Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Yesterday, I had to clear a path through Maggie's room to get to her bed. It isn't that it is filthy, but it is covered with dolls, doll clothes, shoes, books, etc. (I think my mom is probably smiling when she reads this....hahaha...yes, I get it now, Mom.)

Anyway, I said to Maggie, "Take a little pride in our home. Please pick up this mess." She said to me, "What is pride?" I am always working on expanding the kids' vocabulary, and when she asks this question, I often say, "what do you think it means?" More often than not, she is able to discern the meaning from the context of what was said.

So I asked her, "Maggie - what do you think 'pride' means?" She thought for a moment, then said, "Southern Hospitality?" I burst out laughing and asked, "where did that come from? where in the world did you hear that?"

Of course - - I should have known. Her answer? She heard it while watching "Hannah Montana."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I am beginning to amass quite a collection of something that I really don't care for - - single earrings. Today after lunch, I looked in the mirror to fix my lipstick (and of course, check my teeth for stray lettuce from my salad), and I noticed that I was missing the earring in my right ear. (sigh.)

At the time, I was traveling in the passenger seat in a friend's car on the way back to our office after lunch. I unhooked my seatbelt and did a scan of my seat to check for it. Alycia asked me, "what are you doing?" "I am missing an earring," I told her. She said, "I didn't notice it was missing during lunch - hopefully it's around her somewhere." I looked on the floorboard, in the door handle grab and in my purse. "Maybe it fell down your blouse," she said - - "Check your bra," she suggested. I checked. "Just boobs," I sighed. I even called the restaurant when I got back to work just to check to see if they found it. No such luck.

My poor lone earring will join the others in the small back square of my jewelry box where single earrings go to die. My thinking is that as soon as I give up hope and throw the single earring away, its mate will turn up somewhere, and I will be kicking myself for having been so hasty to say hasta la vista to my little lobe dweller. It is hard, also, to just pitch an earring that is part of a set of what were once some of my favorites. I know I can't wear them anymore, but it doesn't make me love them any less. (I have also been known to hang onto stray gloves and socks entirely past normal expection time for them to turn up.)

It of course stands to reason that the earrings that I lose one of are always my favorites - - since I wear them more often than I do the others, of course the chances are higher that one of them will get lost more than just those I wear occasionally. Still, it irks me that the one I lost today is part of the set I bought to replace the last set from which I lost one.

Anyone know someone with just one ear that is in need of some ear bling? Perhaps a pirate that has a taste for high fashion? If so, let me know. I have several hanging out in my jewerly box, just waiting to be worn. Perhaps I should start a website that allows people to trade their stray earrings, socks, and gloves with others who may have a match. Hmm....perhaps I'm onto something....

Friday, May 23, 2008


We have a game that we play with our friends, the Kirbys, that we refer to as "Pass the Beans." It didn't start as a game, per se, but it has ended up as one. It is actually just a simple version of the game "tag." Right now, the Kirby's are it.

It all began a few years ago on New Year's Day. Every year, Chris and I host a New Year's Day party in our home for family and friends. Everyone brings two or three small wrapped goodies for use in a game of "cut-throat bingo." Cut-throat bingo is played similarly to regular bingo, except that at the beginning of the game, all the prizes are handed out so that everyone has about the same number of them. They are then opened, and everyone can see what everyone else has. Then, the bingo begins - - except when you bingo, you are allowed to take someone else's prize, and they are just S.O.L. (except if the bingo themselves, they of course can take back the prize from you.) There are usually a few popular items in each year's bingo game - - this past year, it was microwave popcorn and Orange Crush.

At any rate, one of the not-so-fabulous prizes in the game from a few years back was a can of Pork N Beans. Chris ended up as the recipient of this marvelous prize - - can you believe that no one wanted to take it from him?!? Gretchen was lamenting that she had had her good prize taken away, so we joked with her that we would let her take the Pork N Beans home if it would make her feel better. She ever-so-politely declined.

After she left, I realized she had forgotten her dish that she had brought a dessert in. A few days later when I was going to be out and about, I grabbed her dish to return it to her. Sitting right next to the dish was the can of Pork N Beans. I couldn't resist. I went to her house, and the garage door was open with her Tahoe sitting inside the garage. I went into the garage and put the Pork N Beans in the cup holder of the Tahoe, then retraced my steps back to the front door and rang the bell and returned her dish, never mentioning the can I had left for her.

A few hours later, I got a phone call querying me about "breaking and entering" into a vehicle without permission and leaving behind unwanted items. A few weeks later, I found the can of Pork N Beans in my music slot in the choir room at church. And the game was officially on.

