Friday, July 30, 2010

The Bane of the Burn

Some things just linger. The aroma of freshly washed linens. A wonderful piece of music. The great lift you have after watching a feel-good movie. The meatloaf you ate an hour ago. The sunburn you got at the Gulf.


Fairskinned or not, most people tend to burn when they go to the beach. But some people, who have suffered from extensive sunburns in the past, are smart enough to use sunscreen when they visit the beach on the other side of the state in their spur-of-the-moment vacation. Of course, some people, like most people, want a little bit of sun because what's the point in going to the beach if no one can tell you've been there?

So some fairskinned people would, perhaps, choose to snorkel for an hour in the Gulf of Mexico. Then, she might decide that, since the freckles on her arms were standing at complete attention, it was time to put on some sunscreen.

Some people, but not many, would think to slather sunscreen on their arms, but would completely forget that their legs were also in the sun. Those not-thinking-too-clearly people might then play for a few more hours at the beach before realizing that snorkeling is the equivalent of lying face down on the beach in the sun.

When this not-too-bright person returned to her motel room, she might discover that the back of her legs were bright, glazing red. She might even be in such pain that she couldn't sit on a chair or couch or anything that came in contact with the back of her legs.

This same person might swallow the pain for a couple of days, only to be overwhelmed by the itching and flaking and peeling that would happen a few days later. This same person might even wake up in the middle of the night, a week later, clawing and scratching her way back from the insane itching.

It was so worth it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The One Where We All Screamed

This is a wolf spider. I minimized the picture because just looking at it freaked me out. Part of the the reason for that is because I don't like spiders. The other part of the reason is because this picture looks remarkably like the spider that was crawling on the wall in my home office the other night.

I was looking up something on the internet for some of my children when all of a sudden, this monster spider appeared near the ceiling. No one knows where it came from--a fact which disturbs me greatly--it just appeared.

My boys' reaction? "Whoa!"

My reaction? Screaming for my sons to come to my rescue.

One of them rolled up a newspaper, but it you splat something that big on the wall, what kind of a mess is it going to make? Can a newspaper even kill it? It was up over our heads on the wall, giving us a distinct disadvantage in attacking.

What if it jumped on our heads? Or worse. What if it grabbed the paper out of our hands and started beating us with it?

I say "we", but actually I was cowering in the corner.

My two oldest boys reluctantly moved forward to do battle with the monster spider. The three youngest (drawn out of bed by my screams) stood in the doorway and cheered their brothers on, all the while preparing to run if the creature got the upper hand. I continued to screech for them to get rid of it. Pandemonium hit a new level when the spider moved.

It was fast. Really fast.

Now it was on the wall above an armoire, and it was much more difficult to reach.

And closer to where I was sitting.

I moved almost as fast as the spider did. But in the opposite direction. Realizing that the battle must be fought, one of the boys threw a shoe at the spider, knocking it off the wall.

And down behind the furniture.

My son figured out of sight, out of mind, but I wasn't at all convinced. So my son asked me to finish looking up the information he needed while he searched for the spider. Two of them pushed and moved the heavy armoire away from the wall. I worked with one eye on the computer and one eye on the wall. The boys continued banging and moving generally stirring things up, almost dreading the thought of getting another look at the spider. In fact, they were so busy staring at the floor and getting behind the furniture that they didn't even see the spider again.

But I did. It suddenly skittered out from behind the armoire, once again high on the wall. And this time it was directly over me. With a bloodcurdling scream, I bolted for the door. The boys were all shouting as well, and into this wild scene walked my husband.

Indiana Jones threw us all disapproving looks for carrying on so about a spider. He did a doubletake when he actually saw the size of the spider. But then he walked into the room, grabbed a rolled up newspaper and killed the intruder. Then he disposed of it. Without a word he dumped the paper in the trash, gave us all a challenging glare and headed to bed. My hero.

I think it would have been better if he'd been wearing the hat and the whip.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

There is No I in We

"I need some time away."

This is how I viewed my quest for some time off.

"We'll take some time this summer."

This is how my husband viewed my quest. Somehow he could not seem to grasp that I wanted time alone. Never mind that he has been known to take off alone for the occasional hunting or fishing trip. Apparently that's different.

Not that I minded his tagging along. I love him and we get along well. (Good thing, since we're married!) My problem had to do more with the fact that I viewed this little vacation as a time of rest and relaxtion.

But I'm married to Indiana Jones.

Indiana doesn't take vacations. He goes on adventures. Since life with him is an adventure, I wanted a real, honest to goodness vacation. I wanted a somewhat luxurious hotel room and maid service.

His idea of getting away is camping in a tent or staying in a somewhat spartan cabin.

I wanted to sit in the sunshine (alternating with the air conditioning) and enjoy the quiet.

