31 January 2011

It Sucks and It's Great

I finally bought a vacuum Sunday.   I had champagne dreams of buying an Oreck or a Dyson but I have issues with laying down money on anything full price.

I got a Bissell, which is similar to my mother-in-laws.  Target had it on sale for a price I couldn't refuse.  I emailed my BFF K from the store, celebrating my purchase.  I still crave a Dyson or Oreck but that will have to wait. 

I had a Hoover WindTunnel for many years but one too many uses in Kevin's shop & we cooked the motor.  At the same time, we were closing the Moody House and my mother-in-law had three, count 'em three, vacuums.  My sister-in-law took one and I took one.  It was supposed to be temporary until I bought another one but four years have passed. 

It was just a little, light-use Eureka and it served it's time well.  I am going to keep it for back-up, probably store it in the office to clean up after Madam Sheds-A-Lot.

Am I the only person that dislikes the filter/canister system?  I so prefer bags.  The Eureka had two filters so I could swap them back & forth.  Actually, my m-i-l thought the second filter went to the refrigerator but I luckily figured it out before installing it in the actual refrigerator.  What do people without cute, mechanic husbands with tools & shops do to clean those filters?  It's just such a hassle.  And messy.  I also think seeing the amount of hair the dog distributes throughout the house increases my bitterness.  Resentment would probably be less if it were hidden in a vacuum bag.

I am going to buy another filter this weekend so that I don't make Kevin insane with repeated requests to blow out the filter, and no I don't mean sex.  (it's late, I'm tired and have a cold, work with me here. lol)

So, hmmm, what question can I extract from this post....?  Oh, I know:  am I the only one that gets unusual delight out of the tracks the vacuum makes in the carpet?

30 January 2011

Quality Time with My Couch

Because I needed something else to watch on television, I discovered "Episodes" on Showtime yesterday.

Oh. Em. Gee.  Matt LeBlanc.  Thank you Baby Jesus.

Then there's Monday nights.  American Pickers & Pawn Stars.  Who knew watching people's junk would be so fascinating?  Oh. Well, that turn of phrase didn't turn out but I am leaving it because it's funny.  You're welcome.

We still have Blue Bloods waiting on the DVR so I should probably stop discovering new shows to watch.

Oh and Holmes on Holmes.  I want to be that guy's friend. (she says while sitting in a nearly perfect five-year-old house)  He makes me appreciate the contractors we had working on our house.
The fun part of watching it, for me, is chatting with Kevin about what's wrong, right, or cool.  His dad is a carpenter and his brother is an electrician so he has working knowledge and I forget that.

Has anyone played Hawaii 5-O?  Have you played the bingo game?

Being Erica, therapy disguised as therapy, starts in a few weeks too.  I need snow days.

What shows are you watching?

29 January 2011

Faster Pussycat

During last summer I mentioned being on the track while Kevin races.  On most of the tracks that we run it is not imperative that I am there but it's always a good idea.   My nephew, who videos every pass, is usually up there anyway but this year it needs to be up to me.  Kevin will be going significantly faster this summer so it will no longer be optional. He has to be square and in the groove.

Here is a picture that shows exactly where I stand-ish.  The nephew is a little more brave than I am, he will stand in front of the car.  I love being up on the line like that, I just don't relish standing in front of a car rolling up on me.

I am not scared being up there.  Something going wrong simply doesn't occur to me.  Thoughts like that can't be allowed in my, or Kevin's, head.  Also, this style of racing is all about the routine.  Routine guarantees consistency.  One of my favorite things to do is watch how the crews and crew chiefs work together. 

The other day a video was posted showing exactly what can go wrong if things aren't perfect.  I've watched it a bunch of times and I am not sure what went wrong but I can tell you what I don't like about it.  Watch the woman, she doesn't make sure he's square or in the groove.  In fact, I am not sure what her purpose was.  She is supposed to step on the track to make the first bulb light so the car is able to roll in gently. 

To see what I mean about being the groove, look at the track behind the racecar.  In the reflection of the brake lights,look at the ground. Shiny is bad.  Where the scuff (darker) tracks are is where his tires have to be.  The track should be literally sticky where his tires are.  The burnout purpose is to make the tires sticky as well.  (I hate how chemistry/physics play into my hobby. I said I'd never use it in my lifetime)

I know, right? Freakin' scary.

We just agreed to run two series this summer, two of which Kevin can win a Wally.  I will explode if he's able to win one.  We've competed before but not at this level.  Kevin has also agreed to help run his class both in Seattle & Canada AND to continue to be our friend's crew chief.  I am going to just start napping now in hopes of banking some sleep before summer.

Mostly I am just excited though.  It should be a fun summer.  One that doesn't include anything like the video above but more like  the video below.

28 January 2011

What's that sound?

I've been lacking in topics lately.  I wasn't sure why until something happened and then it occurred to me:

There's nothing going on.

There's no drama, no upset, nothing.

My lack of topics is simply because of Peace.

I realize that acknowledging this to the Universe will surely make something happen.  There's few thing that the Universe enjoys more than being acknowledged.

