Friday, June 30, 2006

What Do You Do When You are Bored?

You Take Internet Quizzes! What fun! Come on, you know you want to! Could this mean that my creative well hath runneth dry? I don't think so, but it's summer!

Arty Kid
Whether you were a drama freak or an emo poet, you definitely were expressive and unique. You're probably a little less weird these days - but even more talented!
You Have a Choleric Temperament
You are a person of great enthusiasm - easily excited by many things. Unsatisfied by the ordinary, you are reaching for an epic, extraordinary life. You want the best. The best life. The best love. The best reputation. You posses a sharp and keen intellect. Your mind is your primary weapon. Strong willed, nothing can keep you down. Your energy can break down any wall. You're an instantly passionate person - and this passion gives you an intoxicating power over others. At your worst, you are a narcissist. Full of yourself and even proud of your faults. Stubborn and opinionated, you know what you think is right. End of discussion. A bit of a misanthrope, you often see others as weak, ignorant, and inferior.
You Are Dr. Pepper
You're very unique and funky, yet you still have a bit of traditionalism to you. People who like you think they have great taste... and they usually do. Your best soda match: Root Beer Stay away from: 7 Up
You Are Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
You are kind, popular, and generous. You tend to be successful at anything you try. A social butterfly, you are great at entertaining a crowd. You are most compatible with strawberry ice cream.
Maroon 5 Shares Your Taste in Music
See their whole playlist here (iTunes required)
You Should Be a Film Writer
You don't just create compelling stories, you see them as clearly as a movie in your mind. You have a knack for details and dialogue. You can really make a character come to life. Chances are, you enjoy creating all types of stories. The joy is in the storytelling. And nothing would please you more than millions of people seeing your story on the big screen!
People Envy Your Compassion
You have a kind heart and an unusual empathy for all living creatures. You tend to absorb others' happiness and pain. People envy your compassion, and more importantly, the connections it helps you build. And compassionate as you are, you feel for them.

T, who needs to find something to inspire me to write

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Thursday 13- R U Bored?

13 "Boredom Buster" Web Sites that TLC has found

(disclaimer: not everything on these sites is rated G...the sites are large and there might be things there that are not family-friendly)

  • 1.The Lair of the Crab of Ineffable Wisdom This site is by the guy who did the Quizno's commercials...spongemonkeys rule! We like da mooooon
  • 2. Atom Films Very cool short film site that has all sorts of genres available. Careful! You can waste a lot of time here!
  • 3. Haiku-o-Matic Hey, who doesn't like do it yourself haiku??

  • 4.Stuff on My Cat Really. Stuff + Cats= Awesome! Very funny site, and no cats were harmed in the making of this site.
  • 5. The Sith Sense Darth Vader can read your mind. Truly. You are not worthy.
  • 6. South Park Studio Because you have to make a South Park likeness of yourself. You know you wanna.
  • 7.Yacht Rock Ever wonder what happened to the Smoooooth Music? Me either, but this web series tells us. You need the Yacht Rock. Funny and Irreverent...but not child safe...language.
  • 8.Puppy War Puppies..which one is cuter? What's better than a dog that you don't have to clean up after? Pits cute dogs against each other. Yay, competition!
  • 9.Google Earth Google owns the world, it's useless to resist. Maps, via satellite. Hey, I think I can see my house from here!
  • 10.Throw Bush Sorry for those that like him, but this is therapy!
  • 11. Joppa Think: Monte Python meets Kids in the Hall...silly, funny, lots of word play, senseless and creative.
  • 12. Songs To Wear Pants To This guy composes music according to requests...the weirder the better. His archives kick serious butt.

  • 13. User Friendly Cartoon strip about geeks. And computers. Geek humor. I get it. Hah! Yes, it is too funny!
  • Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

    The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! It’s easy, and fun! If you use auto-links, please, leave a comment It's just nice manners.

    T, who has a lot more sites and it was hard to choose

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    Saturday, June 24, 2006

    Bloggers Check in but...

