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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Another Year Has Come and Gone

2015 started on a sad note for me. Thing 3 was out of the hospital and in a rehab center, still recovering from his wreck. But, things got better, and all in all, 2015 was good ... and much better than 2014!

The highlights of 2015 were buying a new house, Thing 2 getting engaged, and my grandson being born. I mentioned my new baby grandson last, but we was, without question, the best part of the entire year.

As 2015 closes, I have much to be thankful for. My kids are all happy and healthy. I have some really great friends ... and I have Superman, who makes me happier than I ever thought possible.

I know a few people that had a very difficult 2015 and will be more than happy to see the year over and done with. I've had more than a few of those years myself ... and when you've had a really tough year, it feels good to close that chapter of your life. I know nothing really changes when the clock hits midnight, but it's a symbolic new beginning.

No one gets a free pass at life. No one is immune to the inevitable pain and sorrow that come from living and loving. Every life is full of good and bad moments. If everything was always good, we wouldn't be able to appreciate it ... it's those hard times that make the good times even sweeter. I try to remember that it's the cold, dreary gray of winter that makes the warmth and color of spring that much more beautiful.

You can't always control what life throws at you, but you can control how you deal with it. When tragedy strikes, you can fight your way to the other side or you can cower and cry. You can make a plan to deal with your new reality or you can sit back and wait for someone else to make things better. Adversity defines who you are ... strong and brave ... or weak and whimpering.

I always chose to be strong and brave, even when I felt anything but. By day I was a tower of strength, but there were many nights, when the kids were asleep and the house was quiet, that I would fall apart. I'd allow myself to have a pity-party for a while, then I'd put on my big-girl panties and pull myself back together. It wasn't about me anymore. It was no longer about my happiness or the dreams I had to let go of ... it was about three innocent little kids who depended on me for everything. It wasn't their fault my life had fallen apart. My choices had brought me to that point and it was my responsibility to get us all out of it.

And so I did.

It didn't happen overnight, but it happened ... because each day I determined to make life better than it was the day before. I spent years worrying and wondering how to fix the problems I had created, but my kids never knew anything was wrong. They never wondered why Mommy was crying because they never saw me cry. As far as my kids knew, I was the happiest woman alive!

I got tired of pretending to be strong and brave and happy, but I kept pretending because my kids needed to see that. I was their barometer ... if they saw me as happy carefree, they were, too. Had I moped around, projecting fear and misery, they would have been fearful and miserable, too. I couldn't do that to them.

And so I didn't.

I worked my butt off to give them the kind of life they would have had if they were raised with two parents (and two incomes). They had new clothes and lots of toys. They got the lessons they wanted and went on nice vacations. They fell asleep each night with a full belly in a warm bed. They grew up knowing that they were safe and loved.

Now that they are grown, I've shared some of the struggles and sacrifices I had to make, but as children, they were oblivious to them. Good. That's how it's supposed to be. Their job was to learn and play and grow, and my job was to love and care for them, and to teach them the things they needed to know to succeed in life.

And so I did.

I made mistakes along the way, but I apologized when I was wrong. And those mistakes were made out of love. Even though I made some wrong choices, I did what, at the time, I thought was best. I was hardly a perfect parent, but I did a pretty good job ... and I'm proud of all my kids. They are beautiful and funny and smart. They are capable and creative and resilient. They are kind and caring and generous.

Being a parent is hard work ... a lot harder than you realize when you're fantasizing of what life will be like when raising a baby. But all of that work is repaid in spades in hugs and kisses and giggles. God entrusted three young lives to me and expected me to do a good job raising them.

And so I did.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Possible Cure for Sugar Cravings

Scientists have discovered a hormone which suppresses the sweet tooth, which they call FGF21. This hormone is produced in the liver as a response to high carbohydrate levels. When it enters the blood stream, it tells your brain to stop craving sweets. Oddly, it does not suppress the craving for complex carbs, like cake or pastries.

When I crave sweets, I don't go to the kitchen for a spoonful of sugar. If it doesn't block the craving for cake or pastries and other complex carbs, I'm not exactly sure what cravings it does block ... so I'm gonna call this one a big fat fail.