Since that time, the can has been traded back and forth at least 15 - 20 times. At some point, Gretchen added a smiley face to the top of the can. That smiling can of pork n beans has racked up a lot of miles. One time, we were over at the Kirby's for a party, and I snuck upstairs and put it under Gretchen's pillow in her bed. Another time, I found it in Aleita's backpack when I picked her up from daycare after Gretchen had enlisted a friend who worked there to place it for her. Her kids received it this past Christmas, wrapped up under the Christmas tree like a present from us. Chris found it one day in his office at school where he is the liaison detective, after Gretchen had visited there for a career day. Once when Gretchen picked me up for a meeting at church, I had sacks of food to take for the food pantry. As we got to church, I removed the pork n bean can and stuck it in the seat pocket on the passenger seat and then carried the bags on into church. This past fall when we moved, lots of people gave us boxes to use - - in one from the Kirby's, wrapped carefully in yards of bubble wrap, was the pork n beans. This past winter, we went with the Kirbys and others to Chicago for the weekend - - I conspired with the babysitter who stayed with their kids to hide it for me while they were gone (she put it in with the pop in the fridge.)

As I said earlier, the Kirbys are currently in possession of the smiling can of pork n beans. An attempt was made by Gretchen this past Monday to tag us, but her mission had to be aborted. She had just left a meeting at church and drove by, intending to hide the can somewhere around the house or on the porch, I'm sure. However, she didn't anticipate that Chris would be sitting right in the window seat looking outside when she drove by. She slowed down as she came by the house and started to pull over, then pulled away and continued on. He called her later that night to let her know that she had been busted. Our time is coming to be it soon enough though, I'm sure.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I was walking home tonight from a meeting at church about 8:30PM. It was a little chilly, but that is ok with me. I have really been enjoying these 70s temperatures during the day and the high 50s at night. (sorry, Gretchen - I know you are ready for mid-80s "boating weather," but I could handle this kind of weather year round!)

Anyway, as I was walking home, this is the first night I have noticed the fireflies for the year. To me, that is one of the first visible signs that summer is coming, even if the thermometer says otherwise. Get out your Mason jar and punch some holes in the lid and head to the backyard!

Friday, May 16, 2008


Congratulations to my very dear friend Michelle, and her husband, Scott, on the birth of their new baby girl, Lucille Grace Wiesbrook. She was born May 15, 2008 and weighed 7 lbs, 2 oz.

The first picture is their son, Nathaniel. He is kissing "the baby" in Michelle's tummy a few days before she gave birth.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


The girls and I have reached an agreement when it comes to taking pictures: they will let me take a few of them in my staged, preserve-this-moment-for-prosperity poses, on the condition that when I am done subjecting them to countless rounds of "smile!" and "get closer!" and "stand up straight!" and "quit picking your nose!", I will allow them to do a silly face. The silly face picture is their payoff for cheesing for me as requested.

Vacation pictures were no exception. I finally had a chance to go through our vacation pictures last night and download them from the camera, and to do some cropping and correcting. What I discovered is that I have a plethora of pictures of my children making their silly faces - - - and what better place to share them than on my blog?

Even mom and and dad couldn't resist . . . .

Friday, May 9, 2008


I have discovered a slightly passive-aggressive side to myself that I never knew existed. What has brought on this behavior, you might ask? It has to do with seven year olds….more specifically, the parents of seven year olds.

First grade seems to be the age of the whole class birthday party. Maggie has received at least eight or nine invitations to birthday parties this year that have involved her entire class. She herself had a whole class birthday party at McDonald’s back in November. However, the one caveat I had when she requested a whole class party was that I was not going to allow her fellow classmates to come bearing gifts. If she wanted a party, it was going to be a “let’s get together and have fun” celebration, not a “let’s get together and bring the birthday girl a whole bunch of crap she doesn’t need” celebration. I wanted the focus to be on the kids playing and having fun - - not on sitting around and watching Maggie open presents.

I explained to Maggie that I didn’t want the other kids in her class to feel an obligation to bring a present, as though that was their admission ticket to get into the party. I explained that I didn’t want the kids to feel that had to spend money in order to celebrate her birthday with her. She seemed to understand this concept and be very much ok with it. I told Chris that I hoped that other parents would get her invitation that read in bold letters, “NO GIFTS PLEASE” and be inclined to follow suit. If nothing else, I was hoping that I could shame them into doing the same for their kids birthday parties. I was throwing down the birthday party gauntlet.

I suppose I highly overestimated the amount of shame felt by others, because only one other family has followed suit with my “NO GIFTS PLEASE” example. Maggie received an invitation to a birthday party this coming Saturday for a boy in her class that is being held at the Children’s Museum. Of course, I was disappointed when I saw that it failed to include “NO GIFTS PLEASE.” It’s not the money - - really…though going to eight or nine birthday parties for classmates at $10 a pop for a gift can indeed add up. (She actually hasn’t attended all of them due to other obligations….but still.)