27 January 2011

I Got Nothing

So, my commitment-phobic cold has asked me out on a date. Or at least stopped punching me in the shoulder, pulling my hair & running away like an eight-year-old boy. Translation: I feel like poo today.

With that, I can't think much. And it's Thursday.

Random Photo Post it is then!

Driving across Riverside Drive Bridge, crossing the Skagit River

Fremont Light Show in Vegas

Christmas Eve at the Parents House

Totally random picture from Senior Year of high school yearbook
(that's me on the left...good God my hair is too short)

26 January 2011

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

The other day when I was stress-cleaning it occurred to me that I have managed to have adult conversations with every single boy/guy that I've dated seriously when I was younger. (note: I did not say "married" because that simply isn't going to happen)

How weird is that? Is it just me?

I feel good about it. None of them were planned, all circumstantial. Some of the conversations were not easy but some of them were. One was a mere scuffing of feet, downcasting of eyes, and a "Hey, how've you been?" but it counts. We spoke! We broke the ice. I, or we I assume, won't feel it necessary to avoid each other in the mall or grocery store.

Maybe it's just because I've been alive this long & the opportunities have presented themselves. Maybe it's because I live in a small-town world: I have some of the same friends I've had since I was a teenager and I have never moved out of the county of my birth.

In the age of the facebook and interwebs it is easier to check up on former boyfriends. I think they call it cyberstalking...joking...but to hold actual conversations is different. I cringe at the word "closure" but it does hold some worth in this situation.

When I thought of it, and keep in mind it's not a high number, I mostly think "Whew, dodged a bullet there" or "Am I glad that's not my life". Sometimes there is a tinge of what-might-have-been, as I think is human nature and not a reflection on me or my marriage.

Overall, each of them made me the wife I am today. I learned something, good or bad, about me or relationships or men from each of them. I can hope that I am better because of them.

How about you? Have you talked with any ex-boyfriends? Was it good? bad?

25 January 2011

It is Up to Us

It’s no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that’s a good thing. That’s what a robust democracy demands. That’s what helps set us apart as a nation.

But there’s a reason the tragedy in Tucson gave us pause. Amid all the noise and passions and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater – something more consequential than party or political preference.

We are part of the American family. We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people; that we share common hopes and a common creed; that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than those of our own children, and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled.

That, too, is what sets us apart as a nation.

Now, by itself, this simple recognition won’t usher in a new era of cooperation. What comes of this moment is up to us. What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow.

~ President Barack Obama

24 January 2011


So I spent the afternoon with my mom.

It was supposed to be a doctor's visit but it turned into "I need stamps" to "Oh we have to go to the pharmacy" and ended up with "Will you run in & get me milk?"

I tried to use my time wisely. I went to the chiropractor, I cleaned out my email from my phone, I concentrated really hard on not sighing heavily. Oh, and I tweeted. "In a waiting room with my mom. She wants me to read Susan Boyle's book. I'd rather eat my hair."

Clearly, time well spent.

To add insult to injury, I ran into someone we used to be friends with (turned out to be swingers. Gasp! I know!) but it turned out okay because I could say "Can't visit! Mom's in the Car. Kbai!!!"

While I was waiting for stamps, my mother-in-law phoned. I just realized that I said, and I quote: "Grumpy can break into the house and steal all the eggs he wants." Can you imagine overhearing that? (context = she needed eggs for breakfast for dinner & invited us over)

I dropped her off at the house and went into the house to use the bathroom. I texted Kevin from the potty "Should be leaving soon FTLOG"

So that's how my day went. How was yours?

23 January 2011

News & Notes

I am happy that Valentine's Day is coming up as they are beginning to play mushy movies on television. I can let them play while I am doing other things and not worry about missing much. and mostly, they're happy. I crave happy endings right now.

The dog's life has been spared because she has finally stopped shedding. Her assault on the laptop cord has continued, although I am not sure who is winning:

I have cleaned this house within in an inch of it's life. I even washed out the doggone washer, for pete sake. I might not let the dog back in, or Kevin for that matter.

What's your shoe policy? We don't care about people taking shoes off when they enter our house but all of our Canadian friends do. I've just never worried about it.

I am culling my magazine subscriptions now. There are just too many to keep up with. I am letting Newsweek & Time go but keeping The Week. Vanity Fair is gone...their articles are just too long to enjoy. I am, again, reconsidering People. They've recently changed it up again and I am considering just tossing it in with our groceries when the cover catches my eye. The interior design magazines are dropping like flies so I'm keeping all except Elle Decor which was a substitute for one of the other magazines that is no longer being published.

I am not sure that my hair is ever going to be blonde again. This last time I chose the second to blondest color and it still looks gingery blonde. I am not going to worry about it until the summer. The person that cuts our hair wants to do it but I just can't justify the money and even more the time. I just don't enjoy sitting still that long.

I think my new favorite sitcom is Better With You on ABC, which means it will be cancelled by the end of the week. Kev came home last night while the siblings were bickering and he laughed this morning, referring to it.