Personally, I have my own cure for sugar cravings ... it's call a cookie!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Yesterday I decided that I was going to try to hang some pictures on the wall in the living room. I hadn't attempted to hang them myself because I don't do so well hanging pictures that have two hooks on the back. I can hang anything that has only one hook, but hanging something with two hooks ... that have to be perfectly straight and level ... I give myself a 35-40% change of doing it correctly.

And this collage is four pieces ... each with two hooks on them. As I got each piece out of the closet, I was well aware of the fact that my chances went down exponentially with each hook. There were eight hooks ... so my chances to screw up were eight-squared. Going into this, I gave myself a ZERO percent chance of success. But, somehow, I did it! I'm still not sure how I managed to get them hung straight, and level, and perfectly aligned with each other!

Superman can hang stuff like this in his sleep. He takes precise measurements from the floor or ceiling and hangs them with the expertise that comes from decades of the women in his life sloppily hanging things that he must then re-hang. My method is somewhat less scientific ... hence my abysmal success rate! I still can't believe he doesn't have to come over and fix my botched hanging job ... and I'm sure he's even more surprised!

The "Savannah" print above the picture collage was a gift from Superman for my birthday one year. He made two trips to Savannah, Georgia for it. First to order it, then to pick it up. And, of course, when he went to pick it up, he walked from his hotel ... and it started raining. Luckily the print wasn't damaged or destroyed.

I still need to print a picture of Thing 1 and her husband, Thing 3 and his girlfriend, get a newer picture of my nephew, and print pictures of two more "kids" that are kind of like my own, then it will be mostly finished. There are four clips on each shutter that hold pictures, most of which are reserved for my grandson, but I want to hang a few pictures of other people special to me, too.

I'm getting ready to hop in the shower, then head to Walmart. I've got a little time to dig through my photo's and pick some to print, so I guess I'd better do that now ... but I just can't quit looking at what a good job I did ... because I will never be able to duplicate this success!

Monday, December 28, 2015

"Pastafarian" Get to Wear Colander on her Head for License Photo

Boston, Massechusetts allowed a woman who belongs to the "Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster" to wear a colander on her head in her driver's license photo after she cited her religious beliefs.

She said she absolutely loves the history and the story of Pastafarians. The only "story" I could find was that whenever a scientist carbon-dates an object, a supernatural creator that closely resembles spaghetti and meatballs is there ... changing the results with His Noodly Appendage.

As Colonel Klink would say, "Veeeeeery interesting."
I have to admit, that is a compelling story (not really). Maybe they should write a book. Oh, yeah ... they already have! My daughter loved that book ... and the movie!

If this woman honestly believes this stuff, she's got much bigger problems, and should focus on those rather than using her limited brain cells fighting to wear a colander on her head.

Joking aside, this is part of what is wrong with America. I couldn't find the origin of this "religion", but it sounds like something that took root at a college fraternity ... with the help of hallucinogenic drugs ... and the "followers" used our laws against us to get it recognized as a real religion, with constitutional protections.

More concerning than any of that is the fact that (I'm ashamed to admit) I used to have the exact same skirt the "Pastafarian" is wearing in the photo ... but I didn't pair my white skirt with bright blue flowers with another skirt underneath, a gray and black long-sleeved tee, black leggings, and boots. My daughter borrowed it once, and I never saw it again. After seeing this woman in it, I would never wear it again anyway ... so I'm glad that skirt is gone forever!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

THERE'S Waldo!

The other night a friend and I went out on a mission to fulfill a craving ... and found Waldo buying gas and snacks at a local convenience store!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

My Christmas Eve

When my little grandson arrived, he was wearing an adorable sock monkey outfit, but I had bought him a Mickey Mouse First Christmas outfit, so he got a wardrobe change. The Mickey outfit came with black pants, but we put him back in his red pants in honor of Christmas. Besides, the red pants matched his bow tie!

We all took turns cuddling with W while we waited on everyone to arrive ... while one special little girl kept anxiously eyeing the suspicious lump of presents Santa had left for her under sheets in the middle of the room. (Santa had heard she would be with us on Christmas Eve and made a special trip from the North Pole just to deliver her presents at my house.)

