really does work!
  • Must suck to be a gardener when it's stormy outside.
  • Wonder if the bananas are ripe yet.
  • I think the wind just blew the trash can over.
  • Successfully resisted that second Coke and a Hershey bar yesterday. Yay me!
  • Have you noticed that Delicious as Pie has 15 followers now? Sweet!
  • Those bananas are mostly ripe. A little hard, but good in Rice Krispies anyway.
Ahh, blood sugar is back up after that bowl of cereal. Still would like a nap, but now I'm ready to face the day.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Battling the Worry Monster

Work hasn't paid us again recently. While Scott did come home with nice sized expense check last week, he did not coming bearing pay checks for either of us.

Supposedly, the company our company is merging with was supposed to wire money over so our salaries would be covered, but that wire seems to be untraceable. Meaning the execs at the new company haven't responded to phone calls asking where the money is.

And we all know that banks like to hold on to money as long as they possibly can.

But the thing is, I need money in order to support my family. So *not* a newsflash! But what to do when the money's all gone?

The pisser of it is, is that as soon as the wire arrives, there will be plenty of money. In fact, enough to pay us back the extraordinarily large sum the company owes us from last year!

We just have to hang on. And pray. I've been begging God all day for the wire to come through right away. (Of course, Monday is a bank holiday.)

In the meantime, I have to battle that Worry Monster. Here's my strategy... I'm really focusing on things that make me smile. Here's what I have so far today:

  • hot showers
  • beautiful, flaming red leaves on a tree
  • Scott waking up happy
  • super-couponing
It's not even noon yet today, so I'm sure there will be plenty of other things to smile about. I just have to focus on them and not the evaporating bank account.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Oh Joy! Oh Happy Day!

They're healthy again!

Emma finally broke the fever cycle and Hayley's cough and sore throat are so much better!


I would have sent them both to school today except, of course, it's a teacher inservice day and there is no school.


Coupon Love!

Went to Walgreen's last night armed with several coupons, including a $3 rebate check from my last shop.

Check this out!

$9 Quattro razor: FREE, plus $2 back!
$3 Chapstick: FREE!

They won't actually give you money back if your products don't add up to zero (heehee!), so I grabbed a couple boxes of Snapple to-go powder just to have something to pay for.

Cool, huh?

I've got some really great coupons lined up for Rite-Aid and Albertson's as well. Shopping is fun again!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

They're. Still. Sick.

Both of them.

Day 6 for Emma.

Day 3 for Hayley.

Day Crazy for Kate.

Honestly, they're being really good. Needy, but who's not needy when they're feverish and bored?

My saving grace during this Week of Sick? The girls' new obsession with iCarly. It's actually a cute (and tweenishly funny) show and I don't mind watching it. BONUS!

Hayley downloaded past seasons of iCarly on Netflix, so the two of them have had something different to watch.

And last night, we bought Barbie and the Three Musketeers. Emma adores the Barbie movies (shh! don't tell her I told you that!), so we bought it instead of renting. We've gotten caught in the Barbie rental trap before -- every time we let Emma pick out a movie to rent, it's a Barbie movie she's seen a hundred times before. So rather than spending $4 each time she rents the same movie, we just bought it.

I gave it to her a few minutes ago and I saw the biggest smile I've seen since last Saturday. Thank you, Barbie!

Now I'm off to work between beckonings. Ooohh! Sick kids and Support! Oh joy! Can... you... feel... my... excitement...? (Those ellipses are supposed to indicate the slow and monotone voice of that question. Did it work?)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Delicious as Pie is undergoing minor renovations

I'm attempting to add a third column to my yummy blog, but since Blogger doesn't actually offer a three column template, it's so not easy as pie!

I finally found a site that gave me the html code (don't I sound all tech-y? LOL) to insert the third column, but it neglects to mention how to change the margins within said columns.

More research is needed and as I'm sleepy, I'll work on it tomorrow when my daily bucketful of patience is still full.

In the meantime, sorry it looks a little strange!

There are few things...

...more discouraging than waking up to dirty dishes. Spread across the counter in all directions, you think they'd reproduced over night.