Which brings me to American Idol and the lovely Bryan Seacourt. I DVR'd it so we could skim which makes it so much more enjoyable. I will say that I enjoy the changes. I love that Steven Tyler sings along and that Jennifer Lopez is nice. I like best of all that they aren't focusing so much on Teh Crazies.

I am sad to admit that the Danielle Steel books are still on my desk. I have a plan though. I have a small bookcase that holds books that is a mixture of keepsake books, photo albums, etc. There is a significant amount of paperbacks, which I won't read again even if I love the book, so I am going to clear it off and start from scratch.

And now I am going to go curl up on the couch until bedtime. We've been separated all day and we need some quality time.

Have a great week y'all.

Plastic Gifts

We received a truck load of gift cards for Christmas. It became comical as I sorted them out on the counter into piles. Two Starbucks, one Cruisin' Coffee, four Olive Garden, two Applebees.

Right after the holidays is probably a good time to have that many giftcards. However, we wanted to make sure we spent them with purpose, not just use them because we could.

Kevin used the Starbucks and I am still using the Cruisn' Coffee one. Even though we buy mochas every day, it is still a treat to have a free one. Kevin used his to have a hot drink on his way home when the weather was cold & wet. I think I might buy him one regularly, just for that purpose. I use mine when I'm having a crappy day or just need an extra boost.

Three of the Olive Garden cards we used to take out Kevin's parents, just the four of us. They were very pleased to go out on a double-date. We have figured out that if we both order the Tour of Italy, we bring the lasagne and extra breadsticks home and have a good dinner, days later.

When our friends from down south unexpectedly called & wanted to go out to dinner, we both suggested going to Applebees. Perfect! Our two cards nearly covered all of our meals. The pleasure of having dinner with our friends was increased by it being nearly free.

On Friday we went to Olive Garden because Kevin's mom was craving the Tour of Italy again. We still had one card left that paid for half the dinner. It was good timing as we're in the middle of January when money is tight after Christmas and Vegas.

I guess the point is that while I was super-grumbly about giving and getting the giftcards for Christmas, I have changed my mind. The gift wasn't the cards but how we chose to spend them. Because we had those cards, we made memories that we might not have otherwise.

Time for Product Endorsement

There are few products that I swear by. I mean, I love my swiffer but it's not the best thing ever.

Because the Best Thing Ever is the Magic Eraser Sponge.


We have two fiberglass showers. The floor of Kevin's has been grungy for awhile. Not moldy, but what I am sure is what the commercials call soap scum. I have tried everything from brand name cleaners to homemade remedies. They did f%&k-all.

Keep in mind the care instructions for the fiberglass recommends like three things, including using car wax to keep them clean. Meanwhile, the thing that I have used with the best results is just plain ol' shampoo. It has kept the walls sparkly and new-appearing.

The floor is textured though and only looked nice for awhile. I hated it. Cleaning the shower is one my least favorite chores, mostly because it's easiest to do it with me in it but I am rarely enthusiastic about scrubbing the shower five minutes after I've awoken. And in a recent insult to my ego, I need my glasses to see what I am doing. Take a minute to imagine that: glasses. In the Shower. Fail.

So on one of my recent bonding session with the couch, the Magic Eraser commercial came on for the elebentyth time. It for some reason suddenly occurred to me that it might work.

$3.19 later and I have clean shower floors. I was excited enough to call Kevin in to look but not to take pictures...for one reason: eww, gross.

Go, go now and buy it. The name is perfect because It Is Magic!!!

19 January 2011

Let's Do the Time Warp Again

Because all of my friends scattered to the four winds after high school, I don't see them hardly at all let alone their childhood homes.

Tonight I visited high school bff S at his childhood home. It has been 23 years, I think. It was a time warp. The house hadn't changed. I felt myself slide back into the past. Should I be wearing Nikes? Where's my Coke? Did I bring my algebra homework? It was so odd. Disorienting really.

There was his mom in the kitchen, offering food & drink like always. There was his older brother giving me sh*t. The television was on. It was 1986.

While driving home, I realized that our kids generation probably won't have that experience. So many people move away, upgrade their houses, and don't stay in the same place like our parents & grandparents.

Have you ever experienced the Time Warp?

18 January 2011

For L

These are pictures our friends sent during the summer. I can't wait to go visit!!

17 January 2011

A Sad Little Club

So, yeah, funerals.

I remember my parents mentioning when I was younger that the older you get the more frequent and difficult they are.

Yesterday felt like one of those milestone moments. Sitting in a church, watching my high school bff eulogize his father and knowing that this is just the beginning. All I could think was "welcome to the club, friend. A sad, growing club."

Looking around I noticed that I am no longer the young person in the room. We are now the mourners instead of the kids who don't quite understand what's going on. We are the parents burying parents.

It was at a Catholic church so there was a lot of pomp & circumstance. I so prefer memorials or wakes to funerals. It was more about ceremony than the person who died. On the contrast, it wasn't a sob fest either.