W and his daddy.

W laid on the floor talking to the tree while we ate our Christmas Eve dinner. Like his aunt and mommy, that sweet baby is fascinated by anything that sparkles and shines.

And one sweet little girl was thrilled to pieces when she saw what Santa had brought. Once she looked at all of her presents, we went outside and let her ride her bike around the cul-de-sac. She loved it! While the rest of us opened our presents, she happily made cupcakes with her Play-Doh dessert maker. Christmas is so much more fun when there are little ones to share it with!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Lawn Furniture for Christmas

The fairies got new lawn furniture for Christmas, and from the most unexpected source ... Superman! I love my fairy door, but I figured he thought I was being completely silly, and maybe even questioning my sanity, but he loves anything that puts this big of a smile on my face and excitement in my heart.

There is wisteria that grows wild along the highways around here, and we drive by them every spring. Superman isn't into wisteria, but he loves how excited I get when I see it and he gets a thrill out of how happy it makes me. He's such a good guy. I love that man ... and my fairies love their new furniture. And they were apparently up late last night reading!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Throwback Thursday Christmas Eve

I believe this is from Christmas 1999. My babies aren't babies anymore ... but they're starting to make babies of their own ... and grandkids are even better!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Eve Eve

My outside decorations are intentionally sparse. Unlike Clark Griswald, I subscribe to the school of simplicity ... less is best. I've been meaning to post a picture of the outside of my house this Christmas (even though it's hardly award worthy!), but I kept forgetting to take a photograph. I finally remembered yesterday. All I do outside is hang wreathes on the windows, lights on the lamppost ... and, of course ... a Santa hat for Bird Girl. There are spotlights to light up the facade and the tree, but it was too light in this picture to see that. The spotlights will stay up all year round.

I can't wait to see the spotlights this spring and summer, when there are leaves on the trees and the grass is alive. I've never understood the song "White Christmas". I have never dreamed of a white Christmas ... I dream of a green Christmas or a sandy Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Yesterday's Lunch

French Vanilla Cappuccino and a Krackel Candy Bar
Technically, it was supposed to be breakfast, but since I didn't consume it until after 12:00 p.m., it became lunch. The little girl I used to be would be SO happy to know that dreams do come true ... when you're all grown up, you actually CAN eat candy as a meal!!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Another Coleman Family Christmas in the Books

Believe it or not, TEN of my nieces, nephews, and their significant others, plus FOUR of their kids missing from this picture. There are seven kids in my family and we all did our part in populating the earth ... some more than others. Three of us have three kids, two have two kids, and two have one kid (slackers!). 

There are all the "kids" that came to Christmas from left to right ... Thing 3A, Thing 3, Thing 1A holding W, Thing 1 holding Thing 1A's sister, cousin C, cousin L, Thing 2, Thing 2A, Thing 1A's brother holding his new baby girl and his girlfriend. 

I think everyone had a nice time ... I know I did! This year my daughter and her husband hosted Christmas, since they now have the biggest house, and I was just a visitor. I did get a picture of me and my brood (below). They are all so busy it's hard to get us all together at the same time, so it's extra special when I see them all together.

Left to right are ... Thing 3A, Thing 3, Thing 1A, Thing 1, me holding baby W (I LOVE THAT BABY!!!), Thing 2, and Thing 2A, 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Introducing ... The Exclamation Comma and The Question Comma

In 1992, three American geniuses "invented" the exclamation comma and the question comma.

The exclamation comma is "for use within a written sentence between words as a comma, but with more feeling". Likewise, the question comma is for "expressing a question before a sentence has ended".

Brilliant, right?!

One of the co-creators of the two punctuation marks wrote about how he came up with the idea in a post on his Facebook page.

"During a long period writing a technical paper in the early 90s, I was startled in my sleep at 4am when an image of a question mark with a comma below it (instead of a period) suddenly appeared in my mind’s eye. I sprang up in bed yelling, eureka!, so loud that I scared my wife awake. It was the first time I distinctly remember discovering an invention by being startled by such imagery while asleep."