His idea of quiet is spending hours in a tree stand.

I like sitting in a comfortable spot and people watching. He almost canceled our whole week of vacation because he was going to get an opportunity to use his chainsaw.

He finally got the idea that this getaway was not negotiable. When he agreed to it, I rhapsodized about how relaxing it would be to simply eat, read and sleep. He muttered a comment about what was he supposed to do, and I smiled sweetly while reminding him he didn't have to come at all.

He finally agreed to the vacation I wanted, but I could tell he still didn't get it.

Even after arriving at our destination--

--it took about twenty-four hours for him to settle into a real vacation mode.

How's that for a sweet little vacation spot?

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Trouble With Running Away

Have you ever threatened to run away? Ever dreamed of throwing in the towel and disappearing for a few days?

I've been telling myself for months that I would run away. I told myself that during our church's Super Conference, when we had guests at the house for a solid week and meetings every night.

I told myself that when we had missionaries staying at our house for three weeks straight.

I told myself that when we started the fourth quarter of our school year, and I realized we would never be able to finish before June.

I told myself that while Indiana went through his back surgery. I told myself that as we planned our church's spring ladies' luncheon. I told myself I would runaway as we began planning for Vacation Bible School and I started a month long turn at working full time.

I wanted to run away from the dishes. The laundry that went on for ever. The continuing struggle to teach all the males in my household that cleaning up is everyone's responsibility. I wanted a few days where no one asked me, "What's for dinner?"

In truth, I didn't really care where I ran away to.

I just wanted to be away. I wanted to read a book without interruption. I wanted to sleep whenever I felt like it. I wanted some quiet time. Shoot, at some point I'd have been happy to sit and stare at a wall.

There is a time in life when you realize you have truly had it. That you will not be able to go forward unless you take some time to recharge and rest. I had reached that point.

The problem was, I reached it in February.

Since February wasn't a good time to get away, I operated on fumes for a while. But I promised myself that, before the summer was over, I was going to get away.


The only problem is, I'm not alone. I'm part of a big male group. And taking off for a few days is no easy feat.

How did I manage? Come back tomorrow to see why there is no I in We.

Monday, July 19, 2010

In The Mind of a Ten Year Old

I had a little talk with Nicky this morning. This picture is of Nicky at VBS a couple of weeks ago. He's wearing the mask because he dressed as the Lone Ranger all week, and in this picture he's winning the burping contest. (He has a real talent for that sort of thing.) Nicky is ten and half (the half is important) and quite sure of himself and the world around him. We had a little conversation about his future and here's some words of wisdom straight from his active little brain.

"When I get to be Luke's age (that's 16), I'm gonna get a job at Steak n' Shake and then I'll get discounts on shakes!"

"When I get older, I'll waltz (yes, he actually said waltz!) into Cracker Barrel and start working for them." Sideways glance. "Tips, man."

"When I get to be about sixty-five ..."

Me:  You're going to work as a waiter at Cracker Barrel your whole life?

"They have tips. Matt made, like, seventy-five dollars in one night!"

"After I'm done at Cracker Barrel, I'm gonna travel around the world preaching. I'll preach in Paris and New York."

I asked if he would have a family.

"I'm gonna have four children. Twin boys and twin girls. I'm gonna name the boys, so my wife can probably name the girls."

I agreed that was fair, and then asked him who his wife would be.

"I don't know yet. But if she's hot and she's saved, I'm gonna get her!"

Dontcha just love his confidence? And His criteria! So what about you? What're you going to be when you grow up?

As for me, I plan on being a lot more of what I am now, only better. Hey, I can dream too!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What Would You Do?

Say it's 11:30 at night, and you are driving home by yourself. You're about five minutes from home and you seriously have to pee. I mean seriously. And then you're stopped at a railroad crossing.

There aren't many cars around. You can see the train is far down the track and moving slowly. You know you could make it through the crossing gates and over the tracks in time. What would you do?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Your Opinion Please

Socks with sandals. Your opinion?

Toe socks. Your opinion?

Disclaimer:  No feet of mine were abused this way in the making of this blog post.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stopped In My Tracks

I have favorite authors that I like to read. I usually keep track of when their latest book is being released because I will read just about everything they write.

Just recently I bought the latest release from one of my favorite suspense authors. I eagerly opened up and started reading, but then something terrible happened.

I figured out who the bad guy was.

That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I was only a little way into the book. I'm not always clever at figuring out whodunit, and the writer is actually very good at disguising things until the ending. But somehow this antagonist just leaped out at me, and I knew it was him.

I never finished the book. What was the point? I skimmed through and doublechecked my thinking at the ending, but I was right.

And I was disappointed.