One of the comforting things is the people who come to funerals. My parents taught me that funerals are for the living, not the dead. I was amazed with the old friends that attended my father's memorial. It is also surprising how far a person reaches. Like at my dads, my bff was constantly surprised at the stories of "I knew your dad from..."

There was a sense of resignation for me. This won't be the last funeral. I choose to concentrate on learning, if that is possible, from each experience. In this case, I need to practice the Catholic litanys.

16 January 2011

News & Notes

Our Dawson Creek friends have 10 feet of snow right now. Kevin said we can't go visit...sigh...

Ricky Gervais is a bitch and I mean that in the best way possible.

The Seahawks lost and a big congrats to Da Bears & fans.

I have a funeral to go to in the morning. My BFF from high school's father has passed so that will be interesting to go to, in a bad way. I haven't seen the friend in many years because he lives in Germany. There will be someone I dated in high school there. It's in my hometown.

I am addicted to American Pickers. I want that job. Seriously.

My friends made me play CityVille on the FB and I hate them now. Just kidding.

We had dinner on Thursday with some out-of-town friends unexpectedly. I love those kind of nights.

We had dinner last night with some old friends we hadn't seen in a very long time. We got home, shut the door, and simultaneously said "That. was. the. longest. night. ever." There is a reason we don't see them often.

I was talking to my mom the other night and she mentioned that my dad used to say "You don't need to make that again" when she made a dinner he didn't like. I think I've actually heard Kevin say those words before so that's a little creepy.

The Danielle Steel books are still stacked on my desk. My goal is to decide what to do with them tomorrow. I believe it's going to be a go through book by book and reading the first few paragraphs. I am afraid that a good percentage of these books might be from the haven't read pile from when we moved.

Hope this finds everyone well. Have a great week!

14 January 2011

What's On the Fridge?

Welcome to this week's phoning it in post. Or the "Oh yeah, that's still in the drafts folder" post.

I can't remember what triggered this post, at all. Perhaps it was Random Item of the Day. Or maybe it was...oh forget it, I just don't know. Welcome to my brain.

This picture was taken last month, pre-"I'm keeping my eye on you" note. One of the pictures has since been updated with a more recent one. You get the idea.

I am not a clutter person...shut up, it's just books...so seeing my refrigerator may shock and surprise you. I choose to think it's more "random" than "cluttered". You can see on the left door, there is an attempt at symmetry.

On the right, well, it's a mess. An Elvis postcard from BFF C. A picture from BFF K. A postcard of the New York New York Roller Coaster. A picture of Kevin at work. Random magnets that don't match.

Sh*t. Now that I am examining it, I have to fix it. That makes my brain get all pingy.

What's on your fridge???

13 January 2011

Literary Avalanche

(frame of reference: I have to reach/look up to the yellow lunchpail on the second shelf)

I have a snow day today so guess what that means? Sleeping in, two cups of homemade mocha, and a Snickers for breakfast.

While that's all true, it also means The Great Book Reorganization has begun.


I might have mentioned this before but it bears being acknowledged again: I might have too many books. So much so that I had to go about this strategically and determinedly.

I had to remember not empty the shelves in a way that will make it topple over onto my body. I remembered this when it unnaturally wobbled.

I was provided further proof that it is impossible to replace items back into their original packaging. I cannot understand how all of those books fit onto those shelves. I have discarded about 32 books not counting the Danielle Steel books that are stacked on my desk, awaiting their fate.

I have a large stack of books that I haven't read. It is nearly too much to contemplate. Most are by favorite authors but about 1/3 of the pile are authors I haven't read. Which begged the question of "If I haven't read so many books by people I enjoy, how can I justify keeping such a big stack of unknown-to-me authors?" I have the space, it's just not as aesthetically pleasing if I put them back onto the shelves.

I even culled some books from the stack next to my chair. I double-checked the always-keep bookshelf and the stack on my bedstand. I am happy and relieved to say that while most stayed, some are in the discard pile. I am not sure why I have a set of F Scott Fitzgerald books, I am guessing impulse buy. Only read "Tender is the Night" and it wasn't my thing.

I am not going to keep books, even if the covers are pretty. Looking at you "Bridge of Sighs" and "Bella Tuscany".

(picture is blurry due to sudden overwhelming caffeination, I am certain)

So here is where I sit. I had to stop because it got a little overwhelming. The books on the shelves are staying on the shelves. I've organized a few authors together and may continue to do so but right now I am enjoying the haphazard colors, sizes, and authors.

What do you think, poppets, should I keep the books of new-to-me authors? Or cull them until the mountainous pile of books is significantly reduced?

(anyone spot Mr. Pickles???)

12 January 2011


I have a post written but after watching the televised memorial in Tuscon, I just don't feel right in posting it. I will tomorrow.

Instead, here is the presidents speech in it's entirety. I couldn't choose just one quote to feature.

To the families of those we've lost; to all who called them friends; to the students of this university, the public servants gathered tonight, and the people of Tucson and Arizona: I have come here tonight as an American who, like all Americans, kneels to pray with you today, and will stand by you tomorrow. There is nothing I can say that will fill the sudden hole torn in your hearts. But know this: the hopes of a nation are here tonight. We mourn with you for the fallen. We join you in your grief. And we add our faith to yours that Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the other living victims of this tragedy pull through.