(I'm not sure if this gentleman needs more ... or less ... sleep!)

Sadly, the exclamation comma and the question comma never caught on, and the trio let their Canadian patent lapse.  (Why did these three Americans apply for a Canadian patent?)

They might have had a small glimmer of sustainability (not really) had the punctuation marks ever made it to a keyboard, but they never made the cut. I suppose we could have replaced the rarely (or never) used carrot (^) and tilde (~) ...  but if we got rid of the tilde, how would we make an old-school emoji of sticking out your tongue? :)~

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Year Ago Today

A year ago today I got a call that every parent fears. At 3:21 a.m., the hospital called and said my son had been in a car accident, and that he was in ICU on a ventilator. I was grateful the call hadn't been from the coroner, but I was terrified of what the future held. We found the news story online about an overnight accident that left two hospitalized. As the anchor spoke, the camera panned over to the firefighters working to remove the passenger from the car. In the background, an ambulance drove off. I was later told my son "didn't look good" when they pulled him from the car. Watching the video, all I could think was, "My son is in there. He's unconscious. They're cutting off his clothes, looking for injuries, attaching IV lines, and checking his pockets for identification."

There are no guarantees with head injuries. He could recover completely, he could recover a lot, he could be a child forever, or he could remain in a coma. I did my best not to think about the bad "what if's", but at times, I had to ... I had to have some kind of plan. We were extremely lucky, though. After two weeks in the hospital and two weeks in rehab, he came home. Over the next few months he continued improving and was able to go back to work.

Fast forward a year ... my son is perfectly healthy. He's still intelligent, funny ... and often annoying. He's working at Toyota and is the father of the world's cutest, sweetest baby boy. Our prayers were answered and I will be eternally grateful God gave me my son back. I was lucky in that I have family who love me and my kids and bent over backwards, some for months, to help us all through that time.

This morning, I woke up to a story on the news about two people taken to the hospital after an overnight wreck, both injured critically. I know their parents were called in the middle of the night. I know they shook with fear as they got dressed and drove to the hospital, sick to their stomachs and scared to death ... and I know they'll stand beside the beds looking at their "child" wondering what the future holds. They'll ask the same questions we asked, and they'll get the same answers ... "With head injuries, there's no way to tell until they wake up."

Their families face some long days and nights at the hospital. There will be times of complete terror, stomach-churning agony and fear, and the occasional glimmer of hope. My prayer is that those families find the strength to get through this and that the outcome is favorable.

When my son was in the hospital, I was anxious to have the whole ordeal over. I wanted it to be nothing but an unpleasant memory. It finally is ... but when I hear an ambulance, I still get that sick feeling in my stomach. I don't guess something like that is ever really "over".

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Be Still My Heart

These minty drops from heaven are available only at Christmas every year ... how have I not heard of them before?!!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Babies Are So Resilient

My sweet, baby grandson has been in the hospital for a week now. He'll be here another 2-4 days unless he needs surgery. His doctors are doing everything they can to avoid operating. The staff here has been wonderful. Riley's does everything it can to make a hospital stay easier for families during a very stressful time. They provide free around-the-clock transportation to and from wherever families are staying, and the Ronald McDonald House in the hospital provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner (free of charge) to the parents, grandparents, and siblings of patients. I only have good things to say about the staff here, and I am so glad little W is in such kind and caring hands.

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Beautiful Sunrise

My bathroom window at home faces east, so I often wake up to a spectacular sunrise. The colors are much more vibrant than my camera captures, but the pictures are still quite pretty.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Mr. Pillow to the Rescue

When my kids were babies and wouldn't sleep, I would put Mr. Pillow in bed with them, then take him away after they fell asleep. I sleep with Mr. Pillow, so he smelled like Mama, and it tricked my poor dumb kids into thinking I was close.

The other day, little W would fall sound asleep in my arms, but wake up and cry every time I laid him down. I had Mr. Pillow with me, so I put him in bed with W. Little by little, W wiggled closer to Mr. Pillow, then threw his tiny little arm around him.