So here's my question to you--what will make you put down a book or turn off a movie? Do you feel you have to finish what you start, or are there certain things that just make it impossible for you to finish?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ten Things I Love and the Reason I'm Ignoring You

Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis (all three of you) may have noticed my posts have been a little spotty lately. Not spotty as in polka-dotted, but spotty as in not here very often. I have a very good reason for my absence.


Apparently you occasionally have to live life in order to have something about which to blog. My life lately has had all the terror and none of the joys of being inadequately strapped in the front seat of a monster rollercoaster that is stuck in fast forward and was condemned for killing passengers just last month. (How's that for an analogy?!)

Anyway, I kept promising myself I was going to take some time off and go away for a few days. I wanted to curl up in bed until I felt like getting up. I wanted to relax and enjoy myself and have no duties to worry about for a few days. I was scheduling this rejuvenating time for later in the summer.

My body overruled me.

I ended up coming down with a pretty nasty virus last week. I did indeed curl up in bed until I felt like getting up--that took three days. I didn't enjoy myself, although I think everyone else in the house appreciated the fact that I completely lost my voice. I have now been struggling with this bug for a week. I'm back at work, and definitely on the mend, but not completely well yet.

So now you know why I waited until today to post the ten things I love in answer to the I Love Your Blog award. I didn't love anything last week. : )

I should issue the following disclaimer:  I am assuming you know that I love my husband and children beyond measure. That's why I did not include them on this list.

1.  I love the first crisp day of Autumn. Leaves are turning, the sky is a brilliant cobalt blue, and there's just a hint of a nip in the air.

2. I love decorating the Christmas tree with Christmas music playing in the background. The drapes are drawn back from the big picture window, and I can see that it's just dusk, and the snow that's been falling all afternoon hasn't stopped, but is piling up on the porch.

NOTE:  The first two don't happen in Florida. I know that. I love when it did happen.

3. I love when I bake something and it turns out exactly as it should.

4. I love a really good plot twist, whether I thought it up or I'm enjoying it from someone else.

5. I love the first pull from the straw when I drink a McDonald's mocha frappe. That first taste is a perfect blend of coffee and chocolate.

6. I love singing in a choir when perfectly blended harmonies are completing each other.

7. I love really good hair days.

8. I love pedicures.

9. I love when my kittens purr.

10. I love when my house is completely clean.

Most of the above items do not happen often (except for the kittens--they purr all the time). But if the above list were every day occurrences, would I love them as much?

Your turn. What do you love?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Clarifications, Screams and Other Things

I don't often do a "random" post, other than the Random Dozen posts, because I'm not good at it like Taylor is over at the Lumberjack's Wife. Joyce at From This Side of the Pond is also very good at random. Me, not so much. But I have a bunch of things to cover, and I don't think any of them rate their own post, so here we go:

1. Taylor at the Lumberjack's Wife gave me an award. And here it is:

That's right, folks. I have a blog with substance. Taylor says so. Go say hi to Taylor. Make sure you say, "Holla!"

2. Based on some of the comments from my hairstyle post, I think I need to clarify a few things:

*I don't think pastors' wives have to be boring.
*If I thought my hairstyle was boring, I would change it.
*I don't think there's anything wrong with looking sexy for your husband.
*I don't think "sexy" is the right look to work towards in general. Attractive? Sure. Good looking? Perfectly fine. Knock-out gorgeous? Absolutely.
*I don't think I achieve any of the above looks. But I'm NOT boring!

3. The other day, early in the morning my husband startled me and I let loose with a bloodcurdling scream.

4. There were six other males in the house, and not one of them came to see why I screamed.

5. I actually went out of the bedroom and into the hallway to see if any of said males were lingering around anywhere, or heading in my direction to rescue me.

6. No males were in sight.

7. I guess my safety is up to me.

8. Good thing I am armed.

9. I scolded my ten year old the other day for burping in public.

10. His reply? "In some countries, that's considered a compliment."

11. I'm not sure who or what he was complimenting. I told him as long as we're in the U.S. it's rude.

12. Sometime ago (I'm blushing that I've put this off for so long) Cathy at Tales of the TCKK Family gave me an I Love Your Blog Award:

Thank you, Cathy! Since this post is already getting long, I will list the ten things I love tomorrow. In the meantime, go see Cathy and say hi!

And that's all I have for today. Have a good one!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

In Search of A Hairdresser

So I got my hair trimmed this weekend. Are you one of those people that have regularly scheduled appointments? Does your hair dresser know your hair inside out?

One day I wake up and look in the mirror. And as I struggle to get my hair into some reasonable fashion, it suddenly occurs to me that I've gone so long without a trim that I've lost any resemblance to an actual hairstyle.

That's when I get it cut again. The problem with this method, though, is that not everyone takes walk-ins. I was having one lady cut my hair, but I usually needed to call a week in advance to get an appointment. I don't know I need a cut that far in advance.