As Scripture tells us:

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.

On Saturday morning, Gabby, her staff, and many of her constituents gathered outside a supermarket to exercise their right to peaceful assembly and free speech. They were fulfilling a central tenet of the democracy envisioned by our founders - representatives of the people answering to their constituents, so as to carry their concerns to our nation's capital. Gabby called it "Congress on Your Corner" - just an updated version of government of and by and for the people.

That is the quintessentially American scene that was shattered by a gunman's bullets. And the six people who lost their lives on Saturday - they too represented what is best in America.

Judge John Roll served our legal system for nearly 40 years. A graduate of this university and its law school, Judge Roll was recommended for the federal bench by John McCain twenty years ago, appointed by President George H.W. Bush, and rose to become Arizona's chief federal judge. His colleagues described him as the hardest-working judge within the Ninth Circuit. He was on his way back from attending Mass, as he did every day, when he decided to stop by and say hi to his Representative. John is survived by his loving wife, Maureen, his three sons, and his five grandchildren.

George and Dorothy Morris - "Dot" to her friends - were high school sweethearts who got married and had two daughters. They did everything together, traveling the open road in their RV, enjoying what their friends called a 50-year honeymoon. Saturday morning, they went by the Safeway to hear what their Congresswoman had to say. When gunfire rang out, George, a former Marine, instinctively tried to shield his wife. Both were shot. Dot passed away.

A New Jersey native, Phyllis Schneck retired to Tucson to beat the snow. But in the summer, she would return East, where her world revolved around her 3 children, 7 grandchildren, and 2 year-old great-granddaughter. A gifted quilter, she'd often work under her favorite tree, or sometimes sew aprons with the logos of the Jets and the Giants to give out at the church where she volunteered. A Republican, she took a liking to Gabby, and wanted to get to know her better.

Dorwan and Mavy Stoddard grew up in Tucson together - about seventy years ago. They moved apart and started their own respective families, but after both were widowed they found their way back here, to, as one of Mavy's daughters put it, "be boyfriend and girlfriend again." When they weren't out on the road in their motor home, you could find them just up the road, helping folks in need at the Mountain Avenue Church of Christ. A retired construction worker, Dorwan spent his spare time fixing up the church along with their dog, Tux. His final act of selflessness was to dive on top of his wife, sacrificing his life for hers.

Everything Gabe Zimmerman did, he did with passion - but his true passion was people. As Gabby's outreach director, he made the cares of thousands of her constituents his own, seeing to it that seniors got the Medicare benefits they had earned, that veterans got the medals and care they deserved, that government was working for ordinary folks. He died doing what he loved - talking with people and seeing how he could help. Gabe is survived by his parents, Ross and Emily, his brother, Ben, and his fiancée, Kelly, who he planned to marry next year.

And then there is nine year-old Christina Taylor Green. Christina was an A student, a dancer, a gymnast, and a swimmer. She often proclaimed that she wanted to be the first woman to play in the major leagues, and as the only girl on her Little League team, no one put it past her. She showed an appreciation for life uncommon for a girl her age, and would remind her mother, "We are so blessed. We have the best life." And she'd pay those blessings back by participating in a charity that helped children who were less fortunate.

Our hearts are broken by their sudden passing. Our hearts are broken - and yet, our hearts also have reason for fullness.

Our hearts are full of hope and thanks for the 13 Americans who survived the shooting, including the congresswoman many of them went to see on Saturday. I have just come from the University Medical Center, just a mile from here, where our friend Gabby courageously fights to recover even as we speak. And I can tell you this - she knows we're here and she knows we love her and she knows that we will be rooting for her throughout what will be a difficult journey.

And our hearts are full of gratitude for those who saved others. We are grateful for Daniel Hernandez, a volunteer in Gabby's office who ran through the chaos to minister to his boss, tending to her wounds to keep her alive. We are grateful for the men who tackled the gunman as he stopped to reload. We are grateful for a petite 61 year-old, Patricia Maisch, who wrestled away the killer's ammunition, undoubtedly saving some lives. And we are grateful for the doctors and nurses and emergency medics who worked wonders to heal those who'd been hurt.

These men and women remind us that heroism is found not only on the fields of battle. They remind us that heroism does not require special training or physical strength. Heroism is here, all around us, in the hearts of so many of our fellow citizens, just waiting to be summoned - as it was on Saturday morning.

Their actions, their selflessness, also pose a challenge to each of us. It raises the question of what, beyond the prayers and expressions of concern, is required of us going forward. How can we honor the fallen? How can we be true to their memory?

You see, when a tragedy like this strikes, it is part of our nature to demand explanations - to try to impose some order on the chaos, and make sense out of that which seems senseless. Already we've seen a national conversation commence, not only about the motivations behind these killings, but about everything from the merits of gun safety laws to the adequacy of our mental health systems. Much of this process, of debating what might be done to prevent such tragedies in the future, is an essential ingredient in our exercise of self-government.

