Thursday, August 28, 2008


This morning as I was getting Aleita dressed, she asked me a strange question. “Mommy,” she said, “would you ever hit Daddy?”

I answered, “Of course not, sweetie.” Then I explained that sometimes Daddy and I play around and act silly and I might give him a playful tap on the arm or something like that, but that I would never hit him or try to hurt him. I was immediately concerned that somehow she had misinterpreted our occasional goofing around with each other as something far more serious. Just last night in fact, we were all still in the kitchen after dinner, and I had been trying to tickle Chris. He had grabbed both my hands to prevent that from happening.….but we were both laughing the entire time. Surely she didn’t read far more into episodes like that than what was actually there! Had she gone to school and told her teachers that her mommy hits her daddy? Did her preschool teachers view our home as a combat zone of domestic unrest? My mind was reeling with questions.

“Why would you ask if I would ever hit Daddy?” I carefully inquired.

She responded, “I heard you in the bathroom just now tell Daddy to quit kissing you or you were going to smack him on the nose.”

My anxiety was replaced with immediate relief and actual amusement. What she had actually overheard was me telling Dandy, our three month old puppy, to quit kissing (licking) me or I would smack him on the nose. When I explained this to her, she just shrugged and said, “Oh. I thought you were talking to Daddy.” Laughing, I asked, “Do you think I would hit Daddy on the nose?” She thought for a second and said, “Well, maybe if he didn’t quit kissing you when you told him to stop you might.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Cinnamon Wheat Thins.....why must you be so tasty??

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I thought I would include some pictures of Chris and Aleita biking. Riding this bike is one of Aleita's absolute favorite things to do. Santa brought her the tandem part for Christmas, and she took to it like a fish to water. Every day on the way home from school, she begs to go bike riding - - and it has greatly improved her behavior each day at school, as she only gets to go for a ride if she has been good. She is so proud when other people see her riding her bike because she feels like such a big kid. I can also attest to the fact that it is one heck of a workout for the adult doing the actual work on the front end. In addition to the extra weight from the bike frame and Aleita, it also improves your balance and coordination. I don't think there is much that makes Aleita quite as happy as going for a cruise on her bike.

Monday, August 25, 2008


All of a sudden, Aleita has become interested in the crops - - we have no idea why. A few weeks ago, Aleita started asking about the crops as we would ride in the car. At various times, she would request crop identification. This past Friday, she was looking out the car window and said, "that's corn, right?" We answered in the affirmitive. "And those are green beans, right?" she asked. We corrected her and let her know they were actually soy beans instead of green beans.

This morning as we were on our way to drop her off at school, she was again pondering the farmers' handiwork. She easily identified the corn. Apparently she is still having difficulty with the soy beans. When she saw a large field of soy beans, she excitedly declared, "and those are the laser beams!" We had a laugh and then reminded her that they were soy beans, not laser beams.

Yep, she's a townie.

Friday, August 22, 2008


In early July, I posted a blog titled "It's Not Easy Being Green" in which I discussed my pathetic excuses for not recycling. I did mention that Chris and I carpool to work nearly everyday, which we continue to do. However, I did want to provide an update to highlight my improved recycling efforts.

A few days after I wrote that entry, I went to Menard's and purchased five large plastic bins and cleared a space for them in the garage. I labeled them, and we are now a proud recyclin' family of: glass, aluminum cans, tin cans, newspapers, and plastic. I even bought a can crusher, though I must admit that stomping on them is somewhat cathartic at times. I have gotten past my recycling laziness and am making a true effort towards becoming the Macon County Green Queen. I even made the comment to Chris a few days ago that I couldn't believe the massive quantities of what we now recycle that we used to just throw away.

At work, I have had to think about recycling as well. We have been in the process of updating our computers over the past few months. Yesterday, I had one of my employees take a huge pickup truck load of computers, monitors, and other outdated electronic equipment to Springfield to drop off at the recycling place. I had a heck of a time even finding a place to take old computer equipment. It was so outdated that no one could really use it anymore, and when I called the Macon County Solid Waste Management, they said the only options here in Macon County were to take the equipment to Staples or Office Depot - - which would have charged us $10 per unit....for each monitor, each printer, each tower, etc. to recycle it.....for a total of well over $300. I asked the guy at the company in Springfield what was done with the equipment and he said that they stack it on pallets and ship it to East St. Louis, who in turn, ships it overseas for recycling. I am hoping that "overseas for recycling" doesn't translate to "dumps it in the backyard of some third world country." It makes me wonder and worry how the world will keep up with the massive amounts of electronic equipment that will need to be disgarded as the age of computers and cell phones advances at such a rapid pace.