"Hey, Baby," said the chili-streaked pot, winking across the counter. "Wanna have some fun tonight?"
The pink plastic plate licked her dried ketchup lips lasciviously. "Oh, yeah. Let's make some noise!"

**noises deleted for my rated R-forbidden friends**

Shortly thereafter, cheers rang from all corners of the kitchen as cups lined with lip marks, bowls decorated with glued Rice Krispies and legions of variously dirty utensils celebrated the product of the pot and plate's procreation: a cinnamon-smeared ramekin half full of applesauce in various stages of dehydration.


Are you all wondering where *that* came from? I'm not even sure of that. Probably one part giddy exhaustion, one part insanity and a three parts suffering from chocolate deprivation.

Both girls were home sick today.

"Mommy, I need some water!"
"Mom, my throat hurts."
"Mom, it's my turn to pick a show!"
"Mommy, can you make lunch now?"
"Mom, can I have more medicine?"

I thank the Good Lord that both of my sweet angels fell asleep at 7:30 tonight. I was pretty fried. Scott has Men's Group tonight and was therefore deprived of the joy of attending his suffering daughters.

But all in all, it hasn't been a bad day. In fact, I'm feeling pretty darned pleased with myself. I was up at 6am and worked for two and a half hours before anyone else came downstairs. Woohoo!

Over the course of the day:
  • I worked seven hours
  • helped Neighbor Gloria (who proudly announced that she is now 87 and a half) look up her credit reports online
  • folded several loads of laundry
  • finished a movie I started watching last night (Management with Jennifer Aniston. I'd describe it as the vanilla ice cream of romantic comedies -- good, better than nothing, but bland)
  • mowed the lawn
  • knitted about six inches on the prayer shawl I'm making and.......
  • washed the dishes so I wouldn't have to face them in the morning!
All that and it's only 8:30! The night is still young!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Please say a prayer...

My dear friend, Dana, is in surgery right now undergoing a double mastectomy. She was diagnosed in February with breast cancer and has been through the proverbial wringer since then.

Please lift up a prayer right now: Lord, please watch over Dana. Give knowledge, compassion and steady hands to her surgeon. Help moderate the pain she'll feel over the next few days and help her heal quickly and without complication. Lord, help her remember how many people are rooting for her and that you are there for her, always and forever. Amen.

Thanks, Delicious Readers, for your prayers.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Man! Increasing a readership base is hard!

I have on average about 15 readers a day here on Delicious as Pie. (Thank you, Delicious Readers!) I'd understandably like to increase my readership base, though

I've been researching various ways to do that and I'm running up against a couple problems:

1. I don't understand a whole lot about blogging technology -- it's so not user-friendly. There is more info online about garnering more attention, but as soon as I start reading it,my creative-not-technological brain goes into hibernation. (Kind of like when I have to listen to politics.)

2. I don't have time to spend hours every day reading and commenting on other people's blogs in hope that they'll come and read mine. Sure, I'd love to cuddle up with this sweet new laptop and peruse the thousands of blogs currently out there -- no doubt about that. But then Guilt attacks, aiming its daggers of chores and reminders at my brain.

I need a plan. I need to sit down and outline exactly what I need to do on a daily basis as far as Delicious as Pie is concerned.

And while I'm at it, my book is demanding attention again. I've licked my wounds long enough. It's time to start submitting to other agents.

No problem! It's all about routine. Maybe as soon as Em leaves for school, I can sit down and work on the book for an hour or so. Then I'll work for pay for three to four hours and then I can tackle the blog-o-sphere.

Sounds totally doable, right? Damn straight, it is! We're talking about me here! I don't do anything half-assed. (I think you all know that by know!) I'm ready to take my schedule by the days-of-the-week tabs and wrestle it into submission, gosh darn it!

But not right now.

Right now, I'm going to knit. Then I'm going to eat a piece of the chocolate pound cake I made yesterday. Mmmmmm. And then I'm going to crawl into bed and fall asleep while attempting a fiendish sudoku puzzle.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sticking to My Parental Guns

Last week, Emma joined the choir at school. She's been looking forward to it for a couple years now, since only fourth and fifth graders can join.

I was hesitant to add it to her schedule -- she's plenty busy already. History has shown that Emma needs her downtime. No one wants to be around the little crazy person (to put it mildely) she becomes when she's feeling overwhelmed.