But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized - at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do - it's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.

Scripture tells us that there is evil in the world, and that terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding. In the words of Job, "when I looked for light, then came darkness." Bad things happen, and we must guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.

For the truth is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped those shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man's mind.

So yes, we must examine all the facts behind this tragedy. We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future.

But what we can't do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.

After all, that's what most of us do when we lose someone in our family - especially if the loss is unexpected. We're shaken from our routines, and forced to look inward. We reflect on the past. Did we spend enough time with an aging parent, we wonder. Did we express our gratitude for all the sacrifices they made for us? Did we tell a spouse just how desperately we loved them, not just once in awhile but every single day?

So sudden loss causes us to look backward - but it also forces us to look forward, to reflect on the present and the future, on the manner in which we live our lives and nurture our relationships with those who are still with us. We may ask ourselves if we've shown enough kindness and generosity and compassion to the people in our lives. Perhaps we question whether we are doing right by our children, or our community, and whether our priorities are in order. We recognize our own mortality, and are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame - but rather, how well we have loved, and what small part we have played in bettering the lives of others.

That process of reflection, of making sure we align our values with our actions - that, I believe, is what a tragedy like this requires. For those who were harmed, those who were killed - they are part of our family, an American family 300 million strong. We may not have known them personally, but we surely see ourselves in them. In George and Dot, in Dorwan and Mavy, we sense the abiding love we have for our own husbands, our own wives, our own life partners. Phyllis - she's our mom or grandma; Gabe our brother or son. In Judge Roll, we recognize not only a man who prized his family and doing his job well, but also a man who embodied America's fidelity to the law. In Gabby, we see a reflection of our public spiritedness, that desire to participate in that sometimes frustrating, sometimes contentious, but always necessary and never-ending process to form a more perfect union.

And in Christina...in Christina we see all of our children. So curious, so trusting, so energetic and full of magic.

So deserving of our love.

And so deserving of our good example. If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, let's make sure it's worthy of those we have lost. Let's make sure it's not on the usual plane of politics and point scoring and pettiness that drifts away with the next news cycle.

The loss of these wonderful people should make every one of us strive to be better in our private lives - to be better friends and neighbors, co-workers and parents. And if, as has been discussed in recent days, their deaths help usher in more civility in our public discourse, let's remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation, in a way that would make them proud. It should be because we want to live up to the example of public servants like John Roll and Gabby Giffords, who knew first and foremost that we are all Americans, and that we can question each other's ideas without questioning each other's love of country, and that our task, working together, is to constantly widen the circle of our concern so that we bequeath the American dream to future generations.

I believe we can be better. Those who died here, those who saved lives here - they help me believe. We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another is entirely up to us. I believe that for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us.

That's what I believe, in part because that's what a child like Christina Taylor Green believed. Imagine: here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that someday she too might play a part in shaping her nation's future. She had been elected to her student council; she saw public service as something exciting, something hopeful. She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model. She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted.

I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us - we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations.

Christina was given to us on September 11th, 2001, one of 50 babies born that day to be pictured in a book called "Faces of Hope." On either side of her photo in that book were simple wishes for a child's life. "I hope you help those in need," read one. "I hope you know all of the words to the National Anthem and sing it with your hand over your heart. I hope you jump in rain puddles."

If there are rain puddles in heaven, Christina is jumping in them today. And here on Earth, we place our hands over our hearts, and commit ourselves as Americans to forging a country that is forever worthy of her gentle, happy spirit.

May God bless and keep those we've lost in restful and eternal peace. May He love and watch over the survivors. And may He bless the United States of America.

10 January 2011

Rinse & Repeat

Last night I couldn't stay asleep for anything. I must have gone to the bathroom a dozen times. I was cold, I was hot, I couldn't get comfortable. I would wrap around Kevin. Kevin was in the way.

I hate nights like that.

To make issues worse, Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" was on constant scroll in my head. I mentioned this to Kevin and he said "I experience the same thing but with me....it's just Katy Perry."

I was tired enough to not be able to read or concentrate on television. Yet, I couldn't turn off the television. Then I remember that I need to reset the radio and if I would just do that, I could turn off the television and maybe go to sleep. But I would fall asleep thinking about it.

Rinse and Repeat.

I am hoping Kevin will just hit me with a hammer tonight. I won't even care if I dream about Katy Perry.

09 January 2011

This is Not a Library

I was watching Nate Berkus today while Kevin was eating lunch. In a cruel twist of fate, Nate began talking about cluttered bookshelves. "Listen to him" Kevin says while munching on his sandwich.

Thanks Nate.

My one clutter downfall is books. I have a stack of books next to my chair. A stack on my bedstand, albeit more decorative than storage. I have the bookcase in the living room but they share space with the stereo and Kevin's books too. The office? Oh, well, um. Yeah.