I suppose I am certainly not going to save the world with my little recycling effort I now have going in my garage....but I am doing something, which is far better than what I was doing before. Yes, it's not that easy bein' green....but it's not that hard either.

Some food for thought for today:

* The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours. It also causes 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than when a new bottle is made from raw materials.

* Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours.

*Recycling a single run of the Sunday New York Times would save 75,000 trees.

* The U.S. is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world's people generate 40% of the world's waste.

* Out of ever $10 spent buying things, $1 (10%) goes for packaging that is thrown away. Packaging represents about 65% of household trash.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Last night, Aleita was being her usual ornery self. She and I had gone several rounds, and she knew she had just about reached the end of her rope. While I was making dinner, she was supposed to be playing in her room, but she continually went into Maggie’s bedroom to pester her instead. Once dinner was finished, I sent Maggie to her room to play until I could get upstairs to give baths. To prevent any further difficulties between Aleita and Maggie, I had Aleita sit in her chair at the table while I did the dishes. She was not particularly pleased that she had to sit at the table while Maggie got to go play, but she did seem to understand that it was a consequence of her earlier behavior before dinner.

As I worked on the dishes, she sat at the table and began to sing, which is frequently the case with Aleita. She often tends to express herself through long, rambling songs. Often times, she will be playing with her dolls or Power Rangers or other action figures in her room and she will have them communicate to one another via warbling operatic verses that she composes as she goes. It is rare that they just speak to one another - - normally, they are all singing. Perhaps we have a little Puccini or Bizet in our midst.

Last night’s composition did not fail to entertain. I thought you might like to hear the highlights (just imagine it sung in a sing-songy, meandering kind of way…) :

I’m sitting here
in my chair.
I want to be
not in my chair.
I’d rather play
in my room
but I have to sit
in my chair.
I am a bad girl
because I’m not a good girl.
If I ran away
no one would come looking for me.
I would go to my Barbie’s house
and stay there because
she wouldn’t make me
sit in my chair…..

*For those who don’t know, Barbie is our good friend who lives a block down the street from us - - Aleita has always referred to her as “her Barbie.” Aleita threatens, on occasion, to go live with “her Barbie” when things aren’t going her way at home. There are moments when I would be inclined to let her - - but I think it wouldn't be long before "her Barbie" would send her right back down the street.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Maggie's first day of school at Meridian was today. Up until last week, she was ready for summer to continue, but as it got closer, she became more excited for school to begin. I think having all her brand new school supplies helped - - I am not sure why, but for some reason, kids just love new school supplies.

In the Meridian School District, the kids have attendance centers. We live in Blue Mound, but the K - 2 is in Macon. One of the things that most excited Maggie was the fact that she gets to ride a bus to school now. Since kindergarten, she has dreamed of riding a bus. When she first started attending LSA, she was quite disappointed to find out that she did not get to ride a big yellow bus to school. This morning, she got to realize that dream.

As a child who spent literally hundreds of hours on a big yellow bus back and forth to school as a child, I have to say that I find her enthusiasm for the bus somewhat comical. I am sure the allure of it will fade all too soon. At any rate though, part of the thrill of her first day at Meridian was riding on the big school bus. I asked her last night if she wanted me to drive her to school in Macon, or if she preferred to take the bus. There was no hesitation at all as she told me she wanted to head over on the bus this morning.

This morning, I walked with her from our house to the intermediate school where they board the bus and head for the primary school. She actually knew several of the kids that were waiting with her for the bus, and I was all but ignored as she chatted and giggled with the other kids. When it was announced that the bus had arrived, she didn't give me so much as a look backwards as she bounded through the hall and out onto the sidewalk to the street where her chariot awaited. She and another little girl quickly grabbed a seat on the bus, and then suddenly, she seemed to remember that I was still there. She gave me a few obligatory smiles and a wave while I snapped a few pictures, and then quickly turned her attention back to her seatmate. In just a few moments, the bus had departed, and I walked back home alone to head off to work.