    I have a return visitor to the Guest Room this week. Say hello to Sir Bacchus from <------Parenting Toys, up in my sidebar. Love to have him back, and thanks to all 12 people who wanted to rent! Keep'll eventually be here. And...we'll leave the light on for ya. (minus Tom Bodette, of course)

    T, who readied the Executive Suite and got more of those little chocolates you love so much

    Friday, June 23, 2006

    You Can Scream Now

    I have to get something off my chest. Something that is really bothering me. There is a trend that is just so...wrong. Thankfully, I live in Southern CA, so I don't see a lot of it. But it does happen. And when it does, I hear the Psycho music complete with Janet Leigh's scream in my head.

    Men, for the love of all things holy, do not do this!

    It is the anti-sexy. It's sick. It's wrong. Just. don't. do. it.

    T, who thanks you on behalf of all women out there

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    5 for 5 OR time to clean it all out, you screaming MEME

    I'm cheating today. I am not feeling great, a bit down. So today you get a meme. Maybe later I will write that soul-searching post that I keep putting off. Maybe.

    5 items in the fridge

  • 1.Bing cherries
  • 2.Muenster Cheese
  • 3.rice/almond bread for JBear (have to refrigerate bread in the summer or it molds)
  • 4. Newman's Own Balsamic Dressing
  • 5. Hershey's Syrup
  • 5 items in my closet

  • 1. shoes
  • 2. dresses I never, ever wear
  • 3.memory box
  • 4. old Sega Genesis game player
  • 5. cat, probably (one of his favorite places to sleep)
  • 5 items on my desk

  • 1. tv remote (then I know where it is)
  • 2. glass of water
  • 3. stapler
  • 4. roll of masking tape
  • 5. assorted "art creations" by children
  • 5 items in my van

  • 1.CDs... currently: burned CD of praise songs, Dixie Chicks, WOW, Jimmy Buffett: Live in Hawaii
  • 2. sand toys
  • 3.blanket and chair for park day (at least once a week)
  • 4. book: The Well-Trained Mind
  • 5. fruit leathers
  • 5 items in my purse

  • 1. card for Jamba Juice, buy 5 get 6th free
  • 2. digestive enzymes for JBear
  • 3. nail glue
  • 4. printout of walkthrough for JBear's Zelda game for his gameboy
  • 5. sunscreen
  • As for tags...if you want to do this...consider youself tagged! I don't want to force anyone to do anything they don't want to do.

    T, who promises better entries later this week

    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    T13- No More Teachers, No More Books...

    Today, I have a guest Thirteener, my daughter, JBug. She is chomping at the bit to tell you about her teacher, whom she really thought was unfair most of the year. (can't say I disagree with her). The teacher actually liked her, but JBug watched the treatment other kids received from her and just stewed.

    13 Reasons that JBug Disliked Her Teacher
  • 1. She was too strict.

  • 2. She gave too much homework.

  • 3. Her expectations were way too high.

  • 4. She was a perfectionist and expected everyone else to be.

  • 5. She picked on certain students and showcased others.

  • 6. She assigned too many essays.

  • 7. She made us run laps if we talked during the opening exercises of P.E.

  • 8. She didn't let us go to lunch until we were dismissed which made us last in line and sometimes they ran out of food! COLD grilled cheese (because they are out of everything else) is not a good lunch!

  • 9. She gave us "fun" projects that weren't fun at all!
  • 10. She should have been a college teacher, her expectations were that high.

  • 11. She expected us to be "scholars." (whatever happened to learning because you want to??)

  • 12. She did fun activities like art and science while students were out for pull-out activities like band or drama.

  • 13. During the End of Year party she excluded some students who hadn't finished a project. They had to sit out of the swimming and work on the project, missing most of the pool time. They had fifteen minutes to swim...out of 3 hours!

  • Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

    The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! Remember, it is rude to link and run! So...leave a comment. Besides visiting other T13's, I also visit everyone who reads mine, too!

    T, who AGREES with most of JBug's reasons

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    Wednesday, June 21, 2006

    So NOT fair

    The worst pain in the world is when your kid hurts emotionally and you can't do a damned thing about it. I can't make it easier to make friends, and I can't take away social anxiety and shyness. It sucks.

    T, who would trade places and would love to give my almost-40 yr old confidence to my jr. high-er

    Tuesday, June 20, 2006

    Help! I'm Locked In!

    Q: What do you get when you lock 70 jr. high students in a room all night long?