But she begged and pleaded to join, expostulating all the reasons she knew would convince me to decide in her favor.

I caved.

But I did impose a two week trial. If she was overwhelmed, cranky or not getting her regular chores and homework done, choir was over. Finito. Second chance deprived.

Today was the end of the two weeks (school weeks, that is). And it was not pretty. She has not been doing her chores; she's been exceedingly volatile; and there hasn't been much time for violin practice.

So no more choir for Emma.

Her fury was something to be seen. Biblical proportions here, folks. There was screaming and crying and begging and pleading and slamming and much gnashing of teeth. But worst of all was her deep blue eyes filled with all-consuming sadness.

I came so close to caving. I wanted to believe her "better choices" promises. A strong parent, though, doesn't give in on such things. By Supergluing myself to my "choir trial" declarations of last week, I made it through this morning's drama mostly unscathed.

In fact, I feel pretty darned good. Yes, I did stick to my parental guns, but it is more than that. It's that, even after such a horrible morning, Emma went to school smiling and laughing and thrilled that she is so quickly mastering her seven times tables.

It's that because I was calm and empathetic throughout the early morning drama she was able to move on and look forward to other parts of the day.

It's that somehow Scott and I have created a strong, resilient, amazing child.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My sweet, sweet laptop...

New to our way-too-technological household as of Sunday, I finally have a laptop that can keep up.

And as of today, I get to use it!

My amazing husband took possession of it for the first 48 hours so he could do whatever super-secret things computer geniuses do to make them work. I frequently gave him the hairy eyeball because I wanted to use it so desperately, but there is no fast-forward button when it comes to setting up a new 'puter.

But as I walked into the office this morning, I saw it. *imagine celestial light and triumphant music* It was sitting alluringly on my desk, patiently awaiting my love and affection. Ooops... I mean my speedy and impatient demands. (Heehee!)

With 4 GB of RAM, there's finally enough memory to run the applications I need for work. Wahoo!

I won't have to sit and wait... and wait... and wait... while the computer debates if it should work. And, almost as important, the heels of my hands will no longer get burnt from the heat of its desperate attempts to keep up!

My last laptop, an ancient and well-loved machine, had decided to retire. No retirement party thrown, though, since I was so disgusted at the constant "not responding" message.

So here's a toast to the newest computer-based device in the D___ household. *clink* And to my saved sanity, my increased production as an employee and the loss of sore shoulders from carting around an ancient clunker. *clink clink*

Monday, September 28, 2009

In a bit of a fog...

My parents left this morning after a quick weekend visit and true to form, as soon as they left, I collapsed into bed for a three hour nap.

Now I'm up and moving, but I'm not sure I'm awake. I seem to be moving in slllloooowwww motion and doing an awful lot of staring into space.

I think dinner is going to be scrambled eggs. Maybe pancakes. Something so easy I can make it even when I'm mostly asleep. If I happen to perk up a little? Well, then we might just get some bacon out of the deal. LOL

Saturday, September 26, 2009

On the art of blogging...

Someone out there is reading. To someone, I'm making a difference.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I didn't rob the grocery store... really!

It just *feels* like I did!

"Why?" you ask?

Because... I brought home $50 of groceries today for the grand total of $8.90!!

That's a savings of 81%!

Yay, me! (Doin' a little happy dance!)

I bet you want to know how I did it, huh?

Super Couponing, baby, Super Couponing. Go to to find out all the details, but basically, it teaches you how to keep track of sales so that you can use coupons for maximum savings.

It also talks about using more than one coupon per item, Internet coupons, tracking the pricing cycles, etc.

At first it sounded completely overwhelming to me, but once I saw all the tools available online, I realized it's totally doable. There are some really fantastic sites that link coupons to sales at your favorite stores, so *you* aren't doing most of the work!


I also did the Super Couponing thing at Rite Aid. It was more challenging than at Alberston's because of the mail-in rebates, but when all is said and done, I spent $5 for $30 worth of goods.

Totally worth looking into, my friends, so go click on that link above.