Thing 2 came to Indy to see W yesterday. When we left the hospital last night, she came "home" with me. My room only has one bed, but the chair pulls out into a single bed. I opened it up to make it and laid down on it, and it was REALLY uncomfortable, so she slept in bed with me (and she hogged the covers). As usual, I fell asleep holding Mr. Pillow. When we woke up, she was holding him!

My kids fight about what I'm going to leave them when I die ... mainly who gets my Bible ... but also who gets Mr. Pillow. I may put it in my will that they have to flip a coin to see who gets Mr. Pillow!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Genius Idea

Riley's Hospital has a huge supply of wagons to let the patients or their siblings ride in. It's the perfect solution to "contain" little kids who have to be at the hospital for hours and hours. The older siblings can pull the littler ones, so everyone is occupied and happy... or parents don't have to juggle kids and mounds of luggage ... or sick children don't have to ride around in a wheelchair, which brings a little normalcy to their lives. Kids often see strollers as "confining" and try to escape, but they never try to get out of a wagon. I don't know who thought of this, but having a fleet of wagons readily available really is a genius idea.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Santa Came to See a Very Special Baby Boy

Santa stopped to visit yesterday. Little W was sound asleep, so Santa was extra quiet.

P.S. W isn't wearing a hat, nor did he grow an entire head of hair in one night ... that's the corner of the blanket!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Food at Riley's

Riley's Hospital in Indianapolis serves only low/no fat foods, diet drinks, and very little red meat or pork. When Thing 3 was in the hospital last year, I had biscuits and gravy for breakfast every day. It was comforting and filling, and easy on my stomach. For breakfast the other day, I got biscuits and gravy and a couple sausage patties. The biscuits and gravy were great ... but I have no idea what the sausage patties were made of. I know it wasn't pork, and it didn't taste like any turkey sausage I've ever had. I tried to eat it, but I just couldn't take more than a few bites. Whatever that "sausage" was made of does not occur naturally in nature, of that I'm sure. I'd much rather take my chances with real pork than whatever that stuff was!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Taking a Much Needed Break

Because one can only stand and look out the window for so long before one must rest!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Monday, December 7, 2015

Can You Find Olivia?

Thing 1 is setting up her guest room, but her cats think it's their room. I was at her house the other night to help decorate. Her husband came home and went upstairs for something. When he came back down, he asked if the cats had moved all day ... they had been in the exact same spot when he left for work that morning!

Louie prefers to "hide in plain sight", but Olivia goes for the camouflaged effect. It's really not necessary for her to hide ... Roo won't get on the furniture without permission and Gus is too little to get on the bed without assistance. But Olivia ... who has no use for pets ... doesn't want the dogs to even look at her. 

I had to dislodge her to hang some pictures above the headboard, and she was not happy. She didn't get off the bed, she merely moved closer to Louie ... and glared at him indignantly as if to say, "You lied to me! You said no one would bother us here".

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Superman's Christmas Tree

When Superman and I started dating, it was December, and he had a big tree that year ... and the next. He then decided he didn't want to mess with a big tree, so I gave him one of the small ones I used to put outside, in urns on my porch. He used that small tree for a few years, then decided not to put up a tree at all. His youngest daughter lived at home at the time. She was okay with not having a tree, and so the tradition of no Christmas tree at his house began.

His birthday is in December, making his birthday and Christmas doubly hard because he doesn't need anything. He doesn't even want anything! If he needs or wants something, he buys it when the need/want arises. I thought about buying him a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree several times over the last few years, but never did ... until this year. For his birthday, I bought him a Charlie Brown tree. Last night, as he was eating pizza in the kitchen, I told him not to peek, and I set up his tree on the coffee table in his living room. It isn't his birthday yet, but there's no law against giving a birthday present early!

After we finished eating, I took him into the living room to see his tree ... and he loved it! This "tree" is small enough that it doesn't need to be stored in the attic. He can put it in a drawer when Christmas is over! Putting it together and decorating it or taking it apart takes mere moments, perfect for someone so busy he tries to shave seconds out of everyday tasks in order to add a few more productive minutes to his day.