I have a nearly floor to ceiling unit from the Moody House full of books. Well, let's define full. Let's just say perhaps overfull. Disorganized, for sure. I have a few of my favorite tchotchkes mixed in: pictures, cups, candles, a Bambi snowglobe. Just a few of my favorite things. Plus elebenty hundred books.

It looks like I might have an upcoming snow day soon and organizing books will be my project.

I am not worried about the bookshelf in the living room as those are my Never Get Rid Of books. The ones next to my chair will need to be narrowed down to just a few. Then in the office, I will have to take everything down off the shelves which will be quite a job as they are mostly hardcovers.

Then there is the sorting of books, which is going to be broken into two parts. When we moved into this house, I accidentally unpacked the books without paying attention to the read/unread category. Nice, well done me.

Then there's the sorting into Can't Live Without, Give away, and Meh categories. This can either go really quickly or really slowly. It will depend on how easily I recall whether or not I enjoyed the book enough to keep.

I used to be a Danielle Steel fan, twenty years ago. Now it seems her books are complete fluff. I believe I can edit those fairly quickly.

I enjoy Nicholas Sparks but the stories always make you cry so I am unsure what category they will fall into.

Maeve Binchy, Elizabeth Berg, Emily Giffin, & Anne Lamott will most likely be keepers.

All of the other authors will be on a book by book basis. I love book series and Nora Roberts has written quite a few of those but I probably won't feel compelled to keep every single one.

Oh, I've completely forgotten the "but the cover is so pretty category!" That's just another problem to solve, I guess.

Anyway, I will take before and after pictures. If I can manage, I will try to take during pictures as well.

So, dear poppets, how do you organize your books? How do you decide what to keep & what to discard? (or get from the library)

08 January 2011

Thank You Baby Jesus




The Seattle Seahawks have advanced to the divisional round of the NFC Playoffs with a dominating 41-36 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

Dear Baby Jesus

Seattle sports fans are an unassuming bunch. We don't ask for much.

Our basketball team was stolen from us. We lost Dave Neihaus. We were screwed by a referee in the SuperBowl. We've given alot.

Seattle teams are known to be the best worst teams. Two of our teams have set records of being the losingest team to still make the playoffs.

So with a meek heart, we ask to please win today's game? We have kinda earned it, dontchathink?

06 January 2011

News & Notes

Swistle was wondering what calendar everyone has this year and thusly so am I. It has become one of the things I look forward to at the end of the year. Usually it entails a trip to Barnes & Noble to browse and contemplate.

This year though Kevin had to take the truck because of snow & ice when I would normally go. So I browsed Amazon until I found a calendar that I liked. They had so many choices it was overwhelming. I was tempted to buy more than one. Honestly, I still am.

Because of Amazon's free shipping, I had to spend more than just the calendar so lucky for me I bought Kate Morton's new book and her first novel. Now I just need a snow day or ten to read.

Another Swistle conversation was the barrenness of the house after putting all the decorations away. She had a few ideas which reminded me I had a few snowmen decorations boxed up. I busted those snowmen out of that box and now it doesn't feel quite so sad.

I was inspired to put some clear Christmas lights over the entertainment center and bookcase. I love it and might just leave them there forever. I have seen the clear lights used as decorations in movies but it's always in a child's or the kooky roommate's room.

And then, she talked about posting our resolutions so that we will be regularly reminded of the goals we've set for ourselves. Hers is Teh Cute. I am considering it.

I am not sure where I would put mine. At work makes sense but then they would be public domain so that makes me uncomfortable. I have gotten out of the habit of writing in the office so perhaps I need to make that a resolution. I don't have room on the fridge because we were given the best note ever the other day:
Remember Christmas, the nerf guns, C2 and Kevin playing war? The kid is a genius.

05 January 2011


Well. Here is something we haven't talked about before: underwear.

Am I the Only one that doesn't understand thongs?
They just seem wrong and I don't mean wrong as in immoral but as shouldn't work. There are pieces missing. They can't be comfortable I don't care what the advertisers say.

I found the same with boy shorts, look totally cute but not comfortable.

While I am on a rant: I don't enjoy prints and word decorated panties. Just give me basic black & we're good. Also don't even get me started on little girl underwear. Gah.

Did you know that many people are wearing the incorrect size? Not just bra size but panty size too. How many of
you just flinched at reading the word panty? I did and I wrote it. It is reportedly one of the top 10 most hated words.

Anyway my point is that underwear is something we all take for granted. We don't pay attention to size and fit like we should. Most of us probably have a drawerful of it, at least.

One thing to think about when you buy underwear is this: even though it is a basic necessity, many women do without. No not commando but by circumstance.

Of all the clothing that can be donated, used panties are not one of them. Charities won't accept them and trust me although it seems obvious, people do it.

Women in domestic violence situations have often abandoned everything or had it taken. It is easy to get clothes replaced through charities but not underwear. Imagine recycling or going without. Yuck, right?

So next time you buy a pack of underwear, buy another & donate to your local shelter. Women who are struggling will appreciate it more than you can imagine.

Fess up: what is your underwear pet peeve?

04 January 2011

Evens and Odds continued

So, who'd athunk that a vow renewal post would bring some interesting questions to ponder! I am so enjoying this!