Thanks to MommaSchoob for telling me about this! (MommaSchoob, get on it, girl! You know about it--now you have to do it!)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Perfect Day, Perfect Photos

Saturday morning, we felt the need to get out of Dodge. To do something crazy and exciting and completely non-work related.

We finally decided to head to Cannon Beach for the afternoon. It's a two hour drive, through beautiful green farmland and densely forested mountains. Then all of a sudden, you come over a hill and there's the great Pacific, in all it's delicious, shining glory!

Cannon Beach is a tiny town with boutique-y stores, lots of ice cream (seriously important!) and the beach just one block off the main street. Once the girls saw the sand and the waves and the Ecoli River emptying into the ocean, it was all over.

There was no stopping them. And sometimes, they shouldn't be stopped.

Scott and I just stood there watching them run and laugh and splash (fully clothed, of course). It was such a picture perfect moment, one that left me filled with thanksgiving that God entrusted these two amazing children to me.

Look through these photos and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about...

Pizza Drunk

You know when a baby finishes nursing and her head lolls back and her eyes roll up a little and she gets a goofy grin on her sweet little drooly mouth? And you know that she is unequivocally satisfied?

That's exactly the way Scott and I felt on Saturday night after eating the most *amazing* pizza in the history of all pizzas. As we finished stuffing ourselves silly, we sat back in our chairs, looked at each other and felt completely drunk on pizza.

Good thing for us (and our checking account) that this itty-bitty little pizza joint is a two hour drive away in Cannon Beach, OR. It's called Pizza a' fetta. Their sauce is perfectly sweet and spicy, their combo of cheeses is to die for. Who needs extra toppings when the basic is anything but basic?

Scott needs more than just cheese on his pizza, though, so he order a bbq chicken basil. Oh my gosh... I have not seen that man devour so much pizza in three and a half years (since he found out about his 28 food allergies). He didn't care about the allergies. Savoring this unbelievable pie was worth every discomfort. (Actually, he didn't have any! Bonus!)

Pizza a' fetta is rated number 33 out of all the country's indy pizza parlors. If number 33 is mind-blowingly good, what's number 1 like? It must be simply orgasmic.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Up for another challenge?

I'm not even sure I'm ready for this challenge, but it's intriguing nonetheless...

I read an article the other day in Good Housekeeping. It was written by a Portland woman who decided to take her family (including children) "on a shopping hiatus — to tame our impulse buying and refocus our energy on things that gave all of us greater contentment. In a word: happiness. Or the quest for it."

Socks, for example. She taught her family how to darn socks so they would not need to buy new.

They washed all their baggies, saran wrap, tin foil, etc. and used them till they could be used no more.

How 'bout vacuum bags? Emptying and reusing them makes sense, doesnt' it?

You get the picture.

Here's what intrigued me about their efforts: making due. Learning to live without new socks or a new pair of jeans or a less obnoxious dishwasher. Working with what you have to create something new, something different, something exciting. Teaching our children that "store-bought" isn't always better.

Sounds like a New Year's resolution that lasts approximately 37.5 hours. Grandiose, but just too dang difficult to pull off on a daily basis.

I, for one, don't have the time to darn socks (although with my girls' abhorrence of most socks, I'd do well to mend the ones they actually wear.) Nor do I think I'd succeed a whole year without stopping for a McDonald's Coke or buying pretty new fabric or paper.

Or going to Target. 'Cause we all know that Target is just the coolest and there's way too many things we all want as we push our plastic red carts in and out of aisles filled with things that make us happy.

So here's what I'm thinking, my challenge to all my readers...

The money-sucking, time-grabbing, Pepto-demanding holidays. Is it possible to not spend money? Not entirely, I'm sure, but here's what those magazine parents did...

They joined with other families and together, they exchanged unwanted or unneeded items from around their homes.

Imagine the possibilities! Last year's cell phone; a digital camera that's been replaced; an outgrown bike; camping supplies no longer used; forgotten cds and outgrown dvd's... Are you seeing the opportunity here yet?

Here's the challenge I'm presenting you with. Who's up for a holiday gift co-op? A save-the- earth-and-our-bank-accounts-and-our children's-morals collective? The official regifting society?

I'm serious here! Doesn't this sound awesome? I *really* want to do this. Who'll do it with me?