    A: You get the JR. HIGH Overnighter at my church!

    It was crazy! We started out at Disneyland (we had to catch up with the group, because JBug had her cast party for the play she was also tonight. We went to the cast party then brought her and another friend to Disneyland.) We hung out at Disneyland (managed to ride the Train, Space Mountain, Star Tours and the Peter Pan Flight). Then I put the girls on the bus and it headed to Disney Ice. I followed in my car.

    It was SO cold at the ice rink! But most of the kids were game, and played Broom Hockey. A couple of us huddled under blankets. We stayed until about 2:30, then they jumped back on the bus and we went back to the church

    At that point, they entered the Fellowship Hall (which is a big building and there was blacklight and fluorescent paint everywhere. There were around 400 balloons all over the floor, and we sent those crazy kids in to pop them all! Some had green slips of paper to be redeemed for candy. Yeah, that's what they need! MORE sugar!

    Afterwards, they played games all night: Glo Ball, played with a large ball and two goals on the wall. They had to play while crab-walking, wheel-barrowing and even rolling. It was a lot of fun to watch.

    Another game they played was Defend Your Hood. Teams were given a stack of large cardboard pieces and 4 rolls of tape. They had to fashion a fort, and have nothing left over. Afterwards, a huge box of balls was dumped on to the playing field and each team tried to break down the other teams' forts. It was interesting, intense and made dodge ball look tame.

    After the game, there was LOUD worship music. you haven't lived until you have have felt thumping bass through your chest at 6 in the morning we fed the kids some danishes and then, believe it or not, it was time to send them home! The time went really fast. I would do it again, it was a lot of fun. JBug and I came home and crashed at 7 a.m. I slept until 2 and she slept longer. But it took a full weekend for me to feel like I was rested. Like I said though, I would do it again. It was a heck of a lot of fun!

    (it took me this long to recuperate from the trauma so that I could actually blog the experience!)

    T, who might be young but not that young

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    Dear John Letter to the Internet

    Dear Internet,

    Yes, I still love you. No, I haven't found anyone else. Yes, you still ignite my toes. It's just that, well, I've been busy. That little thing called Real Life gets in the way. No, I am not taking you for granted! I still really appreciate you, and know that you are there.

    You know how it is: one thing after another. And before you know it, you are knee-deep in other pursuits, and aren't spending the time together that you once were. But we aren't drifting apart, O Internet, no we are not! I just count this time away from one another as time to let the heart grow fonder. The mere thought of you sends me rushing to my computer to post again. So, it was time well spent.

    But, you know, dear, I do have a family. And while I love whiling away my hours in your company, sometimes they want to see me. Can you imagine? In any case, I was spending time with them. This doesn't cheapen our relationship; no one else can take your place.

    But you have to understand: I am a married woman. I can't just fly off to exotic blogs when the mood takes me! I have responsibilities. I want you in my life, but I have to be realistic.

    Oh, how can I resist the hold you have over me? Once again, I will be held sway by your siren song until the wee hours of the morning. Until, flushed and ashamed, I creep through my darkened house to find my bed. But this must be our secret. No one else can know. You can be discreet, can't you? I will see you soon.

    T, who apologizes for not updating

    Thursday, June 15, 2006

    13 Things My Dad Used To Say...

    My husband, J, my father, and my brother

    In honor of Father's Day...

    13 Things TLC's Father Used to Say:
  • "I'm Gonna Learn Ya Somethin." This as he was being silly but really trying to teach me something he thought I didn't know
  • "If you're gonna dance, ya gotta pay the fiddler."this after my first was a doozy
  • "Pull my finger." you don't want to know!
  • "There are two ways to do something, "Dad's way, and the right way." he was in the Army, enough said?
  • "Beware of the Barking Spiders."these came after you pulled his finger...
  • "A job worth doing is worth doing right." it took me years to allow myself to get past that. sometimes, 'good enough', is.
  • "What? Do you think I'm made of money?" always said jokingly. I then often got what I asked for, if it was reasonable
  • "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." AND "It's nothing that 100 monkeys and a wrench (or, he sometimes said hammer) wouldn't fix."
  • "If your friend jumped off a cliff, would you?"
  • Your word is your bond: it's all anyone knows about you. If you don't keep it, what does that tell them?" the greatest thing my father taught me was integrity. He is a great man, and his character is faultless. If he says he will do something, he does it, always. I learned that, too.
  • "I don't care what they're doing, they aren't my kids. You are, and you aren't gonna do it!"
  • "There are two ways to get up in the morning: some people roll over and say, "Oh, God, morning." Some wake up and say, "Oh, 'Morning God!" You have to get up, you might as well have a good attitude about it." I never did learn the art of getting up father did it and still does"
  • We clashed a lot as I was growing up...that's why #13 was so important to me:

  • "I guess you turned out alright. I like who you have become."
  • And after he mellowed even more:
  • You gave me the greatest gift I ever got: my grandchildren." Guess he mellowed a bit in his grandpa years"
  • My father and my mother with their grandchildren
    Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

    The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, PLEASE leave comments. It’s easy, and fun!

    T, who,owes much of who she is to her father

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    Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    And for my next trick, I will now tie myself in a knot

    Someone new has checked into the Guest Room! AYCO, aka A Yoga Coffee Outlook has come to stay for a bit. She just got back from another trip, and there she is moving around again. I chose her because she mentions two of my favorite things in her blog title by name: Yoga and Coffee. But her actual posts have little to do with either! talk about blowing our minds, man... I have been reading her blog for a while now and just really enjoy it. Check it out, up there in its special little cubicle in my sidebar.

    Don't mind us, we'll be in the back, practicing peaceful tree.


    Also go and visit Hot House Mama...she bid on my blog as well. Wish I kept an entire hotel instead of just one guest room.

    T, who likes having guests

    Monday, June 12, 2006

    My Brain is a Scrambled Egg

    JBear, just before he was headed to bed:

    "Mama, what would you name me if I was a cat and you were a human?"

    WHAT?! I have no idea, it's bedtime, just get there! Gah. What is with the esoteric questions at bedtime? Doesn't he know my brain doesn't work after 9 o' clock at night? It must rest from the onslaught of the day! I can take these questions when the sun is up, And we know there are so many of them! But at night, my brain shuts down. It's why I do my best blogging then!

    T, who is NOT Carl Sagan, I don't have the Mysteries of the Universe

    We Now Interrupt the Previous Post...

    Just checked and ...According to the PETA site, Bath & Body Works does not test on animals or use animal products in their lines. I can still smell like oranges and cucumber and melon! Wahoo!

    T, who is glad that I checked!

    I'm Gonna Wash That Brand Right Outta My Hair

    So I am in the shower this morning when I reach for my Bath & Body works Mandarin Orange shower gel. Smells great, nice pick me up. yes I am going somewhere with this, and no it isn't that kind of a post! As I am lathering up, I read: This finished product is not tested on animals.

    Just how stupid do they think consumers are? They can apparently use the individual ingredients for animal testing, but hey, there won't be any orange-smelling bunnies at the Bath and Body Works factory! Do people actually fall for this?? Who is concerned enough about animal testing to read the back of the bottle and then decide, oh, it's ok, they aren't giving the bunnies bubble baths?

    Companies need to tell the truth. Bath and Body Works DOES engage in animal testing. Rather than try to sugarcoat it, and pretend they are something they are not, why not just be honest? I didn't buy the product, it was a gift. I am not sure I would buy it if I had known. I do try to use cruelty-free, but I am not as good about it as some.

    If this concerns you, check out Caring Consumer for a list of companies that do and do not use animals to test. To find safe cosmetics and such in your area, try here: Skin Deep, Your Guide to Safer Beauty Products. I can tell you I use Aubrey Organics and love it!

    So maybe it's just me, but now I will be thinking of a super-secret spa for animals where Bath & Body Works tests their products. Do you think they have teeny tiny white terry robes? How about avocado facials?

    T, who is trying to be funny about a subject that just...isn't.

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    Friday, June 09, 2006

    Let's Play...Let's Shrink Your Head!

    Once again, it's time for everybody's favorite gameshow, "Let's Shrink Your Head!" Tonight's contestant, Anne Coulter, author of the wonderful literary tome, "Godless: the Church of Liberalism." "I'm "Nudgen Winke. And now here's the host of "Let's Shrink Your Head, Ree Diculous."