And another year begins.

Monday, August 18, 2008


This morning, I was combing Maggie's hair in the bathroom, and Aleita kept running into Maggie's room and messing with her toys. Maggie had already asked her twice to stay out, and I too finally told her to head back to her own room. As is usually the case with Aleita, it then took me raising my voice to her to garner enough attention from her to actually listen to me. "Aleita!" I commanded, "Get back to your own room NOW!"

Out of the corner of my eye, I watched as she sulkily dragged her feet out of Maggie's room and past the bathroom. I started to turn around to the side to get Maggie's hair, then for some reason chose to look back at Aleita to see if she was indeed heading to her own room. Just as I turned to look at her, I caught the surprised look on her face just as she was walking by the bathroom door, tongue stuck out fully at me. And she knew she was in for it.

"Oh no you didn't..." I said as I pursued her as she ran into her room in a futile attempt to hide. She immediately began yelling, "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" as I entered the room. Two spanks and a time out later, she vowed to ne'er disrespect me again in such a manner. (I am not holding my breath, of course.) Five minutes later, she was downstairs, in trouble with her dad, for pulling on the puppy's tail.

Yesterday at church, our minister preached from the book of Matthew. She talked about a Canaanite woman who approached Jesus, begging for his help, because her daughter was suffering from demon-possesssion. I leaned over to Chris and whispered, "I know how she feels." I am joking, of course...(sort of.)

Somedays it just seems that way as we at times struggle with our very headstrong four year old. Aleita is about as independent as the day is long. I know that some day, this trait will serve her well. In fact, I have had many people tell me, "well, at least you won't have to worry about her being a follower!" Damn tootin'. I have had many people say that it is good that she is so "high spirited." I agree --- but there is a very fine line between "high spirited" and "brat."

Help me, Jesus. Help me.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Sometimes it is interesting to hear what the kids talk about when they forget that I am only a few feet away from them. This morning, I took Maggie, Aleita and their friend, Marty, over to Sullivan to the Little Theater on the Square to see "Pinocchio." On the ride over, Marty and Maggie were discussing school, which begins next week, as well as various teachers. Marty, who is a few years older than Maggie, was giving her the DL on what to expect in second grade. They were discussing a specific teacher at one point, and Maggie asked, "is she young or old?" Marty said, "well, she's kind of old, I guess." Maggie needed further clarification: "Is she old like my mom, or old old like my grandma?" Turns out she is "old old" like her 50s or 60s.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


As I was reading the paper this morning, this news article caught my eye. In case you missed it, I felt obliged to include it on my blog:

700-pound Mexican man makes rare trip out of house with aid of forklift, platform truck

MONTERREY, Mexico (AP) _ A 700-pound (310-kilogram) man once considered the world's most obese person left his home for the first time in five months Sunday with the aid of a forklift and a platform truck.Manuel Uribe traveled to the shore of a lake in northern Mexico without ever leaving his specially designed bed. A forklift hoisted the bed onto the truck, which then hauled him to the lake, where he snacked on fish and vegetables and joked with a local boat operator.Looking at the boatman's small craft, Uribe joked, "Too bad I can't get on it — it would sink."Once considered the world's fattest man when his weight hit over half a ton, more than two years of steady dieting had helped Uribe drop to about 700 pounds (310 kilograms) as of June — 550 pounds (250 kilograms) less than his former Guinness record weight of 1,235 pounds (560 kilograms). He did not say what his current weight is.

While somewhat bothered by the summer heat, Uribe appeared to enjoy Sunday's outing. He is still unable to walk, and his last planned outing in March was aborted after the platform carrying his bed got stuck under an overpass.His last successful trip outside his home was in March 2007, when six people pushed Uribe's wheel-equipped iron bed out to the street as a mariachi band played and a crowd gathered to greet him.Before that, he hadn't left his home in five years.

After seeing this article, I am left with these questions:

1) Why is this newsworthy? After a quick internet search, I determined that many daily papers across the nation carried this article today.