The last two times I've gotten a trim, I used a walk-in salon. Both times worked fairly well, but it's really a little bit like playing Russian Roulette. You never know what kind of a stylist you're going to get. So here's my list of things I look for in a stylist.

1. She has time to cut my hair with no advance notice.

2. She knows more than one basic style.

3. She knows how to work with curly hair.

4. She will listen to what I want, instead of giving me what she thinks is best for me. (EX:  when I say I don't want heavy bangs, I mean it!)

5. She can give tactful advice and tips on improving my hair, without making me feel like I look horrible now.

6. She can shut up and cut my hair, so I can zone out and relax. (I hate making small talk.)

7. She doesn't try to sell me all the products their salon offers. She can use them on my hair--if I like the results, I'll ask for it.

8. She is a she. I don't like men cutting my hair. Not even the man that was dressed up as a woman (albeit an ugly one).

9. She gets more hair on the floor, and less hair down the collar of my shirt. (I'm still itching!)

I once had a stylist tell me that my hairstyle was boring. She suggested a few changes to make my look more sexy. And this right after I told her I was a pastor's wife. I don't want boring, but I'm not exactly sure sexy is the look I should be working toward. Nor am I sure it's even possible.

So what about you? Is getting your hair done a treat or a chore?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Don't Use That Line On Me!

Since nothing's happening except work (still!) in my life, I'm reposting another post again. After all, it's summer. You should be expecting reruns! This post originally appeared on July 24, 2009.

Sometimes when I'm helping my children with their schoolwork, I find that they need something a little more than the knowledge that x=5. (That is the only algebraic formula I know. It works for me.) Sometimes when my children are struggling for the answer, the problem is not understanding. The problem is exercising the brain enough to figure out the answer. After all, education is not just a matter of learning facts, but of reasoning through and thinking through things in order to come to the right conclusions.

So sometimes when my children come to me with a problem, I point out the page where the answer is and tell them "it's in here somewhere. Find it." Many times I get a despairing look. The look is all I get because they know better than to whine. That's never gotten them anything in our house. The look doesn't get them much either, but I will tell them, "You're smart. You can figure this out." I try to tell my kids they're smart often. They blossom under the positive reinforcement. Plus, if I say it often enough, maybe it will really happen. : )

Nine times in ten the affirmation-receiving child will figure out the answer. They're in a kind of catch-22. After all, if they come back a second time looking for the answer, it's like they're admitting they're not smart. It ends up being a challenge to them to prove that I was right about their intelligence. They succeed in finding the answer, they prove they were smart, they feel really good about themselves. It's a process that works.

Just recently I was on the receiving end of the process. It's not quite so pleasant from this side. I think I've mentioned before that I work in an auditing office. Most people that know me find it amusing that my job involves working with numbers since math was never my strong suit. (I really do believe x=5.) When I started the job, almost a year ago, I enjoyed the sensation of being the "new kid". I worked at learning the job, but there are a lot of details and variables in the work. If I didn't know something, no one faulted me for it because I was new. Plus, being low woman on the totem pole, most of the work I got was grunt work. In all honesty, I didn't mind a bit. I enjoyed coming in and accomplishing something and then going home and forgetting I even had a job. I did whatever was asked of me, and I did it to the best of my ability, but still I wasn't actually responsible for anything except the assignments I was given. I wasn't working the job in order to fulfill anything other than our pocketbook.

Well, all that changed a few months ago. One of my bosses declared that I wasn't being used "to my full potential". So I was given new duties. Duties with responsibility attached to them. Bear in mind that this is governmental auditing. There's not supposed to be any mistakes. One of my new duties involved proofing all our reports and making sure there were no mistakes before they were sent out. Part of that job wasn't so hard. Misspelled words and incorrect grammar seem to jump out at me from the page. On the other hand, I was also put in charge of making sure the content was correct based on the findings of the auditor. Huh? There were so many details and variables I was sure I would never get it. It didn't get any better when they explained to me that these 3-4 pages of content were the heart of the report. All else was necessary, but these 3-4 pages were "what we get paid for doing". Okay. So no pressure here at all.
I balked and dragged my feet a little bit. I expressed doubt as to my ability. I even whined just a bit. (Don't tell my kids!) My boss's answer? "You're smart. You'll figure it out."

Well slap me upside the head. As much as I didn't want this duty, now I had to take it. I couldn't admit I wasn't smart. This is a very frustrating position to be in.

I still use the phrase with my children. I still believe it motivates them. But it's aggravating to have the same techniques used on me. I think now I'm going to have to be smart enough to think up new ways to motivate.

Maybe I'll go with the "Nobody is that dumb" negative reinforcement. Set the bar a little lower.

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