    "Thanks Nudgen. You all know how the game is played. The premise is basically similar to This is Your Life." We 'll get to know our contestant as we play. Tonight's contestant, Anne Coulter,is the author of the wonderful literary tome, "Godless: the Church of Liberalism. And of course, that title isn't designed to incite, now is it?"

    "Thanks Ree! Glad to be here, though I don't I need my head shrunk. That's a liberal lie. The liberals are the problem! I call it the way I see it."

    "Well, ha ha ha, Anne, that remains to be seen. For our folks at home: we are going to ask a series of questions, statements that Ms. Coulter has made. Or perhaps not. As we go through the statements, here is where the studio audience comes in: if you think the statement is over the top, crazy, what have you, just vote. For each vote, points are scored on our in-studio Crazyometer. At the end of the game, a score over 100 earns you a label of mentally deranged. So are we ready? Say it with me:

    host and audience "Let's Shrink Your Head!"

    "Alright Ms. Coulter, the first statement attributed to you is:

    "Liberals hate America, they hate "flag-wavers," they hate abortion opponents, they hate all religions except Islam (post 9/11). Even Islamic terrorists don't hate America like liberals do. They don't have the energy. If they had that much energy, they'd have indoor plumbing by now."

    "Did you say that?"

    "Yes, I did but..."
    "No but necessary... audience, time to vote."

    "And the verdict on our Crazyometer is a 20. Hmmm, off to a slow start. I guess the audience feels that on the Conservative Scale, that one was mild. Alright, here we go, the next quote:"

    “Liberal soccer moms are precisely as likely to receive anthrax in the mail as to develop a capacity for linear thinking.”

    "oooh that's harsh, Ann. Now audience, stop booing. TIme to vote. What say you? Ok...audience gives you a 40 on that one, Ann. That gives you a score of 60 with 2 questions left."

    Here we go the third quote:

    ““I love to engage in repartee with people who are stupider than I am.””

    "Oh, I guess that limits you to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, right? No, perhaps not. Haha! I would bet you are talking to yourself in the mirror then, huh? No no, I joke. Ok audience, what say you? Vote now. And the audience gives you "15!" WOW that scored low! Perhaps the audience doesn't believe there are many more stupider than you? I see you sitting there with your mouth open, now, Ann, you'll get your turn! But in the interest of time, we need to go on to the 4th and final quote attibuted to you."

    " These self-obsessed women seem genuinely unaware that 9-11 was an attack on our nation and acted like as if the terrorist attack only happened to them. They believe the entire country was required to marinate in their exquisite personal agony. Apparently, denouncing Bush was part of the closure process. "These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by griefparrazies. I have never seen people enjoying their husband’s death so much."

    "ooh, Ann, it's getting ugly...they're turning on you. Did you really say this? What possessed you to say something that you knew would alienate so many people? Wait, before you answer, let's let the audience vote. And the votes are scored a whopping 90 on that one! Wow! That definitely puts you over the 100 points necessary for being certifiable. Grand Total 150! And now, you know the rules. Send in the judge!"


    "Tell her what she's won, Nudgen!"

    " That's right, Ann, you'd better wear your jacket, because where you're going, it is bound to get cold! Here are your Commitment Papers! No longer will you be allowed to roam free with your poison pen and evil intent to create controversy and get rich. You'll be spending the rest of your life against your will in the Washington D.C. Hospital for the Mentally Deranged! Oh you can still write your books, but no one will take you seriously, you have been declared mentally deficient. NO one will buy your books and you will die old and alone, you spiteful woman!"

    "Well, folks,that's all the time we have for today, but remember if someone seems crazy, don't you get crazy, get them on "Let's Shrink Your Head! See you next time!"

    T, who is literally nauseous and cannot imagine how that woman, so full of hate, looks at herself in the mirror

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    Thursday, June 08, 2006

    Thursday 13- Hair Still On Fire!