A scrawny Christmas tree should look out of place in his nice home, but it somehow fits the house ... and him ... perfectly! Happy early birthday, Superman!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

How Does One Discover They Possess This Skill?

When we went to the circus, the gentleman above was one of the entertainers. He would toss a variety of breakable objects and catch them with his head, where he would balance and spin them. This particular piece of pottery (they said) weighs about thirty-five pounds. Like the other items, he gently tossed it in the air and caught it on the top of his head. It wasn't the most interesting act of the circus, but it did get me to wondering how one discovers they possess this skill ... and how many priceless heirlooms he broke honing it.

I can see his mother now, picking up and examining shattered objects from the floor and mumbling, "Oh, no ... not grandma's favorite clown bust."

Unlike a computer programmer, engineer, or secretary, this really is a niche profession isn't it? Had I been his mother, I would probably have tried to steer him towards a different vocation. Maybe she did, and despite her best efforts, he decided to pursue balancing and spinning objects on head. I guess the heart wants what the heart wants. I shouldn't judge, though ... I've always heard that if you do something you love, you never have to work a day in your life. He might be one of the few people in this world living his dream!

Friday, December 4, 2015

My Office Christmas Decoration

A woman I work with has been pestering everyone to bring in Christmas decorations and decorate their areas. I either used all of mine or gave them to my daughter ... and I'm not buying more for work! After her relentless ... I stop short of saying nagging ... I caved, and put up a tree.


I have a Christmas Tree.

Ho. Ho. Ho.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Last Week's Full Frosty Moon

Superman snapped these photo's of last week's full moon. This moon is more commonly called the Beaver Moon, but I prefer it's lesser-used name of Frosty Moon. Although the temperatures that day were mild and quite comfortable, it certainly looked like a frosty moon.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I Don't Think My Step Tracker is Very Accurate

One morning last week, I woke up at 3:00. I went to the bathroom, then went back to bed and snuggled into my warm, comfy bed, but sleep eluded me. I got up made coffee, then went back to my room to nerd, getting up several times to use the bathroom and/or get more coffee ... and to grab some cinnamon graham crackers to snack on! After I had finished reading the morning news and had written a great deal, I got up, made my bed, and took a shower.

As I was getting dressed, I checked to see how many steps I had taken so far. I'd been up several hours earlier than usual ... on a day I could have slept in ... and I was excited to see how much of a head-start I had towards the 10,000 steps it demands I take everyday.

Imagine my surprise when, after I'd been up and moving for seven hours, the step-tracker app on my phone read ... 0 steps!


I had walked around for seven hours and I it recorded zero steps! Okay, so I wasn't actually walking for seven hours, but I did get up and walk numerous times. Granted, I was sitting most of the time, but I had easily walked several hundred steps. I'm not asking for much. I don't want it to lie to me and tell me I've walked 10 miles when I've really only walked a hundred feet ... but I do want it to accurately record the steps I do take.

Unlike Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory, I haven't attached my phone to a device rigged to mimic walking or riding a bike! I'm not cheating, and it doesn't seem quite fair that my app ... who pesters me to get moving ... is too lazy to wake up and record my steps!

If that's all the better it can do, I've decided I'm going to quit berating myself self on the days I don't live up to it's standards ... because, quite frankly ... it's not living up to mine, either.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Christmas Tree is Up

My Christmas tree is up. I had to buy a new one, as I would have had to cut a hole in the roof to accommodate my old one! I was afraid the angel would be way too large for this tree, but it turns out, she looks just fine. I'm very pleased with the way it turned out.

When I moved, I left all of my holiday decorations in the basement of my old house. There's no way I could use them all in my new home, and since my daughter and her husband bought my old house, it made more sense to take only what I needed. But before I moved, I didn't know how much room I'd have or what I needed to decorate.

So, this past Saturday, my daughter and I went through the decorations. I took my very favorite items, but some of the things I left behind pulled at my heartstrings. I told my daughter why they were so special to me. I know she'll cherish them as much as I do, so they're in good hands.