Swistle mentioned having two anniversary dates. I hadn't thought that through. I think I would always consider the original wedding date as our anniversary to be celebrated. The November date would hold little significance, as it's just the dates that we are in Vegas.

Jennifer pointed out that it would be a perfect opportunity for it to be just Kevin & I, which is enticing. She makes me want to focus on making the weekend trip for just us. Stay at someplace nice like the Bellagio or Venetian. I am still a little fascinated with the whole Elvis thing though.

CK said that she would have a renewal which was opposite of their wedding...something more lavish and formal. Our wedding was casual, in our front yard, and pretty relaxed. (Did I ever tell you I slipped while walking to Kevin & nearly fell?) So something a little more dressy & intimate would be good.

Our anniversary is in May, which is an expensive month for us...too many birthdays - and now add three more birthdays with the addition of the triplets - and usually the first month that we go racing...so I can't imagine trying to cram a quick trip in there as well.

We've talked about visiting friends & family in the midwest but renewing vows in Missouri or Kansas isn't quite what I had in mind. Yes, I mentioned getting married by Elvis but draw the line at the midwest. Don't try to apply logic.

So I will keep thinking about it. See what ideas I can come up.

With this lovely anniversary talk, let me say the Happiest of Anniversaries to BFF C who has been married 18 years today!!

Slow Jams

If you don't watch Jimmy Fallon then you're missing "Slow Jams" where he recaps the news with the help of Brian Williams. It is entertaining and funny. To boot, I find myself torn between attraction for Jimmy Fallon and Brian Williams. Two smart, funny and attractive guys for sure.


Slow Jam the News: 2010 Recap with Brian Williams

03 January 2011

Evens and Odds

When we were in Vegas last, Kevin mentioned getting married again. I thought he was kidding at first and suggested that we get married by Elvis. To my surprise, he said "Sure."

Later that weekend I was mulling over what new anniversary that would give us. The first problem is the brother & sister-in-law's anniversary is on the 20th so we couldn't do it on that date. Then I thought about it a little more and realized that Kevin's first anniversary was the 21st. Well, that's just awkward.

We've been together 20 years and married nearly eighteen. I have a thing about odd numbers so doing it this November would be weird to me. Although our real anniversary is mostly odd numbers with no pattern. To follow that thought out, my first anniversary was all even numbers and look how well that turned out! All in all, one would think that I'd learned that numbers aren't all that important.

Meanwhile back to Vegas, I think it would be fun to get married there; maybe by Elvis, maybe not. I've even tried to figure out which chapel is used in the movie The Hangover but it wasn't a real chapel. Lucky for me there are many chapels in Vegas to choose from. We go there every year so it just seems like a good time.

From the cheesy to the expensive, a person could have any kind of wedding they can imagine. We're not formal people, we're not even "Look at Me! Look at me!" people. If we could have gotten away with it twenty years ago, I think we would have just gone to the local church & gotten married with just us. Plus, I think Elvis would just be fun.

Finding time when we are in Vegas might be a challenge but lucky for us, many of them are open 24/7. Also, most of our friends are there anyway so that could be beyond fun. Our parents wouldn't be there but I think that would be okay. This one would be just for us anyway.

Then in Fantasyland, I thought about just booking a weekend trip and heading on down there on our own. The downside is that there would be hurt feelings if we didn't include the family in some way.

So, poppets, would you do a vow renewal? How? When? Tell me your ideas!

02 January 2011

Feeling Fine

So far, two days in, I am looking forward to this year. Please remind me of this statement in the future when I'm complaining about something.

It is 28 degrees outside and it looks like a winter wonderland even though we haven't had snow. I am sitting here, writing, with a homemade cappuccino and nothing much to do. Cupboards are full, laundry is finished, and the house is clean, if one ignores the presence of someone shedding.

I return to work tomorrow after having two weeks off and after only working about thirty out of the past ninety days. It's okay, I am not worried about the transition because Martin Luther King Day is coming up soon, giving me another three-day weekend. Also, still have vacation time waiting for me. I know, I know, I suck. Again, feel free to remind me the next time I complain.

It will be nice to be back on a schedule. It seems like forever since we've been on any sort of a routine. I'm sure I'll be over that feeling in a few days as well.

Unlike the past few New Year's, I have that little optimistic feeling of "This will be our year."
I am inching toward some goals and am looking forward to their fruition. Looking back at last years resolutions and seeing moderate success keeps me encouraged.

We have a wedding to look forward to this year. A wedding with five little people involved. It's taking patience and concentration not to begin planning right this very second. To make it more fun, they want to get married here on the property.

So, Day Two and I am feeling fine. Better than fine.

What are you feeling optimistic about?

01 January 2011

Happy New Year!!!

Every man should be born again on the first day of January. Start with a fresh page.
Take up one hole more in the buckle if necessary, or let down one, according to circumstances; but on the first of January let every man gird himself once more, with his face to the front,
and take no interest in the things that were and are past.
~Henry Ward Beecher