    13 Things TLC Did This Week
    No pictures this week...Blogger is having some issues and I couldn't publish them. It was all I could do to get this published!
  • 1. Attended the first meeting of our Jr. High Core church group, both as a parent and as a leader
  • 2. Attended the Youth Welcome Picnic (also for our church) at a nearby park and was part of the team that won the water balloon relay!
  • 3. Went to the Craft Store to get JBug some supplies for her Science Project...stopped by Del Taco on the way home for drive-thru for dinner.
  • 4. Went to a meeting on the Cast Party and volunteered to bring brownies, ice cream and toppings, and to burn the music CDs.
  • 5. Took the kids to play at Hullaballoo's, an indoor amusement center with slides, karaoke and climbing wall. Met some friends there.
  • 6. Attended Park Day for my LLL Group. Got into a "discussion" with a friend of mine about politics. Never a good idea. Yes, we are still friends, we just agreed to disagree. but she's still wrong
  • 7. Took JBug to a mandatory meeting for those who want to volunteer at the library this summer.
  • 8. Went to Berean Christian Bookstore toting one child wearing boots fashioned from paper bags, another child wearing pink madras plaid shorts, a red polka-dot shirt pink flowered rain boots and a white foam crown. If you say nothing else about me, let it be said that I fostered my childrens' creativity.
  • 9. Bought a new Bible from above. It has a hardcover and thick pages so I can write in it. Spent a long time looking for a Bible cover, but couldn't find one I really liked.
  • 10. Helped JBug review math for a test she had to take. (she did better than she thought she would)
  • 11. Tried a new teaching technique for JBear: "air spelling." I thought he would hate it, but I tried it desperation. Worked well to hold his attention and helped him learn to spell.
  • 12. Stayed up until 3 a.m. supervising JBug's Science Project: she did in one night what she had 6 weeks to do: conducted her experiment, wrote her report and put together her display board. It turned out well. you are probably thinking I am a terrible parent, allowing her to stay up. Probably so. But you would have to understand her level of anxiety if she doesn't get the project done. She finished it, and was able to get up for school the next morning, so we were ok.
  • 13. Skipped Park Days on Monday and today, to have some much needed down time! Today I managed to get my 13 done, and will do some laundry and some picking up as well as school the kids. Tomorrow, I will attend a coffee meeting with some moms that I met when JBear was still in school. It is a support group for those who have kids with Asperger's. They are all in school, but it is still good for me to go and find out how others are doing, and to let them know how homeschooling is going. Who knows? I might actually influence someone to consider homeschooling.
  • Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

    The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, PLEASE leave a comment. It's just nice manners...

    T, who thinks it is time to slow down

    Wednesday, June 07, 2006

    Anyone Have a Fire Extinguisher?

    Yes, I think my hair's on fire. I feel like I am not posting as often as I might like. This time of year is always really busy, and this year is no exception. JBug is a departing 6th grader, so we have and are having: the Play, the Cast Party, meetings to plan the Cast Party, meetings for volunteers at the library, as well as all of the things we normally do. I feel like I haven't caught my breath since Memorial Day Weekend.

    Every year is too busy. Every year I say it won't be. And then I sign my kids up for swimming lessons, or horseback camp or summer theater...and kick myself because we are too busy! You would think I would learn!

    I plan little, and then have friends call who want to meet at the park, or can you go to Chuck E. Cheese, or we are headed to the Farmer's Market, want to meet us? Well, how can you say no? Every year, I have a pretty manageable schedule, and then last-minute swim invitations, play dates or shopping trips seem to come up. And I am left thinking I am never home, and feeling way too busy.

    This year, will be different. You're laughing at me! Why?? This year, I will pick and choose and we will stay home more. I think that a kid's creative bent isn't nurtured if they are always on the go. So this year, I do plan to have more home activities, and less running around. I am dying to try this: EepyBird Ok, not as elaborate, more of a variation, create our own iMovies, lots of art, kitchen experiments...there is more than enough to keep us busy at home. I hope. We'll see how it goes. Of course, we will make time for watermelon seed spitting contests. What's summer without that?

    T, who likes to be thought of as the Cool Mom

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    Monday, June 05, 2006

    The Best Things In Life?

    My daughter goes to school in a fairly affluent area. Those on the Hill, up the street from my house have large homes, luxury cars. They go to Hawaii every summer, and cruises in the winter. Most are two-income homes. But not all of them. It is hard sometimes, to watch..