I took more than what I needed and planned to give her the things I couldn't use. Turns out, even though I left a lot ... I took a lot ... and I used almost all of it! I've got most everything done, but I still have a few things I hung onto that she could probably use. I'm not planning on decorating the family room this year. If I do decorate down there, it will be sparingly and Christmas light free. I rarely go downstairs, and I fear the kids will leave the lights on 24/7. Some of the decorations I held onto were things I wanted for the family room. But, since I'm not decorating it much this year, it feels selfish holding onto them.

Once I get all the decorations completely done, I'll give her the rest of what I took. As hard as it it to let some of these things go, it's time to pass them on. For years prior to moving, I'd been trying to cull my Christmas decorations, and I had already given her a lot of them. This year, however, will be the finale. Why am I finding it so difficult to let go of some silly decorations I don't need?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Never Underestimate the Ingenuity of the Intellectually-Challenged

At some point, these two geniuses decided to embark on a new career path ... a life of crime. Unfortunately, they didn't have enough money to buy masks.

Hmmmm. That is a problem, isn't it? 

Did they allow a lack of funds to derail their plans? Did they allow a few dollars to stand in the way of riches beyond their wildest dreams? Heck, no!! They're no stranger to adversity! They put their heads together! They brainstormed! They improvised and made their dreams come true! They may not have access to money for masks, but they did have access to something just as good ... permanent markers.

Although they did a masterful job at disguising their real identities, I'm going to offer up a suggestion for others who, like these gentlemen, want to begin their life of crime, but don't have sufficient cash to fund such an endeavor.

Steal them.

That's right ... I said steal them.

You don't want to be laughed at because you can't afford to dress like the other felons, do you? Then don't give up! Don't lose sight of the ball! You're a criminal, for Pete's sake! Laws don't bother you! What's one more crime? Never forget ... this is what you were born for! Remember ... this is what you do! Just like the money in the bank you intend to rob, you don't have to work for the attire this profession demands!

I wouldn't recommend going to a high-end department store or a swanky boutique, because let's face it ... those places don't carry the merchandise necessary to the unique needs of criminals. But don't despair ... there are lots of places that sell ski-masks or long stocking caps that you could cut eye-holes in! Or, hey ... what about a Halloween store?

I'm in no way advocating a life of crime, but if you've already made up your mind, don't settle for second best. I realize you're very busy and obviously have a lot on your plate, so if you don't have time for additional robberies, I'll understand if you raid your kids art supplies and draw yourself up a nice mask ... and then go out there and make your family proud!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Well Played, Mr. Camel. Well Played.

Yesterday, I went to the Hadi Shriner's Thanksgiving Circus with Superman and his grandsons. As a kid, we went to the circus every year, but I wasn't a big circus fan. After Shriner's last show, Whirlpool paid for one more show and treated it's employees and children to a free (albeit.smaller) circus ... and every child received a stocking full of candy and tickets for a drink, hot dog, popcorn, and cotton candy. That was the draw for me! I endured the circus for cotton candy and a stocking full of candy.

I wasn't all that excited about going to the circus yesterday, but I was excited to spend the day with Superman and the kids. I knew his grandsons would fired up ...and who can resist the excitement of a child? To my surprise, I enjoyed the show.

When they brought out three rings of animals, I was a little surprised to see a camel leading the pack, and ushered into the center ring with the horses. 

And all I could think of was the movie "Babe"!

Remember how (in that movie), the duck pretended to be a rooster? Farmers ate ducks, so the duck knew he had to do something vital to the farm ... something important enough that they no longer saw him as food, but an intricate part of life. The duck deduced that if he were a rooter, the farmer and his wife would see how valuable he was and wouldn't eat him ... and that's all I could think of as I watched the camel in with the horses. 

There aren't a lot of caravan's through the desert here in the States, so employment prospects for camels are slim at best. I suppose it was either masquerade as a horse or get used to the sticky hands, screaming, crying kids, and suckers stuck in your fir at the petting zoo!

Well played, Mr. Camel. Well played.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Smurfs vs. Storm Troopers?

I walked into the family room to see my son watching a football game on television. 

I said, "The Smurfs vs. Storm Troopers? That doesn't sound very fair."

Clearly not amused, he glanced at me like "Really mom?", then turned back to the tv.