2) How would a person let themselves get to this point? Did you notice that at his "high" point, he weighed 1,235 pounds? That's as much as a cow! How could a person weigh that much? At what point do you not notice that things are getting a little out of hand? What kind of an existence can you possibly enjoy, laying around in your bed in a sheet all day, every day? Who are these people in your life who are enabling you to eat this way? Somebody has to keep supplying the tacos, right?

3) There will be no risk of an illegal border crossing with this hombre grande. OK - that's not a question - just an observation.

4) Could you imagine having all these little kids gathered around your big ol' bed while you make this beach pilgrimage? Were they well behaved, or did they shout "cerdo! cerdo!" as he passed by?

5) Again, why is this newsworthy??

Monday, August 11, 2008


My sis-in-law's most recent blog entry discussed a young woman whose interest in martial arts was picqued as a young girl when her dad told her that before she would be allowed to date, she had to have a black belt in karate. Her entry about the young woman and the karate reminded me of a discussion that Maggie and I once had when she was about five years old.

At that time, she had just become very interested in the "facts of life." As I recall, both of her aunts were pregnant, and Maggie had lots of questions as to the mechanics of the situation. I recall trying my best to explain reproduction in simple enough terms that a five-year old could understand. I wanted to explain the basic facts as simply as possible without confusing her unnecessarily. One thing that I remember clearly from these discussions is that Maggie's main source of angst regarding the whole baby situation was when she asked how the baby made it from point A to point B.....specifically, she wanted to know how the baby got out of the mommy's tummy. Again, in the simplest way possible, I tried to explain that most of the time, the baby came out of a special hole in the mommy's bottom, but sometimes, the doctor may have to cut open the mommy's tummy to get the baby out. Neither of these options appealed much to her.

Upon hearing these startling revelations, Maggie decided right then and there that Chris and I were on the right track all along, and that she too, planned to adopt her babies. There would be no babies coming out of her this way, that way or otherwise, thank you very much. After that, many of her baby questions frequently referred to the actual birth itself. It was almost as if she couldn't believe that what I was telling her was true. Each time I explained it, she would give a small shudder and reiterate that she planned to adopt her children.

One night, Maggie and I were in the car and the baby conversation came up once more (I find that we get into a lot of these "deep" discussions when in the car - - I can only assume it is because there I am trapped and can't escape until she has all her questions sufficiently answered.) She had apparently been rolling the whole baby thing over for quite some time, because she said, "how does a woman keep from getting a baby in her tummy if she doesn't want one there?" I thought this question was an awfully deep one for a five-year old to have come up with, but apparently, she was pretty serious about the whole "no babies for me in my tummy" thing.

I said, "Maggie, when a woman is old enough to be with a man in that way, there are ways that she can protect herself to make sure she doesn't get pregnant." Maggie pondered this over for several moments - - but she apparently honed in on the word "protect" because the next thing she asked is, "you mean like karate?" I had to laugh - - and say "yes, I suppose karate is one way a woman could protect herself from getting pregnant." I, of course, was thinking more along the line of birth control pills or condoms, but hey, karate would likely come in really handy as well. Hi-yuh!

Thursday, August 7, 2008


(Some of these are my own, some are borrowed. If you have any you want to add, feel free to leave a comment.)

1) You know very few of the street names in town. Everyone gives directions by where people live, or by where they used to live. Example: Go a street past the post office and turn right. The Smiths live a few houses down on that street next door to the Miller's old house, right across the street from the Brown's.

2) Your teachers remember when they taught your parents and/or they call you by your older siblings' names.

3) It is normal to see an old man riding through town on a lawn mower.

4) There are just as many people in the parade as there are sitting watching it.

5) You call a wrong number and talk for fifteen minutes anyway.

6) It is difficult for you to work in the front yard because everybody stops by to talk.

7) You drive into the ditch five miles out of town and word gets back before you do.

8) You know the names of the dogs you pass on your walking route, or when someone's dog is loose, you immediately know who to call to come get it.

9) The fire truck or ambulance goes by and everyone either follows it or calls around to find out where it's going.

10) When someone says the word "elevator," you associate it with grains trucks.

11) The school bus ever dropped you off at the field where your parents are working.