    I just returned from a meeting about a school-related issue at one of the mom's houses. She lives in an old estate home from the twenties. It was show-house quality, complete with a grand piano in the living room. And many other homes in the area are the same. While I love these women indeed, the woman who owns the house I just returned from is the sweetest, most giving person you would ever meet...there is no way you could be jealous of her. She is wonderful., it is a little hard to hobnob with them, then return to my small fifties ranch-style house..

    My son and youngest daughter share a bedroom, an arrangement that I don't love. Our house is just 3 bedrooms, which worked when I was still pregnant with #3. We really needed 4 bedrooms. But with time of the essence when we bought our home, and two homes that fell out of escrow (due to no fault of ours) we had to find something. The home we lived in was being sold. We had the opportunity to buy it, but decided to look and see what else we could find, since it was a great house to rent, but had a few things that bothered us when we considered buying it..We ended up in the city we now live in, which I absolutely love. I would just like to have more space..

    It was our intention to buy a smaller home, and trade up in a couple of years. Then the market solidified, housing prices skyrocketed, and we were priced out of the areas in our city we had considered. Of course, the upside of this was that our house appreciated very quickly. It's now worth almost 3 times what we paid. But we are only 5 years into a 30 year mortgage, so we don't have that much money to play with at this point. And we are lucky we bought when we did. Only in Orange County and maybe a couple of other places in the country Silicon Valley, CA, suburbs of D.C., New York City, some parts of Connecticut would my husband's salary not be enough. He makes a good living. In the Midwest, with that salary, we could live luxuriously. But not in Orange County. Only here could we be low middle class..

    In any case, I try very hard not to covet. I really do. We are very fortunate. We have what we need. Cars that run, and mine is only 4 years old, we bought it new. I drive a Kia Sedona, which I love...but a Honda Oddysey would have been nice..I couldn't justify the expense, I wanted the kids to be comfortable eating in the van, and I would have been a basketcase with an Odyssey. A nice house over our heads. My husband has a job with mostly flexible hours and a good salary: it allows me to stay home. So, I can't complain. And yet..

    I do have a couple of friends who have houses similar to mine. I have enough. It's just, when compared to the women in the neighborhood up the street where my daughter goes to school... put it this way. The railroad tracks are literally between us and them. I literally live "on the other side of the tracks." It's a nice neighborhood. The homes are smaller, the yards less elaborate than on the Hill, but there is nothing that I need be ashamed of. And yet..

    "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.."

    The Apostle Paul said that. And he would know. He started out as religious man, persecuting Chrstians. Until God struck him with blindness along the road to Damascus. And he converted to Christianity, sacrificing everything with zeal for the Lord. He was shipwrecked. He was in jail. There were times he was received with great acclaim, and had plenty to eat and places to stay. There were times when he had little to fill his belly and nowhere to lie his head. I know I need to take a cue from him. I know I need to be less materialistic and be happy in my circumstance. We truly have everything we need.. and much more.

    I wonder sometimes, what I am saying to God by my discontent. "What you are providing just isn't enough?" "I refuse to trust you for my every day needs?" And I wonder, if had a steady supply of money, would it get in the way of my relationship with God? We aren't poor, but I cannot spend wantonly. Would not having to check the balance on my accounts change my trust level with God? I am sure there are some wonderful Christians out there who are wealthy. I am just not sure I could have the same level of committment with God if I had a lot of money. Suppose He already knows that?

    These feelings don't come very often. I am ashamed. I know that many in this country have less. Most in the world have much less! I know that I am very lucky to be home with my kids, giving them the best gift I can give them. I know having me present in a modest home is better for them than any large home I could give them, with my salary added to my husband's income, but me subtracted from our home due to work obligations. It is a decision we have made, and yes we sacrifice some things because of it. I know all that. And yet..

    Just for now, just for this moment, I think I will sit here and feel sorry for myself. Just for now, I will think "what if..." And just for now I will allow myself to feel sorrowful about life's circumstances. But then, I will go and hold my children, and remember what is really important.

    Perhaps we will take a trip to the Arboretum to watch the turtles. And in their delight I will find riches that can never compare to those houses, or cars or expensive clothes. I will true heart, and not the trappings of some life that Madison Avenue has conditioned me to lust for. I will watch my children in their joy and bask in their childishness. And I will remember what my life really means.