Now I must explain where the passive-aggressive part comes in to this scenario. My way of making up for being required to purchase my kid's admission to the party is by purchasing a birthday gift that the kid will absolutely love and the parents will hate. For the last party Maggie went to, I bought the birthday girl Play-Doh, fingernail polish, and a Bratz lipstick. For this party, I bought the birthday boy a container of colored slime and an egg that you put in water and when it dissolves, there are tiny little bones of a dinosaur that you have to put together to make a 3-D model. I really thought of doing worse - - I scanned the arts and crafts aisle for paints, but ultimately decided to skip it since I would have to buy paint and paper, which would have ended up getting to be more than I wanted to spend.

I know, I know…I am so immature, right? My hope is that through my clever use of creative birthday gift selection, I can allow these parents to see the error of their ways and encourage them to include those three all-important words on their kid’s next birthday announcement, “NO GIFTS PLEASE!”

Thursday, May 8, 2008


After work yesterday, we pulled into Kroger to pick up a few things before heading home. As we got out of our car, a lady in a large, fancy SUV was getting into her car in the prime real estate section of the parking lot (front and center, right next to the handicapped spots.) It took me only a moment to notice that this woman had committed one of my cardinal pet peeve sins - - she had left her cart sitting in the handicapped spot instead of putting it back.

Everyone has something that irks them that really isn’t big in the grand scheme of things. What’s yours? One of my biggees is people who don’t put their cart back in the cart corral when they are done shopping. It especially bothers me when they leave it in a handicapped spot because that often means that a handicapped person wouldn’t even be able to use the spot. As if being so lazy that they can’t walk another twenty feet to put their cart in the collection area isn’t bad enough, they now have possibly created an undue hardship for someone else.

This act of indolence is one that cuts across race and social class. Cart-Return Laziness can be seen from someone driving a late 70s beater just as frequently as from a person who is driving a $60,000 Mercedes. What I can’t figure out is this - - if you have just walked across all Hell and Creation at Super Wal-Mart, what is a few more feet just to put your cart away? And you’d better believe that these folks would be the first to pitch a fit if they came out from the store to find that their car had gotten dinged by an unreturned shopping cart. And yet. . . it continues.

I think this would be a great test for a future employee - - because to me, if you are too slothful to return your cart, I am sure your work performance won’t be much different.

So, for anyone reading this who happens to be a non-cart returner….don’t think that no one notices when you so subtly glance around before ditching your cart right beside the car parked next to yours. I am on to you and your lazy ways. Oh yes I am.

That being said - - what are YOUR petty little gripes? You know, those things that aren’t all that big, but still drive you nuts? I want to hear from you!

Monday, May 5, 2008


Tonight after work, Maggie, Aleita and I hopped in the car to take a few things over to our friends, the Ritters. As we were driving, Maggie commented, "Tom and Diana have three sons. You don't have any sons, Mommy. Just daughters."

"That's right," I answered.

She thought for a moment and then said, "I wish I had a baby brother. She then excitedly added, "Hey! I know! I am going to ask Santa Claus for a baby brother this Christmas!" She then queried, "Hey Aleita! What are you going to ask for for Christmas? A baby brother too?"

Aleita calmly replied, "No. I am going to ask Santa Claus for a Superman costume."

And that, friends, is the difference between my two children. (I also commented to my children that Aleita probably had a far better chance of receiving her request.)

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Big things are happening in little Blue Mound. My little town of only 1,200 people is all abuzz with today's going on. Only two blocks from my house, they are filming a scene in a major motion picture. This may be even more talked about than the earthquake that had us all shaking a few weeks ago at 4:30AM.

Yes, a stone's throw away from my home this evening is Matt Damon, who is starring in the upcoming movie, The Informant. This movie is based on the actual story of Mark Whitacre, a former ADM executive turned informant for the FBI. Whitacre and several other ADM execs were involved in a price-fixing scheme that ultimately resulted in the biggest anti-trust case for the FBI in history, with ADM repaying more than $400 million in fines and to plaintiffs and customers. At first thought a hero, it later became known that Whitacre himself was also involved in an embezzlement scheme in which he took almost $9 million, mostly during the time he was working with the FBI. Whitacre ultimately spent 8 1/2 years in federal prison for price-fixing, tax fraud, and tax evasion.

Quite a bit of the filming is taking place in Decatur because of the fact that the storyline centers around ADM (headquartered in Decatur) and where most of the the real-life story actually took place. I have heard that the movie folks are using the inside of our local P & G Quikstop because of its LACK of updating - - it apparently still closely resembles the time frame they are looking for. (So take THAT Casey's, with your ultra-modern cappuccino machine!)

I have tried to think of acceptable reasons that would make it necessary for me to go walk by the P & G so I could claim that I actually had a purpose for being out and about near the action, instead of just trying to do some celebrity gawking. Alas, no good reasons have come to mind, so here I sit at my computer, writing about Matt Damon instead of gazing at him through the gas station window.