I went to the kitchen to eat a cupcake. It wasn't long before Thing 3 came in to raid the refrigerator. I asked him if it was halftime. He said the game was over, so I asked him who won. (I didn't really care ... I was just making polite conversation.)

He pulled his head out of the fridge and looked over at me. I'm sure he was flashing back to the many times we'd be driving someplace and he'd say, "Look at that cool (insert car name here)".  I'd look around, searching for some vehicle that looked cool. Unless the name is written big enough for me to read, I can identify very few vehicles by sight. Realizing I needed more clues that the name, he'd sigh and tell me the color.

So, there we stood in the kitchen ... me, licking icing off my fingers and he holding a bowl of something or other in front of the fridge. Finally, he sighed and said, "The Smurfs."

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Food Network Chefs Thanksgiving Fav's

Growing up, I never really understood why everyone got so excited about Thanksgiving. To me, it was a couple of days off school, but other than that, it was just a regular day, with just slightly larger variety of food than every other dinner my mother prepared ... and I knew what she was going to cook without having to ask. There were eight of us kids, plus my mom and dad. My mother made a big dinner every night. She's always made a variety of things to make sure there was enough to go around and that everyone had plenty to eat. The only foods she made that were Thanksgiving exclusives were cranberry relish and dressing ... and both were family favorites.

I realize now that having family together was the big draw for most people, but I was with my family all the time. We didn't get together with other family members on Thanksgiving ... or any other holiday for that matter. My mom had just as many siblings as myself. Most of them lived here in town, and almost all of them had just has many kids as she did. We would have had to rent out a banquet hall to get everyone in the same building!

As the older kids began to marry off and had in-law houses to go to for Thanksgiving, getting just our core family together became more complicated, and sometimes impossible. It was only then that I realized how special it was to have all of us in the same room.

Around Thanksgiving, the Food Network is dominated with shows devoted to Thanksgiving. To keep things "interesting" and to keep viewers coming back, the chefs have to come up with new recipes every year. And I've noticed something ... as the years go on, the recipes their chefs prepare get stranger and stranger!

Like my mother, my menu stays the same year after year. I don't watch many of the Thanksgiving shows on the Food Network, but I do enjoy looking at the television guide, rolling my eyes at some of the "classics" they prepare, and taking screen grabs to make fun of them later!

Below are a few of my favorites from this year:

Celery-root and apple puree? Do you eat it with a spoon? Is it a dip? A glaze?

I'm sorry, but an EASY 11-layer potato gratin? EASY would be two or three layers ... four tops! This recipe undoubtedly calls for several different types of those "artisan cheeses" I simply must buy but don't have access to. Unless I can pick up all eleven layers of this dish at the supermarket, which is unlikely and would result in making one particularly snooty chef to wrinkle her nose in disgust, this recipe is off the table. I guess it's a good thing I never invite celebrity chefs to my Thanksgiving table.

Baked-mashed potatoes with peas? Yuk! If I want peas in my potatoes ... which I don't ... I'll put them there myself. And what am I supposed to do with Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs? Is this a side dish? An appetizer? Do I put them in my salad made with locally grown, organic vegetables? And, once again, I'd have to make it with common bread and Parmesan ... from the supermarket.

Oh, the horror of serving the peasant food from a supermarket! No ... I could never serve common supermarket food to my fancy guests (insert shudder here). So, I guess this one is out, too.

A "Classic Thanksgiving" which includes pumpkin Alfredo lasagna rolls? I don't know what this is, but it sounds disgusting ... and it's certainly never graced any "classic" Thanksgiving table I've sat at! And crispy truffled turkey? I don't want crispy turkey. I want juicy turkey. 

And as for the dessert, well, I had to look up what a semifreddo cake even is. For all you fellow hillbillies out there ... it's "a partially frozen Italian dessert". While that does sound simply devine, the host and I obviously differ greatly on what we consider a classic Thanksgiving.

And, finally ... what Thanksgiving Day feast would be complete without stuffing arancini or charred Brussels sprouts crostini?

All my snarkiness aside ... I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family, friends, and good food (even if it comes from the supermarket!).