    T, who sometimes just needs a bit of a reminder now and again

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    Saturday, June 03, 2006

    Well, duh!

    J calls me "Hippie Chick" because I used a sling, cloth diapers, wear Birks and don't let my kids eat a ton of junk food; I am committed to them eating semi-healthily. I am not a hippie, really. I am less conservative and different than most in Orange County, and he delights in pointing this out. So when I took this little quiz-thing, I had to post the results. Maybe he's right! After 3 babies, maybe a better name would be hippy chick. I've got them baby-birthin' hips. I am pretty small everywhere else, but those hips, they are there.

    Your Inner Retro Girl Is
    1960s Hippie Chick

    T, who probably should live in Berkeley

    Search Me: quizzes, hippie chick,

    The Key to my Blog

    I have a new guest this week. I fixed up the Guest Room, fresh towels, and homemade cookies. 4 Stars all the way.

    Everyone say hello to Glamorous Redneck. Her blog is brand new, and since I love helping others start out, she was my pick for this week. She also used to live in Southern CA, but has since relocated to a small town that closes up by 9 p.m., she says. Since I once lived in a small town in Central CA, I could see the parallels.

    Stop by and make her feel welcome. Her link is in my sidebar. She has no thumbnail, I think she was changing her template and hasn't updated. Her blog is a nice light blue with flowers though. Sharp.

    Also stop by the runners up:

    Uncool Mommy

    In Mommy We Trust(sort of)

    Yoga Coffee Outlook

    They are all wonderful blogs, I just wanted to spotlight a brand new blogger with my space. But I would be happy to have any of them here.

    T, who likes the company and loves showcasing other blogs

    Go, Go, Go Joseph!

    Tonight was closing night of my daughter's school play. It has been a fun week. They were performing Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. JBug was an Adoring Girl, one of the "fans" of Pharoah. For a quick bit on what the heck the show is about, check out Purdue's Joseph.

    So here are some pictures. I didn't take a lot, I was busy working costumes and really I forgot I even had my camera with me! But I did get a few. Quality isn't that good, but you can get an idea of how the play was staged. There were 77 kids in the entire production: 5th and 6th graders. Those teachers/directors need a medal! They are amazing. The caliber of the production is higher than most school plays. We have a good volunteer pool of parents, so that helps. But the school also has an arts emphasis, so plays are taken more seriously. The cool kids are involved in theatre, and there is no stigma for the boys, it is just what you do.

    Here is a mom doing makeup. This year there wasn't that much to do: a couple of beards, some eye stuff, a bit of foundation. When we did Fiddler on the Roof, there was a lot of aging that needed to be done. This was easy.

    This is the chaos of the costume room. Imagine, 77 kids getting ready at the beginning of the show. They are good kids, that helps.

    The go go dancers. These were the most coveted costumes in the entire play. Many of the girls wanted to be able to wear these.

    The scene right before "Pharoah is in the building!"

    Pharoah is in the building! JBug is on the right, sitting on the floor. Sorry about the quality, I enhanced and enlarged and cropped and and trying to get a better shot.

    A group shot of Pharoah, his Adoring Girls (who carry cheerleading pom poms, are annoying and faint when he is around). They had the best costumes in the play: white with gold accents, gold headresses, gold sandals, gold jewelry and even gold makeup. Very cool.

    full shot of Pharoah and a Narrator. Notice the Blue Suede Shoes. Uh huh, thank you very much!

    close up of Pharoah's makeup. This is the only photo of makeup I took. I could kick myself!.

    JBug, ready for curtain opening. All the kids started out in tie-dye t-shirts and jeans, except the narrators and a couple of leads that you don't see yet. She is, of course, wearing stage makeup. I do not let her wear makeup yet!

    This production was bittersweet, because I have helped all three years, and JBug has been in the cast as well. As a departing 6th grader, that phase is over now. But there will be more to come. JBug has a passion for theatre, and we will continue to nurture that as much as we are able. I love theatre as well, so I know the highs that come from work well done and a show that flows. The show was so good Friday night that we had to take the kids for pizza in order to get them off the ceiling! They were on such an adrenalin rush! It has been a great experience for JBug, and I am so pleased that she was able to be involved.

    T, who adores her Adoring Girl

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