12) The highlight of your summer as a child was the three day hometown festival held annually on the same weekend - - and everyone who had moved away comes home for it even as an adult.

13) You consider a nearby area of 100,000 people to be the "big city."

14) At least ten people know where you keep the spare key to your house.

15) It takes you less than three minutes to read your local newspaper.

16) You run out of room on the form when listing the people who are allowed to pick your child up from school.

17) You settle down within a twenty minute drive or less from the house you grew up in.

18) A town that is nearby to yours is considered "trashy" or "snooty" when in fact, it is almost identical to yours.

19) If you are going to miss church on Sunday, you have to let someone know so everybody doesn't think something is wrong.

20) You never have to actually bring your library card to the library or show identification at the bank because they already know who you are.

21) You are related to at least five people in town.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


This morning, I made the kids scrambled eggs for breakfast. In the car on the way to school, Aleita informed me that she didn't like eggs. I said, "but you ate them right up - - and you always like eggs." She said, "I know....but there wasn't any bacon this morning. If you have eggs, you have to have bacon because they rhyme. If there isn't any bacon, I don't want the eggs next time."

So there you have it - - according to my four year old, eggs shouldn't be eaten if you don't have the bacon to "rhyme" with them. Apparently there is a reason why when we refer to "bacon and eggs" that we don't say "eggs and bacon."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


It is a good thing that our seven year old, Maggie, does not have credit card access. If she did, I have the feeling that there would be an endless stream of deliveries to our house from things she ordered from watching infomercials. Maggie will often sit and watch T.V. half interested while playing with her dolls or Barbies, but if an infomercials comes on the screen, it captures her immediate attention. It is also not uncommon to come downstairs to check on her and find her watching one of those half hour long sales pitches that has come on after the movie she was watching on T.V. ended.

Not only does she get hooked into them, but she can spout the virtues of each product practically verbatim after seeing them advertised on T.V. Not too long ago, she came upstairs expounding on the merits of a "revolutionary" (she actually used that word) new weight control product that she had seen. She literally said to me, "Mommy - you could be in the shape of your life!" She began explaining that this weight loss product will "melt away years of unsightly fat." I said to her, "Maggie - - do you think I really need to lose weight? Do I seem fat to you?" She thought for a moment, and then replied, "they said this product is for everyone, Mommy. But no, I don't think you're fat."

Maggie has also frequently mentioned a product called "Aqua Globes." At least once a week when I am out in the yard watering flowers, she will say to me, "Mommy - - you could make your life easier if you ordered those Aqua Globes. It does the work for you!" I have tried to explain that since most of my flowers in the yard aren't in pots, it wouldn't really work very well, plus, with all the plants we have in the yard, we would spend a fortune buying them. She doesn't really get that part of it. Last week, she and I were in Wal-Mart in the lawn and garden section when I was looking for some Round Up. She nearly went bananas as she spotted the Aqua Globes conveniently located right across the aisle from the weed killer. She picked them up and studied them carefully and then showed them to me. "These are the Aqua Globes," she said excitedly, "These are the ones I told you about from T.V.! Can we get some, please? Please?" I told her no, thank you, we would not be taking home any Aqua Globes. She made a face and looking rather defeated, put them back on the shelf.

One other infomercial we have seen lately is for this stuff called "Mighty Putty." Supposedly, it will instantly seal leaks, as well as fill surface cracks and holes. The commercial even boasts that it can hold up to 350 pounds. (We actually saw the Mighty Putty ad one night as we were watching a show together.) I knew it was coming - - I just knew it - - and she didn't disappoint. No sooner had the commercial gone off then Maggie said, "you should buy some of that." "Why?" I asked her. She said, "it just looks like good stuff to have around."

So all you infomercial makers out there - - take note: Your marketing is super effective, albeit, you may wish you appealed to a demographic who had more slightly more disposable income than what is sitting in their piggy bank on the top of their dresser. Perhaps when she gets a little older and has to write a paper about someone she admires, Maggie will choose Billy Mays. You may think you don't know who that is, but I am sure you do. He is the guy who hawks OxyClean and Orange Glow and countless other things where he spends the entire commercial shouting at you the dozens of uses for this fabulous product.